Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Felted Fibre Art Cuffs

This is a busy time of year for those who sell handmade items for the Christmas market. Right now, I am in between two artisans show/sales in which I am participating this year . . . and I'd like to tell you about one of the items that I have created for these sales.  Cuff bracelets have been appearing in a variety of fibres and techniques over the past couple of years and I started selling some of them in my Etsy shop this year. They have been fun to create because of the incredible scope of embellishment.

I make cuffs in many techniques, but the cuffs pictured in this post are needle felted . . . dyed wool roving, threads, spun yarn and even bits of silk have been needle felted onto a base of either felted wool or synthetic wool and then they have been accented with hand embroidery stitches and a bit of beading before adding the handmade button closures. These buttons are from another Etsy seller, 2goodclaymates who also happens to live in the Shuswap area.  Carolyn custom matched the colours in some of the cuffs to come up with the buttons ... and others I found in her "ready made" collection.

The cuff on the left in the photo above has the added flourish of a burned organza ruffle around the edges which makes it so spectacular on your arm.

These cuffs are some that I created this week after selling so many of my cuffs at the sale last weekend, that I had to replenish my stock. If they don't sell this weekend, they will later be listed in my Etsy shop.

If you live in the Okanagan . . . do drop in at the Okanagan Artisans Show and Sale at the Best Western Vernon Lodge (in Vernon) this Friday, November 23 (noon to 9pm) and Saturday (9:30-3:30).  I will be there along with my felting friend, Gwen Martinuk who will be selling her gorgeous felted scarves and accessories as well as delightful felted birdhouses ... you'll fall in love with them as soon as you see them! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rhapsody in Blue

 The silk fibres in this silk fusion were hand dyed using kool-aid . . . the blue and purple took beautifully and have resulted in a smooth harmony.  The silk fusion was stitched to a background of black dupioni silk and backed with black quilt batting.  I used free motion machine stitching, hand embroidery, and beading to accentuate portions of the silk fusion and then hand-couched some rich turquoise hand spun yarn to the surface.  The piece was then mounted on a stretched artist's canvas.

On the long dangling ends of the yarn I have added some fibre art beads that I created by hand painting tyvek from some old envelopes and then heat distressing it along with some synthetic organza and tulle in the same turquoise and purple colours.  Additional seed beads and larger beads have been added for more interest. The bead dangles are asymmetrical ... and hang several inches below the bottom of the canvas.

This piece has a picture hanging wire on the back so it hangs from a nail on your wall just like any painting. This piece measures 20" x 16".  It is currently entered in the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts and will later be available for sale in my Etsy shop.

PS - On opening night at the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts, I found that this piece had received a Juror's Choice Award.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sorrento is 100 Years Old

I live near the village of Sorrento which is located about half way between Vancouver and Calgary on the Trans Canada Highway.  This year Sorrento is celebrating it's 100th Anniversary and there are lots of celebrations taking place throughout the year.

The Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts is an art show and sale that takes place in the village every July.  This year I wanted to create something that would speak to the 100th anniversary, and I decided on an art quilt that would represent a bit of the landscape of the area and have some words that would celebrate 100 years.

I was originally going to do a topographical map of the area but started sketching a slightly aerial view looking down the lake and my hubby was so taken with the sketch that he convinced me I should try this image in fabric.  In this image, Sorrento is located in the foreground of the piece (I chose not to include any buildings or highways ... only the land and the lake which have remained the same for 100 years) and looking further east down the lake you can see Copper Island in the middle and the mouth of Blind Bay on the right side (since it really is a blind bay, you can't see that opening when you are just looking east at lake level ... but I wanted to have it more noticeable since that's where I live!).

The dates, 1912 - 2012 and the name, Sorrento BC, have been stencilled onto the asymmetrical borders using Shiva Paintstiks in two colours to give the letters a bit of character. The texture that has been quilted over the landscape portion has been achieved by writing a little story about Sorrento in free motion quilting.  It is my first attempt at writing free motion so I am sure that future art quilts will show some improvement but I am very pleased with the effect that it creates.  Both the stencilling and the quilted writing were something that was covered in a course I took this spring with Catherine Nicholls ... it was a great workshop and I came away with numerous things that I would like to experiment with.

The heart that is quilted into the top left corner of the quilt is there because Sorrento is known as
"The Heart of the Shuswap".

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tree of Life - the finale

It's been a long time since my last blog post so . . . . as I said at that time, this tree of life landscape was commissioned to be used as a book cover so there were some design factors that had to be considered for it to be functional as well as an inspiring piece of art.  After a consultation, we decided to eliminate the roots of the tree and bring in more of the spring garden aspect of the landscape.

I re-worked the lower section of the landscape with a cheery hand dyed green fabric and then added flowers in the garden with hand embroidery.  It is a representation of the memorial garden at Sorrento Centre.

The book cover was then cut down the spine and I inserted another piece of hand dyed fabric that I printed with the name of the centre.  There is a pocket in the front flap to hold pamphlets or papers and it has been tightly fit to the scrapbook sized binder.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Work in Progress - Tree of Life Landscape

It's been ages since I have last posted new work ... but it's certainly not because I have been idle.  The winter has been full of fibre art experiments, workshops and dabblings . . . and now that spring is underway, I feel that I would like to post some photos of a piece that I am working on right now.

This is a small art quilt that will not see life as a wall hanging, but as a book cover ... I will post more on that, and final photos, once it has been presented to the organization that commissioned it.  In order to make this as durable as possible, I had to reject some of the techniques and fibres that I might have liked to use in this piece.  Because it will be handled (although not heavily) I felt that I should use woven fabric and stitching to achieve the look I wanted.  The fabric is all hand-dyed or hand-painted ... some of it by me, some by others.

The background design is a slightly abstract landscape of our beautiful Shuswap Lake and the tree has been created as a tree-of-life, with the roots going down into the ground and the branches and leaves reaching to heaven.  The tree has some limbs that have been cut off at some time, but the other branches are still carrying on and bringing life to the myriad leaves, represented by hand stitching in a variety of green threads.

There is still more work to be done on it, but I am pleased with how it is developing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Swatch Stitch and Stash

This is the sample for a 4-day workshop that I will be teaching at Sorrento Centre in April. My class is entitled "Swatch, Stitch and Stash" because we will be using stitching up swatches of fabric from your stash to create a fibre art journal of the techniques that you learn during the workshop.

Some of the techniques will include creating your own unique fabric, fibre art beads, silk fusion, a variety of edge finishings, needle felting, accent embroidery stitches, free motion machine stitching, thread painting, original cords and covered sticks, thread lace and beading ... and then the samples will be compiled into a journal format that will be either accordion style(like the one pictured here) or an "infinite journal" using grommets and rings. Click on the photos to zoom in for the details.

This is a workshop that will engage intermediate level art quilters but will also be great for those who are just taking their first steps in this area ... you do, however, need to have a good knowledge of your sewing machine.

This workshop is a retreat format ... delicious meals and accommodation are included in the package price ... Call Sorrento Centre at 250-675-2421 to register.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daisy a Day

This is a little art quilt that I created as a sample for a class I will be teaching at Pleasant Valley Quilt Shop in Armstrong, BC in April. The main focus of the class will be creating a piece of unique fabric from bits and pieces of fabric, thread, glittery bits and organza and then the participants will use that piece of unique fabric to embellish an art quilt, a purse or a greeting card. It is such a fun "play day" and I thought you might like to see how I translated it into an art quilt.

The centres of the flowers are heavily beaded with additional bead dangles and the dragonfly is adorned with a few tiny seed beads and black sequins for his big eyes ... the wings have been made from Angelina that has been stitched with silver thread.

The grasses blowing in the breeze have been created from organza that has been stitched and then the edges have been left to fray in order to create more wisps.

The stem of the plant has been created by layering two decorative ribbons and yarn and then free motion stitching to give even more texture. The leaves on the plant are made from another piece of unique fabric that I created in green tones.

The background has been stitched in midnight blue thread. The outer edge of the art quilt has been couched with shiny black cord.

This art quilt measures approximately 12" x 20"