Monday, June 27, 2011

First Stop - Miami!

We headed for Miami on Friday.
Surrounded by very tall buildings, road works and road closures we eventually got to the Trinidad & Tobago Consulate.
Trinidad & Tobago Steel Pan and Coat-of-Arms

Miami is fascinating, from it's luxury skyscrapers to it's hole-in-the-wall smoothie and cafe con leche baristas, the people and the art.

Stay tuned, the journey continues...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

When you've hit the proverbial design (or lack thereof) wall, it’s time to go back to basics.  So, I've unpacked the watercolor  pencils, done some drawings, pulled the fabrics and made a few blocks - I now have a start.

I am not certain where this will lead, I may or may not use these blocks but as the old saying goes “a journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step.”
This is my first of many steps, I enjoy the journey, a.k.a process, the what ifs and what's next, so stay tuned and let’s see where this "journey" takes us.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Plantation Farmers Market

Farmers markets are places of inspiration. They invite us to take the veggies, the fruit, the bread back to our kitchens and create amazing dishes to feed our bodies.  Attending farmers markets allow us to eat locally, what's in season and therefore at its best. We quilters and fiber artists get the added bonus of glorious colors and wonderful textures. 
Apart from the food, there is the plant guy, have you seen these black berries!
Then there is TammyLynn's Pure Essence, perfect for massage and aromatherapy. Plantation Farmers Market, is held at Volunteer Park, every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and all are invited.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mud Flat

Growing up in Trinidad, summer vacations meant endless hours of almost uninterrupted reading, the Mayaro beach house and visits to places of interest, e.g. the Pitch Lake and/or the Caroni Swamp; because you knew when you returned to school, you would have to write that dreaded essay, How I Spent My Summer Vacation.  One of my favorite places to visit was and still is, the Caroni Swamp.  Sure it’s buggy, muggy, dense but so fascinating and teaming with life.  The Caroni Swamp is the meeting of the Caroni River and the Gulf of Paria and home to Trinidad's national bird, the Scarlet Ibis.  This area is a maze of saline mangrove channels which often form small lakes, islands and mud flats, the evening feeding grounds for the Scarlet Ibis.
This piece which measures 10.75"x8.75" is named Mud Flat
I decided not to bind this quilt but to face it, as I wanted the design to flow all the way to the edge.   It’s dense, organic, flowing.  The colors are reminiscent of the mangrove, the crabs and other life forms that dwell in this wetland.  Silk rovings, burlap, hand dyed cheesecloth, yarn, rayon and metallic threads, sea shells and beads are all on this needle felted wall hanging.  There is a sleeve on the back where a dowel can be inserted and it is ready to be hung.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Through the Studio Window III

Welcome to our new babies.
Off on a walk-about with Mamma.
  We need a nap.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Layer Upon Layer Upon ...

The more layers you have, the more dimension and depth your piece will have.  My Janome FM725, needle felting machine is what I use to create not only depth and dimension but also texture.  
This particular machine has no bobbin and no thread.  It has a five needle unit and a single needle unit.  Each needle has barbs at the tip which is used for splitting and locking the fibers to the base fabric. In my needle felted pieces I use felt as the base fabric, then pile on layers of silk rovings and any of the following: wool rovings, carrier silk rods, degummed throwster silk, silk cocoons, scraps of fabric and sparkle threads. The company I get my silks from is Treenway Silks in Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada.  I also use my hand-dyed cheese cloth.    

I will either outline if I have an idea in mind or I will just lay the rovings down and start needle felting.  I will keep laying down rovings, building up the layers, color and texture as I go along.

When I think am done, I will pin it to my design wall and live with it for a few days.  If I am not satisfied, then it's back to the machine to add perhaps more fiber, cheese cloth, thread etc.  If I like what I see I then sandwich the piece (batting and backing) and free motion quilt to add further dimension and another layer.
Now comes my favorite part. It's time to embellish with beads, hand embroidery and found objects which add yet another layer.  I do enjoy hand embroidery as I find it very contemplative.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Through the Studio Window II

Today, June 5, 2011, a beautiful day for hanging out in trees. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cool Caribbean Lime

The last days of May in Plantation Florida were just perfect.  And what do you do on perfect days in South Florida, why, you dye fabric.  I was able to dye just four yards before the wind picked-up and forced me and my bottles of dye back indoors.     
I used 100% PFD (prepare for dyeing) cotton and Procion MX dyes.  I chose a limited palette of five colors, lemon yellow, magenta, turquoise, bright green and amethyst.  In my last attempt to dye fabric, I used way too many colors and so the result was somewhat muddy.  
I like the results I got this time.  Dyeing fabric is part technique and part magic.  The magic occurs during the curing period, as color migrates across the cotton fibers, the longer it cures, the greater the migration and the result is more intense colors and surprising designs.  This particular dye lot cured for twenty-four hours, washed in hot water and Synthrapol, photographed and ironed.
  I love the rich, vibrant colors, they remind me of Boccoo Reef, Tobago.  Enjoy!