Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What did you do today?

I spent my afternoon at the Royal Ontario Museum today.  I looked at a lot of things, including items from all over Eurasia.  Favourites were this garment (and I couldn't find the info to go with it, so I don't know exactly where it's from):

... and this harness from Uzbekistan, inlaid with turquoise in silver.

Much time was also spent looking at the butterfly specimens.

And, I also got my first Etsy sale today!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Green Tea

Green tea does work!  It's lighter.  These were soaked about an hour.  The left was a white silk dupioni, the right was an off-white silk dupioni.

Tea Staining Tutorial

I used tea staining in my butterflies which have been mentioned before.  It's great for giving an aged look to fabrics and fibres. 

First, it works best on natural fibres - wool, silk, cotton, etc.  It works because the tannins naturally present in tea act to hold colour onto fibres.  Pre-washing your fabric is a good idea to get rid of chemicals from the manufacturing process.

Beside that, it's pretty simple - boil water, make strong tea.  What I did was to make the tea a bit stronger than I would if I were drinking it.  I used black tea (ie. ceylon, chai, earl grey, orange pekoe).  Each tea is a little different and so your shade may be different also.  **  You should test small swatches before staining a larger piece. **  The strength of the tea and how long you soak your fabric will affect how dark it stains as will the weight of the fabric.  A lighter/thinner fabric will take less time. 

You will get a more even colour if you make your tea in a container that will have enough room to move the fabric around, and stir it every few minutes or so.  If the fabric is more tightly packed into the container you will get uneven colour, more like a tie-dye effect where the colour bleeds and fades.  This can look really neat, but may not be what you want.

So, if you're staining a yard or so of fabric, fill a large pot or sink with freshly boiled water.  A hot soak will work better than cold.

NOTE 1:  It's best if you use an old pot that is not used for food.

NOTE 2:  Be more careful about temperature with wool.  Heat and friction can both cause wool to felt, which is not always what you want.  

Drop in your tea bags, and let sit a few minutes.  Remove the tea bags, and drop in fabric.  Stir it around to make sure it's really wet.  Soak for 10 minutes to an hour.  Stir often.  I find that after an hour or so it doesn't get alot darker.  Remove from the tea bath, empty that out, rinse the fabric with clean water, and then dry.  I wring it out and then hang it outside. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

A whole week!

I can barely wrap my head around the fact that it's Friday again and that as such, it's been a week since the show started.  I spend weeks fretting about shows and then they're all done so quickly.
This weekend is going to be interesting, the closet in here is going to be emptied and have new and more useful shelving built.

I have been looking at my Etsy and social networks' stats, and they're looking pretty good!  :)

18 blog followers
63 fans
34 twitter followers
34 etsy shop hearts

Watch my upcoming posts, I'm working on a little tutorial treat.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Choosing Jewellery

It's your colour.  You love that stone.  So how do you know that it's going to suit you, or if it's going to match your outfit?

Ultimately, wear something you feel comfortable in.  If you feel awkward, you'll probably look it too.

Heart Shaped Face - A narrow chin wants a necklace that gives width to the jaw, with chunky beads. Earrings that hang to chin level also give width. 
Round Face - Create a slimming look with longer strands, or a focal point/pendant to draw the eye downward.  Angular beads minimize roundness.
Square Face - Give a square or rectangular face curves with focals that bring the eye downward, but on shorter strands.  Use rounds and other organic soft shapes.
Oval Face - Such faces have the flexibility to experiment with various shapes. 

So what about your outfit?

V-necks - Accentuate the drop with bold pendants and dangles.
Round neck - Keep it simple.  A traditional, soft round shaped necklace that is short so it does not compete with the neckline is best. 
Strapless - A bold choker, or a lighter long strand will work best. 
High collar, turtleneck - Choose a long necklace which contrasts against the shirt colour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Choosing Art

In response to certain observations I have made when showing work and talking to people about my work, I'm going to make a couple of suggestion posts this week about choosing artwork, and choosing jewellery. 

I've noticed that some people when looking at artwork, beit paintings, prints, photography, etc. are looking for work that compliments their decor, or blends in with it.  They consider this above anything, and then narrow down their choices based on what they like, what will fit in terms of size, and if the art holds a deeper meaning for them. 

For me, although understandable, this seems a little backward.  Absolutely, if you're going to display a piece in your home you have to like it, but there is so much more to liking something than just colour.  So what makes you like something?  Think about factors like the medium, technique, brushwork, size, frame, subject matter, location you plan to put it, and don't forget about what the piece means to you.  One of the elements of art is conceptual.  What is the story the piece is telling?  What statement is it making?  Why do you feel like you connect with that piece, with that artist? 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Show Photos

I'm back with more! Here's a pair of photos of my set-up from the show, one in the dry and one following a bit of rain.  Saturday, though mostly dry, did have a few short but heavy rain showers. 


This is a couple of pictures of booths near mine, shortly after a short rain. 

So, about those interesting people - one of those who stood out was a guy who mentioned he's a naturalist.  His attention was drawn to my machine embroidered butterflies, as he was among several people who thought from a bit of a distance that they were real specimens and wanted a better look.  We had a really neat conversation about bugs, nature, conservation, educating people, fear of certain animals, etc. 

The overall feedback on these was really fantastic.  A member of the Mississauga Stitchery Guild was visiting the show and stopped by my booth.  She was so impressed, she has asked me to come to a Guild meeting sometime to show them and possibly do a demonstration on the techniques! 

Another great experience in the show was a photographer for SNAP Mississauga came by and took my photo with some of my work.  I'll have to check in a little bit to see if anything from that gets printed.

I love coffee

Good day to you!  I don't know where to start!
Saw some other artists I met at previous years' shows, and I met some really lovely and interesting people during the show this time around. 

A couple of interesting artists from the show: Carlo Allion, and Skye Jarvis

I also had a nice chat with two lovely girls who make some really unusual jewellery, Tara and Courtney of Slashpile Designs.  A couple of their specialties are a phobias inspired line, and a line of chemical molecules. 

I've got to take a break but I've got lots more to tell you all later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I am tired out.  The Port Credit Art Show is wrapped up now, and I will be sharing some of the experience over my next couple of posts.  All that will have to wait though while I take a little time to relax and recharge.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I've got a show to do this weekend, so I probably won't be blogging for 2-3 days.   I'm a bit brain fried at the moment but looking forward to it too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Have been making some pencil cases today, along the lines of these:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Stuff

I should be covered in paint.  But I have been at the computer alot today - I remembered I should have some press kits on hand for the show this coming weekend and I spent a chunk of time trying to print CD face labels for this purpose.  I had various alignment issues so it took a while, but I think I've got it sorted out.  Now I also need to finish up some pieces, and write a list of things I need to get and/or do before the weekend. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunburned Sunday

Good Sunday to you!

I went to the Toronto Outdoor Art Show on Friday evening, which was really neat.  It's quite big and even though I was there over 2 hours I didn't see everything.  Some favourites among what I did see include other grads from the program I recently finished: Noelle Hamlyn, Lizz Aston; one of our profs, Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou; and other artists: Lorraine Roy, Dog Bite Steel, and Deborah Gibson.  These are just a few of the many exhibitors.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday again! New WIPs...

In case you wondered, WIP = works in progress.
Sorry for the icky pictures, but I just took them indoors because it's pouring rain outside!  Which is the good news, perhaps, as it might help break the heat and humidity we've had.  We aren't used to it feeling like 40 + Celcius. 

The first two are in the butterfly series, the last one, as is probably obvious, is not.  They're each almost done but still not quite right.

Today the Toronto Outdoor Art Show starts, and runs through Sunday.  I'm not in it, but I know a handful of people who are so I'm hoping to go check it out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

Pleased with today's world cup semi result, Spain vs. Netherlands in the final should be a good one.
I really should come up with a better system for painting.  I have an easel, which is great, especially for larger pieces, but with small ones, I usually work on the floor.  I like being able to spread supplies out, but it doesn't do my back and knees any favours.

I've got some neat Etsy related news -  I've had an item featured in a treasury list, and another on a blog!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


It is a very hot and humid few days here.  I'm doing a fair bit of painting, I've got 10 canvasses (little ones) in the room with me, although I've actually been working on half that many this week.

I also took a few moments outside to watch a butterfly and try to get a picture.  It wanted to keep moving so it's not a good image, but I'm sharing it at any rate.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am catching up on watching quarter-finals I didn't see yesterday, and have been posting new items to my Etsy while watching.  Here's a picture of one of today's new listings, and also the photo of bee balm I said I would post.  

Saturday, July 3, 2010


So, I've been out and about much of today, and will have to catch up on watching the world cup quarter-finals this evening or tomorrow, but it's been a nice day - lovely weather.  Went to a garden centre with my mother for a while, picking some new plants, and among those we chose was Bee Balm.
Bee Balm is a plant we discovered about 2 years ago I think, when we spent a day at Dundurn Castle, and got chatting with the gardener there.  It's a relative of mint, and bergamot , which is used in Earl Grey tea as a flavouring.  It's got bright red flowers.  I will post a photo soon.

I also picked up some flyers I had printed, to have on hand at the show coming up mentioning the show in November.

Friday, July 2, 2010


OK OK, so I admit that I barely even remembered that it was in fact Friday today, between the Canada Day holiday yesterday, and me working from home at the moment...

I was intending to list at least one new thing to my Etsy today, which I have not done yet.  I might get to it before bedtime, or I'll try to do it tomorrow.

On Wednesday I had a near panic, remembering that it was the last day to submit images for this stage in a competition I entered. 

There's another show in November I've been accepted to, also.  I had originally applied to Hard Twist, but got into the simultaneous event, Piecework, instead.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

I was taking some photos of the newest beaded pieces a little while ago and my little flutterby friend came back.

One of the new necklaces, which I've nicknamed Ladybug Garden:

I made a matching bracelet too.