Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Lime Time

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Lime Time

A lot of stitching went into this little half-lime.  It sits a few millimeters above the background.  That’s as flat as I could get it, and still have enough stitching for the look I wanted.  The “juice” is thanks to free motion machine embroidery with lots of Sulky Sliver clear thread.

First I stretched silk in a 5-inch hoop and painted a lime-green color background.  I used gutta to keep the color to the area of the lime.  Then I chose thread colors for pith, and machine-embroidered the middle part and the dividers between segments.   Here’s a poorly focused photo:

Once the segments were outlined, I machine-embroidered various shades of green and yellow, aiming for long loop shapes.  With the green background, you don’t need full thread coverage. When these green areas were finished I went over them with long machine stitches in the Sulky thread, leaving the central pith “dry.”

Then I changed threads to my pith colors again and sewed a big circle of that around the whole thing.  I also sewed some stitches in green, to reflect the way the pith becomes greener near the skin.  I believe it was at this point my always supportive husband called me a “pith artist.”

Then I cut the lime right out of the silk.  The stitching was so dense it held together well. The skin is a length of 3-mm wide ribbon, painted green.  It’s glued on around the edge, then tucked underneath and glued into place there as well.  I wanted to keep the illusion of the skin disappearing from view, just like the real thing.

The plate is silk painted a shade of light blue.  I have a trick for doing this but forgot to take photos.  What can I say, I get excited. Basically when I stretch my silk in my particular hoops (Morgan no-slip) and pour on the paint and let it run right out to the edges, and let it dry, when I take it out of the hoop I get a nice plate effect without trying.  The white plate “edge” is the part of the silk that disappeared inside the hoop.  I don’t understand why it doesn’t turn blue, but it doesn’t, and that’s great.

The shadow is painted.  And the checkered tablecloth is checkered tablecloth material – I used up all my fake on the lime.

More fruit to come in the new year!

Off to Rathtrevor

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

This is the view on approaching Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville.  The split log fences in the distance line walking trails.

The sky, mountains, and distant trees are painted.  The fences are hand stitched and everything else is free motion machine embroidery, with occasional hand stitching wherever I “missed a bit.”  For the field in the distance, I machine-sewed, then roughed it up with an emery board.  This makes some threads stick up, which I then trim, and that helps give the whole field a more blurred, far-away look.

You never know what you’ll get by way of feedback on your work.  Somewhere around ten hours of labor in, my husband commented he liked my “split-ends tree”!

You know what, I’ll take it.  That tree does have a case of split ends.

P.S. Can you find my signature? I tried to blend it in with the scenery.




Wave Hello

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

This is a different, sunnier-weather version of a picture I did called Aloha, made in the same way.  This one is minus the boat and plus some stitches in transparent thread on the left, representing the water shimmering on the sand.

In other Hawaii-related news, slack key guitarist Makana is coming to Vancouver, BC  in Feb 2013!  Here’s where. Wrap up warm Makana!

Update: Thanks Elena and all at Fiber Arts/Mixed Media, for featuring Wave Hello on your Facebook page!




Positively Petite

Monday, October 29th, 2012

I’ll have eight pieces in this show.  More info on my Events page and a link to a map.  I’m excited to meet showgoers and other artists!

Sailing to the Island

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Which island?   There are three.   I know, always with the hidden meanings.

In the foreground is Galiano and in the distance Mayne.   Unseen is Vancouver Island, the destination I was “sailing to” on the ferry, gathering compositions like this and Crumb Cottage on the way.   But you can imagine you’re sailing to whichever rugged, fir-treed island you fancy.

The sky and distant island are painted, and there was a lot of background painting of the nearer island and water before I ever picked up a needle.  Then I used some good old half-crazed, needle-snapping free motion machine embroidery for the rocks and trees.   I let some unpainted silk show through for the bare rock.

The glints on the water are a combination of long and short stitches depending on the distance away, done by hand in shiny thread and sometimes in silk threads I stole from the frayed edge of the piece.


Twinkle, Twinkle

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Here’s a view of downtown Vancouver from the North Shore.  The sky is painted (poured on a shade of blue and let physics do its thing), the moon’s a swirl of gutta, and everything else is hand-stitched.  The twinkles are stitches in metallic thread.

I love metallic thread.  It’s just glitter for grown-ups.

The camera doesn’t see things exactly as your eyes do…it was hard to choose a photo that shows this piece accurately, when it changes so much depending on the lighting.  I decided to go with this shot with the water catching the light.  In low light the water looks darker than the sky.

Gosh that was a lot of little stitches.  Once you go to a certain level of detail on one building, you’ve got to do them all!  Go tiny or go home.  I hear my sewing machine calling me for the next picture or two…

Barely a Ripple

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Here’s a duck in Beaver Lake in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.  There are beavers there too now, but we didn’t see them yet – just their teethmarks.

I used my water wibble technique to paint the far background.  Water wibble what now?  It means I get plenty of wet paint on the brush and let it doodle around on the silk how it wants.  The less effort you put in, the more it’ll look like water, in my experience.

The reflections of the grasses are done using silk paint that’s almost dry and with heart firmly in mouth.  Make a mess here, and all of a sudden you have more sewing to do!  The duck and grasses are hand-stitched, and there’s a little clump of free motion machine embroidery making up the grasses at the bottom right.

I’d sure love to see those beavers.  In the meantime here’s a Vancouver Sun article and video of them, possibly featuring my paddling friend above.


Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Heh, I know it’s a grand name for a little picture of a weed.  I described in the previous post how this one was made.  For the fine fibres that surround the seeds, I pulled silk threads from the frayed edge of the work, roughed them up so they separated into thinner threads, then used little stitches to secure them to the background.


Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Just an update on a new dandelion clock picture I’m working on.  I decided to play with a leafy-look background.  Below right is the patterned “underwear” which I put beneath the translucent green-painted silk, trying for a foliage effect.  I tore up two different shades of acid-free white paper and stuck them to a blue background.  The blue makes the green of the silk a shade cooler (helping make the background look more distant).

I anticipate the dandelion will stand out more from the background when finished.  Everything’s in a half-done state right now, but that’s a ribbon for the stem, and a mix of hand-stitching and gluing of knotted frayed threads for the fluffy stuff .

R & R

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

A very small piece of paradise at 3 x 4 inches.  You could almost be there…if you hold it right up to your face : )

There’s a little bit of everything here, in terms of techniques.  The sky and sand are painted, but the mountains are a torn-off piece of dark blue acid-free paper that shows through the silk from behind.

The clumps of trees are mostly free motion machine embroidered, but the ironwoods on the right are thread lint stuck on with glue (ah, that ancient art of sticking on), and the palm is hand-stitched.  The hut’s a piece of cotton, hand-painted.   There’s also some detail worked using fabric pens, paint and pastels in the background.

The beach plants in the foreground (I think tree heliotrope) are what made me choose to create this scene, as I could imagine machine embroidery making these “grow” quickly on a painted background of sand.

Now for just a little rest and relaxation of my own, before going on to my next picture!