Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dyeing for Inspiration - a Summertime Workshop in Sorrento BC

It is time to start thinking about a fun workshop for this summer ... Here is information about one that I will be co-teaching with Thomas Roach at Sorrento Centre (on the shores of Shuswap Lake in the Interior of British Columbia). . . Class days are July 10-14, 2017

with Thomas Roach & Kathy Kinsella
 Fibre Artists Thomas Roach and Kathy Kinsella have teamed up to offer an inspirational course you'll be “dyeing” to take this summer!

Come and experience eco printing, indigo dyeing and rust printing on fabric and paper.
We will collect leaves from the gardens and use them to transfer the colours and shapes of nature to paper and fabric. We will encourage rusty metals to make marks for us and we will dip into an indigo vat that produces magical blues.

Woven into our week together will be the simple pleasure of some hand stitching inspired by the intriguing and inspirational results of our dyeing and printing. We hope that this will provide inspiration for future explorations. No experience necessary – come explore and play with us!
- See more at:…

Sorrento Centre offers great accommodation (camping, RVs, cabins or lodge rooms with amenities) and wonderful meals or, if you live locally and would like to come as a day student, you are welcome to do so.  Workshop times are 9:45-12:45 Monday to Friday with the possibility of an afternoon or two of open studio time. The afternoons are free for you to enjoy the beach, hike and explore the area.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eco Print on Paper

This weekend I experimented a bit more with eco printed papers and this is something I will be exploring further!  I started off with an 11" x 14" piece of watercolour paper and folded it into a shape that would work for a small journal.  I used primarily maple, oak and smoke bush leaves and clamped them together before simmering them in a pot of water with onion skins and huckleberry tea added to it.

The dried papers were then waxed and some additional waxed leaves and blossoms were added to the central section.  A bit of eco printed silk was tied through some holes that were punched in the paper and a couple of small wooden buttons add more texture.
I think that this would be a beautiful statement piece in home or office.  A battery-operated tea light could be placed in the central section which would accentuate the images on the semi-translucent base to look beautiful at night.  As it stands, it's footprint is approximately 12" x 5". 

This piece will make its way to my Etsy shop in the next while.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long and Skinny Eco Print Art Quilt

 This is a long and skinny (7" x 36") art quilt that I have created from a piece of eco printed wool fabric. It has a peony leaf as well as maple, oak, black elder, and more.

The backing fabric is also 100% wool (a hand dyed tweed that I purchased that goes just perfectly!) and it extends to form an informal border on the quilt. The black cotton batting that I chose peeks out from behind the eco print wool to give a little zing.

The background is free motion machine quilted in wavy lines and the leaves are all hand stitched.

The organic look of this piece will make a statement in any setting ... the edges are unfinished and just a little bit off-square.  I added a hanging sleeve to one of the narrow ends so that it can be hung invisibly from a 6" dowel ... very easy! (it does hang straight from the top edge, not on an angle as the photo appears!) It could also be draped across a table or piano ... or even wrapped around your neck as a statement scarf.
This piece is now available in my Etsy shop

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Canada 150 (#2) art quilt

Since the larger version of this art quilt is on display at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery this month I decided to make another to list in my Etsy shop.  This art quilt measures approximately 10" x 20" and is made using the same techniques as posted a few couple of ago ... painted leaves, machine and hand stitching and organza leaves.

You can see it in my Etsy shop

What are you creating to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rust and Indigo combine in a fishy quilt

This is another version of a rusty fish quilt ... rusted onto cotton fabric from a corrugated fish that now hangs on the outside of our house.  After the fabric was rusted and well rinsed I dipped it in the indigo vat to get a medium blue background.

The fabric was then sandwiched with cotton quilt batting and a commercial fabric on the back and then quilted in wavy lines.  The fish was outlined with stitching and some of the key features were quilted.

Then it was on to the hand stitching . . . I chose to stitch the blue areas of the fish in a seed stitch and the rusty areas with layers of elongated stab stitches.  So far I have used two shades of rust to stitch the rusty areas but I might be adding another.

I have just started on the fins and have left the head and that gorgeous eye until the end ... you'll have to come back again to see what I do with that :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Canada 150: Red and White

2017 is Canada's 150th Birthday and this art quilt celebrates the occasion in red and white!  The red maple leaves were painted using hand-cut stencils that I made from locally gathered leaves. The background has been free motion machine quilted and hand stitched and then organza maple leaves were stitched along some of the leaf veins so that they add more movement and texture.

This piece is headed to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery for their Red and White exhibit that opened last night.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow-dyeing in January

We have a lot of light fluffy snow outside right now so it seemed to me that I should try out snow dyeing. Following is a short tutorial on how to do this yourself, using Procion MX dye powder and cotton fabric.

The fabric needs to be soaked in a soda ash solution before dyeing ... mix 1/2 cup soda ash in a little warm water to dissolve the crystals and then add one gallon of water in a large pail.  Soak your cotton for 10 - 30 minutes, depending on how heavy the fabric is. The leftover soda ash solution can be saved for future use.

While the fabric is soaking, prepare your dyeing container:  I used dollar store kitty litter trays with a grid from a broiling pan (which happened to fit perfectly over two of the litter trays. For my third container, I used a large bowl that I keep for dyeing and a smaller grid.  This is a photo after the dyeing was finished and the dyed snow had melted into the bottom ... I forgot to take a "before" picture.

When the fabric has soaked, wring it out (remember the rubber gloves) and place the fabric on the grid. You can scrunch it, as I did in the first two pieces I made or fold it, as I did to create the grid-like pattern in the third sample in the top photo. Now add heaps of snow to cover the fabric and then sprinkle your dye powder onto the snow.  Remember the rules for mixing colours ... the fabric on the left, above, was yellow and turquoise (makes green!) and the other two were combinations of fuchsia and turquoise with black.
Yellow and blue
blue and red and more black
red and blue with little black
 Cover the trays with plastic (I used a large clear recycling bag) and let it sit for 24 hours until the snow has melted and the dye has set into the fabric.

Carefully remove the dyed fabric and rinse it several times in cool water until it is almost clear and then add a couple of drops of synthrapol to a warm water wash.  Dispose of the dye water in a safe manner ... This is considered safe for disposal but I don't put anything like this into our septic system, but choose to pour it onto the ground where I know it will not disturb the balance of nature.

Here are a few more photos of the fabric while it was hanging to dry, and again once it was all pressed.  You will see that I also dyed a piece of cheesecloth in with each batch of fabric as that is something that I always like to have on hand.  I meant to dye some embroidery threads, too, but forgot until it was too late to add them :(

Wet fabric

Remember to practice good safety measures and wear a mask when handling powdered dyes, eye protection, rubber gloves, and a plastic cloth to cover your workspace and an apron to cover you.

I hope you will have fun with this technique and let me know your results!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tablerunners for a change

 I have been having fun making some quilted tablerunners this week ... The one above is made from gorgeous fabric that I purchased last year with this in mind. The reverse is a coordinating brown fabric.
This next tablerunner is a modern depiction of west coast native-style art animals.  Black on white with a tiny dark red flange inside the binding. The reverse is solid white with the black binding.
This is a very contemporary runner ... grey background with black concentric circles and silver writing.  I have quilted it with circles within circles and added a grey flange to the black binding. Black reverse side.
This one is a tabletopper (not quite as long as a runner) that would look great on a coffee table or in the centre of your dining table.  It is quilted in watery lines and the reverse side is black.

All of these could be reversed for double the use.  They are now available in my Etsy shop ( where there are more photos of them as well as details on the measurements etc.