Monday, November 16, 2015

Your Personal Studio Tour

This past weekend I had dozens of friends and strangers walking through my studio to see my art work as part of the Oak Bay Studio Tour. It was fun, it was affirming and it was exhausting! I was in bed by 8:30 last night....
Of course when you embark on having the studio open, it needs to be spiffy and neat, so everyone is impressed with my work space. I'd love to say that its like that all the time but sadly, thats not the case....
So before it goes back into its normal state, I thought you might like a tour.

Here's the entrance area into the studio, there are stairs from the upper level to the right:

Then a look into the studio, it's in the basement without much natural light but lots of good fixtures for a bright and cheerful work environment:

To the left, there are two bookcases, filled with books, reference material, small bits of things...I can see some tidying is needed...

To the right of the bookcases is my cutting table and my design wall. Where the yellow art quilt is (my #2 favourite) usually has a bulletin board: the art on the right is in progress, visitors enjoyed seeing the way I work and considerations for my design decisions.
Here's another view of my cutting table, I love the drawers and shelves....its an Ikea kitchen island! Another spot to tidy underneath...

The right side of my design wall, the wall is about 6' x6', I'd love it to be larger but that's all the space I could manage. My work "Appia" is on the wall, but usually theres another bulletin board.

My sewing machine is underneath the table, I love the mechanized lift for it. I often put it down and use the space as a light table.... You can also see a wall shelf that's handy for putting bits and pieces and more art above it.

The one window in the room looks out onto grass and the neighbour, not the best view but it is south-facing so there's good light. You can see the "office" too. The open area to the left was meant to be an "art" area but thats not too practical, I might try again, not that its tidy....

Here's more of the "office" with "Lupine" in the background, thats usually another bulletin board space :) My Thermofax machine is below.

Here's my fashionable fake fireplace, just an electric one but it does have nice fake flames too! The fabric on the left covers my printer that usually sits on the table. More art on the right!

Here are the Ikea wire baskets that store my fabrics and projects. In front is another Ikea kitchen island that is my pressing surface and it usually lives somewhere else. I had my ice dyed scarves set up on the island with a mirror for the Studio Tour.

Then finally, we have gone full circle with another set of bookcases that store books, beads, boxes and more.... the door out of the studio is on the right.

Thanks for stopping by, if you're ever in the neighbourhood, let me know and you can see it for real! But I can't promise it'll be this tidy. Now I have to get the bulletin boards back up!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

You Will Love This!

For the past couple of months I've been obsessed with Ice Dyeing, also known as snow dyeing (but we don't do snow here on the west coast)! I am totally in love with the fabrics I've created, each one is a surprise and absolutely beautiful..... I just ordered a dozen silk scarves to work on for my studio tour next month, can you imagine wearing this fabric as scarves?

 Or this one:
 Or this one:
 Or this one:
 Or this one:
I'll have these up in my shop soon or you can see a good video on how to ice dye here:
Interested? I'm having an "Ice Dyed Silk Scarf" workshop next month, where you will design and make a gorgeous scarf for yourself or a special someone. Since the fabric needs time to batch, I'll rinse, wash and dry the scarves for you and then wrap them up ready for gift giving!
I'll let you know the date soon!
PS. I guess you've noticed I'm back to blogging.....

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Coral Reef and Little Fish

When we're involved with fibre and thread, I've found it useful to be open to all possibilities, dont you agree? You just never know when something will blow you away!
I was teaching in Espanola, Ontario this month as part of their Fibre Arts Festival, a city wide celebration of all things fibre. Espanola is a small town near Sudbury, the part of Ontario that has thousands of small lakes, multi hued rocks bursting out from the landscape and autumn colours like no where else on earth, beauty all around!
There were spinners and weavers, lots and lots of yarns, classes for smockers, recyclers/upcyclers and much more, as I said..... lots of fibre!
But the best part was an art installation that brought together fibre artists from around the world, a Coral Reef, like no other! The reef was the work of Jody and a host of volunteers who knitted, crocheted, wove, tatted and laced a myriad of wonderous sea creatures to illustrate the importance of sea life to our environment. Have a look:

 School children made long spiky papier mache coral as an art project
 Check out the knit moray eel!

 Amazing brain corals!
 White areas of the reef depict dead spots from pollution and damage to the fragile ecosystem
Can you see the tiny little fish above? one weaver made over 100 of these for the reef!
The installation will be visiting other communities and galleries in northern Ontario. I hope it will find a permanent home sometime.
I think this shows how amazing it can be when a community takes on a project and works together to make it happen. The Espanola Fibre Arts Festival happens each year in October, plan a trip to visit, you will love it!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Remember the Self Critique?

Maybe you remember the work I had done at the beginning of the summer and had asked for comments as I was workting through the beginning od a new series? Well, actually its the first of what I might consider a sereies. It gave me an excellent tryout for some ideas that I had been mulling over and now I'd ready to show you some results.
The first work I showed you got cut in half

and became this:

                                                                   Cosa 12" x 12"

But the remaining half of the piece didn't make it! Not that it wasnt any good, but I used a hand dyed piece of fabric that ran, and ran when I rinsed out the blue marker. And I got this: 

Darn, darn and double darn! It won't even make a nice potholder!

But the other piece:
Gave me this:

                                                                   Vesuna 12" x 12"

And the fabric in the remaining half ran as well. The fabric is now in the garbage!
Having made a couple more pieces, I mounted them on canvas board and and very happy with the results. Despite some misgivings, they are both in the portrait format:

                                                                     Appia 12" x 24"

                                                                       Ostia 12" x 24"

So what did I learn:
  • I prefer working with a more limited palette
  • I may need to work on keeping my lines straighter (?)
  • The quilting design is simple yet effective, I can't do curves well
  • These pieces led me to develop a larger piece that I have entered into a show
  • I love, love, love doing mark making on the fabrics I use!
Finally, the series isn't finished yet!

Monday, August 17, 2015

More Mark Making....

Yesterday I spent at the Bowker Creek Brush Up as one of the artists. We were encouraged to demonstrate some art making and while I was all ready to do some sun printing, I was in a shady spot. So decided to spend my spare time on Mark Making onto my favourite Essex cloth, a blend of cotton and linen. While I worked with white fabric, several of the pieces will be overdyed. Maybe I should have come with some coloured pieces, oh well!
So here is what I accomplished, some will need more work.....

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mark Making and more...

As soon as you put pen to paper or paint to cloth, you have started a journey of Mark Making. The term can be used to describe the different lines, patterns, and textures we create in an artwork. So anything from a dot to a scrawl or a pattern is a mark. It is the component of mark making that become art making, when the marks take on meaning, shape or a design, then they evolve into significantly more.
I began thinking a little more deeply about Mark Making (capitals added for emphasis) when I took a workshop with Dorothy Caldwell titled Human Marks. We spent five days focused on how we can make marks on paper and fabric and the variety of tools we can use to create them. It was an inspiring workshop, I had wanted to take a workshop with Dorothy for many years. Here are some pictures from the workshop:

I've been printing and stamping with black paint and ink onto white fabrics and using the fabrics in some of my recent work.

And here is part of a piece where I used some of the fabrics. I like to incorporate them as brighteners and visual breaks amongst the coloured fabrics.

Today my grand daughter came into my studio and watched as I used some markers onto fabric. She was quite interested and asked if she could do some Mark Making too!

She and I had a lot of fun playing with the markers, and I'm excited to use some of the fabrics we made in my art work!
Here's the markers I like to use:

I'll share some more Mark Making ideas with you soon!