February Blues!

February was indeed a very different month – sun, snow AND rain. In fact the first Canadian goose arrived at Oak Hammock Marsh last week – the earliest that has happened since records have been kept. It was so warm during the Festival in St. Boniface that the snow sculptures started to melt – that’s something that hadn’t happened in the past. The rain storms played havoc with our paving stones when it melted the snow and turned it into a skating rink – not something I appreciate at my age. Before the rains came we were able to walk outside – now I don’t want to even try!.
The month started with Kathleen and I putting up the show in the concourse of the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall. It went up very well and has a good mix of paintings, felting and small quilts. It will be on exhibit there until the beginning of May. The photograph was taken by Bonnie Taylor, president of the Manitoba Society of Artists.
As one went up another came down when the Manitoba Craft Council For the Love of Craft exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery came down. It was a smaller show than usual as we usually have the Love of Craft show at Cre8ery Gallery.
My orchid finally dropped its flowers and now I am left with a very strange potted plant with large leaves and droopy roots hanging all over. I’m told not to cut them but they are very untidy. I guess in the jungle they are high in the canopy and just blend in with the other foliage.
I have finished my sunset – it just needs a name and a label. The addition of the machine embroidered trees brought it all together.
Since then I have been playing with various ideas and experimenting with new ways of using fabric to illustrate landscapes. One idea I have played with was following an article I saw in Quilting Arts Magazine by Eileen Searcy. She called it Faux Torn Paper Quilts and it reminded me of the way we often used torn paper to design silkscreens for use on paper. This is one of my silkscreens that started in this manner.
Going through the article I didn’t have any of the items that were mentioned but decided I had enough similar things to at least try the idea. I seem to have a bottomless pit of things I was always going to use and never got around to it. This time they actually came in handy.
I started with picking a group of different fabrics – not knowing how I’d manage for my first play I chose to use small pieces – some of which were left over from other projects and some were small pieces I had been given. I used a light tear away stiffener and a double sided fusible web to prepare my pieces of fabric. I then cut a deckled edge along all the pieces. Not having dimensional paint I used artist quality white acrylic paint to coat the edges to give the appearance of the torn paper. Unfortunately I mixed a little water to the paint to make it easier to use and of course it disappeared as it dried – after painting each edge several times I found it was best to use the paint straight from the tube.
The good thing of working like this is that if you have a wide enough piece of fabric and you don’t like the way it looks you can cut a little bit more off!
I now have to stitch each piece onto on to a base and am toying with then putting it into a narrow frame and floating it with a mat to keep the work away from the glass. Having to always add more detail I may then try to do some reeds or weeds with machine or hand embroidery. However it turns out I have had a lot of fun working in a different way.