Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome Bunting

I have been working on samples for new workshops I will be teaching in 2014 and I am having a really good time with those I am creating for Quilt Week at Sorrento Centre.  My workshop this year is called "Creating Inspirational Flags and Buntings" and it will be five days of playing with surface design techniques with the objective of creating some flags and buntings.

I will be showing you some of the contemporary prayer flags I am creating in a future post, but for now I would like to show you the bunting I made which incorporates a few of the surface design techniques we will be using.

Each of the little flags in the bunting is quilted and the backing fabric is a holly leaves print, so it could be reversed and used as a Christmas bunting, too. Some flags are appliqued, some are painted, there is couching, beading, hand stitching, and painting after quilting, too. Click on the image below to see more details.

If you would like to know more about Sorrento Centre's Quilt Week, there are three concurrent workshops offered, two of which are more traditional quilting courses so your not-quite-ready-for-art-quilting friends can join you for a week of stitching fun. Here is the link to my workshop

I'll be back in the New Year with some of the inspirational flags that I am creating on my hand-painted fabric.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fibre Art Brooches

This coming weekend (November 16th and 17th) I will be selling my fibre art at Artistry 2013 in Blind Bay.  This is the third year for this wonderful show/sale where local artisans sell their handmade goods.

I like to have something a little different to offer at these local sales and this year I have been creating some fibre art brooches.  They have been fun to make and I will be really interested to see how they are received.

The brooches started off with a felted base of wool roving and then I added some other fibres with additional needle felting or hand stitches. I love exaggerating embroidery stitches and then layering more stitches or beads on top.  The background fabric is ultrasuede and there is a pin back on each piece.

I will also be selling my fibre art purses and cuffs as well as a few of my art quilts.

If you are in the area, drop by the Blind Bay Community Hall on Blind Bay Road (right across from the public beach) on Saturday between 10am and 4pm or on Sunday between 11am and 3pm.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Silk Fusion Wall Hanging - Whispers From the Deep

I started this silk fusion piece in July so that I would have a "work in progress" to work on while I was volunteering at the Festival of the Arts . . . and I immediately realized that it was going to be one of my favourites! It has been on my design wall and I have worked on it occasionally in between other projects and I have thoroughly enjoyed every stitch that has gone into it.  Let me tell you a bit about it . . .

I created the silk fusion using silk hankies and throwsters silk in shades of smokey blue and lavender through magenta.  The piece was formed into a softly curved crescent with lots of feathery edges as well as added texture in the interior of the piece.

After it was dry, the silk fusion was then free motion stitched to a background of royal purple dupioni silk and the background was further enhanced with free motion quilting. I left two areas without the dense machine quilting and later added seed stitches by hand, stitching only into the batting and not all the way through to the backing, so those areas are a bit puffy. I added layered hand embroidery on top of the silk fusion before stitching the gorgeous silk carrier rod in place and then funneling beads into the top and out of the bottom end of the rod.

This is a wall hanging that measures 9.5" x 24.5" (24 x 62 cm) and can be hung by a concealed dowel through the sleeve on the back. The backing is a beautiful batik that has the same colours as the top. It will eventually be for sale through my Etsy shop, but for now I would like to hang onto it and enter it in a couple of shows.

The dyed silk that I used in this silk fusion is some that I purchased through the Etsy seller, Nunoco, in England. The silk carrier rod that is stitched to the surface was the inspiration for the piece.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fibre Art Journal #2

Here are the photos of the fibre art journal that I showed you pictures of when it was in progress a few weeks ago.  I have had most of the finishing touches done for some time but, you know, there is always something else that I can add . . . this is a project where you can keep adding finishing touches because it is an item that will be viewed up close for the details that you have created!

This particular fibre art journal showcases techniques that I will teach in an upcoming workshop and I think that the participants will have a great time deciding which of their favourite techniques to include in their journal. If you click on the images, you can zoom in for a closer look.

The accordion journal is double sided so, at this size, there are ten spaces to be filled.
Here is the second side . . .

For this journal I chose to use a black cotton background fabric and my samples are primarily in the green and gold colourway, with little accents of purple.

Some of the techniques include several edge finishes, altered cloth, hand beading, funky hand embroidery, covered sticks and cords, thread painted leaves and organza leaves, fibre art beads, couching threads and cords, hand stamped fabric ... and, of course, I had to include some of the samples on my hand painted and hand dyed fabric.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sockeye Salmon Spawning in Scotch Creek

It is the first of September and today we took a drive down the north shore of Shuswap Lake ... had a wonderful walk in the woods at Roderick Haig Brown Park ... a delicious ice cream cone ... and then we stopped at Scotch Creek bridge to see if the salmon were running yet.

This is a one-lane bridge and when traffic approaches from both directions, the west-bound cars get to cross the wooden bridge first. As we crossed the bridge the first time, hubby spotted the red salmon from the moving car. Scotch Creek is a pretty shallow creek so when the sockeye salmon are returning here to spawn it is very easy to see them.  The salmon have bright red bodies and green heads by the time they reach their home river to spawn.

Here are a couple of photos taken of the salmon in the river .. zoom in for a closer look

 I am sure there is an art quilt in here somewhere, just waiting to emerge . . .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WIP - Fibre Art Journal Class Sample

I am working on a new class sample for a workshop I will be teaching this fall ... and condensing it from a four-day workshop into two days!  It has been a bit of a challenge to figure out what I will have time to teach in those two days and to give the participants a vision of how their finished journal will look.

The accordion style journal is such fun to make and I hope that these students will enjoy the process as much as the finished product.

So far, I have created all the fibre art samples that I am going to include and now I am working on the finishing touches ... finishing the outer edge and adding some more embellishments to the pages.

Here is one side of it so far ...

and this is the other side, photographed with some of the threads and beads that I am considering ...

I hope to finish this pretty darn quickly and will post some more photos of it later.

By the way, a WIP is a Work in Progress :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fluttering By

 My butterflies art quilt had its first showing at the Salmon Arm Quilt Show earlier this month and it received lots of oohs and aaahs when visitors took the time for a close look at it.  It measures approximately 20" x 34" and I blogged the process in March if you would like to scroll down to find that post. I am pleased with the way that it has turned out and I'm sure that I will enjoy continuing the butterfly theme into future work.

Here is a detail shot of one of the butterflies. I created the butterflies separately and then machine appliqued them to the quilt before adding hand stitches. The bodies of the butterflies are wet-felted wool. If you click on the photos you can zoom in for a closer look.

This art quilt has been entered in the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts show in July.
UPDATE: This piece was awarded "Jurors' Choice Award" at the SLFA July 2013.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Quilt Show Display

I spent the last two days at the Salmon Arm Quilt Show and I was SO impressed with the quality of this show.  The 300 quilts were beautifully displayed in the arena ... with nice wide aisles so that the quilts could be viewed without congestion. As well as the guild's quilts they had invited vendors and related "fibre" groups such as the needlework guild and the spinners and weavers guild to display at the event. I was invited to be the "featured fibre artist" and I was given a wonderful 8' x 16' space to display my fibre art.

I have never had that much space before so I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I would set it up and came up with the idea that I would like to have part of it set up as an old parlour ... but displaying my contemporary fibre art. 

Here are a couple of photos of the set up, complete with my antique rocking chair, tea wagon and parson's table. I even included two antique handmade quilts that belonged to my husband's grandmother. I don't do that kind of quilting, but it is where fibre art originated, too, so I was pleased to be able to include them. The gridded frames where I hung some of my purses were originally the frames for screen windows at our hundred year old church before they replaced the windows.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Quilt Show in Salmon Arm

The Shuswap Quilt Guild is hosting a quilt show on June 7th and 8th to mark their 20th Anniversary. I am honoured that they have asked me to be their featured fibre artist and I will be displaying many of my art quilts, felted fibre art, and silk fusion at the show.  I hope that if you are in the area you will drop by on June 7th or 8th during the show times.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Heartfelt Wishes for Libby

Quilt Canada is in Penticton, BC later this week and have been reflecting on the unfortunate medical issue that Libby Lehman is dealing with at this time. Libby was scheduled to be the keynote speaker and instructor at Quilt Canada but she suffered an aneurism and stroke a couple of weeks ago and is unable to attend.  Those attending the event this year have been invited to bring a quilt block with a heart image (6.5" unfinished) and they will be made into a quilt for Libby.

I decided that I would like to make a block for her and last night I put together this one that has some of the techniques I enjoy so much. I placed my heart on a background that was cut from an unfinished quilt started by a close fibre artist friend. The background is machine and hand pieced and the pale section has been painted and stamped. The heart that I added was made by layering red organza over thread waste and some glittery bits and then stitching it down. A few little lashes peek out from behind the organza so that you can see just what is under there.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A purse for the mother of the bride

I haven't posted any of my purses for a while so thought that I would write about this one that I just listed in my Etsy shop today.  The flap has been created using pieces of silk drapery samples that a friend gave me several years ago. They are each gorgeous fabrics but when they are used together in a piece like this they become absolutely sumptuous ... the colours are rich but subtle and are well placed against the backdrop of creamy ivory dupioni silk.

The flap is asymmetrical in shape and is accented by a vintage mother of pearl buckle that has a collection of funky yarns tied into it. There is a velcro closure for the flap that adds just a bit of security.

This purse has a long strap that is made of the same silk as the body of the purse, and padded with a thin layer of quilt batting. It can be worn from the shoulder or across your body where it will lie nice and close.

I think this would be a wonderful purse for the mother of the bride or for any special occasion, although it could be worn with classy casual clothes and make a statement there, too.  It measures approximately 7" x 10" and has one pocket on the inside.  If you'd like to see more photos of it, click on the listing in my Etsy shop for more details.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Butterflies - Work in progress

Work In Progress
This is an art quilt that has been in progress for quite a while, especially if you count the time between when I dyed the fabric and then finally decided what to use it for ... this is actually the first piece of fabric I ever dyed and it was done in a workshop over ten years ago.  I absolutely loved it ... too much to ever use it!

Two or three years ago I decided that it would be a wholecloth background for a butterfly quilt and I jumped in to designing it and creating very stylized butterflies for it. When it came time to actually attach the butterflies to the background (which I had already quilted by then) I just couldn't do it ... the butterflies just didn't feel right. I rolled the quilt up and went on with other projects but every now and again I would go back to it to see if I could figure out what was wrong with it.

A few months ago I decided that I needed to really focus on this quilt, because it meant a lot to me ... so, I hung it on my design wall where I looked at it each time I entered my studio, and eventually I decided to experiment with a different design of butterflies.  I still wanted them to be fanciful butterflies, but they needed to be a bit more realistic than the first ones I had designed.

These butterflies were all created as separate entities but before I quilted them to the background, I added a gently drifting layer of gold organza that was then hand stitched with variegated gold thread in a seed stitch ... and then I added a sprinkling of gold seed beads to catch a bit of light. (Sorry the colours are not very true on these detail shots ... it is closer to the gold and mossy green of the full size photo)

After the butterflies were machine stitched (using lots of free motion stitching in a variety of threads) I then switched to hand embroidery, using funky stitches and different threads, sometimes layered two or three deep for added texture.

Remember, you are looking at a work in progress . . . it still is not finished!  I will give these butterflies some bodies and some antennae ... I have made quite a few samples of bodies to try out, but haven't settled on what I will use ... and I haven't created quite the right set of antennae yet, either. 

Here are some of the samples I am pondering for bodies . . . felted, wrapped yarn, silk cocoons, fluffy yarn (trimmed), and I'm going to try some painted tyvek, too . . .

So those are the choices still to come on this creation . . .

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quilt Week at Sorrento Centre: April 19-25

It is just two months until Quilt Week at Sorrento Centre . . . one of my favourite weeks of the year!!  Come and join me, Dianne Jansson and Lynn Knox as we engage in a creative and energizing week at Sorrento Centre in April.  Three workshops occur simultaneously in two different conference rooms and the art studio . . . but the fun spills over into each workspace and the dining room where we share our meals.

You get to choose the workshop that most appeals to you and spend five days with the instructor, learning techniques and creating your quilt . . . but you also have the opportunity of seeing what the others are doing and creating.

Dianne Jansson will be leading a Salute to Scrap Quilts . . . as she says, every quilter knows that fabric scraps multiply in the dark at night. No matter how many you use, there are always more, more, more.  It is also a fact that scrap quilts are part of the quilting heritage, and have a richness that cannot be duplicated with 4 or 5 well matched fabric selections.
Bring your bags, or suitcases, of scraps to Sorrento and spend a week creating exciting quilts designed using value, rather than colour. The selection of patterns suitable for scrap quilts is extensive, ranging from ultra simple to challenging, allowing you to work within your comfort zone, or step right out of your box.

Lynn Knox will be leading Trail to Sorrento, a beautiful quilt that can be made in single size or queen size. Light background or dark background - your choice.  The outcome is a stunning quilt and it is easy to make. You will love it!!  This workshop is suitable for all skill levels from beginner on up.

I will be leading an art quilt workshop Botanical Art Quilt: Surface Design during which participants will create a unique art quilt using locally gathered leaves as inspiration. The art quilt that you create in this workshop will be based on a variety of surface design techniques that will include texture rubbings, sheer overlay, Shiva Paintstiks, painting over quilting,  free motion quilting filler stitches, 3-D organza leaves, accent hand stitching and a touch of beading.  We will try out the techniques and then you will decide which ones you want to include in your art quilt. I recommend soft hand-dyed fabric or batiks for this 18-20" art quilt that you will be delighted to hang in your home. This workshop is suitable for those wanting to dip their toes in the fibre art pool as well as those who already have some experience.

This is a wonderful retreat-style workshop with five days of classes, bonus sewing time in evenings or early mornings and delightful company in this relaxing venue. The meals are great, the lodge rooms comfortable and the setting in heavenly. Participants in all three workshops meet at mealtimes and for evening activities.

There is more information about registration, accommodation and meal packages on the Sorrento Centre website here and if you have any questions you are welcome to email me at kwk4141(at!) (you know how to fix that up so the email reaches me but the robots don't)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fluttering by with a Work in Progress

One of my art quilts has been "stalled" for a couple of years . . . I started out with wonderful ideas of doing a flight of stylized butterflies across a background of hand dyed fabric (the first piece I ever dyed, that I had been saving for years!) . . . but as I approached the critical time of adding those butterflies, I found that they had lost some of their allure.  I couldn't figure out the problem so I finally rolled up the quilt and it sat on a shelf for a year or more.

At some point last year I hauled it out again and pinned it to my design wall so that it would not be too far from my thoughts . . . but, still I did nothing with it.

Yesterday, however, I re-discovered one of my favourite books and the wonderful natural life created in fibre by Annemeike Mein, and I decided to play a little bit with a different style of butterfly.    I don't know exactly how she makes her butterflies but I made up my own version using her photos as inspiration.

Here are the wings I made, created as two units of upper and lower wings, free motion stitched in a variety of threads. They have been created on green silk organza with heavy duty Solvy used as a backing.

I still have to create the body of the butterfly, but I am pleased with this first attempt.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More of the northern lights

This is the second art quilt in my Northern Lights series and you will see many similarities in design to the first one . . . for this art quilt, I needle felted the aurora borealis in another lively design but when I was quilting, I also densely quilted the background of the sky.  The trees in this art quilt are made from commercial batik that is dark teal and is great for nighttime trees. I like the way that the trees are silhouetted against the bright sky.

The wool roving that I have used has a beautiful sheen to it which works very well in creating the lights.  There is a bit of purple and blue added to the deep indigo sky which adds a wonderful depth. Below is a closeup of part of the treeline.

This art quilt measures 15.5" x 24" and has a black backing and a hanging sleeve. The colours in these photos are not a vibrant as they are in real life, so I will be taking some more using different camera settings to see how I can make them better.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Northern Lights Art Quilt

Sometimes an image lodges in my mind and I can't let go of it . . . that is the way it has been with the thoughts of this art quilt depicting the Northern Lights.  Since "the kids" moved to the Yukon a couple of years ago I have become enraptured by the history and the landscape of that beautiful part of the world.

The northern lights can be many colours and shapes . . . they might greens and yellows that swirl and dance, or pinks and purples that envelop the sky, or any combination. I wanted to portray their ethereal quality using soft wisps of wool roving needle felted into a dark sky . . . and so this art quilt was born.

The sky was needle felted onto a base of two layers of black quilt batting that were first felted with midnight blue roving with a touch of violet added to it and then the northern lights were added with wisps of light greens, yellow and a touch of blue, some of which have a bit of gloss to the wool.

The tree line and lower section of the quilt were created using hand dyed fabric that I over-painted with a wash of black and green textile paint to further subdue it. That fabric was backed with fusible web and then I freehand cut the tree line.

The northern lights were free motion stitched in sweeping curves, using invisible thread and the lower section was quilted in a free motion design somewhat representative of a forest.

This art quilt measures 13" x 22.5" (33 x 57 cm) and is backed with black cotton with a hanging sleeve.

I can see that this will be only the first of a series of quilts with a northern lights theme ... in fact, I might have to go and start the next one right now . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Remedial Work on a Quilt

This is the first quilt I ever made . . . I think it was in 1996 and it was lovingly created for my son who used it from that day on, for many years.  I hadn't seen it for the past few years and discovered the reason recently . . . it had been chewed by their Leonberger when he was a puppy . . . lovingly chewed, I am sure.

When we visited the kids at Christmas this year I offered to do some repairs on this quilt and so I packed a little bag with scraps of similar fabric (I even had a few scraps of the very fabric I used originally) and a bit of quilt batting along with my needle and thread. Before going, I received this photo of one of chewed holes so I made a big log cabin block in case I wanted to use it as one of my reconstructive surgery.

I didn't intend to pull the quilt apart and re-make it . . .  I wanted to somehow honour the life that this quilt has lived for over fifteen years, including the chewed holes.  I first used some of my little scraps to create band-aids for the holes on the back of the quilt . . . some of them are shaped like leaves and others are more geometric in shape. I then moved to the front of the quilt (the most damaged) and trimmed away the rough edges before inserting a piece of quilt batting and then putting the pre-made quilt block on top of the damaged area.  I skewed the orientation of the block so that it is very obvious what I have done . . . and then I hand quilted it in place.

The repaired quilt has retained all the love of the original and the repairs will have their own history . . . "remember when Uli chewed this quilt and then Nana fixed it". The other chewed areas were repaired with strips of fabric that were quilted in place and a couple of leaf shapes now cover areas where the fabric was becoming very thin.

I think this quilt will be snuggled under while watching many more hockey games . . . and the repairs are functional ... with just a little nod to my passion for art quilting.