Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A touch of red

Ontario artist and university professor, Elton Yerex always told his students that "red draws the eye in" and even a little bit should be in each work of art.

Seeing Red - the red barns of Canada

I had many ideas when I saw the topic, but a lot of them seemed negative - losing my temper, being impatient etc. - and I wanted a positive theme. Mick and I were travelling to the Niagara peninsular, brain storming the idea, when we saw all these red and white barns beside the roads. Initialing I was thinking about a literal interpretation, but then decided to use the spontaneous strip quilting method demonstrated by Rayna Gillman at her workshop. I've tried to suggest the barn by the white sections, and the slopes of the roofs by the darker sections. After finishing I overpainted with small amounts of green and black paint - most of the barns we saw were all slightly delapidated, and my quilt looked too pristine.!

Red, Red Rose

When considering the challenge "Seeing Red" so many different ideas popped into my head from the Red Post Boxes in England to the Red Ink of the stock market.
June marked 30 years that John and I have been married, so the focus narrowed to a single red rose which is significant in our relationship. My challenge was that I wanted to make the rose petals transparent/see through yet convey the red color. I found red cellophane at the art store and designed the flower from enlarging a flower motif from a piece of fabric. The tricky part was to arrange the top, batting and backing exactly to allow light to shine through and still finish the edges with satin stitching so it could be illuminated. In the quilting, I incorporated "Red" words such as: Red Rose, Red Hot, Red Tape, Red Light, etc. I can't wait for the next challenge!

Trouble with the thumbnails and Photostream

My apologies for the mess with the little photos.  I am trying to get an answer as to how to separate the two sets of photos and I'm waiting for an answer from the help forum - unless one of you knows the answer?  Fingers crossed.


This is Murray's 'graphic' version of the challenge. He will give the background to it as a comment.

Seeing Red Snickers

The announcement of "Seeing Red" was very timely. I don't remember the last time I was so mad. In April , two of my children (ages 19 & 21) brought home Snickers the rabbit without my approval.
Previously, we had a pet rabbit for about 10 years. Even though it was a very nice pet I was secretly pleased when it was no longer with us. I didn't enjoy seeing a rabbit caged.
I quietly raged hence the fury of fans.
What a surprise when darling Snickers gave birth to 3 adorable babies (Rolo, Twix and Caramilk) hence the photo repetition of Snickers.
Our 3 children, my husband and I were home for the births. We had great anxiety and fun together building a den for the baby bunnies and enjoying their develolpment over the last 3 months. Caramilk and Twix were adopted by one of our friends and Rolo will be leaving at the end of the month.
The fury of fans acted as a cooling agent and I have calmed. I used the domestic machine to do the quilting instead of the longarm and I really enjoyed the change.

Simply Red - Coral Tree

Erythrina lysistemon (Erythrina comes from Greek meaning "Red") or the Coral Tree as it is better known. These deciduous trees are a blaze of colour from June thru to April depending on which type and their seeds are a very dark pod made up of a number of segments which bursts open with a very bright red seed in each. I have a dwarf version in my front garden which gives me continuous delight with added bonus of the birds it attracts.
100% cotton, painted with silk paints; branches and two minor flower heads in dye pastels; main flower head hand dyed cotton fused; quilting - machine stippled and hand seeded; edge satin stitch with ribbon inner.
You may notice and african theme developing. I am hoping that I can incorporate this in all the challenges so I can in time hang them all as one ...... an added challenge!! Roll on the next one.

Black & White and Red all over

This unveiling is so exciting!  Maybe we should move to every two months, now that we're getting the hang of it?

When I started to think about my quilt the Red Shirts were barricading themselves in Bangkok.  And trouble was brewing.  Red is my favourite colour - I think of it as a cheerful thing, lively, energetic, and full of promise.  But throughout our modern history it is a colour that is associated with violence, evil, and oppression.  Which got my goat a bit.  

I've used my fabric that I made during a Rayna Gillman workshop on gelatin plate printing, and the red is my own dyed fabric.  I've embroidered a variety of names such as red shirts, red brigade, khmer rouge, red guard, seeing red, red square, and then racking my brain for the last:  rackham le rouge.  A little humour never hurts.  

'The Soccer World Cup is in South Africa and I'm in Canada!

The title of my piece is 'Seeing Red' or 'The Soccer World Cup is in South Africa and I'm in Canada!'

Having enjoyed watching soccer in the pre new South Africa days, I have felt very forlorn and homesick since the start of this world cup tournament.

Red, for me is a colour symbolizing South Africa - red earth (Alan Paton), passion, sunsets, birth of a new nation, blood stained earth, aids, rape and murder. Red is the colour of envy - envious of those watching the soccer!

My background fabric is red cotton. I printed on it using wooden stamps from Africa and 'Zebo', a black polish traditionally used to polish black coal stoves in South Africa. I quilted it with nylon thread. The leaves down the left were printed on cotton. I placed a piece of red tulle over the whole piece before quilting. I tried to simulate pebbles in my quilting - earthy and African. I fused the binding on using BoNash - haven't done this before. Used a scalloped rotary cutter - also a first.

I enjoyed making this piece!


I always stand in wonder when I see the awesome sunsets we get here, especially in winter and decided to add an African flavour in incorporating the Baobob tree to the mix. About a year ago I made a large wall hanging using a Baobob tree as the main focus and bacame fascinated with the almost prehistoric form they take, seemingly rising out of the bushveld as, in the most part, solitary sentinels of the bush. They hold an ongoing fascination for me with their grandeur and dignity. I have used mainly dyed fabric with some commercial print and oil paint sticks.

Here goes - my Seeing Red

Caitlyn at the beach at Easter in her red coat.   All around was grey - the sea, the pebbles, the sky - just her coat stood out brightly.  We had taken the two children to fish in the rock pools with a net and bottle only to find the tide in and no rock pools.  The parking lot was 6" of mud covered by a layer of green grass and in her excitement she jumped out the car and slipped into the mud.  You have no idea how much mud had been washed off her coat and trousers with sea water - and how much in Photoshop!

The background pictures have been deliberately toned down to allow the centre picture to stand out.  The coat is free thread-painted, the shadows added with a Fabrico pen.  I found that using a zigzag stitch gave the best fill but it means working very slowly to keep within the designated area.  The edges were first satin stitched then a twisted cord made of various threads and yarns to match the piece was attached using invisible thread and a serpentine stitch.

Here's a detail.

I am really happy with this piece - and so is her Dad!  Caitlyn will see it in a month's time when they next visit.


Monday, 28 June 2010

An interesting tutorial on a blog-transferring images to cloth

Have a look at Lyric Kinard's latest blog:

You girls in Canada and the States should be able to get hold of this Citra-Solve® to have a play.  Sadly I see it doesn't work with any old orange oil cleaner.  One little word of warning - be aware that a lot of ads and photos are not copyright free!

Hi Everyone

Just getting myself sorted for Wednesday - I have been following all the wonderful pieces that you have all been putting up and think they are all so inspiring. I can't wait for the final show of our "Seeing Red" on Wednesday and thereafter a new subject !! I am so enjoying being part of this group as well as the challenges. Thank you.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Wildcard entry

Hi all - this is my entry for the wildlife fundraiser for bird rehabilitation. the background fabric started it's life as a blue, floral commercial print. it was seriously manipulated during a workshop with Rayna Gillman and then i used a beautiful wooden stamp, handcarved in Africa, with white fabric paint, kind of echo quilted it in copper and then transparent thread. I enjoyed making it. 'See' you all on Thursday!

Saturday, 26 June 2010


Had a silly morning the other day with the Hadedas on the top step of the pool drinking water and then to stop the monkeys destroying my bird feeders I chopped up apples and redirected them to my pool area away from the feeders.
All these distractions !!
Nearly there with my piece which is actually quite simple and for that reason, I think, I keep revisiting and rethinking instead of getting on and finishing it.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Latest Work

Just thought I 'd post the latest three pieces I've finished. The first two are 5 x 7 inches and are for the same local fundraiser as Heather's pieces.
The third piece was started in a workshop with Rayna Gillman. It measures roughly 20 x 15 inches.

Now it's back to sorting out and moving all my stuff ready for my daughter's and boyfriend's arrival tomorrow.


For those of you who don't know me (yet), I am posting some images of recent work. These two pieces, 8" square, were made for a fundraiser at the Centre des Textiles Contemporains de Montreal. They began as gelatin prints, with cheesecloth, ribbon and paper added.

These two began as silk-screened, stamped fabric, with images torn from an encyclopedia and then collaged into place with matte medium. They are for another local fundraiser, and measure 5" x 7".

This piece, 18" square, is the most recent in the series, which I am calling "A Guide to Modern Living". It began as silkscreened, stamped and stenciled cotton, and has had transparent materials, like cheesecloth, organza, abaca tissue and laser-cut paper, added by fusing and collage.

I recently read Jean Wells' book, Intuitive Color and Design, and was intrigued with the possibilities of piecing strips without a ruler. After trying out the technique on two pillows, I made this framed piece as a response to a Challenge from my Ottawa group. We were given photos of woodland plants touched by frost, so the palette was very subdued. Buttons, beads and hand-stitching added some texture.

It has taken me all afternoon to figure out how to post this stuff, so I hope you enjoy it!


I am delighted to be your newest member. Because I am in a "play group" with Pam, Linda, Colleen, Dianne and Helena, I have been following the progress of 12 By the Dozen off and on since it began, and look forward to the unveiling of the "Seeing Red" pieces. Not sure just how long before I can post my own entry: it's all about getting a good idea, isn't it? The work I have seen from the group is very exciting, and I am so pleased to be part of it now.

Hello and Farewell

I am sorry we are loosing a member, Ellen, who has family worries that are taking up her time.  Ellen, I hope the future is brighter than it seems at the moment and that you will follow our journey and enjoy the adventures we have along the way.

And a welcome to Heather who is joining us to keep us a 'dozen'.  Heather will introduce herself but I will say that I have known Heather for quite a few years now.  She was with us in Houston last year when the idea for this group was born and we met up again recently - in Highgate Cemetery in London!

And if you would like a sneak preview of Heather and her work here is her website:


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Playing with photos in Brittany

Rosie, Dianne and I spent a couple of hours late one afternoon with Charlotte Ziebarth's new book Artistic Photo Quilts.  We had come back with another set of great memory photos from that day's trip.  The book had arrived the day before I left and I had squizzed at it briefly and picked up on the idea that for certain possibilities you need 'background' photos - hence the photo of the uninteresting looking seaweed!  This is one of the fun things we tried.

Take a photo of an iris.

Then take a photo of seaweed.

Now apply the Fresco filter to the iris photo.

Then add the seaweed photo as an overlay with the transparency adjusted and this is what you get.

What fun!  Then if you add a red filter to the seaweed you get this.

Which means your iris starts to look like this.

The possibilities are endless.  I'm off to play some more - I've finished my Seeing Red piece and I'm waiting for some paint to dry...


Friday, 18 June 2010

Leafy Greens

I'm on a roll! 3 posts in one day. This is a 5" x 7" piece I finished yesterday for a fundraiser exhibition and sale called "Wildcard" aiming to raise money for a local bird rehabilitation centre. All the pieces donated are 5 x 7, unframed, and signed on the back. They will all sell for $65 (the cost of rehabilitating one bird). They are hoping to receive over 500 donations. I'm excited to report that the exhibition will preview in my gallery a couple of weeks before the event. Unfortunately this photo doesn't really capture the intense greens of this piece, mounted on watercolour paper that I painted.

Spontaneous Combustion

Oops, I screwed up when trying to upload this photo of Spontaneous Combustion. Here it is. Helena

Seeing Red and its inspiration

I created "Spontaneous Combustion" inspired by our guild's challenge, "Hot Stuff". It is quite huge, and now hangs in my daughter's condo in Toronto. As soon as she saw it, she laid claim to it, so I was very thrilled. As soon as I heard that our next 12 x 12 challenge theme was "Seeing Red", I knew exactly what I was going to make, and here it is. I am posting it early because I will be in England for my nephew's wedding on our official "posting" date. Looking forward to the next challenge! Helena

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Betsy Ross incarnate joins the group

This is a cryptic clue for my interpretation of 'Seeing Red.'

Love to you all

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

New 'rules' for group

The week together has been and gone all too fast.  I wish we could repeat this with the whole group - a retreat together where we could chat and get to know each other.  We did manage to squeeze in some rust dyeing - not wholely successful - strange French vinegar or the water? - and some mono printing on gelatine.  We have challenged ourselves to come up with a holiday piece - so watch this space.  I had taken along a book I received just as I packed - Charlotte Ziebarth's 'Artistic Photo Quilts' which I highly recommend if you have a photo editing programme (Adobe Elements or Paint Shop Pro) and you are interested in manipulating photos.  I wouldn't be surprised if  a few of the things given in the book didn't pop up in these pieces...

As you can imagine these was a lot of talking and we chatted about the lack of banter on the 12 by the Dozen blog.  So, because nothing is cast in stone and we should be flexible when it is possible to improve things, let's drop the secrecy 'rule'.  Whatever you are working on let's hear about it.  Maybe one of the group can solve a problem with a suggestion - or pick up inspiration from a different perspective from someone's idea.  Just let's get chatting together and sharing our successes and our woes (hopefully not too many of those!).

I hope this suits everyone and takes a bit of pressure off not knowing what to share, how much was too much and worrying about giving anything away.  This is our group and we should suit ourselves and not follow exactly in other's foot tracks.


Hilary (who is sadly back home while the other two are cycling/driving around France)

I'm done!

Well, while some of our members have been sunning it in glorious Brittany, I have been working. Just got the binding to finish now. Inspiration is a mixture of typical Canadian farm architecture, plus a dose of Rayna Gilman. Work that one out. Meanwhile Mick and I will be leaving Montreal this year around September time, at the moment to a destination unknown. Possibly a new source of inspiration??

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Tri This Design Group - Together Again

Here is the Tri This Design Group, together again, in France :) working on Seeing Red!!  LOL!!

Plogastel-St Germain

We have been having a great time catching up on news, touring the area and on one rainy day, doing some gelatin plate printing. I have no idea how to post pictures on this computer but will do so on my return.

If I'm to stay on the red theme, there are so many wonderful flowers in bloom. The reddest are mesembryanthemum. Hilary knows this name, I don't! They look like an osteospermum which are also in bloom, but are fuller, and oh so red! Up against all the stone walls, they look spectacular.

What are you all doing for the end of June? I started quilting mine, but think that I may have to start over as it's not quite working the way I want. Which means gelatin plate printing some more white fabric. Oh well. Another play day!!

Let's hear from you and let's gear up for our next unveiling!