Saturday, 31 August 2013

Azaleas in my garden

In a northern climate like Quebec we didn't grow up with exotic plants like azaleas, but now we seem to be able to grow them quite well.  I'm not sure if our mothers just didn't have access to them or if global warming is making a difference.  But my orange azaleas at the cottage were brilliant this year. 

 I am trying to be a bit more abstract in my work.  And finding it very difficult.  I'm also trying to base this series on some colour theory.  I usually just use intuition, and for the most part I think it works.  I lost the plot on this.  I should have had purple as an accent if I was doing a triad, or even a tetrad.  But yellow spoke to me.  Perhaps next time I will be more formal about it. 

I was pleased to use some of my purchases at the Festival of Quilts - sari scraps, and 2 thermofaxes.
and it's probably not quite finished.  Rather busy here since before my holiday and after with elder care.  I may do a little more embroidery before I frame it.  (What a lovely cheat tool to be able to crop with the computer!)

Spring Garden Greens

Spring Garden I 

This piece came from repurposing an old confetti fabric collage and matting up two separate sections. This was the one I decided to choose for our challenge. I find that a lime green can help to accent our leafy green and blend it with both jewel tones and muddy ones.

The technique used is similar to a demo I had once seen by Jan Beaney, layering yarn and fabric bits onto organza, pinning and then free motion stitching over the top of a clear washaway sandwich. Small stitches hold it all together.

Gardens flowers will always be an inspiration for my work even if my preferred palette is now definitely more muted than this one....

I have been working for the last few months in this size in preparation for the Hudson  Studio Tour at the end of September. I find that I am starting to get used to the scale as time goes by. With more limited chunks of time for my work this summer, working small has helped me to finish a group of pieces on fabric that fit into 11X14 matting and then snugly into sealed crystal bags. I now have  a  small series of monoprints from the colograph plates used at our July Text'art retreat in Ogden that I am pleased with, just not any that are really green!


I too thought of vegetation when I started to think about what to do with the green challenge, so decided to do a landscape and then the title jumped out at me.  I had fun with it although am not happy with the edging.  I had completed the piece and left the binding/edging to the last minute and did not have time to change it.  If I had bound it with a solid colour I think it would have been too heavy so have left it as it is.  This is in celebration of the first day of spring tomorrow.  As I am writing this there are new leaves and buds sprouting on our trees in the garden so this was an appropriate choice for me although I started it when the weather was much colder than it is now.


Well, not many of the materials I found made it into the final piece.  There's a few of the fabrics, and two of the threads round the outside, but the paint, silk cocoons and Markel (Shiva) paintstik fell by the wayside.  I couldn't dis-associate green from vegetation in my mind, so in the end I decided to just go for it.  A suggestion of a leaf, made using reverse fused appliqué, a technique I had somehow never tried before.  Very simple, but I just love the spiral shape.


Apologies for the title ... stuck for one.

This came from a photo I had and I thoroughly enjoyed making it ... so much so it was finished about 6 weeks ago.   The background is one of my favourite techniques, painted applique paper cut into brick shapes and fused to a background cloth.  The leaves are own dyed fabric and fused to the background.  Quilting very simple.


Funny how sometimes you can struggle for weeks and weeks to find inspiration and then once in a while it hits you between the eyes straight off.  I immediately thought of the little piece I had made at Winter School last year with Dawn Thorne.  It was the wrong shape so I couldn't cheat and just present it.  But I did enjoy working with the shapes again. 

The background is a lovely linen mix fabric with painted Bondaweb added.  The green is dyed and waxed tissue paper.  The ferns are paper, some painted with Lumiere paints some with transfer paints, and organza.  A bit of pink foiling was added (this has caught the light and looks stronger than it actually is).

Here is the original which has zapped Lutradur painted with Lumiere.


Water Tower #3

Water Tower #3
This piece was inspired by a photo I took in Manhattan this spring, shown below. I used a scrap of hand-painted cotton to give a gradation to the windows, and low-immersion dyeing to produce a mottled sky fabric. The other cottons are all hand-dyed too.

This green was a real challenge for me, because it is so strongly suggestive of vegetation, and I didn't want to go there. I've pretty much decided that my own theme for this series will be urban architecture. I like the idea of producing a dozen pieces, all 8.5" x 11", in a rainbow of colours. We'll see.


Since the 'green' theme was announced my husband and I have been watching the LOST series. The green jungle haunts me as did this green challenge. The opening scene is often a close-up of an eye, I'm really not sure what this represents. The whole series has its' mysteries, such as the black smoke-like monster that swirls in and out of the jungle.


I absolutely love green and use it all the time in my work, but it is a colour I rarely, if ever, wear. The squares in this piece are collaged onto a backing and covered with tulle.  I quilted the word GREEN using white thread and then painted the leaves with white fabric paint. The edges are satin stitched. I am still getting used to the new format. I find it quite small.....

Portrait of the artist contemplating her green issues

It seems that I'm going to struggle with the colour challenges - I may have to think of a different approach, but in the end I enjoyed this one!  OK, so the joke was in the title and in my mind and isn't that funny but it made me smile.

My technique was a bit 'off' I suspect I went through the layers the wrong way - I certainly found myself trying to get my hands and scissors into some awkward places to finish the piece.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


I still haven't started on my green challenge, and I'm worried the deadline is looming even closer.  Here's some of the green materials I've look at so far - I wonder which of them will make it into the final piece.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


The next person to choose the colour after we have had our reveal at the end of August is:


We all look forward, I am sure, to what colour you're going to choose Linda - what fun this is!

The green seems to have been quite a challenge and I have nearly finished mine, just have to complete the edges.  I had to get it done as my daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren have been out visiting from the UK which understandably has left no time for any quilting etc.  We spent a wonderful time with them down at the beach at Ballito Bay on the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal, perfect weather and a great time spent with them all.  Sadly they return home on Friday.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Green Teaser

Here's a photo of a fabric scrap that I've used in my Green challenge. I'm pretty sure it was hand-painted with Setacolor paint, but exactly when? No idea.

An instance of "Can't possibly throw that out. It might be just the right thing for some future project." Surely the right shade of green is in there somewhere.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Green preview

After abandoning my last attempt I sat down and began to ponder why I had difficulty working with green. With my inclination to work with saturated colour, almost to the point of using a monochromatic range of fabrics I shouldn't have a problem  if I treated it as a technical exercise. And ping - a textile 'joke' popped into my head. The piece is made and this is a small section:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Well, I've got as far as looking at my fabric stash and selecting some greens to go with the miscellaneous assortment of threads and fibres I found in my daughter's house, but I have no ideas of what to do with them!  Looking at what I've pulled out I also realise I need to go back and find some darker and lighter values of green to compliment what I have found.  I'm considering an abstract design at the moment, largely as I'm also doing my next four journal quilts at the moment and they are all based on photographs.  End of August and deadlines are looming.  Rain is forecast tomorrow which would help me concentrate, but I'm on a half day course at the Cotton Patch to get to know Wonderfil threads better.

End of the month is going to be interesting.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, UK

It's not often that any of us are able to meet up being so widely scattered.  Dianne and Heather were able to join Linda B, Linda F and myself at the UK Festival of Quilts.  It was very special to be able to share time together.  Here we are.

Linda B, Dianne, Heather, Linda F and Hilary

Struggling ...

I'm not keen on green, I don't garden with enthusiasm and I've nothing green in my wardrobe but I'm up for a challenge - or at least I thought I was. I explored all sorts of ideas, and came back to that greenest of objects, the leaf. I do like leaves so I thought that I'd try something stylised. Before going off to FOQ, (Great to meet Dianne and Heather and hope you're both safely back home by now.) I made some rough leaf shapes but now I'm wondering what I was thinking about, I can't make anything of these at all! Back to the drawing board I'm afraid.