Friday, April 29, 2022

Creating For Charity


  1. RECYCLE - These tote bags were made from pillowcases. 
  2. HOBBY - Although I am normally free motion sewing in my art practice, I do love to do straight stitching too.
  3. GOOD CAUSE - These bags were made for a charity that requires the bags they use to be washable. 
Sewing for charity this week has had the added bonus for me of taking a break from the thinking required in my art practice. Interestingly, I found by concentrating on different things than I normally do in my studio, has given my mind a break and I am looking with renewed enthusiasm to which art project to tackle next. 

The floral pillow cases were the most fun to work with.
This burgundy pillow case was of thicker material and made a sturdy bag. The satin detailing on the pillow case made a nice detail.
Selecting several blue pillow cases and setting the sewing machine up with blue thread helped for working efficiently. 

My process of using a pillow case for a tote bag.

  1. Fold the top casing of the pillow slip down to the inside about 2" (usually fold the doubled material section in half). Press and sew the edge down.
  2. Measure down the pillow case 18 1/2 " and cut off the excess pillow case. 
  3. Turn the pillow case inside out and sew across the bottom. Sew the raw edge seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.
  4. Fold the bottom corners into a triangle shape and mark a line of 6" to form a boxed bottom and sew across this line.
  5. At the top, on the inside still, measure 3 1/2" in from the edge and place a mark there. Repeat in from the other edge and repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Handles: From the left over pillow slip material cut off two 4" strips. Open up the one end and measure a 26" length. Cut.
  7. Fold the strip in half lengthwise with the right side in. Press. Sew down the length. Repeat with the other 4" X 26" length of fabric. 
  8. Turn tubes inside out. Press. 
  9. Zigzag the 4 raw edges at the ends of the handles.
  10. Place the handles on the inside of your marks, on the top edge of the bag. Place them about 1 1/4" down. Pin and sew in an X pattern to secure. One handle goes on one side of the bag and repeat. Be sure to check you don't twist the handles before pinning.
  11. Turn your bag to the outside and you are done. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Why I Love the Skimmerhorn Mountains

Watercolour by Eileen Gidman 
Skimmerhorn Mountains #4

The Skimmerhorn Mountains have a commanding presence on one side of the valley where I reside. The clouds curl around their tops, the sunsets bathe them in colour and snow makes the crevice's show beautifully. In the fall, old timers will say, when the first snow stays on the top of them, there will be snow on the valley floor in three weeks. Ohhh... and a ridge walk on the top, in wildflower season, fulfills my soul.  

 Watercolour by Eileen Gidman
Skimmerhorn Mountains # 2 

Due to the vertical nature of these mountains they can be quite a challenge to paint. Normally, I paint them on location but these last two weeks I have painted these watercolours from my photographs in the studio. 

Watercolour 'card size' by Eileen Gidman
Skimmerhorn Mountains #1

To warm up, I first painted this small watercolour. A few people have commented they liked this particular shade of blue with the red of the barn. If I recall correctly it is a combination of a Maimeri Blue, 'Bluegreen' colour and a Windsor Newton, 'Cobalt Blue' colour. 

Watercolour by Eileen Gidman
Skimmerhorns #3

This farm is so dear, I decided to paint it again but larger and because an artist can move mountains, I did paint another part of the Skimmerhorn Range behind it. 

Dye Painted Fabric 'card size' by Eileen Gidman
Skimmerhorn Mountains

The two mediums I work in (watercolour and dyes) often contain similar images and here you see the Skimmerhorns again but on fabric.

Friday, February 4, 2022

One of the Biggest Failures in Fabric Painting I ever had, was this Week

Along with a disappointing fabric painting failure (end of the post), there were some wonderful successes in fabric painting this week.

This panel was first painted lightly then soda-soaked once again and dried. Here I have lightly sketched in some 4 X 6" images (card size) in preparation for the second painting session.

What the same panel looks like two and half hours later. As I am painting with thickened dyes, the colours will be less vibrant once the panel is washed. 

These chickadees, I am so in love with them even before the thread sketching. 

There was this one little piece of linen left at the end of a painting day and I used up all the little bits of mixed colours left-over to create this piece. A blue heron stitched in the right hand corner should look perfect. Linen, I must dye paint it more often!

Watercolour painting.

This was from the first life drawing/painting session in 2022. The pleated skirt was so fun to paint.


This panel was painted in 2 x 3" images. Not very often do I veer from using the very best of fabrics for painting with dyes. Mercerized cotton from Dharma Trading is my favorite and is always reliable. However, I found this scrap of light canvas which I soda soaked and painted. Well there is three or so wasted hours as the dye did not make a good chemical bond with the fabric and much of it washed out. It was a very stiff canvas and must have a sizing on it that is not easily washed away. Grrr... Lesson learnt.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

January 2022 in the Studio


January is perfect for lots of painting time. Prepared fabric is being painted with thickened dyes to form a permanent bond once cured. 

A panel this size takes 3-4 hours to paint.