Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

One of the many hats I wear in this adventure called Life is “member of the Awards Committee” for our provincial craft council. This morning I’m going to be in a meeting to plan our annual Seconds Sale and to work out some other mundane housekeeping.

The Craft Council of Newfoundland is a wonderful organisation that has enabled me to grow in leaps and bounds as an artist and craftsperson and I feel quite pleased to be able to give something back. Not only are there regular gallery shows (mixed media) that are free for members to enter, but they have high-quality annual craft fairs, a top-notch craft shop and gallery of renown, a wonderful clay studio, exceptional promotional material accentuating crafts and their makers throughout the province, a low-interest loans program, excellent scholarship and grant opportunities and many other benefits all for the low, low price of around $55 per year.

Strange as it may sound, I actually rather enjoy the meetings. It’s a rare chance to get together with other craftspeople and chat. The committee members are excellent and we function through consensus rather than majority, so things are relatively harmonious. As the Awards Committee is basically responsible for acknowledging the hard work and exceptional skill of CCNL members, much of our time is spent shelling out money to deserving projects and deciding on to whom recognition should be awarded. Frankly, it’s probably the most optimistic committee on which to sit. In the depths of winter, a little optimism and camaraderie never go astray!

Read Full Post »

After my fabric painting adventure, I’m back at the design wall again.

Right now I’m working on several pieces, as is my wont. Typically, I have half a dozen on the go at a time, in various stages. I find it helpful to work this way as I can move from a piece that has stalled for whatever reason to working on a piece that is moving forward. If I worked with only once piece at a time, I’d spend hours sitting and thinking and staring at the wall. Which would occasionally be nice, but doesn’t result in much completed work. 😉

So while I mentally prepare for tomorrow’s workshop (which is all ready to go), I’ve been working on the pieces below.

Typically, I start out with an idea, pick the background or defining fabrics and then work forward. I generally have sketched out my idea, for the most part, in advance, so that when I have the background fabrics picked, I can start pinning up paper versions of points of land, buildings and the like. This is the start of a series. Not all of the skies and oceans will be the same, as I intend to vary the time of year and day of the view. I’m also going to do some serious fooling around with the borders and will post photos as they progress. Right now I’m in the fabric auditioning stage and am getting the rock fabrics and trees figured out. I’m also working on the foreground. More photos to come as I have them!

whaleback2

These two are inspired by the photos in this post (which will open in a new window, so that you can see the photos and this page, too).

whaleback1

And this piece, which is me playing around with the possibilities of shears as a raw-edged material (background fabric hand-dyed by me, fence posts felted with all sorts of bits and pieces in them):

snow piece

house

Anyway, must tear myself away from the design wall and focus on the workshop…..

Read Full Post »

One of the things I’ve often found to be a great remedy for artistic blockage is fabric painting and dyeing. Painting more so than dyeing, truth to tell. Having completely depleted my hand-painted fabric supply over the past few months, I decided to have a go at some skies and oceans.

Normally I paint outside, with the mess factor weighing in heavily as  a reason. February in Newfoundland is not exactly….. warm, however, so I set up the studio for some inside work and turned up the heat a wee tad to speed drying.

prep

I painted this lot on corrugated plastic sheets, which are light-weight, resilient, waterproof, flat and easily stored. These are 48″ square, which is a comfortable size for working with indoors in a small studio. When I’m not painting on them, I use them as design walls and pin pieces in progress to them.

As you can see, I had a successful day. This is only some of what was accomplished. I painted about eight metres of fabric, all told.

night skies
Night ocean and sky, drying.

sky
Summer sky, drying.

during
My studio, waiting for the paint to dry!

Read Full Post »

If you are in the St. John’s (Newfoundland) area, a crafty sort and like a good deal, be sure to drop by Devon House (Duckworth Street) tomorrow morning. The Annual Seconds Sale is on and there’s plenty to see!

lots and lots of yarn some spools o' yarn

Single ply more yarn

purples and blues pinks and oranges

There’s about one hundred pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours. I’ve had to sit firmly on my hands all evening.
Bags of linen Beautiful linen
There’s about fifty pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours.
tapestry yarn Assorted stuff, including needlepoint frames

Lots of tapestry wool, needlepoint frames and kits of all sorts.

Some seconds of pottery Reproduction pottery - Ferryland historic reproductions

pottery1

Plenty of pottery, some reproductions of historic pieces!

sewing machine sewing machine label

An old sewing machine, in very nice condition….

And all sorts of other neat items:
candles Books

Fabric, assorted
All fabric is $1/m and yarns are $1/skein. Pottery is variable, but still very cheap. Books are $1 each. Magazines are $0.25

There was a lot of everything. The Sale starts at 9am tomorrow morning and runs until noon. Admission is free. We take debit/Visa/MC. Everything must go!

a quickr pickr post

Read Full Post »

Turned

Anyone in the St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) area, take note! The annual Craft Council Seconds Sale is taking place on Saturday. (The photos in this post were taken at the sale few years ago.)

The official ad reads:

April 14, 2007 Sat. 9:00 – 12:00

  • FIELDS OF FABRIC ENDS!
  • YAFFLES OF YARN!
  • HARD-TO-FIND CRAFT SUPPLIES
  • A TREASURE TROVE OF CRAFT BOOKS & MAGAZINES
  • DISCONTINUED LINES – GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST!
  • PRODUCTION SECONDS – SLIGHT IMPERFECTIONS ONLY….

AND MUCH MORE!!

All proceeds go towards the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Awards Program.

Beach-fired

The Craft Council is also collecting goods for the Seconds Sale (if you have anything, email me pronto to arrange pick-up!).
Please send along:

FABRIC ENDS, YARNS
CRAFT BOOKS & MAGAZINES
CRAFT SUPPLIES
DISCONTINUED LINES
PRODUCTION SECONDS

This is a good opportunity to clear out your studio and contribute the to Craft Council Awards Program. Drop off or mail donations to Devon House. Contact Kelly at 753-2749 or info@craftcouncil.nf.ca if you have any questions. Pick up can be arranged within the city and surrounding area.

Read Full Post »

Some time ago I promised to try out the effect of pyrotechnics on textiles. My intention was to grab a few samples of my work and set them ablaze. Since then, I’ve wussed out repeatedly on burning up things I’ve made. I couldn’t even come up with a “hit list” of designated ignition targets. It has become apparent to me, however, that I really ought to just bite the bullet and do this as the information/satisfaction/notoriety would be worth it in the end.

The purpose of setting my quilts/textile art ablaze is to do the following:

  • check to see how close my work is to passing Health Canada’s standards
  • come to some sort of understands of exactly how flammable my house is, given the number of quilts, wall hangings and piles of fabric therein
  • have a blast torching the heck out of things
  • make the neighbours seriously question their choice of neighbourhood
  • scare the dogs
  • thrill the kid
  • get rid of some old duds of projects that I won’t allow to be sold, yet cannot throw out. At least this way they could serve a purpose.

So I’m accumulating a nice collection of stuff. As soon as I get a clear day with minimal wind, I’ll have a go at it. Thus far it is my intention to burn the following (plus some basic pieces of cotton fabric and cotton batting, some with stabiliser, some without, some with fusible, some without, etc.):

burn-bergs.jpg burn-sunrise.jpg

Here’s your chance. If there’s anything burn-wise and quilt/artquilt-related about which you are curious, let me know and, if possible, I’ll char something for you personally. I’ll post the results, too. I can’t say that I’ll mail you the item afterwards, you understand. I’m not sure what Canada Post would say. But I will happily do such things as test the relative ignition properties of cotton versus wool batting or how quickly flame spreads on cotton versus poly-cotton thread, if you like.

It’ll probably be a week or so before I get to this. I’m thinking that this is another one of those things (like dealing with 220 electrical outlets or changing light bulbs on a ladder balanced halfway up the stairs) that I probably should do when another adult is around to put out flames and provide emergency hospital transport. So it’ll be the weekend, at least.

Taking requests……

Read Full Post »

Over the last few days, I’ve been preparing summer stock for two of the shops I supply. Most places around here like to be in full swing by mid-May, so I generally aim to have things in their hands by mid-April.

This week has been a week of birches. I use hand-dyed cotton fabric (low water immersion dyes using Procion MX, in case you’re interested) for the backgrounds and fussy-cut the pieces for specific spots in the fabric. Wastage is minimal, however, as the smaller works (4.5″ squares, for instance) can make excellent use of sections of fabric that would look just plain wrong for larger backgrounds. Below are thumbnails of two of the pieces used:

7a 6b

The trees are a commercial (ugly as sin) fabric that, when cut into strips, looks not bad at all. I cut the strips freehand with a rotary cutter (yes, it’s tricky to get things even) and tend to cut from several different pieces of the same fabric so that the trees don’t all end up having the same curvature or the same repeats in the fabric print.

As you can see below, the background with the strips laid in place:

Unshaded

These will be cut into three panels each when finished, hence the somewhat odd arrangements of tree trunks.

When working in a series like this, I also streamline the process by cutting out fifty or a hundred trees at once and then arranging them afterwards to suit the individual composition. I’ve discovered that I don’t really like being a one-woman assembly line, churning out the same piece time after time. I prefer to work on a reasonable number of pieces that are of a similar theme in one go. This allows me more variety, less stultification and, most importantly, gives each piece the attention and space it needs to be original as it grows and evolves.

After laying the trees in place, I then hand-shade the trees to add curvature to the trunks. As you can see below, the effect is not only one of added depth, but also adds drama to the composition and enhances the effect of the trees moving towards the viewer, off the background. The work is built up another layer from the furthest visual point.

I’ve spent several days penning in the details on these tree pieces and can say with certainty that if the devil isn’t in the details, he sure as hell rejoices in their existence.  Small, refined motions of shading for days on end are not good for the body.

A shot of two smaller pieces showing the shading(these were two of my favourites from the week)

yellows

The effect is even visible from a distance in the larger pieces:

Shading done!

It’s interesting to see the contrast between shaded and unshaded trees in the same piece. The first shot below is half-shaded. The second shot is with shading complete.

before & after 3after entire

Today’s task is to pen in all the branches, layer the piece with stabiliser and push the whole batch towards completion. To that end I have to:

  • add branches
  • stabilise panels
  • cut panels into tryptiches
  • prepare backings and attach hanging devices
  • layer panels with backing and centre stiffener (plastic canvas is a wonderful stiffener for such things; inert, waterproof, doesn’t stain and won’t kill a sewing machine if you accidentally or purposefully sew through it. Cheap, too.)
  • stitch edges
  • attach cording
  • apply glue
  • apply foil for leaves (Foiling is always the last step for these pieces.)

The result will be a variation on this (apologies for the rotten picture):

green birches

With details looking like this (again, bad picture. Colours wrong. Sorry. Will photograph the current series properly when completed!):

blue birches detail 2

blue birches detail 1

blue birches detail 3

And some of the smaller pieces from a past rendition of this idea:

foiled birches

foiled birches many

So I’m off to work. Proper pictures will follow…..

a quickr pickr post

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »