Category Archives: ACAD residency 2012

at that annoying stage

You know the one where you work 15 minutes on this area, 11 on that one, start this one over here, wander off, come back, put 23 stitches in somewhere else entirely, exult that it’s almost done, wander off again——- and wonder if it’s ever going to be done???????

I’m at that stage with the bees piece. And of course, at midpoint on the neurons above her face, i ran out of the DMC 4000 (espresso, a variegated dramatic colourway)…….bugger. I’m going to fudge it with a variegated black and grey, cutting the lightest part of the grey off, and interspersing with a deep dark brown. I doubt anyone will notice, even if i point it out!


Posted by on July 23, 2012 in ACAD residency 2012, embroidery


2 (large) bee, or not 2 (large) bee

I crack myself up……..

Ahem. Five more bees were made–well, 6 actually, but 1 screwed up, as always happens, even when you’re on a roll. And all 7 then, big and small, will be on the finished Thing.

top corner right

bottom left corner

A good day.

I’m thinking i MIGHT after all be able to do the 3d form as well—-on “breaks” from the machine, i started scribbling more notes, completely different from the original plan. It’s do-able IF i stick to the timeline i have marked out for the Thing above.

I ain’t holding my breath, but………stranger things have happened, as my Momma always says.


go big bees or go home? buzzing along

I made the bees too big!!!!!! Now the dilemma (! ? ! ?) is: do i use them interspersed with the remaining 3 of the proper size, or do i make 5 the right size and use these two on the bottom left??? Or do i just make 5 bees of the correct size and save these for something else?

Deb’s fabric is PERFECT for these!

When i cut them out, i was careful to leave no cuts except around the bees, so now i also have a “negative” for possible use in something else.

Placement ideas:


bottom left on the blank spot?


on the bottom of the “hive” ?


Not a LOT larger, but are they too big?

size difference comparison

And the dimension achieved with this method:


I have 36 days to finish this piece for the exhibition. I also have to admit to myself there is no way i am going to get the 3d piece done for this…….poop.


Posted by on July 20, 2012 in ACAD residency 2012, in progress, shows


I Bee embrilting

I auditioned about a dozen fabrics before this one pleaded from my hoard “Use me, Use me!” A Deb Lacativa dyed dream of a subtle damask pattern, it is PERFECTION for the bees: not too hard in colour or markings, no brashness, no talking back. I’ve done the basic outline only so far ( i need a break again!) and will finish the embroidery later with a judicious touch of black accents and copper metallic.

three more to do also–love this fabric also because with my stitching and these patterns eachย  bee will Bee Unique ๐Ÿ™‚

Relearning using fusible was ridiculous–it’s been so long that i drew out the entire design on the release part, started to cut it out and had to slap myself. Fusible between the fabrics, do the design on the back, then stitch, ya idjit…..

I also spent part of the morning figuring out the background, mostly because i got so bogged down yesterday with embroidering areas, and didn’t want to do more of that today, but had to do something to keep the pace.(Deadline is last week of August!). Again, i want subtlety, so came up with this delicate hexagon patterning.

The bees will be dimensionally added to the stamped paint bee areas.

My reward lately for stitching outside has been spectator status in the back 40, catching things i would normally miss ensconced in the Stoodio. Mo and Nessie usually just barely tolerate each other, with Mo having the upper paw. All he has to do is give DogFaced Girl the Hairy Eyeball, and she runs for Mommy. Yesterday though, they joined forces for bug hunting.

Sunshine Harmony Bug Hunters Inc.

Nessie had the first dip in the pool after, then Mo claimed his reward poolside.


“Oh Honeycomb, won’t you be my baby?”

And the only way i can keep track of what thread goes where–thank goodness for digital ๐Ÿ™‚

(this one is done)

And now that song is stuck in my head! (Which beats some of the bastardized alternatives from annoying tubage ads…)

How about “A Taste of Honey”?

To date (photo at top was on the 16th)

I’m all over the place today with this, so it’s obviously time for a break!

Now THIS is pink!!!!!

And betcha’ll never guess what little flower has this spectacular heart of fire:

Time for a walkies with the DogFaced Girl, who has been SO SO patient these past few days. She’s almost as thrilled now with the word “later” as much as she is with “bath” ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s go out and play in the sun!


revving up with the machine on Ms Bee Face, and book reviews

Lalage is being pressed into service for some of the areas on the Bee Keeper (Not a Hive Mind). I want some dimension and while i could have done this on a separate piece by handstitching and applied it, i want the area to be more “mechanical”. Not that i think bees are, in reality, as busy and as symmetric as their work appears! I like the contrast though and can get tighter stitching and appearance by combining the two methods. Hand and machine are still my “hand work” as i am the one who guides:)

I am LOVING the honeycombs, though at first when i laid them on i thought they might be too “up there”. Integrating them into the background with hand stitch though has really done what i wanted them to do. And once the bees are on as well, there will be different levels of dimension so it works out after all. I’m getting quite excited now about this one, and am sure it’ll be my new favourite!

I’m realizing this piece is not going to take as long as i thought. I’m not of the mind that slow cloth has to necessarily be so slow that nothing else gets done:) (and that’s NOT the point or “timing” of “slow” anyways), so it’ll be nice to hopefully get the 3d form done enough that i can show it too for the exhibit at the end of August. (Funnily enough there was one panel on Padded Cell that never got finished because i wanted to hang it in the last year’s show–and i’ve deliberately left it undone.)


I purchased 2 books to add to the Stoodio Library and thought i’d share a bit about them.

The first is “(Print with) Collage and Stitch” by Val Holmes. I’m not sure it was named that because of the current craze about collage in mixed media, or because the editors and writer didn’t think the actual technique would be grabbing anyone. It should have been called “Collography and Stitch”, collography being what this one is really about. That being said, while i bought it for the “collage” reasoning, i’m actually glad it was for a different technique!

It’s a moderately technical but very inspiring book, taking you through basic instruction to more intensive use of the process. There are pictures galore of collographs and the prints that ensue, clear talk about various mediums to be used in the process with pros and cons, instruction on various press methods and no dumbing down or cutesy projects.

I’ll certainly be trying the technique out on natural dyes and ecoprints.

The other book “Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art: Stitch, Fold, Embellish” is by one of my heroes, C.June Barnes. Adding more dimension has been my aim for the last little while and i’ve been struggling with it. I want to manipulate cloth and stitch, and here is (one) book that really gets my juices flowing. (I have another of her books also: “Stitching to Dye in Quilt Art”, also involving dimension but more about the effects of shrinkage during dyeing on art fabrics.)

This one is VERY technical with maths, geometry and pattern drafting to build 3d shapes. I LOVE IT! While there are the “patterns”, this is not a project book either, and certainly none of the art in it is easily reproducible or trendy—-originality is key here!


progress on res exhibition piece, all about process

Embroidering the face on this one was harrowing! I didn’t want to overshadow the rest of the piece, and i wanted to keep the almost translucent fade back of the face itself. It took me months to get the courage up to put that first needle to it from the time i thought of it on April 18th until the 12th of this month! I made lots of notes and sweated over many ideas–and fears ๐Ÿ™‚ I really wanted to do this one even before my residency, but as it turned out the idea of this year’s exhibition is a “resonance” on what we were doing as artist 5 years ago, so this face, done then in a different interpretation and style, called my name very loudly.

I deliberately started with the “hard” part first. I could have gone nuts on the oak leaves, or started on the machine work, but until that face was in, it just didn’t feel like i could get going! I can see though that the left eye has to be picked out as it arches too high in the middle section in comparison to the other one.

The ganglia at the bottom were a bit problematic. I need the larger areas to be more solid, but i suck at satin stitch! Finally decided that a modified needlelace cup would work–it’s perfect, adding dimension and visual import without being too dimensional and detracting from the facial area.

As i go along, i’m making decisions about other areas also. I want the bees to be “lifted” from the surface, as i had done on “Hand of the Father”. When i stamped some out though, i realized they are too heavy and strong for this piece. The areas that are already done this way on the background are fine, as they will be somewhat shadow-like when the top bees are applied. I’ll do those as the one i had done on HotF after all, with the rust fabric and metallic machine stitching. (I do love that one ๐Ÿ™‚ )


The bee idea i will use:

Learned a few things along the way: don’t baste through major design areas–i had to pick it out, then try to make the line of needle holes disappear with a dab of water. Well, that would have been fine if water soluble pencils and graphite weren’t in the mix. Had to re-wet and rework that part so it didn’t look messy or heavier!

Also, do not iron to dry things with embroidery……the face outline got smashed flat–wtf was i thinking? I’ll try to puff it back up, with more water CAREFULLY dabbed on. If that doesn’t work, well, sigh, will have to make it work somehow. Maybe i can pretend it’s because that side of the face is receding into shadow……Except that the delicacy is gone from that line because it’s all flattened out…poop. Hoofies crossed on the dabbing then. (Edit: it DID work, thank goodness!)

I had fun (that IS meant facetiously….) separating strands of different colours then recombining them—there’s rarely just the right colour it seems when you have something specific in mind. At one point, i had 4 loaded needles going. Hope no one notices the blood on this ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a simple method i used, and i know there are those who could/would do the face solidly in hand or machine, but i want the fabric to show through, cause that’s kind of the point OF using this fabric.

Changing name of this also to The Bee Keeper–simple— and less important now that i make a “statement” about NOT being part of the Hive Mind ๐Ÿ™‚ i think i’ve proved that! (Tongue in cheek, darlings!)

One thing i want to say that i mentioned on FB— People seem to think ecoprints and natural dye fabrics should be kept inviolate–i say add paint, draw on it, embroider your own designs and make it your own. This ecoprinted and rusted cotton has paint stamped, stencilled and smooshed, as well as the water soluble pencil and water soluble graphite used on it. And add a specific design/motif–that’s what fabric isย  all about for artists, isn’t it? A canvas to express yourself? Don’t be so afraid to mark it up, cut it up, slash and burn if you have too ๐Ÿ™‚

I LOVE what Kimberly is doing with hers–digital prints and hand and machine embroidery over–AWESOME. She’s an incredible dyer and artist to begin with, but her work taking them further than just “fabric” is again ๐Ÿ™‚ AWESOME.

I need to do some new ecoprints as well! Since Calgary’s growing season is all too short, i’d best take advantage while i can. My first year doing ecoprints was extremely frustrating as i started in the late autumn and had to resort to stock from the flower mine where i worked ๐Ÿ™‚ I much prefer local vegetation, that kind of being the point of ecoprinting.

And another bee has landed in my art collection. From Ele Willoughby in Toronto, this wonderful linocut fellow is winging his way to me. Ele’s shop is on Etsy, and she has a great selection of her original linocuts as prints.

willoughby ele_honey bee linocut