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Natural inspiration

The natural world has it all: colours, patterns, designs, shapes, repeats. I am convinced that even if something doesn’t enter your consciousness the moment you encounter it, your psyche still has a chance to tuck it away for later reference. I often use my camera (rather than my mind’s eye) to capture a pattern or colour combination that attracts my attention.

water currents - light and shadow patterns

water currents – light and shadow patterns

pattern in tree bark

subtle colour and pattern of tree bark

an intricate design on the underside of the butterfly wing

an intricate design on the underside of the butterfly’s wing

circular pattern - a spiral in the centre of the flower

a spiral pattern in the centre of a sunflower

 

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It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth, and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.

~ Rachel Carson

Do you find it difficult to settle down to just one project? Even when I have launched myself into a project, I sometimes find it hard to make decisions. If you’ve ever delved into the world of half-square triangles, you might have an inkling of what I mean.

There are countless ways of arranging them! Check out this flickr group .

I rarely buy charm packs, but fell in love with the Simple Marks line by Malka Dubrowsky (for Moda) when I discovered it. Half-square triangles seemed to be the perfect way to use the 42 five-inch squares in the pack. In my stash, I found that I had a sizable piece of a neutral fabric (Countertop Texture –  Michael Miller Fabrics) that coordinated perfectly as the light half of the triangles.IMG_5083

Making the HSTs was easy, and playing with the infinite possibilities of the arrangements on my design wall was so much fun!

Instead of trying to decide which pattern was “the best” I finally ended up, after a few weeks of play, just deciding which appealed to my sense of having a little extra “oomph”. Then I settled down to sewing them together.IMG_8456

Here’s the WIP (work in progress). I am still contemplating whether to add a border (comments welcome!)

Over the same few months, I have also been distracted by this year’s guild challenge “Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. The entries aren’t due until May, but I would rather avoid entering “panic mode” so I spent some time figuring out a way of using all six of the required ugly fabrics in an original design, and it’s partially done.

Next I was lead astray by a casual conversation with a bunch of quilting friends, reminiscing about corking when we were kids. Corking, you say? It’s also known as spool knitting or French knitting. I had purchased a wooden corking “device” a while back at a craft fair, so I hauled it out and, after a brief consultation on the Internet on how to get started, I was off and running! It’s quite addictive.

Other distractions have included jaunts in local ravines and fields hunting for snowy owls (they’ve been sighted quite often this winter), a lengthy search for a new yoga studio (which was finally successful) and the black hole that is Pinterest. It sucks you in and the next thing you know, several hours have passed!

My conclusion is: distractions can be fun AND frustrating. They’re part of being human.

Christmas Eve

As Toronto bravely makes its way through a terrible ice storm, and I prepare to step gingerly across the icy sidewalks to get to the subway to get to work for the last time this year, I am thinking about the frailty of life. All the connections in this great big city – seen and unseen – some working and some faltering – affected by a confluence of weather conditions that we can’t control.

Peace to all on this Christmas Eve.

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Community Catalyst

About six years ago, I was fortunate to discover a small group of women in my community whose interest and obsession with making textile art equals my own. Each year since then we’ve managed to find a place in the neighbourhood to mount a display of our creations.

A few times it was a room in a church, several times a funny little vacant space on the side of a building (called “Side Space Gallery”), once in a café, and this year, in a yoga studio. The expansive white wall that spans the length of the studio was just begging to be lit up with our colourful creations.

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Grounded

We negotiated with the studio owner to have specific hours (around her classes) where people could come and see the exhibit, each weekend throughout the month of November.

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A Patch of Stillness

This Saturday, we’ll be holding the opening reception for our show at the Studio for Movement.

A week ago, we met to “hang” the show. None of us knew what each other had created, so it was a bit like Christmas morning when we spread everything out on the floor to get an idea of what the collection looked like. Amazingly, it all came together beautifully. It’s astonishing how some of us, working independently, used similar colour palettes and themes in our work. This made it fairly easy to create groupings that complemented each other.

I worked pretty hard to get two new pieces finished (each participating artist is invited to submit two pieces) and was still stitching on the labels the day we hung the show!

A third piece I had brought along (Open Arms, aka Driven to Abstraction) turned out to be just the right size for one of the walls, so that means I have three pieces in the show!

Getting together with my artist friends to plan and execute these exhibits, on a shoestring, has proven to be a great catalyst for all of us to learn, laugh, experiment and share our art with the community.E_invite_2013

If you’re in the Toronto area, I invite you to come by and be inspired!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

A bowl of binding

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Here’s the binding I prepared for “Summer Breeze” from 2″ strips cut from an assortment of the left over fabrics.

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