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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Garden Inspiration Continued

Every few weeks something different is happening in the garden and I just love that. Last week I used the Iris and Rhododendron as inspiration. The Irises are just about done and I had taken a few of my purple ones into the house to enjoy.

 As they were dying off, the flower would drop onto my counter and I noticed that it left a deep purple liquid that was hard to remove if I left it too long before wiping up. I wondered if I could dye fabric with these wilting flowers. I got out some fabric that I had prepared for dying, moistened it and took it outside on my deck where I placed the wilting irises on it and squished them a bit to get the liquid to penetrate the fabric. Then I left it outside to dry.

 I was really happy with the result. The purple from the flowers was quite vibrant and even the green parts of the flower dyed the fabric. This was truly an experiment because I wasn't sure that the dye wouldn't just run completely out of the fabric when I rinsed it under the tap to get the dried plant pieces off of it. To my pleasant surprise, the colour did not rinse out. I then took the fabric and ironed it, hoping it would heat set the colour.

 I was not able to work with it for a few days so I left it sitting in my studio and noticed that some of the colour had faded when I got back to it. I brushed on some fabric medium to help keep the colour that was left and let that dry.

You can see the difference. I still liked the designs the colour made and decided to try to make a small quilt from it. I placed my thick felt underneath it and a piece of backing material and started to just stitch a design to bring out the shapes. At this point I had no idea where I was going with it.

In order to stitch it I use a sewing machine foot called a free-motion foot or a darning foot. I allows me to sew in any direction as opposed to just straight forward or backward.

At this point it looks a bit like and amoeba or outer space. I just kept adding stitching as the piece "spoke" to me.

I used various shades of purple for the stitching and then decided to bring some darker and more heavily thread sketched areas into it. It now has some flower like qualities to it. This is as far as I got today but I will keep on adding stitches to bring a focal point into play.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Garden Inspiration

I love this time of year when there are so many wonderful flowers blooming of all styles and vivid colours. My garden is fairly shady but I have a few areas of sun where I have planted Iris and Monarda, Daisy and Climatis and Peonies. Every year they inspire me and I photograph, sketch and paint them.

Today, I used the fabric I printed with my grand daughter's painting as the background of a quilted postcard.

I also still save teabags and I drew the outline of flowers onto the teabag and then painted it with watercolour paint. I let it dry and then went in with more colour. I then placed the painted teabag on top of my background and stitched around the flower design with coloured thread which also quilted the fabric. Once the flower design was sewn to the background, I tore away the excess tea bag so that only the flower design remained. Then I went in an stitched the design again to make sure the rest of the painted part of the teabag did not come loose. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Inspired by a Pair of Jeans

I'm sure you all have had that pair of jeans that was just sooooo comfortable that every chance you got, you wore them. I have a pair of jeans like that. I'm not sure they are even flattering but Oh! they are comfortable. Of course they are my oldest jeans and so the other day, when I was wearing them, my grand daughter said to me," Oma, you have a hole in your pants!"  I did.  In fact, I have holes in both knees and a few more forming on other parts. These pants were relegated to days when I didn't have to leave the house and so they became the ones I put on for Art Days.

I realized that I am not setting a very good example for my grandkids by wearing holey jeans and it was time to get rid of them. I have a hard time throwing out any fabric and this instance was no exception. I looked at those old jeans and noticed that it wasn't just the comfort I liked but some of the details I found on them. The back pockets had a design stitched on them and a white piece of leather as well. I liked the rivets adhered in various places on them as well as the way the pockets were sewn. So I started to take them apart to save the good bits.

The Favourite Jeans

The little rivet above has a buffalo stamped into it.
While I was taking apart the jeans, I was inspired to use the pieces to make a small art quilt with them.
I have been experimenting with using a thick felt as the layer in between my quilts instead of quilt batting. The felt works better because it is thicker, more rigid and stabler so it helps wall quilts hang straighter and the edges of the quilts finish nicer. This wouldn't work for a quilt you would use on your bed or one you would use to wrap around you, or even anything you would want to wash. But it still allows
me to machine quilt with ease.
I have also been experimenting with a fusible web. This is basically an adhesive that is spun into a thin, lightweight fabric. I fuse it to one side of my fabric (using a silicone cloth, so it doesn't stick to my iron) and then I fuse that fabric to the felt. This keeps the fabric from shifting when I am quilting and makes for a crisper finished product.

Felt layer
Fusible web
The web is fused to the fabric
Once my background was completed, I sewed my jean pieces into place on the top and machine quilted as they were added. Although the felt is easy to sew through, the denim was giving me a hard time and I broke to sewing machine needles in the process.  I really like the finished product. I added a hanging sleeve to the back with some of the left over denim. Then I tucked a photo of me wearing the jeans in the pocket. (Thanks, Grace H.) Now I don't have to totally give up my favourite jeans. They will be hanging comfortably on the wall in my studio.
Favourite Buffalo Jeans

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Day in The Studio

I don't have the luxury of spending every day, all day in my studio. Life gets in the way, however, I have given myself the gift of one whole day per week in the studio and so I thought I'd show you what a typical studio day looks like for me.

My day starts with my fun favourite cereal, Froot Loops. This is just a studio day cereal to put some fun into my head preparing me for creativity. Look how fun that box looks!

Next, I head downstairs to the studio and notice that it is a bit of a mess and some of the surfaces have to be tidied up so I can work. So I set to that job and hope it doesn't cut too much into my creativity time.



I had some paintings lying around that my grandchildren did and so I started to cut them up to use in the journals I am making for them as background pages. You can only hang so much art up on the walls and this way there will be some of their earliest art inside their journals.

Once I had some 5 X 7 pieces cut, I really liked the colours and texture of the pieces so I thought I would try to scan them into my computer and print them on plain fabric to use for my fabric cards. Well, that wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. The fabric kept jamming in the printer and the colours of the scans weren't at all like the colours on the originals. So I took photos of the originals instead and used them to print other fabric. I experimented with a number of carrier sheets attached to the fabric to prevent it from jamming and finally succeeded in a couple of printed fabric pieces.

On the right are the original painted pieces and
on the left is the fabric printed from the scans.
I do like the fabric pieces even if they aren't the
right colours.
This time on the right are the fabric pieces printed
from the photos. They are much closer in colour
to the originals.
Well, after all that, it was coffee time. I usually don't stop for coffee but take a cup down with me and drink it on the go.

I also have some art sitting around my studio that I made but didn't know what to do with and so I decided to make them ready to abandon somewhere along my errand runs tomorrow.

As I was working on my fabric cards (with my new fabric) I used up all my quilt batting pieces so I set out to cut some more. I do a whole lot at once to save time when I'm creating.

Well, then it was lunch time and so I headed upstairs to have a sandwich and check my emails. After lunch I went outside into my neighbour's yard where I had spied some beautiful irises growing. I took my little chair, sketchbook, watercolour paints and sketched. 

Once that was done, it was time to blog. And here I sit, trying to make it as interesting for you as I possibly can. Hope you enjoyed spending time in my studio with me today.