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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is it Spring yet?

Hmmm. I decided it was Spring a few days ago so I planted out my tomato plants and hung a wall hanging outside the front door of my studio. Then today it started to rain and it is cold and dark . . .

Every stitch by hand - hand pieced, hand quilted and even the binding seamed by hand before hemming on the back.

The deck furniture is dripping with rain. I just opened the deck door a crack to poke my iPhone out for the pic.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild Plants in the Spring Woods

Polystichum munitum (Sword Fern)

Trientalis arctica (Northern Starflower)

Achlys triphylla (Vanilla Leaf)

Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry)

Amanita velosa

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I am reading the novel Anathem by Neal Stephenson. This book is very hard to describe as it is so amazingly clever, complex, intelligent, amusing and entertaining. I have listened to Stephenson's Reamde as an audio book twice and continue to be awed by him.
Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article about Anathem:
"The novel was partly inspired by Stephenson's involvement with the Clock of the Long Now project, to which he contributed three pages of sketches and notes.[2][3] A separate compact disc, entitled IOLET: Music from the World of Anathem, containing eight experimental vocal compositions by David Stutz, will be sold separately through CD Baby and the Long Now Foundation, with profits going to The Clock of the Long Now project.[4][5]
To create the world of Arbre, Stephenson constructs new vocabulary. In order to familiarize the reader with the new words, many of which are analogous to English, Latin or Greek words and ideas, he put a glossary at the end of the book. Each chapter begins with a definition of one of these words, which usually relates to the chapter in some way. In addition, the Orth language spoken by the characters was created by Jeremy Bornstein at the author's request,[1] and has been documented.[6] The word anathem was invented by Stephenson, based on the word anthem and the Greek word anathema. In the book, an anathemis a mathic ritual by which one is expelled from the mathic world."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Lovely day today, weeding in the sunshine in the morning and machine quilting in the afternoon while listening to the audio book of IQ84 by Haruki Murakami for the second time.
The narcissi are all finished in the garden, the tulips are winding down, and now the columbines are coming into their own.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Creative Threads Conspiracy

I will be teaching two workshops this autumn at the Denman Island Threads Conspiracy, which will take place from Friday October 19 to Sunday October 21, 2012.

A conspiracy of ravens.

On Saturday afternoon I will teach Knitting Toe-Up Socks, and on Sunday afternoon Reasons to Hand Quilt.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rhubarb Pie

Cut up lots of rhubarb, maybe 6 to 8 cups, into less than 1 inch size chunks. Add 1 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup flour and a 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix well and let it macerate while making the pastry.

Pastry (recipe from the Tenderflake Lard package):
Mix 5 1/2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a mixer. Cube a chilled 1 pound package of lard. In a glass measuring cup put 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar, add cold water to make one cup and mix with a fork. Mix the lard into the flour until reduced to smallish pieces then add the liquid gradually while the mixer is running. When it forms a big clump, stop.

Roll out a largish disk of pastry on a well floured marble slab to create a large rough circle. Put this bottom pastry into the pie dish and dump in the fruit. Pull up the pastry around the fruit. Roll out a small centre piece and put on top. Brush with either orange juice (shown) or cream or an egg wash, then sprinkle liberally with white sugar.

Put the pie dish on a baking sheet in case of boil overs. Bake in a pre-heated 450F oven for 10 minutes to brown the pastry, then reduce heat to 350F and bake another 50 minutes until the juice is bubbling and fruit is cooked. Cool before serving.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Low Tide Walk to Tree Island

Sandy Island Marine Park on Tree Island is only accessible by walking at low tide. Andrew Fyson of the Denman Island Conservancy led a group of twelve walkers today, from 9:30 AM to 2 PM.

Link to British Columbia seaweed information http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/algae.html

An erratic on the beach (a granite boulder dropped by a retreating glacier during the last ice age).

Delphinium menziesii (Menzies' Larkspur)

Acer glabrum (Douglas Maple)

Walking towards Tree Island across the sand bars at low tide.

There were so many eagles on the shore that we lost count after about 75.

Pelvetiopsis limitata (Little Rockweed)

Gigartina exasperate (Turkish Towel seaweed ) and Dendraster eccentricus (Eccentric Sand Dollar)

Ulva spp. (Sea Lettuce)  and red seaweed.

Lathyrus maritimus (Beach Pea)

Plectritis congesta (Sea Blush)

Walkers have placed a row of Polinices lewisii (Lewis's Moonsnail) on a log.

Fritillaria lanceolata (Chocolate Lily)

Lupinus littoralis (Seashore Lupine)

 Malus fusca (Pacific Crab Apple)

Walking back to Denman Island across the sand bar from Tree Island, exposed at low tide.

Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone)

Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone)

Rock on the beach is the landmark for the stairs.
The stairs up from the beach.

A steep climb up.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Machine quilting

Machine quilting is certainly a challenge, but I am happy with the results from my afternoon's efforts on the Marble Tiles quilt.
Line quilting in the solid diamond shapes. The walking foot is a great help.

First I quilted in the ditch along all of the major seam lines to hold the quilt nicely together, then I put on the binding. This makes the quilt so much easier to handle as I twist it around underneath the machine. In this afternoon's photo, I have line quilted all but the solid half diamonds on the left side of the centre.   This has been the hardest part, and I know that the many border strips will be much easier as I will not need to struggle with all of that fabric under the machine.

I quilted the large patterned diamonds in a wandering line that I did with the feed dogs engaged and the walking foot.

Denman Island Pottery Tour

Spent the morning at the Arts Centre handing out maps for the annual pottery tour. Took some photos of the items on display, then stopped at Gallerie Deya on the way home to buy a piece from Sudasi Gardner (Weavings, Paintings, Pottery and Plants, phone 335-0265 website n/a) who is a wonderful artist in clay and textiles.
The first photo is of the plate that I bought from Sudasi, and immediately put into my garden. Sudasi show many of her works in her wonderful garden.
My beautiful Sudasi garden plate

Raven by Bentley LeBaron

Painted bowl by Sudasi Gardner

A tall pot from Beardsley Pottery

A whimsical tea party sculpture by Patti Willis

One of Bev Severn's exquisite dragon's eggs

Manfred Rupp was a long time potter on Denman Island who died while still making wonderful pieces.