So much for good intentions.

I had every intention of blogging on a more regular basis but I’m not sure what happened. It could be that more time has been spent in the garden, or perhaps that too much time has been spent manipulating photos and working on printing out my digital images. Whatever the reason, after last night’s thunderstorms, it’s feeling much fresher today so I thought I would spend some time trying to get up to date.

The pieces that I showed a snippet of last time are now finished. This one was made from combining two photos, one of the windows of Belper Mill and one of the cogwheel. I selected a small area to enlarge and then printed it. It’s 29″ x 14.5″ and I’ve entered it into the Harrogate Quilt Show which is at the end of August.

Wheels-and-Windows-#7_reduced

This second one was done in the same way but without the windows photo and, having quilted it I mounted it onto a 12″ x 12″ box canvas. I am not happy with the way that the joins show but that’s something I have been working on for future pieces. I’ve deliberately left the photo at an angle.

cogwheel-on-box-canvas

One thing that I am happy with is that, not only am I up to date with my 8″ x 8″ journal quilts for the Contemporary Group but,  I am actually ahead of myself so perhaps that’s one area where my good intentions have prevailed. I have completed both July and August. July was done with the same technique as the above pieces, with an even more macro shot of the cogwheel. August was again done using photo manipulation but I have been having a lot of fun playing around with filters.

July

July

August

August

 

I think that might be enough for now as I want to get into the studio and do some quilting on pieces which are waiting patiently. I hope that you have a good week ahead of you and thank you for if you are still actually following my intermittent postings.

Maggi

It’s Tuesday and it’s warm and I’ve been working in a series or two

I noticed when I logged on just now that it’s been over a month since I last blogged. I’m surprised any of you still follow me! Anyway, here I am now, so what have I been up to?

I decided to take the plunge and enter the Quilt Art Masters juried competition at Festival of Quilts. As I expected, I didn’t get in but at least it will get an airing in the open competition, in the Art Quilts category. It is the piece that I was having problems with as my machine kept skipping stitches but eventually I returned to it and got it done. I had intended to face the quilt but the additional layer for turning was just too much so I added a binding instead. I don’t feel too badly about that as the climbing rose in the garden is constrained anyway.

Masters_full_2

I was very pleased with myself for getting on track with deadlines this year and finished my entry for the SAQA Wide Horizons exhibition, another juried show with a whole day to spare. To say that I wasn’t a happy bunny, when I came to do the entry form and discovered that it was the wrong size, is an understatement. I had mis-read the instructions as one side having to be at least 70cm and unfortunately, although it was 91cm wide, it was only 53 cm high. It was a piece of fabric that I had dyed using soy wax resist and to which I added gold leaf. It’s a good job that there is room on my wall for this one.

Moving-On

On a happier note, I did get my piece done for the SAQA Benefit Auction in time and it arrived safely. It’s 12″ x 12″ and is another of my Wheels and Windows series. If you’re interested, you can see all the donations here

SAQA-benefit_wheels-and-windows

I’m also up to date with my Contemporary Group journal quilts. May and June finished. May is based on the rose series but I disintegrated the rose spiral and fused it to a piece of fabric that I had dyed in a flag fold pattern.

May_jq_Rose-7

For June I found another piece of silk noil that I had dyed, added some silk organza strips and some cotton scrim circles. I wanted to try out the scrim and the organza as layers and so this was the ideal opportunity. I do like the colours in this one.

June_jq_untitled

The other thing that I finished was Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class. Lisa is an excellent teacher and I really do recommend her classes. I managed to finish all the assignments and produce more work that I had anticipated being able to. This is a photo of all the pieces together.

MaggiBirchenough

I really missed the class when it had finished but Lisa has put together a class for people who have taken the Working a Series class. It’s more like a mentoring programme and has only just started. The good thing is that you only need to commit to producing a piece once a month – very doable. I decided to return to the idea of using the photos that I took of Belper Mill and layer some of them. I hadn’t been happy about the more representational collage that I did for the first assignment for the class but couldn’t work out how I was going to make it more abstract. I was going through some old photos that I had been playing around with in Photoshop some years ago and had a light bulb moment. By adding various filters I was then able to select a small, interesting section and enlarge it to produce a more abstracted image. I’ve printed off two which I am currently working on as I wanted to test the difference between working on cotton and silk/cotton mix. Neither piece is finished yet but I have started to quilt them and, as they are not due until the end of June, they will definitely meet the deadline.  These are just small sections of the larger pieces.

Cotton

Cotton

silk/cotton mix

silk/cotton mix

 

Completely away from anything creative, Casper will have been here for a month on Friday and has settled down really well. So much so, in fact, that he and Jack sat at the top of the stairs on Monday morning wondering why I needed to go to my cat socialising at The Ark when I could stay here and socialise with them. Sorry about Jack looking a bit like a cardboard cut-out but his arthritic hip means that he rarely sits normally.

Casper-and-Jack

Enough for now, it’s so lovely outside I’m going to sit and enjoy the garden

Have a good week

Maggi

Back blogging and feeling happy

I know that I’ve been absent for a while but I have been working hard, honestly. Anyway, this post is not about what I have been doing in my absence but about several items of good news that I have received recently.

First of all I had news from SAQA this evening which read:-

Congratulations to the following artists whose trunk show pieces have been chosen to become part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  Jurors for the selections were Trudi Van Dyke and B.J. Adams.

When I looked down the list, this is what I saw

Selected artist

Barbara Adams

Frieda L. Anderson

Pauline Barrett

Maggi Birchenough

Pat Bishop

Vicki Bohnhoff

Tafi Brown

Peggy Brown

Jette Clover

Maureen Cole

Vicki Conley

Daniela Dancelli

Patricia Dunbar

Pat Durbin

Tommy Fitzsimmons

Carole Frocillo

Sheila Gaquin

Bethany Garner

Cindy Grisdela

Desiree Habicht

Judith Harrison

Cindy Kuo

Cat Larrea

Tracey Lawko

Katharina Litchman

Toni Major

Sue Matyszak

Lorie McCown

Carolynn McMillan

Ginny McVickar

Denise Oyama Miller

Jan Moser

Dominie Nash

Linda Nelson-Johnson

Patricia Pease

Judy Peterson

Helena Scheffer

Lin Schiffner

Barbara Schneider

Joan Schulze

Sara Sharp

Sarah Ann Smith

Jeanne Sredl

Randy Temple

Sherrie Tootle

Laura Wasilowski

Jean Wells Keenan

Ruth A. White

Eileen Williams

Jenny Williams

Congratulations too to my blogging friend Daniela whose piece was also selected.

This is the piece that was selected

SAQA_Waiting

My second piece of news was also SAQA related. You may remember this piece that I sent for the Spotlight Auction which was held at the conference last week.

Rose_6_SAQA

It sold for $75. Not anywhere near what some of them fetched but I am happy and over $10000 was raised for SAQA.

Next up is a wonderful gift that I received on Saturday from Kerstin. I had joined in her Pay It Forward offer some time ago and had almost forgotten about it so, what a great surprise when I received this gorgeous bag from her.

Bag-from-Kerstin

It is a nice large one with several pockets inside and out and I am really going to enjoy using it. My undertaking is to send a gift to three other people during the next twelve months, and they will continue on themselves. If anyone would like to receive  a gift from me, probably a hand made book, then please reply in the comments. The first three people who request to join will be the ones. You do have twelve months to fulfil the obligation after you have received the gift from me. Don’t worry if you don’t want to join in as I understand that it’s not for everyone.

And finally for this post, a new member of the family arrived on Friday afternoon. I mentioned recently that I have been volunteering for cat socialising at Ashbourne Animal Welfare Centre (The Ark) and was determined not to fall under the spell of any of the inmates because I didn’t think my resident cat would allow another cat in the house. So much for that – meet Casper

Casper

He’s an old guy, 10+, who was left behind when his owners moved house. He’s so friendly and was obviously the right cat to bring home as Jack has completely accepted him and, as you can see, he has settled in very well indeed. If any of you are relatively local there is an Open Day and Fun Dog Show at The Ark on Sunday from 11 – 4. It is free and I will be helping with refreshment from 11.30 so you know where to find me if you decide to come along..

That’s all for now. I do have a lot more to share but will leave that for another post. Have a lovely week.

Maggi

Texture Tuesday and other things.

I’m linking up to Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday today after I managed to get a photo of the Euphorbia in my garden. It is a bit of a thug in the garden and would happily spread itself willy-nilly but, it has such a beautiful lime green colour,  I can’t bring myself to get rid of it completely, so it’s always there. Textured with kk_lisa

Texture-Tuesday_always-there

As well as working on my class with Lisa, I took time out  a couple of Saturdays ago to attend a log cabin class with Chris and Barbara. I’ve thrown out most of my commercial fabrics but couldn’t bear to part with my Oakshott ones and so I decided to go armed with just those. It’s good to meet up with old friends, and to re-visit basics with a slight twist.  I ended up with two cushion covers, the smaller one is from their silk range which frays terribly but is just so beautiful – the cat hasn’t been allowed on that one yet!

log-cabin-cushions

You may remember my amaryllis which eventually bloomed in February with four enormous flowers. It threw up another flower stalk which burst open about a week after the other one had finished. I was amazed by the fact that there were actually five enormous flowers that opened up.

amaryllis_2nd-flower-stem

I was even more surprised by the fact that there was also a sixth bud forming. And since I took this next photo it has opened up to be the same size as the others. Not bad for a £3.99 purchase from Morrisons as it has been blooming now for just over two months.

amaryllis_6-flowers

Regular readers of this blog may remember that earlier in the year I sent off two small pieces to SAQA, one for the Spotlight Auction and one for the Anniversary Trunk Show. Martha Sielman, the Executive Director, sends out a regular e-blast to all members and I was so delighted that my small offerings were featured in two of them. Fame at last, or should that be notoriety!

SAQA-newsletter-clip

SAQA-Spotlight-Auction

My next challenge is to get a 12″ x 12″ piece done for the benefit auction. I missed the early bird deadline which was today but should still have time to get it done before the final deadline.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who commented on my Working in a Series pieces in the last post. It isn’t easy working alone and so feedback is always very welcome and I am quite happy to receive any kind – good or bad.

I hope that the beautifully warm spring weather that we are having here is visiting everyone else in the northern hemisphere.

Have a good week and thanks for dropping by.

Maggi

Working in a Series

Having completed four weeks of the ten weeks in Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class, I think it is probably time to show that I have actually been doing something. I decided to use some of the images that I took down at Belper Mill as my inspiration and whilst I haven’t actually got anything that constitutes an actual series at the moment there is at least a common element.

My first piece was made by printing various images that I had layered and altered in Photoshop and then piecing them together. I used silk noil and silk/cotton mix fabric.

cogwheel_WIS_2_1

27″ x 20″

The  following week we had to consider colour. I decided to use a monochromatic colour scheme which ranged from deep burgundy to a very light pink, all done by varying the saturation in Photoshop. The various images were then printed onto silk/cotton mix fabric and collaged together. I used these colours as I don’t normally work with pinks (the colours are for you Shirley!) but was actually quite pleased with it in the end. The cogwheel motif is the only thing linking the pieces together at the moment.

Pink-Piece_WIS_3

12″ x 12″

This week we had to consider space and scale. I have been working entirely with printed images up until now but decided to bring some of my dyed fabric into the mix. The background is pole dyed silk noil, the windows are printed onto silk organza and the cogwheels are made from a piece of silk/cotton which I had printed with a rust image. It took me  along time to get going with this one and, as it is only 8″ x 8″, it will double up as this month’s journal quilt for the Contemporary Group’s challenge.

cq_apr_jq

This coming week we are doing shape and texture design exercises and, as the assignment is due to be up on the website at midnight next Saturday, I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep this week. I have a two day class with Catherine Nicholls at the Bramble Patch on Wednesday and Thursday (there are still a couple of places left), a tour of the PDSA hospital on Derby on Tuesday afternoon and my cat cuddling at The Ark starts on Monday morning. To add insult to injury, the clocks go forward an hour in the UK tonight so that’s one hour less available to me!

One thing I should mention is the current exhibition at the Beetroot Tree which is on until April 12th if you are local and fancy a trip down there. It is called Of Heat and Chaos, featuring felt landscapes from Diana Worthy, interactive sculptures from Jack Sawbridge and ceramics from Ben Brierley. Quite a small exhibition but very interesting.

Whatever your schedule is for the week ahead, I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for dropping by.

Maggi

Feeling very lucky

I’m really sorry that I haven’t been around for a couple of weeks but I have been working really hard on my online class with Lisa Call – Working in a Series. More of that in the next post because today I am feeling extremely lucky and much of  that is due to the internet. Feels good to have something positive to say  about it as it does get some negative press.  Why am I feeling lucky?

First of all, I discovered Heather Dubreuil, a Canadian textile artist, while I was reading the latest newsletter from Textile Artist.org - a really great site; if you haven’t seen it yet do try to take time to have a look. Heather has a really distinctive style which I love for its simplicity and also the colours she uses.  I started following Heather’s blog and recently she had a giveaway which I was lucky enough to win. It is a 5″ x 7″ piece, Water Tower #5. This arrived on Saturday and was there to greet me when I returned home from a class. Thank you so much Heather.

Water-tower_#5

Monday also turned into a lucky day when the postman knocked on the door with a special delivery from America for me from Jan. Inside was a recording of the Bruce Springsteen concert in Melbourne from back in February. He is as good as he ever was and was even joined by Eddie Vedder – definitely something to boost energy levels and mood. An added bonus was the box that Jan had made for the CDs. Some time ago I sent Jan a book on how to make the thread booklets,  (see here for a post about them if you haven’t seen them before), and she had made me a lovely folded box for the CDs. I doubt that you can tell from the photo but the sides are decorated with Inca Gold, printed through a stencil which means that it has a low relief effect. Thank you Jan, The Boss is playing as I am typing this. Jan is someone else discovered through the internet and we have become good friends over the years.

folded-box_janB

This morning brought yet more wonderful mail in the form of mail art from my friend Donna in Canada. The postman must have thought it was his lucky day too as he had a huge smile on his face as he handed it to me. Inside was a lovely tag, also made by Donna. We met through one of Dale Rollerson’s online classes a few years ago and have kept in touch ever since. I have blanked out our addresses, for obvious reasons.

mail-art-from-donna

Finally, I was at the Ashbourne Animal Welfare Open Day on the 16th and bought some tickets in a Chinese Raffle. I had a phone call later that day to say I was one of the lucky winners. My favourite item is the mug. The wool is polyester and acrylic so that has gone into today’s Air Ambulance collection and I don’t drink ordinary tea so I am going to take it to a nearby food bank so it won’t go to waste. I’m also joining their volunteer dog walking team in April and hopefully will be helping out with the cat section too.

raffle-prize

I’m wondering if I should buy a lottery ticket this weekend, although I have to say that the above gifts give so much more pleasure.

In the meantime, I had better get back to this week’s assignment. Have a good week and may it be a lucky one for you too.

Maggi

Digital art and fabric

I had to go down to Belper yesterday and as I was on foot I decided to go to the River Gardens which is behind Belper Mill, part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage SiteI haven’t been down there for several years but I discovered that there were some great photo opportunities. Some of the peeling paint and rusting on the beams was amazing. This is just a small selection.

Belper-mill_composite

 

The river itself was not very exciting in the actual gardens but at the end of them is a weir and because the river levels are so high there were  some pretty good patterns emerging.

belper-mill_waterIn case you are wondering how the photo, bottom right came about, this relates to the title. I have been wanting to get back into printing digital art onto fabric  and so have been playing with the photos that I took yesterday. This particular one was a water image, inverted, and layered with a photo of a watercolour page done many years ago. I then used the Difference blending mode. Many hours ahead with this I think.

Because I also wanted to try out my new printer I had to put together  some other images that would be worth using ink on. All are A3 size and were printed on a silk/cotton mix fabric and are likely to be cut up and collaged into a larger piece. I haven’t made any final decisions yet. I have to say that the printer behaved perfectly so my next venture is to try it out using silk noil. I also want to try printing images onto previously dyed fabric. For two of these images I used a photo of my fabric (see below) as one of the layers. And I still have the fabric left – perfect!

manipulated-and-dyed_2

 

And these are the printed pieces of digital art.

Belper-mill_cog-wheeel

 


Belper-mill_water-and-flag-fold

Belper-mill_rust

 

And now, because it is such a glorious day here, I’m going to remove myself from the computer and get out into the garden. I hope that you are having a lovely day where you are too.

Thanks for dropping by

Maggi

 

Friday Finds

I’m very busy with Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class at the moment so I’m just stopping by to link up with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds. I spotted this in a local churchyard and it makes me feel as though it is a female form that has been created with the pruning. She waits.

Friday-Finds_she-waits

Thank you all of you who commented on my previous post regarding the small quilts, I really appreciated your input. Many of you preferred the black and white one and, as I was leaning towards that one anyway, it has now gone in the mail for the SAQA Spotlight Auction. This is the piece as it is sent without any mat.

Rose_6_SAQA

I’m enjoying the sunshine here which suddenly appeared after a very wet and unpromising start to the day. I hope that it is good for you too and that your weekend is a sunny one.

Thank you for dropping by.

Maggi

Working small

I’ve been working quite small recently, starting with a clear out of my studio, where I discovered a sample piece that had not made the grade for my Horizons quilt. We had to do an 8″ sample to go along with the quilt so I tried out the potential quilting on this one and decided against it. However, attached to a box canvas it makes a pretty little landscape.

Horizons-sample

I also decided to continue the Rose theme for a small SAQA piece to send for their Anniversary Spotlight at the annual conference. The first one didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I wasn’t too happy with the solid red shape and even the addition of a thorned stem didn’t seem to help. Sort of made me think of a hippy Dalek!

Rose_5

Back to the drawing board and, because I couldn’t decide which background I wanted to use, I made two. Both have cotton squares fused onto a silk noil background. All I have to do now is to decide which one I am going to send. If you have any preference please let me know as that might help me to decide. The finished size is 6″ x 8″ but they are going to be matted so only the 4.5″ x 6.5″, shown here, will be seen

Rose_6

Rose_7

And finally today, because it’s Tuesday, I’m linking up with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday. The theme this week is Free and Easy. Textured with KK_partings

partial-dandelion-seedhead_texture-tuesday_2

I’m enjoying the start to Lisa Call’s class and am currently making a list of possible themes on which to base my series.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you are enjoying your week.

Maggi

Surface Design.

I really do enjoy surface design work and having read somewhere that gelli plates are not supposed to work very successfully with MX dyes so, of course, I had to have a go to find out just why not. Well it turns out that thickened dyes do work with gelli plates although it is impossible to get a sharp crisp image if that is what you are looking for as the dye separates on the plate and creates a sort of blobby textured background. The other thing that is almost impossible to achieve is a ghost print. However for one-off textures I think it works pretty well. All  the prints were made with a 6″ x 6″ gelli plate as I didn’t want to risk ruining my larger one, just in case. You should be able to see the marks more clearly by clicking on the image and then clicking again for a real close up.

Printed onto plain white cotton.

gelli_4

Printed onto previously dyed and printed silk/cotton mix

gelli_3

Printed onto a dyed and printed cotton.

gelli_2

Printed onto a piece of cotton that had been dyed and then used as practice for mark making.

gelli_1

 

All this printing activity motivated me to get back into some dyeing again so I did some small samples of fabric manipulation. I really should be one of those organised people who make a note of the colours they use as some of these are worth trying out on larger pieces.

Heavy habotai silk. Love that purple and lime green together!

heavy-habotai-silkSilk/cotton mix.

silk_cotton

 

Silk organza

silk-organza

Silk Noil

Silk-noil

 

 

Cotton Broadcloth. Love the way that the lettering seems to be embossed.

Cotton

The result of all this  is  plenty of ideas to play around with. Not sure how much time I’ll have for that over the next few weeks though as I’m starting Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class tomorrow and if it’s anything like the Abstraction class, it will be pretty intense but highly rewarding.  At least I will have things to post about!

 

Thanks for dropping by. Have a good creative week.

Maggi

 

 

 

 

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