happy January!

Since we are more than half-way through the month, it might be a little late to wish you a Happy New Year and I’m not really sure when the cut-off is. I’ve been looking online for a guide to the etiquette and can’t find a definitive answer, but I’m thinking there really shouldn’t be an end to good wishes.

It’s a bit of a blah January here, but then for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it usually is! the weather here is grey- top to bottom grey. I quite like the subtle colour of this time of the year but…a little sunshine wouldn’t hurt.

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The weather has been creating some really interesting effects. It’s been foggy along the waterfront walk Ned and I take some  mornings. It makes for some dramatic photo’s.

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This time of year keeps me in the house but one of the benefits of doing the dishes are the visitors that are coming round…

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…this tiny fellow has been hanging out all winter. Actually there are two of them and the only reason I know that is they have been at the feeder together.. there may be more but I certainly can’t tell them apart! According to my bird book he’s actually a she, and a Rufus Hummingbird.  Apparently it’s quite common for them to stay the winter in Vancouver, there were a few nights in December when I thought she had made a big mistake!

These fellows arrived in a flurry on the weekend- taking over the garden for a few hours. It made me think spring might not be that far away.

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There are some tiny  signs of spring in the back lane, which I scooped up and brought home with me! Doing the dishes needs to have some rewards and these are sitting on the windowsill right above the sink to spur me on.

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I love snowdrops, they always remind me a bit of sad bunny rabbits.

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January’s weather has been good for being in the studio and getting some work done, which is a very good thing! Anni Hunt and I have a show opening March 26th at FibreWorks  on the Sunshine Coast. Right now there’s work in progress on the walls and the worktable, a bit under the machine and even a piece on the floor…a wonderful state of organized chaos!

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Bye for now, Catherine

thanks for coming!

A big thank you to everyone who braved the weather to visit our open house! Elizabeth I had a great day visiting with everyone.

For those who couldn’t make it- here’s what you missed!

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We had my big work table covered with Elizabeth’s Farmwurx ceramics , there were lots of mugs, bowls and treasures of all kinds. And my favourite Word Ware  bowls… with their sometimes cheeky saying about for and eating. They are  on the right hand side of the image below. If you see anything you can’t live without contact Elizabeth.

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Those are my Imprint scarves hanging in the background- or at least the two that were left! It was so busy when we first opened I completely forgot to take any images…I know!I know!  I do it all the time.

Our “flight of fancy” managed to survive the rain and damp, which is no mean feat when you consider the paper our birds are made of are reclaimed outcasts from the pulp mill. The paper itself is very stiff and difficult to work with -until it gets wet- or even thinks about getting wet- then it turns to mush!

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“flight of fancy” ( I love this definition – “an idea which shows a lot of imagination but which is not practical or useful in real situations”) was hanging in the greenhouse- not the driest of places at the best of times but as you can see- it was raining, which made the definition really ring true!

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As I mentioned above – and always seem to be saying – it’s been raining  here. Ned and I have managed a few walks by the river but there’s been no swimming- he would be swept away!

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Bye for now, Catherine

sneak peek

It’s our open house on Saturday and hopefully you will brave the rain and come over for a visit!

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Just to tempt you out here’s a sneak peek of our installation, though it doesn’t look like much yet…it will!

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I’ll tell you all about it after Saturday, complete with pictures.

I’ve been printing up a storm! and have gotten quite carried away with the process so…rather than drowning in eco-prints these silk scarves will be for sale at the open house. I promise to iron them first….

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Bye for now, Catherine

it’s almost time!

for our open studio….

Elizabeth Harris  and I have joined forces yet again for our 3rd annual ( I can’t believe it’s been 3 years!) open house.

It’s “getting ready” time around here…Ned and Runnerbean have their hair appointments booked and I’ve been scrubbing and cleaning out the greenhouse, which really isn’t as much fun as it sounds! We are planning and preparing for our “flight of fancy” installation in the greenhouse …it’s going to be amazing!

Hope you can make it…

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Bye for now, Catherine

fall colour

….and a very Neddie post.

I love this time of year!  beautiful crisp mornings and brightly coloured leaves against blue skies are some of my very favourite things. I must have a million images of leaves…leaves of all types and colours and every year I take more.

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Ned and I have been getting to the park early enough to catch the morning light through the trees…and chase the squirrels of course!

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I had a wonderful week at Sorrento Center in Sorrento earlier this month,  the one in British Columbia not the one in Italy. I was leading a workshop called Exploring the Natural World, which was a perfect subject for that beautiful place. A group of talented ladies and I explored design ideas, a lot of different techniques and had a laugh or two!

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We had a great big room with loads of natural light that we filled with papers, drawings, and ideas over our time together.

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I set up an eco-pot outside and everyone bundled up some leaves in a lovely silk and wool scarf . The bundles above have just come out of the pot, ready to unroll.

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and here they are…the terrific scarves and their makers.

After my time in Sorrento I headed even further away from the city to do a little fishing, a perfect way to spend the Thanksgiving weekend. This is Fawn Lake…

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an incredibly beautiful place.

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Ned loves fishing…he spends lots of time carefully watching any ducks that paddle by, or might think of paddling  by. Thankfully he stays in the boat….so far.

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I caught this fellow! a 3 pound Rainbow trout….

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…and it was delicious!

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Now we’re home and back to work. But there’s always time for a walk on our favourite paths.

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Bye for now, Catherine

 

new work….

I don’t know if you remember, but awhile back I posted on this blog that I was looking for a creative kick-start and going through a creative “shift”.  Well I have new work on the wall and the ideas are swirling again, which is a really good feeling, but I will admit to finding these changes of direction a bit exhausting!

I have been printing up a storm- “eco-printing” or at least a version of eco-printing- my definition of what I’m doing is using plant material to create pattern and colour of fabric. I really feel the need to find a new “name” there are so many versions and variations of printing using plant materials.   Textile artist Anni Hunt and I have a show coming up in April next year called Whisperings. The title is taken from a poem written in 1929 by Emily Carr, a staunch proponent of the forests and all the wonders found in them. 

It’s a wonderful topic to explore for me and has me really excited and bursting with ideas. We spent a day at Anni’s prepping some bundles for the pot.

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It’s all very experimental at this point! we are using materials from the garden, the forest  and a few from the florist as well.

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I’m being as patient as I can and letting the bundles sit for awhile…..but it’s like waiting to unwrap a present, you really don’t know what’s inside.

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I love the colours in this one and have a few ideas of what to do with it- maybe. It’s printed on a silk Charmeuse with a gorgeous sheen, but the shimmer of the fabric only shows a little in the lower portion of the image, sorry about that.

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I am pleased with the piece below for its subtle colour and texture (which you can’t see well in this image either). It’s a wool Challis and has the most amazing drape. I found it in a jam-packed shop in Birmingham, UK – on one of the 4 floors!! of fabric.

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I’m always on the hunt for more ideas and since the forest is one of Ned and my favourite places to be, it’s a very enjoyable hunt for both of us. We’ve been stomping around camera in hand, well my hands.  I’m quite taken with these… it is Chamerion angustifolium or “fireweed” around these parts. (I understand it’s commonly called rosebay willow-herb in the UK)  I love all phases of this plants life and have strong memories of it from my time in the Yukon, so watch this space – there’s some  ideas brewing,

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It finally rained! and boy did it rain….but really, I’m not complaining, honest I’m not.

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I’m off to Sorrento Centre in early October, we are going to be Exploring the Natural World…I couldn’t think of a better fit for me right now!

Bye for now, Catherine

catching up again….

I’ve been half way round the world and back home again and haven’t posted here for a while …I did think of all the things I wanted to share but, true confessions, I never quite got round to it. So here’s a quick round-up of where I’ve been and a little bit of what I’ve been doing since my last post.

First up was Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK. This year we went all out on the Mettler stand! I made a banner to go all around the very top of the stand which is  28.5 meters or 93.5 feet for those of you who have feet! These are the pieces all laid out on the carper at Edwina’s, we were planning the colour sequence, or trying to!

IMG_2130 We had one hour workshops going on the stand all day and everyone who participated got a goodie bag of threads and other treats, not to mention an hour with one of us. If you look carefully you can see the Lutrador banners Edwina made at the corners and a few extra “Mettler” banner pieces.

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Edwina and I had a gallery of our work around the outside of the stand and we showed our pieces from our “unravelled” show. The show is based on our shared experiences and using those experiences as a source if inspiration. It’s so interesting to see how differently we interpret things. Below is “misty matera” my piece inspired by time we enjoyed in Italy and the corner of Edwina’s- not a good photo I know!

IMG_2153 Festival is an amazing event, if you haven’t been it’s worth the trip. There is so much to see….

IMG_2181…some very large quilts…

IMG_2187…and some very small!

IMG_2188…and everything in-between. This year that included TV camera’s! yikes. We were both filmed/interviewed over the 4 days of the event. I can’t say I ever got used to it …as you can see it’s a rather intimidating thing. Here’s Edwina holding her own behind a wall of camera’s, recording devices and the men that operate them. I hope I managed as well as she did.

IMG_2197 When all that was over we took a day off and went to the Worcester Flower Show, it was a lovely afternoon! I really enjoyed seeing the plates of “matching” vegetables. I’m quite sure that not how they are judged but it was so interesting to see how the growers had arranged and presented their harvest and which ones had taken the medals.

IMG_2229 We did manage a little personal creative time and headed out to almost Wales to spend 4 days with Bobby Britnell at Moor Hall. Moor Hall is a 400 year old farmhouse and is an amazing place to spend some time. The area is stunningly beautiful, this is the view from the bathroom window where I was staying just down the road ( Ok, it wasn’t much of a road by North American standards, more of a lane)

IMG_2241And below is my ideas board at the end of day 2, it changed a lot over the course of the 4 days but this is the only image I have. There is a lot of new work in my sketchbook (and buzzing round in my brain) just waiting to come out.

IMG_2237 I arrived home just ahead of an amazing storm that caused power outages all over and blew down trees everywhere including our favourite walking trail. The dogs loved the weather, there were all sorts of new smells and a few “changes” on the path that required a little clambering.

IMG_2268I’ve even managed to get a little stitching done! this is the very beginnings of one of my pieces for an upcoming show in April 2016! It’s a really early start for me but there’s going to be lots of hand work and it’s a largish piece…I must be turning over a new leaf, possibly blown in from the storm.
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Bye for now, Catherine

leaves in bundles ….

….in other words eco-printing, though I’m not sure if I really am eco-printing. I am using plant materials and following some of the “suggestions” made by some better known eco-dyers but after that it’s really just a bit of trail and error! OK a lot of trail and error and a load of experimenting!

My experiments so far have included eucalyptus, but also some local plants as well…this is “honesty” or Lunaria annua for those who like proper names. I loved the colour of these immature  seed-heads as they were about to be rolled.

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I did lots of rolling and wrapping to create the bundles – no two the same! and then got things cooking.

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I love the look of the bundles steaming away. I have always liked packages , things wrapped up and things with lids …I was sorely tempted to leave the steamed and cooled bundles just as they were.

(Sorry about the slightly fuzzy next few images, I was juggling the camera and wet bundles of fabric while wearing rubber gloves- never a good combination)

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But eventually my curiosity got the better of me…

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The seed-heads didn’t impart any colour to the fabric but it did make an amazing resist with lots of detail.

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The fabric is a lovely semi sheer silk and the print is really pretty and quite transient on it. And yes! I do have some plans for it…. I’ll show you as soon as I can!

Bye for now, Catherine

PS- It rained here for a couple of days this weekend past and things are much better on the forest fire front.  Many thanks to all of you who did a rain dance with Vancouver in mind!

Were not out of the woods yet, the drought is now a stage 3 (there are only 4 stages and I don’t know what happens after that!) but the few cool days we had were lovely.

smoke on the water…

and with a nod to Deep Purple- there really is fire in the sky! and smoke and cinders and something called “particulate” as well.

I don’t know if the news has reached wherever you are but Vancouver and most of Western Canada are in the grips of what has turned into a nerve-racking heat wave. Temperature records are being broken all over and huge chunks of the western provinces are going up in flames. Thankfully there are firefighters coming in from all around the world to lend a hand.

Vancouver B.C.  July 6, 2015 A thick layer of smoke and haze from local forest fires continues to hang over  the lower mainland, here covering the waters off of Kits beach in Vancouver  on July 6, 2015. Here a detail frame of the sun just before it disappears early from the evening sky.       Mark van Manen /PNG Staff  Photographer   see Vancouver Sun/ Province/ News  Features and Web. stories    00037775A    [PNG Merlin Archive]

Vancouver B.C. July 6, 2015 A thick layer of smoke and haze from local forest fires continues to hang over the lower mainland, here covering the waters off of Kits beach in Vancouver on July 6, 2015. Here a detail frame of the sun just before it disappears early from the evening sky. Mark van Manen /PNG Staff Photographer see Vancouver Sun/ Province/ News Features and Web. stories 00037775A [PNG Merlin Archive]

Smoke from wildfires in the interior of British Columbia blanket the Lions Gate Bridge Vancouver, B.C. Sunday, July 5 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Smoke from wildfires in the interior of British Columbia blanket the Lions Gate Bridge Vancouver, B.C. Sunday, July 5 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

I borrowed the above images from the Vancouver Sun newspaper  site, this link will take you to a gallery of images if you want to see more.

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Now this not mean much to you but this is near where I live and at the bottom of the hill you can’t see, is where the harbour is and the water, which you also can’t see.

It’s been tough breathing this past week and I find myself checking the air quality daily, which is not something I usually do! Today has brought some rain, not much but enough to “wash” the smoke from the sky. On a quick trip to the shops this morning everyone I saw was smiling through the raindrops!

The heat wave has sent the garden into overdrive and I am knee-deep in cucumbers, ankle-deep in green beans and just dipping into the first of the tomatoes. I can’t ever remember them being ready this early in the season.

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Despite our favourite river getting lower and lower we have managed to find some pools deep enough for Ned to have a float….

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….and he’s discovered the place to be between walks is in the hosta bed….

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….which probably isn’t great for the plants but oh well, it’s been too hot to argue!

Things are happening in the studio, mostly in the morning before the heat is just too much to take! I have been dyeing, planning and preparing for a new body of work and experimenting with a bit of eco-dyeing as well. Good friend Anni Hunt and I spent a day playing and we got some lovely results….

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Hopefully there are going to be some treasures inside these bundles, I’ll let you know when they get unwrapped.

In the process of re-organising and setting up some new work, I have been playing with some very small bits of mixed media, I found this image of the harbour, which originally had a perfectly normal grey and rainy sky.  A little sand paper and some paint and it has become the perfect place for me to record a few thoughts (and fears!) about the “end-of-days” skies hovering over Vancouver.

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If you know a good rain dance, rain song, rain poem or any other rain inducing thoughts, I would be happy to hear from you!

Bye for now, Catherine