June 29, 2012 5 comments


Hi everyone,

I had hoped to get some work done on the new piece that I could show you today, but BSP was sick on Wednesday night and last night, I conked out at 6:00 p.m. (!!!!) and didn't wake until 6:30 this morning, so I have nothing to show you, except...

Called "Winter's Wane".  It was a piece I made but didn't make the cut for the show at Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery - which is just as well because someone absolutely loved it, and it currently hangs above BSP's desk in the office.

I'm on vacation for a week starting today, so I'm actually typing this in front of my current piece - and will be painting more as soon as I'm done. 

See you on Monday with more mermaid work. Until then, have a great weekend!

June 27, 2012 14 comments

Blocking out the start

After doing my research, I decided that the easiest way to complete this task was to make a representation of the mermaid at Little Karoo.  

Little Karoo is an oasis in the desert of South Africa (an oasis, by the way, that evidence shows used to be completely underwater.)

One of the features of this area is that there are huge underground caves, filled with water - and there is a waterfall falling off the edge of cliff that forms a pool.  It is at this pool that a mermaid has been glimsped for 100's of years - even , if local legend is to be believed - to the present day. 

I decided that this nameless mermaid was the one for me - to make a representation of  the Orishas or mer-goddesses was going to take more research than I had time for!

I began with a lightweight canvas, to which I first applied a layer of gesso and then let cure for 24 hours, and then I painted the canvas with thinned out white acrylic paint. I had to do three layers - I supposed if I hadn't thinned it out, I wouldn't have needed to do three layers, but when I did the first stroke at full strength, it felt too thick and gloopy.  So I decided three thin layers (like what they used to tell you about nail polish) would be best.

After that had cured for about 48 hours (it really dries much faster but because I was going to be doing a lot of layering of paint over it, I decided I wanted it to be very, very dry.

I  mixed up some colours first - a light grey, a light blue/gray and two blue greens, as I had decided to paint my mermaid at night.  (I did sketch all of it out first on my background, but it didn't show up in the photos, so I didn't bother posting them.)

I began by using the light grey to paint out my moon, and used the lightest of the blue greens to begin adding the sky.  

Then I added in the darker of the blue greens and daubed my paint on over the lighter version.

Added some washes of the light and dark blue/green...

and then painted in more of the darkest of the blue greys. 

Then I took those four paint colours, and darkened them considerably with the addition of black to each, for my rocks.

Using the same process of layering my colours

Using thinned out washes (I didn't mind if they ran onto the fabric below because it was an easy clean up.)

If you'd like to see the inspiration photo (which I didn't have permission to use here) just google "Rust en Verde waterfall at Little Karoo".

Next up - I'm going to be blocking out the pool and the foliage on the cliff tops and at the bottom.

See you on Friday!

Linking up with The Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wednesday -go and see what other Canadian fiber bloggers are up to!
June 25, 2012 7 comments

Wanna watch me make my new piece?

Right from the very beginning?  I hope so, 'cuz you're gonna! ;)

This is for the Mermaid piece and the first thing I needed to do was RESEARCH.  The piece I've been asked to create is for a show about Mermen and Merwomen of Africa, and I knew nothing about them.

Mami Wata

I both printed off a lot of information from the internet and read a lot on the internet. Once I had an overview,I had to decide what I wanted to focus on.  Mami Wata of West, Central and Southern Africa?

The Orisha Yemoja of the Yoruba tradition?

Her daugher, the "most beautiful woman in the world" or one of her sisters, each of whom have their own traditions and tales?

Or perhaps a nameless fresh water mermaid that lives in a desert in South Africa?

I'm working this time on lightweight canvas, which has been gessoed, dried for 24 hours and now has white acrylic paint on it which is currently curing.

I've made my decision and am doing preliminary sketching tomorrow night.  I may even start to do some blocking on Tuesday.  Let's see how far I get by Wednesday - see you then?

June 23, 2012 12 comments

A Pocket Full of Starlight...

I came home from work yesterday, and this was waiting for me on the counter.  My BSP gave it to me to help celebrate the good news that's came in on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, I had a request to exhibit Fractured at the Union Art Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a show called Throw: Great Innovations in Modern Quilt Design which will begin on September 21, 2012 and run through October 13, 2012. 

And on Thursday, I had a request to create a piece for a show entitled "Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore" for the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, S.C. to be exhibited from August 28th through October 28th, 2012.

Andddddd, "America Now: Walking While Black" debuts at InSea/USSEA Regional Conference United States Society For Education Through Art in Indianapolis, IN in a show titled "American Spring - A Cause For Justice" this weekend. 

I've accepted both invitations and begin work on the mermaid piece as soon as I'm done this post!

In my 2011 Year In Review post, I said that one of my goals for this year was to start exhibiting, which is why my BSP got me that celebratory cupcake.  I didn't know it would get off to such a bang - I haven't even applied for entry to anything yet!

I feel like I have a pocket full of starlight.  

June 22, 2012 6 comments

America Now - Janey's Got A Gun

The next piece in the Whitewashed series is done, hurray! :)

I say that only because I have so many ideas for this series that I am panting at the bit to get to the next one before the most recent one is done!

This particular one got put on the backburner so many times during the past two months that I kind of lost focus.

For instance, it languished in my studio in this format for quite some time. I knew it wasn't working, and knew it was about the target begin the wrong proportion, but didn't want to have it centred and/or bigger when the opaque fabric would cover so much of the map.

And guess what I made the target out of?  I auditioned several fabrics, most of them "tulle" or "mesh" types - but I ended up using window screen - as having the right weight and translucence.

And of course, I hand cut all the letters again...(which are a lot of letters is you're hand-cutting and hand sewing them down!) But, if I do "graffiti" in a piece again, I'm going to paint it I think rather than sewing or embroidering them.

(Love that quote by Patricia J. Williams - actually, her whole article was great.)

But as you can see from the original finished piece, that difference wasn't only about making the target bigger and yet more see-through, but also about adding balancing elements like the gun.

And hey, if you live in Indiana, the first piece in this series "America Now - Walking While Black" (the Trayvon Martin piece) debuts at the InSea/USSEA Regional Conference United States Society for Education Through Art in Indianapolis, IN., this weekend. 

If you're in the area, please check it out!

Have a great weekend everyone - I'm excited to work on my next piece - something nice and light. :) *phew*

June 20, 2012 10 comments

Hate Map

So did any of you know about The Southern Poverty :Law Center? It's a non-profit civil rights organization, which was founded in 1971 "to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement become a reality for all."  (It's kind of sad that it sill needs to be around 40 years later, no?)

One of the pages on their site has this thing called "The Hate Map" showing, state by state,how many active Hate groups there are in each.

Some of the states statistics were unsurprising to me - either because of what I had seen/read/heard ( like that fact that Florida has 55 active hate groups, Georgia  65, Alabama has 35) or from personal experience - (Michigan 26, Mississippi 41, Texas 45).

But what WAS shocking, is that free-wheeling California has EIGHTY-FIVE (Proposition 8 may not only have failed because of its counter-intuitive wording "vote no for yes" which I always thought was the case), that New Jersey has 47 active hate groups (why so much hate for others, New Jersey?) and that Oklahoma "only" has 13.

Little Rhode Island and huge Alaska have 1 each, and some big states like Maine (6) Iowa (4) and Wyoming (2) have surprisingly low activity.  (Maybe all that space means that people can live and let live.)

And did you know about this? One example of how hate works...

Finished piece on Friday and then something "light\' next week.  *phew*
June 18, 2012 4 comments

Weekend's work...




Oh, and I also got a bit of work done on the next piece in the "Whitewashed" series...

And Tyler says "Hi!"

See you on Wednesday!
June 15, 2012 8 comments

Bees Do It

When the little blue clock in the middle of his work
Sings a song to the moon up above
It is nature that's all
Simply telling us to fall in love....

And that's why birds do it,
bees do it,
even educated fleas do it,
Let's do it, let's fall in love!

When I was making this piece, for some reason, this Cole Porter lyric kept running through my head - so even though I was initially just making all those squiggly squares and circles,eventually I found myself making some flowers and leaves and insects, despite myself.

Although I had suggested  in my last post that it probably would have made more sense to paint the stablizer/lutradur first and then cut it out, some of my little lines had gotten filled in with paint, and when I tried to re-cut them out with the heat tool, it worked, but...

all the paint got sticky and glommed up the tool - so... pick your evil. My preference would be to paint after. "Bees Do It" is 42" x 24, the bacground is scraps of black satin, wool, silk velvet, cotton and then quilted.

So, I'm done experimenting with the lutradur now, and will start actually working with it.... I actually have a piece done that I'm really excited to show you, but I can't until a MONTH from now (lol) so I'll have to maybe do some more thread work in the meantime, or start a new piece I have in mind about Angelique or another one I have in mind for a call for entry due in August.


Guess we'll all see on Monday! Have a great weekend, everyone!
June 13, 2012 8 comments

WIP Wednesday

A portion of the experiment.... not much to say about it (as this is, overall, a very simple, if large piece) - so it's stablizer, painted cream, and cut out with the heat tool...

But the finished piece will be available for your viewing pleasure on Friday.  :)

Joining in with other Canadian Fiber people at The Needle and Thread Network.
June 11, 2012 4 comments

And for my next trick...

More experiments with stabilizer...

This time I've fused it, cut out my shapes, and then Ive painted it with full strength acrylic paint. Here it is drying on my drying table ('cuz where else would I dry it?) *s*

Of course as I was laying them out to dry, I realized, it would have been much more clever of me to paint it first and then cut out my shapes.  But you know, why make things easier?

Here's hoping I'm more clever about the rest of the process... which you'll grt a peek at on Wednesday!

Until then...
June 8, 2012 12 comments

The Organ Grinder

All done!!!

All in all, I'm really pleased with this technique and I'm sure you'll see more of it in the pieces to come.  For the next little while, I think, I'll be concentrating on painting the stabilizer and using it in these kinds of applications.

However, to recap what happened - I started out with my clean up cloth, which I interspersed with my "grid" pattern - I wanted it to represent an abstract city landscape. 

Here is a close up of the actual organ grinder, which I first painted and then outlined with the "anime" pen (it's an artist's pen that's marketed for use for anime artists, but I can't remember what it's called). And his little painted gourd and other decorative elements, and his key to lock it up at the end of the day.

His face has a little sadness in it - as it would be I think; he is such an anachronism in our time - perhaps even the last of his kind - playing his music amongst the glass and steel...

And I had to show you his pants because I was so proud of them when I made them.  As a beginning painter and one who is flying completely by the seat of her pants - when I did them, I worked intuitively, and in the end, I thought they looked quite good. Almost like a real painter!

But what it's taught me once again, is what I said at the beginning of the year - I need to take a drawing class and a water colour class!

Anyway, experiment done and I think he turned out rather well. I'm very pleased.

Have a great weekend everyone!


P.S. - Process posts here and here, and linking up with M-R of Quilt Matters for TGIFF  -go check out what everyone's got finished this week!
June 6, 2012 11 comments

And for the next element...

You see, even though I'm playing, I wanted to continue to experiment with the possibilities of the stabilizer.  

Here, you see the man in his more or less finished state, but I began the same way as with Trayvon's face...

Having first ironed fusible web to the stabilizer, peeled off the backing and put it on my glass, I sketched out my man in pencil and then cut him out using the heat tool. 

And then I started painting him - right on the glass.

I used acrylic paint, blending to get the colours I wanted, and after this base was dry, I used an artist's (anime) pen to fill in the details - and speaking of details, I used a gold leaf pen on the rungs of the organ as well as in the decorative stars on it.

And I quilted the background with this great varigated thread that I've had forever and hadn't had a chance to use.

To see how it all comes together, come back on Friday!

And I'm linking up with the Needle And Thread Network - go check out what Canadians who work in fibre are up to!