Sunday, June 29, 2014

Canada Day: What from your country shows up in your art?

As Canada Day approaches, I started looking through the photos of my small textile pieces. Here are a few that represent what Canada means to me.
The most favorite textile card I've ever made.
This card reminds us of our constant challenge to balance nature with human inhabitation.
A bear and a cabin. Can't get much more Canadian than that.
Our beautiful wheat fields in contrast with our picturesque mountains.
Canadians like to grow things.
Maple leaves. We even have one on our national flag.
Our precious wetlands.
So many different wildflowers.
Often in Canadian gardens. Cheery.
Bees. We are thinking of them lately with their declining numbers. Very precious. Very needed.
Robins. We like our birds.
Creston, BC where I live, even has a festival for them.
Dragonflies. Well we like them too.
Iconic symbols of the prairies. Disappearing fast.

 What symbolizes Canada for you?


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gelli Plate Play On Fabric

I took a workshop 'Gelli It Up' at the College of the Rockies College of the Rockies, Creston, BC, Summer Series with Win Dinn this past weekend. It was an excellent, fun, well organized course which I would highly recommend.
The idea of mono-printing so appealed to me, that I put aside my beloved thickened dyes to work with fabric paint on textiles. I did have a lot of fun and below are few of my creations.  

Texture making tools and foam stamps by
 I had the pleasure of trialing  several of these stamps from this excellent, Canadian company. The stamps were well used all weekend by participants of the workshop who were using acrylic paints and they stood up perfectly to frequent washing. I was printing on fabric (mostly) and the other participants were printing on paper  (mostly) and the stamps worked equally well on both.
The foam stamps are sturdy, and thick enough that marks are cut into the foam for additional detail. As I like birds, those are the ones I am trialing but this family run company has many more designs so be sure to check out their website. Also, you can have them create a specific stamp for you. Love that idea! 

Texture was created on the gelli plate. Then I removed some paint by pressing a bird stamp into the paint. Next the fabric was laid over top and pressed into the plate thus transferring the design. Neat huh! I am definitely going to try more of this technique.
Using a similar technique as above, creating texture and stamping the egg stamp into the paint. Then I pressed a magazine page onto the gelli plate
After creating the background fabric piece, I over stamped it using the heron stamp. Wouldn't herons look great pink! Note I changed the angle of one of the bird's heads purposely for a little variety. This piece is ready for some free motion stitching don't you think.
Here, I am experimenting with placing Pebeo Setacolor fabric paint on to the Gelli plate using a bayer to create a thin layer, stamping to remove paint and then laying fabric on top to print the image. Also I stamped directly onto the fabric with the stamp. Notice the second ghost print of the dragonfly. I did this by stamping a second time before reloading with paint. Wouldn't these techniques make terrific one of a kind quilt blocks?
Stamping fabric paint onto printed material. Oh I can see some wonderful applications for this technique. We all have printed fabric we maybe aren't in love with anymore. Why not overprint with textile paint using foam stamps to create something we would sew with?
For this print I rolled acrylic black paint and Golden's GAC 900 textile medium onto the Gelli plate. Stamping onto the plate, I removed some of the paint. When I laid the fabric onto the plate, the negative space around the image was transferred. Fun!
My friend gave me this piece of eyelet, leftover from curtain making. Isn't there always a story to these stray pieces of fabric we have in our stashes. I created texture on the fabric by using a stencil on the gelli plate. When the piece was dry I over stamped it using a cadmium red acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. I don't know yet what I am going to do with this piece but it will be something, because I ADORE it. Let me know if you have some suggestions.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Driving Home and Hiking

NOTE COLOUR ENTHUSIASTS: At the end of this post, I've included a link to a wonderful website that helps you identify colours to go along with a colour of your choosing.  
The highlight of my trip home from the BC coast was at the rest area of Rhododendron Flats in Manning Park, east of Hope, BC. Click here for more information.  This website says this particular strain of flowering bushes are thought to be left over from the last ice age and these rhododendrons only grow in two other places in BC (on Vancouver Island)! What a special thing to see this beauties blooming in the wild. It was early morning and the light was only filtering through the trees but often the rays were shining right on a clump of the rhododendron blossoms. I was so fortunate to catch a glimpse of one as I was driving by and turned around to spend a few moments in this special place.

Early morning sunlight filtering through the forest onto these rare wild blossoms.
Marmot right outside the Tourist Information Centre in Princeton, BC. Isn't he a handsome 'fella'.

The sun was back lighting these ferns at a stop along my way home that I photographed them for a future painted fabric piece.

A recent hike which is always good for ideas for painting. The open side slope meadow we traversed was amass of wildflowers. Lupines, paint brushes, lilies, larkspur to name a few. Unfortunately the photos didn't do them justice.

Hiking up from the valley floor.

Note: Here is an amazing website that provides colour schemes. A friend and I used  it to find some colour ideas to use with a challenging set of dining room drapes. Be sure to check out the palette search area where you move the tabs along the 3 different lines to find your own colour to include in a colour scheme. Jessica's colour palettes could be used not only in home decorating but also quilting and painting. I notice she usually includes one or two near neutrals in her usually 6 colour selections as well as a variety of values. Of course you can use a colour wheel to come up with your own ideas, but this is fun too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 2 of Painting with Dyes Workshop

On day 2 of the Painting with Dyes workshop in Gibson's, BC we continued to paint images with thickened dyes especially finishing pieces that had been drawn the previous day as a black line drawing using thickened black dye in a bottle with a nib. Stamping and sponging were demonstrated as well and participants took the time to experiment with different techniques. E really got into some monoprinting and C pulled out a gelli plate to try. The thickened dye beaded up on the gelli plate but what texture.

Oh such concentration. Only the dog has time to wander around.

The other half of the group is just as diligently working

J and her poppies

Foxglove with a sponged background by G

Echinecea by C

Mixing of colour right on the Fabric by S


And more florals. These florals will all work well with pieced blocks with quilted details.

Trying stamping and sponging. After rinsing this could be overdyed with a light vat dye, to colour the background.

M and I discussing what a fine job she did of fixing the spill of black dye that happened on her piece the day before when sketching in the flower outline with thickened dye. M turned the blotch into a seed pod and added two more. How is that for problem solving? I had to look the part of a 'Painting with Dyes Instructor' so I am wearing a low immersion dyed Tshirt. I have bamboo socks to match!

Using a gelli plate to print with. Nice texture!

Getting the right colour is challenging with painting with dyes as you always have to adjust for the fact that the colour will be slightly lighter when washed.

The addition of writing can give an art journal style.

What texture with the dry brush work and the sponging for the trees.

Look at the form created with these flowers. It came about by leaving the wonderful highlights and painting the deep and dark red of the petals.

Zentangles. What a great idea to use images/designs that you are doing in other mediums.

Waterlilies. Additional details are going to be sewn in this piece. It takes some careful planning when thinking that far ahead. I am very impressed with the more vivid blue in the foreground to the greyed blue of the background in order to show depth.
When I saw this, I said this is a 'show stopper'. H remembered to include some warm reds along with the mostly cool reds of the blooms. Note the darks that give form to the flower.
Very delicate colour was needed for this apple blossom.
Off to a great start. Unlike watercolour painting, when painting with thickened dyes you start with your darks.

Demonstrating painting on alternative fabrics such as a black and white print or even coloured cotton fabric.

The white trees were masked out before painting with torn masking tape. J told me it was quite a feat to do but look at the wonderfully irregular natural looking edge. The trees were left purposefully without colour for follow up stitching. The sponged foliage gives the impression of sunlight through a forest.
What a wonderful couple of days at this 'Painting with Dyes' workshop. Participants have said they would email me photos of what they do with their work which I will post-can't wait!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Painting with Dyes Workshop, Gibson's, BC on Day 1

The 'Painting with Dyes' workshop in Gibson's, BC was a lot of fun. This group of participants seemed dedicated to getting a lot of painting done and that was also my goal for them so they would have lots of fabulous pieces of fabric to sew with after the class. Even though there were a dozen of us, at times the room could get silent from everyone concentrating. Who said painting is easy? Fun yes, but not always easy.

Below are some photos from Day 1. There were several comments of being tired after that first day and I could see why as the amount of fabric that got painted was staggering. Watching what the participants created was joyous for me as I love to think of the true originality of fabric being created by each person. This is one of the main reasons I teach, to facilitate people in creating their own personal art work. It was an impressive first day! (Watch for day 2 in the the next post.)

Getting started on Day 1 of the workshop. We had a lovely setting to work in at Carola's Quilt Shop in Gibsons, BC.

Those that had previous painting skills dove right in. What a rich red!

We can use anything for inspiration. Even the table cloth. Some people had a knack for pleasing compositions such as with these grapes.

Look at the rich variety of greens. This makes all the difference in creating an interesting and lively piece.

A photo of hostas was the inspiration for this piece. All greens should not be the same shade and this piece demonstrates just what a variety of greens can be achieved when mixing dye colours. The primary colours of fuchsia, turquoise, lemon yellow and the neutral black were the only colours provided. All colours were mixed. Great job!

Sunflowers had been painted by H before and she was able to draw on that knowledge from memory. This is a skill to treasure.

Learning here how to make a graduated background. Painting with dyes is not like watercolour with it's gently blending with water. Which thickened dyes, each value needs to be mixed separately. Leaving those whites is a winner.

Love, love, love G's abilities to create wildly exciting backgrounds. She has a style already. Artists can work years to develop their own style.

How nice is that. This will be a perfect piece of fabric for working into quilting later. Rich blues in the flowers and a loose style for the foliage create this endearing bouquet.

Chartreuse! Excellent colour mixing. Those petals have such variety. Try to remember that when painting flowers. Gorgeous!

Leaving those whites between the leaves allows the viewer's eye to move around the piece. Such rich complementary colours make this a strong piece. It is perfect for a quilted project.

Ah, nice to see some buildings. C successfully used a dry brush technique to create the weathered look of the grain elevators. This will show perfectly when washed. The addition of some greenery and foreground later completed this piece