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Archive for the ‘textile art’ 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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Unless you are a self-avowed curmudgen, you can’t help but admire these birds, and because I happen to have a free pass to one of their breeding grounds (Sauble Beach on Lake Huron), it was love at first sight for me.

Source: Why the Piping Plover is the ultimate emblem for World Shorebirds Day

Loving something, and then adapting it into a piece of textile art is another thing! But it’s a challenge that I welcome.

I used my own photographs of the plovers at the beach for guidance, and found fabrics that would convey the elements of the plovers’ habitat (lake, shoreline, beach grasses). The background is pieced, and the bird is machine appliqéd on top. You can see that I used a piece of driftwood as the hanging device.

I donated this piece to the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory‘s silent auction fundraiser that year (2007).

If you’d like more information about the Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach, visit this website: http://ploverlovers.com/.

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Ever since I was able to read (or perhaps it started when I was a toddler, devouring picture books) I have had a strong attraction to public libraries. I think it’s the thrill of walking in and being surrounded by all those possibilities, let alone being given the chance to take some of them home!

The library interior librarysystem where I live is like an old, reliable friend. I can count on it to satisfy my curiosity about anything I care to dream up. Right now, I’m reading a novel, learning about owls and woodpeckers, listening to a Miles Davis CD and researching a trip to Scotland – all using materials borrowed from the library. And throughout my journey as a textile artist, I have relied heavily on the Toronto Library system’s impressive resources for textile artists and quilt makers.

Imagine my delight when I walked into one of the library branches in my community and discovered a notice inviting artists to display their work! This would be a chance for two of my favourite pastimes to converge!

For the month of February, I’ve mounted a small, colourful exhibit of textile art on the second floor of Maria A. Shchuka library in Toronto (Eglinton Ave. W. near Dufferin St.). One wall is near the stairwell, and the other one is in the “Quiet Study Room”.

textile art displayed on wall

The drab, grey wall is much brighter now!

I have chosen pieces that I think will invite library patrons to look and linger, and called the show “Stories in Stitches”. I hope to spark emotional connections, and expose people to the possibilities of telling stories with fabric and stitching.

This is far less formal than a gallery exhibit, and I hope that my art will evoke interest from a broader audience than would normally come to a gallery exhibit or a quilt show.

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There are so many quilts that haven’t made it into this blog! I’ll post a few photos now to try and make up for some lost time.

fullsizeoutput_143e

I blogged about this one here. It was a wedding gift for one of my nephews, and title I gave it in the end is “heart and soul mates”. The way I arranged the HSTs (half-square triangles) symbolizes two people coming together and creating something new.

img_3301This one is called “Line and Texture”. The pattern can be found in a book titled “In Love with Squares and Rectangles” by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke. My colour palette was inspired by the Jinny Beyer fabric that I used for the binding. My mother had bought a tremendous amount of this discarded 2″ trim when she visited Suttles & Seawinds in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia years ago. It’s going to take me a long time to use it all up!

img_3663Here’s another wedding quilt (couch quilt size) that I made for a niece who is a jazz musician. I had only bought a fat quarter of the feature fabric – with her in mind – but I was able to create a modern quilt, using coordinating fabrics from my stash and focusing on lots of negative space. I got the idea for this quilt by googling modern quilt ideas. Here’s the page I found, and I just made up my own measurements based on the optimum block size for the “jazz cats” imagery (actually called “Cool Cats” by Amy Boyajian/Lilla Rogers Studio for P & B Textiles).

fullsizeoutput_44My Marvellous Mythical Moth was started in a workshop with the talented Susan Carlson. I love her fabric collage technique! It is a small piece (20.5″ w x 16″ h) that was a lot of fun to put together.

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I’m posting this image for WIP Wednesday! It’s a small piece (20″ x 30″) that I am calling “Fifty Shades of Purple”. The 5.5″ block is string-pieced from scraps. Inspiration and instructions came from a book borrowed from the public library: “A Modern Twist” by Natalie Barnes.

purple quilt top

50 Shades of Purple

I am on a perpetual mission, as I am sure many quilters are, to use up fabric scraps. Unfortunately, this project barely made a dent in my scrap stash. But a girl can try, right?

As I was putting this together, I realized that I may finally be overcoming my obsession with the colour purple. The modern or contemporary quilt aesthetic has infiltrated my consciousness, and there are so many fresh colours to play with. Just wait till you see the next piece I am working on – no purple at all!

 

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photo of ruins in Greece

The original photo

I wanted to make something special for my son and his wife as a wedding present, even though knew I wouldn’t actually get it done in time for the wedding. Since they already had a bed quilt made by me, I set my sights on a wall hanging.

Now this was going to be a surprise, so I had to be a little sneaky! Knowing how much they had enjoyed their trip to Greece the year before, I set out to find a photo from that trip that might be appropriate to interpret in fabric. That’s where some stealth was required. I couldn’t ask my son for a photo without explaining why I wanted it, so I snooped on his Facebook page and chose a photo that was fairly representative of their trip, and that might “translate” well.

I downloaded the image and had paper copies made (enlarged to 11 x 17) – one in colour and one in black & white. The colour copy was used as a guide to select fabrics, and the black & white one helped me sketch the outline onto the base fabric (unbleached cotton).

It’s so much fun hunting for just the right fabric scraps, and I am forever grateful to the quilter who first planted the idea in my brain that sorting my scraps by colour into clear plastic shoebox-size containers would significantly streamline the process.

Arches and Blue Sky

Arches and Blue Sky

I had the perfect fat quarter of hand-dyed blue fabric for the sky on hand, from Dye-Version, and loads of scraps, from florals to plaids and everything in between, for the stonework. I used a collage technique, based loosely on what I have learned from Susan Carlson.

I took a bit of artistic licence with some areas of the piece, but I think it fairly interprets the original photo. I hope it evokes fond memories of their Greek adventure. It was made with love.

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Coming up fast – the York Heritage Quilters Guid show and sale for two days only: Friday, Nov. 14 (10 – 6) and Saturday, Nov. 15 (10 – 5). A Celebration of Quilts only comes around every three years, so you will have to wait until 2017 if you miss this one! I can guarantee that it will be a dazzling display of all sorts of textile creativity.

The location is Toronto Botanical Garden (Edwards Gardens). A Celebration of Quilts event postcardIn addition to the 200 quilts made by some talented people,  there will be a marketplace featuring 16 vendors (fabrics, books, patterns, etc.), two café locations to grab some lunch, plus a boutique filled with unique one-of-a-kind handmade items just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.  In addition, for a very reasonable price of $24, you can purchase a 12”x12” mini-quilt made by one of the Guild members.

See you there!

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