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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Artist Business Cards

I have a really hard time throwing out fabric scraps and so I have drawers full of them (just in case I need them). The other day, I was reading about having business cards made. I thought to myself," A business card for an artist should be hand made by themselves. What better way to make yourself remembered? So I took some of my fabric scraps and made 2"X3" fabric business cards. Admittedly, they take longer to make than printed ones but I really enjoyed making them. They are simple but cute, I think.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Inspired by the Art of Grandchildren

I often have the grandchildren over and their most favourite thing to do is paint in my studio. They are still learning about keeping the paints clean by rinsing your brush in water before putting it into another colour. They are also learning that if you put all the colours on top of each other, you get brown or black. They don't mind when that happens, the just enjoy the activity. They are not worried about the end result, they just love to slop paint all over their papers.

But sometimes, they end up with wonderful blends of colour and then I like to take photos of their paintings and print them on fabric with my colour printer. Then I use that fabric to make my fabric cards. Below are photos of different sections of a painting one of my grandchildren did.

The colours are vibrant and they blend nicely and there are also sections where "line" is used where they used their fingers to spread the paint. There are also places where the paint dripped and ran. This painting is full of movement and excitement and freshness. That's what happens when you are not worried about the end result being perfect. There is expression in it. Below are some fabric cards I made with sections of the painting. You might be able to tell which section of the painting I used in each.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Spring Inspiration

Walking and sketching is becoming more enjoyable as the weather gets nicer and the plants are coming to life again. I am trying to take different routes each time I walk to get a variety of subjects. I'll draw whatever interests me so it won't always be nature but perhaps a fire hydrant or garbage containers. I really love to sketch nature but the other stuff is part of my everyday and so it is important to note. Often, there are things we don't notice as we rush along in our day. So when I'm out for a walk, I try to observe the mundane, normal things of life. Even those can be beautiful. It helps us to be thankful for everything and every day.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Inspired by a New Medium

Not long ago, I spent a Saturday with 6 other women trying something new to me. I know that many people dye their own fabric and I love the look of hand dyed fabric. I have tried it myself but found it to be time consuming and needing a lot of space and equipment. I had read of others who paint their own designs on fabric and wondered how that was done without making the fabric hard and crusty. I also wondered how, once it was painted, one could wash it if needed without the colour coming out.

I learned during this workshop of a product called The ColourVie Pigment System. It is a water-based product that is not harmful to the environment and it can be heat set onto fabric by ironing it.

It consists of a base that resembles the colour and thickness of vanilla yogurt. To this base you add drops of pure pigment. Once you have the colour you want you paint it onto white 100% cotton which has been pre-washed. If you layer two different colours, one on top of the other, you can use tools such as potatoe mashers or stamps or other tools to create a texture and designs in the paint. Then the fabric is hung to dry. After it is dried it is heat set with an iron. The fabric remains soft and pliable and can be cut and sewn with no problem.

This system will allow me to produce fabric of a colour I need for a project that I cannot find in a store. I will have to do a whole lot of experimentation with it to know exactly how to produce the colours I want but I truly had fun and really like what I ended up with.

Designs made with a hand made stamp and a potato masher.
This was the last piece I made just using up my leftover colours.

This one gives me an underwater feel.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Autumn Leaves Art Quilt

The Autumn Leaves have been picked up from the framers and been delivered to the new owner. Now I can show you how it turned out.

Inspired by my Neighbourhood

Now that the nicer weather has reached us, I'm determined to get out and walk to exercise and tone my winter atrophied muscles in preparation for this year's canoe trip. I was going to take my camera along and went to my studio to get it and remembered that I had bought a new sketchbook for a challenge that never materialized. I've been wanting to sketch outside more and so I took the sketchbook off the bookcase shelf and decided to use it to document my walks around the neighbourhood. I could "kill two birds with one stone", although I don't know how much walking I will actually get done if I'm stopping to sketch in between.

I walked along the Humber River which runs along the back of our house and took the trail up to the Islington Avenue bridge. I noticed some graffiti underneath the bridge that I had long admired and so I sat down to sketch it quickly. Then I climbed the hill up to Islington Avenue and crossed the bridge stopping halfway to do a quick sketch of the Humber River and it's banks. Walking further, I came across a Bell Canada manhole cover that really had an interesting pattern so I added that to the sketchbook. I found a half of a seed pod on the ground with an interesting design so I picked it up to add to my book when I got home.

Continuing my walk, I added some crocuses I saw blooming (there's not much else blooming yet) as well as some lilac branches that were beginning to bud. I sketched a funny sign I saw in someone's yard that said," IF YOUR DOG POOPS, YOU SCOOP". The final thing I sketched into my book was a pine cone that had dropped off a tree. Adding some of my observations, what the weather was like and the date, I completed my page. I was actually on route for an hour and ten minutes but not all of it was walking. I'm hoping to keep up this habit and maybe tone up and improve my observation and sketching skills.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Relay for Hope Art Quilt Panel Completed

I have been working furiously on this quilt to get it done before the deadline. Once I had the pattern all worked out on freezer paper, I started sewing the quilt top base onto which I will applique the main subjects of the dog sled, northern lights and the raven.

The smallest pattern piece of the whole quilt

This shows the section of the quilt I was working on

From the previous photo, you can see that the

darker spots will be the shadows of the dog sled.

The whole art quilt top with only the base.

Here I will add on the applique. You can see

that I used some of that hand dyed green fabric

in the sky to depict the brighter parts of the

Northern Lights.

This gives you an idea of how I put the dog sled


The first dog placed.

The whole dog sled. There were a few areas that

I felt needed a little more colour so I made a few

additions later.

Detail of Northern Lights

I had a hard time making the raven stand out 

against the dark sky. I auditioned different colours

of fabric. (gray, black and white, even a piece of

black plastic bag) Finally, I made that area of  the

Northern Lights lighter and liked the effect of the

black plastic. I went to Value Village and found a

satin negligee that I used for the raven. The shiny

fabric helps the bird to stand out better.

Then I free-motion quilted the whole thing as you

can see from the back.

I had asked my daughter to purchase something 

small in the Yukon that I could use to embellish the quilt with.

So when she came to visit, she brought me this

Yukon Quest Medallion and a pin from the 2012

Yukon Quest which I fastened to the quilt as the 

final touch.

Now I had to package it for shipping. I rolled the quilt 

around an empty wrapping paper roll with the

design toward the inside. Then I wrapped the whole

thing with tissue paper and then plastic, in case

the box carrying it got wet.

Finished Yukon Art Quilt

The Yukon initials (YT) will be placed in the bottom right

corner and then this panel will be sewn into a large quilt.

I really hope they send us a photo of the whole quilt put together so we can see what it looks like.