Sunday, December 10, 2006

Creating a Sketchbook

I recently had to opportunity to take a 2 day workshop with Sandra Meech with the Threadworks committee of Elora. I had a great time working with old friends ( Maggie Vanderweit, Joanne Oldridge) and New friends (Donna Lesor and Joan Fraser) . Sandra introduced us to her method of generating ideas for new compositions using a sketchbook and papers. First I painted my complete sketchbook with Brusho brillant dye paints from England. I worked quickly and slapped that paint on each page. I also painted several magazine pages, theme pages and hand written photocopy pages. I also used acrylic paints to paint white cotton and bonding web. I went crazy painting the fabric since Sandra was going to throw out any paint not used.
In the afternoon after letting out sketchbook dry a bit and helping it along with hairdryers, we started our first compositon exercises. My theme continues to be Savannah, Georgia. I visited Savannah last winter and took many pictures of the city. Needless to say I just love this city. I find it to be a contrast in old and new. Even the old facades are updated with new insides. There was alot of variety in architecture and many examples of historical reference. My colour choices so far representing Savannah are red and turquoise. I have chosen a symbol, a brick, representing the buildings , the roads built of bricks and bricks as grave markers.
The compositon consisted of selecting 3 papers from our theme, tearing them and weaving them to fit our sketch book page. The following is a quick description of our transition from collaging to drawing in our sketchbook: creating a strips and stripes with torn papers, cutting curving strips with a utility knife, applying oil pastels to both pages, taking a magazine picture and cutting out windows and drawing in the missing areas with back fine tip pen or pencil crayon, tracing a magazine photo on tracing paper and tearing both the photo and tracing into strips and rearranging and collaging ( this was great fun). The next activity over the 2 days consisted of layering and creating holes in our sketch book. I used my brick theme and build walls that had holes in the bricks to see bricks in the next pages. I actually ripped my pages and cut out other bricks from this extra paper.
Believe it or not I was running out of time, Sandra kept us moving from one composition to another. We also had chat sessions where she demonstated and showed examples of her sketchbooks and how they evolved into a finished fibre art work. At the end of the second day we all laid our favourite page in our sketch book for all to view. It looked magnificent.
This workshop really got my adreneline going and I have continued to work in my sketchbook, collaging and drawing on my theme. Those painted pages are wonderful to work on. I am going to use Sandra's new book as a guide to complete more compositon pages. I've already read and studied her book,`Creative Quilts, Inspiration,Texture and Stitch. I am planning to take my sketchbook on holiday to Florida. All I'll need is pencil crayons, a glue stick and compostion ideas. If you get a chance to work with Sandra or read her book I highly reccommend it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


This is my first posting as a blogger. I knew nothing about it except reading other fibre artist's blogs like Lesley Riley and Carmi Ciamini. I t was from Lesley's blog I discovered Google had a vehicle for me to journal on. I have lots of stories to share but no real forum for them in the world of Fibre Art.
I'll start with a short bio. I am in my 50's , retired art teacher, wife, mother of 2 adult boys and one mini schnauzer called Oskar. I am well into my second career, making fibre art and showing at galleries. I belong to a group of artists and our website is We have a show in Guelph Ontario at the Greenwood Gallery until Nov.30th.
I have begun to volunteer at my local public school teaching art of course in a grade 7 class. The first day one of the students said I looked too young to be retired! What a sweetie, he is right of course. I still stay in contact with my fellow teacher friends, once a teacher always a teacher. Some other things I like to do beside creating is reading, going for a massage, coffee with friends, watching Grey's Anatomy and Young and the Restless. I love Ophrah, Ellen, Sopranos, Rescue Me, Medium and Six Feet Under. I walk my dog everyday for exercise and I like Yoga as well. On the True Colours test I am Blue with Orange. I avoid conflict and like to see everyone happy. I do like to take some creative risks. More about true colours another time.
The purpose of this blog is to journal my thoughts and to share with any other artist who would like to read it and comment. I hope this reaches someone with similar interests.
Donna fibreartist