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......

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not my Usual Style

In my last post I was auditioning fabrics to use as a background to a new piece.  The theme of this year's library exhibition is '1914'.   I chose the Women's Mock Parliament which took place in January of 1914 in Winnipeg Canada.  Tired of hearing why women should not have the vote, Nellie McClung and a group of suffragists performed a 'Mock Parliament'  at the Walker Theatre.  They reversed the question to ask "Should Men Vote". They used the words of the parliamentarians to describe what would happen if men got the vote.  With gender bending humour, they drew great crowds and managed to reverse the general beliefs about votes for women.
I wanted to use strong colours for strong women - red, fuschia, purple
 I thought I would start with a crazy quilt background to pay tribute to our grandmothers but I felt that the random placement of many colours and shapes would be too distracting so I stuck to squares and rectangles but hand stitched them to resemble a crazy quilt.

In the meantime I researched extensively and downloaded the script and poster of the event as well as several old posters and photos of the fight for votes and women's rights.  Before using them, I went back and recorded their origins, checking to make sure I was not violating copyright.  Most of the items were widely available in govt archives, teaching sites, historical societies, were published in newspapers from the day, were public domain or had been used extensively in the public domain for many years.  I found one that was a photo taken from a recent play so I decided to omit that one rather than have to track down permission.  The items are mostly Canadian but I also included some American and British pictures or posters - the fight for votes for women is universal.


Here are a couple of tongue-in-cheek excerpts from the play arguing that 'men' should not vote - "Man has a higher destiny than politics....the man who pays the grocer rules the world!" and "When men once get the habit - who knows where it will end - it is hard enough to keep them at home now!"  - Nellie McClung.

I finished stitching the background....




I had already figured out a placement before I started stitching.   This part was difficult for me - squares and text are not my usual cup of tea!   I knew this was an educational piece and may not be pretty but I wanted it to be easy on the eyes nevertheless.  While messing around with placement I accidentally came up with this brilliant - well, at least significant (!) idea.  Votes for women right??




X marks the spot!


Luckily I thought of this before I started stitching because I decided to carry it even further and use only x stitches to join the pieces - which I had fused to a backing so I wasn't really 'joining' them together.
close up of stitches


I will finish the edges and mount the piece on a 16 x 20" canvas.  I plan to cover the edges of the canvas in bits of quotes and articles about the event and votes for women.  On the back label I will include my sources.  A fun piece about a serious evolution in our Herstory!
 
I finished my second small stitched landscape piece.  This one was from a photo taken on the Jack Pine Trail when wildflowers were blooming everywhere with trees lining the background.  I love to have something to stitch in the evening when I am watching TV.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Fibre Art - Red Sails in the Sunset

Linking up to Off the wall Fridays

Sometimes what you finish up with is not at all what you had in mind when you started!  And that can be a good thing!  My fibre arts group is having another colour challenge, this time - magenta (kind of a fuschia/magenta shade on the colour chip)  It was to be 12 and 12" and at least 20 % magenta I think.  My plan was for a sunset with silhouettes of trees in the foreground.   I machine stitched the sky with many small curvy bits of fabric, then stitched the water, then I was ready to add the trees.....but I couldn't do it.  I just loved the sunset as it was.  Also I had extended it to about 14" and found that it would look a lot better as an 11 x 14 than a 12 x 12".    I added tulle and cut it to size then music took over again (this happens a lot for me - as in Fields of Gold, Heard it Through the Grapevine etc).    The old song "Red Sails in the Sunset" kept going through my mind so I added tiny sailboats to the sun's pathway on the water.

Red Sails in the Sunset
So here it is - wrong size, no trees, great title - and I think the colour reads magenta:)   I will mount it on a painted stretched canvas.   However it will not do for my colour challenge so I need to start another one.  I think I might do a sunset with dark trees silhouetted in the foreground........?

I also hand stitched a little 3 x 5" piece from a photo I took at the Purdon Conservation centre where we went to see the lady slipper orchids in June.

Original Photo

Stitched piece
I am working on another one of this size with wildflowers and trees inspired by a photo I took recently on a hike in the Greenbelt near my home but it is not ready to post yet.

These two were done with lots of hand embroidery -  I posted one of them before but here they are together.  I was inspired by photos of fall flowers in my friend's garden.  I think the one on the left could do with a little more definition on the petals but it's too late now.




My Helper
 My next big project is a piece for our library show based on the year 1914.  My cat decided to help me audition fabrics for the background.   My piece will be about Nellie McClung and the fight for Votes for Women, specifically the Women's Mock Parliament held in Winnipeg in January 1914.   The women held a mock session where they debated the question - Should Men be allowed to Vote??  It was a tongue in cheek skit which gained a lot of support for women's right to vote.   I think it will be fun to do!

This week I posted more items in my  Etsy Shop   (note my new header).    I plan to work on more jewelry too - maybe try some new colours and shapes.

When I am feeling brave I will tackle my website.  It sadly needs updating.
This is my creative 'to do' list for now.

More photos from Purdon Conservation Centre.  These are the beautiful orchids.




Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stitches, Paper Flowers, and More Stitches

Interesting fungus on a tree in the Ottawa Experimental Farm

Several rather unique Irises

And beautiful Peonies
I went walking in the Ottawa Experimental farm a couple of weeks ago and the peonies and irises were in full bloom.....beauty!


A while back I stitched a few tiny embroideries with the plan of setting them into silver plated pendant trays.    Here they are  - not sure yet if I like them or not.

Each one is 1" x 1.5"


Close up of stitching


I haven't been feeling too inspired so I went through some older sketch books the other day and found this doodle of a mermaid.






I had been wanting to stitch this one on fabric for some time but forgot about it.   So I traced it on white kona cotton and started to stitch.  I have been at it for 4 evenings and here is my progress so far.  It will be 9" x 12" when finished.

I am using a larger hoop but wish I had a stand because it is awkward.  I may end up using my small hoop.

I hope my fingers hold out:)


I also started another smaller piece that I had painted onto fabric a while back (One thing that seems to work for me when I can't seem to get motivated to start from scratch, is to go back to old photos, sketches or UFOs and see if they move me to action).  This one will be 5" x 5"




Last Monday we had some fun at a paper making workshop with Out of the Box fibre artists.  Suzanne, from our group, taught us how to make paper flowers, envelopes and beads using magazines and fancy papers.  It was great to play and socialize.

Here are some envelopes we made - the polka dotted ones are mine

My flower and some beads I made from magazine pages - very cool!!


Suzanne's lovely beaded necklace and scary spider!

Lucy's striking flower and envelopes


Here is Suzanne holding up her spider
 Suzanne was very generous with her time and knowledge and we had a great day!

I'm linking up with  Off the Wall Friday    Check it out!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

If you don't like your artwork - turn it on its side or even upside down!

I am almost finished setting up a work space.  I moved my machine in this week but still have things scattered around waiting to be sorted.  It is certainly a full space (note to me - don't buy anything more - except an ergonomic chair) but I think it will work.  Here are some photos of the boxes of fabric lined up on my lightweight shelves, all nicely labelled, and another of the whole room.  I created file boxes for shows/exhibitions/past/present/future - promotion - tax info - organizations - suppliers - and a box labelled 'interesting venues to follow up with!
 




Today I am having a new furnace and water heater installed and finally I have succumbed and am getting central AC.   It means that this warm little room will still be accessible in the heat of the summer.

So I am still not doing a lot of stitching but I managed to finish this little piece of hand embroidery on a hand painted background.  I wasn't sure about the orientation.  Originally the heavy flower was in  the top left corner but I think I like it the other way round (second photo).




  I am also working on stitching my felted piece which started out as a sunset sky but when I turned it sideways I saw shadowy shapes of women.  So here is my new piece.  Still a work in progress and trying to have some fun with it.



I'm linking this post to the Needle and Thread Network   See what some Canadian Fibre Artists are doing this week.
I'm also linked up to Off the Wall Fridays   More beautiful work to see!