Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

I wanted to start the new year right with a blog post.  I have not posted for ages and it is amazing how easy it was to get out of the habit of checking in online.  So here is another of my long winded posts...

October to December was a busy time for me with art and artisan shows, looking after my cat who was under the weather and had dental surgery, choir gigs, and Christmas prep. We had a lovely Christmas at my son's home - a combination of traditional and Italian - my son preparing the turkey and trimmings and his partner preparing the cannelloni etc. After many years of doing Christmas dinners it was a wonderful treat for me. 

I had two very successful shows - the annual Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair and Baz'ART at the Shenkman centre.   I sold lots of jewelry and a good number of embroideries and art pieces.   After the hot, crowded show I was in at the Bell Sensplex in September, these shows were just the thing for me!   Now I am in the process of looking for just the right local shows for my work for 2015.  I have made a list and am researching each possibility.  I will be taking part in the Fourth annual Fibre Fling at Kitchissippi United Church on April 10 and 11 and would also like to find another show to do before  Mothers Day.  I might also approach some businesses to see if I can find venues to sell my jewelry.

Here are some of the pieces which sold in the fall.

Red Sails in the Sunset 11 x 14

Small embroidered piece

Another small embroidery
 The piece on the top right (below) which was one of my first paint and embroidery works (Bonsai in the Bog) sold as well.  And the ones on the bottom left (Tenerife 3) and Centre bottom (Black Eyed Susans) are also gone to new homes.  Some of the pieces were made just before the shows and it seems I may have neglected to photograph them individually in my haste:(

Testing my Set Up

 I took part in a Out of the Box Playdate in November where we learned how to turn tissue paper into a medium for stitching by layering tissue with glue, adding colour into the layers, painting or using bleeding art tissue for colour etc.  So much fun! And I have had some ideas of how to use this technique in larger mixed media pieces.  In the meantime, I painted them up, added tiny snowflakes I cut from rice paper, hand stitched and made holiday cards.  I also mounted one horizontal piece on stretched canvas.

In September I got myself a Square reader but was depending on WiFi at shows in order to use it since I don't have a smart phone.   I am saving my $$$ :)   Nevertheless I am now able to send invoices through Square to customers wishing to purchase items with a credit card from my website, blog, by email or by phone.  Until I have saved enough money for an ipad with cellular, this is a great way for me to do business from my home and gives me an alternative to selling on Etsy.   I have posted some new items on Etsy before Christmas and will post more shortly.

I have work to do making some new necklaces, a colour challenge piece which is due in February, a hand stitched embroidery, and more postcards.  Soon time to start planning our next Fibre Fling.

I managed to finish a UFO that has been in the works for a couple of years.  I just need to mount it on a stretched canvas - unless I decide to quilt it instead.  It will be called "Ode to Newfoundland" I think.   It is my impression of life on 'The Rock'.  I included some lyrics to a song I wrote about Newfoundland called "A Land of Contradiction" and I plan to include the complete lyrics on the back of the piece.

.......A land of contradiction is rugged Newfoundland
So generous a people you will never find
There's beauty in the rocks and stones
Tragedy in the sailor's bones........

Ode to Newfoundland

I bought some tiny frames from Michaels (2" x 2" inside) and am framing tiny hand  embroideries of a tree of life or a dove because peace is on my mind these days.   I think I needed a reminder to help me keep my focus on the kind of world we could have - and can only imagine - free of poverty, hatred, violence and oppression.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Hand Stitched Scenery

My next show is coming up soon so I am finishing up my three small hand embroidered pieces.   These were inspired by photos I took of the moose chewed trees in Cape Breton - on the Acadien Trail, the Jack Pine and Skyline.   I have added water to the first piece - artistic licence:)  I painted the background first then stitched over it.  For the background hills I used one strand of floss - thicker threads in the foreground.  I have a few more finishing touches for these two and then I will matt and frame them.

I thought that this one needed a pond so I added it

the colours are more intense in the actual piece

   I have just started stitching this third piece.

mostly painted - I have started stitching the background and grasses

I am also working on designing some fabric ornaments for my upcoming shows.  I have a few in progress and one finished so far.  It took some time and lots of false starts before I found two designs  I liked.  I have a couple of painted birds as well which I hope to use for 3D ornaments.  I will add text to each of them.  They are fused and hand stitched and are time consuming so I will probably just make a few to try them out.  The chickadee below is completed with stiff interfacing and fabric back.

I have a few more things to work on but have lots of jewelry and art work prepared for the two shows.   I have finished my piece for the library exhibition and will drop it off on Monday - yeah!.

Also on Monday I am attending a marbling workshop.  I am looking forward to it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair


 My next show this fall is the Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair.  This show has a beautiful venue in the Glebe Community Centre and the quality of artisans at this show is excellent.  I do enjoy this one and am happy to be juried in for another year.  Here is a link to their site with more details about the exhibitors.   Glebe Craft and Artisan Fair 2014

On November 29 and 30 I will be at the Shenkman Centre in Orleans for  Baz'ART.  This is my first time at the show and I am looking forward to it.   For more information about this art, craft, and live performance event and its participants go to Baz'ART

Having worked very hard this summer to prepare for the falls shows, I do have lots of stock and will spend this month making some new items.  

I took part in the Ottawa chapter of the ETSY Made in Canada Show on Sept 27.  Successful advertising brought thousands of people to the show.   But it was unbearably hot that day inside the fieldhouse and vendors and customers alike were sweltering.   I think I made the majority of my sales in the morning before the heat escalated although it was pretty warm when I arrived at 8 am.   Wishing I had brought an electric fan.   Also the wifi was not working which made it difficult for vendors like me who planned to use my Square Register with wifi.  Attendance does indicate an interest in Etsy and hopefully will bring more people to online shopping.  Who knew there were so many great craftspeople from the Ottawa area selling on ETSY.

I am also putting finishing touches (labels, wire etc) on my piece for the Stittsville Library show in November with Out of the Box.   The theme is 1914 and my inspiration was the Women's Mock Parliament in Winnipeg in January 2014.(see previous posts).   This interesting exhibition of fibre art will run throughout November at the Stittsville Public Library, Main Street, Stittsville, ON

That's all I have to share for now.   My small hand embroidered landscapes were well received at the Etsy show and I have painted three more backgrounds for mini embroideries which I am just starting to  stitch.  I'll post them when I have more stitching completed.    These new ones are all inspired by photos taken in Cape Breton last month.

Here are a couple more CB sights.  And no, we didn't take the lift up!   I love it, love it, love it there!!
View from the Top - What a Climb - Smokey Ski Hill

Wildflowers at Fishing Cove

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Etsy Made in Canada

I have just returned from another fabulous 10 days of Hiking the Highlands of Cape Breton just in time for my first show of the Fall season.   

Etsy, the online market for vendors of hand made goods is holding its first  ETSY: Made in Canada  show in venues across Canada this Saturday, September 27.  I will be taking part at the Ottawa venue - at the Bell Sensplex in Kanata from 9 to 4 pm.   We have 154 artisans registered for the show.   Here are two links with further details.

It will be a treat to meet some of the local Etsy sellers.   Hope you can make the show!!

I am still on a high since returning from my hiking trip to Cape Breton.  I took tons of photos and hiked every day for 9 days - oh my aching calves! We renewed old friendships and made new friends.  It was wonderful!

View from Jack Pine Trail in Cape Breton

Seabirds Taking Flight

Highest waves I have seen at Cabot Landing Beach

Sunset at Skyline Trail just before the Fog Rolled in

View from the top of Roberts Mountain
 We had a great hiking experience and hated to leave.    We almost didn't leave since our plane had engine trouble and we were grounded overnight in torrential rains in Halifax.   We took that as a sign from above.   We were meant to stay:))

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunprints and Stamping Fabric Cards

I have been enjoying the last days of summer while working away to prepare for Etsy Made in Canada, a series of shows which will occur on September 27 in  major cities across Canada.  I will be taking part in the Ottawa show at the Bell Sensplex from 9 to 4 on Saturday September 27.  If you are nearby check it out.  I believe the entrance fee is $6.  I needed to be organized because I will be away hiking in Cape Breton for 10 days before the show.

I managed to find enough sunlight on my patio in August to do some sunprints but didn't take many photos of the process because I had to move quickly before the sun moved.   I wanted to use the prints for cards so I cut my fabric into pieces approx 5 x 7 and did each one separately.   The bottom right was done on satin with setacolours and it worked like a charm.

Then I ironed each on to fusible interfacing and placed it in a window card.  The one in the second row right was painted without sunprinting.

Then I made tree and leaf stamps and stamped a few on painted satin.

I decided to make a few pendants using the painted stamped satin fabric - skies to go with my landscape/seascape jewelry.
More subtle than my landscape jewelry
One thing led to another and I ended up doodling with ultra fine markers in my sketch book.  I did a whole page of designs then photo transferred them to EQ Printable fabric.   I could have drawn right on the fabric with permanent fabric markers but I really liked using the ultra fine sharpies for detail and they tended to bleed when used directly on the fabric.  I used mostly floral designs that lend themselves to a circular format but also strayed into nautilus shapes, eyes, sea urchins, starfish, abstract doodles etc.
My first page of designs - some worked some did not

I made a second sheet of designs and did some matching earrings as well.  Here are some of the finished pendants.
Finshed pendants - I love the sea urchins!

These are done with bottlecap settings - some photo transfer, some painted, some layered landscape
I have never had issues with glues on fabric and metal but when I first used the bottlecap ones some turned the fabric brown.    I tried sealing both the fabric back and the metal and that worked fine.  I ended up using clear nail polish on the metal (which I saw on one of my supplier's sites) and gel medium on the fabric back.   E6000 also worked to seal and glue without browning but I am hesitant to use it regularly because it needs good ventilation etc.  The key is to seal the metal entirely.

I finished a mini embroidery of Tenerife mountain and I am working on a tiny embroidery of brown eyed susans from a photo in my backyard - and I took a few days off to accompany some friends to Prince Edward County - wine tasting, hiking the dunes, swimming and lots of great food!

From my recent trip to Prince Edward County (Wine Country)

We walked the sand dunes of Sandbanks - who would know these vast dunes exist in southern Ontario?  See the two figures in the distance?

A very busy summer and looking forward to my annual fall vacation before another busy fall!
After the torrential rains and vicious storms - a reward!

Oh I almost forgot, I will have a couple of pieces on display next weekend in Almonte at FibreFest - with my fibre arts group, Out of the Box.    I also have a piece at The Running Stitch Quilt show in Kanata on October 3 and 4.  And of course don't forget Fibrations Sept 9-16 at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fibrations and Finishing my Library Exhibition Piece

The Conversation
My hand embroidered piece 'The Conversation'  is heading for Burlington Ontario to be part of the September show  Fibrations     I am thrilled to have this piece chosen for the show even though  I won't be able to attend because I will be hiking in Cape Breton.    This year has been a good one for me for juried exhibitions.  I have sent applications to three shows and had work accepted in all three - Quilt Canada, FFAA Prairies show, and now Fibrations.  It gives me the confidence to apply to more shows in future.   I also decided to try out a couple of additional craft venues this year as well since I now have enough smaller items for sale. 

I am so close to finishing my library piece.  It is sitting beside me as I write, ready to have its edges stitched then to be mounted on a stretched canvas.  Here are some photos of the (almost) finished piece.

Votes for Women: Nellie McClung's Women's Mock Parliament
I mounted the text and posters to my previously hand pieced background and machine stitched them down with invisible thread.    I covered the edges of the stretched canvas with text from articles about votes for women and will machine stitch the edges of the piece together (front, middle and back) then attach to the canvas.  I haven't found a good way to attach the piece to the canvas other than glue or double sided tape.  If the piece was smaller than the frame I could stitch it on through the canvas.

Here are some close ups of the text.

 The piece will be on display at the Stittsville library in November along with other pieces from Out of the Box members on the theme of '1914'.  I hope that visitors to the library take the time to read about the brave and resourceful women who worked so hard to get us the vote. 

In the evenings I have been working on more tiny hand stitched pieces.  Here is another field of wildflowers from one of my photos taken along the Jack Pine Trail. I left out the trees in the background and made it look more like the viewer is on eye level with the flowers - nothing but flowers and sky.
It is not quite finished yet but I set it under the matt to see how it would look.  I think I like it.

Next time I will show you some cards I made using painted satin skies which I have stamped with a hand made tree stamp and a few other designs.  I need to take some photos of them.   I also want to do some sun prints and make cards from them as well.  A friend told me about a field of sunflowers not far from my house so I think I will hop over and take some photos of them.

I have small pillow boxes for my jewelry and wanted to purchase some small printed foil labels for them but the price seemed prohibitive.  Instead I looked into ordering labels and printing my own.  I managed to find some clear Avery labels online from Amazon with free shipping and yesterday I printed some up and attached them to the backs of cards and to the jewelry boxes.   They work fine (once I found the correct template and did a few test runs).  I might try to find blank foil labels and try them as well......