Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hoffman Challenge: Collection 2013 - Betty Johnson's Guest Post

I am very pleased to share with you two submissions to the 2013 Hoffman Challenge, by Betty Johnson of British Columbia.  Check here to see what the Hoffman Fabric Challenge is about.  How fun to see two very different but equally beautiful wall hangings made including the same 
'challenge fabric'.  Both of these wall hangings are travelling for a year as part of a Trunk Show and they will in the quilt show at Yuma, AZ on January 17 & 18, 2014 at the Yuma Civic Centre. Enjoy Betty's guest post:

'Butterfly Whimsy'
Hoffman Challenge: Collection 2013
 by Betty Johnson from British Columbia
'Aerial Tropicana'
Hoffman Challenge: Collection 2013
 by Betty Johnson from British Columbia
Betty Johnson:
"The first one I called "Butterfly Whimsy".  The beautiful challenge fabric had large, colourful leaves which reminded me of butterfly wings so my goal was to use them it create butterflies.  Using my Electric Quilt 7 program, which has an excellent photo section, I took some photos of flowers that I had taken in my garden & created new, whimsical flowers which I appliqued onto the bottom third of the wall-hanging.  I took some of the smaller leaves from the challenge fabric & incorporated them in amongst the flowers.  I then took the lovely, large leaves & created butterflies.  The stitching was done in metallic thread & gold Sulky rayon.  I bound the sides & top edges of the wall-hanging & faced the bottom edge to get the effect I wanted.  My entry is travelling with one of their trunk shows for a year.  (Both entries are also published in their "The Hoffman Challenge Collection 2013" catalogue.)
My second entry is also travelling in the same trunk show.  I called it "Aerial Tropicana".  I had seen a quilt at Quilt Canada in Penticton that became my inspiration for this wall-hanging.  The bright blues in the challenge fabric reminded me of the tropics & I thought they would look wonderful overlapping background fabrics.  I drew my design on paper & chose the best areas to include the challenge fabric so that the leaves overlapped other sections of the background.  I created 1/4" bias strips from the co-ordinating fabrics & used them to separate & anchor each section.  Once I was finished, it looked like an aerial view of a tropical rainforest with a river running through it.  I was also told it looked like a dragon's head.  Interesting how we each interpret images differently."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oriental Painting Lesson by Linda Lashbrook

What fun to attend a workshop on Oriental Painting on Friday. Below are a few of the samples our instructor, Linda Lashbrook brought for us. The samples definitely inspired us.  
In the morning we worked on perfecting painting fish. Notice I said worked on. It takes years to master the complexities within the simple brush strokes. Loading the brush with several strengths of pigment at once results in brush markets that flow from light to dark. For us beginners we loaded our brushes with a medium strength of colour and tipped it with a thicker strength. Even this gave us a little variation within the brush stroke!
After painting schools and schools of fish, we felt more confident to attempt the bamboo, of course only after we had had  step by step instructions from Linda.

Oriental Painting Lesson
Instructor: Linda Lashbrook

Linda Lashbrook giving us a demonstration of the various brush strokes.

At the end of the day Linda demonstrated a blossoming tree. Something for us to aspire to painting.

My attempt at bamboo on rice paper.
Although Oriental Painting is traditionally done on rice paper or silk fabric, I thought as I mostly paint with dyes on cotton fabric, I would try that at home the next day. Below are two samples one in black and one in dark blue. I love painting the fish tails! The following were painted on soda soaked fabric and are now curing in plastic sheeting. After rinsing, I am imagining them quilted with some echo stitching of the same motifs.
At home I practiced the Oriental Painting on Cotton Fabric.

Six small blocks with fish and bamboo motifs on Cotton Fabric. Note the brushes with the thickened dye on the plate palette.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hand Painted Textile - Barn Panel

Kathleen Little's Wall Hanging
Using Eileen Gidman's Hand Painted Fabric Panel
When on a vacation, Kathleen stopped in at a small quilt store in Kaslo, BC where she first saw my hand painted fabrics. Later on in their vacation, Kathleen and her husband visited me at my studio in Creston, BC and purchased this panel. Thank you so much Kathleen for sending me this photo of the wall hanging you created. The dark inner border really sets of the detail of the black line in the barn panel. I am certainly going to remember that idea.
The following three quilts are from members of the Tuesday Quilt Group I belong to. The first on is created by Patty who is a co owner of 'A Quilter's Lumberyard - A Scrap Management System'. All those striped fabric pieces work well here to create this eye catching quilt.
Hilary sewed the harmoniously beautiful, mauve and green quilts. The first one she free motioned quilted for the first time. Hilary you have inspired me to try machine quilting the quilt top I have ready.

Patty's Quilt
Can you believe all the fabrics used were stripes?

Hilary's Quilt
This quilt was machine quilted by Hilary.
Hilary says "I love mauve!"
Whoever is getting this mauve, blue and green 'Charity Quilt' is fortunate. A lovely quilt.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Watercolour Lesson for Christmas Cards along with One Textile Card

On Fridays, a group of people meet to paint for the day. I love Fridays! On this Friday, I gave a lesson for painting Christmas cards using masking tape for the birch trees, salt for texture and painting with a cut credit card for the birch tree. Here are some of the results.
Red, an unusual colour choice gives a delightful result. 

Joyce prefers to paint holding her watercolour block

Charlsie's vertical paper orientation gives a great variation.

Some of the day's work from the Friday Painting Group

Another unusual colour variation and it still works. I wonder what other colours we could try?
The same image (note below the red spool of thread) painted on textile with thickened dyes. Next I will add some details with thread sketching by sewing machine.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


A couple of week ago I posted about this little nuthatch painting in watercolour that I was working on. Do you find you like to work in more than one medium? Carving is fairly new to me but I have watched my friend Joyce carve for years and this winter as I have a little more time, I thought I would give bird carving a try. Do you see how close I am sitting to Joyce, my mentor? I think it is as much for her to keep an eye on me as for me to be close at hand when I frequently ask "What do I do next?"

I am carving a bird while Joyce is carving a camel
Don't you find learning from someone else the absolute best? I remember learning to crochet from my mother-in-law many years ago. We sat side by side on the couch. As she was right there to ask when I was unsure, I never went too far wrong. Oh I agree, there is much to be said for your own experimentation, but for learning the basics, a mentor is wonderful. Plus it is a lot of fun!
Joyce has kindly brought a nuthatch she carved as a reference model. This really helps when working three dimensionally. I am becoming more aware of  the trickier parts of the anatomy of birds which will be a bonus when painting them. This week, I am going to be starting a hand painted textile panel with a chickadee as part of it. I am so looking forward to beginning.

Take note of the safety equipment necessary for carving. There are special finger and thumb leather protectors for one hand and a special glove for the other hand. Those tools are sharp!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Colour Confidence for Quilters-Summary

(the coaster was given to me by Patti Bowers of 'A Quilter's Lumberyard'
The Reds in the Fabric Stand Out when beside something Red
The Yellows in the Fabric are more Prominent
On Monday, I enjoyed meeting with a group of Quilters to facilitate a talk about color. Everyone has had experiences with color and it was an opportunity to share what we know. We used Joen Wolfrom's Color Tool and Color Wheels to explore several colour schemes that would work with printed fabrics the group brought that day.
Firstly, we tried a monochromatic color scheme.  One color was selected from the print fabric and using the colour tool or wheel the groups identified its exact color. Solid colors or those that read as one color were selected from fabric scraps that were provided. Shades (with black), tints (with white) and tones (with grey) of that selected color were added to provide varied values within a monochromatic color scheme. Weren't we surprised to realize that a shade of yellow is actually olive green?
Here it was a good opportunity to discuss how color and value are a part of Design Elements. Other design elements that could also be present in a quilt are shape, size, line and texture. One thing we didn't talk about was how having one design element dominant helps to create a pleasing composition.
For the harmonious or analogous color scheme, the group selected the same or another print fabric and again chose one colour from it. Then 3 or 5 colors were selected close to it on the color wheel. Several values of these colors were chosen to accomplish the harmonious color scheme. We discussed the very common use of this type of color scheme in quilting, home decorating and clothing. We also talked about when using pure colours in quilts and how introducing one toned fabric of that colour would likely not work.
Group members shared their tricks for identifying value. One member photocopies her fabric to black and white, one showed the use of a red or green transparency and I suggested squinting to eliminate color.
For a triadic color scheme we started the same way be selecting a dominant color within a print and identifying the three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel (including their selected print color). We were able to identify that some of the prints themselves were of a triadic color scheme.  Amounts of colours in a triad scheme were discussed. Equal amounts could result in a busy quilt (sometimes that may be wanted for a child's quilt) whereas using a large amount of one color, a medium amount of the other color and a small amount of the third color is usually visually comfortable. As a memory aid we referred to the amounts as Pappa Bear, Momma Bear and Baby Bear.
At some time in the morning we also got discussing neutrals. We talked of how adding black throughout a quilt can unify it. We talked of white and grey as neutrals and when they might be used in quilting. "What is brown?", was one question asked and when we looked at the colour tool we could see many shades of brown under the oranges.
Complementary color schemes, one of the members identified was a color scheme that they were told would be pleasing in a quilt. It was interesting to see the red and green complementary colors in the decorations around the room. We discussed the need to have one color dominant in the this scheme unless you wanted a very strong, quilt. One member mentioned how having a little amount of the one color provides some dazzle to quilts. So true. When one group identified that the complement of turquoise is red orange, they weren't sure how this would look but one lady told us of her necklace that was turquoise with orange red accents and how beautiful it was. Excellent example. One member also showed a wall hanging using aqua blue and toned orange red (terra cotta) fabrics. It looked wonderful.
By this time, all this talk of color schemes although very exciting was also challenging, so we were getting tired and hungry for the wonderful lunch that was prepared for us. To finish up we talked briefly about split complementary and polychromatic color schemes. I think having the terms to using in discussing color can help quilters when they are making their color choices. Interactive group participation is such a fun way to learn! I thank the group for the opportunity to explore color with you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hand Painted Fabric in Marj Moore's Wall Hanging

Marj Moore's Wall Hanging using some Original Hand Painted Fabric
by Eileen Gidman, Textile Artist
A few days ago, late at night, I was reading my IPad in bed which is one of my new favorite things to do, when this popped up in an email from Marj Moore. Marj had purchased one of my hand painted fabrics at Quilt Canada. My half shut eyes popped open and I gave an exclamation. Here was proof of what I work for. I paint one of a kind fabrics so quilters can create their own unique textile pieces. Thank you Marj for being so thoughtful as to send me a photo.
Three things I really like about this piece is the inclusion of commercial fabrics as it shows that hand dyed pieces can be combined with other fabrics. Also, I like the movement that the different sized triangles give the piece and the quilting just enhances that, I think. Thirdly, I love the modern style with it's geometric shapes and off white neutral background.
On Monday, I was privileged to give a 2 hour interactive class on 'Colour Confidence for Quilters'.  Thanks Jan for inviting me. We talked about the difficulties in using white in a quilt which seems to be one of the tenants of the modern quilting style. In this wall hanging, off white is within the hand painted piece so it fits well as a neutral background.
We had an exciting time on Monday and in my mind, I am going over the things the Quilt Group shared about colour. In Sunday's post, I will attempt to summarize the highlights, so be sure to check back then.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Plein Air Painting - Do You Paint Outside in the Winter?

Sketching while my Husband is Fishing

A New Sketch Book
Don't you love getting a new sketch book!!! I sure do and here I am plein air sketching. It is my absolute favorite way to sketch. How do you manage to keep up your plein air sketching and painting skills in the winter? I find it hard to do as the weather cools. There are people who even paint in the snow but this is not something I have attempted. Those would have to be very special paintings.
In this sketch, I decided to stylize the ripples in the water leading up to the coots. Wouldn't this be great in free motion stitching on some hand painted fabric.