Thursday, October 23, 2014

Colour Blocking - Quilting Arts Magazine

If you are a subscriber to Quilting Arts magazine, then you've seen my article titled  
Colour Blocking - with Thickened Dyes! It's a very versatile technique that I'm super excited about!

One of the many advantages of using fiber reactive dyes is their versatility, they can be used in dye baths, flat dyeing,  and when thickened, can be used as a paint. Thickened dyes are suitable for screen printing, stamping, working with stencils and freeform applications. 

Their advantage over acrylic paint is twofold, they do not change the hand of the fabric, allowing the fabric to remain soft and supple despite repeated applications, plus thickened dyes are transparent, so layers of dye will change intensity, value and colours, giving the artist a wide range of possible uses for their created cloth.

 These fabrics, silk organza and cotton are layered together, then printed with thickened dyes.

 Great effects are achieved when you use many colours for printing!

Intrigued? Then pick up a copy of the latest Quilting Arts magazine, or learn at one of my Studio Workshops I'm teaching in early 2015. You can read further details here: 
I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inspiration to Design

I have often looked at art or art quilts and wondered how the maker has come through the design process. What was the beginning of the concept, where did the ideas come from and how have they changed over the works execution?
I've worked in the art field for many years and the path we work along from the first glimmer in our mind's eye to a "resolved" piece is often a long and winding road. Over the past couple years I've been working with a technique that involves strong linear design within a piecing and stitching method. I didn't invent it but I have taken it on as a form that I want to fully explore as part of a series of work.
My first piece was this one:

I used my own fabric that I had printed and enjoyed this new process that I was exploring.

Since then I've made two more pieces that I'm happy with and that have done well in shows:

Window # 2

Remote Viewing

The next piece I didn't like at all, it was a little bit too pink for my taste:

 I tried some selective dyeing but it turned too it hit the trash!

In looking inspiration for my next piece, I had taken some pictures from my kayak of the rocky outcroppings by the waters edge:

I played with the image in PhotoShop using different colour combinations and loved this one: 

So it became my inspiration for the quilt I'm currently working on.....there's a heck of a lot of quilting to do! Here's a sneak preview with a close up shot: 

I'm loving it! And that is a quick summary of the evolution of one of my latest pieces. 

Now if you've been wondering why I haven't posted in quite a while, here's my excuse: 

Meet Cullen Sean, born September 19th! I'm loving this!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Colour It, Fuse It! - a NEW Online Workshop

I'll bet you are often wondering what else you can fling paint onto and create wonderful effects on your fabrics? Did you know that you can paint, stamp, glitterize (is that a word?) and generally add colour to fusible web and interfacing products? Yes, you can!

Isn't this gorgeous? Would you like to make something like this?

 All you need is a few fusible products.....

Some paints and tools.....
You can paint, splatter, sunprint and more.....

Make sunsets......
And seascapes.....

Would you like to learn more? Then check out my introductory video:

My online workshop is open for registration here:
Join in the fun!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Old Is the Oldest.....

So, just how old is the oldest thing in your studio? I'll bet you've never given it much thought, right? Well, I'm not sure if these books are the oldest in my studio but I have had them a very long time and judging by the topics on the cover, they date to the 1940's....Mend and Save for Victory, On the Home Front...... I'm not that old, they belonged to my mother and I cherish them!

I love some of the topics in the books (they are a series of 10 different ones) about making a foot stool from a wooden crate, lots of embroidery stitch diagrams, making curtains and bedskirts and so many other topics.
You can make a sunshade, I make one last summer, but it didnt look like this:

Braided rugs, with suggested colour combinations: 

There are some wonderful ideas in these little books, we don't do much work like this anymore! What is the oldest item in your studio?

So my purpose in showing you these, is that I've made up some great little Thermofax screens from some of the images. You can order them here: 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bowker Creek Art Show and Gelatin Printing

Last Sunday I was part of the Oak Bay Artists Society's outdoor show known as the Bowker Creek Brush-Up, what fun it was! Set along one of the major creeks in our neighbourhood, visitors could ramble along the path and visit the different art displays. The weather was perfect and it was a wonderful day for all!
The artists are asked to demonstrate their work when possible, so I decided to work on some gelatine plate monoprints, a technique I often return to when time allows. Since the day was so warm and in the later afternoon, I was set up in full sun, the paint dried quickly!

 Here are some of the items I had for display, they include a variety of techniques such as screen printing and stitch!

If you like them, they are available here:  and include mats.

I worked on making samples through the day and here are some that I completed. I think I will add more colour with dyes and perhaps some paintsticks!

The one above was done using willow leaves as masks, I just had to reach up and grab a few!

These will be great for collage or stitching.

 And I like the ghost print on the left, that I got with this one.....
If you would like to learn more about Gelli or Gelatin printing, this is a great book to use as a resource:
Did you know that its not necessary to buy a Gelli Plate for great printing? You can make your own quite easily! Try this link: for instructions. A plate that is made with just gelatine and water will eventually break down, but can be revived by melting in the microwave for a pot on the stove and reformed.
If you'd like a more permanent homemade printing plate, you can make one by adding glycerin, here's a recipe plus lots of great tips:

Are you excited yet? If not, here's more great news! I'll be teaching a Gelatin Printing Workshop on Sept. 30th in my studio. I'm just in the middle of getting the information on my website, so stay tuned, its going to be lots of fun!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Patio Art and Making Beauty

I often work at finding beauty in something that others might pass by, but I know that with a little work and ingenuity its possible to give an object new life.
The cloths on my print tables need to be replaced every 3-4 months, they get stained from printing and dyeing and I love the ghost images and colour that are left on these cloths. This one came off the table a couple days ago and I painted some magenta/purple dye over it to partially cover the white areas.

I had a PLAN! I screen printed some images over the top. I didnt want the crow to be too dominant so I used a transparent paint. And I wanted some flowers in there so the coneflowers are an ochre colour. The images aren't too strong but I knew once I cut into it they would show up more.....
I had hoped to get two large pictures out of the fabric but settled for a large and a small so I could get the best areas of the fabric. I stapled the fabric to canvas frames and then sprayed an acrylic varnish over them....stinky stuff!
And GUESS where I hung them? Outside, on my deck! I figured if we put art on the walls inside the house, why not put art on the outside? DH gets a little twitchy putting nails into walls so I did it while he was at work......
A couple things I learned.....the pictures are light so in a strong wind like we had last night, they blow off the wall. Going to fix that! Also, these are not precious, so if they fade or get stained, I'll make new ones....What art did you make this week?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Dream Collection

A while ago I sent one of my pieces to the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) for their 2014 Benefit Auction. all the quilts had to measure 12 " x 12", but otherwise subject matter and technique was pretty wide open.
My quilt is called Flywheel and uses soy wax resist with fibre reactive dyes and  heavy thread stitching. It was a trial piece for my larger Wild Thing.
One of the ways SAQA promotes the auction is to ask members to make a Dream Collection of six pieces with a common theme, such as seasons, cities, people and such. I was thrilled to see my piece included in such as collection and you can see it here:  Its called Running in Circles!

The bidding for the auction starts on September 15th.
Here's How You Can Participate in the 2014 Online Benefit Auction
The Auction is run in three sections for 6 days each, with a special section accompanying the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
  • On the first day of each section's auction, the price for each piece in that section is $750.
  • Each day thereafter, the price is reduced according to the chart below.
  • Pieces not reaching the reserve price of $75 will be sold in the SAQA Store through November 2014 or if unsold will be returned to the artist.
Check out further details here:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Australia and more......

I'm excited to be planning a teaching trip to the "Land Down Under" next year! I've been invited to teacher at three fibre events as part of a tour that will include New South Wales and Tasmania as well as some personal time to explore some parts of Australia I've been yearning to see!

I'll be teaching my "Soy Wax Resists" workshop twice near Melbourne, first for Fibre Arts Gippsland on 28th March - 2 April 2015. there will be four other international tutors from Canada, the US and Germany. Then, I'll be in Ballarat for April 6th-11th, 2015. While I'm there I'll be teaching an extended Soy Wax Resists workshop. Can you tell, I'm beyond excited! I've never been south of the Equator so its absolutely thrilling for me!
Have you thought about traveling further afield to take a workshop? Why not join me? Here's the link to check it all out:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Bridge Between Equals - New Work

For the second time, I've had a piece accepted into the Sooke Fine Arts Show and I'm excited to see it hanging in the show. This wall hanging is about how we make connections between each other and my thoughts about the ideas and interactions that keep us united. I like the term "A Bridge Between Equals" because it means that we are all on a level field with no one above or below us. I like working with a white/grey/black scheme and the red is a great colour for contrast. I hope to see you there:
The fabric began as white and I dye painted it:

          I then applied soy wax to preserve certain areas and overdyed a pale/medium grey:
I printed over top with several ideas of text with some Thermofax screens:
My piecing technique tends to be rather organic and shapes evolve, being added and subtracted as I work through the entire quilt.
I'm never absolutely certain how it will be until the last stitches are taken:

My quilting stitches are very different from the traditional, but I took a lot of time and tested many variations before I decided on a satin stitch variation...................

The Printed Fabric Bee - The Winner IS:

Drum Roll, please! I'm pleased to announce the winner for the Industrial theme is Gabriele DiTota! She said "Venice" in her comments and my husband chose that as the winner......
It just so happens that we'll be there next October! Hey, Gabriele, do you live in Venice? I could deliver the squares in person!
Be sure to email or Facebook message me with your address!
Thanks everyone, I hope you have a great summer, it sounds like you all have wonderful plans for your creative energies....

Here's a peek at some of the fabrics I've received so far:

Enjoy, Susan!