Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Street Life Challenge

Am I allowed to be pleased with the title I chose for this challenge?  I'm certainly amazed, fascinated and enthralled by the results. So many different interpretations, each with with their own feel - wonderful!

Street Life

Racoons are a common occurance in our neighbourhood. The racoons are thread painted, the garbage can is done with Paintstiks and the eyes are Swarovski crystals. Great topic!

Lucy: New Girl on the Street

Lucy, a 6-year-old pug, is the newest member of our 4-legged family, joining Chloe the retriever mix and Loki the chihuahua, all rescued dogs. We have had her for 2 months and she is so lovable and adorable that everyone wants to leave the house with her concealed under their coat. Anyway, 2 months ago, Mary Pal gave a workshop at our guild on her brilliant technique of cheesecloth portraiture. In the class we created a portrait of a woman. I then went on to create my portrait of Lucy using Mary's method. This portrait is made simply of cheesecloth and glue, laid down onto an ultrasuede background. You will be able to see Lucy again in the Exquisite Corpse exhibition at Galerie Ouest in January, when she will serve as the head of one of the "corpses". This will be the final exhibition at the gallery, which will be closing at the end of January 2012 after 4 wonderful years. I will post photos of the show on the blog in January...

Through the Screen Door

Living in Texas, "Street Life" immediately conjured up images of insects that are teeming in the out-of-doors. I originally started out with trying to depict ant trails that are found everywhere but I did not achieve the effect I had in mind. Then I thought about other bugs that are plentiful here: the June or Corn beetle, the Love bugs (beetles), Ladybugs, just to name a few. The composition idea came from an exercise in one of my art books. I took "creative license" in drawing my own beetles. It is whole cloth painted with Color Hue dyes over a screen. I added details with my pigma and Fabrico pens. I outlined the bugs with black thread and quilted it with invisible thread.

Street Life East African Style



Street Life in East Africa is dusty, hectic, colourful, noisy and fantastic!  At a guess I would say that a third of business takes place around the pavements and streets.  You can buy just about anything. Bananas are one of the staple foods of the people in the area.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are eaten in various ways.  This street vendor is typical of what you will come across and the one common factor amongst them all is the smile.

Whole cloth, fused and painted.   I stitched the background first and then went in with the fabric oil pastels and pens.

Street Life

This was a wonderful theme, and I worry I haven't done justice to it, especially after seeing everyone else's work. I had lots of ideas, but very little time, which was my own fault. I was determined to use a street scene from Castle Donington now I have moved back here, and the perfect occasion arose in October when the annual Wakes were held. This was originally a 'hiring' fair for those seeking work and/or workers, but is now an annual fun fair held in the main street of our village. I took many photos on the last night of the fair, but the weather was bad and most of the rides were packing up. None of my photos inspired me, but I still wanted to try and show the contrast between the 17th century buildings and the modern rides and lights. I decided to try an abstract version of the houses, and add the lights and colours with thread. I then managed to scupper myself by leaving the glow-in-dark threads which I had planned to use at a meeting the day before this had to be finished. The 'houses' were pieced using simple 'no-ruler' strips, and the 'lights' free-machined.

Occupy Montreal

As in many cities around the world, we had our own "occupy" site downtown.  Lots of tents, people and general good will.  It just seemed a perfect topic at the time for street life.  (Mine was well under way before the snow arrived - it would have certainly had a different look that day!)  Having just taken courses with Noriko Endo and Katie Pasquini-Masopust at Houston, and Karen Goetzinger here at home, I felt that I was able to put to good use some of the things that I had learned.  Notably the trees à la Noriko.  A little transparency with the buildings - hopefully those squares look like lights on.  A little better eye for composition but please don't tell me about the crossed lines in the middle -  a pruning error when squaring up!   A fun topic and I still have more ideas to try from it.  Thanks Linda.

Street Life: Quebec City


This challenge was a very welcome opportunity for me to work with an architectural subject. I love cities! The piece looks simple enough but there were many steps and decisions and, yes, mistakes along the way.

Four weeks ago I went to Quebec City. I printed out some of my photos taken there and made a collage with them. Working with a photocopy of the collage, I outlined the major shapes with a marker, and then traced this line drawing to a water-soluble stabilizer, which I then spray-basted to a square of gray, hand-dyed cotton. With black, 40-weight thread, I machine-stitched the line drawing onto the cotton, backed with white Timtex.

Colourful buildings are one of the distinctive features of the Old Town, so I considered applying paint to the roof shapes to correspond to the original photos. I had a photocopy made of the stitched cloth so I could preview the effect, but in the end I decided on a monochromatic palette. I may make a more colourful version in the future. I used TAP to introduce the photographic images, but they were so high-contrast that they detracted from the couple walking in the foreground, so I scratched some of the TAP off the cloth. The original collage included some beautiful stone walls, but again I opted for simplicity and decided against duplicating the texture in stitch.

There was some scorching of the cotton when I applied the TAP, and I can only guess that there may have been some residue of soda ash, basting spray or stabilizer that caused this. Also, I must remember in the future to make my sketch a little less than 12" a side, as I like to have a narrow border of the painted canvas mount showing. By making the sketch 12" square, I had to trim the edges a little too close to the photo images.

Street Life

How ironic that my own challenge title caused me more problems than any previous one I've done! It seemed that each time I came close to a resolution something inside me complicated the original idea to a point where it became unmake-able and probably unreadable if completed.
I suspect that I was guilty of trying too hard because, in the end, it was a personal response that led to this piece which was completed within twenty-four hours of my first response.
A recent trip into Manchester lasted longer than intended and I got caught up in the evening rush hour as the already busy streets filled with workers making their way home. I used to love the buzz of the city but this time I was struck by the isolation of the individuals in the crowd and my own increasing discomfort at being propelled by the momentum of the rush hour.



The border fabric was chosen to represent my discomfort and the photograph was Colour mapped in Gimp to match the fabric as closely as I could. The photograph was then bondawebbed, slashed and attached to the backing fabric.

In the end I enjoyed putting this piece together and thanks must go to Michele for suggesting an offshoot from a previous piece!

You see life on the streets

Thanks for the theme, Linda B.  As some of you already know my first (wicked) thought was a rat disappearing into a drain pipe!  But I had foolishly promised to try a new technique this time and I would have reverted to my usual style.  My second idea was to try out the collage effect that Heather and Michele are so successful at - I have loads of images of doors and architecture from France to play with.  But it was the third idea that kept niggling and developing in the back of my mind.  So here it is.  The skill level is zero and there are loads more things I 'could' have done had I had the time - and who's fault is that?  Anyway, it was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.



And yes, Dianne, it was someone with a bag - but you couldn't see the bag  in that little clip - good guess!

The figures were sketched, scanned and printed onto old fashioned typist's copy paper and only the main lines stitched through the paper.  Then, with paper removed, the blocks of coloured fabric were fused in position and the rest of the lines stitched free-hand.  The border is first satin stitched then four colourful yarns twisted and attached with the serpentine stitch (the multi stitch meandering one).

Now I can't wait to see what you all have come up with.

Hilary

Street Life


This is my piece which I have given an African theme. The graffitti means "come" in Zulu and I have used Shwe Shwe fabric for the dress the flower seller is wearing. This is a very South African 100% cotton which is used extensively in the quilting medium and also is an extremely popular garment fabric. We have come a long way with this fabric and you can read all about the history of this if you google the name. We had a wonderful show of this at the Birmingham Festival.

Looking forward to seeing eveyone's interpretation - its always exciting to see what everyone has done.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Course

These are some of the exercises that we did on Karen's course.  Each person's is very different which made the class all that more interesting.

 This one was meant to show the effect of colour placement and how colours affect each other.  The pink and orange are very bright and don't show well in the picture, but you get a sense of size of the centre squares - they are all equal, but don't look it.


 I've wanted to play with trees for a while, and we were given a series of words and told to choose one and portray it.  This is growth.


More colour exercise.  The top left is an assembly of different pieces to show how to make transparency.  The other 3 were meant to show the effect of colours on other colours.  I think some of the effects have been lost in the photographs.....the best one is the diagonal slash - it looks  different with the different backgrounds but it's the same colour in both.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Another Teaser!


Just to make me feel I am getting there ...... my teaser! Need to shut myself in the room and get down to it!

Happy news

I am happy to report that both Heather and I will be showing work from our previous posts in a juried exhibition at Stewart Hall Gallery in Pointe Claire. This is a show called The New Collection 2012 and will include drawing, painting, photography, and mixed media. The annual exhibition is showing this year from November 26 to January 22nd with the vernissage on Sunday November 27th at 2pm. The works then go into a rental collection(also for sale) available for the year from the rental and sales service on the second floor library. One of my blue Day in the Life Series will show and two of Heather's Tuscany Series . We are both very pleased to participate in this show.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Colour and Design

Our Text'Art group (minus Pam, plus Katherine who didn't get in the picture unfortunately) met for 2 days with Karen Goetzinger, a textile artist from Ottawa.  She led us through all sorts of exercises  on colour and design with the intention of improving our understanding how both work.  It was rewarding and fun.  And much appreciated.  It will hopefully allow us to better critique our own work, and perhaps give us a more knowledgeable eye to look at others'.  

Thanks also to Helena for letting us use her wonderful gallery space.  For those of you who don't know us:  l to r  Helena, Colleen, Dianne, Heather, Michele.  

A little teaser...


Here's a tiny snippet from my Street Life.  Doesn't the fabric look rough close-up?!

Hilary

Friday, 18 November 2011

Our next challenge


I used my virtual hat - http://www.harmonyhollow.net/hat.shtml and the person to choose the next theme is Venetta! Have fun.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Street Life - Finished!

Having thunk until I wore my brain out inspiration hit when I went into Manchester to do a bit of shopping and got caught up in the rush hour. It's a long time since that happened to me, I used to love the buzz of the city but quite prefer the buzz of the sewing machine these days!

I had to make sure that I'd finished by this weekend as next week I'm going to Grasmere in our Lake District from Monday to Friday with a dozen other quilters to be led in a workshop by Gillian Travis who is just such a natural teacher. I've been to Glenthorne with Gillian before on a 'Retreat' so I know what to expect. The place is warm and welcoming and as you might expect very peaceful. The food is good, and there is the opportunity to have wine with dinner which I hadn't expected. My only problem is that the freshly made cakes with afternoon tea take some walking off, but that's OK as Gillian insists that everyone takes a break in the afternoon!


 

Diagonale (3)

A few days ago, Pam and I learned that our pieces had been accepted into the Diagonale fund-raising auction. I waited until today to post the news because the organization's website has just now added a link to an on-line gallery, showing all 172 entries. You can visit it by going to
www.artdiagonale.org
and clicking on the red words, "Cliquez ici pour voir les images."

The images are divided into three pages, arranged alphabetically by artist. If you hover over the thumbnail, you can read the name of the artist, but if you click on the thumbnail, you can get more information, like the title, as well as a larger image.

The work submitted gives you some indication of the aesthetic of this group, which is certainly not that of your typical quilting guild. I'd say the work Pam and I submitted represents just about the most conventional approach in the gallery. I find it intriguing to see what's being done in the young, francophone sector of the city, especially as this group is partially supported by public funds.
I am happy to report that I have finished mine! Yay! This subject was quite a challenge and of course it had to have an African theme! I am so looking forward to seeing what everyone has done.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Creative challenge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J59n8FsoRLE&feature=player_embedded#%21

Street Life

Yippee - I now have a direction to follow.  It has taken it's time developing but I made a couple of samples yesterday and I am happy with my plan.  Plan A and B are still in reserve just in case, Plan C has been ditched, Plan D is the one!

I wish I could give you a naughty clue - maybe when I get started...

How's everyone else getting on?  I know that one or two are already finished - lucky you.

Hilary

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Together in Houston

Dianne, Helena and Venetta met for the first time last week in Houston.  Venetta treated us to an amazing Texas style picnic lunch at the Quilt Festival - thank you, Venetta.  It was delicious and a wonderful way to spend the time getting to know each other.


 


 Standing at the back are Venetta, me and Helena.  Seated at the table are Ellen (who nearly joined the group at the beginning), Dianne, Marion (who sadly left the group) and Jean (who has just spearheaded another online group).  This is their brand new blog:  http://www.voyagearttextiles.blogspot.com/

I wonder when we will next meet up?  I still have hopes that one day the group will meet up at the Festival of Quilts in the UK - well, I can dream...

Hilary






Sunday, 6 November 2011

Diagonale (2)



'Le papillon' was inspired by a poem written in French by Pavel Friedmann in 1942 the year in which he was deported to Thesienstadt concentration camp. Two years later he was deported to Auschwitz where he died. Following are a few lines from the poem translated into English:
The Butterfly
The last, the very last
So richly, brightly, dazzling yellow.
............
...........
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here, in the ghetto.

I used photographs of children taken in Theresienstadt concentration camp which I photocopied and then used gel medium to make them into the background. I then used yellow tulle for the butterfly which I stitched and then appliqued over the images. I mounted it over an 8" square canvas board.


The second one 'etoile jaune,' follows on the theme of the first. The jacket and star were machine appliqued onto a raw edged 8 X 8" background onto which I had machine stitched barbed wire fencing. I then glued it onto an 8" square fabric board

I had the pleasure of taking Heather's and my submissions to the gallery to hand in. There is an exciting exhibition on of Barbara Wisnoski's work. She was sitting there and sewing n an old singer treadle machine. I had the pleasure of meeting her and chatting with her. I also saw a room piled high with entries!!

We'll keep you posted!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Diagonale


Pam and I have each entered two pieces into a fundraising auction for Diagonale, a Montreal-based organization for the promotion of textile art. It is a juried event, and they have a very particular aesthetic: very urban, rather conceptual. Neither Pam nor I is a member, but I am somewhat intrigued by them as they are actually a major, francophone, tax-funded group here in Montreal.

Each piece is to be no more than 8 x 8, excluding framing. If accepted, they will be auctioned on December 3 for a minimum of $100 each. The theme is "Jaune".

My first piece is titled "Simple Pleasures". It uses a line drawing I produced in a workshop, when given 30 seconds and required to use my non-dominant hand. Have always liked the drawing, and thought it might be used to illustrate the playful, childlike quality of yellow. It is mounted on a 9 x 9 pre-stretched canvas covered with hand-dyed blue cotton.

The second piece is titled "Insomnia". It was stitched onto Timtex and black felt, and mounted on a 6 x 6 pre-stretched canvas which cannot be seen behind the edges of the piece.

Pleased with myself for getting them both completed with a tight deadline. Will now wait and see whether they're accepted. All pieces juried in will be displayed on their website,
www.artdiagonale.org so you can follow along if you, too, are intrigued.

I'm stumped!



 What an irony - I chose this challenge subject and I can't think of a thing to do with it! Lots of ideas have passed through my frazzled brain but none have stuck - could be a midnight oil job at this rate!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New Studio

The new studio in England is finally sorted, so here a few images. It's quite a large room (by English standards) with french windows opening onto the front garden. After many trips to Ikea and do-it-yourself stores we finally have it the way I wanted. In one corner is the desk, with Mac in pride of place. Another corner contains my two sewing machines at right angles to each other. The third corner contains a nice gas fire - put in when we expected this room to become a sitting room or dining room, and the door to the hall occupies the 4th corner. In the middle of the room is the piece-de-resistance - the large worksurface when I can cut, design or do what ever I want! It's high, but my plastic drawer units containing fabric and tools fit underneath it very neatly, and in the very middle I can store waddings, well out-of-sight. An Ikea unit between the desk and the door contains threads, books, paints, dyes and silk screens (the latter hidden in the blue boxes). This still needs a bit more sorting - there are still a number of books in my old room that I want to bring over. I'm extremely pleased with the whole set-up, though I have yet to work out how to get a design wall in. Possibly a stand alone one between the HQ16 and the fireplace?

We're having the rest of the garden landscaped at the moment as well - hence the man pushing a wheel barrow that you can see through the window. Now I just need to start my Street Life piece (oh, and finish sorting out the rest of our belongings). I've been photographing the local Wakes and I think I have my subject!