Sunday 21 April 2024

Another Blessing; Hello Beautiful Baby

I created this work to honour a first grandchild. 

This photo was the inspiration for my work.  
In the photo, the young expectant couple proudly pose in front of their 
newly acquired elegant old stone farm house.  

Detail:  Their beloved dog stands guard.  Stitchery is free motion and the green silk organza is hand dyed.  The white leaf motif is my drawing, I created a screen and printed it on the organza. 

Detail:  The grasses are free motion with varigated heavy thread.  The stone of the house is commercial fabric embellished with fabric paint.  Windows are raw edge applique. The sun has extra batting and is a combination of hand dyed and commercial fabric with free motion and embroidery stitchery.

Detail:  The animals visiting their farm house were inspired by a story I had heard; that three deer had come to their property shortly after they moved in.  Also, that they are now a family of three!

Detail:  I included trees in the composition as, for me, they symbolically represent rootedness, new roots, that life will continue long after us, and once again, another trio.  The bark was created with commercial fabric overlayed with free motion stitchery with varigated thread.  Grasses and little yellow flowers connect the colour yellow with the sun.  Yellow is the mom's favourite colour, and she has a lovely, sunny disposition.  Their dog is keeping an eye on the comings and goings on the property.

Detail:  The leaves of the trees are dyed, layered, and stitched silk organza.  The sky was painted with thinned dye.  I chose to frame this work as some of the elements had more layers than others, and this was a way to give presence to the composition as well as stabilize all the elements.

Installation:  Brightening up the nursery, overseeing their beautiful baby girl!
May she enjoy a lifetime of happiness.


Tuesday 26 March 2024

Beautiful New Baby Girl

A Sweet Baby Quilt

To honour the blessed arrival of a baby I went shopping with the mommy-to-be and she picked out all the fabrics that she loved.  (We knew it was going to be a girl). After much discussion and review of many very complicated patterns she concluded that she liked squares.  simple and clean.

Detail:  I decided to hand quilt and backed it with a soft flannel to keep the 'hand' of the quilt gentle.  Also, I have begun to really appreciate and enjoy the process of the slow stitch.  I double quilted on either side of each seam.

As I had fabric leftovers, I decided to create a matching pillow and created a bargello type of pattern. The pillow top is its own 3 layer quilt but then it has a back attached that is removable for washing.

She has arrived!  And seems to love cuddling.

I also made her a few burping/all purpose cloths out of a multilayered cloth designed for the purpose. Each one is trimmed with machine embroidery of a different pattern.

But then to coordinate with the colour scheme I felt that I needed to create a little wall hanging.  As she is a 'baby Tiger' I was inspired to create a space with many little animals that will be fun to identify, when she is a bit older.

I was inspired by this sweet placemat that I received in a lovely brunch place in Oakville, Ontario.  I am sorry that I cannot credit the designer directly, but you can see that the restaurant was called "Pur and Simple".  I always have my lens for inspiration on, because you never know when you may be struck by a colour or an image.  I found these animals so simply and elegantly illustrated, they lent themselves perfectly to applique.

Detail:  The tree branches are free motion embroidery with varigated thread

Detail:  The animals are all created with the same base white fabric and then the details are embellished with thread and fabric, beads and buttons.  And of course there is a friendly tiger resting at the base of the tree.

Detail:  the birds wings were created by making a raw edge with the fabric.

Detail:  The tree and a couple of the animals have extra batting in order to create a three dimensional effect.

Detail:  The deer also has extra batting.


This project was so much fun.  I love creating the whimsy that art for children invites. 

Friday 1 December 2023

Embroidered Figures, revisited

A Walk in the Woods

Back in December of 2020 I posted about my involvement in a critique.  This was an invaluable experience made available to me through SAQA.  Studio Art Quilters Association is an international community that I have been proud to be part of for many years.  They offer endless opportunities for education, exhibition and comradeship in a like-minded, creative community.
At that time the suggestion was that the figures were working but the background had some issues.  I have since gently removed them from the original background (check out my post in 2020 to compare) and now this is their new home.  I took this photo in the Laurentien mountains in Quebec and had it printed on to cotton.

Detail: In this photo you can see the dense embroidery as well as the sky light peaking through the trees.

Detail:  Here I am trying to demonstrate that the figures are popping forward from their background.  They have extra batting to create this effect.
Detail:  Focus on the grass that is embroidered at their feet.

Detail:  a view that is more straight on.

I will leave it with you as to whether the new background is a better home than the old one.  Please let me know what you think!


Thursday 19 October 2023

New Wedding Canopy

Wedding Canopy Project

This time for my first born

This assignment felt especially special,  and significantly important.  
Its not every day that your son gets married.  

Bride and Groom express their love with a ceremonial kiss


The process began with a concept.  My son and his fiancee are both chefs and so without hesitation he let me know that their canopy (chuppa) was to be about fruits and vegetables.  I received this information with some trepidation.  How to create fruits and vegetables in fabric without the appearance of childish cut and paste?  Spoonflower to the rescue.   They had many options to choose from and after great deliberation, and much study of many mailed samples, the betrothed chose this fabric.  It had an elegant grey background but many fun colours to give it life.  

I chose solids that picked up the tones and worked out a design.

The women in The Workroom, (1267 Queen Street W. Toronto) were incredibly helpful.  Together we decided to use the chosen fabric as a central round shaped medallion and then create four corners around it to make the final shape: 6 feet square.  This photo is at the shop with the staff able to see the final result as we chose the colour of the binding fabric.

I had made a decision to applique and quilt the five pieces separately since the project was so large.  I had never done this before so it was a challenge to fit the five pieces together like sweet puzzle pieces.  There was a significant learning curve to this process which will help a lot the next time around.

The applique theme was fruits of the vine.  The bride is studying to be a sommelier and both enjoy a good glass or two of wine.  Too, I feel that the grapes symbolize joy and fertility.  I wanted to imbue the project with these hopes and wishes.  Each grape and leaf was appliqued by hand with turned under edges. 

The thicker vine leaves were fabric applique and the thinner curlicues were free motion sewn with heavy weight thread.  The thicker vines were doubled over as I tried to create a 3 dimensional quality as I did with each grape.  some of the grapes have more fabric under than over and really pop forward from the background.

after much deliberation, this was the chosen binding fabric chosen, 
sewn on the front by machine and on the back by hand.

This is my first view of the chuppa installation.

The grooms first sighting.

A joyous ceremony, happy couple, feeling lots of great energy in the room.

After the ceremony, other young couples, in love, got swept up in the moment!

 The wedding canopy now sits in pride of place, on the wall in the young couple's new home.  May it continue to spread joy and happiness, may it signify food and wine of plenty, and may they feel the love it was created with always.


Monday 26 September 2022

Lac Notre Dame

This summer was beautiful in Quebec.  I was lucky enough to have a couple of months to stay in the Laurentian mountains swimming daily in Lac Notre Dame.  This year was not about dying but rather meditative hand stitching and I took my cue from the tranquility of the lake, the fantastic cloud formations that changed from moment to moment, and the lush surrounding mountains.

My palette was limited by the scraps of fabrics and the shades of embroidery floss I had on hand.

The lake was a piece of hand dyed fabric left from another project and the rest of the fabrics were cottons and upholstery fabrics that I had been gifted.

After I placed all the tiny bits of fabric I began hand stitching them.  No glue used.  I had 6 ply embroidery floss and I experimented with using all 6 at a time, sometimes 3 at a time, and often just a pair of threads.  my goal was to create the lush texture with the limited colour palette.

In the beginning it was about getting rid of the pins so I would stop getting poked so much as I stitched.  But then I got into a rhythm, an enjoyable meditative rhythm and so just kept stitching.

As the stitching became more intense, I began to see how the interplay between the threads and the fabric changed the tone and the colours.  I could dull down something that felt too bright, and I could suggest another colour with green threads on top of brown fabric.  It was a great learning experience.

The final result

18.5" wide x 15" long 

and here is where it will live, in a lovely Ontario home surrounded by beautiful trees outside and other loved objects and plants inside.