Friday, 22 April 2016

P.S. My Tribute to Vivien Maier

Oh the inspiration!

I have come to realize that after almost 50 years of drawing, painting, collage, quilting, textile art and Fiber Art, I still have a lot to explore!
I recently ran my 2nd annual Fiber Art Retreat and while I had an intense programme planned for my students ( all of which had attended the 1st retreat) it soon became clear that what I learned from them was just as exciting and innovative!
From the very first morning they were filled with things that they had discovered while exploring the techniques I had exposed them to last year.  They came with their samples and ideas for new pieces ready to build into even more exciting things.
They truly were a breath of fresh air!
We talked about our life experiences and how without knowing it at the time they WILL  show up in your art.  Each of us could relate to a situation that we depicted in our work.  Sometimes it was therapeutic, other times it was venting anger and often times is was meloncholic.
I tried to relay to them that although it was informative to explore things on the internet such as techniques it could also be very discouraging.  How many times have you looked at an artists work and immediately decided that you could never be that good?  Many times I have been excited about visiting a gallery only to become so intimidated and feeling like my own work was not worth the time I put into it.
You only need to look around, notice the things at your finger tips, the things in your life, your own backyard!  Paint, draw, sew, write for YOURSELF!  You ARE the artist!
It took me years to verbally say out loud that I was an artist.  It wasn't my job. It wasn't because I had the papers to prove it. It was because I felt like an artist! I am an artist!
Yes, appreciate the things you read in books, magazines. Enjoy what you see on You Tube or Pinterest, but use your own knowledge, your own experiences, your own visions.  Don't be afraid to celebrate your talent.  Every piece you make will be a work of art.  Your work of art. You don't need to justify it or even explain it.  Not everything has to scream with a story.  Let the viewer make up their own story.  Every piece should tell two stories......yours and theirs!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016

Meet Up

The fabrigos had another meeting yesterday. We met at my house with a little bit of a printing project in mind after a photoshoot in Niagara Falls.

The photoshoot got a little bit late in starting-and the afternoon printing projects didn't happen but we had a great time.
I am heading to Kingston next weekend for workshop with Lorraine Roy -artist extraordinaire--and tree hugger.
I am hoping to start a not so little project about the upper river and that's why I took my friends on this photo shoot. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had a great time.

We watched the birds.

We talked,
We got a lot of great pics,

                                                                  We channeled Vivian
This is not a machine gun. I think its Jo's tablet.
And we had a great day.

I cannot tell you what fun it is to be in this group. We laugh so much when we are all together. We support and nourish each other. We bring our gifts and willingly share them. I highly recommend that you, dear reader, find you own little group. Well maybe not find--but create. Two years ago, we did not even know each other in any more than a passing acquaintance and now we have all become such good friends.

thanks for stopping by


Step Three Stitching the layers.
I start at the top. I use a straight stitch and just follow the raw edge of the fabric and stitch layer by layer. I usually use the same colour thread. It would be too distracting and annoying to try to change threads. I just choose a colour and go. This time I am using grey.
I try to work for side to side, just moving down the edge and turning back and forth. I don't have a machine that cuts my thread so the less time I spend cutting and moving, the better.
I do work all the way across, even though I know my piece is wider than I need. you will see what happens with the edge scrap when I do the next few cards.
I finish each card as I go. I just move the foregrounds a little bit so that I can get all of the pieces stitched down.
I make sure that it is large enough to fill the photo. I trim off all of the threads. A little pressing now. It's better to make this the last pressing. Once the photo is attached, the iron can damage the photo's plastic finish. Ask me how I know this.

Then place the photo onto the base, with the  picture side inside. You are using the back of the photo for your address and message on the card. Make sure the photo is completely covered and stitch around the edge. I check the placement of the card by holding it up to the light. This is where the wavy lines come in. If you did only straight lines, the placement of the card would be very important. You would have to be very precise in lining up the edges. The wavy lines make placement easier. If you have all straight lines--and put the card back on crooked, it will be disturbing.

I trim of the edges and I have one postcard finished.  I save all of the trimmings because I use them in the next three or four cards of this series.
 These little trimmings become the mountains in the next three or four cards that I make. They are already sewn together. I just layer the cards in the same manner, Start at the top with the sky and work my way down.
These cards have a new level of complexity that the first three do not have. The small snippets will make non strip sewers wonder how much patience and skill you have as a quilter.

Keep going with the same method and you will have a great series of landscape postcards.
I timed myself to see how long it took me to do these cards. I started just after two o'clock and  was finished 7 cards by three thirty. This included taking the photos and waiting for a few minutes for battery recharging--which if I had been smarter, I should have done that before I started. It took me longer to write about it, than to do it.
I made seven postcards in an hour and fifteen minutes. not bad. If you make some cards, mail me one. I love getting mail. if you send me one, I will return the favour.
happy card making. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016


Step two. Layout the cards.
l like to start with three cards. I lay the bases out on my table. When working in landscape, there are five elements to consider.

Big or small, these elements are necessary for a good picture.

Lets consider each element.

HORIZON  Choose the horizon line first. As a general rule, dividing the canvas in thirds and placing the horizon line at one of the thirds makes the most pleasing picture. Some artists choose very low horizons to give a large view of the sky. Think of Turners very beautiful skyscapes.  A horizon line at exactly half is a little bit disruptive. For these pieces, my horizon line is going to be quite high--just because that's what I have decided.

SKY For this series, I have chosen plain black and dark purple for my sky. Starting at the top I lay a strip of each on the base. I have cut the strips the same length as my base and cut horizontally with a wavy edge. This gives me two strips. I overlap the strips on all three bases. I vary the placement.

BACKGROUND I want mountains in my background. I am using a lighter colour than the sky and have cut just large, curved pieces of fabric. I alternate the layers from side to side. I make sure that all of the base is covered but I don't really worry about edge to edge coverage. I just cut another mountain to cover gaps.  Just make sure that all of the base is covered.
Generally speaking, the background colour is greyer because there is that much more atmosphere between the viewer and the object. Because it is farther away, it is less defined. The edges are smoother and there are fewer details.

MIDGROUND The midground is going to be a water element. In the photo you can see that the strips have already be stitched down .I had to recharge my camera battery as I was half way through so I missed a few shots. If you want to put in a few defining waves, do that now. Just stitch a lie or two.

FOREGROUND There should be one larger element in the foreground. This is where you see all of the detail. I like the large hill covering the water. I like it so much that I think I will add maybe one or two more, overlapping them.
When I have three of these little  landscapes done, I take them to my sewing machine.

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, 11 April 2016


Gather material

I like to make several postcards on the same theme especially when I am doing landscapes. Just like all those famous quilters who work in series, I find that making several postcards at a time, makes each one stronger. The general rules are that each one must be strong in its own, but that together, they make each other stronger. I sell my cards in a gallery and sometimes buyers buy two or more to make a little group.
I select about five different fabrics from my stash. I cut off one or two strips of each one. No ruler, just my rotary cutter and each strip is about three inches wide. I just have a vague idea of colour and design so I just choose randomly. I do like solids and I like black for background. I like to use at least one or two prints, too.

 For the back of the postcard, (the part where you write your message) I use old photo that either didn't turn out or that I don't really want to keep. They are the right size for postcards. If you don't have a stash of photos, you can buy blanks at the local dollar store. I have a few boxes full and my friends save some misprints for me--that way they know they will get a card in the mail!
 I use a non woven interfacing for the base of my card. It can be just paper, or purchased non woven or even an old sheet. I also use up those little pieces of batting cut off from the edges of my big quilts. No trash in my house, I try to recycle everything.  I cut the base slightly larger than 4 x 6.

thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Post Cards from the Edge

Hi all, Karen here.
One of my favourite little projects is making fabric postcards.

I have been making them for a couple of years. I sit down every once is a while and make up a dozen or so. Then I send them out to friends and family when something nice happens or I am thinking of them.

These are a few of my landscape postcards.
and these are some of the postcards that I made yesterday.

They are easy to make, take little time, and people who receive them are happy to get them.
I send one or two to my daughter who loves Alice in Wonderland. There are all kinds of messages from Alice that are easy to make.

 Yes, the post office delivers them. I never put my return address on them, but I hear quite frequently from someone who has received one. I just put one stamp on them.

One of my friends has framed one that I sent her recently.
For the next week, I will post instructions on how to make a landscape postcard. Have a look and if you send me a card that you made from my instructions, I will send you one back.

Thanks for stopping by.