Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photo Landscape Quilts

Over the last 4-5 years of  experimenting with various art quilting methods and techniques, I've developed a technique of my own that has proven to be quite popular (if sales in shops and galleries are anything to go by). 

Briefly described, my photo landscapes start out as digital photos printed onto inkjet printing fabric.  I center (fuse) the photo onto a fabric background, and extend elements from the photo onto the background fabric, then stitch the whole thing to make it all blend in.  This technques lends itself well to most landscape photos, so I've done a fair bit of custom orders using other people's photos as well.

A lot of my work sells in pictoresque and touristy areas of the East Coast of Canada.  While living in the area a few years ago, I gathered a collection of photos of local scenery, which I've worked into my East Coast series of photo landscapes.  Here's just a few:


Here in Windsor, where I now live, I became inspired by a series of trees (mostly maples) one spring day walking around my neighbourhood.  This resulted in my Olde Riverside tree series:

And, on a trip to Bayfield, Ontario, I was inspired by a mulberry tree, which made it's way into another series of tree quilts:

Friday, August 26, 2011

A tour of my studio

A visit from my friend Nicole last weekend inspired me to post photos of my studio/work space.  So here's a short tour of where my artwork gets made (excluding the mosaics, which are stored in the basement, and noone will want to see the mess down there!). 

The design table is where I spend most of my time .  This is my favourite part of the whole process, partly too because it's the quietest part (my sewing machines make quite a bit of noise), and I get to listen to audio books or the radio while I'm working.

Below is some work in progress (3 buggy thread sketches, after the initial thread sketch).

Here's part of my fabric collection.  I used to have the baskets alot more organized (i.e. colour coordinated) than they are now. These days I prefer to work from just a few stacks of variously coloured batiks.

And below is my stash of thread.  It makes me so happy to look at all those colours!

The past year or so I've been  using alot of paper in my work.  These hand-dyed Thai papers are just gorgeous.  I've been buying them at Hollanders, in Ann Arbor.

I use two sewing machines for my work.  Neither is very fancy (one is pretty old), but they get the job done.

My Sears Kenmore (grey, on the left) is fitted with a darning foot, so I use it for all my free-motion quilting.  The Brother (white, on the right) I use for straight-stitching and zig-zagging.

I've been adding paint to my quilts the last little while, so here's my collection of paint brushes and watercolour and acrylic paints.  I've been known to use oil paint sticks as well (but don't like them very much;  they smell!).  And I guess I lied about not showing pics of mosaics - the grey tote under the paints is where I keep most of my bits of broken tiles, glass, rocks, and mosaic-making tools.

My design wall doesn't get used very much, or at least not for the purpose it's meant to be used for.  A lot of quilters tend to work vertically on a design wall like this, but I prefer to strain my back and neck and bend over a table!  My design wall ends up being a resting place for unfinished pieces that I'm not happy with, or of fabrics I like too much to cut into.

And, to finish off the tour, here's where I display my finished work.

Prior to shipping to various galleries, most pieces hang on my dining room walls.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mosaic Frenzy

In the summer of last year I took a course in tile mosaics.  The course created a frenzy of tiling over the following months, and it lead to the accumulation of a large selection of variously coloured tiles, glass bits, pebbles, grout and lots of experimentation with them all.


I first made abstract pieces, some of which are meant to be hung and looked at, and some used as hot-pots.

After a while I started making tree pieces (being big on texture, I really liked adding the rocks at the bottom, for an extra dimension).


As a present for a friend's wedding, I made a tree mosaic with an inset quilt. It was quite a challenge to keep the quilt (which I wrapped/glued around a smaller tile before inserting in the middle of the larger mosaic) from getting wet while I grouted the piece, and I'm not sure I'll be trying this again soon!

And, finally, in keeping with the theme of combing tiling with other media, I inserted a plaque (photo of my 3-year old nephew Jaxon) in the middle of a tile mosaic.  Much easier combining laquered wood and tile, than quilted fabrics and tile!