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, June 28, 2015

My 62nd birthday

June is such a lovely month to have a birthday, and to share with special friends.

Artist of the Month at the Denman Island Craft Shop

Today we put up my display at the Craft Shop.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Artist of the Month" - moi!!

Here is the notice in our local newspaper, The Denman Island Grapevine. Notice my prime spot on the front page, right above the ad for rain water tanks. Talk about great PR exposure!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visit to Lasqueti Island

I spent the day visiting a friend on Lasqueti Island
The dock at French Creek where the passenger-only ferry leaves for Lasqueti Island.
Hey look, The Canadian Coast Guard vessel is called the Cape Cockburn!

My friend's junker "island only" car.
Solar panels are everywhere as there is no electricity on the island. 
The arrivals dock at Lasqueti.
Solar panels near the house.
The house and storage shed.

Rob's wonderful new workshop. 

The ferry approaching the dock for the hour long voyage, over roughish seas, back to French Creek.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fabric painting and dyeing

Yesterday and today I worked in the studio painting and dyeing fabric.

I used a speedy cut block that I carved from my own drawing, an image that I have used in previous textile work, to stamp 6 squares of washed white cotton. I used Speedball fabric screen printing ink, which is my favourite for working with fabric. I painted the images with Jacquard textile paint with aloe vera gel as a medium, let them dry overnight, and then heat set them today.
I squared the 12 inch blocks, then framed them with 2 1/2 inch sashing of hand dyed green fabrics, and sandwiched with natural cotton wadding and pre-washed osnaburg cotton backing. I am still deciding if I will hand quilt or machine quilt them. Probably the latter, to set off the printed and painted leaf images.
The printed and painted images. 
The fabric squares with their hand dyed borders, sandwiched and ready for quilting.
Yesterday I also put 6 pieces of prewashed cotton into large plastic cups for some easy dyeing. This process is so painless that I must do more of it. Today I rinsed the fabric, washed it with synthrapol, dried and ironed it. Now I am thinking of a project to highlight the fabric. I don't want to cut it up into little pieces, but I am interested in making more mats. I think that I will work on curved piecing, which I really enjoy.
The fabric pieces, roughly fat quarters, sitting in their dye bath cups in the sink after an initial rinse.

The completed dyed fabrics. The colours are not true in this picture, left to right: green, brown, orange, purple, pink red, blue.

New paintings

The Denman Island Readers & Writers Festival has asked our watercolour painting group to provide some paintings for the walls of the Arts Centre Gallery while it is being used for workshops between July 13 and 19, 2015.
I did two paintings of my favourite books for the show.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Denman Island Summer Art Gallery show: Sustaining Community

The Denman Island Summer Art Gallery is running a two week group show. The show comes down on June 23, 2015.
I have two pieces in the show: Sailboat at Anchor in Baynes Sound and Interconnections. The latter has been sold - wonderful!

Sailboat at Anchor in Baynes Sound


The community quilt being raffled was made by the Denman Quilters, all proceeds to GLAD: Grannies Linking Africa and Denman, a Stephen Lewis Foundation initiative.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Night Garden medallion quilt

Julie's birthday present on her patio table.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blue Girls on the Beach

Alice 's birthday present up on her patio wall.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lesson four in La Fazio art class

This class is Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life.

I will be busy the rest of this week, so I have done two pages right away.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Embellishments for the wearable art jacket

I want my Chinese inspired jacket for the wearable art show to be arty, and ethnic looking, as per my theme, but I also don't want it to look like a costume. I want it to be wearable.

So I am keeping the fabrics subdued: a dark blue black (woven cotton with some stretch, hope this works with the non-stretch lining) for the outer jacket, and a dark blue silk lining, with the only patterned fabric a wax print cotton for the lower sleeves. I am making the collar, sleeve bands, and front facings from dark velvet scraps, and have devised a simple appliqué and embroidery motif to decorate the bands.

The motif is inspired by design elements from my LaFazio art class. The wheel design is a the bottom of Brace and Bit.

Circle of velvet, raw edged and glue basted. Blanket stitch in blue #8 perle cotton, and a simple flower motif in the centre with a single gold bead. Gold silk piping on the edges of the bands.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Painting class this week, theme "tools"

I am just finishing the third week of the third online watercolour painting class that I have taken from Jane LaFazio. This one is called Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life.  The goal is to draw and paint several pages each week on an assigned theme, and on the same page, to find abstract designs inspired by the images. Then to reinterpret the images as stamps or stencils or rubbings. All lots of fun, challenging, and so much learning!
This week the theme was "from the factory, or garage", with the assignment to draw and paint tools, preferably rusty ones.

I drew and painted three pages, but did not get to carving any stamps or stencils.

Tools from the garage.

Another beautiful old tool from the garage.

Tools from my hand sewing kit.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wearable art challenge with my Comox sewing group

Last year I joined a group of women in Comox who each year sew a wearable art outfit. In 2014 we all made a version of the caftan Vogue 7335.
My caftan was called Dragonfly, and it went on to be part of the members' show at the Comox Vallery Art Gallery.

For 2015, we will meet on Wednesday, July 29 and have a fashion show with garments created to these guidelines:
1. Work with a theme as a starting point:  polka dots, stripes, plaid, animal print, lace, ethnic prints, floral, paisley.
2. We will make either a jacket or a coat to our liking, we choose our own pattern to work with.
3. The garment must include at least one recycled/used fabric on the theme subject. Any other fabrics should be mostly on theme but can have some complementary pieces that come from our existing stash, if at all possible. When looking at your finished garment, there should be no doubt about its ‘theme’.
4. There should be at least 3 embellishments beyond just the fabric choices. i.e.: piping, beading, stamping, embroidery, painting, etc.

The theme that I drew out of the hat is "ethnic". I love Folkwear Patterns, and serendipitously, I have a copy of the Chinese Jacket pattern #114, which I have not yet used.