Tuesday 26 November 2013

Managing priorities

Does it seem that the sewing machine sits there not doing anything for large quantities of time? 
Does it feel like quilting and art takes a back seat to many other pressing needs life throws at you?
Do you find that time just slips through your fingers? 
And it disappears so fast?  

I find that too.  Some days seem to come and go and I don’t seem to have completed or progressed through anything in my art studio. Many blogs and business posts present a rosy ideal of being in the studio everyday no matter what and suggest that if you don’t do that somehow you aren’t a serious artist and you don’t put enough of a priority on your work.  But I find there are so many pressing needs on my time that sometimes my art work has to take a back seat for a day or a wee while.  Life has many important parts to it.  Many times things that we want to come first have to take a back seat to other more pressing needs.  I think this is perfectly O.K because that is just life.  I know that I am serious about my work and that is all that matters. 

Many years ago I watched an episode of Oprah Winfrey on time management.  She suggested that it is a good idea to write a yes list every 3-6 months.  On the yes list goes 6 important things in your life that need to come first.  At the time my list looked like this

1.        Looking after me
2.       Looking after my family
3.       Visiting my aging grandmother
4.       Serving in the church
5.       Gardens
6.       Extended family

She suggested that every time something new came up in the calendar to refer to this list and check the activity against it and ask yourself does this activity/event fit into this list if it does excellent go ahead and say yes, if it doesn’t politely decline.   I have found it a very effective way of managing my time productively.  

Now on my list artwork is one of my priorities but I know the things ahead of the list like my family and my health have to come first sometimes and that is O.K. 

Friday 22 November 2013


We had a belated guy fawkes celebration last Saturday. We celebrated with a few friends around a bonfire and had a few fire works.  We had a great evening.  What could be better than great food, good company and beautiful music.  Here are some of the photographs taken of the fire and fireworks during the evening.

They were all taken on a tripod on a slow/medium shutter speed and a low f stop.  I just used an automatic ISO.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Play hard learn hard: Pencils

Play har
learn hard


  • A pencil is a very cheap, easily accessible and basic tool that can be used with great effect.  Playing with pencils is fun especially when a collection of hard/soft pencils are used and different surfaces are used for different effect and textures.  Have a pencil sharpener nearby to keep the leads sharp and usable.  Don’t use an eraser for play.  It keeps the flow going. 

  • Use a variety of types of pencils 5H-8B and graphite are readily available in most shops.  Each one can create completely different effects and are useful in different ways.

5H is the lightest of the range it is a very hard lead
HB is the most common pencil used for writing.  Most children will use this pencil at school
8B is the darkest usually used and it is a very soft lead
Graphite is made from …you guessed it graphite.  There is no wooden casing around a graphite pencil 
so care is needed not to drop it.  Graphite is a great shading pencil. 

Mechanical pencils are pencils with refillable leads.  The leads can be bought in many different hardness.

This one is 6B

This one is HB

Try doing these ideas as you play with this media

  • ·         Use the pencils on a point


  • ·         Use on the side

  • ·         Use pressing hard/soft

  • ·         Make as many different lines/shapes/textures/ values with pencil. Consider thin/thick, alternate  thickness's, contrasts of curves and points,  interlocking shapes

  • ·         Use on different papers/fabrics/ surfaces
  • ·         Sharpen to a firm hard point
  • ·         Use different weights/ pressure

  • ·         Gradiate from dark to light

  • ·         Use different lines across each other both straight and diagonally

  • ·         Use different lines parallel to each other

  • ·         Try shaving the lead and using the shavings.  What could you use the shavings for?
  • ·         Try smudging the pencil on the paper with your finger.  What effects can be made?
  • ·         Use on a heavy textured paper and then a very smooth paper.  What is the difference.  What different effects can you create?

How can these lines and patterns be transferred onto a quilt? Consider quilting lines, texture of fabric and colour value and depth and shapes for fabric.  What can these samples tell about how line works and how shading can be produced?

I learnt

v  Pencil can be used very successfully to create line/ value and texture
v  Pencil is easy to use and very easily accessible
v  Pencil produces different effects on different surfaces
v  Pencil is not permanent.  This means that if you are using pencil on fabric it will need to be sealed.  If pencil is used on paper it needs to be sealed if it is not under glass for a finished product.
v  Pencil is a great medium for the designing process. 
v  Pencil can be used very successfully to draw out quilting lines on paper
v  Pencils can produce a great amount of textures for surface design ideas.
v  Pencil can be a great way to see a design for what it is before adding colour.
v  Pencil is not to great at sticking to fabric
v  Pencil smudges easily
v  Pencil is very versatile

What did you discover? What else can be done with pencil?

Have fun playing

Tuesday 19 November 2013

What is quilt art or textile art?

In the simplest form A quilt is 3 layers of fabric attached together with stitching.  Quilt and Textile art to me, is 3 layers of fabric created into art work.  This may be painted, constructed from fabrics, appliqued or contain surface designs.  The sky's the limit. In my definition this work is hung on the wall or displayed as a sculpture or is a of a conceptual structure.  Textile art has no boundaries, it is pushing fabric to new possibilities and structure.

When I tell people I am a textile artist the majority of people ask "what's that?"  Or "What type of art is that?"   I tell people "I paint fabric and then I quilt it heavily".  I am amazed at how many people want to know more and are really interested in the work I do.

Being a textile artist is quite different from many other forms of art.  It is relatively new different and quite intriguing to many people.  It is an art form that reaches out to people to be touch and explored with fingers to gain a full an enriching experience.

Cloth is part of us we are wrapped in a cloth as soon as we are born. We are dressed in fabric next to our skin.  We can identify with fabric in art as it part of us and everyday experience.  It is a common thread (excuse the pun) in each of our lives.

The exploration of fabric is enriching and the possibilities are endless.

Saturday 16 November 2013



A primary colour
Yellow is the colour of cheerfulness and brightness
A warm colour which looks like it is coming forward
The colour of the sun
light and bright

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