Saturday, 31 March 2012

Orientation Piece 3 finished (Pine Tree)

Pine Tree

(36" by 28")
Raw edge applique, stitch, and a very little paint.  It's finished except for the binding.

These are photos of the process, taken along the way.
I have to hold my hands up on this and say that I more or less copied a small black and gold ancient Japanese lacquered picnic box, which is at Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire. (If you haven't been, it's a must for anyone who likes lots of odd bits and pieces put together. The place is so full of collections, that the owner had to move out into an outbuilding!)

Obviously there's some changes; colour, lettering, quilted stems and painted shapes, but the essence is the same.  To be honest, I liked it so much, I didn't change it!
And thank you so much to the very kind ladies who ferreted out the correct lettering for Pine Tree, after I asked for help on my blog.  Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hi all,
Spring is springing up ( finally ) in Vancouver. We had a brilliant, you could almost call it warm weekend. Which I spent a good portion of inside the studio. I have been doing some research and as a result have come up with a name for the cherry blossom quilt I have been working ( slowly) on.

Hanami literally translated (or so I have been told) means "flower watching" and is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always means cherry blossoms. So it seemed a natural to call this Hanami.

Here's a little detail so you can see what I'm up to ... just a bit more drawing to go and then I can quilt.


PS- just when I was feeling smug about spring.... sigh.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hi, Laura, your purchases look amazing, that beaten indigo is so gorgeous, should be loved but not cut....
I had a good time at the Rock and Gem show but only bought little items such as the silver fish in my photo.
The photos are of my attempt to catch up on my Journal quilts, I know I should so them each month but it's more fun doing a few at a time, these and those for the rest of the year are ideas for my sketchbook on Orientation.

The third is work in progress, I feel totally inadequate when trying to work in mixed media so put my mind to getting over it by doing more. The theme for this first three months is red......

Friday, 23 March 2012

Chinese Treasures

Hi everyone,

Mom, Grandma and I escaped for a day of inspiration yesterday at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch and Sewing for Pleasure. We think the organisers will be happy as there seemed to be loads of visitors and a great atmosphere. It's an interesting show as it's so varied with lots of different textile disciplines on display. Stephanie we spotted one of your pieces on the Eclectica exhibit!

With Orientation in mind, one of our favourite stands was Slow Loris and we did end up treating ourselves.

 My photos aren't brilliant, but hopefully they give you a flavour of their display.
 Our attention was caught by these wonderful bundles. They are 'sewing bags' from Southern China. They would have one each to keep their sewing threads inside. They were such tactile objects obviously well used, everyday ordinary things, but so lovely.
When unwrapped folded paper compartments are revealed that hold the embroidery threads. As you can see below one still had its threads inside.
We didn't buy one of the sewing bags. Here's what we treated ourselves to...
I've bought lovely things from them before and have added another of these fabulous lengths of handwoven hemp fabric. It's old and would once have been pleated with lots and lots of very fine pleats to make a wraparound skirt. Extra bits of fabric would be added to make it longer if required. The pattern is done with a wax resist technique and if you look close there are actually two different blues used in the dyeing. The other one I have (which I ought to have photographed to show you) is much paler indigo with some bright pink embellishments. Apparently the women would sometimes embroider the skirts to make them even more colourful and decorative.

On the stand they had some skirts which were still pleated and were absolutely gorgeous.
 Mom bought a piece of this beaten indigo. It looks like metal doesn't it? Hard to believe it's fabric. the fabric is indigo dyed but then treated with other things, the recipes vary from tribe to tribe but can include chillies, walnuts and blood. This one was done with egg whites.
I know you're going to ask what we're going to do with our purchases. I might just wear mine as a scarf which is what I've done with the other, although I do have a plan to redecorate my bedroom with an blue colourscheme which could all hinge around this piece of fabric. It's a long way down the list of jobs though! Mom's beaten indigo is so precious it's going to be hard to cut, so for now she's just going to admire it until the right project comes to mind!

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, 19 March 2012

This week I have mostly been......

......sewing edges onto quilts to make frames, and fiddling about a bit with Orientation piece number 3!

And slightly off topic...a photo of the cake which arrived on my doorstep on Saturday morning.  All gone by Sunday afternoon I'm ashamed to say!!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hi Linda,
This is a weird coincidence, in my sketchbook I have this drawing.....I seem to have played with it a bit and the original unadulterated scan has disappeared but you can see I had the same idea.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

art as inspiration

We might baulk at copying another artist's work too blatantly but some of the best people have done it! I discovered this beautiful piece by Van Gogh last night. I thought I was quite familiar with his work but somehow I've never seen this before. The Blooming Plum Tree painted in 1887 was copied from the Hiroshige original of 1857. Isn't it beautiful?

Van Gogh tweaked the colours and added borders but otherwise it's pretty close to the Hiroshige! You can see it in detail at google art project

Annabel, I couldn't help but think of you and your gold leaf and bamboo drawings when I saw this other Japanese inspired Van Gogh.

I know I can't follow that! but from the sublime to the everyday, here's what I've been playing with lately. I've waxed hand made papers that have fortune cookie wrappers embedded in them and I'm quite pleased with the way the vulgar colours have muted.

The red of the wrappers really ran in the wet pulp and not being a big fan of pink I think these sheets of metal leaf are probably easier to live with.

I'm thinking stitched collage but the ideas are not resolved yet - I'll keep you posted! Linda

Monday, 12 March 2012

Experimenting with egg tempera - just in case you're interested!!

Apologies for this posting which may be a bit boring unless you have an enquiring mind like me!

I bought some tubes of egg tempera a while back to do some painting experiments with. I wanted to paint on canvas over gold leaf without losing the sparkle.  Egg tempera is transparent so is ideal for this and was used widely for things such as icons.

I didn't know anything about it, and I eventually went off the idea of painting using it, because I was distracted by something else! I think Marc Chagall, used these paints in some of his most famous works. Egg tempera was already being used in the Renaissance; in the 16th century it was the predominant painting medium.

I bought Sennelier egg tempera which is based on a very old recipe. It consists of an emulsion made from vegetable oil, plant resin, egg yolk, and distilled water, as well as an anti-mould agent; it's transparent to semi-transparent, water soluble, and will not age, turn yellow or lose its luminosity over time.

I've been thinking about gold leaf and using it on a piece for the Orientation exhibition, so it seemed like a good time to get out the egg tempera and experiment a bit to see if it was possible to colour the gold leaf after it was applied, and to just see how it managed on cotton fabric alone. The photo above shows two swatches of the paint.

The first swatch was ironed on hot for about 2 minutes to see if "heat setting" made any difference to the colour when the fabric was washed. It smelt a bit, which made me wonder if it was toxic (on the vague off chance that there is someone out there interested in doing something similar themselves, it might be best to wear a protective mask of some kind.  I know the contents as listed seem ok, but I also know that some paint colours, particularly the cadmiums, are highly poisonous)

The second swatch was cut in half; one half I kept as a control and the other I washed without ironing first.  The washing was "worse case scenario" ie too hot for comfort!  Both samples were ok without too much colour loss, and the ironed one didn't lose any less colour than the non ironed.  The hand of the material altered when painted to become firm, similar to acrylics, but softened after washing to be the same as the non painted fabric.

 I expected all the colour to disappear so was pleasantly surpised. It's quite nice to use on fabric as it doesn't absorb quite so easily as acrylic and is more fluid in it's undiluted state, so spreads well.

Conclusion: Vaguely interesting!

On the left is a sketch using bamboo and my teapot. The scale is wrong and the teapot needs to be bigger and the bamboo thinner, but I'm getting there.
Oh, and I love this orange/red fabric which is a must for the teapot.

This piece isn't going to be large and will probably be mounted on canvas.

Friday, 9 March 2012


I've got a clump of bamboo in the garden; it's got lovely dark almost black stems. I took the secateurs to it to get a sample for sketching.

I don't know why I cut it off at the bottom..... I ended up with about 4 ft of stem!  I propped it against the coffee table to draw the joints, and annoyed DH who was trying to watch the TV and didn't appreciate the addition of a small jungle.

Below: a few pencil sketches for reference on leaf shape and the growth joints on the stems.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

This one's next on the list.

What's this I hear you cry??? Another plan???  Well, yes ok, I admit that I have far more ideas than I have quilts at the moment, but this one is a definite!

After drawing my little red teapot, I want to use it in some way. I've hatched a plan but I'm not going to tell you all about it in this posting, but I hope you'll keep reading to see how it develops!!
 It involves bamboo too.

I've done 2 pieces with bamboo so far. On the right is Bamboo 1 and below is Bamboo 2. I said I'd never do another one, but I lied.

Now they don't quite go together as they are, so I'm going to go away and do a spot of drawing and see if I can't find a way of melding them in a happy way.

Monday, 5 March 2012


Laura said I should put this on the blog, she is my sample geisha.

I don't usually sample my cloth figures but thought that the construction of a kimono and the obi and all the attendant bits and pieces needed thinking about before I launch out on the real thing for the exhibition.
Finished her last night, the obi takes some figuring out, the fastenings and the obi knot etc. are all to be found on the internet, it never fails to amaze me, how did we manage before! I'm proud of her hair pins and there are two fans but she travels to a talk tomorrow so I've put off attaching those.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Hi Everyone,
Congratulations, Laura, the painting looks wonderful, what a great gallery.
It has been quiet this week till today so I decided to put my picture of the plum blossom in my garden. I've watched it burgeoning from the first floor bathroom, I lost patience with the horrible terracotta on the walls which explains why I've been quiet! Nothing wrong with terracotta, just not in this room....
Annabel, the new painting looks gorgeous.

Catching up

Hi everyone,

Seems like after a little flurry of posts I haven't checked in for a while. I have been working, honest. But I've got nothing to show for it. I did decide to go mad and try to get a quilt completed for the EAQ deadline. The deadline hasn't passed, but the quilt is still on the long arm being quilted and is in very early stages. After the instant gratification of painting and digital print I'm finding the quilting process to be so slow. Of course the piece is big and I'm quilting it stupidly close so I doubt it will be done in time. Mom gave me a talking to and so I think I'll save it for Festival of Quilts in August instead. It should be quilted by then...I had big plans for Festival entries this year, but they are rapidly falling by the wayside due to lack of time. I need an army of elves to come in for the night shift!

Good news is that my painting 'A Bird in the Hand' was selected for the Open exhibition at RBSA. I'm really pleased about this. It's been about fifteen years since I last had a go at their Open All Media. Last time I exhibited an embroidered portrait. They're still open to textiles, and when we dropped by yesterday to see the show there was a small number on display, but I liked the paintings and prints best. It's always interesting to compare textiles to painting in a gallery setting to see how they stand up to each other.

Considering that the hanging team have no idea what work might be selected, they had done a great job with displaying the exhibition and we thought the galleries looked excellent.
 My painting is in the room above but it's tucked away out of sight in this shot. Below the keen eyed among you will spot two collagraph prints by Sue Brown. We do like her work. Every time we see lovely prints it makes us want to get out into the studio and play with the press.
Downstairs is the Craft Gallery which consists of a number of large glass cases. The work on display at the moment is from a variety of different makers with the theme of History Makers. There are pieces that reference vintage photos, old books, all sorts. Didn't take a photo there, but you can find out more on the RBSA website.
Hope you're all having a good week.
Talk to you soon,

Thursday, 1 March 2012

DH buys a new picture

How appropriate to the exhibition!  Just thought I'd share :)

(Apologies for my reflection in the glass)