Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Calendar Quilts

Calendar Quilts
For the last two years I have sewn one block a day and made a calendar quilt. In 2014 I used white background blocks and reverse appliqued a circle of fabric. I used special colours to signify certain special days.
My 2015 calendar quilt is almost finished-at least the blocks are almost done. In January I will try to get it quilted. this years quilt is black background with half square triangles sewn to two sides. So far this is looking pretty good. I do like a black background.

Now...what am I going to do for next year??? I have come up with several ideas but not really a concrete plan-yet.

I  think that I would like to change the shape a little bit. For the last two years I have used 3 1/2 inch blocks and assembled them by the month. This makes for a very long and narrow quilt. The size and shape might disqualify it for submissions to shows. I want this year's project to be a little bit more square in shape. But I want it to be as simple in execution as the previous years. I could just change the shape of the blocks. By using a rectangle rather than a square I could change the finished shape of the quilt. I don't really have to follow the monthly assembly either. I could just make it about 20 blocks long and that would make for a more quilt like finished size.

Well I have a few days left to ponder!! What to do...what to do???


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Robynne Cole.... Artist and Friend.

So I have posted about my fellow Fabrics... all except Robynne Cole.

Robynne I met before the Fabrigo's formed. She and I were both  members of the Art Galley of Burlington Fibre Arts group at the time. We started sharing rides and became friends.

Robynne is a great person to get to know. She has taken many classes and is always open to new ideas. She has spent several weeks at the Halliburton School of the Arts. Trained first through Ryerson  in Toronto in textiles she moved on to a career in accounting. She never gave up her sewing. Making clothing of all kinds for many years. Moving into traditional quilting then branching into Art Quilting.

Robynne is a person who is attentive to detail. She sometimes claims that she is not as free in her creativity but I think at times she is more reflective and that adds to her work.

She keeps us on track with her organizational skills as sometimes us more free spirited members can get off on a tangent.

Her curating and work with Fibre Content 2012, 2014 and upcoming 2016 has greatly promoted fibre art as fine art.

Through Robynne I finally joined SAQA and met Karen and Al through the parlour meetings held by Central Ontario Rep Dwayne Warner.  Robynne assists with the organization of these meetings. The meetings allow us to see other artists work and have some inspiring speakers as well.

I know she remains involved with the Burlington Fibre Arts group at the Art Gallery of Burlington and now also is a board member of the AGB.

Here in her own words she describes herself

Robynne Cole
Artist’s Statement

Fabrics are like paint for me, and batiks are my favourite.  I am happiest when I am lost in thought of all the opportunities each fabric can bring.  Making quilted art is a true passion for me and like most avid quilters I seem to have an addiction to fabrics.  I have a huge stash of things to make and lots of fabrics just waiting for my attention.

My first attraction to sewing came from an aunt who made my cousins clothes.  I was amazed by this process.  I used to admire and praise friends who got to wear things their Mom had made; much to their embarrassment as they preferred store bought new!

Making collages as a teenager I would clip and paste things from magazines to make my own poster pictures.  I grew up surrounded by the ongoing work at my grandparents’ florist shop.  I originally attended the Fashion Diploma program at Ryerson, but after two years I changed career paths and went on to University and became a Chartered Accountant. 

For years I made clothes and window treatments for friends and never had any intention of making quilts, which seemed “old fashioned”.  About 15 years ago I took a beginner quilt class.  I was hooked, “bitten by the bug” and have never looked back.  I no longer wish to sew anything other than a quilt!

I have read that many quilters have a mathematical or technical background as the patterns really are a lovely play on angles, shapes, and colour and how they all come together and interact.  There is also the artistic side that allows you to venture outside the given structures and find the inspiration for something unique.

Attending classes at the Haliburton School of Art, I felt so at home and was so enthused it was as if my feet did not touch the ground while I was there.  It is a moving spiritual thing to sense this connection to what you are creating.  I love when I can just let the project come together in a manner that flows from my inner being or intuition.

My work often features combining batiks and traditional fabrics when they “talk” to each other and embellishment with textured ribbons, yarns and beads.  I like to work on projects that have a special and lasting impact for the recipient; connections to special events, or people in their lives, or milestones of their accomplishments, which can form the story of the quilt. 

I think all paths in my life have taken me to this point and have contributed to where I am now, following my passion to make quilted art.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Get your fill of fibre at the Grimsby Public Library


Congratulations on your wonderful exhibit at the Grimsby Public Library.

Follow this link to see the article in the local Get your fill of fibre at the Grimsby Public Library about this exhibit.

The Library and Art Gallery is in the same building. The Gallery has a wonderful shop filled with great gift ideas and is easily located off of the Ontario Street exit in Grimsby!

Al is doing exciting things. He offers workshops, lectures and retreats.

Al Cote

Posted Jo

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

the birds flew away

I made this piece a few years ago. its made of cutouts of birds raw edge appliqed onto window screen and then stitched together with large gaps. I hung in on the patio for two summers until it faded so badly that I threw it out. yes Threw it out.
It was a good idea worth revisiting I think.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Bloom Where you are Planted

Karen here.

Bloom where you are planted-a self portrait.

I used to own a lot of red shoes. They've pretty much lost out now to brown leather slip-ons and Dr. Scholl's sensible footwear.
I also used to colour my hair-sometimes red, sometimes brown-now its white. Although I must say my hair has not lost a lot of its  do your own thing attitude. 

In the quilt my red shoes have planted themselves and have decided to bloom. the petals are lined with red seed beads.
I always have had an attitude that things would be better if I lived somewhere else, had a different job, lost 50 pounds --and on and on and on.

Our friend Al Cote has been blooming. His latest work is on display at the Grimsby, Ontario library. The show will be there until the end of December and is really a great display. He works in a small controlled way with lots of interesting details and texture. Al has recently started to use natural dying techniques and rusted stained fabrics that give his work a very organic feeling.  Lots of surface design, many beads and found objects and hand stitched embellishment are skillfully employed.
Congratulations Al. A beautiful display.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Buying new things

 In June my husband switched our provider to Bell Fibe TV. I wasn't too keen on it because I like to watch WNED and I couldn't find it on their list - but it got switched anyway. It is more economical.

We had a few kinks that had to be fixed the first month but it has worked well since then and there are a few features  that I really like- plus my husband found WNED-even when the rep couldn't.

Yesterday, Robynne, Al and I were at a luncheon and we were talking about Fibe tv. Robynne has just had it installed in her house and she likes the wireless feature. I said that I really didn't think that we were wireless.

I checked when I got home and, no, we are not wireless. The reason for that is that our TV is not SMART. It is so old that the new technology is not available.

I don't know how old the TV is but neither my husband or I can even remember how old it is or even where or when we bought it. It still works well-we have had to replace the remote a few times but have never had any problems with it-so why would I buy a new one? Just to get a smarter one?

I really hate buying new things.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Hi  everyone.  I have not added to the blog  in a long time.  A lot has happened since my last blog.
I returned from the show in Italy and immediately prepared for my first annual Fiber Art retreat.
I was overwhelmed to find that I had 24 people sign up!  I was well prepared as far as the programme went.  We experimented with everything from thread painting, fabric dyeing, folding, a little rust dyeing and curved piecing.  They produced an amazing amount of work!  My wife Debbie cooked all the meals which was not an easy task, but enjoyed by all.  The house we rented was wonderful with lots of sleeping room but the work area was a bit tight, but we all managed.  On Saturday evening Fabrigos members Karen and Robynne  ( plus myself) came and presented a mini trunk show.  Unfortunately, Jo was relaxing at her cottage ( poor thing) but was there in spirit.  We talked a bit about our collaborative work and how we got together as a group.
The retreat was such a success that I am planning to run two in the spring and only having about twelve people at each one.
In September Debbie and I travelled by ship to Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa and Australia. It was an adventure!  We purchased a lot of fabrics including Tapa cloth from Fiji which I can not wait to experiment with.  We also purchased a lot of art.
I continue being busy with trunk shows and workshops and of course my fellow Fabrigos keep me grounded and prolific!
I have a showing of 13 pieces at the Grimsby Library until December 31.
Now I can catch up with customers quilts and get ready for the 2016 schedule!


My sister and I had the pleasure this week of a visit to the Shweinfurth Art center in Auburn New York to see the annual Quilts-Art-Quilts show.
It is an annual event in its 35th year but this is the first time we have seen it.  Its is a wonderful show and well worth the two hour drive to get there. I first heard about it last year but the weather last year was just to bad to travel there. this year we had a beautiful sunny day.

There were over 70 quilts in the show and each piece was a delight.

I'll just tell you about a few of my favourites.
A piece by Amy Meissner of Anchorage Alaska was one of the reasons I went to the show. I follow Amy's blog and enjoy her work. She re-uses old fabrics which happens to be a favourite thing for me to do. The piece  that was in the show was one of her reliquary series-number one Accumulation.
The words on the quilt spell out My Teeth my teeth are falling out. In her blog she talks about dreams of teeth falling out and an accident when she was a child which damage her two front teeth. Hand embroidery on the center panel spell out words all related to teeth and problems with teeth.
Its always a great pleasure to see a work in person. Photographs don't always capture the feeling of the work. I was delighted to see some of the small details that a photograph just doesn't capture. I knew that there were small found objects attached to this work but it was great to really see them.

A work by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred  called Sunset across Burma was another favourite. hand dyed cotton, screen printed photos of the dalai lama at three different ages, repeated with small changes and bits of embellishment was very striking.

Golden Canyon by Vicki Conley was very striking. A story of fire and rejuvenation and great printed fabrics.

There were a lot of quilts made using photographs-some more toward realism than others but it was quite evident that printing photos onto fabric is a trend that is still very popular and creative. Hand dyed fabric and altering commercial fabrics with dyes and inks and bleach was also used in many of the works.

A trend that is near to my heart is the reuse of vintage fabrics. There were many works that did just that. Hooray!!

This show should be on the Do Not Miss list for any one in the area. Well Done!!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

IN SPIRIT a show at Burlington art gallery

Karen here!

We went on a little road trip last week to the Art Gallery of Burlington. the featured show was called IN SPIRIT. It was a show by three artists-John Latour, Timothy Laurin and Heather Murray.

It was curated be Virginia Eichorn and Denis Longchamps.

All three artists explored the idea of spirits and ghost through old photos and artifacts of an historical nature.

Heather Murray takes found photos and objects and assembles them onto canvases. Several canvases draw the looker into the story. There is a recurring theme of love and loss.

Timothy Lauren takes family photographs and alters them in a way that makes you question whether the perceived memory is as reliable as you may have thought.  For example he has taken a family beach day and altered the same image in three different ways-one a day scene: one a night around the fire scene and  another where the colours suggest a sweltering day.
The photos suggest that pictures don't always tell the whole story.

John Latour's work explores the possibility of communicating with the spirit world. His work is largely interactive with the audience. A sweetheart spirit board, assembled into an ironing board requires two people  to operate.

 A desk where he asks the audience to draw a self portrait and then a portrait of the next person who is going to sit at the desk tests the ability of everyone to foresee the future. A large cubicle  invites a person to  enter to commune with a spirit.

The show runs at the Art Gallery of Burlington, Ontario until the November 15, 2015. It's a great show. Highly recommended. I am going to return for another look!! It's a good idea to purchase the catalogue as there are some very interesting notes from the artists.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The unveiling- Eco dye Day

The Unveiling Eco Dye Day

So I have soaked my fabrics, wrapped them with leaves and wild flowers and boiled them.
Today I will open them up and have a look.
This is cotton. I am not sure if I like it-maybe a little bland. I think maybe the wrapping could have been tighter. There is quite a lot of blank space. There are two small spots that look good-I think its the geranium leaves. Quite a nice purple.

This is the second piece of cotton. I am very happy with it. It has been coloured a bit more.

The velvet is good. I like the way it turned out. it has taken the marks of the leaves as well as the colour. I will let them dry a little bit. They were still damp. My photographer, Tenpin, asked what that smell was! I will wash them this afternoon and take them to our meeting tomorrow for show and tell. Then have to decide what to do with them.

Eco Dying Part Two

Eco Dying Part Two
I took the soaked fabrics and laid them out flat on the table. They are still wet from the long soak.
I laid out leaves and flowers that I had gathered. Then rolled the fabric around the tree limb and tied it off with string. I used oak leaves, geranium leaves and some native wild flowers.
The three bundles were placed in my large cooking pot( I don't use it for cooking food)
The pot boiled vigorously for two hours. Come back tomorrow for the grand unveiling!!

Eco Dying Part One

Hi , Karen here

This summer I have tried my hand at some eco dye projects. The results are at least interesting!!
I soaked three pieces of fabric, two cottons and the last piece of white velvet that I had saved for this occasion. I soaked them in rusty water that I had saved from our fire pit -so there is a little bit of charcoal in it too. I left the bucket outside and it stewed for more than a week. I was busy with other things!!

On the morning of Dye Day, our community lost a precious 300 year old white oak tree. I managed to salvage some leaves from the tree to use in my project.
My technical director chopped some limbs (from the tree, not the assistant) They are just the right size to wrap my fabric and then put into the pot for boiling! More tomorrow!!!

Friday, 24 July 2015


Karen here

Plans for today were cancelled at the last minute so now I am just puttering away. I am going to visit Jo at her cottage next week so I am starting to put together what I am going to take along. Not food, not clothing but a gathering of art projects and supplies for whatever the inspiration.
I have supplies for encaustics that haven't even been opened for a year so I think that this will be a good time to take them and use them.
I think I will take my oil paints too.
and of course my knitting bag will be in the car.
Oh and maybe Jo can help me with my photo editing project. I do need to send her the photo that I want to alter for a screen printing project.
and my daily block will have to be there I think I will need to cut a few more squares before I go
So maybe I should get to work on doing some of that instead of sitting here on blogger!!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Karen Sirianni

Karen has introduced herself here on this blog.

But I thought I would add a few things that I have come to learn about her.

Karen is a diverse artist. One look at her home and you see where her passion lies. Art covers her home. Pictures she has painted. Fabric art. Even artistic vignettes in her bathroom. Can you say cage wire shoes?

Robynne and I met Karen at a SAQA Central meeting. If I remember correctly - and I may have it wrong - Karen was stitching on a project that day. I sat beside her and we chatted away. And agreed to meet to see if we would get along for a fiber art group in Niagara. The rest is history.

Karen is retired from her day job but boy does she work. If you visit her blog nearthefivecorners you will see where she is recording the work she has been doing. I think Karen must create every day.

She is a loving grandma - very proud of her grandchildren. She is fun and we enjoy laughing. She is a free spirit diving into a project even pirate costumes for plays.

Karen has had pieces in Fibre Content and has a piece in the Niagara Regional Headquarters as well.
Add caption

Road trips are a favourite to go on to see exhibits of fiber art but of art in general. We actually have to be careful that we don't laugh to much when we go on a trip and miss the exit we are looking for.

Karen sews and quilts on her regular sewing machine. She uses her basement as her studio and has a different style than Robynne and my storage systems.

She also graciously made a piece of art from a picture printed on Lutradur. I love this ship and what she has done with it.
Karen took a picture printed on Lutradur and with stitching and melting turned it into this great piece.

Introduction to Al Cote....

In answer to my "call" Al responded with the following. All of Al's words are in italics and I have added some information to let you know Al as I have come to know him.

"Journey to Fabrigos"
Al Cote 

"With a desire to meet other fellow Fiber artists I answered a call from Jo, asking for local Fiber artists who were interested in getting together to share their works and ideas and act as supporters of the Fiber arts.  Believe it or not, only three other people answered her call.  These three people joined Jo and we became the Fabrigos!- Jo Vandermey, Karen Sirianni, Robynne Cole and myself Albert Cote."

We are all members of SAQA Central Canada but live in the Niagara Region. We wanted to have a small group and make it easy to travel to get together. Al and Karen are from Niagara Falls and Robynne and I are from West Niagara.... about a half hour towards Hamilton, Ontario - Jo's comment.

"Although we are all Fiber artists, we are very different in our approach and technique.

I myself like curved piecing, raw edge appliqué, painting on fabric and collage using found objects.  I love working with silks, wools, velvets, and upholstery fabrics as well as cotton.  I do not like high realism pieces. I like the mystery and the spontaneity of a little whimsy and crudeness to a piece.

I really would like to explore incorporating plaster, glass and metal with my fabric pieces.
I come up with an idea from things such as books, old adages, traditional folk lore tales, and childhood memories.

I don't like to depict suffering, war, poverty, hunger or the unhappy conditions of people in societies.  I don' t feel the need to vent my inner anger. "

Al - as I have come to know him is a funny, kind,enthusiastic and spontaneous artist! His history in the arts in painting and fabric brings a lot to the table in a group. We can attest to Al's spontaneity and spark! My daughter brought the idea of bouncing ping pong balls to our thinking. Karen is probably the quietest of the group but thoughtful comments can help us to re think an idea.-  Jo's Comment

"I love to research a subject from many angles.  I do some sketching, take notes and think about the subject for days and sometimes weeks.  I keep a journal of my thoughts. I write little scenarios, poems and constantly alter them in my head .  I like to think of all the possible ways that I could achieve my piece such as colours, size, balance, techniques to use before I even select the actual fabric. I work out all the problems that might occur, and envision the piece completed.
Al auditioning colours on a piece of hand dyed fabric of Jo's done on one of our group days.

I love the pressure of a deadline!  It may look like I am stalling, or procrastinating because I have nothing to show sometimes just days before the deadline, but when I actually put fabric to sewing machine it goes quite quickly with no mistakes only minor adjustments to be made.  All the "mistakes" have been worked out in my head the preceding days or weeks."

Al is very good at this! Fabric and techniques are his palette these days. Having been a businessman running his own Hair Salon, and his Fabric Store with wife Deb he knows what it is to learn new things and convey this to others. He has been at Quilt Markets, has displayed both his paintings- in the past and Fiber Art in the present. His travels and teaching make him a wealth of information. But for all this Al is very receptive to learning from others. He is like a sponge of artistic information and techniques. In fact he helped me by playing with Lutradur with the group last year and made some pieces so I could include them in my guest blog post at andthenwesetitonfire last year on Lutradur.

The picture on the pillow was a photograph printed on to lutradur. Al incorporated this image in to a small pillow and gifted it to me. - Jo 

"In 2012, The Niagara Peninsula was named Culture Capital of Canada and I was privileged to be selected as one of 14 Fiber artist to produce 9 very large pieces that would depict the Niagara area.  Five artist produced one piece each and three artists worked on three different triptychs.  These pieces now hang permanently in the Regional Offices in St. Catharines, Ontario. I worked on a triptych with Irma Bull and Suzi Dwor."

This piece was beautiful. It is well worth the visit if you are in St. Catharines, Ontario. It hangs permanently in the Niagara Regional Headquarters.  - Jo comment

"I was also one of the teachers at Quilt Canada in 2014 held in St. Catharines, Ontario
I have many large commissioned pieces in private homes as well as public buildings throughout the Niagara area."

Al has completed many pieces for the Hospice in St. Catharines. - Jo comment

"I enjoy presenting my "trunk show" and teaching my workshops all across Ontario and Western New York.""

This is an understatement. Al's trunk shows are like a mini class. He freely gives tips and explanations on how he has completed or worked a project. His enthusiasm abounds in both trunk shows and workshops. If you want to just try to inject some creativity into your work either traditional or experimental you will benefit from seeing him speak.

Al gives workshops, trunk-shows and offers retreats. Al and Deb offer retreats for traditional and fiber artists. He can be reached through this blog. - Jo comment

This is just a snap shot of Al. Hope you enjoyed hearing about our friend and fellow artist. 


Any mistakes in this can be attributed to me. lol

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Al Cote

Al Cote is a very inspirational artist and a joy to be around.

I thought though I would help Al out in the technical end. Since we started our blog I/we haven't had time for the blog posting lesson we said we would have....

So here in all its glory and home in Italy is Al's piece.


Jo Posting for Al 

Here in Italy

Hello everyone.  Well I am enjoying myself so much in Italy.  The Verona Tessile is certainly well organized and a welcome site in Verona.  Posters and ads are everywhere.  Our host and fearless leader Sandra Reford has thought of everything to make us feel welcome and comfortable in Verona!
There are only 10 Canadians on this trip, two of which have pieces in the show.  Coral Jewel (a great name) and myself. What a proud moment it was for me to see my piece hanging in the show!
The ideas and visions in my head are overwhelming!  I can see that I will not lack for future pieces to emerge .
The food, the architecture, the art and the very stylish people, and the smell of Jasmine everywhere will be planted securely in my mind forever!
The artist's that I have met and the exchange of ideas is extremely exciting.
I am here for another week, then off on a cruise until June 7. I can't wait to get home to my studio and work, work, work!  I should say play, play, play!
The first day with my fellow Fabrigos will be extremely exhausting but exciting at the same time.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bloom Where you Are Planted

Hi everyone, It's Karen
Another question that Jo asked is How do you describe your work?"
I like to make quilts (yes I still call them quilts-when I say fibre art, people don't know what I am talking about) that tell stories. Stories usually generated by my life. I usually start with an idea--when I can narrow myself down to one idea -and go from there. If the idea is good the quilt almost makes itself. I hide out in my studio and don't come up for air until it's almost finished. Most of my quilts are humorous-just little vignettes of life in my house. A few of them have become more about bigger pictures but most of them are about everyday events here at the little honeymoon cabin in the suburbs.

This is a self portrait that I called Bloom where You are Planted. It was accepted in the Fibre Content show at the Burlington art Gallery in 2014.
I have always been one who thinks that the grass is greener elsewhere. I am trying to get over that! The quilt  was painted and stitched and beaded. I made it during my red hair days. I also went through a period where I only wore red shoes. My shoes have been planted and have started to sprout. and I am fat!
So now you know more about me than I would have told you in person. I let the fabric speak for me!!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

How did I get here?

Hi everyone, Karen here
Jo has asked each of us to write a little bit about ourselves on the blog. Her first question is
How did you get here?
WELL-- it started when I was 12 years old and my mother bought a new sewing machine. It is still a vivid memory for me.
A salesman brought the White sewing machine in a wood cabinet to our house and started to give my mom a lesson on how to use it. I said "Scooch over, Mom" and the rest is history.  I think that she had to wait until I was at school to get her hands on it.
I started making my own clothes and I wore them proudly. One of my friends mothers took pity on me and showed me how to set in sleeves after she saw my first attempt. I would not take any advice from my Mom for some reason.
I made most of my own clothing through high school and beyond. When my children were born and KMart opened, I decided that I still needed to sew but looked to quilting as an alternative to dressmaking.
I started very traditionally but was often frustrated with the length of time that one project was taking.  Back in the 70's most quilts were hand done-start to finish and I don't have the attention span needed to persevere. The rotary cutter and mat are the finest invention of the era and I welcomed them with open arms. Most of my quilts are machine pieced and machine quilted.
This is one of the first quilts that I made, using Eleanor Burns Quilt in a day method. It is machine pieced and hand quilted. It's all polyester including the batting. It has been washed many times and its still in great shape. We have it on our bed always.
Camping in the Mountains At Night

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Italy here I come!

Hi everyone!  Just returned from a month in sunny Florida.  Weather was great and I sure rested up for a busy April and May!
I am very booked for trunk shows and workshops in April.  Everywhere from Oakville to Perth, Ontario.
I entered a Fiber arts show in Verona, Italy. The show is called " Colori Divini".  It celebrates the colors and influence of the wine country of VERONA.  My wife, Debbie and I are going to the festival in May from the 14th-25th. I was notified recently that my piece was accepted!  How exciting it will be to actually see the piece hanging in the show!
From VERONA we are traveling to Greece, Turkey, Istanbul and Croatia.  Hope to do a lot of sketching and designing new pieces along the way.  Probably buy a few meters of fabrics too!  These I will certainly divide among my fellow Fabrigos.
Also taking a course with Sue Spargo in Amherst NY.  Hope to hone up on my hand stitching skills.
( want to make Jo proud of me, as she does beautiful hand stitching) .
While in Florida I visited two quilt shows.  At one show I bought a HUGE bag of assorted Upholstery fabrics. Everything from velvets, corduroys, and linens all for $2.00!  I am sure these will also be shared with my Fabrigos for a future challenge.
Next week I am teaching a two day class in Amherst, NY.  It is a threadpainting class using many techniques and a variety of  machine stitches with a free motion foot.  Always amazed at what the students accomplish.  I always seem to come away with more ideas from the students then I seem to teach them!
Looking forward to gardening season.  Funny how gardening and fiber arts go together!
Will post a picture of my Italian  piece from Italy in May!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

First Year Anniversary and Collaboration

We celebrated our 1st year anniversary this past month. It was a great day since we braved the cold to combine our newest Collaborative work for the Relay of Hope Ontario Panel. Canadian Aids Society and Relay of Hope Run

Robynne brought this cause to our attention and we jumped right in designing a piece to represent Ontario for this Canada wide quilt. Our group is good at collaborations. We have completed 2 and have several in mind for entry into upcoming call of entries.

 How do we do it?

First an idea is proposed...

There is a lot of discussion, chatter and free flowing ideas. With each member contributing in their unique way. (Usually controlled chaos)

A bit of sketching... choosing of fabric and then general guidelines of what we would like each member to do before the next meeting.

Then we go our separate ways and create in our own style what we have agreed on. So far this approach has worked in my humble opinion. Our different skills, talents, experiences and skill set seems to bring out the best in us.

This is what our panel for the Relay of Hope Quilt turned out.
Relay of Hope - Ontario Panel. 

Al Cote, Jo Vandermey, Karen Siariani, Robynne Cole

We each had input into the design, fabric choices, techniques used and quilting of this piece. Mind you Al is still the master of long arm quilting but we all did a bit on this quilt.

This is our 2nd collaboration in the past year.

Our first was Metaphysical Collaboration and was juried into Fibre Content 2014.

How we did that will be in an upcoming post.

If you belong to a group try a collaboration. It is a great way to learn via others work process, stretch your skills and have fun!


To see more detailed pictures go to the Collaborations Page of this Blog. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Foil Applique

Foil Applique by Karen
My cousin gave me some strips of waste foil that she uses in her imprinting business Ribbonworks.
The foil is heat sensitive. She uses it to print ribbons.
I cut some little strips and ironed them onto a scrap of fabric. My first attempt was not successful. It seems that the iron was too hot and I held it too long. I turned down the temp on the iron and just quickly ran across the strip. That seems to work.

Then I got out the stencil that Jo and I made last week. I placed the stencil on the fabric and ironed the foil over top. Didn't work. the bond on the foil was not strong enough to make it stay on the fabric.-stuck to the stencil, though.
Back to the drawing board. I see potential but still needs some work.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

written in stone

Hi Karen here!!
Yes I am getting tired of the snow, too.
I came home from the SAQA meeting with lots of inspiration. Al, your trunk show was fabulous. Thanks.
We talked about a few books at the meeting, too. I was very interested in Jane Dunnewold's programs. I checked out her website and some u tube things that she has done. On the website she gives a four page tutorial on critiquing your work. I will print it out and bring it to our next meeting. 
I am working on the clothing challenge. I will have it finished for tomorrow I hope-making not bound but its almost finished quilted.

Hi guys: am really getting tired of the winter!  Too much snow. But, my wife Debbie and I are leaving for Florida Thursday until the end of March.  Am taking our sewing machines and plan to sew (at night or rainy days)  some new Art pieces and  want to experiment with some new ideas.
Well the Fabrigos have a lot of new things planned.  A "second hand " clothing challenge were we each have to buy a used piece of clothing from a second hand store and create a fiber art piece but still have recognizable elements of clothing.  We are also working on some collaborate pieces to enter into upcoming shows.
I myself just this week finished my entrance piece for a fiber show in Italy called Colors Divine in Verona.  Wish me luck!
I am booked for many trunk shows and workshops in April all across Southern and Northern Ontario and would like to add some new technique quilts to my "show" and talk.  Probably need more rainy days in Florida than I want to finish all these things.  Life is Good!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Book review

Hi everyone, Karen here!

One of the things that I would like to do in this blog is review books that I am reading. The latest book on my shelf is Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit Learn it and use it for life.
published by Simon and Schuster publishing house.

Twyla Tharp is one of America's greatest choreographers. In her 40 year career she has created more than 130 dances for her company as well as world famous Ballet companies. She has won two Emmy awards and a Tony award for her work.

One of her main philosophies is that one should develop rituals and routines in everyday life. One can learn to develop creativity by repeating and planning. "Planning lets you impose order on the chaotic process of making something new."

I am so bad with ritual and routine. I never am able to do the same thing every day and I can see where it has caused stress and panic in my life and my artwork. I am almost always rushing at the last minute in order to finish work for a deadline. BUT I am really trying to change this.

One of my new routines is to post on this blog. Friday is going to be Book review day-for me at least, and hopefully my fellow fabrigos will join me.

In Al's initial post he writes about how happily we four have come together and how much better we all are for it. I concur. Our creative energy has really grown for all of us. We all urge our fellow readers to seek out your own little group of artists.

Read a few books like Twyla Tharp's to help get the creative juices running and head out on a journey.

Love, Karen

P>S> Happy Friday 13.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hi from Al

Hi everyone:  My name is Al Cote and I am a proud " Fabrigo"!  We have been together now for one fun and adventurous year.  We are very lucky that we have the same sense of humor.  Our work is all different in some ways and very much alike in other ways.
I have never blogged before so this is going to be another new adventure.
Karen, Robynne, Jo and I are constantly coming up with new challenges for each other.
I highly encourage everyone to find those two or three people who will fit in with yourself and start your own group.  Keep it small! We think it was karma that only three of us answered Jo's call for members.  Now we have decided to "close" the membership.
I am looking forward to the future adventures that we will have as well as watching everyone's progress on their own. None of us are very sedate!  Busy, busy, busy!
So this was my first introduction to our blog. I know it will not be the last.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Welcome to the Fabrigos!

Welcome to the Fabrigos.

A Short History. (Well not so short after all...)

One year ago 4 individuals came together for their first meeting. I had a desire to meet with a few people who were like minded and wanted to be a process orientated to group to explore fibre art and mixed media. While I have wonderful friends (and they know who they are...) few are interested in quilting and fewer in Fiber Art or Art Quilting.

I met Robynne through the Art Gallery of Burlington Fibre Art group. We became commuter buddies to the meetings and friends thereafter.... Robynne is an inspirational art quilter and has been instrumental in organizing Fibre Content and active with SAQA by assisting Dwayne Warner one of our Canada Central co representatives. She has also been juried into many shows.

I met Karen when sitting next to her at a SAQA Central Canada parlor meeting a year later. We had a good time talking about her work that she had brought. Karen is a wonderful art quilter. Both she and Al have pieces hanging in the Niagara Regional Headquarters in St. Catharines, Ontario Karen also has pieces in varied juried shows.  Karen's blog

I had long heard of Al through his former Quilt Shop in Niagara Falls, Ontario and met him briefly through his visit to my one quilt guild for a trunk show. Al not even knowing me sent an email that he would like to join. Al is a well know longarm quilter, fibre artist and teacher in our area and in Canada.  Al's Website Al Cote's Website

After putting out an invite to those who may live in the Niagara Region at a SAQA meeting I had only 3 Niagara responses. Those were the people listed above and that's how our group was formed. 4 individuals all with various experiences, levels of knowledge and talents.

We settled on a name during one of our fun loving discussions. Four Amigos, Fabric - Fabrigos. It seems to fit our sense of humours.

We have been a group for a year now. These 3 people have become some of my most beloved friends. Brought together through serendipity and meshing through shared interests. We laugh, we create, we critique, we talk (sometimes all at once) and we laugh some more.

What do we do as a group?

We go on road trips to expositions like to the Connections exhibit at the Wellington County Museum last year.

We collaborated on a piece that was juried into Fibre Content 2014 held last September at the Art Gallery of Burlington.
Robynne auditioning pieces onto our Metaphysical Collaboration while in process.

We make challenges to each other like Al's current -make something out of a piece of clothing you buy at a thrift store.  What comes will be interesting!

And we learn new techniques like working with lutradur last year.
Al Cote - experiment of girl printed on lutradur and incorporated into a pillow
Jo's paint and printing on Lutradur and adding coloured texture paste through a stencil. 

Robynne's painted, stitched and heat distressed lutradur piece. 
Karen's piece a old photo printed onto lutradur then stitched and heat distressed. 
and trying our hand at MX dyeing.

I hope you will enjoy our journey of our groups endeavors as we continue to explore, create and fellowship together.


until next time.... blogging with no pressure.. 

Maker of Things

Hi everyone, Thanks so much to Jo for setting this up.
First I'll tell you a little bit about myself.  My name is Karen. I am an avid Maker of Things! I make lots of things just because I can. My sewing machine and I hang out together just about everyday.