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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

More colour work with a mini quilt

I pieced another mini quilt with a square of Fingerprint fabric as the centre. The print is English Rose #1.
This is an analogous colour scheme of red, red-orange, and orange in varying tones, tints and values.

Pin basted and ready to hand quilt with perle cotton.
I have finished the appliqué and embroidery on my Garden Tapestry #1 and have sandwiched it with batting and my own hand dyed green fabric for the backing. I am hand basting before I begin the hand quilting.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Getting on with the embroidery on first Garden Tapestry wall hanging

I really, really enjoy embroidery. Now that I have finished the appliqué, which was fun too, this embroidery is a treat.

Framing my art on paper

I had not previously realized that one of the big advantages of textile art is that it does not need to be framed. My watercolours and a painted block print for the Arts Denman Summer Art Gallery's first show of the season, of works by our local watercolour painting group, need to be framed. This is a first for me.
On the advice of a fellow member of the group, I ordered a bulk order of 5 black metal exhibition frames from Opus. I ordered five  11 x 14 " frames, and five mats with a 8 x 10 " opening. Along with some linen tape and a very reasonable shipping $10 fee, and taxes, the cost per frame is $28.00. Yowza, that means the cost of the frame itself is already more than many folks might want to pay for an amateur effort.
Ah well, it is not an unreasonable expense, and it is all part of the activity, which I am enjoying so much.
Framing materials spread out on the dining room table.
The show will be at the Denman Island Arts Centre from May 20 to 26, 2015. Everyone in the group will show a few pieces, and in addition, we have all agreed to do an art work based on this photo of Max's beautiful new rooster:

I do not like painting from photographs, so I chose to make a linocut block. I experimented with block printing inks (which ran when I tried to colour the print with watercolour) and black acrylic paint, which is waterproof but does not give as nice and clear a print image.

I am calling this the Artist Proof.
In the end, I decided to frame this one:

Here are two of my watercolours framed. Impossible to photograph once they are framed!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Creative activities today

It rained today, so I did not walk in the morning - and then the sun shone, and then again it rained and it was cold, and the sun shone some more, and the wind blew - a changeable coastal day for sure.

I embroidered lots and lots on Garden Tapestry #1 (working title), I dyed a 5 foot length of PDF cotton using Maiwa Moss green colour to make backing for the Garden Tapestries, I took some hand quilted table mats to the Denman Island Craft Shop to be juried for inclusion in the shop, I made 3 acrylic paint block prints of my rooster, and I painted a pen and watercolour of an unfurling bracken fern. Oh, and I got some reading done while waiting at the doctor's office. A very productive day, although not heavy on the exercise  . . .

I love my fern. I painted it larger than my usual journal size, as I want to paint a few full size pieces and frame them for the upcoming gallery show of our watercolour group that will be the first show of the Summer Gallery series at the Denman Island Arts Centre for 2015, May 20 to 26.

Bracken Fern Unfurling.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A basket!

After a long hiatus, our basket making group has been meeting again, once a month at the Arts Centre. Fun to be making a basket again!
This one is very free form, with a willow frame. I used up scraps of reed and paper rush and other bits and bobs. Amazingly, the basket stands up straight - that was definitely luck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fabric dyeing

I took the wonderful fabric dyeing workshop at Maiwa last September, and have done nothing with it. Sometimes it takes me awhile! But yesterday, I felt the need for some mottled green fabric to use in the Garden Tapestry pieces.
I got out my book Art Cloth by Jane Dunnewold and turned to the pages on low water immersion dyeing. A variation of the technique is described here http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/lowwaterimmersion.shtml.
I used 4 large squares of Kona PFD cotton, some very old Procion dyes from Maiwa, and following directions, used various combinations of the Moss and Royal Blue dye powders. Ta da! Why have I not been doing this more??? I love the results. The photographs do not do just to the lovely mottle shades of green.

The instructions are straightforward.

Love this book.

These dyes are old, maybe almost 10 years. The caps have rusted but the dyes worked great.

Lovely mottled shades of green that do not show well in photos.

More work on the Garden Tapestry wall hangings

I am continuing to experiment with colouring on fabric. These Pentel Fabricfun Pastel Dye Sticks are wonderful.  I used them to colour the large leaves. They coloured well, could be blended on the fabric, and were heat fixed the next day with a hot iron with no dye transfer to the pressing cloth. I think they might be the best of all that I have used.

Here I am pinning on appliqué pieces. I have also started some embroidery.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Continuing to paint my block prints on fabric

More work on my fabric block prints today . . .

Adding details to the stems of the leaves and some markings within the leaves, using Tulip fabric markers, which I bought at Michaels.

Colouring the flowers using Crayola fabric markers. These are widely available; I probably bought them at London Drugs.

More colour theory - is this really orange?

I am still loving making small quilts and working on colour theory. This table runner is 13 by 30 inches, and hand quilted with #8 perle cotton with a wool batting. The colour scheme is very interesting. It is almost complimentary, using tones and shades of orange, a tint of blue green, and then a neutral off-white.
I have photographed the colour wheel to show that these really are "orange" colours.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Block printing on fabric

I am using some of the blocks that I had carved for my works on paper, and two new ones, to block print on fabric.
The cotton is Kona PFD (prepared for dying) from the Red Barn Quilt shop in the Fabricland store in Courtenay.
I used Speedball screen printing ink for fabric. It is rather runny and does not have the viscosity of regular block printing ink, so that the brayer is not able to really spread it like velcro on the palette. The resulting printed image is not as black and crisp as block printing ink, but I rather like it as I am planning on colouring the  fabric prints. Also, I had this on the shelf, and it is permanent and washable unlike the block printing ink for paper which runs on paper when I try to add watercolour paint. So, done deal.
The fabric pieces are planned to finish 12 inches by 60 inches, because, if they work out, I will enter them into the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association show:

October 22 – November 10, 2015          Hours: 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday
Portals Gallery        Cowichan Valley Arts Council       Duncan
The show is designed so that all pieces will be hung closely together to create a garden wall 
tapestry. The selection of artwork will be based on how all the artwork shows together and reflects 
the theme. See jurors’ bios below. Up to 3 pieces may be submitted. Tryptychs will be considered as 
3 pieces. A maximum of 30 pieces will be accepted based on venue space. Artists’ work is 
anonymous during the jurying process to ensure impartiality and individual works are selected on 
their merits. There is no commission but there is a 3% charge for credit card sales.
Artwork must be original, completed since September 2014 and not previously shown in a VISDA 
show. All pieces must be for sale.
Submission Deadline:      June 30, 2015
Notification of Acceptance:   July 16, 2015 (Thursday)

Beginning the block printing process yesterday.
The stem line was drawn with a black DecoFabric pen

Today I heat set the printing ink with a hot iron, then began colouring the prints. Here the leaves are painted with Setasilk ink. It was very fluid, so I put a bit in a palette well, then just dabbed it onto the leave shapes with a small chisel paint brush. Then, while it was wet, I added SetaSkrib fabric marker in yellow.

In this case, I coloured the leaves with Derwent Inktense pencils using aloe vera as a medium. I love the intensity of the colours.

Here the leaves are painted with Jacquard Textile Color, thinned with aloe vera gel.

These are the Jacquard colours that I mixed to give the leaves a variety of shades.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Another Fingerprint panel mini quilt, colour theory, and hand quilting

Like yesterday's mini quilt, this piece uses a Fingerprint fabric for a centre panel. This fabric is the Peabody Bird.
The colour scheme is a sophisticated one, a triad of three colours equally spaced on the colour wheel: red-violet, yellow-orange, and blue-green in different values.
The turquoise 4 inch flying geese were designed so the points float on the background. Love how this turned out!
Hand quilted in #8 perle cotton.

Back of the mini quilt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mini medallion quilt with Fingerprint fabric centre panel

Last autumn, Fingerprint Fabrics  in the United Kingdom offered free shipping to Canada, so I jumped at the chance to try out some of their fabrics. I ordered a roll of the Warm Collection. The prints are distinctive; I would describe them as digitally altered photographs printed onto fine, tight weave, high thread count cotton.

I used an entire piece of fabric (each piece is about 23 cm by 23 cm), in their pattern called "Winter Oaks"as a centre panel for my mini quilt.  I analyzed the colours in the Fingerprint fabric as a complimentary colour scheme of blue and orange. I used other fabrics, both solids and prints and a batik, in varying values of blue and orange, to border the panel. I used a wool batting which, along with the hand quilting in #8 perle cotton, gives a lovely loft to the piece.

The back of the quilt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An English Paper Pieced table mat and a lino cut block

I am really enjoying making table mats. I can try out ideas for techniques, colour relationships, fabrics, and hand quilting without the time and effort of making a full size quilt. And what does one so with all those quilts? On the other hand, these table mats are used in constant rotation on the dining room table, and are enjoyed every day, at close range to appreciate all that hand work.

The double fold linen binding on this mat is a case in point. If I do say so myself, it is a masterpiece of handwork, but can only be really appreciated by looking at it up close and personal.

EPP appliquéd onto Osnaburg cotton, wool batting, double fold linen binding, #8 perle cotton hand quilting, Kaffe Fasset backing fabric.

Detail of the hand quilting.

The backis very colourful with Kaffe Fasset backing fabric.

My latest art work, a lino cut block printed with acrylic ink and painted with watercolour.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Complimentary colour scheme mini quilt

This is the second mini quilt that I pieced at the Thetis Island quilting retreat where I was working on colour relationships. It uses a traditional complimentary colour scheme, but using unexpected colours.
The predominant complimentary colours are red violet and yellow green, and there are also complimentary yellow and violet.
The block is Burgoyne Surrounded from the book Material Obsession 2 by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. It is the same block that I used to make Amy and David's wedding quilt, my variation of the Charlotte Sometimes quilt pattern form that book, at last year's quilting retreat.

Burgoyne Surrounded block, in complimentary colours of red violet and yellow green, and violet and yellow - in different values of the colours.

Hand quilting in the same colours of #8 perle cotton.

This is the first  colour theory mini quilt that I made at Thetis. The block is Garden Paths by Sarah Fielke from her book Little Quilts that she wrote with Amy Lobsiger. The colours are analogous, blue green with green and blue, in different values, then hand quilted with #8 perle cotton in complimentary colours of red and orange.
Detail of the hand quilting.