Sunday, May 20, 2018

Workshops at NTGM: Stitched Photoscapes and Artist Trading Cards

The Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan (NTGM, is a group of 50 or so amazingly and multi-talented fabric and needlework enthusiasts who welcomed me into their midst a week or so ago for a lecture and workshop series.  They have a great venue (at St. Stephen Episcopal Church, in Troy), with lots of space to spread out and work, and an impressive view of trees out the big windows!

I taught a couple of workshops to the group earlier in May.  My signature Stitched Photoscapes class resulted in wonderful variations of photos, fabrics, and designs, most of which I've gathered together in this composite photo (some were still work-in-progress at the time the photos were taken).

And here's a sample of the stitched cards the group produced and exchanged as part of the Artist Trading Card workshop.

Trunk show presentations

I've given a couple of presentations over the past few weeks.  They were each an hour or so of chatting about the progression of my work from early hand-embroidered bug quilts to the more multi- and mixed-media work I do today.  I presented a version of this to colleagues in the Biology department at the University of Windsor in late April.

And the Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan ( were an attentive and supportive audience last week. Here's a composite shot of some of the highlights of that presentation.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Odonate bag

I don't make bags very often these days, so it's always a treat to have an excuse to.  This one was a gift for a friend in Winnipeg, who recently lost an old one I made for her years ago, in a fire.  We both have dragonflies (and other aquatic bugs) and wetlands in common.

I thread-sketched the dragonflies and damselflies, and touched up the wings and bodies with acrylic paint.  If you know your bugs, these ones should almost be identifiable!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bowls, with a twist!

I'm back to making bowls (it's addictive, once I get into it), this time with a twist.  I'm combining the techniques of fabric bowl making with my Olde Riverside tree canvas stitched pieces.  I'm using paper (beautiful Thai marbled mulberry papers) instead of fabric, and adding a couple of coats of varnish to finish off the surface, for a smooth and shiny look.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fabric Vases

I taught a Fabric Vase class this week. 

I've made fabric bowls before (lots and lots, a few years ago), but had never tried my hand at fabric vases, which seem a bit tricky due to their tall shape (I had to figure out how to get them under the sewing machine).  Here are a couple of my simple ones:

The more advanced vases took a little longer to make, and were more intricate:

And here are the ones made by the 2 ladies who took my beginners vase class:

Mixed-media doodled cards

More of the doodled zentangle-like designs, turned into notecards.  I'm playing around with some mixed-media collage, adding bits of scrapbooking paper, stamping and using painted watercolour paper.  Some stitching as well, for texture.

The 2 large cards below (dimensions about 6x8") were really fun to work with.  Because they were large, and not standard-size, I made custom-sized envelopes for them from colourful calendar sheets. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Echoes of the Group of Seven

I love impressionist art, and over the past 6 months or so I tried my hand at replicating some impressionist masterpieces.  My first try was one of Monet's poppy fields, but with the second attempt I stayed closer to my Canadian home, and painted (in acrylics, on canvas) Tom Thompson's "The West Wind", from a printed card I bought at the ROM a few years ago.

And because I'm still going through a doodling or Zentangle phase, I also doodled the painting.

In a separate post I'm going to go into more detail about some woodburning I've been playing with as well, but here is a peek at Tom Thompson's West Wind done in pyrography, with some acrylic paint for colour (and a slight stained-glass look - because making artwork in a mix of media makes my life so much happier!)

But, back to the doodled designs, the West Wind piece experience led me to try zentangle-type doodling another Tom Thompson painting, the even more famous "Jack Pine". And that was followed by F. H. Varley's "Stormy Weather Georgian Bay".  I've been using the doodled sketches in several variations of cards, and even matted a few.  Choosing different background papers to print the designs on (scrapbooking paper, various shades of tan, parchment, aged-looking printer paper) and varying the colouring (in markers) of the trees, can result in unique, one of a kind pieces.