January 31, 2014 3 comments

Week Link Post - 7

Happy Friday!

(I don't have embroidery to show you today, so I thought I'd share a t-shirt I found that made me laugh. :D )

Here's my links post!

First up, an artist I was introduced this week, Linda Eaton-Marcille working out of Crows Nest Studio. She not only does wonderful hand embroidery in the naive style, she writes equally wonderful stories to go with them. This is her latest piece - I am giving you the link to the first part of the story as she began her stitching HERE

Over at Textile Artists, they have part two of an interview with the "Stitching and Beyond" group in Tasmania. Part Two speaks to Lauree Brown, Lijlija Armstrong, and JunHope. I especially love Lauree Brown's work, but all three artists are well worth having a look at. You can find that HERE.

Then there's part three of the same interview HERE (focusing on Marta Brysha, Sandra Champion and shoemaker [!]

Over on Artists Network there is an article called "A Painters Guide to Composition" which fiber artists may find useful too

And a fun one at Hyperallergenic "Re-Considering The Artistic Legacy of Wile E. Coyote" . It's actually quite insightful. :)

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday!

Kit 120
January 29, 2014 2 comments

First of the sketches

working title "Briar Rose".

Because it's a "Little Kit" piece, Emmy Elephant has to put in a re-appearance as well, too, right?

I wanted her head in this specific position because Little Kit* is going to tuck in there in that empty space.

Clearly, I've changed Emmy's eye shape rather drastically, ...
January 27, 2014 5 comments

Sweating the small stuff....

I had a really busy weekend! Got a lot done (though none of it a "finish"), but am happy with it, starting with this little needle case I made.

January 24, 2014 2 comments

Week Link Post - 6

Lots of good stuff here this week, so let's begin!

An article from Marie-Therese Wisniowski about the history of fabric and dyes, HERE

An article over on Textile Artist with James Fox about his machine embroidery HERE

Elizabeth Barton has written a very interesting blog about learning, and discovering style, and the value of imitating other artists HERE (I haven't gone back to read the comments, but I'm sure they'll be interesting too!)

(This week's lunch-time project is sadly unfinished, I'll have to catch up over the weekend!)

The Tafa Forum has an article about men learning to embroider in prison HERE

Here's another article (a rather good one, I think) at Art Business.com on how to price your art HERE

In this week's eye candy, there's a stunningly beautiful book sculpture at Steampunk Tendencies HERE

In this week's "discomfitting art" link (lol) Figure/Ground Communication has done an interview (pictures at the bottom) with Anne Harris HERE

Over at Big Red and Shiny there is a review of Sonia Almeida's recent show "The Event We Call Seeing" at the Simone Subal Gallery in NYC (I'm sorry I didn't link to it before the show was over - it slipped through the cracks over the holidays), but I still think it's well worth reading as the review itself feels like you're talking to a friend and it's informative and offers a fresh perspective (Note: if you mouse over the picture in the header, you will be shown other pictures you can look at and click on). That article is HERE

And then my favourite this week (I must have gone back to that article 20 times since it was posted at Colossal); the wonderfully beautiful and totally temporary sculptures of Martin Hill over HERE

Hope you've had a great week and that your weekend is even better.

See you on Monday with...?  'Til then!

Kit 120

January 22, 2014 19 comments

Winter Birches

It's the big (or in this case), little, finish! My first one of 2014, and I'm quite pleased with it (even if I do say so myself), but the reasons for that later. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

This one was an interesting process for me. As you know, when I started it last week, it was with a concrete, yet somewhat nebulous purpose. One, I wanted to make something for the SAQA trunk show; two, the brief was a 10 x 7 inch piece, that showed our "artistic purpose", and three, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. lol
January 20, 2014 4 comments

Br'er Rabbit*

Generally, when I do a figure, I sketch him in my sketch book, trace over him/her with tracing paper, use the tracing paper as a pattern, and then cut out the figure on my lutradur (or whatever substrate it is that I'm using).

But that's a fairly laborious process, and this was just a little rabbit, so I decided to draw him directly on the lutradur this time. It meant that I had to draw him twice (I screwed up the first one), but it was still much faster this way.

And then it was time to paint. First I picked my paint palette...
January 17, 2014 3 comments

Week Link Post - 5 and Week Seven of the lunchtime project

Good morning.

Happy Friday, and welcome to the linky post!

First up, we have Bella May Leonard's  unusual "sculptural embroidery". As the name might imply it’s 3D, but in addition to her taking her embroidery up and out, she also uses unusual substrates, 'thread" and a collage/assemblage technique. Check it out HERE

Next we have simply eye candy. No interview, and just a small amount of text, but evocative photographs using a multiple exposure technique with surprising results. Check out Christopher Relander’s photography at his website  HERE

It's an "oldie but a goodie" but since I pulled it up to remind myself about the corners this week, I thought you might be interested as well if you haven't seen it - check out Lyric Kinard's tutorial for gallery wrapped canvas HERE .

Next up, there's an interview with local Toronto artist Catherine Heard about her ... discomfiting work, HERE
Next:  you may already be familiar with the work of "Mr. Finch" (and if you're not, I suggest you follow his blog - he doesn't post often, but when he does, his work is glorious!); but whether you're a follower or not, Colossal has done a feature on him, and I think you'll enjoy the peek. You can check it out HERE

And last but not least, Lithuanian artist  Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė embroiders and cross-stitches metal objects (no really!) Check out her work and an interview with here  HERE

And... as you can see with my work this week, I didn't have a plan. (It's been the week's theme when it comes to my art.)
Over my lunches this week,  I was mostly talking, giggling and indulging in a small amount of harmless gossip with my work chum through our lunches this week, rather than concentrating on my work.

So the resulting work doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I can't say there’s anything  linking these disparate bits of stitchery (not to mention, the stitches holding my circles down are TERRIBLE, lol) but there’s something sort of charming about it. (At least, I think so!)

More work on the “winter birch” scene on Monday – it’s coming along and I’m quite pleased with it!
Until then, have a great weekend. Be safe out there!

Kit 120
January 15, 2014 8 comments

A surprising development - continued!

So, when I left you last, my evergreen tree was in the hoop, I was stitching merrily along, I was pleased with how it was developing - everything was going gangbusters.

When I was done, I had a look at it, and began to doubt myself...
January 12, 2014 5 comments

A surprising development...

When I left you last, I gave you good reason to believe I would be working on my large piece, working title "ethereal".

However, I suddenly remembered on Saturday, that I'm meant to have made a piece for SAQA's upcoming trunk show.  Being unprepared for such a thing, I decided that my old stand-by of trees and/or birds would be the best thing to make on short notice, and given it's a small size (10 x 7 inches); I got to work.
January 10, 2014 5 comments

Week Link Post - 4 and lunchtime project catch-up

Artist Kohei Nawa has done an installation of clouds that visitors can walk through at the 2013 Aichi Triennale.  No really! :) Check it out HERE

Three. Which says: "Seasons Greetings or Merry Christmas: thank you for saying something nice"

For the cartogrophy fans among us, artist Ed Fairburn has done intricate and emotive portraits using maps, HERE. If you're in the Denver area, you can see the in person at the Mike Wright Gallery starting January 17.

Four. Which says: "May our love and thankfulness wing you on your way. Nelson Mandela" (I still have to add dates.)

If you're in or near NYC Meg Lipke has a new exhibition of her mixed-media (paper and felt) works at Parallel Art Space opening tomorrow. In the meantime, Brian Edmonds at the Curating Contemporary Blog has written a thoughtful review of her work, HERE. 

Five. Which says: "You look more Chinese than Korean"

Corydon Cowansage at Art Haps has done an interview with Ted Gahl that's a fun read. They know one another, and it seems quite apparent that they like each other as well, which always makes the read more enjoyable. In addition, Mr. Gahl (an artist with a schizophrenic ouevre) has a cheeky, somewhat irreverent approach to his art.  Bonus - rather than the standard one or two pictures that usually accompanies this type of interview, this one has loads of pictures. You can check that interview out HERE  And if you're in NYC, he too has a show opening tomorrow at Dodge Gallery.

Six. Which says: "The sun rises and the world keeps relentlessly turning"

Clarion Ferrono talks about her love of Emily Carr over at Ragged Cloth Cafe HERE

(and to refresh your memory)

This is "Two"

Collosal has begun a new project called "Paid in Full" in which they commission artists to make work to (more or less) give them a paid gig (Yay, Collosal!), and not only do they pay the artist, they film the entire process so we can watch. The first recipient of a commission is artist HOTTEA. Check out his work, and the video, HERE.

And this is "One"

And in Robert Genn's weekly letter this week, he talks about "Faith-based Art Making". (It's now what you might think). Check that out HERE.*


Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday with some more work in progress. :)

Kit 120

P.S. I meant to post this in my last s-linky post and forgot - it's an interview over at Textile Artist with Lesley Richmond. http://www.textileartist.org/lesley-richmond-interview/ Lovely work!

* Pink links go to the relevant article, green to related articles.

January 8, 2014 6 comments

News, WIP Wednesday (Placement), and *another* cock-up!

I'm of course, still working on this large-ish piece - currently 70 x 55 inches (190 x 139 cm  - finished size will likely be a bit smaller).

So I took some of my purpose painted fabrics, cut them out and laid them where I wanted them. 

I didn't get much farther than this because....
January 6, 2014 4 comments

A new year calls for a new project, no?

In the past when I have painted my fabric backgrounds, I've used whatever fabric I had around that I didn't particularly like, or thought I would probably never use.

But in this case, I used cotton muslin, which I "primed" by using gesso as a base coat, and then I used acrylic paints on top.  Here, you can see I have a mottled gray background; and then...
January 3, 2014 2 comments

Week Link Post - 3

Happy friday!

First up, a really GREAT article that does a round-up of discussions on abstract art in 2013. Read that HERE.

Next - a video that looks at stunning textile work  - I don't understand the language, but if you're like me, you can turn off the sound and just look at the pretty. The site has many other videos of textile work to see as well. Check it out HERE.

There's an interview with Marcin Rycezk about that famous swan photo that went viral in 2013 HERE.

There's a post a Colossal showing the incredible work of ceramist Johnson Tsang HERE

And the breathtaking work of Vally Nomidou (seriously, if you look at nothing else, look at this one) HERE

I've made progress on the lunchtime project as well, but haven't yet taken pictures - so sorry - no pics this week!

Kit 120
January 1, 2014 4 comments

Year In Review - 2013

Happy New Year!

Today, I'm posting my annual year in review, in which I look at what I've made, what I've learned, and what I want to do next year. As usual, if you don't want to be bothered with all that - feel free to scroll through and just look at the pictures. :)

Year of the Feather

I began 2013 as I ended 2012 - making birds as I worked towards completing my first series, called "Taking Flight". I didn't realize how much those birds - or at least, the making of them -  was going to influence my making for the year, but those birds turned my art in a new direction.

"Cardinal In Winter"

"Fairy Wren"

"Golden-Headed Blackbird"

"Red Bellied Woodpecker"

"Silver-Eared Mesia"

"Green Headed Tanager"

"Velvet Purple Coronet"

In THIS post, I talked about what I learned as a whole with the series, but in summary, I learned that when working in fabric, sometimes trying to reproduce an exact replica of the source photo didn't always work - that sometimes, something was lost in the process - and that it was better to find a compatible background for the bird itself. I also learned a lot about making feathers and how to lay them down (!), and I learned a lot about balance and composition. 

All of those learnings were useful throughout the year (and in my body of work forever, I suspect); but the thing that was most influential from making those birds that I didn't realize at the time, was hand-work. A little hand-stitch "here and there" became pervasive in my work, and blossomed quickly into a new obsession! But more on that later...

Not part of the series, but another bird:

This one was a gift for a friend, a piece in which I tried to combine my "style" with her taste. I think it's a good blend of both, but not something I was completely comfortable with!

Next up was:


My post about Hiraeth is HERE but really, this was my breakthrough piece this year. It wasn't only that it was the very first time that the finished piece looked exactly as I had imagined it before I even drew a sketch - though that was significant - it was the way I built the piece (there's no other way to describe it), following a written plan of what I was doing when and how the piece would be made, layer by layer, that turned out to be the most important thing I learned this year. 

It was only during my self-imposed break in December that I came to realize that. The micro-focus I usually employ when working combined with the fact that I didn't give myself a break all year (another important learning - giving my brain time to rest and reflect allows me to actually process what I've learned) is why it took me so long to realize it. 

And though it's not readily apparent: there is rather a lot of hand-stitching in "Hiraeth". Every. single. leaf. has hand-stitched veins, and the flowers have either hand-stitched stamens or french knot centres. 

"Hare Raising'

Next up, I had a new great-niece to make something for, and I thought I'd take the opportunity to work on small painted details as (rather ironically) I wasn't best pleased with the birds in Hiraeth. Hare Raising gave me the opportunity to paint detailed rabbits on a tiny scale (each is less than a centimeter - or about 3 eighths of a inch)

And then, I decided to REALLY explore that hand-work thing:

"Last Fall - In Spring"

This began its life as an unsuccessful "lollipop" tree created in 2011 or 2012 and if you really want to see all the hand-stitched detail (and there is a lot of it!) you can see that post HERE, but this piece was never meant to be high art, or even to be displayed - really this piece was my "sampler" of sorts - a way to learn how to hand-stitch. 

There were approximately one billion hand-stitched leaves in this piece, and in retrospect - perhaps there were a few too many! 

After that, I did a few more quite small (post-card sized) hand-stitched pieces which I won't bother to show you - mostly flowers and grasses, but also:

Unnamed No. 7

Until I felt more comfortable with hand-stitching. It was when this one was done that I realized I was never going to be Monika Kinner-Whalen (!) but that judicious use of hand stitching in my large pieces would add not only detail, but soul to my work.

But that didn't stop me from exploring handwork - in my new "series" (?) "group" (?) - work that I called "The Lunchtime Projects", handwork that I did on my lunch.

"Fence Rising' was one such piece, and after machine stitching the background, I hand-stitched the night sky and the moon-lit leaves.

Meanwhile, I had an idea for another series - one that would explore the ways in which children find freedom. The first piece was:

"Winging Away". More feathers, hand-stitching in the tires and pedal, and putting to use that "building" technique I learned with "Hiraeth" (this bike and all its component parts was FINICKY), but the idea for the series didn't pull me quite the way I hoped, and after I completed this first one, I was pretty much done.

After a few weeks, another lunchtime project was done:

"What  Lies Beneath"

My co-workers could not figure out what the heck I was up to with this one, and kept asking me questions, looking at it askance and generally giving me the side-eye about this one, but like much of my other work, I had a plan when I began, even making a sketch on tissue paper that I followed like a pattern so that I knew each individual stitch and where it was going. And the piece itself carried a lot of meaning for me, which I outlined HERE. 

It was at this point that I realized, despite my statement in 2012's "Year In Review" post that my talent just didn't lie in abstract work, that I had, in fact, just made an abstract work.

I mulled it over for a bit, and deciding that working in the abstract for awhile could only help my figurative work, so, gloriously happy, I plunged into making full on abstract with:

"Birth I"


"Birth II"

Although I like the clean spare-ness of Birth I, I felt that Birth II was really more successful than the first. Having said that though, I realized that neither was as good as I wanted to be.

So, I picked up some more hand-work while I let my subconscious brain work through this problem of abstraction, another lunchtime project that nearly immediately became my "work obsessively any freaking time you can" project as my heart learned to cope with the results of the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin trial.

More about that HERE. The piece took a LOT of time - just over a month, and when I was done it, I needed to take a break from thinking, and just make pretty. So I did. With what turned out to be my most sellable work this year (I mean these puppies flew of the shelves - one sold before I even posted it!):

Red Bench No. 1

Red Bench No. 2

Evening Sky

Old Blesses New

Winter Sunset

Although each of these journeyman pieces looks quite different from each other (with the exception of the Red Bench(s)), they were all exploring the same thing. The diagonally slashed papers and fabrics were my experiments combining an abstract background with a figurative foreground. Although I think they were all successful in their own way, to me, "Evening Sky" was the most successful at conveying a sense of place, although the two Bench pieces were very successful at conveying "November" in Southern Ontario!

And then I began another "lunchtime" project that ended up taking over the world as I knew it - "Erosion".


Inspired by a picture of a sewer grate on a golf course, photos, unfortunately, do not convey the beauty of this piece. There are detail photos HERE (which I have temporarily made super large), but no photo I have yet taken shows this piece well - which is terrible to me because I really believe this and Hiraeth are the two best things I made this year.

It was also with this piece that I learned that "abstract" work doesn't have to be like Rothko (much as I love him) nor like Deidre Adams (who, by the way, have I ever told you is why I became a textile artist to begin with?As an aside, I had the pleasure of meeting her this year[and who ever gets to meet their heroine], so how lucky am I?) end of aside So I learned that "abstract"didn't have to mean "painterly", but could mean simply "non-figurative". And, it turns out, I do have some talent in that area.

And then I finished the year as I began, with more feathers - this time in the form of angel wings, in

Remembrance Day

2013 was the first year in which I used my own hand-painted fabrics or papers almost exclusively, which was really satisfying and which I hope to continue in 2014.

I had work in a fair number of shows (I think 9 or 10, I lost count - the most exciting of course being Quilt National, but was also the year I showed in Canada for the first time), I also had work in four galleries and twice in print.

This was also the first year I thought my work was worthy of being sold, and began to sell - slowly at first, and then with more confidence. From now on, nearly everything I make will be for sale.

So that's it - 2013 in review.

For the first time, for 2014 I have very specific goals in that there are six pieces I want to make in 2014, and that's it! They are all quite large (60 to 90 inches on their longest sides) so I expect they will take weeks or months to make.  They are:
  1. Ethereal
  2. Three ways to view a secret (a tryptch)
  3. Sugarbush (another Hiaeth type piece); and
  4. the first piece in a new series called "Black and Blue"
I will of course continue with my lunch-time project(s), but have no serious plans for them. These lengthy projects will necessitate a different kind of blogging, but for the first time, I have decided not to take that into account as I make my work. I guess I'm growing up!

This is also my fifth Year In Review post, which means that it has been four and 1/2 years since I began quilting, 3 years since I began working towards calling myself an "art quilter", and two years since I began working towards calling myself an "artist".

I'm quite comfortable calling myself that now - now I need only work towards becoming a better and better one.

As always, my guiding principle come from Van Gogh:

I am seeking, I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.

May 2014 be a year of joy, hard work, goals reached or exceeded, creative blessings and success - for you and I!

Kit 120

P.S. Prior year in reviews are here: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009