I’m back and working on another geometric village, again inspired by the paintings of Ton Schulten. I’ve always been intrigued by geometrics and these village pieces are a challenge–a great lesson in value and composition. I’m aiming for a focal point and an interesting pattern of lights and darks. This is the second in a series of pillows.
One of the projects we worked on in a recent fibre retreat was designing pouches. Everyone got a blank pouch made of unbleached canvas and lined with unbleached cotton. The pouches had zippers inserted but were not sew up as you can see in the photos below. Stamps, fabric paint, stencils, markers, watercolour pencils, appliqé fabric and more were available. Here you can see us working away and then below some of the finished pouches. And at bottom is my first attempt at embroidery since I embroidered my name on my gym shorts in Grade 9. It’s something I hope to do more of. I found the book on my shelves to give me a hand.
The highlight of January was a trip to a fibre retreat in Georgia and a visit to Savannah. I especially loved the historic district and the fabric shops. Below are some of the gems of the neighbourhood where we stayed. Laneway houses are a particular favourite of mine, especially old ones. (Alas no time to sketch.)
There was lots of textile and leather inspiration at the Savannah School of Art and Design store.
And even more inspiration on the coast…
I know that I said I would post more regularly this year…but the month of January has had some amazing times and some hard ones–both of which kept me away from here. So on this second-last day of the month, I’m starting again with the completed Village Mat. You can see here how it began with the sweater patches sewn on the backing. I learned a few things with this first prototype: next time I will add a little stuffing under the sweaters or else double them so that they are more at the height of the hooking. I tried needle felting on top of the sweater pieces, but did not like the effect at all. I do think the sweater patch idea has possibilities, especially with striped and patterned sweaters. This piece is going to be a pillow and I already have the border fabric sewn on, so I think the gentle pressure of the filled piece will help to smooth out the occasional sweater ripple.
I’ll be starting a new one soon. So stay tuned. And thanks for your patience. xine <3
Here is the finished travel backpack. I’ve made a version of this bag a couple of times before, but the advantage of this one is it converts to a cross-body bag…very easily. I’m going to live with the knots at the end of the straps for now and see how it goes, but may modify and use metal adjusters instead for a cleaner look. I like to try out a new bag and see how it performs. This one is unlined with one pocket inside and two on the outside. It easily holds my Ipad and sketching supplies as well as the usual essentials. I like the zippered outside pocket which is securely worn against my back. I’ll let you know the verdict after 10 days of travel.
I am taking this piece to a textile retreat this coming week, so will work on the sky and water once I am there. But I wanted to share this updated photo with you so you can see how it is coming together. I hope I’ll get some ideas for stitching/embellishing the sweater pieces from the others at the retreat.
I am also hoping to have my travel bag done in time to take on the trip. Fingers crossed, I’ll post a photo of the completed bag tomorrow. And I have a third project to share with you before I go. Until tomorrow…
For some years now I have been making mittens, scarves and headbands from recycled sweaters. Using beautiful discarded sweaters and scarves fits in to my goal to buy only second hand or hand made clothing. I decided to try to incorporate pieces of these sweaters into my hooking, further extending the use of repurposed fibre. As you can see from the photo below, I sewed sweater rectangles on the linen backing before hooking. I love the rich colours of the cashmere as well as the random stripes.
Here are my thoughts at the half-way point. I think I might double the sweater pieces next time or add a gentle padding underneath to bring them up to the same height as the hooking. I’d also like to experiment with stitching/embellishing the sweater patches in contrasting colours. I may still add some green sweater pieces for the trees–and break away a bit from the geometric shapes.
I’ll keep working away at this and post again at the end of the weekend so I hope you will check back. It’s a perfect thing to work on these cold dark January days. Colour and texture always cheer me up.
Happy New Year to all of you. Over the last year I thought about closing down the blog as I am not posting with any regularity and hence my readership and comments are reduced as well. Instagram is so easy and fast. (You can connect to my Instagram using the button in the menu bar above.) But when it came down to a decision, I realized I am not ready to give up the spaciousness of the blog. I like the way ideas develop as I write and I like to look back and see where I’ve been. So for 2018 I will be here posting more frequently and then I will reassess this time next year.
I’ve been working on some new things for the New Year. The first is one I started some time ago–an Ipad sleeve. My Ipad is from 2011 and has a cracked screen. But it’s my travel companion and to prevent further damage it needs a good padded case. This one is made of my last piece of felt with some scraps of my favourite leathers.
And then I need a new travel bag. I sold the one I made last year–yes, as a used (well, gently worn-in) bag. Leather, as you know, gets better with time. Anyway…to the new bag. I had a piece of caramel leather and I wanted to try a travel back-pack, big enough to carry what I need for travel but not too out-sized or heavy. This is where I am so far. This is the back view, with a zippered pocket which sits securely against one’s back. I haven’t quite figured out how I am doing the straps, but think we will punch holes (without grommets) at the top–8 in all and feed the strap across the front so it closes the bag securely. But right now it’s sitting waiting while we work it out. The bag is unlined with simple lines. 14.5 x 14.5 x 5″ With any luck it will be done by the end of the week, ready for my trip next week.
I’ve written about the Moodie Cottage before. In fact it is almost two years since I sketched it. For that sketch I was sitting in my car. This week has been far too cold for that, so this was done from a photo taken in the bright winter sun yesterday. This is the back end of the house where I lived in the 1970’s, a lifetime ago now. Susanna Moodie settled in the main house in 1840, several more lifetimes ago. Her life here, 130 years earlier, was considerably harder than mine. The house is not giving up any secrets of her time or mine–but standing solid and elegant still almost two centuries later.
It is terrifically cold these days where I live. The CBC reported that today was the coldest day on this date since the early 1960’s. -18 C with a wind chill of -30C. It’s far to cold to sketch outside–but the light and shadows on the snow are so beautiful they are hard to resist. So, I headed out with my camera and then painted at home by the fire. I’m on a quest to paint all my favourite buildings in my city. As I sketch them I learn so much about their structure and design, about the architects who designed them and the owners who preserved them. Even though I have admired these structures for years, I learn so much more with a paint brush in hand.