I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Very First Thread Painted Piece

Back in the old days (2010) I literally stumbled across an artist whose work was so outstanding it was instrumental in leading me into thread painted art.  Alison Holt is an English textile artist who does the most beautiful thread paintings I have ever seen. I have all of her books and her DVD.
Alison Holt-Reflections in Water

Alison Holt-Summer Sky

If you are interested, you can watch some video clips of her work. Over the past 2 years I have received several signed copies of Ms Holt's books and I will never, ever lend them out or give them away. Yes, I am a huge, huge dorky fan. 

So after painstakingly watching the video, reading her books and practising for 10 minutes, I created this piece:

The top picture is the photo I used to create the painting in the bottom. I look at my painting and remember how proud I was of the completed work. It took hours and hours to do. I tried so hard and did the best I possibly could. Of course looking back I see the errors--I didn't use the right colours, the stems and leaves are unrecognisable and the flower heads have no comparison in nature. I 'may' recognize these as cow parsley (as it is called in England).

I have kept this piece in its natural state to show to my thread classes. I tell them that they CAN make thread art and be proud of it. Not everything has to be able to win a national competition. And the best part? I got better and better with practice. I will never be as good as Alison Holt and that's OK too. I still love to make thread paintings..

More Stuff Here

I had another blog that I liked, but I haven't posted in it since 2010. That was a long time between posts! And I didn't like the name of my blog, or the font, or the format or the....well you get the gist. So if you look in the past posts, you will see a slew of old (but really, really interesting) stuff...

I hope someone other than me thinks finds those posts interesting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Funny Thing

I received an email from Monika at My Sweet Prairie who said she had seen a piece I entered into a local competition and what a coincidence that was. The piece she was talking about was in the Canadian Quilter (and can you believe I do not have a copy??)  from 2007 or 2008. I received 2nd place with this wall hanging and it is about 52 x 42.

The theme for the competition was "Canada Games" because the Canada Games were being held in my community of Whitehorse, Yukon that year. As an aside, I wore the second place metal everywhere I went during the Canada Games and proudly said I was a metal winner as well! (even though most Canada Games participants are between 18-24 and I am at least double that age)...  :-)

The piece was created out of a photo taken by an online friend. (Notice a pattern here??) The picture was taken in the States with the skates and stick exactly where there are in this piece. But the skies were dull and the lake was a bottomless pit black and grey. I had recently been on a lake near my house that had no snow on it because the wind had blown it all away and you could see every tree perfectly in the clear lake ice. I decided to add a bright, pink sky because I thought it would be a good foil for the mountains and play off the reflections in the ice.  

The hills are dyed cheesecloth, and if you look at the enlarged photo, you may see the straight line below the mountains is made from a partially unravelled tweed jacket. It made a nice line of trees straight across the piece. I also added strings as the skate laces. Finally, I layered white cheesecloth over the ice in a variety of layers to suggest small snow mounds and imperfections in the ice.

close-up of hills and reflection
I haven't thought about this piece very much since I made it, but Monika's email made me think about it again. I see my inexperience here and there and realize how much I have learned and the techniques I still work to perfect. I want to go back and fix the clouds in the sky and the reflections on the water but I have to remind myself that THIS piece was what pushed my into teaching. And this piece is a snapshot of my skills and abilities at that time. So once again I resist the urge to change it, to better it, to morph it into something it never was. "It is what it is" will be the motto here..

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Finally-Some Heat!

We finally, finally got some hot weather yesterday and it was a beautiful 24 degrees C. My father in law  is visiting and we are all very excited about the nice weather forcasted for this weekend.  

No, this is not my FIL, but Ripley, the mistriss of the house.

On the thread scene, I am giving this piece to my own father's friend because she just retired. When she last visited the Yukon, one of her favorite stories was seeing a large area covered in fireweed as far as the eye could see. Although I had initially made this piece for my journal, I am sending it to her as a reminder of that magnificant scene.  


Now I need to make another one for my journal.  :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thank you!

I have made a new blog friend with Monika Kinner-Whalen at My Sweet Prairie. We both do thread embroidery and decided to swap some items. I sent her a number of sky hand dyed fabrics and she in return sent me these:
50 spools of fabulous thread. Look at these gorgeous colours that Monika picked for me! You may notice some of them in my thread piece below in my Snag truck.Thanks again Monika. You all need to see her blog. WOW!

Just to complain, today it all the way up to 10 degrees C and rained all day. We turned our space heater on. :-(  The warmest weather we have had yet is 21 degrees and then it was so windy, I still wore a sweater..
Now that summer is over, hopefully we will have a nice fall! The old dog is ready for whatever will come that tries to mess with his walkies.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What I did instead..

I was going to work on my thread painted truck, but instead my hubby and I went ATV'ing here:

My hubby Mike (below) and some of the mountain ranges that surround this area:


This is behind Annie Lake in the Yukon. 45 minutes from our house and around 1-1.5 hours on the ATV. Isn't this magnificent?

We went with our awesome friends and even though there was a breakdown, it was a great day out--and the weather was -finally- good.

And my BFF even brings her little dog Ruby in the tub! She is an awesome rider.  :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Thread Painting Design

My first love is dyeing fabric and my second is thread painted pictures. I usually make 6x4 sizes and they can take as long as a traditional wall hanging. 

I am teaching this technique this fall and wanted a northern scene to do to add to my portfolio, even though this is not what they will be doing. None of my pictures thrilled me, so I scoured the internet for an appropriate photo. I found this:

The photographer, Sue Thomas, told me that this picture was taken at Snag, Yukon in 1998. It was a special place for her father because he had worked in Snag during the 50's. Several years ago after he passed, the family went beck to scatter his ashes. Fall in the Yukon is beautiful and I loved this photo for that reason. After hearing the special story around this photo, I feel emotionally connected now and I will always associate Snag with Sue's family. 
Sue sent me additional photos that I may use in some fashion in the future. I am honoured that she is allowing me to use her photo for my piece. 

The first thing I need to do is manipulate the image so that it prints out clean and sharp. I make a copy of the image as a RAW file choice (even if the original is a jpg). I then increase the saturation of the photo because fabric will absorb more ink than paper. I may also adjust the brightness if the picture needs it. 

I always print out a test piece of fabric with my manipulated settings to see if I need to adjust anything. But to be real, I just use the photo to lay down the outline of the elements in the picture so I can sew over them. 

Here is the photo printed on fabric. It's hard to tell, but the white edge is the white fabric I printed the photo on. The extra edge allows me to manipulate the photo under the sewing machine easier. I will fuse a stabilizer to the piece. Sometimes a use a hoop, but prefer to use CANVAS fabric with no stabilizer or COTTON with a stabilizer. 

Ready to go!

First Post

I am starting this blog mostly to chronicle my art progress and processes. Please feel free to come along for the ride!