Samara wing start —–again……….

She’s been hanging around since the first stitches added Aug 25th of 2016, the cloth deliberately designed in June of the same year during “res”, and me staring at her all along, wondering where she was going.

Autumn definitely, her browns of seed and stalk, the deep violets of twilight, the greys of shade and old nests, her faded features only glimpsed by outline and shadow. Autumn is both a joy and an overwhelming sense of sadness, lost or set aside dreams. Thereโ€™s a sense of fecundity in the harvest, but also an end to the fruitfulness of long days. Sept 6/16

I’d had plans for her wings—- and neither plan really satisfied her or me.

I spent two hours this morning, fussy cutting, fusing and swearing, using a regular iron and little dinky heat tool iron, and have this to start embrilting (after i add the layer of cotton flannel that is my Go To “batting”—and though i use that, i am NOT a Quilter, i am an Embroiderer: i just use a few quilty techniques ๐Ÿ™‚ ):

Such luscious colours, and i’m so proud i did them all with natural dyes ๐Ÿ™‚ (As are the fabrics.)



Tabula Memoria journal available, and residency exhibit news

If you are interested in process, rather than project, the journal that accompanies “Tabula Memoria” is available through Blurb now. This was as much a labour of love as the actual work was, and i’m quite proud of it. The print quality is fantastic, and i am liking the response from the few who have seen it “in the flesh”. It’s a bit chatty, but that was part of the point as well!

The actual link is here, because clicking on the photo below takes you to only the preview, with a bit of a counter-intuitive search for the information!


I have yet to figure out the PDF conversion so at the moment, it’s only available as an actual Real Book. I also have not jacked the price very much above the base price, as i’d rather more be able to add it to their libraries! (And remember, the price is in CANADIAN DOLLARS.)

With the timeframe i’d had left to get work done for the end of residency show, i decided instead that since the owner of this work isn’t picking it up until near the end of September, that i could show this instead. Created with fabrics during my 2016 residency, and worked on during the 2017 residency, it suits perfectly in that respect as work done DURING res (because i have seen work in those shows that had nothing to do with res…which kind of defeats the purpose of the exhibition IMHO), and also, as celebrating 10 years of Contextural, it was a perfect opportunity for me to see and show how *i* have evolved in 10 years. (Though i have been a member for only 8!)

To show the scale, i gritted my teeth and had my photo taken with it, hanging at the 371 Gallery at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). I really don’t like getting my picture taken anymore, because it reminds me i am no longer a sweet young thing (yes, i was, a long time ago, and sometimes still, inside ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but it *is* important that people see the Actual Real Artist on occasion!

If you are in or near Calgary, Alberta, or are visiting, the exhibition is up, ready for you view it. The Closing Reception is Thursday, September 14th but you can come into ACAD’s public areas and take it in anytime daily until then between 8am – 8pm, weekends too. Remember to check the two areas – the Main Mall and Room 371. I don’t know at this point if i will be at the closing reception, but who knows?

me break stitching

Erm, not that i broke anything! I’m just giving myself a stitching break from the big work, by going back to a project started last summer.

Samara has been languishing for a good while: ennui, boredom, what-evering (not to be confused with what-if-ing….), lack of direction. I dumped some threads on her to see what would work.


Above, while i love the colours and the combo, too bright for this one. They are however being used on these little bits, destined for something else:


These are what i’ll use.

threads-second-choice-samara-cStill bright (ish), but more toned to her taste ๐Ÿ™‚


Yesterday’s sampling with the indigo for/in/with hexes was heartening, but not ready to reveal that yet ๐Ÿ™‚

appreciating what you already have

When i created these fabrics during the 2016 Contextural summer residency, i knew i liked them but stashed them away as for use in a Someday project, thinking they would probably just be cut up, and incorporated into other projects.

They are beautiful. They can stand on their own. I hadn’t really really Looked at them. The softness of the colours, the strong yet delicate markings of rust, the motifs that occurred during the process are perfect for a background, while having enough interest to accent in some areas as i move through this piece.


I didn’t want a seam down the middle, so i tore one chunk in half and attached it to either side of the main fabric. This is going to be a large work, as you can see by the yardstick left in there for scale ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’ll have to have an appropriately sized stretcher bar set custom built, as i haven’t this size in the stoodio!) The seams aren’t terribly obvious, because of the similar colourings and process, but they are there enough that i wanted to segue them into each other. Immediately, i knew i wanted to use my technique of melding the fabrics into each other with a multitude of seeded back stitch. (I used that technique a lot on “Ebb and Flow” from 2014, on the indigo pieces.)


On New Year’s Eve, i watched part of “Expendables” and then all of “Expendables 2” (i deliberately choose “Cheesy B”ย  horror or action films to keep my mind and fingers activated, but not concentrating on the tubage.) and in the space of three hours, managed a section of 12×2″. These seams are 46″ long so i need to update my watch list!!! HA! “You WILL be a-seam-alated!” (I think i’m SO funny….) (Edit: as this post goes live, i have another 13×2″ done—yeah!)

So far, only two variegated colourways have been used there, but a third will pop in as well. One i am going to run out of, hopefully not until the seams are done, because it’s just not available anymore! The other two can be ordered again, and hoofies crossed that the batches aren’t so different as to be noticeable to anyone but Moi. Below, though the differences are not terribly apparent–which is kind of the point of blending—-i’ve used a silk in the centre, edged with a Caron Wildflower Sticks and Stones. Those edges will be edged into also with another Caron Wildflower “Pebbles”.

stitch-detail-1Unintentionally, that “strip” echoes the squiggly lines of dye and rust. The subconscious mind at work i suppose, because watching cars blowing up and manly posturing with bazookas sure didn’t influence it.

On the fun side of things, i pulled this out and have started playing with it. A riff on the original Beautiful Bones from 2009, and conceived in 2010, it’s mindless and silly, and an enjoyable change from Serious Art!




Original Truth, truthfully done

ot done aug 22

ot done detail 2

ot done detail 1Please forgive the awful background! I am having the devil of a time photographing this one so it’s true to life! I’ve tried different lighting, inside and outside, but for the first time ever trying to document my own work,ย  i am foozled for true colour and depth of field. I don’t think i’m going to get a decent shot of the whole, until it’s hung in the gallery for the “selfEDGE” exhibit on the 28th.

But it’s done, and that’s what counts. Six weeks to the day of worrying about my time line and all the little details, and here i am finished with 6 days to spare!

Original Truths, almost done

I thought i had been working on this for months, but as it turns out since “res” was done at the end of June, it hasn’t been that long after all. All the little details are what makes it seem longer ago than July 11th that i started it! I have only a few tiny areas left to stitch, then to back it, ready for delivery on the 28th.

As i said in a previous post, i’ve always felt alien, outsider, misfit, so this then i guess is a self portrait of sorts, another side to the mirror, that long path behind the subconscious.

I added bees, of course i added bees.

Donna Noble: Youโ€™re saying bees are aliens?
The Doctor: Donโ€™t be so daft โ€“ not all of them.

I love Dr Who:)


The Feminine Monarchie

And there’s a secret hidden under one of the larger hexes, a treatment i liked, but not for this piece!


The hex beside the lace rose is where it’s hidden now.

hiding hex

ot aug 21 almost done

And now there will be a shuffling of papers, folding of fabrics, and paint and ink splashed about as i research and develop new work. Here’s a “mood board” for something i’d like to do:

mood boardwith this as the primary image:

winged 1

winged 2Not sure which orientation to begin with, not that it really matters as there are 2 separate cloths here.ย  Maybe i’ll do both to give myself a break from the same thing over and over —HA, joke. I had originally thought of doing another “abstract”, rather than pictorial, but nothing is set in stone.

push pull

There are no machine made nodules, no “dimension” beyond the tactility of the stitching, but elements of my overly ambitious plans for something else have crept in and settled comfortably.

To hell with “Concept” as i said in an earlier post. I’m tired of trying to write statements that explain WHY i did something, especially when a well written tailoring can adapt almost any piece to any show. Concept can be in the eye of the beholder as well, right? As we develop our style, our voice, whatever you want to label it, certain truths and ideas, interpretations become self evident don’t they. (Not a question, a fact.)

se contextural

When you make 8 pages of notes and sketches, and still can’t quite “git ‘er done”, it’s not the right time for that CONCEPT.

So, this then is the piece i will be exhibiting. Finally titled also as “Original Truths”, since i went back to what i love and love doing. No influence from anything else, any other artist, just me. This *is* me on the other side of the mirror. I’ve heard it said that when an artist draws faces, unless in a deliberate style, that elements of their own face, or their internal guise, are more evident, so though i’m not completely sure what this says about myself, other than the feeling that i have always felt alien, outsider, misfit, stranger in a strange land.

Though most of it is done, there’s something missing. I shall have to pin it up and stare at it for awhile.

OT aug 16 almost done

I need to pull some of the starker white to the left top somehow, but how? Not more hexes, too heavy handed then.

It’s also been a bitch to photograph—-i need that perfect afternoon light, because otherwise there is too much yellow imparted to the golds and browns in this. I’m happy with the detail shots, but the whole, not so much. Since it *is* not quite done though, i’ll worry about that later. The detail shots are good enough to submit to the show organizer.

OT aug 16 detail 1

OT aug 16 detail 2

There are 12 days until the exhibit gets set up, so hopefully i can finalize a solution to what’s missing, execute it, and photograph the whole properly.

hexed and rumexed :)

The couple left to be stitched at the bottom will have to be done after the edges are finished (the back covered). Since, as i mentioned before, that “symbol”/shape has shown up before often in my work, i can see these being a focus for awhile in other pieces.

hexesAnd the results of the Rumex seed stalk dyepots:

rumex seed stalk resultsI was quite shocked at how much colour washed out of the soda ash modified one–in the bath, they looked a warm reddish gold, but most of it disappeared. The best was just plain old alum with the dyebath, though i did get a surprise from an immersion of white cotton thread in the exhausted ammonia modified bath, peachy!

rumex thread results

I’m wondering if there was a chemical reaction similar to madder, in that first the yellows are extracted (poured off in madder), and then the redder tones show up? I’ll test that a bit more, as i do like that shade. Other than that, i won’t bother with gathering this plant material again–yellow is basically yellow, after all, and there are a million plants that give that ๐Ÿ™‚

place your hexes

Subject to change without notification, but i am betting this will be the most likely configuration.

from behind the mirror a CAnd i’m having a terrible time photographing things this last week–the weather has been strange with dark moody skies and then a burst of blinding sun, and then thundercracks and lightening!

Doing some natural dye experimenting as well. I gathered dock (Rumex) seed stalks, after seeing the results someone else did in a REPUTABLE, SCIENTIFIC, FACT BASED FB group. Currently these are in various vessels with different modifiers and mordants.

fresh dock seedsFresh above, dried and drying below.

dry and drying dock seedThough someone else with 40 years of natural dye experience got a range of colours from yellow green and brown to red and orange, i’m getting some glorious shades ofย ย ย  ————————— ——————— ย  yellow again………..but i like yellow now, and the more threads i have in the arsenal, and to over dye, the better my thread stash looks. Could be the season, could be the weather, could be the soil, could be the stage of growth, everyone gets different results with some things. My rhubarb root dye pot gave me the most luminescent glowing gold threads that i had to try these, and there were good results from burdock as well, but i can find no roots due to recent “herbicide” spraydowns. The bastards.

And why am i harping on PROVEN DYE methods again???? Because this kind of crap is still around:

gag me with a spoon full of stoopidThere’s a whole chunk of “dyes” listed for various colours (some are REALLY dumb…), but ANY site that immediately tells me i can use SALT and VINEGAR as a MORDANT or “fixative”, is IMMEDIATELY scoffed at by true natural dyers. Do a little research. (For one thing, vinegar is a MODIFIER, (and a Ph adjuster)not a mordant. Go look up the definition of mordant, you idiots.) Just because this is “Pioneer Thinking” doesn’t mean it’s true. “Pioneer thinking” also includes a hell of a lot of old wives’ tales. There are SO many good books, fantastic teachers and methodology sites, there’s no excuse for this ignorance. Stop perpetuating it, UNexperts……………

Back to regularly scheduled stitching again while things stew and rest.