About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Anagama kiln firing

Gordon Hutchens is an accomplished potter. He has built a "climbing hill dragon" kiln, otherwise known as a Tozan Anagama wood fired kiln on a hillside on his property. One of only two of its kind in North America, the kiln is fired once each spring. For four days, 24 hours a day, it is fuelled with wood. After a week it is cool enough to remove the pots.
Today was a public day. I walked over in the afternoon and took some pictures.

Gordon, in blue shirt, at the kiln's mouth at the bottom of the slope.

Showing the lower part of the kiln.

There are side vents on each side of the kiln. Note the upward slope.

The chimney at the top of the slope.

Looking back down from standing beside the chimney.

The wood pile used to fuel the kiln.

A side view of the kiln.

The kiln mouth covered.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April flowers

I did some gardening this morning and cut a bouquet of April flowers. As our garden has only a small portion that is fenced against deer, I only have a few tulips planted, but many narcissi. Narcissus is one of the few plants that deer never, ever eat. Over the years I have bought many types when our neighbourhood does its annual bulb order with Van Noort, and I especially love the fragrant ones that are best appreciated on the dining room table while I read and blog and sometimes even eat.

Double narcissus "Flowerdrift"

Rock garden narcissus "Quail" (such an exquisite fragrance)

Rock garden narcissus "Thalia" (very lovely with a delicate perfume)

Cupped narcissus "Carlton" (fragrance is not very strong)

Cupped narcissus "Salome" (unscented)

Poetaz narcissus "Yellow Cheerfulness" (light fresh scent)

Merganser Ducks

One of my favourite ducks is the Common Merganser, Mergus merganser.
I tried to take some photos this morning using my Pentax digital instead of my iPhone camera, as the former camera does a better job of longer range photos, although it is still

not terrific. The females and males are all paired up and the females were doing the neck bobbing gesture that they do during spring mating. So beautiful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lovely to see our garden in bloom

We have been away whilst many of the spring flowers are coming into bloom. It is great to be home and see how lovely it all is becoming.
Dandelion growing in the oyster shell path in the herb garden.

Allium Neapolitanum

Narcissus Barrett Browning

Oxalis Adenophylla

Primula vulgaris

The rhubarb is growing rapidly.

Rhododendron Sir Thomas Lipton

Wedding gift quilt

Three years ago I made a quilt for G. and S. for their wedding gift. Then their dog chewed it, and it took them 3 years to dare tell me. Of course I don't care - I am so delighted that they use it for real every day life. That is what I want everyone to do with the quilts and socks and sweaters and everything I make. So I brought some scraps with me this visit, and mended the quilt. The top is perfect, if I do say so myself, but I did not have a scrap of the backing fabric, so that has a noticeable patch. But, I think that adds to its charm . . .
This is the mend on the front.

Detail of the hand quilting which I think turned out very beautifully.

The quilt as it was being mended. 


What an amazing trip, driving across British Columbia through many mountain ranges and then descending the foothills to Calgary for our visit with G. and S. and the grandchildren. We ate so much wonderful food, especially at J.s birthday dinner at the Mercato restaurant.

The view from the rest stop at Canmore, less than an hour's drive from Calgary.
This maps shows Calgary, and then the highway north to Edmonton that we took to Fort Saskatchewan, before heading back west on Tuesday morning on the Yellowhead highway through Hinton.
We spent Monday night visiting with my brothers in Fort Saskatchewan, and then back via Kamloops to West Vancouver for a few days. Lower Ambleside was like a botanical garden with all the lovely shrubs in blossom.

Rhododendron blooming in West Vancouver along the train tracks.

Blue rhodo near the Safeway store.

Viburnum near the bus stop.

At an intersection.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back on the West Coast

A long drive from Fort Saskatchewan to Kamloops yesterday, magnificent via the Yellowhead Highway through Jasper and Blue River.
A shorter drive today, but ending in city traffic, from Kamloops to West Vancouver.
Vancouver Opera "Aida" tomorrow evening.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saying goodbye

Our daughter-in-law showing distress at our leaving :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

J.'s birthday cake

S. made this very chocolate cake for J.'s birthday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quilt mending

A patch on the back of the wedding gift quilt for G and S. I had matching fabric for the front. Their dog chewed on it, but it was easily mended.

Grandchildren day

At the Calgary Science Centre.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Canucks win!

Update - the Canucks just won game 4, so are not out of the series yet.
And another photo of the mountains around Golden, the Purcell Range.

On the road

We are 700 km east of Vancouver on the Trans Canada Highway at Golden. From Wikipedia: "Golden is nestled in the Rocky Mountain Trench, built around the confluence of the Columbia and Kicking Horse rivers, surrounded by three different mountain ranges and five National Parks: Yoho National ParkBanff National ParkJasper National ParkGlacier National Park, and Kootenay National Park.
This photo is from the window of our room at the Prestige Inn. We had a reasonable dinner with almost acceptable wine and now J. is watching the Canucks lose their fourth game of seven in the first round of the NHL play-offs on the TV while I update this blog. 

Leaving on the ferry

We left on Tuesday, starting our journey with the small ferry off our island to Vancouver Island.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilting group meeting today

Today we had the last of Barb Mortell's classes on House Tops quilts. But first we did some show and tell, which we all love and keeps us motivated and enthused.

A baby quilt for a newly born member of our island community.

And another baby quilt.

Seminole quilting.
Kaffe Fassett design: Venetian Tiles.

More Seminole quilting.

Fabric painting.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More ongoing knitting projects

In addition to the Mona socks which are taking a rest for awhile, the following two knitting projects are on my needles. The first is the Tennis Ladies Cardigan from Marion Foale's Classic Knitwear. I am knitting it in a superb yarn, Genziana, from Adriafil. As I have chosen the colour way Anthracite it has been a challenge to do so much fine plain knitting in a dark grey colour while my eyes have been recovering from PRK eye surgery. But as the day light brightens and my eyes improve, I have progressed with this project and now have the back done.
The yarn looks blueish here, but it is a true dark grey.

See how long the back is - that is a lot of knitting!

My second ongoing knitting project is an attempt to design a new toe up sock pattern based on the Bosnian Square Toe technique that I learned at Sock Summit 2012.