Lake Report 2

Things have been very busy at Blue Lake this week. We ask a lot of our students and they (for the most part!) respond with a great output of work. I am always surprised and pleased with their freedom and imagination in design. I’ll show you a quick slideshow of works in progress…

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Can’t wait until we hang the show and can see these wonderful pieces on display. I WILL take lots of pictures and show you one last post after Sunday, when my time at Blue Lake will end with a big smile. Love this, but I’m always glad to get home, too!

One of the highlights for me is raku day in the ceramics studio. The raku kiln is directly outside my studio door so I get to see the whole process and enjoy the results immediately. I loooooove raku. Here are a few shots of the first batch of the day.

So, so beautiful.

In fact, I think the word of the day IS beautiful!


Workshop in review

Here is the good news for you and your guild…Susan Purney Mark is not fully booked right now and YOU could have her teach for you! If you can possibly do it–DO IT!

I had such a wonderful learning experience with her at Quilt University this weekend. Colour Blocking with thickened dyes gave such great results…I know you want to see what I have!

Playing with dyes has always been so much fun for me and this technique has certainly enhanced that.

The next two days were spent with paint and markers and paper….and so much more.

We produced a LOT of fabric…these next two are my favorites

We learned about ascemic writing and I practiced a bit and I’m starting to feel comfortable with this one style, of many styles.

We also had a chance to start working with some of the fabrics and I started with a collaged sketch book cover.

I brought two strips of paper to use up and so I made a couple of accordion books. The first is a simple, typical book, but it’s MY fabric!

The second one started out as a typical book, but then we cut out sections. Lots more interesting.

I want to make this next little book but didn’t have time to do more than practice with paper. It folds up tiny but it’s made from a single sheet.

There is a lot more to this than books, but that’s what captured my attention. I feel so much more confident and knowledgeable using so many more materials now…it’s a great feeling, for sure.

And Susan gave me a card that she created as a thank you for my help (as a supply shipping point!) so I have an original Susan Purney Mark artwork!

Couldn’t have had a better weekend!

Now to concentrate on what I have to prep and take to Blue Lake next week. Focus, Kathy, focus!

Tell A Story Faces

Libby Williamson is a very gracious teacher. I fell in love with her style of face making and she is allowing me to share that with my middle schoolers at Blue Lake this year. Of course I don’t have her expertise, her tips or hints, but these are beginners and just getting a taste of–and hopefully a fascination for–textiles. That’s really my goal.

I had never made any kind of a portrait before and I was very scared to try it. I expected an epic failure and thought I was crazy to even think about teaching this.

Well, let me tell you…………..this is fun, challenging, and it could become addictive for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this!

And it doesn’t hurt that I have an almost never-ending resource warehouse.

It makes me even less likely to throw scraps away.

Here’s my first effort.

You Go, Girl!

All I knew when I started this was that I wanted to add crazy spiked hair. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Wanted to have samples of a couple of other ways to construct a face so I put two more together–without any of the fear or procrastination of the first one!

‘Sup, Dude?


There are a lot of things that I will do to these after camp is over, but that’s mostly because I have access to machines and techniques that the kids at camp don’t have. I’m going to make my ‘resource warehouse’ available to the kids, too…and maybe I’ll be able to get a handle on that huge pile of fabric scraps!

These may have been the first faces that I have made, but I know they will not be the last!

Slow stitching

Knot Even Quilters meeting today and we had decided to do a slow stitching round robin and simply enjoy the time. Everyone brought their project and the materials needed to work on it and even some general foo-foo to share. Not surprisingly, as soon as the stitching began, the conversation dropped to a low murmur!

The plan was for us to stitch and switch after 15 minutes and that time limit was immediately discarded. Most of us wanted to produce quality work on each piece we worked on, so we spent a bit more time before we switched. We had some “skip me, I need a few more minutes” but in the end we all worked on all the pieces. Sooooo much fun, but no pictures. Maybe when we bring them all back finished…don’t laugh! It could happen. In fact, most members of the group ARE finishers, so it will be fun to see.

My project was a last minute two-fer. Another group I belong to is going to have a challenge and make a round robin scroll piece…decided last night and I need to have a sample for the next meeting. Sooo–I grabbed a bunch of supplies, some background fabric and used my KEQ friends to get me started!

I am using lace, sheers, vintage linens and my aim is to have a lavish and vintage piece. They are such good friends and started me off so well!

I’m going to put so much more stitching into this and I don’t want to work on any of my other deadline pushing projects. However, I forced myself to put this away. Out of sight means that I will get the obligations finished first.

And, as promised, blog posts will be fewer during the busy-ness of summer fun. Grandson hockey camp this week.

Swimming and picnic with him and his friend Friday. Quilt guild Saturday………………….looking forward to Sunday. Maybe not a ‘day of rest’ but surely a day of quiet sewing.

And that darn grass just keeps on growing………………!!

Have you ‘squashed’?

Something new and very interesting to me!!! I am not a scrapbooker or journal keeper so the idea of squash books came as a surprise to me when I saw one a few days ago. It’s a book that folds up into a small square and they are absolutely charming. I want to do it in fabric, with a professional look AND be able to teach it at Blue Lake in a couple of weeks. Yeah, right………..easier said than done, for sure!

First thing was to learn how to fold it and then to figure out which materials would work best with fabric. Heavy interfacing was my first thought and it is maybe too heavy. It will make a large package even before adding any fabric.

So, lighter weight interfacing. Had lots of fusible, but can’t iron in the folds that way! Sew in interfacing worked just fine.

Scraps and large pieces, no decorative stitching, so the premise works fine. But look at those raw edges!

One edge treatment often suggested is a dip in paint to seal the edge so that’s what I tried.

Ummmm–nope! Messy, uneven, ugly. The stitcher’s answer would be a machine sewn edge, but I want to teach this to unskilled children so I can’t plan on that. For adults who already know how to sew, probably! For camp, it’s important to me to teach hand sewing skills.

So I’m headed back to the drawing board–and more thinking–while I work this up. Oh, AND we want to incorporate a cross disicipline printing component with this, too. We are all good teachers, but maybe not this good, for this project. There are other ways to add mixed media.

Will continue to work on this idea–in a hurry–but I’m sure there will be some version of it taught at camp!


Bits and pieces, again!

Bits of time and bits of projects. That’s what’s happening around here lately. It’s summertime, so that’s how things go in the studio! You need to enjoy the time and the people and the outdoor things that don’t happen at other times of the year. Oh, yeah–that includes the lawn mowing and weeding the garden!

I’ve been working on several projects at once, with a lot of it only in my mind. And a lot of it is planning for teaching at Blue Lake in a couple of weeks. My co-teacher and I have a couple of good ideas, but it’s the translation from idea to TEACHING that idea that takes some work! Knowing that our students are primarily unskilled newbies to fabric arts really forces you to go back in time to memories of how you first learned these skills. I like to show why we tell them to do things certain ways rather than simply telling them to DO it.

3D is our focus this year, so they will have to take their art ideas, translate them to fabric, learn how to sew them and make them get up off the table! We are asking a lot of them.

I’m working on a sample that will show first, a simple design stitched on muslin with no interfacing or batting and a little paper embellishment added.

Then I will show them why we add those other things for support, even before we work on the underlying cardboard structures. Need to make those step out samples yet.

Also working on a challenge for my KEQ group and there is a deadline for that, too. I’m not going to show you my completed project just yet, but I did get it done. Just know that I used this artificial eyelash

AND these orange rubber flowers in the piece!

And while I had paint and glue and tools out, I got these pieces finished and mounted.

Trying to stay on track and work to deadlines, but I am easily distracted. My word for the day–every day–for the next couple of weeks is FOCUS!


Aaaaaand, it’s finished…sort of!

My big turquoise project is all quilted and I definitely could call it finished. It’s put together as I first envisioned it and I’m quite happy with it.

Even breaking 5–yes FIVE–needles on the stupid beaded peach fabric! I haven’t broken that many needles in five years, but those beads were vicious!

And it is actually incomplete. As I study it, I realize that it’s a pretty nice background. Color coordinated, nicely decorated, lots of good texture, but what’s missing? A good focal point!

And one of my first questions to myself is about that hanging sleeve. Is it all right as is?

Do I need to add stitch, paint or something to it? Or do I just need to fold it to the back and sew it down?

Then there are several ways I’m contemplating for adding a real focal area. First is area, such as a swath of color or a small, concentrated area.

Then there is color itself. All white, all peachy, various colors, black?

My plan is to create leaves from organza; same leaves that I used for the stamping. I would love to hear your opinions and ideas! There is no rush to finish on this one, so I can take my time and really think it through, not jump into it willy-nilly.

I have some leftover blocks that I want to utilize in a smaller piece, very similar, but no batting, more overlap of the leaves and probably no hand stitching…or maybe MORE hand stitching. Have a couple of challenge obligations to finish first, though! And Blue Lake teaching is coming up and I have no samples, so I’d better get on that, too.

I never yet have run out of things to do or ideas to try. The universe is soooo good to me that way!