Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's on my book pile?

You know those fun blogs that show 'What's on My Work Desk" or words to that effect?? Well, on my work desk just now?....nothing.  But I do have a lot of books as anyone who knows me well would tell you.  Piles of books actually, because I have pretty much run out of bookcases (and I have lots of those!!).  So next to my favourite chair I have a pile of books, about coffee-cup height if I just reach out my arm.  (I know I have to start re-shuffling when I have to reach up even slightly to set down my coffee cup.)  And there on the pile one can find the books that have held my interest most recently.  It is sort of all I can show you regarding what I have been up to lately.

And my guy, who has been travelling all winter, is now home safe and sound.  And we are getting used to being 'two' again.  It's all good.
I'll be back.....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weekend trip and the big tidy up.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the pictures taken this past weekend on my trip to the Interior.  I traveled with a very patient friend who kindly snapped some pictures while we were driving  and some other shots that I took whilst pulled over to the side of the road.  We drove up through Manning Park, stayed in Vernon, visited the Canadian Quilt Association's National Juried Show in Penticton, went down to Oliver and Osoyoos (and drove and drove and drove) and came back home on the Coquihalla Highway!!!  1500 kilometres in three days.  Which for me is HUGE!!!  But it was a great show and it was fun to see my little quilts hanging in a 'real' show!!
And now I'm home.  My guy is coming home tomorrow and I have spent some time in the last couple of days trying to put my house into some kind of order after spending the winter with various art projects scattered all around.  Really, All Around!   Well, now at least he has a chair to sit in!
So that was my weekend.
I'm not up to too much art-wise at the moment but I'm wanting to get back to my Red Bench project, so I'll keep you posted.
I'll be back...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stitching Daisies

I am leaving in the morning for the interior of the province, I'm off to Penticton, to see the Canadian Quilt Association's National Juried Show.  It will be interesting to see my two little quilts hanging with the 'big guys'!  Seven hours of driving tomorrow, three on Friday and then another 7 to get home on Saturday.  And that doesn't include the couple of hours of ferry rides to get on and off the island on which I live.

But it means I've been doing very little textile-related for the last while.  So I'll leave you with a piece that I did a couple of years ago, based on the daisies in my back yard.

The background is painted wunder-under and various other fabrics with the flowers fused on the top and then stitched.  It was fun to do...I might just do another one!
I'll try and take some pictures while I'm gone.   The landscape of the interior is quite different from here on the coast.
I'll be back.....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dye painting with thickened dyes

I have been continuing to play with my next piece, albeit slowly, and have started to sample the 'floor' part of the piece.  I am wanting to learn more about painting with thickened dyes so this is more a case of documenting my progress so far, and you get to come along too!  I stretched a piece of soda-soaked cotton onto a frame.  I had previously used my light box to draw the image onto the cotton and I used Derwent Inktense pencils to do this. I thought that if nothing else, the lines would disappear under the dyes and not be visible in the end and this in fact was the case.  That part worked really well.  I mixed the (room temperature) procion dyes with the thickened alginate (manutex) and thinned it with chemical water.  In this case, I mixed 2 tablespoons of urea into a cup of hot water and poured this into a plastic container with a squirt lid then let the mixture cool.  (The urea is a humectant and I thought it would help to keep the fabric damp, since the procion won't continue to fix if it dries out. This mix has more urea in it that one might normally need, but I will keep it separate and use it only for dye painting.)  I put a piece of plastic underneath the frame to help keep it moist as well.  (You have to remember however, that I don't live in a particularly dry part of the world, so that helps as well, but I was painting inside, so there was some control there.  It was a sunny day, but not too hot.)
As a side note, and also just to satisfy my own curiosity, I have been keeping a running tally on the hours I am spending on this project.  So far, I'm at 8, including such things as mixing dyes and rinsing fabrics.  It adds up, doesn't it?  I'll let you know how it adds up as I go along, mostly because I'm curious.
 The above picture is of the painted fabric before I washed it out and below is the same fabric after washing, once with a cold water rinse followed by a hot water rinse.
I'm pretty pleased with the results because there wasn't a lot of dye on the fabric yet it seems to have retained the colour quite well.  Not sure if it's the right colour, however, or the right values, so I think I'm going to have another go.  But I'm pleased with the colour retention considering the fabric felt quite dry to the touch.  I did cover it with plastic for the batching time, however, which was over 24 hours.  I think it might need a longer batching time than fabrics immersed in the dyes.  I think.  Haven't done an experiment with that just yet.  Still so much to learn.
If anybody out there has any thoughts to offer on all this, I'd be thrilled to hear from you.
 Fortunately, my studio assistant is a picture of patience and is willing to sit through any amount of sampling, as long as I feed her.  That's love, right???
Speaking of which, this little guy (now we are two!!) would love to be a studio assistant, for food or not!!  And while I'm pretty sure he would be a wonderful help, I might postpone asking for his help until he's a wee bit older!!  In the meantime, however, I've been spending quite a bit of time with both of my sweet grandsons and having a lot of fun.
More fun to follow....I'll be back.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Forecast: Slow progress but sunny

While I seem to be creeping along, spring is moving along at a rapid pace.  Thank goodness one of us is!!!  I was out early this morning to capture this sun-drenched clematis.
And I also spent a bit of time preparing a tracing of my next project using my trusty lightbox.  I just love that more leaning against a sunny window....which works just fine, mind you, but the lightbox is so much easier on my shoulders!  I'm hoping to push on with this one a bit more today but I still have a dentist appointment, with freezing, oh my, to get through.  I am always so SO impressed by you folk who seem to get tons of work accomplished even when you're under the weather.  I am such a wimp....but then there are all those murder mysteries that seem to need reading as well......
This pic also features a new dvd by my friend Susan Purney Mark.  Last summer she asked 5 of us if we would like to participate in a soy wax workshop and our 'fee' was to create a couple of pieces using work created in the workshop.  NO PROBLEM!!!  Everyone bent to the task and created some really wonderful, very diverse work.  And most of those pieces appear at one point or another in Susan's dvd .  And what a great dvd it is!  148 minutes absolutely filled with lots of methods and ideas from using the soy wax with numerous different tools, to using it with dyes, thickened dyes, silk screens, various resist methods, stitch and discharge.  And if you're not into procion-type dyes there is a section on using Dye-Na-Flow and also on sunprinting.  It's a Studio Galli production.  You've got to get it!!!  I've put a couple of links below.

OK, that's it for today.  I'm hoping to be further along when we meet again!!!  'Til then, I'll be back.....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The impatient patient

I really don't like being ill and this last couple of weeks have been really frustrating for me.  Well, I got to read a lot of murder mysteries (Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, Trevanian, Louise Penny for starters!) but the worst part is how really tired I was.  No energy.

Still, I'm back at it now and on to my next project.  It's entitled 'Red Bench' for now, and is still part of my France series, but I tend to change my mind about titles as I go along.  So I have started 'going along'.  I have chosen my picture, had it enlarged (I'm trying a slightly larger size this time) and I have started working on colours.  I'm adding a black into the mix but of course blacks are a mixture of other colours so I have to make sure that the underlying tone will give me the right effect (in this case, Black 39 from Dharma and it seems to be a bit green once all the red has washed out).  I'm using it here with an orange that I've mixed as well so lots of factors coming into play.
I'm ok with some of the greyed colours (which have a sort of green cast to them) since I really only want them in small quantities to use with sodium alginate but I feel as if I want to play around with the golden colours a bit further.  And then I have to mess about with some mark making as well for which I will also use the thickened colours.  And I always throw some silk organza into the various dye pots because I love the nuances of colour that it adds.

But mostly, here's what next on the agenda.
So I'd best get at it if I want to start again with dyeing more golds.  Making up for lost time.
I'll be where is the ReDuRan???!!!