Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Congratulations to all!

As the one who selected this title of this challenge, I want to congratulate you on submitting such fascinating interpretations of what this word conjurs up for you.
Every challenge from our blog members has brought about tremendous growth in my journey as an artist. I want to thank you all for that.
I so want to reply to each one personally but I am leaving Canada shortly for a few days, and my lack of time prevents this.
Well done to all of you. Thank you in particular for the feedback of my piece (Hil - the 'nose" on the right was part of a map which I have already eradicated). I look forward to doing a part 3 of this series of mine and to incorporate all the valuable feedback.
Best wishes to all of you and good luck for the next challenge! It sounds an exciting one - thanks Linda!

Our next theme

Thanks for picking me Orah - I hope the mouth is feeling a lot better now.

I used to teach and had terrible trouble naming our children because the names we considered always had associations ..... Now I find the same is true of choosing a theme, could I make something, have I an idea already? So, as with the name choosing I have selected a theme, out of the blue with no association to anything I've made in the past -

Street Life

Fossilized Fly

I had something completely different in mind for "Fragments" until Hilary wondered if anyone would be using the rusted fabric we made at Dianne's cottage retreat. It was an AHA moment for me, seeing as I had created this wonderful rusted synthetic, somewhat slippery and thick upholstery fabric. The next AHA was caused by a new pair of red shoes I bought from Fly London. The fly logo was my inspiration for the fly fragment. This is the first piece I have made on my new Handiquilter Sweet 16. It stitches like a dream. As this posting day arrives, I will be in Scotland for a wedding, possibly without internet, so I am writing this in advance and hoping that the post will appear as scheduled at the end of the month.

Oops - nearly got it wrong!

Had it not been for a comment on Facebook* which led to me submitting a 'Friend' request to Linda F. I might have missed this deadline completely - for some reason I thought it was next month!

So to my fragments piece which is the result of a lot of synchronicity. Earlier this year I became the keeper of the family photo albums and was immediately struck by how some of the photographs belied what was happening, sometimes only minutes, before they were taken.  Also at this time I was exploring the various filters in GIMP and used the Cyanotype filter to good effect on some of these old family photos.

In August I was at the Festival of Quilts and was struck by the use of small 'fragments' of paper and fabric by post graduate students Fiona Wilson and Nina Davis . So the photographs that told the story of how one family could fragment and re-build itself, were in turn fragmented and re-assembled  to make this piece.

The photographs were printed on to Lutrador (This was a first for me, and I must admit to initially being a bit dis-appointed with the result as quite a lot of the ink bled through on to the carrying sheet. Now I quite like the hazy effect this has created. ) before being cut up, laid out very carefully and  machine stitched onto the quilt layers. I added a little additional stitching and a traditional binding - to help keep the family together!

*Although I keep a presence on Facebook I've always doubted its value - until today!

Thread Fragments

As a longarm quilter my waste paper basket is full of thread fragments.
The vest is made entirely of thread. The inner portion of steam a seam was cut in the shape of a vest. Little snipits of thread 1/4" or less were placed on top and then ironed. All the thread did not adhere so tulle was added.
The buttons are made of thread by stitching very densely onto a strong wash-away stabilizer. The remaining 3 buttons have gone astray in the bedlum of my sewing room. I'm sure most of you can relate!

Ice Berg

I found this subject quite hard, and didn't make a decision about what to make until a couple of weeks ago when inspiration struck. On our trip to the arctic we saw hundreds of icebergs, each containing a fragment of a glacier containing hundreds of years old ice - the perfect 'fragment'. My first attempt was a complete failure - I tried to cut the iceberg shape from my memories - and it ended up looking like a loaf of bread. For this attempt I used a photo for the main shapes - much better. Strangely, some of the actual icebergs we saw had very strange shapes - one looked just like a garden shed!

Ice cube

When I was reviewing all the pictures of stones that I have taken - from old English churches to Ankor Wat I also came across my iceberg photos from a trip to Newfoundland.    These behemoths are fragments of glaciers thousands of years old which break off and float down, usually disappearing as they pass the coast of Newfoundland.  I then wanted to do a bit of an abstract one such as Lawren Harris, one of our famous Group of Seven, painted.  I'm somewhere in between.

What did please me are the results of painting some dyed fabric with tsukineko inks to darken the sky and roil up the waves.

Emerging Fragments

Emerging Fragments

I like to work with bits and pieces and look for relationships as I go. Here is the story of the ups and downs of this piece. My background started on cotton with stamped black gridwork over fern leaves with a minimum amount of rusty red. Image transfers onto cotton and rice papers were added in layers with organza, pink tuile, and also some special textured rice paper. Thinned layers of wash were then added. A crisis ensued when too much colour was absorbed in the wrong places by the texture, clouding sublte image detail and completely changing the focal point!!!!! Some white watersoluble crayon (that I had seen Heather use in these circumstances) helped to alter the composition ( square in a square), rebalance the light and dark areas letting the eye travel around to different areas of interest . Then

graphite pencil and some small gold metallic stitches were used to help regain some detail and recover a focal point. A final darker rectangle of purple gave the eye somewher to start off.

I like the colour unity in the end and that it has many little secretive textural areas , that do not tell everything at once. A kind of mysterious message. Things to work on are range of values and leaving a few more simple lighter areas in the top half. Perhaps some more range in shape sizes (small medium large) and for next time I would like to retain a variety of repetition from the photgraphic subject matter. Materials used were: hand stamping on cotton, image transfers to rice and tissue paper, decorative rice paper, black and white painted tissue paper, organza, tuile, watersoluble crayon, graphite pencil, gold metallic thread Krylon"Preserve It" fixative spray with matt finish.

Fragments: Tuscany

When I think back to past experiences, travel, adventures, so much of what I remember is fragmentary. Is it like that for everyone? I hope this piece conveys that dream-like quality of memory.

This piece was made using a technique from Jennifer Solon in the recent issue of Quilting Arts, combining collage and stitch. I began with two photos taken during a trip to Tuscany some years ago and a third image of a door taken from a copyright-free website. These were transferred to tissue paper and applied to a cotton background that had been hand-dyed, then treated with mashed potato resist and paint. Stitching, stamping, stenciling and more collage followed.


From the moment that Pamela announced the theme I knew what I was going to do.  Some seven years ago I visited an textile art exhibibition in the Salisbury Art Centre which is a converted church.  There are several fragments of some beautiful mosaic wall decoration left exposed in the walls.  I guess it was the combination of ancient history, the mosaics and the barely legible illuminated manuscript look of these fragments that caught my imagination.  I took photos but I have held those images in my head all this time - waiting for this moment?


The mosaics are cotton fabrics fused in place including the gold which is printed solid shiny gold.  I tried foiling gold to Bondaweb but decided the tesserae had to look similar, ie little layers in themselves.  Over this I laid white nylon organza and light weight Lutradur, then stitched around and between each tesserae.  Now the fun - I melted away the organza and Lutradur with a heat gun leaving what I hope looks like the mosaic fragments in that church.

Some of the actual fragments - my inspiration



What I have attempted to portray here is 'fragments of a life once lived'. It is part 2 of a series, the first one being 'Der Veg' ( 'Der Veg' is a journey of a people out of villages they once lived in. Subsequent to leaving these villages, pogroms broke out destroying whatever and whoever remained behind, resulting in 'fragments of a life once lived.'

I have used techniques of collage learned in a workshop with Diane St-Georges.

When designing this piece, I tried to incorporate the principles of composition also covered in the workshop. Once the piece was complete, I saw errors in every principle that I had tried to focus on. I was very disappointed and seriously considered cutting up the piece and stitching the pieces down as 'fragments.'

I tried to remedy some of the errors by collaging more objects as well as adding more highlighting and shading. I am still not happy with the end result. Perhaps the dimensions (12" X 12") is too small for such a huge subject, perhaps I tried to fit too much onto the substrate.

I look forward to constructive criticism from the group as well as others.

Looking forward to seeing the others.


Life Fragmented by Ovarian Cancer

Teal is the color of Ovarian Cancer.

This summer has been especially difficult for me as my youngest sister, Audra, passed away from Ovarian Cancer. She was just 43 years old. She leaves behind a 9 year old son, Grayson, a wonderful husband, Greg, plus 8 siblings and many, many who loved her. Cancer creates fragmented lives by destroying dreams and families.

In making this quilt, I wanted to continue to challenge myself by using a new technique. This is a freezer paper piecing technique that I learned from Cynthia England. This 12" X 12"piece has more than 250 pieces! The images at the bottom of the quilt are of Audra chasing Grayson on a beach in California. I transferred these images using Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) pressed through chiffon onto the quilt.


Working on a series within a theme sometimes has its disadvantages and 'fragments' threw me initially. I then had one of those light bulb moments .......mining in SA!  Our soil is very rich  with various minerals and mining forms a big part of the countries wealth.  We are constantly removing fragments of coal, gold, diamonds etc. from beneath us.

Machine pieced, screen printed, appliqued,painted,machine quilted and embellished with 'bedazzled beads' the fragments of our soil.

Friday, 26 August 2011


If you go on the SAQA site and look at the auction pieces that have been assembled into groupings you will see that our Heather's piece has been included in an Abstract grouping by Jamie Fingal.  Nice work Heather.


I have been home a week and slowly things are getting back to normal.  I had a wonderful time in the UK and as usual Hilary had me busy with some wonderful things.  The biggest surprise was the workshop on Collagraphy (Collography)..... never heard of before and am totally smitten. These are a couple of results.

It seems some of you have been having great fun with wonderful results at summer school and congrats to the Vitamin C Quilt makers.

The  reality is I now need to complete my 'fragment' piece which was and still is on paper and needs to now happen!  I must say I saw lots of other possibilities over the 3 weeks away whether in reality or at the Quilt Show but I need to put those ideas aside for another time and get moving.

our next theme is to be announced by..............


drawn from a hat this afternoon by my dear daughter orah, who is trying to recover from wisdom teeth surgery

i assume this will be due end november. please confirm hilary

good luck to all and looking forward to seeing the results of 'fragment/s' on wednesday

great weekend to all and stay safe - some of us up here are anticipating some wild weather conditions

Monday, 22 August 2011

Summer Workshop, Part 2

Here are a couple of photos of Michele and Pam hard at work. They are making their own palettes of tissue paper by applying an acrylic wash to white tissue paper. By laying the tissue on a plastic work surface before painting, it will dry and then peel off for future use. We produced other kinds of paper on Day 1 too, some using black or white gesso on tissue which was very useful.
On Day 2, Diane asked us to use some of our coloured tissue to collage a full page, without thinking at all about placement. She gave us a handout showing almost twenty different kinds of successful composition, and we used viewfinders to select portions of our work that worked well as a composition.
One of my 4-inch squares shows the "pyramid" format, another the "compression" format.

I was then left with a 9-inch square that looked like a "hot mess" to me. With a little guidance from Diane, I added a touch of red here, a touch of white there, to help lead the eye around the whole surface a little better. Maybe it now qualifies as an "Echoing Shapes" or "Shape within a Shape" format.

Another exercise involved applying white gesso to a surface of natural canvas, then collaging tissue onto the dried gesso. Maybe another "Echoing Shapes"?
On Day 3, we were supposed to make a collage using papers we had made on Day 1, using small, medium and large shapes, all different. I worked from one of my photos. Good points: each corner is different, and the size of the shapes all along the edges are mostly different. However, somehow the focal point (the cat) shifted into the middle, and I have strong black lines bisecting the piece horizontally and vertically. I have concluded, sadly, that there is no saving this composition!

A very stimulating and challenging three days with, I hope, applications to future work.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Summer Workshop

Summer Workshop With Diane St-Georges

Hello All. I hope you are having a great August! I wanted to tell you about a very valuable

learning experience at a recent 3 day workshop with a wonderful local acrylic collage artist.The main focus was on learning about different kinds of good composition and how to identify and strengthen them. We worked to make coloured tissue papers and also some textured ones in both black and white, so that many layers of value could be added to create combinations of image and written text which she then critiqued for compositional strengths.

On returning home it helped me to finish some 5x7 submissions for the upcoming Wildcard Auction. This is a charity auction to benefit the bird rehabititation center in my neighbourhood.

The third day was by far the most difficult and intense. The exercise was to make a composition using 15 dynamic shapes none of which could be the same or touch eachother. This made repetition an impossible technique to fall back on but she did encourage us to use small medium and large shapes in odd numbers. My final composition was a bust but when cropped shows how the power of large shapes in opposition can be a strong force in any composition.

To get fine lines,we used a dripping technique with black house paint slowly hovering over white tissue paper. (Dry flat on plastic surface and peel off when dry).

To get text or photos onto tissue paper for collage we used acetone rubbed quickly to the back of the tissue layered with a photocopy print side up. This allows you to use your own pictures in a transparent fashion over colour or to overlap images.

This work could have easily been done on cotton if left pinned to dry as the medium used to fuse the layers does tend to shrink.So much fun to do!! Look forward to seeing all the challenges for fragments soon !

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ice dyed fabric - with photo this time

For some reason, the photo did not appear. Here it is, I hope.

Ice dyed fabric

The latest issue of Quilting Arts had an article about ice dyeing. Having tried snow dyeing, I just had to try this. What a blast! The colours are amazing and I just love the serendipty-ness of the whole process. And fortunately my friend has an icemaker in her fridge. This is my new favourite way of dyeing. I have already used some of it in the piece Marion and I are now working on. PS thanks for the very kind comments about Vitamin C.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Three Small Pieces

To prepare for next week's workshop, I have made three 5 x 7's for a local fundraiser. I have been inspired by an article by Jennifer Solon in the recent issue of Quilting Arts. Jennifer uses fabric and paper collage on a black felt backing, stitches the layers together, applies medium to the surface, then applies paint, wiping off some with a rag, sometimes using stencils and stamps.The first piece uses a photo from Provence and another of an angel in a Montreal cemetery, both applied with TAP to my mashed-potato-resist fabric. Paint and a white water-soluble crayon followed.
The second uses a TAP transfer of an image from Tuscany. The Venus was ink-jet printed on plain brown paper, crumpled and ironed. A strip of embossed wallpaper, paint and crayon were added.

The third uses ink-jet images from Sicily, printed on rice papers, then painted.

In the same theme, I have also made three 12 x 12's, mounted on gesso'd canvas, one of which might well serve as a Fragments piece. I'm looking forward to getting guidance about composition and value contrast at next week's tutorial. Meanwhile, I'm excited to have found an approach that allows me to combine collage and stitch.

Fragment almost finished

Thanks to a comment made by Hilary, which gave me my inspiration, and also to a new pair of shoes..... Just a hint.

Vitamin C wins major award at Vermont Quilt Festival

Marion Perrault and I collaborated on this quilt, which won the Founder's Award at the Vermont Quilt Festival recently. Unfortunately Marion could not attend the festival, so is missing from this photo. The piece measures 49.5" x 50" which seemed huge when we were making it, but looks so small here. The detail shows some of the quilting, done by me on my hand-dyed fabric (cotton and silk) using silk thread.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

hi from israel

have been in this wonderful country since june 27th. went to a quilting meeting of 'accent quilters' (one of the reasons for their name is that each member of this group - almost - speaks with a different accent!)in herzlia 2 nights ago - some of the very well known israeli fiber artists belong to this group. an exciting, inspiring group
went to the israel museum and spent 4 hours in the william kentridge retrospective - much inspiration for 'fragemnts.' (he could actually inspire me to do alomst anything!)
climbed massada at 4.30am with many of our family who have come to israel from australia, south africa and england as well as the israeli ones. a wonderful experience in so many ways
have had a most priveleged summer
love to you all