I am part of the Fibre Art Connection – and a blog hop!

8 03 2016

Hello again.  Two days in a row.  I will blog more, I will blog more, I will blog more.  I promise.

Yesterday’s post was all about the past.  Today’s is about the immediate future.

Today is my turn to be part of the Fiber Art Connection Blog Hop.  Hooray.  I am so honoured to be part of this group.  It is proof that opportunity opens up more opportunity.  I would not be part of this group if I did not meet Desiree when filming QATV.  I would not have filmed QATV if I did not meet and get to know Susan Brubaker Knapp (and take her to the zoo to see Platypus).  I would not have meet Susan if I did not bring Judy Coates Perez to Australia and so it goes.  Life is full of opportunities and you must seize them.

So I really hope that you will want to be part of the Fiber Art Connection.  Who knows where it will take you….

Fiber-Art-Connection logo

http://www.fiberartconnection.com

Desiree’s vision is that this forum is a completely new type of online class, it’s taught by a group of amazing (if I do say so myself!) fibre artists and we want to build a community.  There are 10 weeks in the session, each week a different teacher runs a different class, with material presented across the week. Format for each class is determined by the teacher and will vary.  There’s a great FAQ here: that explains how it works. Your access to all the content never expires, but our intention is to provide 3 months of artist synergy and inspiration to the members of the class, so jump in and get started.

Registration CLOSES on March 15, you must be registered by then in order to be a student in Session 1!  Don’t miss out.

So, I am about half way through the blog hop.  If you have not looked at what the others are doing, it is not too late.  Just follow the links below and learn more about some amazing women artists.  How cool is it that I can share amazing women on International Women’s day!  I tell you.  My life is charmed.

Blog Hop Schedule:

The Blog Hop is about more than just meeting new artists.  We want you to find out about our course and if you can, join. We also would like your help in sharing the information and excitement.  So, we have put together an phenomenal bundle of goodies.  Each of us have put in a big pile of textile art materials which will support all the classes or any project.  This bundle is amazing and you will want to win it.  You can enter to win in a number of ways:

  1. Join the online community, registering for the classes – MUST be before 15th March or you will miss out;
  2. Leave a comment at the end of this blog post;
  3. Share this post or course details on your own social media and tell us (here works) that you have done it

You can comment or share up until midnight US time 14th March 2016.  To make it easier for you, I have added a comment question at the bottom of this post.  Here is a picture of the bundle. Don’t you want it?  I know I do.

FAC-basket-horizontal-500

 

If you want more information on what we are doing, go to the website: http://www.fiberartconnection.com

So, now a bit about me.

1) What draws you to the fibre arts? Why do you work the way you do?

I LOVE the freedom and creativity of fibre art.  I love to use paint and dye to create a unique surface or background.  I love to draw inspiration from nature and reflect the world as I see it.  I love that I can use fabric and fibre to tell a story, make a statement, express myself.  I also love traditional and modern quilting.  I like the maths and precision in that, but I love the FREEDOM of textile art.  I started hand dyeing wool and silk fibre and fabrics such as silks and velvets (and felt and wool and anything else that does not move fast enough) because I wanted my colours, my way.  I wanted texture and I wanted it all at my finger tips NOW.  Creating layers and texture, that gets my blood flowing!

2) Tell us about your studio! Where in the world is it? Is it clean or messy? Is it hidden away or out in the open?

Firstly, I live in Canberra, Australia.  Most of you in the US will not have heard of it and I do intend to make you feel shame (in the nicest possible way) by pointing out that Canberra is our nation’s capital. Look it up.  It is a fabulous place to live.  By car, we are about 3 hours south west of Sydney and 8 hours north east of Melbourne. (Remember that Australia is an equivalent size to continental USA.)  See the A on the map below.  We are at the gateway to the Australian snow fields (truly, we do get some snow) and about two hours to glorious beaches.  Canberra is a great place to live and has been voted the most liveable city in the world by the OECD.  We actually don’t want people to know that as we like things here just the way they are.

canberra

My studio is my great disgrace.  We moved house 15 or so months ago and my studio space looked like this.

?????????? ?????????? ??????????

It still does!  So I pretty much work everywhere in the house.  There are two rooms dedicated to my younger son which are out of bounds to me and our bedroom is seldomly used.  I have been known to rinse metreage of hessian/burlap in the bathroom, but mainly I keep that clear, but all other space and surfaces are fair game.

As I am running numerous online classes using dyes and paints, I have set up an outside work area to film these and keep the place clean.  I like it out there as I am surrounded by my roses and sunflowers.

3) What’s your favourite colour and why?

Oh my.  That is an impossible question to answer.  I love all the colours.  I dye my fabrics and fibres in over 40 colourways because I keep coming up with one I can’t live without.  I do like red for myself.  I wear a lot of reds; from pale pink to burgundy.  Some days I am very drawn to cool blue/green/violet colourways and am increasingly finding myself drawn to autumn tones and neutrals, but seriously there is no colour I can’t find a role for.

4) Tell us about the class you’re teaching in The Fiber Art Connection. What do you hope your students will learn from this?

I am teaching Riverbed.  I mentioned earlier that I draw a lot of inspiration from nature.  I love to capture life in art and I mean life in all of its non animal glory.  I grew up in far north Queensland, near the Northern Territory border.  (Mount Isa, Qld for those of you who want to Google it.)  This is very much our ‘bush’ or ‘outback’.  Not ‘country’ or farming, there is not enough water to grow much other than beef.  This is mining country – copper, lead, zinc and silver to be exact.  So, from the my earliest memories, a sense of country has shaped my identity.

So, Riverbed is a class on capturing your environment.  You can change the colours to suit your environment.  The sample, below, shows the colours I photographed in the Snowy Mountains whilst on holiday one time.

021

You can’t always get fabric the way you want it, so I show you how to make your own from silk and wool fibre.  I also show you how to make depth and three dimension with a range of embellishments.  I want you to experiment with things you may never have used and start to imagine the potential.  Step outside the comfort zone and you will be amazed at what you can do.

5) Where else can we find you on the internet?

I am all over the internet, lol.  Here are some:

  1. Website:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au
  2. Blog:  you are here.
  3. Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/uniquestitching
  4. or : http://www.facebook.com/mixedmediamayhem

I am also running these online classes – details can be found on my website:

  • Almost Alchemy – Dyeing with Procion Dyes
  • Stunning Surfaces – A surface design masterclass and
  • Tremendous Textile Arts Techniques – an art quilt journey.

I am on Twitter and Instagram too, but not very good on either so join me on Facebook or this Blog.

Please leave a comment.  If you would like to, I would love to know what sort of environment you would like to capture in textile art.





triangles, my favourite of all the shapes

15 01 2016

I do love triangles.  I particularly love them when they come together to form different shapes and patterns.  I could seriously put triangles into everything.  Here is one of my favourite old quilts built on triangles and appliqué.
cmykflameflower

 

These next three are also amongst my favourites of my more traditional quilts.

Aurora cmyk

windows cmyk

Oriental cmyk

It is all in the placement and the use of colour.  There are dozens of different rulers that allow you to cut and sew triangles, but I am a bit old school and like to use actual maths.  I have a handout that you can download to help with the calculations and sewing instructions which you are welcome to use if it will help.

Using Triangles

Patterns for these quilts plus more are available at http://www.uniquestitching.com.au





Out and About – Eumundi Markets

30 12 2015

If you are a regular follower of mine, you probably know that I am having some time off for the Christmas break.  We are on the Sunshine Coast, Qld and have been having a lovely time.

Today, we headed out to Eumundi for the Markets there. Now, many would have suggested that this is a complete act of insanity due to the crowds expected on probably one of the busiest market days of the year. And it probably was, but I thought it worth the time and effort.

The traffic, both foot and road was horrendous.

image

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The Eumundi markets began in 1979 and it would have only been a year or two after that I visited as a child. A lot has changed in that time, but a lot was as I remembered it. There is no doubt the size is different. When I was there last, probably in around 1985, the whole market was on the pavements of the Main Street. However the feel of the market and the general mix of stall holders felt the same today despite being enormously bigger than I last saw.

If you want to see the website for the “original” market, go here:  http://www.eumundimarkets.com.au

There now is both the Original Market and about four other market areas, all maintaining the theme of hand made or grown.  In some areas you can find mass produced goods, but these remain in the minority.  There is also a lot of wholistic health products, loads of massage and reflexology, more palm or tarot readings than I have ever seen in one place and a simply huge array of food; fresh home produce and cooked food from around the globe.

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want that Paella pan!

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The Tibetan Momos were delicious.

My favourite traders were in one of the newer areas, the Eumundi Square.  Here are some photos of them.

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imageimage.jpegimageimage

All in all, a nice trip despite the crowds.

 

 

 





12 Days of Christmas – Day 10 – Modern Clearance

15 12 2015

Today is less of a Christmas special and more of a Christmas clearance, but the end result is the same.  I have fabric and patterns that I just want to get rid of so I have priced these at around and below half price.  My standard pricing was below recommended retail to start with and now I have dramatically reduced these.  So please take them to your house.  Here are the three details:

Modern Plaids – reduced by 50%.

modern-plaids

These plaids are not the low quality that you expect.  They are the same fibre and thread count as all the normal patchwork fabric and are great for childrens clothes and toys, household items, rugs and of course gorgeous quilts.   Here is the link:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9056684/12-days-of-christmas—day—10-modern-quilt-studio—modern-plaid-collection.html

Modern Plaid Quilt Kit

plaid quilt

I have kitted up the free pattern that the manufacturer provided for these fabrics (plus a couple of others).  It is a very effective quilt and I use my version as a picnic rug.  Instead of putting on a traditional backing, I backed it with Multipurpose Cloth to give me a water proof background.

Here is the link to the free pattern:  http://www.andoverfabrics.com/Quilts/The%20Modern%20Plaid%20Collection.pdf

and here is the link to buy the kit:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9059566/12-days-of-christmas—day-10—modern-plaid-quilt-kit.html

The final part of this clearance is a deep discount on the Modern Quilt Studio patterns.  Again over 50% of RRP.  Go here to see the options:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/4552122/1/modern-quilt-studio-.html





12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 5 – Gelatos are not always Ice Cream

10 12 2015

Well, actually they are never “Ice cream” but we don’t need to split hairs here.  One of my most favourite mixed media products are the full range of Design Memory Craft brand:  Gelatos, Big Brush Pens, Wax Crayons and all the associated supporting products.  Faber Castell have developed the Design Memory Craft brand to seperate out their pure ‘artist’ products from the mixed media range.  The Design Memory Craft stable is fantastic and growing.  Keep an eye out for it.  For the next two days, I have 30% off the full range of products in stock.  Use 12Day5  as your discount code at the checkout.  Here is the link to all the products: http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/4536033/1/design-memory-craft-by-faber-castell.html.

When I first started seeing Gelatos used overseas, I knew I wanted to get my hands on some to have a play. This was about two and half, three years ago.  I rang around about 20 different art and craft stores and almost universally I got the response:  “you know we are not an ice cream store, right?”  Yes I knew that.  Anyway, I ordered my first set online and fell in love with them.  Now they are everywhere, but I still love them and most people are not demonstrating them very comprehensively so you don’t get to see the full potential of this collection of goodies.  I try to always have the full range available on my website under the Mixed Media category.

I use the gelatos as my principle love and all the others as the support network.  I use them on every surface I can lay my hands on from paper and card to leather and all things inbetween.  I really love them on canvas, fabric and other slightly absorbent surfaces.  Gelatos are a water soluble wax crayons.  So you can use them as a wax, as a water colour, added to anything water based to change the colour such as gel medium or gesso, and dilute with water directly or indirectly such as into a mister.  Once set, they don’t shift so you can paint or embellish over the top of the first layer.  If you are using Gelatos on fabric and think it will need to be washable, you need to use some Textile medium in the mix somewhere.

There are a huge number of video tutorials available for all of these products.  I will share a couple.

This one is super basic, but covers a lot of introductory techniques:

Faber Castell has a page of tutorial videos here:  http://www.fabercastell.com/design-memory-craft-us/video-gallery

I particularly like the ones done by Donna Downey, so check some of those out.  They are all short and sharp and full of content.  Here is one to get started with.

Briefly on the other products in the range, my second favourite are the Big Brush Pens.  They are India Ink and are permanent on pretty much anything.  They are great to stamp with or draw or colour and then use a gelato wash or spray over the top.  The wax crayons are really cool too.  I use them as an encaustic more than anything else.  You all know how much I like to melt things.  This wax is great for melting as an encaustic or a resist.  The mediums are okay too, but the Texture Luxe and Texture Gems are awesome.  Check them out.  I am sure you will enjoy using them all.

 





12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 4 – Solid Quilts don’t have to be Solid

9 12 2015

When you spend a lot of time out at big Quilt and Craft events or even in a patchwork shop, you need lots of samples on the walls to attract people, demonstrate your products and sell.  Having samples can be a really mixed blessing though because although they draw people in once there is a sample on the wall, everyone wants to make it EXACTLY the same.  This can be very difficult for the patchwork shop owner as all fabrics have a use by date and in most cases in Australia, you get it once and have no chance of getting it again.

Think about it from the perspective of the patchwork shop.  Reps show a range of fabric and the shop owner orders it.  There are standard bolt sizes and a fairly common one is 13.7 metres (15 yards).  Amongst great excitement the fabric arrives and a pattern is conceived to demonstrate it.  The patchwork shop owner whips up a fabulous quilt using the new fabric taking, lets say for the purposes of this story, half a metre off each bolt.  Immediately the shop is down about 4% of the fabric; 4% of the potential profit, gone to what is effectively a marketing budget.  He or She will spend 6, 10, 20 hours making the quilt, all of which has an opportunity cost if not a direct cost and if the top is made into a quilt, there is the cost of backing, batting and thread.  Assuming again that the fabric can not be replaced and the quilt top evenly used half a metre off each bolt and no one bought any as meterage or fat quarters, the shop owner has the capacity to make a maximum of 26 kits for said quilt.  That is a lot of expense in time and money for 20 to 30 saleable items.  Madness really.

If the quilt is great and original the shop owner may develop their pattern and sell it seperately.  Creating patterns is far more economical as you can make one sample and sell thousands of patterns.  Often, a shop owner will design a pattern or buy in commercial ones and order fabric to support the pattern.  In any of these scenarios the shop owner is dependant on getting fabric that is identical to or close enough to those used in a pattern unless consumers can imagine the quilt in different fabrics.  Speaking for myself and all my colleagues in the industry I can say with absolute certainty, it does our head in.

So the purpose of that very long introductory tale was to show you some examples of achieving an effect without using an identical fabric.  For the purposes of this demonstration, I am using Jaybird Quilts’ Northern Lights pattern.

Originally constructed in Kona Solids, this quilt is a play on colour transition and can be done in so many different ways effectively.  This is the original pattern with the original sample.

NorthernLights-Pattern_Cover_Web

Jaybird Quilts patterns usually have instructions for up to five different sizes. This is the second smallest, the lap quilt size, and as such uses 8 different colours. The baby quilt size uses just 6 and the King size will use 16.  Obviously if you move into the bigger sizes you are going to have to use some imagination to work out what fabrics to use because only 8 are demonstrated in the sample.  And there really is not one answer to that.  It comes down to what you like.

So, using completely different fabrics, ones that read as solids, but are not solid I made this example:

northern lights final       northern lights 9 (same quilt,a bit more detail)

Now, I could have started with any one of these colours and built a run from there.  For example, the two greens could have sat next to the blues on the right.  I could equally have started with the red on the outer left and run through the rainbow in that more traditional order of the rainbow or I could have done a hundred other things with it.

So, working on a rainbow, starting with a baby quilt size and adding colours to the King, your fabrics could look like this:  Baby quilt – 6 fabrics; Lap quilt – 8 fabrics; Twin (single) – 10 fabrics; Queen – 14 fabrics; and King – 16 fabrics.

Baby - 6 fabrics   Lap - 8 fabrics    fabric 10 rainbow

fabric 14 rainbow   fabric 16 rainbow

Or, alternatively do this in something more muted like Neutrals.  Here are three examples one of 6 fabrics and 2 of 8.

fabric 6 neutrals     fabric 8a neutrals     fabric 8 neutrals

Imagine doing something like this in a monochromatic scheme, from light through to dark.

Hopefully this helps you reimagine patterns a bit more broadly.  Support your local patchwork shop.  They are the experts and will help you make something spectacular, tailored to your preferences.

For todays special.  I have kits of all these colourways shown if you would like to make the quilt.  The kits are priced at around $13 to $14 per metre for the fabric and include the pattern.

 Head here to purchase:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9096759/12-days-of-christmas-2015—day-4—jaybird-quilts-northern-lights-kits.html

 

 





12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 1 – Gelli Printing

6 12 2015

I love Monoprinting. I really do. It is one of THE simplest and most effective ways to get paint onto a surface in an original, unique way. You can print onto any surface that is flat (ish) and will hold paint: from fabric to card and paper; leather, ceramics, cork, wood, canvas, glass, you name it.

I discovered the Gelli Plates when they were first released and have been bringing them into Australia since that time, over four years now. Although I have been monoprinting on home made gelatin beds, glass and acrylic for over twenty years, I think the Gelli plates are the best tool. Once you have one, you never need to replace it and as long as you store it flat and keep it moderately clean, it will last a life time. I have made countless fabrics, either as feature fabrics that I chop up or as backgrounds with the Gelli plate as well as hundreds of sheets of paper and card plus too many canvasses to count.

gelli prints sml

The technique is really three simple steps: apply paint to the plate and roll it out; create a texture in the painted surface; and press your printable item onto the paint.

Here is a video produced by Gelli Arts when the plates were first released. It still shows the process really well.

http://www.gelliarts.com have a great range of technique based videos that you can check out for ideas and projects.

Some time ago, circular Gelli Plates were introduced and I was not sure why we would need them. Then, I got one and of course then needed all three sizes. Here is a large canvas I made with the 6inch circle.
round Gelli canvas

and here is a video, again, by Gelli Arts:

and a video by Gelli Arts using Catalyst Tools:

For this first day of my 12 Days of Christmas, I have a package of two Gelli Plates and three Catalyst tools, reduced by 30%. Click this link to purchase: http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9096299/12-days-gelli-plate-package.html

12 day Gelli

All 12 Days of Christmas specials will be available for approximately 48 hours then they will be gone.