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Archive for the ‘fabric’ Category

As an artist, you have to be proactive about getting your work out there in the world. Since I belong to a quilt guild, I can count on being able to enter my work in the triennial show we put on. And as a member of a group of fibre artists in my community, I find it’s a struggle to find a suitable venue for our annual group show. But in June, I learned about an unusual call for proposals for art to be hung at a new health and community services centre being planned for the neighbourhood.

When it opens in 2019, the Oakwood-Vaughan Health Clinic will offer “a range of services with a focus on community members who face barriers to health care such as people living in poverty, isolated seniors, non-insured, people with complex mental health issues, those requiring interpretation and living with unstable employment.”

Artists in the surrounding community were encouraged to submit proposals for artwork that will be displayed in the programming space, clinic offices and foyer of the new centre. Themes could focus on community, health and youth, as well as the cultural history of the area. “We hope to promote the creativity that allows all to express and trust themselves. We want artists to show a spirit of inquiry and exploration through their art pieces.

Of course I was thrilled when my proposal was one of the 25 accepted. They called us all together for a “meet and greet” session on July 31. The organizers explained timelines and next steps and also issued $150 honorariums to each of the selected artists.

I had done a great deal of pondering and planning up to this point, but now that I had the green light, it was time to move on to the construction phase!

My concept for this piece is to evoke the new health centre’s intent to reach out to the community.

Here’s my artist statement:

“The arm is not one colour. It is not white, black, beige or brown, but in keeping with the multi-cultural diversity of the Oakwood Vaughan community, and indeed Toronto as a whole, it represents all skin colours. Our skin colour is immaterial. We are all part of this community … we help each other.

From my own collection of pressed leaves, I selected five different species of oak leaves and used their shapes to create fabric ones that “sprout” out of each finger and thumb. This represents healthy growth and renewal, while also supporting the importance of diversity.

Reaching out for strength within. 33″ w x 20″ h

The tree trunk, from which the arm is protruding, portrays the strength, not only of the mighty oak tree, but of our community, when we work in unison.”

picture of health centre exterior with Janet in foreground with her bike

Delivering the artwork

I delivered my completed piece in October, and on November 15, a “sneak peek” event was held to view all the submissions. What an impressive range of artwork has been gathered from community artists!

On October 22, a jury will announce their decision on the top three artworks that will receive significant cash prizes. But I feel that it is rewarding enough to be able to create what I hope is an uplifting piece of art that will be discovered by both staff and visitors at this valuable new centre.

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I was drawn to this fabric design – Fox Nap, from the Chipper line designed by Tula Pink for Free Spirit – despite the fact that the colour scheme contained not even a hint of purple! The serene mood captured by the designer focuses on a calm, relaxed (and let’s face it, very cute) single fox curled up amongst flowers, having a snooze. I bought a fat quarter (18” x 22”).

As often happens, I added it to my “recent acquisitions” stash when I got home and forgot about it for a while, occasionally pulling it out and fondling it with a wide grin on my face. Isn’t it just enough to have it, let alone use it?fabrics piled up

A few months later, the day came when I was ready to start a new project. Yes, it was time to root through my vast collection and extract some fabrics to not only accompany the foxes but to showcase them.

I still couldn’t bring myself to actually cut into the fabric.

Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cut through the foxes, I cruised the Internet for inspiration to utilize “focus fabrics”. I blocks of fabric cut to 4" x 6"didn’t find an actual pattern, but since I determined that each fox could be easily fit into a 4.5“ x 6” rectangle, I got the idea to add interest by placing the blocks on a slight angle.

I was aiming for a contemporary look, so to help achieve that objective, the background was going to be grey/white.

It was satisfying to discover fabrics in my decades-spanning stash that complemented such a fresh new (2016) fabric.

fox quilt

I’m happy with the result (it measures 29.5” h x 34” w), and no foxes were slashed during the process – heck, they didn’t even rouse from their naps!

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