Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Showing Textiles in fine art shows and competitions.

I spent a  frustrating 4 hours yesterday trolling through fine art competitions and fine are shows in New Zealand and not finding a single competition or show that will accept textile art.  I find it so hard to understand why there are still so many people in the art world that cannot see that textiles are a beautiful form of art and are equal to painting, photography, sculpture and drawing.  In fact if we want to look at how long textiles have been used to beautify homes and bodies it would probably have been for the same or if not a longer length of time than art on walls. 


A mini Kantha. 
By Catherine Parkinson
15cm x 15cm

Based on embroidery from the Pakistan region.  The Pakistani women sew together older cloths to make beautiful new cloth to adorn their bodies or to beautify their homes. 

Textiles have been used for centuries to block draughts around beds and door ways,  to adorn the body,  to cover tables, walls and beds. Many cultures still spend many hours creating beautiful art for their homes to protect,  give warmth and to decorate their homes. 

So why do textile artists still not receive the same accolades as traditional artists?  Is it because textile work is seen as a woman's craft or is it because  it is still seen as a practical object that is a need rather than something beautiful?  What's your thoughts on this?


It was refreshing to see this article in The Independent.  It seems at last textile artists are beginning to recognition for their beautiful work See article here  somewhere in the world.  Lets hope that the art world is beginning to see the light.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Photographs this week

Guinea pigs

My daughter bought herself to gorgeous merino guinea pigs a few weeks ago.  They are adorable and so cuddly.  We wanted to take some pictures of them but struck a few challenges.  Guinea pigs move fast and are quite shy.  We tried feeding them,  putting them in a cage and putting them in an area of grass with a little fence.  But they just would not stay still long enough,
  
The solution:   Get their new owner to hold them while the photos are being taken.














Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pictures of my flower quilts

It has been a very emotional week.  Last week I dropped of my daughter to Massey university in Palmerston North,  New Zealand.  This is the first time she has lived away from home and in new place.  It was so hard to let her go.  It is a 5 1/2 hour drive so it isn't easy to just pop down to see her.  It is hard to believe how much she has grown up ready for this new adventure in her life.  She will be studying Ecology and Geography.  I feel all sad and happy at the same time.  She is so ready for this time in her life but I just don't want her to go.

There are many times in our lives that we we have to let go of things or people and in art sometimes the way we are working.  It is good to let go to try for something better or deeper or just to have faith that things will improve.  At the moment I am working on a hexaptych (6 panelled art work)  of 6 flowers.  My deadline is Friday this week so the last week I have been madly trying to get them finished.  I have had to let a lot go while I make my deadline.  I have let go of some social events, the house work and the gardens. I have let go of unrealistic expectations,  my original ideas that just wouldn't work, unnecessary fluffy extras and lots of excuses of why I can't do something.  I realised that I couldn't get them finished without letting go of internal perfectionism.   

I let go and I am nearly finished !!! Here are some close ups of  of my flowers.







  

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Threads for quilting

I have been quilting for 17 years.  I started with using a variety of fabrics and threads.  What ever I had in my drawers I used.  My first quilts Sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.  I learnt a lot and found out that cotton fabrics worked better than poly cotton and that some threads weren't suitable for quilting.  I spent a lot of money on threads testing and trying them for quilting, appliqué and patchwork.  Over the years of quilting I have narrowed my choice of threads down to 2 preferences, unless I am using a speciality thread I.E  metallics or a woollen feel thread.   

My first choice of thread is the superior So fine range.  They are a very fine polyester thread. They have a beautiful range of colours and are fantastic for blending,  quilting and drawing with.  They rarely break and a very economical.  Superior sell a lot of other threads too but I have only tired this range out.   

Click here for more of their range



This is only one sheet of their colour range!!   

They have a wonderful colour range plus a wonderful range of variegated threads. Because they are so fine they last for a long time.




Click here for more of their colour range

They come in 2 sizes although I have only seen them in the smaller quantity in New Zealand.  .  

In the Waikato they can be purchases at Donna's quilting studio in Hamilton or at Waitomo sew worms in Te Kuiti.  


The other thread I like to use is the Mettler poly sheen threads. They are a lovely shiny thread without all of the problems associated with metallic threads.  They don't break very often,  they go through the needle well and produce a beautiful shiny sparkle to quilting.  They come in a wonderful variety of colours and work well for art quilting and embroidery. 




Click here for more technical information on this thread

They also have a very good range of variegated colours.  These can be purchased at most New Zealand quilting/sewing shops.  I have only seen them sold individually but you may be able to buy them in packs at some stores. 

With both these threads I use a invisible thread in the bobbin made by superior threads.  It is made from polyester not nylon like most other monofilament threads.  It runs beautifully in the bobbin, doesn't stretch and lasts forever as it is so fine.

 

Click here for more information

I very rarely have to stop for breakages,  fraying and knotting with any of these threads.  I can run the machine fairly fast without many problems.  I highly recommend these threads for art quilting.



Monday, 9 February 2015

Progress on the flower quilts

I am working on a new piece of work which I started blogging about here on Friday.  This pieces compromises of 6 flowers which depict the life of Christ.  Each flower grows in Israel.  I have painted each flower on white cotton fabric.  I have tried a new fabric which has been beautiful to paint on. 

I discovered today that 6 panels that make one larger piece of work is called a hexaptych (try saying that fast a few times)   They were commonly made in the renaissance era.   They normally were constructed  in long panels and hinged together.   I am making mine slightly different  :)  The six panels will just sit next to each in an oblong shape.   


White lily:  Virginity


Crown daisy:Innocence


Blue iris: Faith


Star of Bethlehem: Hope


Dark red rose: Death


Olive branch: Reconciliation

The next step today is to sketch the writing on to each of the borders and to add the black border to each of the quilts. 







Friday, 6 February 2015

Flower quilts

Blog posts have been a bit thin over the past few weeks.  I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth or stopped blogging.   I have been rushed off my feet with getting a child ready for staring high school,  one going back to primary school and one going to university.  I have had a very full house over the past 2 weeks with a lot of guests so my blog had to be put aside to take care of those needs.  Hope fully everything is back on track this week :)

Everyone is back at school so I have been able to get some painting done and to really get a feel for my new studio.  It is wonderful to be painting again and to be working in such amazing space.  I am truly blessed.  

I am working on a new series of flower quilts. Here is a little looksy at how they are going.


Star of Bethlehem 


Dark crimson rose


Olive branch


I am heading off to my studio again today to paint my next flower.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Try something new

It is so good to try something new regularly.   It is a great way to be able to find out if you  like another way of working and to also find out if you don't like doing something.  This process helps refine the way we work on other projects whether it be a traditional quilt, art quilting, felting or painting.  Experimenting with a new technique can help deepen your work and help you understand where you are going with it. 

I decided to try making a canvas. This is my first canvas I have ever finished.  I have really enjoyed the process of painting and building up layers of paint. 





He gathered them around him
12" x 16"
30 cm x 40 cm

Acrylic paints, metallic paints,  ink pen and gold pen on canvas.

What do I want to use from my new experience?

  • I want to paint on canvas again.  I really enjoyed using paint on a non-porous material
  • To use more metallics:  I love the extra dimension
  • To add gold to hair and clothing.
  • To try to use a fine black line around shapes:  I like the finished look of this.
  • To use writing more on my quilts.



What can you try new today?  

What have you learned today from you new experience? 

Let me know.





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