Colour: A Personal Response Exhibition at ArtSea Gallery in Tulista Park, Sidney

Opening Reception of Colour: A Personal Response – Lesley and Sarah.
Thank you, Louise, for thinking of and taking a photograph of the 2 of us on the night of the opening.

The gallery waiting for the first viewers.

Each of the works is monochromatic, made using only one colour.
We hung the work with Sarah’s making a colour wheel going clockwise around the room.

And my work making an intersecting colour wheel going anticlockwise around the room.

The result was each work was hung in a group with its complement.

At the small books table, we asked people to pick a colour and write their thoughts or feelings about that colour. It was a popular centre on the opening night and throughout the week.
I love the little drawings the children made.

Sarah and I spent our time while sitting the exhibition talking to people about how the work came about and what our concept was. There were lots of conversations in front of the works over the week also.
People stopped to read our artist statements and bios.
Sarah at the front desk keeping track of visitors, sales and answering questions.

Sarah had cards for each of her works for sale and did a brisk business.
Each work had its colour book. Sarah’s were a result of her research on each artist she studied and made a work on. My books were marks showing the energy of each colour in a different medium – paint.

The fabric colour cards were displayed on turntables grouped by temperature.
The cool colours of the colour wheel.

The warm colours.

We sold a good number of individual fabric colour cards but the packs with all of the colours were the most popular.
The tally of visitors to the show tell it was a successful exhibition. For Sarah and I, we know it was successful because of the interest shown in our work by so many people over the week. They wanted to hear all about everything to do with how the idea started to how we worked, how we made each work and how we hung the work. There were people who came back again bringing other friends with them. Our viewers wrote lots of encouraging words in the guest book and have sent us emails of thanks since.
Sarah and I want to thank everyone who came to the exhibition and also all of those who have supported us while we worked to produce this body of work.
The exhibition is going to be travelling for a while. I’ll keep you posted on where it will be stopping.

Colour: A Personal Response Exhibition Gets Hung in ArtSea Gallery Tulista Park, Sidney BC

Sarah unwraps her artwork.
The first task once we got access to the gallery at 6:00 Sunday evening was to set up tables to work from.

We laid sheets on the floor along all of the walls we were planning to hang on.
We did a check to see if it would all fit in the space.
While Sarah and I did a rough hang of the work Ron sorted out all of the hanging cables and placed what was needed above each work.

While Ron and I got each artwork leveled, at the right height and spaced from its neighbour, Sarah set up different colour centers. 
Here are the Fabric Colour Cards in their individual racks on rotating stands. We are selling individual cards and have complete sets of 24 cards packaged up as well.
On the wall is one of each colour card mounted in a frame by our fabulous framer Jane Conner in the Mat Shop. She framed all of the works in the exhibition and gave us lots of good advice along the way.

Another colour centre is in a quieter space in the back alcove of the gallery. I made 24 little colour books and am asking people to pick any book and write in it how they feel about the colour.
Another colour centre has 36 colour books set up in racks. 
Sarah is going through a book with Isobel Jones, an early visitor to the exhibition the morning it opened.
I’ll show a better shot of this centre in a  later post.

Sarah has chosen not to sell her original works at this stage but has made prints and cards of individual works to sell.

Speaking of selling – here is Ron programming my Square in preparation for sales.
We worked until after 10 last night and were back in the gallery early this morning to do all of the remaining tasks before officially opening. The gallery committee support person, Dale MacEwan, was in the gallery last night and first thing this morning to explain all the gallery systems to us. Thank you, Dale, for all of your support.
The gallery is open. The exhibition is on!

Colour: A Personal Response Exhibition – getting ready to hang

For the past 2 years, Sarah McLaren and I have been producing bodies of work based on how we feel about specific colours.

I have produced 24 works, each one exploring the energy I feel from a specific colour.
Sarah has explored each colour through the works of one of her favourite artists.
Here is her ‘Modigliani in magenta’ and my ‘Synesthesia #5 Green’.
Earlier in the year, we set up a little taster of our exhibition in the gallery where we will be exhibiting next week – ArtSea Gallery at Tulista Park, Sidney BC, September 18th to 24th.
We both made colour cards in 24 different hues with shades, tints and tones in fabric on one side and paint on the other. We are busy packaging these up in sets to sell.
 We both made colour books, one to match each of our fibre works.
Here are my books laid out flat while the matte medium layer dries.
 I also made a second set of smaller books. 

The rack cards and poster have been designed, printed and distributed.
Many thanks to Sarah’s daughter, Margo for all of the work she has done to promote the exhibition. 
In these last few days, we are working through our checklists of all those tasks that need to be done to mount an exhibition. Labels – check, print stickers – check, pick up cards – check, …..
Sunday evening we begin hanging. Sarah and I are very excited to see for the first time how our work looks together. I’ll keep you posted.
‘Colour: A Personal Response’ 
September 18th to 24th, 2017
Artsea Gallery, Tulista Park, 9565 Fifth Street, Sidney BC
Open 10am to 4pm daily
Opening Reception September 19th, 2017 from 4 to 6pm

Photo Shoot in the Green Shed by Tony Bounsall

Tony Bounsall – Tony Bounsall Photo Design came to the Green Shed for a photo shoot.
Tony has been photographing my work for years because he really knows how to capture textiles.
Here he is setting up to photograph Barbara McCaffrey’s large work.

I thought this work would be a challenge because it is solid buttons that turn shiny under lights but Tony was up to it and produced a lovely image.
I pushed back all of the furniture to make a large space in front of the design wall.
I invited 3 other artists to also have their work photographed in the same session.
We were all applying for the juried exhibition ‘Eco-Threads’ and wanted our work to look the best.
I moved the furniture around in the studio again to be able to block some loooong knitting. I had to build up the lower cutting table to extend the flat surface to block on.

To block knitting I use wires to hold the edges out straight while the fabric is drying. Wool has memory and will hold this shape once it is dry.

I use a t-pins to hold the wires at the corners and at a few places along the edges.

I had made 2 bias knit scarves in kid mohair and hand dyed merino for birthday gifts. The birthdays were happening soon so I needed to get these finished and in the post.
Then it was back to continue working on the Synesthesia series.
The flexible studio space was put to the test this week and proved to work well.

Eco-Threads Exhibition at Coast Collective, Colwood

Eco-Threads is a juried exhibition put on jointly by Vancouver Island Surface Design Association and the Coast Collective in Colwood, on from June 28 to July 9, 2017. 
There will be an artists’ reception from 3 to 5 pm followed by a themed fashion show from 7 to 9:30 pm.
All of the work juried into the exhibition and all of the garments in the fashion show have a connection with recycling, re-purposing, or reusing. Some are the result of a studio practice that is kind to the environment while others are about the environment.
The lovely image in the exhibition poster is Bryony Dunsmore’s work.

Douglas-fir: Wind Drawing
I am happy to say my entry was juried into the exhibition.
It is about a Douglas-fir tree in our back yard. The middle part is a drawing done in ink by a branch of the tree on a windy day. The different fabrics are from old bedsheets. The middle one was composted under the tree canopy before being drawn on.
The exhibition is one of many being held during the Northwest Weavers Conference being held at the University of Victoria. The conference theme is ‘Treddle Lightly.’ It is completely sold out but the exhibitions and the Merchants Mall are open to the public.
It is going to be a fun weekend.

New Work: 24 Synesthesia Colour Studies

I continue to work on my Synesthesia colour studies.

I used lots of thread on this one.

For each colour, I also work in paint and fabric to show a range of tints, tones, shades and intensities of each colour.

I went pretty dark with this colour – mmmm one of my favourites.

When I am in full swing all of the horizontal surfaces in my studio are in use. While one thing is drying I can get on with something else. 

Making progress but still lots to do to finish this series.

My New Reliable Velocity Iron

This is my old Reliable Velocity iron. It has been reliable but after 5 years I have worn it out. It is not worth repairing, the cost of which would include having to ship it both ways across the country. It is no longer made and has been replaced by an updated model.

This is my new Reliable Velocity iron. I am hoping it has kept the best features of the older model and improved on others.

New on the right. There are a lot more and smaller steam holes. The grooves that shot the steam along the sole plate have gone. It will be hard to compare if the new is more effective but here’s hoping.
The top point is pointier – a good feature for detail work but I use this iron mainly for flat yardage. The back is curvier which makes it harder to tell when the straight edge of the fabric is covered with the sole plate.

New on the right. The main difference is the push button digital readout has gone. This was the feature that failed on the older model. My resident engineer says it would have been very difficult to keep the electronics sealed away from the steam chamber. The temperature is now controlled by a manual dial.
The water sprayer has gone. That is OK because I didn’t use this feature. The steam-generating chamber produced enough steam to smooth out the driest and most wrinkled fabrics.
The new model has a clearer plastic water chamber so it is easier to see the water level. As a consequence, I don’t overfill it as often. 

New on the right. The water filter (bottom left on the older model) has gone. With a steam generator, the water quality can affect its lifespan and efficiency. I am filling the new iron with only distilled water to avoid the buildup of scale and rust in the chamber. Even though the shop I bought the first iron from told me it was OK to leave water in the chamber all of the time, I now empty it at the end of each session. It will make a difference in prolonging the life of the iron.

New on the right. The water fillers illustrate the newer model has a smaller water chamber holding about a third less water. I consider this a negative feature because it means I have to refill it more often. 

I poured water from the old container into the newer iron and this is the leftover water. I don’t know if you can see the water line here.

After a short time using the new iron I found another negative feature. I kept naturally putting my hand forward of the rubber handle and unintentionally pushing the buttons with my palms. I found it was easy to bump the circular dial to a different setting. At first, I thought this heavy iron, which I like the weight of, was unbalanced in that my hand went to the centre point and covered the buttons.

 Then I noticed when I kept my hand back away from the buttons my fingers were scrunched against the back of the handle. I have decided the handle design was too short.
I really like that this iron is so heavy. It does a great job without my having to put any weight on the handle. All I need to do is guide it with my hand. 
When ironing I aim to keep the iron down and in contact with the cloth as much as possible and to lift it only when I need to move the fabric. By using the weight of the iron and its feature of being able to continuously produce steam I can get a lot of ironing done relatively quickly for little effort on my part. This is the main reason why I bought this brand again. I am hoping its modifications and my better care of it will ensure we have a long and happy life together.
What is your favourite iron? I would be interested to hear from you.

Working With Itten’s 7 Colour Contrasts

“Our sense organs can function only by means of comparisons. The eye accepts a line as long when a shorter line is presented for comparison. The same line is taken as short when the line compared with it is longer. Colour effects are similarly intensified or weakened by contrasts.” Itten The Elements of Color, p. 32
Itten’s 7 kinds of colour contrast:
1. Contrast of hue
2. Light-dark contrast
3. Cold-warm contrast
4.Complementary contrast
5.Simultaneous contrast
6. Contrast of saturation
7. Contrast of extension
With this Synesthesia series of work, I am working with one hue/colour at a time, defined as a monochromatic colour scheme. It means I am not able to use #1. Contrast of hue. For each individual work to be successful I need to work with other colour properties to achieve contrast.

The Synesthesia series aims to show how I feel about each colour’s energy. To express that energy I focus on line, without making a thing, shape or motif and I work with value. #2 Light-dark contrast is my main design tool

# 2. Light-dark contrast. Here I have overlapped with an off-set, dark to light threads over a dark to light ground.

To me, this colour evokes calmness, an immensity in its calmness. To give this feeling I need to show a low level of contrast but still need to have some contrasting elements for the work to be successful, otherwise, there is no energy at work.
I took advantage of one of textiles’ strongest features – texture. This low contrast dark to light fabric line up is still interesting to the eye because each fabric has a different texture.
These fabrics also show #6 Contrast of saturation at a low level but the eye can still see a brighter blue beside a dull blue.

When checking for #2 Light-dark contrast I look through a ‘Ruby-Beholder’ – a red or green plastic strip and or I take a picture with my camera to get a black and white image. 
Here I decided there was just enough contrast of light and dark for the eye/brain to notice while still giving off a calm vibe.

Including too wide a range of light to dark generally is not successful. One needs to limit the range of values to a group or block along the light-dark continuum.
When I am designing a work I take out all of the fabrics I have that would be suitable as far as their other characteristics are concerned. I arrange them in a continuous line from light to dark. I then look along the line to decide which section would best express the feel and energy of that colour. I work with fabrics in that section and put away those either side of the chosen ones.

I am making colour cards to go with each Synesthesia work. The cards have strips of fabric glued to them. When I select the fabrics I aim for the maximum range of values, saturation, and cold-warm contrast because the purpose of the cards is to show the full range of the colour’s properties.

A stop for a quick dark-light check during construction. 
Is there enough contrast to effectively express the energy I feel from this colour?
When I make work I do a lot of research and pre-planning in a sketchbook. Next, I sample with the actual fabrics. When I am actually making the work it feels as though I am back at the trial and error stage but this time I am working towards producing that image or feeling I have of what the work should be and it guides my decisions.

VISDA Current Threads 2017 Exhibition in Ladysmith BC

The annual Vancouver Island Surface Design Association Currents Threads exhibition will open on April 15 and run until April 30, 2017.
This year the group is returning to the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, Ladysmith. 
All of the work will have been completed in the last 3 years and has not been shown in any Current Threads exhibition before.
We are anticipating another successful exhibition with many visitors.
The Artist Reception is on April 22, from 2:00 until 4:00 pm. I do hope many of you can attend to enjoy the work and talk to the artists in attendance.
Artists will be sitting the gallery every day from 11 am until 4 pm.
During Ladysmith’s Spring Art Tour on April 21st until 23rd, the gallery hours are extended from 10 am until 5 pm.
This annual exhibition is a survey of the most recent work by fibre artists who live on Vancouver Island and many of the smaller offshore islands.
You are all invited to attend.

New Work: 2 new works on the go

Every day I am in the studio I stitch into this work for an hour or so.

After the tree added its wind drawing I am responding by marking the branchlets I see on the ground after the wind.

I am also working on another for the Synesthesia series.

This series is a response to how I feel about the energy of each colour.
I show the energy through line, value and a fibre art technique.
For this colour, it is cut-back applique and free motion machine embroidery.

A check on the values.
 Is there enough contrast or is there too much contrast? 
Are the darks and lights in the right places to give the feel I want?
I am making 24 in this colour series