It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with the intention of creating some artwork. I was able to do so at a quilt retreat I attended recently. I went to the retreat with the intention of playing and trying something new. The result was this small minimal modern textile painting created with Oakshott Fabrics and one of my hand dyed linens.
It was so much fun to sit and create without expectations! The shot cottons have a beautiful sheen as does the linen. The fabrics add a lot of depth and the machine quilting provide texture. This piece doesn’t have a name yet. What would you call it?
I am working on a final photography project and have shot a lot of images. Thank goodness, my camera is digital. I can’t imagine how much film I would have had to process and then discard!
These are three photographs I took this weekend that won’t be including in the final cut.
Although I won’t be using these photos, I am very happy with the results and wanted to share them with you.
My plan is to take photographs in natural light. But, with the weather not cooperating, I will need to think creatively in order to finish this project. Unfortunately, moving to sunnier, tropical climates is not an option at this time!
How do we see ourselves? This is one of the questions I needed to answer in order to create a series of self portraits for a photography assignment. There are so many ways to answer the question!
We often define ourselves by our work and our family. There is truth that we see ourself in relation to others. We are multifaceted and depending on the day and the person we are interacting with, who we are changes.
I changed my mind a few times during the process of photographing this assignment and I finally submitted a total of seven photographs, four of which I am posting.
Creating a self portrait is a daunting task. How much do you reveal of yourself?
Portrait photography is a photograph or series of photos that captures the essence of the subject. Through this series of photographs I am capturing myself as a Maker.
I was told that my hands are ‘golden’, they create beautiful things. Taking ordinary materials, hands transmute them into objects that are greater than the parts. Hands produce, fashion, create, soothe, and comfort.
The photographs reveal glimpses of how I view myself as a maker. I Placed myself in the same window with the same background and isolated my hands so that the focus was on the various tasks, some that I do routinely. Others are not tasks, but are essential to nourishing my creativity. Light plays an important role in making, as it is vital to see clearly what your hands are creating. Daylight is used to capture and highlight each image, revealing and shadowing the images.
Finally my hands create what my mind has already conjured.
There is very little snow left on the ground here in Toronto. I wanted to do some more snow dyeing, so I quickly prepared a couple of pieces of pfd cotton before all the snow melted. I folded one of the pieces of cotton so it would result in a mandala shape. The other was folded into a triangular shape.
The mandala that emerged is beautiful. I sprinkled the snow topped cotton with a couple of blue dyes and a bit of yellow. I am not a methodical, scientific dyer, so each dyeing session is an experiment.
The triangular folded cotton is similar in colour, so I could use it in conjunction with the mandala. I really like how the colours are most intense on one edge, fading to a softer more watercolour effect.
Since there was still one tiny pocket of snow left in the yard, I pulled out the last few metres of pfd cotton from my stash. There was just enough snow to cover the two pieces of cotton. I used the same colours of dye in different proportions. The fabric was also arranged differently from the first batch.
The piece above is 1 1/2 metres long and the pattern that reminds me of agate. The photo below is a detail from the piece.
The itajime shibori cotton piece below is from the same snow dyed batch. It is quite different in design and the pfd cotton has absorbed a little more of the yellow to create a beautiful turquoise and green.
I expect that we will not be receiving sufficient snow fall now that we are heading into spring. I do have a couple of other options I am considering to continue ‘snow’ dyeing all year-long. Now I just have to buy some more fabric to do just that!
Clare Luz assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine at Michigan State University
Beth Donaldson, Digital Humanities Project Asset Coordinator at Michigan State University.
These three authors have written a scholarly book that is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of quilts as well as the stories behind them. Through their research they discovered that they could not name a disease that could not be connected to a quilt. Quilts are given as to comfort and memorialize those suffering from so many diseases. The AIDS Memorial quilt is an iconic example.
I am thrilled that my quilt: Radiant Light is included in this book.
My quilt appears in chapter three: Individual Experiences of Health and Well-being Through Quiltmaking. Radiant Light is the third in a series of chakra quilts. The first was made for my sister-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer. The second quilt was made as a commission for someone who had seen my first one and had survived this disease. I have since made a fourth quilt: The Vibrant Path.
Excited to see my name and Sandy’s name in the index!
Radiant Light is an original design. The background is pieced as are the leaves. The outline of the woman and the chakras are appliqued. The quilt was beautifully long-arm quilted by Sandy Lindal of Scrappy Gal Quilt Co.
Artist Statement submitted to the Sacred Threads Exhibition:
This quilt embodies the divine life force in women. Chakra centers correspond to seven centers of energy in the human body. These spiraling wheels of vibrational energy channel power into and out of the body. When this vital energy flows easily, we remain in physical, spiritual and emotional alignment. The portrayal of the chakras superimposed on a female figure honours this divine/vital/transformative power. This quilt is a reminder to us all to be nurturing of ourselves, to be present in the moment, and to be in tune with the creative life force within us.
Radiant Light was accepted and displayed at the Sacred Threads Exhibition 2013. It was purchased by a health professional and is currently on display in their offices. I can’t think of a better location for Radiant Light.
Summer is a time for enjoying the outdoors. This Labour Day weekend spend time at the new Trillium Park at Ontario Place. I will be displaying my hand dyed original scarves along with 30 other vendors at the Urban Market. This event coincides with the 150th Anniversary Festival at Ontario Place.
On Thursday afternoon the 3 members of the Quilts on the Wall, Helen, Catherine and I arrived at the S. Walter Stewart Public Library to hang our art quilts. Helping us was Ann – hanger extraordinaire!
We laid out our pieces and chose our location in the Auditorium. This room has a large window into the children`s department and is open to everyone during regular library hours.
This is the first time ever that Catherine has had any of her quilts on display! It was exciting to see our pieces go up on the wall.
Despite our diverse designs, techniques and style, the show looks great.
In all we created 20 new pieces of art based on the theme: Connections. Glimpses of some of the pieces are shown. But, you will have to come to the S. Walter Stewart Public Library during the month of June in order to see all of the pieces.
Early in the new year I began working on a new piece for the International Textile Art Contest, held in Verona, Italy. My piece, The Fever was accepted into this juried show. When I was notified of my acceptance, I decided to attend Verona Tessile 2017.
Verona Tessile is organized by the Ad Maiora Association, in collaboration with the Verona Municipality to promote textiles as an art form. This year, the theme of the International Textile Art Contest was: Love, the red thread that unites. Thirty-four works were accepted into the show, one of which was my piece: The Fever.
The international exhibit was held at the Palazzo dei Mutilati in the historic centre of Verona, steps from the Verona Arena a Roman amphitheatre. Eight other exhibitions were held around Verona, highlighting quilts and textile arts. More photos on these will come later!
Last year I made Spiral, a small quilt for the Crossing Borders Art Group. I knew I wanted to try the same technique to make a larger work. The Verona Tessile International exhibit provided the perfect opportunity. I began with a selection of fabrics in black to grey, burgundy to pink in hand dyed and commercial cottons, linens, and silk and pieced a large log cabin block.
Once the log cabin top was completed, I drew a spiral freehand, coming out of the centre square. With my hand dyed cotton, I made a narrow bias strip which was pinned and pressed into the spiral shape I had drawn.
Next was the scariest step – cutting the spiral!
The bias strip was carefully stitched from the centre square out. I love how inserting the bias strip caused the log cabin to twist around, distorting the block. The central portion was layered with wool batting over cotton quilt batting and machine quilted in a spiral.
In submitting my piece into the Verona Tessile show, I need to write a description of the techniques, materials and motivation behind the work. This is the what I wrote:
In my piece, The Fever, the bright red thread of love emerges from the central square of a log cabin block. Traditionally this center square was made out of red cloth representing the heart and hearth of the home. In The Fever, the central square contains both reds and black because love can be pure and selfless or false and egotistical. The block was constructed with strips of fabric ranging from pale pink to deep burgundy and from gray to black. As the red bias spirals through the log cabin quit, it cuts through the dark shadows and the bright sunshine, just as love changes and evolves. This piece continues my exploration of the symbolic log cabin block to make a piece that is modern and contemporary. The Fever is machine pieced with hand dyed fabrics, commercial cottons, silk, and linen. It is machine quilted with a walking foot in a spiral pattern through three layers of batting in the central portion of the quilt.
It was exciting to be able to attend the Verona Tessile show in person. So many talented quilters created beautiful pieces with the theme: Love, the red thread that unites. The next post, I will highlight some of these spectacular quilts.
I was invited to participate in an online art quilter’s group. Crossing Borders began with eight artists from Canada, the US and The Netherlands. Our goal was to share and learn from each other in a creative and non-threatening manner.
Artwork to be revealed every 2 months on the last day of the month
Post photograph and any explanation on private Facebook page
Comment on each others work
Now, after one year, we are ready to show our completed artwork. Jeanne Simpson has organized a show in her studio space at The Hungerford, Rochester New York on April 7-8 2017. I hope those of you close by will attend the opening reception on Friday April 7th from 6-9. Seven of us will be in attendance. We would love to speak to you and show you our artwork.