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* * * TEACHING * * * Pixel Stitching Project for Kids age 10-13 (all genders) @ Refinery in Saskatoon. Feb 23, 2018. Phone 306.653.3549 to register your child or sign up HERE. All supplies provided.

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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Hey, Guess What?

Yesterday was my first day juried into the Artists' Workshop group in Saskatoon!  Officially, I'm number 13.  That's pretty cool I'd say.  ; )

lunch break at Artists' Workshop

I've been 'shopping around' for a group for about a year now.  I wasn't sure at first what I wanted, I just knew I wanted more of something in my practice.  So I started asking around.  Some groups have studio space to rent full time.  I knew that wasn't what I wanted.  I have a studio and wasn't sure about relocating all this fibre and machines.  Some art groups rented individual studio space with not much else in terms of community.  Most groups have public exhibitions or sales events.  That's icing on the cake, but didn't make or break my decisions.  Some groups didn't meet together to work on art at all.

So, I put it on the back burner for months while I trotted along, busy with my work.

As I began to really see great value in drawing and sketching, the more I wanted that as a regular, disciplined practice.  It felt like a hugely creative outlet to do something artistic that had nothing to do with income.  It had everything to do with exploration and self expression.  The more I began to enjoy the practice of bind contour and sketching, as well as oil pastels and paint, the more I found my textile work to become easier to approach - specifically by realistic landscapes.  You can't help it.  Drawing more makes you see more.  The more i work in a series, the more that i see, and the more I discover... resulting in more to create and more to express.  When I came to this understanding, I asked myself, 'now what?  What is it that I need in my life to keep the art flowing and developing and improving?'

I wondered about classes.  I still do.. but most were at times I couldn't commit to.  There was also the factor of fees, and that they are short term.  Some day I will, but now doesn't seem to be the time.  I thought, 'maybe I need a retreat?  I could benefit from a get-away or sabbatical to create and explore'.

The more I work with oil pastels (which I hated at one time), the more I embrace their usefulness.  I can easily whip down some colour and do loose mark making and that turn into an embroidery I love and am proud of.  I want to keep this up, but there just seems to be a big problem with oil paint or oil pastel in my sewing / embroidery studio.  When a smudge or crumb of that stuff gets on a piece of fabric or framing mats, they are stained and ruined.  It became clear that I require a place to work on my sketches, but still maintain my home studio if I want to keep this up.  And I do.

Then I knew.  One of the groups I had checked out meet together to work on their art in a community space for one full day per week. 

P E R F E C T

That was it: an entire art retreat day every week.  That's what I've been looking for!  So I applied to be juried in, and got a YES the following week!  : )  So... here I am!  I'm member number 13 of Artists' Workshop.  They've been in existence for twenty seven years I read, cycling through different members over time.  A couple of the women are original members.  It's a good mix.  There are women who paint, do watercolour, draw/illustrate, there's a Zentangle artist and a batik painter as well.  (I have a link to their profile features at the end of the post.) They do different challenges on occasion, like a still life day, a plein air day, and have group show and sales a couple times per year. Yesterday was my first day!  Want to see what I worked on?  : )

Tobacco Flowers

This first set of sketches I did in the morning.  This middle picture is a photo I took of Tobacco Flowers in the Healing Garden behind the Allen Sapp Gallery a year and a half ago.  I sketched and sketched and sketched it again - trying different styles, levels of detail, and colour of backgrounds.  It was a very useful exercise.

Then it was lunch time.  They meet in the middle of the room to eat and then hold a short meeting after.  (I'm still saying they, but this will change soon. lol).

In the afternoon, I selected a different photo, and did the same thing all over again.  This time I worked on Campanula from the same garden / photo shoot.

similar work on different backgrounds

I was really happy with these as well!  I had fully expected to get stuck, nervous, and really create nothing useful on my first day.  That entirely did not happen.  (WHEW!)  I ended up just loving this one in particular because of the sunshine and shaded areas... I'll have to stitch it up this week with my yarns.  xoxoxoxo  I'm just so happy with all the colours and marks.  : )

won't this be a gorgeous embroidery ! ?   : )  !!

That's my news.  : )  You can read more about the group and the artists involved at their blog here:


Today I'll enjoy another sun-shiny day and packing up my teaching supplies for tomorrow's embroidery class at the Refinery.  See you soon! : )


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Into the Swing of Things

I think the best thing I could have done for myself this new year was reorganize my studio.  I do a deep cleaning a couple times per year but this time I created DEDICATED SPACES.  It's been a month, and so far it has really paid off.  (Sometimes my studio has been such a disaster that I don't even want to set foot in it!)  What are the spaces dedicated for?  Well...

I have one big table for thread painting.  That's where I have my machine and my thread bins and nothing else.

I have a table set up just for yarn embroidery work and nothing else.  It looks like mounds of rainbow spaghetti piled all over, spilling out of bins.

I have a table dedicated for framing, matting, hardware and nothing else.  It stays clean and under it are all my mats and frames and foam core.  I never had this before and when framing time came, I'd have to find a space for that or (shudder) put away an art project.

I have a desk which is where I'm sitting now with my laptop. 

Finally, I have a table dedicated to drawing, sketchbooks, doodling, dreaming, art journaling, painting.  It's my space dedicated to developing ideas.

It's brilliant.  In the past I would have mats, sewing machines, pens and paper, a power drill, thread and a laptop all piled together.   This is so much better.  My studio has specific work stations.  It doesn't matter how cluttered any of the stations become when everything on the table is dedicated to one particular process of my art.  Also, I never have to clean up to do something different.  I just move over.  lol  It's fantastic.  BIG EXHALE.  Why didn't I think of this before!?  I've always had dedicated storage space so I knew where everything was.  I've never had dedicated work space broken down in this manner.  It makes so much sense.

So, here are some things I've been creating in preparation for new embroideries.  I took a bundle of my old pastel sketches and began to fill the negative space with paint.  It's so inspiring!  They look like brand new ideas.

old sketches get new life

I've been really working on sketching and putting them to stitch so much more than before.  It feels so good and so expressive.  This next work in progress is quite wild and wooly.

sketching, stitching

We've had some crazy cold weather and then some more melt down.  Now we are in the cold again but still hardly any snow.  The best part about our -35C winters is the SUNSHINE.  I love to get bundled up and run around outside with my dog.  We spent an hour out there last week and he did NOT want to come back in.  Look at the beautiful blue shadows!!  The top photo is taken while standing in the middle of a pond.  The shadows are so long with the low noon hour sun.  These were taken at lunchtime!

Me and my Buddy out enjoying the Polar Vortex

My house is full of big south facing windows so the house is flooded with sun.  It's gorgeous inside and outside.  (Can you tell I'm a big fan of winter!??)

I also happen to love architecture.  No kidding.  I'm not sure if I've blogged about this yet, but I have a big project underway for a summer exhibition in Saskatoon that will be all thread sketches of local gathering places.  It's like sketching with the needle and thread.  I'm super excited to tell you more, but that will have to wait another 6 months.

Thread sketching some local architecture for an upcoming solo exhibition

As for my classes, the hand embroidery workshop of the Refinery is nearly full.  There are ten signed up and space for 2 more.  Later this month I'll be doing some children's classes too, so I'll have plenty to show you there.

No worries, I'm still thread painting the prairies.  I have loads of work completed and available at the SK Craft Council as well as a second big solo exhibition at the end of the year which will feature my prairie art at a beautiful downtown venue.  !  It's going to be a GREAT year for me in Saskatoon.

Stay warm, and have a great weekend!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I'm already gettin' down to business.  First I'll show you a new Threadpainting I'm working on.  I just finished up the free machine work this morning and now I'm ready to add the handstitching.  It's from one of my first prairie photos from when I started fibre art.  I've had it hanging around for some time and finally decided to stitch it. : )  It's a little bigger at 8" x 8" and will be framed to about 14x14inches with matting.

work in progress - first prairie threadpainting of 2018

It was nice to finally clean & reorganize my studio.  I've been working on some collaborations on one table, stitching at another, and sketching at another.  The more tables, the better.  I used to pile and pile and it was difficult to keep on top of everything.

My youngest is sketching up a storm.  She draws until about 11 pm each night.  She's been quite an inspiration and has some really interesting supplies.  One of them is a half dozen alcohol ink markers in various greys.  I outlined a photo I took onto traciing paper and finished it off the the markers.  It turned out so great!

click to view larger - University Bridge and City Hospital

I love the way the alcohol ink clings to tracing paper.  So, Every night I try to sketch as well.  I think this will be my new year's resolution (among many things).

I'm also taking the opportunity to announce a class I'm teaching this month!  It's at the Refinery on Dufferin Avenue in Saskatoon.  It's a beginner class for hand embroidery.  I will be going through a variety of stitches with their variations as well as formal embroidery tips and tricks (threading, weaving tails, stretching, etc...).  The class is in a really amazing setting downstairs in the Basement Gallery and will run over the course of THREE mornings: Wed Jan 17, Wed Jan 24, Wed Jan 31.  The idea is that when the course is done, you will have a finished project that is personal, meaningful, colourful, beautiful, and ready to hang or display.  A circular mandala-style art piece is suggested, but I have more ideas for you to chose from as you wish.  : )  Bring a friend!  I really look forward to teaching this.  It will be stitching from the heart, creating something with spirit, while learning and practicing hand embroidery by filling in space.  No experience preferred (art or stitching). : )

click to view large or go to www.emmanuelrefinery.org/classes

If you'll notice also, I have a half day class for kids age 10 to 13 that is on during mid-winter break next month.  It is for any gender, so ask your boys and don't assume it's a girl's only class.  : )

I hope to see you there.
Have a beautiful day.  : )


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