Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sketching Practice

Ink pen and pencil crayon
Sketching, why does it tend to be sporadic? I love doing it and sketching is necessary as not only a watercolour artist but also as a textile artist who paints with dyes and sketches with the sewing machine. The processes of sketching allows you to slow your eyes down so that you see the individual shapes and negative shapes (the space between objects). It gives you a chance to study the interplay of colours and their values (lights and darks).
Challenging myself to make a sketch a day or to fill a small sketch book when travelling is a great motivator. Without that motivation, I find myself slipping into the pattern of only sketching when beginning a painting. One of the best ways, I have found to sketch regularly is to have the tools readily at hand. If sketching interests you, try carrying a small 5 X 7” sketchbook and fine nibbed felt pen or other drawing tool with you wherever you go. That way you are reminded to make use of those small moments of time during your day. Even a 5 minute sketch is great practice. Don't worry if there isn't enough time to complete it. This is for practice not for framing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pen and Ink with a Wash of Colour

Glorious Gladiolas
6 1//2" Dye Painted Cotton Squares
2/ $19.95

A white background is sometimes the best choice in highlighting the centre-of-interest in this case the flowers. Sketching on paper with black ink and then adding splashes of watercolour is a favourite technique I employ. Therefore it is a simple step for me to reproduce that look on textile by first painting the black line with thickened dye. Sometimes I like to apply the black dye with a brush but here it is applied through a bottle with a fine nib. After curing overnight, I apply the coloured dye with a brush. Sodium alginate is used as a thickening agent for the dye and adding more of it lightens the colour to give a variety of colour values.
Pieced borders would frame these gladiolas nicely. 

'Eat Cherries'

6 1/2" Dye Painted Cotton Square
by Eileen Gidman
Coordinating 6 1/2” square
The Creston Valley, where I live is full of cherry trees and this pair of textile pieces represents the harvest yet to come this year.
Artistic licence allowed me to create different compositions than are really true to life. Normally, we see cherries surrounded almost entirely by the green of the leaves. Using red and green complementary colours alone I didn't think would convey what I was after - the warm summer days at cherry picking season. Surrounding the cherries with big blue sky is meant to achieve that. What do these little images suggest to you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Overall Fabric Designs

'Over Halifax'
How do I go about designing the hand painted fabrics with the over all designs? Each one is individually thought about and painted by hand with brushes and other mark making tools. When preparing for this type of dye painting, I assemble the cotton fabric that has been pre-soaked in soda ash which is the activating ingredient that makes the dye adhere to the fibres of the cotton. A selection of liquid dyes are brought to room temperature, ready for mixing light, medium and dark values. As well, some of the dyes get thickened with a jelly like substance allowing the dye to stay where it is brushed on. In the washing process the thickener is removed.

To begin, I select a colour or colour combination. This is can change as the piece progresses and dictates to me what is needed. Next shapes and sizes of shapes are considered, trying to thoughtfully place them in a pleasing manner for a overall whole cloth appearance but also providing enough variety of shape and colour that it will also look good cut and used in pieced patterns. The colours must flow throughout the piece.

These really are one-of-a-kind fabric designs and it would be impossible to reproduce two the same. As for what I paint, I tend to be influenced by recent visual information that has left an impression. For instance the fabric pictured looks so much like the scene I saw as I flew out of the Halifax airport. The light billowing green foliage and the dotting of water throughout the scenery. Gorgeous!!!

The fibre reactive dyes that I use are washable and colourfast. Washing in cold water is recommended but these fabrics have already been washed in hot water. They are ready for use in sewing projects or framing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Other Quilter's Work

I Pad Covers with Eileen Gidman's Cards

Absolutely THRILLING for me to see what someone else has done with my hand painted fabrics. The credit for these creations go to Anne Robinson of Kingross Quilts Her shop is located in Margaree Valley of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Ann, the sewer of these lovely I Pad covers purchased 4 of my Textile Cards at the Quilt Canada, Halifax Show and used them in her creations. Wow! I feel honored to be a part of a collaboration from across the country. Nova Scotia to British Columbia!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quilt Canada in Halifax

Eileen Gidman at Quilt Canada
Here Eileen Gidman is standing at the entrance to the Merchant Mall of the Quilt Canada Show. There were always Quilt Canada members manning this booth to answer any questions customers and vendors might have or to take photos! Eileen is wearing an apron featuring one of her hand (dye) painted works of art. This one is a lighthouse in honour of the show being held in Halifax.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunflowers in my Garden

Early June and my sunflowers are just poking out of the ground. Hard to believe they will make it to 8 feet tall in a very few days really. Plein air painting is a passion and I plan to sketch my sunflowers at every stage this year rather than waiting until this drooping head stage when I say to myself “Oh my word, I best take a photo of the sunflowers before it is too late!”

'Heavy Head'
Textile Art by Eileen Gidman

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shoppers at Quilt Canada, Halifax

Shoppers at Quilt Canada
Here in this photo, all the art work is done and the booth is opened May 30, 2012 at Quilt Canada in Halifax, NS. In the photo, shoppers are looking at the Textile Art of Eileen Gidman.
In our booth we met quilters and art appreciators from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Illinois, Maine and Britian. Loved that! Lesley Carruthers from Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia was one such shopper I met. Check out her blog especially the post from June 6, 2012: lesleythecuddlequilter.blogspot.

I am sure I heard at least 10 times, customers say they had moved to the Maritimes from the other side of the country where I am from. The best story I heard though is one lady telling us she moved here with only two suitcases and a sewing machine.  After we exclaimed about this she added well a couple of boxes followed later............and then she adds, “Well
those contained my fabric stash”.

Winner of Wall Hanging Kit

And the Winner is???
Many people hoped to win the free Wall Hanging Kit with original art work by Textile Artist, Eileen Gidman.
Shown in the photo, right to left are, Joan (Shop Assistant) and  Barb (Quilt Canada, Merchant Mall, Assistant) getting ready to draw the winning ticket on June 2, 2012 at 5pm. The lucky winner is Michelle from Moncton, NB. Congratulations Michelle!
Original Art contained in the Wall Hanging Kit