Posted in Art, creativity, productivity, quilting, surface design

Something I gotta try … and a confession

I’ve been studying Pat Langford’s Embroidery from Sketch to Stitch, Quilters’ Resource, Inc, 1996, ISBN 0-9629056-7-4

This lady is first and foremost an embroiderer, which I’m really not, although various little things are nudging me in that direction.

Sketching is obviously a huge part of what she does.  Maybe this will be the impetus that will get me sketching on a more regular basis instead of wringing my hands and being a sniveling wannabe.

I’m intrigued by the way she pushes the envelope, using puff paint on a baby blanket (although you would never know from looking at the finished work), and crayoning onto microfibre.

Specific things I want to try:

Polychromos coloured pencils on microfibre, ironed to heat set

Transfer dyeing with Crayola fabric crayons on paper, ironed onto the microfibre fabric.

Pentel crayons directly onto linen in several layers.  Langford actually covered the fabric in places.  Hmmm, thrift store hunt for old linen coming up maybe?   Too bad I no longer have the orange linen tablecloth that was in my wedding registry, that would have been so dramatic!

Langford has many platters, which are round or oval art quilts.  That’s a possible direction.


After the busyness and frenzy of preparing for and being in the Artists In Motion @ The Empress show, I vowed to take things easy/take the summer off.  Of course THAT’S not gonna happen, but as I recuperated I challenged myself to write down all the different outstanding projects and tasks of every description that I have on my plate.  It’s four pages long, so I’m forcing myself to look at this list every day, cross things off it as and when possible, and not undertake any more new projects.

So in order to stay focused artistically, I’m starting a new page on the blog for things I want to try, so that I can have a handy reference.  Of course I have a sketchbook on the go too but this will be a good handy way to preserve links electronically.

Before the show I did find that restricting myself to working in a series was helpful.  I am continuing with that series in order to have more to show at the Moss Street Paint-In, where we will be exhibiting on Thurlow Street next to the Moss Street market.


Posted in Art, Writing

Teaser Tuesday – The Last Folk Hero

I said, “Carolyn, I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve got to.  Almost all of the porcelain out there is fake.”

From The Last Folk Hero: a True Story of Race and Art, Power and Profit, nonfiction novel by Andrew Dietz, 2006, Ellis Lane Press


This is a meme that anyone can do.  I found it  at Jeanne’s Blog, and the way it works is:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Now I just need yet another tutorial on how to copy the badge to my blog.  Every time a badge comes along that I want to proudly display, it’s always a challenge to me for some reason.    And I need to find a pic of the cover perhaps on Amazon, is that how everyone does it?

the host is Miz B at Should be Reading so if you join in, go to her Teaser Tuesday post and post your link in the comments section!  If you aren’t actively blogging, just put the teaser itself into the comments section.

Although I may not do this every week, I’m usually reading something, so why not?

Posted in Art, baraka, creativity, surface design

Starting Point

Am I finding an approach to creating art (in whatever medium) that works for me?

Were my struggles and basically dropping out of the design class I had wanted to take for so long all Hosni Mubarak’s fault?

Or am I just more of a verbal person than a visual one?

This is a mind map related to the piece I’m just starting.  So many things seemed to come together in synchronicity.  When I tried to think about drafting a blog post on these topics, my thoughts shot off in a zillion directions.  Each bit seemed to make sense standing along but I couldn’t organize my thoughts into a cohesive whole.

And here is the beginning — more pix will follow as the work progresses.  I want to create Moebius strip, so tested this concept with kraft paper (a gift from our lovely apartment manager who found a big heavy roll abandoned in a vacated apartment)

I cut and folded a strip to make a double thickness, since there will be batting inside the finished piece.

Then I twisted it into a Moebius strip to test the concept.  This will also serve as a mockup as I continue working on this piece.

Time to cut the Tyvek (from a huge piece I bought at the Sewing Show) and get drippin’!

Not having a studio space where I can be messy, I invented the small-scale paint bag.

and here’s what this work in progress currently looks like, until I can get more white acrylic to keep going!

Posted in Art, International, quilting

Grandmother to Grandmother Activism

Turning the Tide … One Ripple at a Time

is a fibre arts show at the Martin Bachelor Gallery

712 Cormorant St, Victoria

through March 10, Monday to Saturday 10 – 5.

More info from

The dozens of art quilts made by the North Island Quilters and Guest Artists in collaboration with the Glacier Grannies of the Comox Valley will be auctioned off at a Gala Dinner on March 12 (call 250 532-9038)

A gorgeous catalogue shows all of the quilts with comments explaining the issues which will be a permanent record of the show.  This is available for $30 from or call Gerry at 250 598-7785

Proceeds from the book will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which assists African grandmothers, women, and children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

On the back cover are quotes from women of the Kitambaa Sewing Project in Southern Uganda, started by Pippa Moore of Vancouver Island.  Reading  “I have been able to buy a door for my house” certainly put my life into perspective.

At our Quilt Guild we were privileged to be given a sneak peek of all the quilts, but seeing them properly hung was much better.  The volunteers from the Victoria Grannies who were staffing the gallery told me that earlier about 15 people were there at the same time, which for a commercial art gallery is really heavy traffic!

Posted in Art, International, Islam, journaling, quilting

Political Installation ~ Better shot

Here is a better photo of Throne for a Loop, complete with (empty and well washed) Coke can.  Until you try, you have no idea how hard it is to handle an empty soda can without it buckling.  The days when strong men amused their fellow office inmates workers by crunching cans in one brawny fist are gone forever.

Happily when I dropped my pieces off at Tulista Park quilters from our guild were there setting up, and two of them spontaneously exclaimed that they love this one!  I was so relieved I had to hug them1  Whenever I am planning to show anything controversial I always have a speech in my head about “You don’t have to show this, no problems, I can take it away,” but so far I’ve never had to actually give that speech.

Posted in Art, creativity, International, journaling

Latest Creation

So here’s my take on the Egyptian flag complete with golden eagle.  It’s draped over a throne (actually a camping chair spray painted gold).

To fully appreciate the title

Throne for a Loop

you need to look at the back.  It’s a Moebius strip so only has one edge and one side.

Now I just have to hope that somebody “gets it.”  It’s going into an art show in Sidney and no one but family has seen it as yet.  Feeling nervous.  Doing something three-dimensional is a new departure for me.  I even feel nervous about dropping it off on Monday afternoon, not just the weather and attendant family circumstances that I’m not getting into here, but how it will be received (this is a non juried show, but one of my quilts once didn’t get hung in a non juried show so you never know!)


Further musings on art, authenticity, value will follow — I seem to have hit a motherlode of synchronicity on this topic in reading, viewing, and thinking in the last little while.

Even making this had a LOT of synchronicity.  Actually in Tutenkhamen’s tomb they found a surprisingly modern chair.


So, feel free to share your thoughts!

Posted in Art, International, Islam, journaling, quilting

Political Project

During the coverage of the Egyptian revolution I was struck by how flexible the design of their flag is, because it consists of three coloured stripes it can be as long as you want.  Now I’m sure there are probably heraldic rules about proportions and so forth, but in Tahrir Square there were some super long ones.

Sometimes a whole bunch of little things disparate elements come together and inspiration strikes.  I’m putting the finishing touches on what to me at least feels like one of these inspired creations, although I realize others may differ.

This has involved a lot of running around, networking with different people to get design hints and how-tos, Dumpster diving for supplies, tweaking the printer to convince it to print in yellow (the eagle on the right is a reject, not a statement about gender or anything!), spray painting,  and even more ironing than a regular quilting project.  I’m not ready to say a whole lot more about this one in case I jinx myself. It’s three-dimensional and I’m just hoping it turns out close to my concept, so stay tuned …


Posted in Art, creativity, journaling

Bare all? Thoughts on Journaling

At my fibre arts group meeting the other evening we were discussing journaling.

Some of us do morning pages, myself included.  Others find it not to their liking.  Mine are illegible scrawls half in shorthand and sometimes I can’t read my own writing even that same day.  Periodically I recycle old pages as I feel the need to do that.

I do review them right after writing and  mark anything with creative potential with orange pen. Why orange, you ask?  just because.

If it’s quick to do, “sketch coffee mug in pen and ink,”I put it on my to do list for the day.  Longer projects are noted in a sketchbook, e.g. “make pillowslip with new green fabric.”  If my morning pages have gone into more detail I will photocopy the page and stick it in the sketchbook, “what if I made rectangular blue and green blocks and sashed with peach batik?” especially if I drew a diagram to jog my memory.

One fellow artist shared that she’s afraid of keeping a journal because people might not like to read her opinion of them.  I can empathize with this, and actually recycled all my teenage diaries realizing they could cause embarrassment.  My morning pages are illegible and disjointed with very little narrative content so I don’t think they contain any surprises.

Then I remembered the book Visual Chronicles by Linda Woods and Karen Denino.  One of their central ideas is to develop a personal visual code for people and emotions in your life.   So your unreliable cousin Bert could be a yellow spiral criss-crossed with purple zig-zags for example.  Then when he shows up three hours late for Thanksgiving dinner, you draw a table with a turkey on it, with yellow spirals and purple zig-zags on the tablecloth.  This is just an example, I don’t have a cousin Bert unreliable or otherwise!  I blogged about this back in 2007 here, and here’s one of my visual pages.

However when I clicked on the blog link, the most recent post (January 26, 2011)  by Linda is painfully honest.  I admire her courage in posting her deepest feelings about her mother.  Tried to link directly to it, but the address doesn’t change on their website, so you’ll just have to click on the blog link from their site.

There will be more about journaling in an upcoming post, and some exciting news, so stay tuned.

Posted in Art, creativity, productivity

The one that got away

Well, it REALLY got away!

I was going to post a scan of a coloured sketch done as part of Elizabeth Barton’s Inspired to Design class which I’m currently taking through Quilt University.  But for some reason my scanner decided to make it a TIF file and I can neither post it to the class gallery nor here.

Oh well, too bad.  Here’s another sketch, based on one of the National Geographic photos of bees’ nests I blogged about earlier.

Now all I have to do is try and figure out why my scanner has suddenly decided this week to save everything as a .TIF instead of .JPG!

Am certainly learning a lot in this class.  She challenges us to cover our design wall with sketches each week.  My wall is four bifold closet doors each about 24 inches wide and 80 inches tall, so I haven’t yet covered the entire space in either lesson.  I left a lot of last week’s sketches up until yesterday when I realized I needed to be able to contemplate the work I’m engaged in now, so I removed them into a folder.  I was very good and didn’t throw anything into recycling!  Although some sketches were just horrible and never made it to the wall in the first place.

My inner critic works overtime. Maybe I should visualize packing his bags and sending him off to the French Riviera for a long, decadent holiday!  Then I could just say “Get back there and work on your tan!” whenever I hear “That’s rubbish, you can’t draw, just give it to the animal shelter now and be done with it.”

How do YOU turn off your inner critic?

PS:  got it back by playing around with the scanner settings.  This never happened before although I suspect that using grayscale may have something to do with this! The colours are placeholders, not a final decision, just a step along the way, or perhaps a step off the beaten track, who knows?