Friday, July 24, 2015

Projects in an Artist's Studio

Mixed media artist and Blogger Win Dinn asked readers to post a link to show what was going on in their studios. Photographing for this blog post made me realize how many projects an artist may have going on at once. For this post, I didn't include what was happening in the office regarding the selling of art. I know I spent sometime in the office yesterday printing off labels for cards and fabric packaging, as well as researching 'Made in Canada' labels, and ordering a maple leaf stamp through Creston Card and Stationery.
Check out what's happening in my studio below.

Developing a new card design. Hand painted textile bookmarks. I am trying out a removable glue for attaching them to a card. So far so good. (this is the only thing I moved in my studio for this photo shoot as I had just placed these on a shelf the day before)
Bookmark backing pieces left over from the 50 bookmarks already made.

Ironing interfacing onto my hand (dye) painted fabric for textile cards.

Sewing details on the card tops.

Threads from fraying the edges of the cards and bookmarks. What a tedious job!

Folding card stock for the textile cards.
Gluing the textile card fronts to the folded cardstock.

Weighting the cards down for the glue to dry

I couldn't resist showing you my favorite card from this group. As a matter of fact my husband liked it so much he removed it from the stack headed for sale at Creston Card and Stationery.

And my favorite 'Art' dog. If you look closely at the photo, with the sewing machine in it, you will see her treat jar in the background. I think the cool floor as much as the treat jar is what is keeping her happy in the studio.
A sewing project from a family member to make two scarves out of this one large one, one for her and one for me.

I dug this book out when I grabbed books for weighting the cards. I need to review bird anatomy for a community project I am involved in, teaching a group to paint birds in watercolour.

Fabric from my recent Indigo dyeing that is waiting for to me to price.

Hand painted sky and designed material waiting to be trimmed, pressed and priced. I am working towards two Quilt shows where I will be a vendor. One in Nelson, BC and one in Canmore, AB in Oct. I have to be organized ahead because the highlight of my year, art wise is coming up in Sept, well actually all of Sept and I am going to be busy painting in watercolour. I look forward to telling you all about it. It's going to be fabulous.
Well there you have an example of one person's studio. Feel free to send me a photo or an email about what you have going on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Indigo Pot - A trial

G and I trialed indigo dyeing last week! We are planning a group session later this summer and as this process is very different from what we are used, to we tried dyeing a few pieces of fabric first. Fun, fun, fun. I learnt so much, thanks to G who knows so much more about dyeing with natural ingredients. I now feel more confident when we host and Indigo dyeing session for others.

G had a clothesline set up under this lovely big tree in her yard. With the hot days we are having we were very thankful for some shade.
I prepared some cloth ahead of time by tying fold 10" squares and tying beads in them too.
Here I tried hand stitching in a 'star burst' pattern.
The piece is gathered up and tied off.
To save time I thought I would try machine stitching. This piece was then gathered up and the ends tied.

Cotton fabric was wrapped around an plastic cylinder and scrunched together.
Simple overhand knots were made in this length of silk fabric. Note to self: Don't tie too tightly as they are difficult to untie when wet.
The Indigo dye bath looking just as it should. I am not going to go into the process here as there is a ton of information on the subject online. Here is a link I used (Dharma Trading) which is also where I purchased my mercerized cotton and silk for dyeing.
Dipping the fabric wrapped pipe. We were very careful to add the items slowly so as not to introduce air bubbles to the vat.
When the fabric is first removed it is green. As the oxygen interacts with it, the fabric turns blue.

G fabric piece around the pipe cylinder was dipped 3 times for a more intense blue. Unwrapped it is the one farthest to the right.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Canadianana Series: Wildlife

Hand dye painted fabric with free motion stitching: Canadianana Series

Canadianna Series? Here is a start with some images of our wonderful Canadian wildlife.

Bears, there are three different types in Canada. The black bear, grizzly bear and polar bear. This guy is a black bear which can be brown too. Kermode bears also known as 'spirit' or 'ghost' bears are also a type of black bear and they are white. The Kermode bears live in the rainforest along the coast of BC.
As with the above bear, when I have already painted the image, it is easy to go ahead adding the details. I try and tell a story with each one and with this textile card the imagined the bear is walking through spring grass with the lovely Rocky Mtns in the background.
It is a little harder to know what to do when I have free form painted the cloth piece and then I have to decide what it reminds me of before I can begin the stitching. Here I am auditioning some of my sketches and photos. What would you have added to this background? My idea is shown further on.
Distractions in the Studio: My dog is looking at me as I sew, waiting to play a game or get a treat for being a patient 'art dog'.

"Okay Casey, go hide your eyes." We will have a game of 'Hide and Seek'....

 ....with 'Winnie the Pooh' her favorite stuffed toy.  One time he hides under the table.
 One time he hides in a project box.

 One time in an empty Singer sewing machine drawer.
"I found him but can you help me get him out!"
Okay back to work in the studio. In keeping with the 'Canadianana' Series, I decided to try a 'Western Red Turtle' swimming in water. We have lots of them in our Creston wetlands but I had to 'google' them up to find out where to add a touch of red.


 Two more black bears, both slightly different.

A red fox. If only I could combine the two textile card pieces to produce what I would consider the perfect piece. On this first one, I like the composition of the stitching with the fence continuing on the other side of the fox and an opening heading to the barn. There is good variation in the grass from dark green to a spring chartreuse green. His body shows form with the red of his body going from dark to light. 

What I really love about this one is the white continues from his chest to the lower part of his nose. He looks like he is wearing a mask. I don't remember painting a sky so light on the bottom before. I really like how it turned out.
If you were making a Canadianna series what images would you choose?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tutorial: Painting with Dyes - Greens!

Painting with Dyes: All About Green

This quilt block I painted with dyes is inspired by the Japanese Garden in our Millennium Park in Creston, BC. The garden was designed by Gary Smith. Note the lantern in the foreground. 
 Painting with dyes is not like painting in watercolours nor oils or acrylics. Unless you are painting with the dyes very wet, it is difficult to blend two colours together so how do you have different shades of green within one painting? Painting with a light, medium and dark green is what works best for me when I am trying to depict form in shapes, such as a tree, when painting on textile. The following is my own typical method.
Here you can see I have drawn out 9 pictures that will be eventually cut up into 8" for quilters to purchase. It is easier to work with them in a larger piece than precutting them. I sketch the images using a thickened black dye in a bottle with a nib. I leave this fabric to cure overnight in plastic. The little bit of green showing has been added the second day.
Painting the Greens:
Step one: Mix a dark green using thickened dyes. I like to use lemon yellow, turquoise blue and lots of black to mix the darkest green. Then I proceed to paint all the dark green areas. I imagine a light source and paint the shadows on the opposite sides of the shapes as you can note in the tree below.

Here most of the dark greens have been added. I use a sponge to add the darks in the grassy areas.
 The medium green is mixed with a lot of yellow and a bit of blue.

The green that is a medium value (darkness), has been painted all over the nine blocks next to the darkest of the greens. Be sure to leave areas for the highlights.

 For the lightest shade of green, I add the clear sodium alginate that is used for thickening the dyes to the yellow with a small amount of blue.

Here is the mix. A bit of urea water was added to thin the light green for painting and sponging.

 The completed 9 squares with the lightest green
 A close up of the three shades of green painted on the evergreen tree and the three shades sponged on the birch tree.
When I paint a lot of one colour, I often add just a little of it's complement to 'ease the eye' thus you can see a little red sponged in with the green.  I find it more comfortable to look at. Do you?

 The completed piece ready for putting in plastic to batch/cure overnight before rinsing.