31 October 2019

Plant Journal

All year while I have been so busy I have been seeing fabulous pictures artists are making on Instagram. One is a woman named Louise Watson. She is a superb embroidered and makes a lot of landscapes (which I love). She also has a perpetual flower journal and everytime I looked at a new sketch, I wanted to join in but no time during the summer. Well, the workshops are done and now maybe I can squeeze in a few remaining plants before the frost takes them all away.

Oh no! No blank sketchbooks!!! I had to make one. I ended up make four covers and stitching three books to completion. Here are the papers from a previous paste paper session.

Paste papers

Each half sheet which will cover the front and back book board

I had a fourth set of book boards so while all the supplies were out I thought I'd cover them in case I wanted to do another book

Book board covers cut

end papers

Cover and end paper glued in place

then wrapped in waxed paper to dry flat under a mountain of heavy books

The corners that were cut off the papste paper. I always save these little gems because I can't bear to throw them away.

Dried and read to punch spine holes

160 pages for three books

Dried covers

28 October 2019

Crow Three

While I had the batik fabric out, I cut the size piece I would need for the last crow in the same size as the others. I thread sketched the last crow which I'm not in love with. I think I need to add a few tiny hand stitches around the beak. Also color will bring him to life.

Here's the P.S.
The more I looked at this, the more unhappy I became. I started to unpick the beak, then I noticed the tail, then I said, What the heck. I found a similar batik fabric I had made on the same day a few years ago and completely re-stitched the entire bird.

See the difference in the head/beak front edge of wing and tail? MUCH better now.

26 October 2019

Holy Cow. Ten year blog anniversary!!!!!

A big giveaway to celebrate. Two pieces of my indigo dyed fabric. Each is a full half yard (18 X 45).

Anyone anywhere can leave a comment. Two winners.

24 October 2019

Crow Number Two

The biggest blockage to remaking these crows has been a background fabric. I made a great piece of pounded paint cloth.

After it was dry and iron, I wished I had added at least one more color. I went through my stash of hand made fabrics and found a huge piece of batik I did while trying to create waves and clouds. I decided to try that. I got my old sketch out which through some divine providence I had kept all these years and redid the lines I needed to thread sketch.

Now all I have to do is all the hard work bringing the crow to life with color...

21 October 2019

Starting the new crow series

When I made those two crow quilts I showed a few weeks ago, I made a third. It stayed in the thread sketch stage for about a year.

Later I colored it in using fugitive media: charcoal, chalk and ordinary colored pencils. Then I used ProChem base extender which is a semi-fluid clear acrylic to cover and make the media permanent.

If you squint, you can see I added mountain ranges below in a lime inktense pencil. My first project is to create a landscape at the bottom. I like the crow just flying but I think the landscape will put it "above the earth". Stay tuned.

17 October 2019


So now it is on from here. I just went into my latest photo file called Spring/Summer 2019 to download some photos for a new blog post. Holy COW!!! have I done a lot of work since the spring. Even I am astounded. No wonder I was so tired.

To tell about my next adventure, I have to tell you I am on Instagram. I only follow artists. I have been off Facebook for almost 2 years. The hate really started to whittle away at my soul. I do love Instagram and all the artists from all over the world that I follow. If you would like to keep up with me (daily posts) you can do so here. If this doesn't link you, my name is crowandravens.

Anyway, there is a woman I follow called Ann Rippin. On one of her posts she showed a doll she made by rolling fabric for the body parts. He was so cute and even resembled my husband back in the 60's. She offered to gift him to me and I was thrilled.

Here he is after arrival enjoying the outdoors

He also arrived with a tiny piece of patched fabric like a mini quilt top.

When I looked closely at the mini quilt I saw that each square was lovingly stitched together with tiny little stitched. I felt something that had gotten so much attention deserved to be quilted and bound. This has been my first project.

Not a hand quilter and not knowing any better, I started with plain sewing thread. I quickly moved on to my own hand dyed embroidery threads. I "tried" to make each tiny block different than the rest. You notice I said tried!! Also since chemo I have had a tough time holding a needle so my stitches instead of tiny were "crowbar" stitches. However they were lovingly made.

Then I moved on to the binding.

I had so much fun making this. I think I would like to try making more things with hand stitch. In my plans for the future are some machine free motion images of the crows as well as a portrait. At least I can try.

14 October 2019

more foolishness

My mother , a former professional dancer - exhibition ballroom - loved glitz and bling. She didn't want to collect it like a Magpie; she wanted to cover herself and surround herself with it. She died a few years ago leaving me with a fairly nice lamp with a hideous shade. I have been waiting to "make it mine" and today was the day.

Yeah! That's much more to my liking.

10 October 2019

Reconnecting with a well loved piece

One of my regrets was selling a pair of crow stitch sketches. They were done with fugitive media; materials that will disappear with washing, time or exposure to sun. These were done with charcoal, chalk and ordinary colored pencils. After it was completed, I brushed  fabric base extender over the media making it permanent. All these years later we have watercolor pencils, intense pencils and blocks and even water soluble graphite. It should be interesting to see how these pieces differ or are the same as the originals.

The biggest hurdle was finding appropriate fabric to use as a background. The originals were made on a large piece of clean-up cloth. Isn't that always the way? Lately I was reminded of a way to paint fabric and I think this may be the answer to a background.

Here is the fabric drying

and here are the original thread sketches

07 October 2019

Reworking a failed piece

Marcella had given me a really nice heavy apron and I thought it would be fun indigo dyed so at the Indigo Workshop I tried to use the heart resist that came out so nicely on an overdyed piece of red.

Unfortunately the apron must have had some surface treatment on it and the fabric really resisted the indigo. The hearts were almost indistinguishable.

I thought, why not stitch the outline of a heart in red on all the areas I tried to resist. I used the wood heart I had cut as a guide to mark the fabric with water soluble graphite.

 It looked pretty anaemic so I thought I'd color them in with inktense blocks. After doing a few in just red I decided to use all the colors.

Above and below are still wet

This is the apron dried. I think it's really cute and reminds me of a child's coloring.

03 October 2019

something I did during the Maine Event

We ran out of nutmeg dyed fabric and started making black marks on white fabric which, after it had dried, I over dyed in nutmeg dye. Some came out fine where other had the black dye marks fade and "grey" the nutmeg which was sad. I did two pieces on white, one came out great and the other dulled and faded. Both were different fabrics.

Marks made with a piece of terry towel over my finger dipped in black dye on white fabric This idea came to me in a dream the first night of the Maine Event.

Marks made on white then over dyed

 This was 1/2 nutmeg and 1/2 dusty orange. I will make a few more of these pieces dyed  in half and half. This is from the batch Marcella and I did on our workshop preparation date. This is the piece I made the pillow with.

Another thing I did was make a gyotaku print on white pretreated fabric. Then I dipped it in the indigo vat but the indigo overpowered the print. I washed it HARD by hand with hot water and lots of soap to lighten the indigo. It lightened and took the print with it. I reprinted the fish on the cloth and let it dry then sprayed front and back with soda ash. Here it is.

There is a bit of a shadow of the former black dye but if you didn't know you wouldn't suspect.