Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pine Tree 3 - layers

This is going to go on for a few days. I like to stop and post a bit as it gives me a break from the tiny demanding stitching. (Also having a few projects gives a welcome change of pace.)
Yesterday I stitched and applied an under layer of very dark branches. In most cases they are quite full and close to the bole of the tree. With those in place, I moved out to add more important detail, namely dead branches at the base.

A pair of larger branches were created from the dyed cheese cloth, twisted and anchored about half way up and to the front of the trunk. The lower half of this tree is quite open so the needle branches are quite contained and distinct.

There are two shades of green now, still dark, on this branch. For most of the needled branches, they will be custom sewn to get the drape and direction for each one.
 One hour later and the lower portion of the tree is done.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Pine Tree 2 - Laying the Foundations

Getting the trunk of this tree right and with the correct curve was probably the most important part of this piece.
I spent a while auditioning materials I thought I might use for the trunk. I sampled some gimp, some twisted and braided wool. Nothing really spoke to me.


So I went back to the dyed cheesecloth.

This had nice graduation of colour and was more easily manipulated. So I dyed some more, and chopped it into narrow strips.

Behind the trunk I needed to lay down some dark branches, those in the shadow. About an hour at the machine produced these.

And with the trunk loosely braided, they were tacked to the canvas.

The bones are set and now I can make around another 20 branches with increasing shades of green.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Pine Tree

I finally settled on my next major project and it will probably come as no surprise that it will be........  A Tree. A Pine tree.
I freely admit I am in love with trees and they appear often, in my work.
This gnarly old timer has movement and texture and is a perfect project after my Tofino piece.
I had printed out a photo a while ago and today the "how" jelled with my materials.
Remember this "all day" quilting effort?
I had tried this technique to use with my large goose, but this first effort was flawed with a dark streak down its length. Today I trimmed it out and lengthened it to a dimension of around 24"x36".

Though I 've changed the proportions of sky to snow, I loved the splash of gold grass behind the pine. It serves to give some colour to the predominant colours of white and black. The sky will also add refreshing colour. You can't go wrong with two primaries. The coloured threads in the sky hint at sunset? Northern Lights?
I'll be felting parts as well as using the gimp technique I first used in my Winter Solstice piece. I need to start with a cut-out as there will be some direct stitching of fine branches onto the canvas before the dimensional tree is applied. So something like this.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Red Rock Canyon - Mounted

As this wasn't quite big enough to wrap around a 20"x24" stretcher, I had to add canvas strips to all four sides plus a burnt orange border. The canvas took the mounting tension and the orange framed the edges. Corners are a little bulky but I don't think it will be noticed. In all I am very pleased. I know my son will be.

For now this will hang in my dining room.......till Christmas.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

3 Little Landscapes - finished

The remainder of the work, the sky and the dark water was just mechanical and time consuming. I discovered a while ago that when I do multiples, 3 is my limit. More than that I lose the consistency in my detail and micro stippling.

After I finished the dark water with a deep navy and a warmer navy, I stippled the sky with a dark mono filament. It added just a little sparkle with no additional colour.

The mountain tops received a bit of "snow" and then .......I got out my Pearl paint. This was diluted down and added onto almost all the surfaces; around the moon, the mountain and hill tops, the tops of the trees and the dark water.

In a few places it seems I used more than I had intended, (can't really tell until it dries,)  but if I've learned anything in the past, it's that everything I do, whether its what I intended or no, appeals to someone.

So tomorrow these are off to BC.
This was a nice transition from the intense work of the Tofino piece to a more lighthearted and simple design. Sort of like a bit of sorbet, to cleanse your palate before you start the next course.

And what IS my next course.....Tomorrow!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Water and Trees and the Surface of the Moon

That's how I spent my day.

This is where an ordinary raw applique landscape comes alive. But it does take time.
I started with the mountains. Not much to add here but a few lines to imply texture and structure. I chose a colour one darker than the batik.

The green hills were topped with a few trees in 3 colours, darker as they progressed down the slope into shadow.

The water has 4 colours. Pale pink, blue and yellow to go with the painted fabric. And a final pass with my shiny "Snow" thread.
I took a quick look on line to see how others handled the moon. It was either with a face, or craters. So using the snow once more I filled my 3 moons with craters.

Over all that, I cut out some shoreline trees, in a olive shade darker than the hills.. But it needed a little more depth so I painted over the bottom areas with a dilute black. We'll see how I like that tomorrow. I can always add more.

 The Olive fabric is not dark enough so I added black paint. Makes a huge difference, certainly makes the moon's reflection stand out more..

So here's the gallery once more.
What's left to do? The remaining dark water and the sky.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Between Again - Can't sit Still - GOTTA SEW!

I'm in that awful unsettled space where I haven't chosen a new piece and have to sew something.
I'm very aware that the pieces I make with deer and Bear move quite quickly, but I'm not ready to revisit that subject. I do have something in mind as a personal piece, but I've not "got all my ducks in a row", yet.
After  going to the gym, sifting through all the photos I have on my hard drive and watching the horizontal rain out my front window, I decided I would do a few quick pieces to send out west.

A little " moonscape " caught my eye and I spent several hours pawing through my fabrics. I am determined to use one of my painted fabrics in each new piece I make so I settled on this lovely and
soft piece for my moons.

While they are very simple and elementary in design, these landscapes all hinge on the fabrics. My space is still a mess from the Tofino project but I just wanted to start so I added even more chaos, sorting through Fat quarters and cut-offs.

I think they'll do. MY fabric is the moon and the reflection on the dark water. I used what I had.
(I will not buy fabric, I will not buy fabric, I will not buy fabric........................but maybe for Christmas I get a gift certificate for..................FABRIC!)  Oh what an obsession.

So these have a long way to go. Thread painting, and I'm just dying to paint some of my Pearl paint on the moon, the water, and maybe the tops of the mountains.
So here are the 3, similar but different. They will all finish around 10"x 14".

( I can't describe how calm I feel now knowing I have some beauties in the studio waiting for me.............maybe the glass of wine helps too) LOL

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tofino - End of the Trail

This is as far as I can take this piece for now. It is unbound as my group has yet to decide how we want to present our collage. This may yet be cropped further, for the show in May 2015.

It is a very tactile piece. Most of the tips or fronds are free floating. And of course the bole of the tree undulates with the roots.
The last thing I added was a series of 4 bunches of club moss at the bottom.
If I leave the piece at this dimension then I'll need to add a few more things to fill to the bottom edge.

So for all practical is finished. Enjoy!

Tofino - 5 - Barely there

I wanted to insert a few little critters into this piece for a couple of reasons. Their presence gives a little tension to the scene and their size adds to the scale.

However, I didn't want them to be the center of attention. I tried a newt in a drab material but it still stuck out, rather than being barely there. So today I tried a different method.

This piece has become too dense to stitch directly onto, and I wanted a simple outline. The solution was "genius" lol. I sandwiched a sketch on wash away stabilizer between  two pieces of netting.  After sewing an outline stitch, I was able to remove the shiny stabilizer by simply running the netting under the tap. A quick cut out and then anchored to the picture. The toad was stitched all around but the newt was anchored in two spots only so he sits on top of the bark of the tree.

Toad and Newt - barely there!

drawing on shiny stabilizer sandwiched between two pieces of net

outline stitch

Toad - barely there

Love my Newt - floating on the tree

Didn't think I liked Purple but....

This little quilt could change my mind.

I like having a quilt on the frame so I can take a break from my creative work and rest my mind quilting.
The combination here, of soft purple, beige and cream batiks really appeals to me. It was a delight to work on a customer quilt that was so well assembled...smooth as silk.
Simple all over free hand meander of vines and leaves.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Tofino Trail - 4 - Progress is not always a straight line

In an effort to use more of my own dyed materials I made a bold move yesterday and stitched and cut out a large fern frond and glued it down.
It wasn't until the next morning, when I looked at the photo of the piece, I decided it was wrong.

The solid material jarred. While it was alright for the leaves of the shrubs it was not alright for the fern. As all the other ferns were lacy and tactile, this material frond was too heavy.
It had been glued for about 10 hours with permanent fabric glue, but given that a lot of the substrate was not solid, I had only a little trouble in a few places, removing it all.
So how to make a bigger frond with the same feel. I puzzled that most of the day, (cooked and canned some pickled mushrooms, packaged and froze some mushroom soup, and quilted most of a small quilt for a customer.) When all my delay tactics had run out, I went back to the studio and dove in.
Yesterday, I had tried making a tree frog with the organza. It was too shiny, but I reasoned if I filled most of the surface with stitching that might tame the glossy nature. The fabric itself was too insubstantial to stitch directly so I hooped it, layered with a piece of netting. This worked very well. I was able to stitch it easily,and cut away the excess.
When the cutting was finished the new frond had some life, curl and texture and most of all, substantial colour without weight. To keep this feeling I stitched it down the center rib only so the frondlets? were not tight to the surface.
I intend to make about 5 for this spot. The second one I changed the netting to black from white and the thread colour to a darker green. Even though the organza was the same colour it looked entirely different.

Now this was more in keeping with my original fern. Tomorrow this fern will be finished.
Not much more to do here.
I've rejected the idea of putting in the wooden path. Too distracting. I'm still working on a piece of Fauna.
Frog, Newt, Insect, Mouse?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tofino Trail - 3

It's been a full month since I last worked on this piece; time enough to mull over a few things?

"since you've been gone" (ha ha), a lot of little things were added or changed.
I chose and mounted a background for this piece. I had decided I would use as much of my own dyed material as possible but as most of this will be hidden I used a "cheater" fabric. Great for where there are little holes in the scene and the right colour and light needs to filter through.

Walkway? not yet.

The fabric folds are anchored with both glue and stitch.
I dyed a little bit of cheese cloth black, primarily to wrap the exposed wool roving but also to add additional texture.

Using hooped netting I manufactured and added some moss and some ferns.
There is a wooden walkway at the very bottom of this view so it needs to be dealt with next. It will be almost entirely hidden, but it needs to be there.

Ps We're still only working on the back and mid ground. All the white areas will be concealed or cut away. I'm also thinking a little Fauna might be fun!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fairy Quilt

I raised two boys, so fairies were not a big thing, if every, in my house. So this quilt is, so NOT ME. But I was gifted this panel printed from the estate pictures of Cecily Mary Parker last summer, and quite frankly I was at a loss.

 After some cyber consultations I came up with a programme. I cut off the Froufrou on the edge and added first a batik border with green vine like foliage and then a red batik as close to the colour in the poinsettia in the panel.
As this piece was long and narrow, I made two of the side panels wider than the top to bringing the final size to 50" x 60", making this a very usable throw or comfort quilt.

 This now will be given to my guild that supports a local programme for abused children. Hopefully it will bring some comfort to a little someone.

I included some close ups of a few of the "fairies" I embedded into the quilting. This was perhaps the hardest part of this exercise: find simple pictures of fairy folk that didn't resemble Barbi Dolls. I was hoping Disney knew better but no. I finally went back to the work of Beardsley and Rackham  for what I envisioned as lovely and innocent looking, androgynous, fairy folk.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Eureka! What was LOST is FOUND!

At least 3 years ago, I went on an Art Studio Tour in Thornbury and took a picture of a wonderful piece of acrylic art. It was a gnarly tree in full spring growth. I worked on duplicating this for days and weeks. I remember I was really pleased with it except I didn't like the background. So I cut it off the background and put it away........That's Mary speak for I LOST IT1.
 I search high and low many times, every drawer, every pile of fabric, every box of material and nothing. At least 5 times over the 3 years.
Today I pulled out a piece of green print I thought of using in my Tofino piece and there poking out of the edge was my TREE.

It's so gratifying to know you haven't completely lost it.

So now this piece is back in the queue.