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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Feathered Inspiration

I recently bought and hung up a bird feeder. It hangs from a branch of our pear tree just outside my office window. I'm beginning to think it wasn't the best place to hang it. Oh yes, it is perfect for seeing the birds up close and capturing them on my camera but it is so distracting! I have to be more self controlled when I am in the office working.

I'm beginning to keep my camera and my cell phone on my desk just in case a new bird finds the feeder. They are voracious eaters and I have to keep filling the feeder up every day to keep them coming back. From the photos I have been doing some sketches of the birds making a sort of visual log of the birds in the area.










Thursday, 9 March 2017

Quilt Canada, Quilter's Retreat and Art Quilt Progress

As a member of  Etobicoke Quilters' Guild and Studio Art Quilts Associates and the Canadian Quilters' Association, I receive information about competitions, shows, exhibits and Conferences. Quilt Canada is a national conference put on by the Canadian Quilters' Association that is held in a different part of Canada each year.  This year it is being held in Toronto at the International Centre in June. Because it is so close to home, I decided I can't let the opportunity to attend slip by. At these conferences there are workshops and lectures and great shopping experiences. I will not be taking any workshops or lectures but I have applied to volunteer at the Conference. I will be an "Ask Me" volunteer. This is quite 'out of the box' for me as I am usually very shy with people I don't know. I will be doing an orientation in order to get to know the conference so I can share information with those who Ask Me. I think it will be a great experience for me.










Another experience I've decided to become part of is a Quilting Retreat which will happen in April at a Christian Camp in Markdale. Although I do not do a lot of traditional quilting, it will be nice to get to know others in Ontario who quilt and perhaps I can pick up a few tips to enhance my art quilts. I am planning to take the art quilt I am currently working on. I will get 4 days of uninterrupted quilting done on it. So I'm hoping that I will have all the plotting done by that time and have started the sewing.

I have finished plotting the sky so the whole top of the quilt has a pattern. As I work on this, I am getting really excited to start sewing.




Thursday, 2 March 2017

Art Quilt Progress

I was able to finish the painting that will help me to move further on the Art Quilt. I made a tracing of the subject also including colour changes and values. This quilt will be a challenge to plot due to all the grasses. I may end up with lots of little pieces of fabric in order to make the grass come across as grass.



I darkened areas of the painting even more, added details to the rocks and put some grass and a bush on the rock to the left. I felt that area needed something extra. I decided to make the pink section of rock at the top left where the dark shoreline in the distance meets it, as the focal point. In this area the darkest dark and the lightest light meet and it is the area where a lot of variation in colour happens. Most of the direction lines in the painting point to this area.

This is the tracing of the painting which will be enlarged for the pattern.

Enlarged pattern, 24" X 36" will be the quilt's final dimensions.



As I start to plot the pattern the first dividing lines will also draw the eye to the focal point. As I plot the pattern, I am also choosing fabric colours and values.



I will start my plotting with the sky so above are some blue fabrics and some pale pink, peach and yellow that I will be using. I found a fabric swatch on cardboard that I had used for another quilt and the colours are the same as those that I'll be using in this one so if I still have some of those fabrics, I will use them here as well. I think I may have to substitute some that I have run out of but this gives me a start.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Starting a Commissioned Art Quilt

I have finally finished my other large projects and now have begun work on a commissioned art quilt. I sent my clients some photos of landscapes I had taken over the years in order to choose a scene they'd like me to make out of fabric.  They have seen some of my other work and have an idea of what it will look like when it's done.

This is the photo that was chosen.

 My process is to do a watercolour painting of the photo in which I try to highlight a focal point and bring out some of the colours I see. In this photo the line where the water meets the far shore is crooked (because of the angle of the camera) so the first adjustment would be to straighten that. The rocks do not have sun shining on them but I might try to give them more light and vary the colours in them for more interest.

These are the first washes of colour.


I have just positioned the trees, shrubs, rock and grasses. I've put a little yellow into the sky and also some pinks. The rocks have a light pink/peach colour on them. I don't like to paint my rocks grey. When I study them, I see pinks, purples, greens and blues in them and that is much more interesting than grey.

Here the colours are "punched" up a bit.


Today I worked on darkening the colours as I continue to look for the focal point I want to stress. I've made the far shore a little bluer which pushes it into the distance. You can see that this version is already more interesting than the photo. I will continue to work on the colours and create some nice contrasts in the sky as well.

Once the painting is done, I'll make a tracing of it and take it to Staples to enlarge to the size I want it. From the enlargement, I will plot out my sewing plan marking my colour scheme and fabric choices. That is the most time consuming part of the whole process but the most important.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Work Begun on Fabric Cards Quilt

For years, I have been making fabric greeting cards, they're actually more like postcards. At one point I let everyone know that if they did not want to keep them, instead of throwing them out, they could send them back to me and I would put them together, making an art quilt out of them. I have received many of them back and have pinned them to my design board to see how I could put them together.



Here I grouped the cards by colour with the
orientation both landscape and portrait (sideways
and up and down)


Here, I lined them up in colour rows
with all the landscape oriented ones
together.


The final art quilt will be in the format above. I've taken the portrait oriented cards out and will make another quilt from them when I have enough. I decided that I would attach the cards in rows of six.


This is the top row all put together



I pondered long on how to put them together as I wanted to have all the edges showing as opposed to sewing them together and having the edges in the seams. I got around that problem by using pop can tabs on the backs of the cards.

You can see how the tabs were sewn onto the backs of the cards
to keep them together. I also added the names of the recipients,
the occasion it was made for and the Month and year it was given.


I was able to get two rows put together and then I ran out of pop can tabs. I don't drink pop, but if some of my local followers do, could you save them for me?  Each card will have four tabs, two to attach the cards in a row and two to attach each row together. It is pretty time consuming as they are sewn on by hand. It's a job I do while I watch TV.

I love how they all look together. Each one is unique but assembling them by colour gives them something in common and from a distance the colour changes in the quilt really look nice.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Month of Love and the Spotlight Auction Entrance

Wow, it's February already! This is the Month of Love and I just realized that the piece I'm making for the Spotlight Auction in Nebraska has a love theme. I've finally finished my piece which I titled, "Spread LOVE Around". We, in the Americas, think that we are very tolerant of others and their differences. But what we hear on the news these days tells a different story. We hear of terrorism, mass shootings, bullying, and travel bans. When I was planning this auction piece I wanted to give a positive message. We just need more love for others in this world. When we show love to someone, it can set off a chain of loving action. We should infuse love into everything we do.

In my piece, "Spread LOVE Around" I placed a heart in the upper left corner and spreading from it are many "fingers" as if they are throwing love into the air, hoping it is contagious and people will "catch" it and "come down" with a serious case of LOVE. If only it worked that way. Nevertheless, I really believe that when we show love to another the relationship we have with each other changes for the better.

This was my starting plan. I developed it in a
very intuitive way instead of having a plan
in the beginning that I would follow.



I embellished it with beads to depict little
bits flying through the air, destined
to hit someone and "infect" them with love.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Inspired by Being a Grandmother

When I became a grandmother almost 6 years ago, I decided to make little journals for each of my grandchildren. It seemed like an easy task. The journals would commemorate special days and events in the lives of each grandchild. When there were only a few, it was fairly doable to keep up to date. There are now 7 grandchildren and I'm finding it difficult to record everything that is happening in their lives. Every once in a while I have to catch them up. I usually write a list of the events I want to place in their journals so I don't forget them and when I feel like I'm getting too far behind I drop everything else and get working on the journals.

For the last several weeks I have been trying to catch up the year 2016. Below are a few pages out of those journals.


Each child has a family tree in the beginning of their journal.


Each birthday is also celebrated.


Religious events are very special.



Trips and large moves are also remembered. 


Holiday trips with Opa and Oma are included.


First baby teeth and first adult teeth are also celebrated.

I also make the journal interesting by including fold out pages, pockets. windows and I have a plan to try some pop-up pages. If you have another cool idea that you've seen, let me know what it is. I love trying new things. I want my grandchildren to love looking through their special book and treasure it knowing their Oma really, really loved them.