Saturday, September 25, 2010

Altered Dominos

Now, don't ask me what I'm going to do with these, but they're the result of a play date with my friend, Deb. Eleven of the dominos were coloured with Tim Holtz, Adirondack, Alcohol Inks and three with Copic Markers (also alcohol based). The tree was drawn with a fine point, Sharpie marker. These inks are soooo easy to use. Honest! All you do is put a few drops of different coloured inks on the felt applicator and then dab them on the surface of the domino. Easy peasy, interesting effects and they dry really fast!!! Google Tim Holtz for how to use the inks and "altered dominos" for some eye candy! What a fabulous recycling idea for those lonely and abandoned game pieces!! I'm thinking pendants, pins and cabochons! What are you thinking?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

retro 2008/2009 bjp post - and so it ends

Looking back is always amusing! Please join me in checking out the final chapter in this little bit of nostalgia. The first six months of my 2008/2009 Bead Journal Project can be found here:

March, 2009 - BJP:

The latest addition to my triangle pool is March. It's all about friends and old friends....

It started with another serendipity moment. I purchased a couple of books from my new friend, Robin and then started experimenting with some of her stitch combinations. Of course, I liked them so much, that I decided to use them on my March piece. Isn't it lucky that I actually stitched them on a triangle? That started me on a search for complimentary embellishments! I found a bag of shells from my friend Wendy, some purple pearls for my older sister (it's her favourite colour), green beads for my younger one and the face from a play date with Cheryl & Deb. I grew up in Vancouver, B.C. and I love everything about the ocean. Granted, the shells would be different, but the feeling is exactly the same. I remember the sound of the waves, the smell of the sea, childhood memories, seaside adventures and the total feeling of calm that washes over me as I gaze out over my oldest friend.

April, 2009 - BJP:

It's April, it's spring and it's about time! My eyes are filled with the the fresh greens and acid yellows of my favourite season. It's all about hope, renewal, rejuvenation and the element of change. Time to watch the buds push their way out of the earth, the leaves unfurl and the grass turn green as the sun warms the earth. It's also time to put away all the heavy sweaters and take out the capris. Sure, it's not quite time for summer clothes, but at least we can start dreaming! Yes, it's also time for taxes up here in Canada. But that's another story! On a personal note, it's time for me to re-evaluate my priorites and to buckle down and work to my plan. Time flies, and I want to make sure that it doesn't pass me by.

May, 2009 - BJP:

May is, quite simply, cherry blossom time! I'm not really a pink person, but I confess to waiting anxiously for those very first blossoms. This piece is about the simple joy of nature and creation. Isn't it all amazing? No, the world is not full of light, but somehow this time of year reinforces my belief in the possibility of change. The background of the tree is a scrap of monoprinted satin that I made with transfer paints. I have a postcard from this material currently hanging in the Grand National Postcard Show at Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchner, ON. (the show opened in May 2009). The tree is free motion embroidered by machine and the central motif is 1 1/2" X 2". The piece contains silk flowers, pearls, accent beads, 8, 11 & 15 seeds & #2 bugles. Stitches used are peyote, for the bezel, backstitch, stack stitch and free form edging.

I'd like to dedicate the pink light in this piece (okay it has some blue, red and orange as well) to Pam T. You are one courageous lady, and I'm honoured to be in the same BJP group.

Note the show is over and I wonder whatever happened to my postcard? Is it in the permanent collection or did it get sold to raise money for the museum? Perhaps, I will ask one day!

June, 2009 - BJP:

I love to visit my friend's house when the poppies are in full bloom. Sure they are brash and blowsy, but oh so very delicate. I try to photograph the quality of the light glowing on the scarlet petals, but alas my quest is in vain. Am I tilting at windmills, or will I be able to capture their essense at some time in the future? What is it about these beauties that seems to pique my interest? A simple pleasure. One that's fleeting, but oh so rewarding. Is it any wonder that poppies were chosen as a universal symbol for remembrance? Did you know that the poem, "In Flanders Fields" was written by a Canadian field surgeon? Do you realize that this is the only poem I will never be able to forget? I can recite it just as clearly now, as when I was a small child. Rather than a trick of simple repetition, I prefer to think that it is something that left a pure and lasting impression on my soul.

Oops! It appears that I'm missing a hair! I found it in this photo. Don't worry, I'll clean that up the next time I pull out the camera...............

July, 2009 - BJP:

This triangle shows my love of colour, flowers, techniques and combines them with a passion for photography . It's also about the paths you choose in life and illustrates that while some just seem to stop short, others are crystal clear and lead directly to your goals. Well, directly might be the wrong word, as nothing in life is ever perfect or straightforward. Paths often curve before they reach their destinations, leading you towards interesting sights, unforseen problems and exciting adventures. This little garden is all about life!

The seed beads are mainly size 11's, with some 15's and 8's thrown in for effect. I also used bugles (2's), pearls and crystals. Stitches include peyote, bocche (also called boucle - a stitch mentioned on another group), stacked, fringe, loops and Robin's wildflower stitch. The curved path is made of size 11 seed beads couched over a slightly flattened braid.

August, 2009 - BJP:

I couldn't finish the current BJP year, with anything other than the setting sun. It's my first attempt at visual journalling and also my first extensive use of encrusted bead embroidery. My skills have grown and I've learned to pay attention to the whispering words of my muse. I lost an old friend quite suddenly this month. She loved the sun and the black speck signifies her being enveloped by it's warmth. The original pallette was much softer, but as the temperature got hotter outside, so did the colours. Don't worry about the sun setting on this BJP year, as it's sure to rise again in 2010. I'd like to thank Robin for her constant encouragement and all of my new friends for their comments and enthusiasm. My plan is to enter this piece in a Canadian National Juried Quilt Show in 2010. Of course that means that I actually need to do some quilting to showcase the beading. LOL!

Bead stitches include the boucle or bocche stitch (discussed in my previous post), stacked stitch, short fringe (on the sun) and free form beading. I used 8, 11 & 15 Japanese beads and 11, 2cut czech beads for sparkle (the darker pink). Sadly, I just couldn't use my variety of odd beads on this one. They just didn't fit the scheme. See you in 2010!!

Update - The piece is still waiting to be mounted. I keep changing my mind on how I want to finish it. My active mind likes to create, but I often procrastinate on the finishing details. Any ideas for me? Any and all will be considered.....but only one will be chosen......LOL!

I hope that you enjoyed this retrospective. If you're interested in learning more about the Bead Journal Project, please visit the website. I am continuing to plod along with my 2010 pieces. I admit that I am behind, but will get back on track after I clear a few projects from my plate. Keep tuned!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

retro 2008/2009 bjp post - the first six months

And so it began.......

You might also like to check out the Bead Journal Project website and Robin Atkins' blog. Robin is the founder of this beading revolution. LOL! I promise that you won't be disappointed!

I didn't have a blog at the time and had limited bead embroidery experience, but I was determined! These posts were originally written on the third 2008 BJP blog. If you're interested in beading and storytelling, you should scroll through some of the BJP blogs (they're all listed at the bottom of the website). It's a great way to grab some inspiration!

My first 2008/2009 Bead Journal Project post:

I'm a fibre artist with a yen for beads. I signed up for the BJP and then discovered that I had way too many conflicting deadlines. I considered dropping out, but then decided that I owed this to myself. So, although I didn't start on my BJP until after the holidays, I'm happy to say that I'm now caught up. My original plan was to combine fibre and beads, with a heavier emphasis on the fibre. Much to my surprise, my September piece decided that it wanted to be totally encrusted. I have used some fibre in a couple of the pieces, but they still seem to want to be heavily beaded. This is my first official attempt at journaling, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the process. I don't have a blog yet, but will try to post a couple of pictures a day. I can hardly wait to hear what you think!

September, 2008 - BJP:

Summer in Toronto was wetter than normal, which led to a lush patchwork of green vegetation. This is my impression of that landscape. I used mainly backstitch, with touch of fringe and a freeform fill in stitch (I have no idea what to call it). As for the beads, Japanese seeds and bugles in various sizes. I spent the holidays with my sister in Sault Ste Marie, and was able to raid her stash. Lucky for me, she had a nice stash of "odds & sods" to complement the ones I had purchased. This was the perfect way to wind down after the holidays.

October, 2008 - BJP:

The trees had started to change colour, but the landscape was still showing an awful lot of green. Orange is not one of my favourite colours, but I'm afraid that it was necessary for this piece. Again, Japanese seeds and bugles in various colours, mixed in with various larger beads from my sister's stash. Lucky for me, she works part time in a bead store! Again, I used backstitch and a freeform fill in stitch. BTW the base is a 4 1/4" triangle on Peltex. It holds up quite well and is fairly easy to bead through.

November, 2008 - BJP:

November was just plain crazy! I participated in a quilt guild show, a fibre art show (both with boutiques), volunteered at the Shadow Box Auction at the Textile Museum of Canada (I donated a piece), was involved in a couple of online swaps, The Exquisite Corpse Round Robin and taught my first technique class at a local quilt shop. Whew! On top of that, I work full time. I felt like my head was exploding! I tried to capture that feeling in this autumn coloured piece. I wanted to include fibre, so used some of my machine wrapped braid and hand ruched some lovely orange velvet (given to me by a friend). I used the large stone bead to portray myself, sitting in the middle of all this action. So many avenues, so little time and no way to get out! Please note the metallic fringe, exploding all over the place. I'm glad it's over and I promise not to over commit in the future.

December, 2008 - BJP:

So! What does purple have to do with Christmas, you say? It's my sister's favorite colour, and I spent the holidays at her house in cold & snowy Sault Ste Marie, ON, so I thought that it would be appropriate. My original intent was to use traditional colours, but my muse was just not being cooperative. The small paper clay face was made during a play date with a couple of my friends. Of course, it needed to be used immediately! A shopping trip was in order, and the piece began. The face is encased with a little peyote stitch. I've introduced the stacked stitch, straight out of my copy of Beaded Embellishment (first time doing it, and just love the stitch!). I've included a single star for the top of the tree, but in this case, it's the side of the tree. The windy road of bugles signifies the route between the two cities (at least that's what my friend thinks). You'll notice that this piece is a lot calmer than the November one. I wonder why?

January, 2009 - BJP:

January to me is a time of fridgid temperatures, blue/grey skies, bare trees and snow, snow, snow. I was involved in a crazy quilted 4" X 4" swap on another group, and used a little larger version of this threadpainted tree. I loved the image so much, I decided to use it again. It's free motion machine embroidered on a scrap of upholstery fabric that was layered with gold Angelina Fibre. A rather wobbly, peyote stitched bezel, surrounds it. I wish I could say that I planned the wobble, but no, it's just one of those serendipity things. I think this might be my favourite, so far. Now, on to February!

February, 2009 - BJP:

Yipee! February is a time of celebration. My nephew and his wife (after many years of marriage & doctor's visits) have announced that they're having a baby. While the symbolism in this piece is not obvious, I tried to give it a party atmosphere. Included are painted teabag yo-yo's (Tetley, of course), three shells from an old necklace of my mother's (she's no longer with us, but loved babies so would want to be a part), an acrylic painted washer (for the masculine element), purple pearls (my sister's favourite colour) and a mixture of miscellaneous beads, including hearts and flowers (because I'm rooting for a girl). BTW, the teabags were used, but I did dry and empty them before painting. The picture is a little dark, due to my taking it on a dreary rainy day. I promise to post again when the sun is shining.

Although it's not quite her birthday yet, little Myka (a girl, just like her auntie predicted!) is celebrating her birthday, with family and friends, today. I know you have a few more days to go, but happy first birthday, sweetheart and happy birthday, Michelle (Myka shares a birthday with my niece/her aunt)!

I'll post the rest next weekend......

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

beautiful laundrette

This is my response to India Flint's slightly quirky request for a story to go along with the above photo. If you think it reads like a cheap, tacky novel, you are correct! I'm not sure which writer I'm channeling, but they certainly had a lot more fun than I did! LOL!

"After a long afternoon of tawdry love, Curt left, but asked if I would do his laundry before he returned. As I waited for the dryer to finish,I spotted a text from my best friend, Gwen. Guess who she just spotted making out at the pool, with the blond from the next apartment? Bastard! The cute Swedish laundry attendant, Sven was just re-filling his father's vintage chrome lighter. Fabulous! I grabbed the newly dried laundry, batted my eyelashes and asked if I could borrow the pair. A quick exit to the sidewalk, a small squirt, one flick of the shiny lighter and whoooosh, end of another chapter. Concerned that his employer's premises would be damaged and the cops called, my new love thoughtfully provided a bucket of dirty, soapy water to vanquish the flames. We made dinner plans."

Don't forget to visit India's blog to read the rest of the stories. My friend Kaite has one that reads a little like a rap song. She's shameless with her blatant grab for extra brownie points, but it's all in fun!

Monday, September 6, 2010

June 2010 BJP AMD

June has finally arrived! I realise that I'm late, but the 6" inch square format is a tad ambitious, when you consider everything else that's on my plate. Don't worry, I'm not discouraged! I love the process and intend to follow through until the bitter end. I won't be crossing the finish line first, but that's okay! I still haven't mounted my 2008/2009 triangles and they were finished on time! That reminds me, I should probably post them here one of these days. Then you'll be able to see how I started on this journey!

Now to June! What the heck could green, purple, a rusty old belt buckle, a dome fastener (known in these parts as a "snap"), buttons, string & beads, possibly relate to? Nothing much, just the button jar, my quirky imagination and another step on the crooked path!

A combination of old and new elements, including beautiful shell buttons, a slightly skewed compass button (gifted to me by a friend who found it in a fabulous quilt & bead shop in Seattle), a fabric and thread wrapped pipe cleaner spiral, a slice of raw edge cloth weaving, a little stone bear and a metal bird. the theme coming through yet?

Abandoned square stitch from an aborted bracelet, large acorn cap picked up on my recent trip to Sault Ste Marie (smaller, twin acorn caps show in the previous photo) and a very small part from a large pair of circa 1980's earrings. Deb, I still can't believe that you wore them and your ear lobes are still intact!!!

Oh look!! The bird is sitting on a beaver stick I picked up on last year's trip to visit the family in Sault Ste Marie. The ends have been carefully singed with the barbecue starter. Not authentic, I know, but you get the idea! Anyway, this section also includes more of the weaving, the other half of the dome fastener, the metal bird (I just couldn't have a branch without a birdie) and a small collection of leaf beads. You can't really see it, but there's also a needle hiding in the grass.

The great reveal!! This piece started out as an exploration of the colour green but the mauve/purple crept in during the stitching stage and decided to stick around 'til the very end!

Serendipity acrylic paint monoprint, free motion machine embroidery and raw edge cloth weaving (using failed monoprints). Bead techniques include peyote, square, back, stacked, fringe and boucle/bocce stitches. The weaving is courtesy of Kaite's blog posts about Jude Hill's "Cloth to Cloth" class. Of course, Jude and Kaite would be using recycled natural fibres and acrylic paint would NOT be part of the program. Call me a rebel!

The leaf shape was a natual for this one! The monoprint could have been interpreted as hills and water, but after I turned the fabric on it's side, a tree was born! Next to the ocean and stitching, I love woods and nature the best! I grew up in a city, at the edge of the forest, on the base of a mountain, with a view of the ocean. Do you think I'm still exploring my childhood?

Now, on to my class samples, my Textile Museum Shadow Box, the "President's Challenge" for my quilting guild, my "Silly" drawing class and then the July BJP! Who needs to clean, sleep, work and eat?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I won, I won!!!

Carla Sonheim's, The Art of Silliness Class that I mentioned in the last post. Thanks, Jackie! I'm sure that we'll be sharing more than a few giggles in the coming weeks! Now where the heck did I put those drawing pencils??? Eeeek! I haven't done any real drawing in years......keep tuned!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the art of silliness

After hearing about it on several of my Yahoo Groups, I broke down and ordered Carla Sonheim's, "Drawing Lab For Mixed Media Artists" book. I just received notice that it may be delivered as early as tomorrow, so I thought that I would check out Carla's blog to see what she's all about. Her latest post made note of the fact that Jackie of signed up for "The Art Of Silliness" class and also purchased a second class for a giveaway on her blog. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel that everyone could use a good dose of this stuff. Most people take life far too seriously! Don't forget to hop on over to Jackie's blog to get in on the action. It's a very generous giveaway