Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Good News and Very Good News

First the Good News:  I have just finished updating our website with the latest challenge pieces.  This has been the best job ever as I have had to see the images really close-up while editing them ready for the website.  All I can say is WOW!  The detail, quilting, the design work and techniques, the media used and the choices everyone has made are stunning.  Please check the website for any glitches and let me know if anything isn't working as it should.

The Very Good News is that we have a new 12th member.  I would like to introduce Mai Britt Axelsen to you.  Some of you will already know Mai Britt as she is an award winning quilter and member of Contemporary Quilt.  She is Danish and lives with her husband on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.  I have rounded up a few images of her work.  Mai Britt will be joining in the Hundertwasser challenge.

Welcome to the group, Mai Britt.


PS  That's another country to add to our list!




Monday, 12 December 2016

Shipley Canal

I am so sorry that I have been late with this challenge.  When I first saw the work of the artist I was excited and thought it right up my street.  Oh dear, I really over extended myself.  I was way too ambitious.  It has been a long haul on top of too much going on in my life but I am happy with the result - thank you for indulging me.
My piece is based on a photo I took walking along the canal on my way to a textile exhibition at Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorkshire.  When I saw Sheeler's painting I immediately remembered the lovely walk I had.  I have always loved architecture and industrial in particular.  Must be all those lines and shapes.  The area (west of Bradford) used to be the centre of the woollen industry and the canal is lined with mills and chimneys. 
I ummed and aahed about whether to use colour, then thought of black and white like a photograph but my fabric selection had big gaps. I settled on a sepia look as it reflects the aging, decaying buildings - although there are signs of regeneration and life returning. It is fused, stitched and with a little paint.

Charles Sheeler - Amoskeag Mills
Shipley Canal - Yorkshire, UK

Shipley Canal as Sheeler may have painted it

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Heather in the spotlight

Heather has asked me to pass on a message and I do it with pleasure and a certain amount of pride that one of our past members is doing so well.

"Former 12 by the dozen member Heather Dubreuil is pleased to have an 8-page spread in the Winter 2017 edition of Art Quilting Studio, an American magazine. In the article, she credits the 12 by the dozen group for inspiring her Cityscapes series."

If you would like to read about the article on Heather's blog here is the link:


Thank you, Heather, for giving the group credit for helping in your journey.  We will always enjoy hearing of your successes and adventures in the world of art.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Charles at Waikari Station, NZ

I decided to continue using my photos from NZ, and from the moment I saw Charles Sheeler's work I had a specific pair of photos in mind.  These were taken on the Weka Pass Railway and were of the Waikari Station, just north of Christchurch.


My chosen picture from Sheeler was an obvious choice, it was probably the whole reason I choose him as our next artist.

I loved the way he had played with perspective and overlaid the features.  So here's my version:
It was a lot harder than I expected to combine the images to produce something that worked, but I'm very pleased with the final result, even though it's not completely finished yet (binding still to be sewn down).  I chose to do minimal quilting, just round the lines using an invisible thread.  I still think that was the right decision, but I'd be interested in other suggestions.

...... & the next artist is


Friedrensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000) 

He was fascinated by spirals & had a dislike for straight lines which he described as 'the devil's tools' & 'godless & immoral. His work has been described as Transautomatism, a kind of Surrealism, focusing on fantasy. 
His work was not limited to architecture but he also made graphic work, lithographs, silk screen printings, etchings & woodcuts.
Much of his work is based on architecture & dominated by linear structures, with bright, intense colour, often using complementary colours with the addition of gold & silver, pasted on in thin foil. The work has simple organic form, with the same kinds of shape repeated again & again. Lines meander around shape, eyes loom out of landscapes & trees adorn rooftops.

Extracts from the book by Janet Edmond's called 'From Art to Stitch'

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sailing Ships

This is the picture by Giacomo Balla that I thought resembled the Sheeler.  If you google him, look at his running dacshund.

Interpreting different artists work is such a fascinating process especially when one is not overly enthusiastic about the artist concerned. (i.e. me with Sheeler's photography and paintings). Initially I found Sheelers work uninteresting and thought that I would find it very difficult to do something with. However I ended up doing 2 pieces and wondered which one I should post. I have decided to post both only because they are very similar but different and for the first time I think that doing a 'series 'would be intriguing.
The piece I chose to interpret is called 'Ballardvale' and was painted in 1946.The lines were interesting and I loved the colours.
The first interpretation I did was pieced . Usually I appliqué but one does need a challenge and the piecing worked well with Sheelers
'Precisionist' style . I kept thinking that some texture would liven the  piece but when the time for quilting came straight lines seemed to be the right option.

With the second piece I thought 'What if'' I turn the chimney stack into a tree and convert the scene from an industrial site into suburbia ?
As you can see I had fun and in the end I think that I like 'Suburbia' better . As you can all see I had great fun but promise that I won't inflict extras on you every time !


    There isn't one specific painting that inspired me.However,  Sheeler's industrial landscape paintings and his use of transparency caught my attention,  and as I am originally from a northern industrial mill town I thought I would try to  show a landscape that is familiar to me. The brick viaduct that crosses the Mersey valley in the centre of Stockport is an imposing structure and when it was built in 1840 it was the largest viaduct in the world, and is still the largest brick structure in the UK.

   I tried various designs with the viaduct and the mills, but couldn't  make one that worked with the transparent layers. In the end I abandoned the mills and just concentrated on the viaduct and the bridge. The final textile looks far more bucolic than the original scene! I originally experimented with the inktense pencils and bars that I bought in the summer when I was in England, but that attempt ended up in the bin (it was totally unsalvageable!) and I finally used fused appliqué and simple quilting.

Postponed. possibly forgotten

I enjoyed being introduced to Scheeler, I love his flat surfaces and his use of overlays to add to the sense of perspective so thank you Linda.
I also worked out fairly quickly how I could use these elements to work on a scene typical of the canal area of Manchester:

Playing with the arch shadow was going to give me the soaring effect that he uses so well. (There is probably a technical vocabulary to describe that but I don't have it!)

I made good progress, blocking in the larger shapes with paint, adding details using a stencil - until I added the arch form using a solid black fabric .... Whilst that was a mistake, it can be rectified with an alternative, less solid, fabric or a layer of paint, what can't be rectified is my assessment of what I'd done up til that point. The black fabric threw my lack of subtlety into glaring view and that has presented me with a barrier that I'm not sure I can overcome, or even want to give my time to.

I've been thinking about this for over a week and perhaps should have talked to someone about it, but during that time I've had a minor hospital procedure which has also occupied my thoughts. If this were my piece I would happily accept what I've learned and put it to one side, but I'm committed to this group and need to show that commitment. Whether I start all over again or just give myself some breathing space I don't know. There will eventually be a Scheeler inspired piece from me, but probably not this one.

Sheeler on hold

I'm sorry - I'm going to be late with this challenge.  It's all laid out on my work surface, and the first stage is close to being finished, but the piece isn't going to be finished before the end of play today.  I'll post it as soon as I can!

When I first looked through Sheeler's work I really was not ready for the very graphic lines and his general work, but as is wise, in my opinion, I let myself mull over the first images that I found until I eventually hit upon his paintings of sailing boats on the water and fell in love with them.  We spent many weekends with our children when they were much younger sailing and having fun on the water. As you have probably noticed in most of my pieces I do love curved lines so this was my choice.  I had a lot of fun with this piece and absolutely enjoyed every minute of constructing it.  In fact I am in the process of constructing a larger background and am going to attach this piece to it and hang it in my home.  I used a lot of paintwork using fabric paint and also oil stick paints and have now invested in Intense Ink Blocks which I can't wait to try out at a later stage.

Here is his painting with my interpretation below:


Researching Charles Sheeler was very interesting and I love his artwork of buildings, urban settings, and rural settings. His painting of a Grain Bin on the cover of Fortune magazine was the inspiration for my piece titled "Silos".
I grew up in north central Montana known for its grain crops. We had a wheat farm. The basis of my piece is of a photograph I took of three aging grain silos on our farm. My dad would store his harvested wheat in these grain bins and then wait for a good price in the market place. The large silo on the lower left is of a photograph I took of a very large, rusting silo at a popular home decorating store called Magnolia Farms in Waco, TX. And the large, looming trio of silos in the middle is from a picture my sister took of  grain silos in Wall, South Dakota.
Since Charles Sheeler was also known for his photography, I wanted explore how to digitally enhance my photos. I used various applications to my original photos to intensify color,  highlight shapes and create interest . When I was satisfied with the process, I printed each image onto fabric with my printer. I fused the silos onto the background for a collage effect much like many of  Charles Sheeler works.

I especially love the diversity of the structure of these grain bins/silos and the architectural lines. If you grew up on a grain farm, this picture definitely brings back memories of hard work and rural living.

STILL LIFE - Sheeler

After much oohing & aahing & deliberating the light bulb came on.  It took a couple of reads of the 'key ideas' behind his work and eventually I decided I would work along the lines that he often took .... photograph it, craft a drawing based on the original photograph & then use the drawing as a model for the painting. However I went back to the photograph for my painting. I liked the idea of his still life's so this was the journey I took.

This was my inspiration.

This was my photograph, however it was in colour as that was my first intention.

This was my drawing. Hilary will recognise this as this was one of my sketches I shared with her (sneaky!). My sketch pad is small so I could not fit the flower in as I wanted the vases to be big enough to play around with. 

This is my piece. I reverted to black & white as I wanted to capture the challenge of a B & W photograph.  The vases & flower are painted, cut out and fused onto the background which is stamped & painted as a whole cloth.  Then I hit a brick wall. How on earth was I going to quilt it ??? I tried using a blind hem stitch with invisible thread on the middle vase which was disastrous as it stuck out like a sore thumb. If you zoom in you probably can see the stitch marks which have proved very difficult to remove thru the paint. The result is the vases & flower are only fused.  I have quilted the 'wall' to simulate an embossed wallpaper and the table simple lines. 

At the end of it all I have loved doing this challenge & I love my piece.

Canadian Parliament

I like the halo appearance in one of Charles Sheeler paintings, the buildings were outlined in a contrasting colour. This approach wasn't successful for me.  In light of the world politics this year, not to name anything specifically, I am feeling patriotic. My personal challenge was to work in an analogous colour theme.

New York and Christo

I have been taking an online masterclass with Elizabeth Barton and the November assignment involved using one of her photographs as a jumping off point.    I selected the picture of New York City with the Christo banners which were installed in Central Park.  So this piece is a bit of a two for one.  

Here is the Sheeler that also influenced it.   

 and this is similar to the EB photo:

and this is my rendition. 


I decided to do a portrait of Charles Sheeler himself, since I found his image to be very compelling and more inspiring to me than his artwork itself. The background (overlapping layers of coloured tulle) recalls the palette and shapes of his artwork, especially Image result for charles sheeler (1883 - 1965), 
(Amoskeag Canal).
This is the photo that I used for his portrait. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Whose turn next??

I've just done a highly scientific draw for who is to pick the next answer, and the result is.......


Looking forward to seeing who you choose.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Thanks to all

Hello Hilary and fellow Dozens,
I am sorry to announce that it is time for me to retire from the group. I have loved being a member and I thank you all for your wonderful frienship and encouragement. Over the years, I have found it very fulfilling and beneficial because of the talented, warm and generous sharing of ideas and projects of a very high caliber and for what you have all taught me about fibre. Several of the chosen themes went on to be series in my work such as Streetlife and Steps, and the colour series taught me many things about reduced palette(haha) and the necessity of neutrals and where they come from.

Mostly it has been fun to share in the vibrant artistic lives that you all live every day and the support and friendship that is so evident within the group.  Sadly it seems with a schedule of moving twice in one year, time constraints have forced me to scale back my commitments and devote the studio time available to my current work. At the moment I have been working very small and for now it is what makes it possible for me to keep working in fibre and to learn and further explore.

I was sorry to miss the trip this summer to meet more of you, but we have just returned from three exceptional exhibitions in Toronto, World Festival of Threads, Mystical Landscapes at the AGO (Monet, Carr Van Gogh,Thom Thompson) and Colleen Heslin and Jack Bush at a Group of Seven Museum set in the woods on the Humber River. All very inspirational for colour and form and finding abstraction in what one might call soulscapes of the imagination.
I so look forward to seeing all of the takes on such an exciting artist as Charles Sheeler( I do love his use of multiple overlays and multiple viewpionts) and will keep in touch through the blog. I will always remember being part of this group. All the best to all of you in your work going forward.
Warmest regards, Michele

Monday, 5 September 2016




   Like many of you, I found Pierneef a very difficult artist to interpret. I have a visceral dislike of his work, the reason for which I find very difficult to understand and had a lot of difficulty in choosing a work. I loathed his paintings on first sight and could not find any that inspired me, so I finally settled on this  linocut, which appears to be the cover of a book of children's verse. I prefer the stylized passionflowers to the endless washed out  landscapes, trees, and skies of his paintings. I chose to make print blocks from some line drawings of borage flowers from our garden, and printed them in white on black. I was disappointed with the fabric paint I used as it was too liquid and as a consequence the prints are more gray than white.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Corfe Castle as Pierneef might have painted it

As most of you felt, Pierneef was heavily influenced by trees and skies.  I was torn between the two and started off with a tree version in mind.  However, you can see the sky version won out.

It has been a bit of a journey in that I wrongly started off drawing on the sky colours in one of the paintings which were brooding and dramatic but we have had lovely sunny blue skies down here just recently and out driving one day I had a light-bulb moment that it should be a 'happy' picture - a bit like the posters of the early days of the railways advertising the glories of the seaside.  I now have a bag of enough bits of sky for another piece!

Corfe Castle is a ruined castle about 10 miles away and a great favourite with the grandchildren who rush up the hill and clamber all over the fallen stones.  It seemed the perfect silhouette for the dramatic sky.  My one regret is that I used the wrong colour thread to stitch the pieces of the castle down...

Sky inspired by this painting.

Foreground inspired by this painting in that the lines and shapes are simplified.

I enjoyed this challenge but honestly had no idea what I was going to do when I choose Pierneef.  I realise it has been a real struggle for some of you and I thank you for sticking it out and coming up trumps. 


Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Pierneef's obsession of trees was a good starting point along with his subtle painted backgrounds. I painted a satin fabric using Aqua Bricks, love the result! A large tree I photographed while in Hawaii was my reference while thread painting this piece using a variety of 7 threads. I mounted this on a stretched canvas (a first for me).


On going through Pierneef images over and over again all I could see were trees and more trees.  I must admit his clouds were the one aspect that I thought were really eye-catching.  To digress, four of us went off to spend a week in Clarens a really small, very arty village right on the border of Lesotho where they were holding a mini-quilt festival. They have no large supermarkets, no banks, mainly art galleries and restaurants - an artists paradise.  While we were there we took a short road trip through the Golden Gate National Park and took a lot of photographs of the very different and beautiful mountain scenery.  On returning home I found this piece that Pierneef painted and decided there and then I was not going to do trees, but actually found that amongst the photographs I had taken the mountains were very similar to this piece of his work.  I tried to find out where he had painted this piece or what it was called but was not able to establish either so this is the piece I was inspired by below.  I did not use his colours but used the colours that are in my photographs, as somehow these seem more realistic/appealing.


Baobab Tree

Was this not a challenge and a half.  After a lot of procrastinating I decided to go with a photo of mine as my subject matter which fits in with the artist but would quilt it in the style of some of his paintings. My pic is this one of a Baobab tree taken while we were in Dar es Salaam.

My two Pierneef pics are .....

My piece is the following .......

This is a whole cloth painted with Derwent Intense Inks.Easy  dot tool used for the leaves on the tree. Quilted and then I went in with Markal/Shiva sticks to create the shading amongst the quilting. It has not worked as well as I would have liked but it was a risk worth playing with. It also definitely looks a lot softer in real life.  In a funny way I actually do like it.

Boxes ticked, but ...

I did my homework, I picked out those elements of Pierneef's work that seemed relevant - his trees, his colours, his reference to maths (OK so I pushed this a bit and used Penrose tiling!) but the end result doesn't appeal at all.

In fulfilling my tick list I failed to achieve a focal point or create some contrast in any of the design elements. I created this piece with my mind, not my heart and it shows!

I seem to be spending way too long reviewing the whole catalogue of works of the selected artist looking for something on which to base my quilt. I'm going to have to find a different approach - how do you work?


This was not an easy artist for me to interpret ,despite having lived in SA and studied his art in the past.
I found his colours 'faded' and bland . He definitely placed emphasis on clouds and trees and so I chose a painting of his which enabled me to interpret both these elements . I used colours which I had in my wool collection as i decided to use the free motion quilting technique ,using wool as the thread to be couched .
The background was first painted so that I knew where the clouds would be . I did the wool design on the clouds before appliquéing the mountains and trees and then did FM couching on these .
I am not sure whether I really like the end result .