Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's UP!

The latest 15 x 15 International Group "Reveal", that is...with the last theme for the 2015/16 year: "Motion".  Enjoy it by clicking HERE!

What's that you say?  My contribution?  May I present...

Dervish! (C) 2016
Monoprint on white poly-cotton,
with hand-dyed red cotton,
machine quilted, fused appliqued.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WIPs...are Finishes!

This week, several of my WIPs are now "Finishes"...and are ready to take to Bonavista Fine Art Gallery in Sylvan Lake, just in case the owner, Denise, needs a few more small items for her clients gift-giving pleasure.

Friday they looked like this:

Now they look like this:

Slim Pickin's (C) 2016
5" x 7" matted to 8" x 10"

Tea for Two (C) 2016
6" x 5.5" matted to 10" x 10"

Last of the Season (C) 2016
5" x 7" matted to 8" x 10"

I'm hoping Denise will take all three...but we shall see.  :-)   If not, they'll be available for purchase directly -- and/or at the Lacombe Art Show and Sale in the spring, God willing!  (It's a juried show; I can't take it for granted that I'll get in.)

The other "Finish" this week was the last report...for a bit...about Mark on the Body -- which was taken down from its debut venue at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on November 17 and put to bed for a bit.  There are a couple of potential opportunities to show it again in 2017, but for's at rest.  The blog dedicated to that very special project will stay up for the time being...and you can read the November 29 post HERE.

Meanwhile, my WIPs involve Christmas knitting for folks who might read this blog so...sorry!  No details!  No photos!

Linking this  up to WIP Wednesday over at The Needle and Thread Network...and this has to be the earliest I've ever done this.  Go figure!  Enjoy catching up with other Canadian textile creatives...and have a great rest of the week, eh?  :-)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Some People Make It Look So Easy

Photo: Tasty - Timeline
Just before I began my "lay-low-for-Advent" time out with Facebook, I found this recipe for "Cracker Candy" posted there by one Lori Nolan.  In the video -- complete with fast-forward -- she makes this stuff look oh-sooo-easy to make.

I had the ingredients around the house, so I thought I'd give it a try.  If it worked out, I reasoned, I'd take a batch over the the Mirror & District Museum's Open House tomorrow afternoon, and maybe make a batch for the kids at Christmas, instead of my (traditional) 5-Minute Fudge. really is pretty easy -- but you have to work really fast to spread the brown sugar and the chocolate layers, and I was really worried that the bottom -- the crackers -- moved around on my greased tin-foil, so that some of the brown sugar topping seeped under them.  In the end, my 'taste test' showed that that was really -- as Martha would say -- a Good Thing.  The stuff is delicious, and is now boxed up in the fridge for delivery tomorrow.  Batch #2 will come closer to Christmas.

Another person who makes "it" look so-o-o easy is my friend Mary Wilton, with her fabric painting.  You'll recall from an earlier post that a week ago I took her Friday evening/all day Saturday class...with mixed results.

Not being one to waste materials, on Wednesday I 'set to' figuring out what I'd do with them, as well as doing up some more mono-printed pieces for more wintry miniatures.

First, though, I relegated the "trees positioned on background 3" to the 'sample' files.  No matter how I played with it, I couldn't see how to make it work.  The brown trees are just too clunky -- and positioned in just such a way that I can't work around 'em.  At least, not right now.

That decision made, I turned to the other backgrounds, and the other painted trees, which had fusible web (Mary gave us Steam-a-Seam Lite) applied so were ready to cut out and fuse where desired.  In the end, I used only three more of the trees I'd painted -- all "birch" -- and I cut off the main part of one of the background pieces to make this new miniature composition:

Old Birch at Dawn (C) 2016
5" x 7" matted to 8" x 10"

Old Birch... - Detail

The bottom of the piece was replaced (as you can likely tell) by a piece of unpainted fabric for the 'snow', because the original just didn't 'work' for me. :-)

The remaining background I'd painted had that weird grey stuff going on along the bottom from a failed experiment, but I really liked the top of the piece so again, I separated the two.   That crazy grey stuff had something to it, though, once it was standing on its own.  It kinda looked like foggy evergreens.  So...I fussy cut it along its top edge and auditioned it in various ways against that background.  The result is another mini...

Foggy Morn (C) 2016
5" x 7" matted to 8" x 10"
Foggy Morn - Detail

Last but not least, I'd painted a piece of that white-on-white fabric, and outlined an evergreen with blue gel glue on the right side.  Wednesday I painted the tree; once it was dry and heat set I washed out the glue, so that today it was ready to stitch.

I confess I don't think this one is quite as 'strong' as the night-time version, but I offer it here for your consideration anyway.  :-)

First Snow on the Prairie (C) 2016
5" x 7" matted to 8" x 10"

First Snow - Detail

I hope to present these to Denise at the Bonavista Fine Art Gallery in Sylvan Lake on Wednesday, along with these ones that need hand stitching before they're ready...

You'll notice one is...ahem...smaller than the others.  That's because while I "measured twice and cut once", cut it a bit too small.  Not to worry! I have a mat that will stay tuned for a "finished" post within the week.

Meanwhile, as I have some hand-stitch to do, I'd best be off!  I'm linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday (on time for a change!) and settin' to work.   I'm thankful for her faithful platform, where I can meet up with so many wonderful creative people!  And I remain thankful that all of you, Gentle Readers, continue to read the ramblings of this Crazy Canuck.  :-)

Have a great weekend, eh?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Unexpected Camaraderie...

I rarely watched "Seinfeld" when it was on television -- I preferred to enjoy Mr. S' work as a stand-up comedian.  But...I find myself fascinated as I watch this video...and if you pay attention, there's a hint about artistry, and artists...and their struggles...those Voices (you know!)

Just sayin'...

P.S.  He's only 2 years (or so) younger than I am.  Who knew?

Dedicated to my son, who will likely 'get' this even more than I do.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What She Said, What They Said

"She" is Lauren Messervey, a Canadian writer and blogger, who wrote an open letter to Mr. Obama in the Huffington Post  on November 9, 2016.

Ms. Messervey expressed what so many of us -- dare I say, most of us -- up here above the border would like to say -- and to repeat often in the days ahead -- as Mr. Trump tries to shape his cabinet, a definite challenge and a bit of a scary one for those of us who are watching on the sidelines.  (Please Note: I can no longer call him Mr. T for that would confuse him with our 'Mr. T' -- Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau -- and believe you me, there is a distinct difference that doesn't just come from the almost thirty-year gap in their ages.)

Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau,
at the White House March, 2016

Canadians are going to miss you, Mr. Obama.  We can sense even now that when they eventually meet face-to-face, Mr. Trudeau will be polite, respectful, staunch, firm and speak through gritted teeth in response to pretty much anything Mr. Trump has to say that would contravene not only Canadian values but also basic human decency -- anything that would smack of misogyny, xenophobia, racism and downright meanness.

That's not to say we don't have those things up here.  We do.  But we are -- collectively, in faith communities and education communities and the public square and in education and in social discourse -- doing our darnedest to learn, to grow, to combat these scourges that threaten humanity, just as much (if not more) than climate change or natural disaster.

We're going to miss Mrs. Obama, too.  She is so intelligent, sensitive, articulate and funny -- and brought these qualities to the fore in our own "First Lady" (we don't generally call PM's wives that), Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.  BFFs, methinks...

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (L) and
Michelle Obama (R) - 2016

"They" are the members of Canada's Parliament, who represent the Canadian people.  Lest you think that only Liberal Party supporters will miss the Obamas..let me remind you that I've voted Conservative for the past few I'm not 'towing' any 'party line'.  Up here, ALL of our political parties -- Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic (that's left of Liberal, for y'all who might not know) -- expressed their feelings for Mr. Obama in June of this year when he spoke in our House of Commons in Ottawa, when they stood as one to acknowledge him and his Presidency:

This is how we still feel about you, dear friends...but I confess that I am certain I am not alone in my trepidation about the man Americans have now elected to replace Mr. Obama.

Mr. Trump has big shoes to fill, and for the sake of the whole world, he'd better fill them bigly.

P.S. I was 7 when Queen Elizabeth II opened the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Our cottage on a bay in the St. Lawrence was across the road from the Seaway route, many miles away across the water.  I remember that event distinctly.  Mr. Trump has not (to date) decided to close the U.S. portion of that major waterway and trade route -- perhaps because he is unaware of its existence...One can only hope!

Playing with Paint

This past weekend I had an opportunity to drive up to Camrose -- about 45 minutes' drive north -- for a class with my friend and SAQA colleague, Mary Wilton.  Though she began her quilting in the traditional style -- her skills shown in the beautiful quilts she has in her home -- Mary began as a water-colour artist before the quilting, and when she found she could marry the two art forms, she leapt into art quilting, which she has practiced for the last fifteen years or so.

The workshop, "Fibre Art Creations", was held at the Chuck MacLean Arts Centre, home of the Camrose Arts Society which hosted it, and the Fibre Art Network (FAN) exhibit, On the Wind, which currently graces its walls.  I was able to go up Friday afternoon, stay with Mary and her husband, and attend the workshop Friday evening and Saturday.

Though Mary provided all the supplies, I added in some of the white-on-white fabric with which I've been playing, so that I could finesse my approach to it and do some more experimenting.  It was a very intense experience, but what fun -- and what learning!

Mary taught us first how to create a background for a winter scene -- which, of course, can be adapted to other seasons.  Some of my attempts were more successful than others...

I really like this one

This one?  Not so much!
Going to lose that bottom edge, I think!

I made a total of three backgrounds on Friday evening -- the third one I used the next day, after we'd spent the morning creating trees -- birch and "brown" ones, some of which you see in this sample below:

Trees positioned
on Background #3

The key to the trees was to trace them out in washable blue gel glue; let the glue dry completely; paint inside the lines made by the dried glue; wash out the glue; dry the fabric; fuse it to Steam-a-Seam Lite (Wonder Under Lite would be another option, or MistyFuse or your favourite fusible web; cut out the trees and audition them on a background before fusing down.

Then one could go back in with water-colour pencils or water-reactive crayons (we used Neocolor Artist's Crayons) to accent the tree trunks and background as desired.  I did fairly well at this on the brown trunks, not so well on the snow.  I find it hard to have a light enough touch -- and once wet, the colour becomes more intense!

And what about that white-on-white fabric?  I tried a background on which, after the paint dried, I used the blue gel glue to draw the form of an evergreen.  Now that it is more than dry enough, I'll go back in and paint it in order to create another "mini".  (If you look carefully you'll see the faint outline of the tree on the right side of the photo.)

Background painted on white-on-white
fabric; evergreen outlined
 in blue gel glue.

And...I tried tracing trees in blue gel glue on that sort of background.  The white-on-white print made an interesting resist against the paint I put on those trees once the glue was dry:

Trees painted on
white-on-white fabric.

What do I do with this one now?  Well...I need to paint in the background behind those trees.  What I need to do first is paint over just the individual trees with a layer of the washable blue gel glue.  Once it dries, I will be able to paint in the background; the glue will act as a resist to protect the fresh paint from running into the tree trunks.  Once that dries, I'll heat set it, and then wash out the voila!  Another winter scene to sandwich, quilt and tweak as I see fit!

In between, I'm knitting, knitting, knitting for Christmas...less than five weeks away now...

And though I'm late to the party this week, I'm linking this post to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, because I still can...and because I think my experimenting with paint fits with her post about giving oneself permission to go off in an new direction, don't you?

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and colleagues.  May you find great blessings in having those you love around you, in creating a hospitable house and home, and in the work of your hands...and may everyone have a great week!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

On a Lighter Note

Gosh, I've been dragging myself around these days!  I won't go into all the reasons; the U.S. election results, the sombre marking of Remembrance Day, the grey skies...

Just let me say I've had to have pep talks with myself to get off social media and back on track with both art work and gifts for Christmas.

This morning, three new minis made their way to Gracie D's down the street.  The first two are mono-prints that build on what I learned early this year as part of the "Mono-print" challenge for the 15 x 15 Group:

Dining Alone (C) 2016

Dining Alone - Detail

Lunch Meeting - (C) 2016

Lunch Meeting - Detail

And the third was the most successful result (thus far) of my experimenting with white-on-white fabric as a 'resist' for paint -- based on an article in the October/November 2016 issue of Quilting Arts magazine: "White on White You CAN Resist!" by Joanne Sharpe.

When I saw the underlying fabric for this piece over at my LQS, I just knew I had to buy some to try, because I was sure it would look like falling snow.  My first efforts were done on a piece of it that I washed.  One sample was so bad (my painting skills, not the technique) that I threw it out.  The other rests quietly in my "Samples" binder.  And the third...well, I rather like it, and when Gracie saw it she did too.  :-)

Snowy, Snowy Night (C) 2016

Snowy, Snowy Night - Detail

The next 15 x 15 Group 'reveal' is at month-end; my piece for the theme, "Motion", is finished -- except to sew down the binding.  This one, somehow, didn't want to be finished with a facing (my preferred method these days) called for a bias binding with mitred corners!!  I gamely got out my copy of The Quilter's Ultimate Visual Guide  -- my 'go to' reference for bindings -- and managed to get the job done this morning.  Phew!  :-)

Next up: some quilting "television" (The Quilt Show), more Christmas knitting...and maybe a short jog.  Oh -- and I'm linking up with Nina Marie over at Off the Wall Friday, before I leave you with the musical question...

What are you doing creatively to lift your spirits today?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

RIP, Mr. Leonard Cohen

God bless you, Leonard Cohen.
Sept. 21, 1934 - Nov. 10, 2016