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Friday, 15 May 2020

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Friday, 8 May 2020

Completed Artist Trading Cards, Art Quilt Top Pieced and COVID-19 Art.

I had fun creating my quilted ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) and have mailed one to Quebec, one to Alberta and one went to The Netherlands. I gave one to my sister, who is re-awakening her creative endeavors while being off work and I kept one for myself.

 Piecing my art quilt top is done and it now hangs on my design wall as I decide how to embellish it with stitching, yarn and other design features.

The dark area in the middle of the sky is a tall tree.  The tree trunk stills needs to be added which I had planned to stitch in but there is also the option of appliqueing a trunk in with fabric or couching some yarn in as a trunk. I'm not sure which method will be used yet.

As I was picking fabric for this piece, I found some that had woodland creatures on it that are the right dimensions and colouring for this piece and in order to give it some life, I might just include a few of these creatures into the composition as little surprises that one would discover as they come close to the work.

As it turns out, this week my art day was hijacked by my husband who asked me to make some signs for our garden centre business that received the OK from the Premier to open up to the public. Although we are open, physical distancing still has to be observed so guess what the signs were for. A special thank you to my sister and brother-in-law who helped me get this done in the allotted time. If you visit the garden centre, check out the signs. We took some creative license liberties with them.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Artist Trading Cards

I recently subscribed to a magazine called UPPERCASE. I was introduced to it by my sister in law. It's a high quality magazine produced in Canada for the creative and curious. It is colourful, fun and full of stories of creative people and their work. There are articles about printers, stitchers, painters, crafters, makers, cake bakers, jewelry makers, collectors and the list continues. I love this magazine.

This month we could sign up to trade ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) with someone else. So I signed up. The cards have to be 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size, the typical artist trading card size and can be made with any medium but just have to be flat enough to mail. We have to make at least 5: One to mail to the person we are trading with, one to trade with a new friend made via UPPERCASE circle an online forum for the magazine, one to exchange with a local artist or creative friend, one to send to the editor of UPPERCASE and one to keep. These have to be mailed before May 15, 2020.

I decided to make them from fabric (no surprise). I expect the one coming to me will be drawn or painted. This week I went through some of my canoe trip photos and chose some that I thought I could reproduce with fabric.

Below are some sketches and the couple that I have completed so far.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Another COVID-19 Disappointment

In January this year I blogged about Artist Residencies and my plan to apply to them. The Residency that I blogged about then was one that Algonquin Provincial Park puts on. So far I haven't seen the call for application for that residency so as yet I haven't applied. In truth, there may not be one this year.

However, in January, I did apply to another residency. This one had me really excited. It was called the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency and the application was for the 2021 year. If you have ever read anything about the Yukon Gold Rush, you will have read about the Chilkoot Trail. This trail starts in Dyea, Alaska and goes through British Columbia ending at Dawson City, Yukon. It is the route the prospectors took to find their fortune in gold. It was a difficult trail through the mountains mostly done on foot or with horses that got them to Bennett, BC where the journey continued on the water at Lake Bennett. I have always been interested in the gold rush stories and the development of cities and towns along the route that have mostly now become ghost towns. The landscape in the area is beautiful and rough.

The Chilkoot Trail is managed by Parks Canada and the National Park Service and is a protected heritage site. Together these park services along with the Yukon Arts Centre and Skagway Arts Council extend the Artist Residency to interested artists.

There were two options: I could choose to walk the trail from Dyea to Bennett for 10 days, researching, sketching and engaging hikers along the way or I could camp based in Bennett, which is now a ghost town and do day trips on the trail while researching. At the end of the residency, I would have spent one day in Skagway working on my art and engaging the community in some creativity to familiarize them with the trail and another day in Whitehorse doing the same thing.

The application was extensive and I had to prove that I had some outdoor, back country experience.
There was also a bear safety orientation we would have had to take. I wasn't sure how I was going to get camping equipment, food, art materials (sewing machine, fabric, etc) along but I was allowed to bring someone with me and naturally I asked my daughter, Amy, who lived in the Yukon for several years.

Well, you can see how excited I was about this Artist In Residence Program because I spent a lot of time researching and dreaming. Yesterday, I received an email saying the Residency is cancelled for 2021. I can apply for another year but we'll see what the future brings. In this, God also has a plan although it is unknown to me and I will accept it. It was nice to dream.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Past Halfway

I've logged over 50 hours on my art quilt and am developing issues with my back and suffering from headaches. With all this time to work in my studio, I fear I am not taking enough breaks and stretching cramped muscles. As much as I love to work on it, I am going to have to limit my time in front of the sewing machine.....and the computer. With the weather having turned colder again, I'm also not getting out to walk.

I am pleased with the progress and I have finished the lower boggy foreground with all it's greens and moved into the background and the sky sections. I love when I get to colour transitions because they bring a fresh sense of interest to the work.

The above is the bottom half of the art quilt, the boggy foreground. I plan to overlay this with some yarn to give it more texture and detail.

Here is the beginning of the sky and the trees in the background against the sky.

As you can see I have a small section a the top to complete which should go fairly quickly. Once the quilt top is done, I will sandwich it with quilt batting and a backing fabric and add stitching, quilting, yarn and other embellishments to enhance the design and add details.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Disappointments and Lemonade

Our "Colour With a U" Committee met via Zoom on Tuesday. This committee set up the Colour With a U Exhibit and Call for Entry and we thought by now we'd actually get to see the Exhibit in person but as it turns out, the Gallery closed its doors due to Covid-19 just after the show was hung and before its opening. The exhibit was supposed to open during SAQA's (Studio Art Quilts Associates) International Conference here in Toronto this year in March. It now looks like no one will get to see it at this venue. We have been contacting venues right across Canada so that this show could travel for the next few years. At this point we are not sure the show will be able to travel. That will be a huge disappointment.

In response to the Gallery closing, our committee also put together a virtual exhibition of Colour With a U with, yours truly, reading the the artist statements. The virtual exhibition is 1 hour long but the work is beautiful and thought provoking.  Here is the link for that show if you are interested.

If you only have a little time here is the link for a 3 minute video of the exhibit. It doesn't have all the work displayed in it but you will get a feel for it.

The conference was cancelled but the conference committee quickly set to going virtual by organizing workshops, meetings and talks that could be done over social media. I wasn't able to engage in many of the live programs but since everything was recorded I can access them any time. The comments I heard were that the conference was a success. Our online fundraising Spotlight Auction had record sales.

As you can see, we were handed lemons and so we made lemonade. I think it was pretty good lemonade.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Art Quilt - Designing Details

I have been continuing work on my latest art quilt. As I work on it, I reflect on some decisions I made in the designing of it that might be of interest to you. When you look at my pattern, you see a lot of straight lines. Those lines represent seams that appear when I sew my small fabric pieces together. In a painting, you don't see those seam lines. I actually like the look of those seams in my work because it gives interest and shows how I use fabric to create a fabric painting. I also often use the seam lines to direct the viewer's eye to the focal point. However, those same seams can be detracting to the piece as well. To keep that from happening, I make sure when designing that I carry the same fabric or value across some of those seam lines so that the eye concentrates on the colours and values instead of the seam. If you get up close to the art quilt, you definitely see the seams but when you stand back, you see the image. That's my goal. 

This is why some of the fabric pieces are tiny. You might wonder why those tiny pieces are important. They may help to transition the values or colours into other values and colours or they may be needed to make the shape of something more believable. 

When designing, you will also note that I don't use a lot of plain fabric. That is also intentionally done. I always try to choose fabric with a small pattern or gradient colours or different but harmonized colours in them. This gives added texture to the work which makes it more interesting and believable as a landscape. I have had people ask me if I painted certain pieces of my art and when they look closer they are surprised it is fabric. 


I even use some patterned fabric in my skies since when you see my work from a distance you can't see the patterns but just subtle changes in the clouds.

I've finished the foreground area of the quilt and am excited to be working on the background and the sky sections. I always love it when I can begin to use other colours. The greens were getting tiring so now I am using darker colours for the background, some oranges for the colourful trees between the evergreens and blues, whites and greys for the sky.