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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thread painting on hand dyed fabric

I dyed this piece of cotton by painting on the dye, and although the colours were very intense when fresh, by the time the fabric dried the colours were much lighter. Then when I steamed the fabric to set the dye, some of it transferred within the fabric.
Although the final fabric look was not what I had originally envisaged, I decided to continue with thread painting. I took Leah Day's "Infinity Tree" quilting motif as my starting point.
I have done most of the stitching at this point, and it was not until I looked at these photos on my computer screen that I realized that the tree looks like a female figure. The unplanned images that appear in an art work - wow!
I think that I will run with this -why not? - and complete this piece as a "female spirit of the forest" kind of idea . . .

Update on Garden Tapestry art show

I heard from the Portals Gallery today, and two of my Garden Fantasy pieces sold this morning. So very exciting, and it makes me so happy to think that others appreciate my work.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Garden Fantasy" textile art at the Portals Gallery in Duncan, British Columbia

In July of this year, I heard that my triptych had been juried into the Garden Tapestry show at the Portals Gallery in Duncan.
I could not attend the opening reception last Friday afternoon as I was busy at our local Denman Island Creative Threads Conspiracy.
Today my husband and I had a lovely day outing and went to see the exhibition. We stopped for coffee, a sticky bun and a visit to the bookstore in Ladysmith, then carried on down Vancouver Island to Duncan.
The Portals Gallery is small, but the show was beautifully hung and it looked stunning. The volunteer at the desk said that the show was attracting lots of visitors, more than usual for a show. Textile art is always so appealing, so I am not surprised.
Photographs are not allowed of other artists' pieces, so I just snapped a few of my own. Previous posts actually have better pics of my three "Garden Fantasy" pieces.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mid-term evaluation in my North Island College first year drawing class

Each student in the class drew an independent drawing on a full sheet, 24 by 36 inches, of drawing paper. The drawings were mounted on the wall at a mid-height of 57 inches from the floor, and a 1/2 an arm width apart.
Each student was randomly assigned a piece to critique, and was given 15 minutes to write up notes in her sketchbook.
Then the instructor took 7 to 10 minutes per student work to evaluate the piece. First the student critic read their notes, then 3 to 5 other students were asked for comments. The student artist then explained their theme and techniques used, and finally the instructor gave her input.
The entire process was extremely interesting and useful! The comments from the fellow students were very insightful and the instructor is a true professional. She gave equal weight, attention, and acuity of comments to each student, no matter how accomplished or amateur the drawing.
At the end of the class we all handed in our sketchbooks for evaluation by the instructor alone.
Getting the drawings on the wall.

My mid-term independent drawing.

Official portrait of "Autumn Leaves" costume for Wearable Art Fashion Show, October 2015

A local photographer was kind enough to take official portraits of all the participants in Wearable Art Fashion show that took place at the Denman Island Activity Centre this past Saturday evening, October 24, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cochineal dyeing and an art piece to submit to the West Vancouver Ferry Building Gallery

Last year my sister-in-law brought me home some cochineal dye from Oaxaca in Mexico. Over the weekend I dyed a piece of white wool melton. The colour is not as deep as I would have liked, but is still a very soft pleasing red.

I don't think that I scoured the wool fabric as well as I should have, and I did not have alum for a mordant so I just used some cream of tartar. When I rinsed the fabric, after leaving it for 24 hours, so much red dye came out, all over my hands and the towel that I used with the fabric for the final rinse in the washing machine is now a very pleasing pink.

I am using some of the lovely red wool fabric to create an art piece which I will be submitting for possible inclusion in a juried art show at the West Vancouver Ferry Building Gallery, "Love in Many Languages", planned for February 2016.

I drew my husband's right hand, the back of the hand, and my left hand, palm up. Then I used the drawings as templates and traced the images onto some lovely Kona cotton that I had dyed in fall 2014 with Big Leaf Maple leaves. I interfaced the fabric, then free motion quilted the hands onto maple leaf dyed wool felt to give them dimension. Then I cut out the hands very carefully, and satin stitched them to the red wool fabric. Next batting in between, and more red felt as a backing. One line of stitching around each hand to quilt the sandwich, and finally a gold silk binding, that needs to be hand stitched to the back.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

And, drum roll, the Wearable Art Fashion Show!

On Saturday evening, as part of the Creative Threads Conspiracy weekend, we had the the Wearable Art Fashion Show!
What can I really say - you just had to be there. Our small island, with about 900 permanent residents, showed up in force. Of course there were a number of visitors who came for the fibre arts weekend, so not everyone was a local, but still, there must have been close to 300 people jammed into the Community Activity Centre, all lined up standing against the walls, as it was truly standing room only. I can only assume that the fire chief was not in attendance, but just about everyone else was.
We had a shambolic dress rehearsal at 4:30, then drooped around our make shift green room until 7:30, when we all perked up and put on our show. We had the ocean dressed in beach detritus, a lit-up octopus celebrating the local preschool, a Free Store outfit shimmying with cast off fishing lures, a multi-layered dress that kept shedding to reflect the four seasons, a giant pair of silk wings that swept up high on bamboo poles, many more, and then little old me: Autumn Leaves. I twirled and gyrated and stuck my leg in the air to show off my hand knit socks - all silly and so much fun!

Wearing my outfit, along with my headdress, my hand knit socks, and my branch with embroidered felt leaves.

My headdress, pinned up on my design wall, before the big show. A felt burrowing owl, downy woodpecker, two chickadees and a nest.

Indigo dyeing and book binding workshops

I took two workshops at the Creative Threads Conspiracy, natural indigo dyeing and Coptic book binding.

My final pieces, a cotton scarf and two pieces of fabric, after machine washing and drying at home.

Book binding in action.

My final result.

Drawing class evaluation

The past Tuesday, October 20 and the upcoming Tuesday, October 27, are evaluation days for my North Island College drawing class.
On October 20, each student had a portfolio review, where every drawing done in class, on newsprint and on drawing paper, was spread out on the floor and discussed with the instructor.

The day after tomorrow, we have a review of our full size independent drawing and of our sketchbook.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Socks finished: Sock Summit yarn

In summer of 2011 I went to the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon. What fun, and I bought a lot of sock yarn. I think this skein of Blue Moon yarn, Socks that Rock, of 100% superwash merino, lightweight, in colorway Stumptown Brown, is the last of that epic haul. It is rather boring, to tell the truth, and that is probably why it has lingered so long. When a knitter has all sorts of fun self-striping and colour change sock yarns to choose from, this stolid brown did not inspire. But done now, and I will probably wear them this winter.
The pattern is my own basic toe-up 56 stitch pattern, short row heel. I used basket stitch for the legs, and an I-cord bind-off, which I really like and will use again. Link to the pattern here on Ravelry.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drawing negative space

Drawing class homework was to fill a half sheet of drawing paper with a negative space drawing of a leaf or foliage. The negative space was supposed to be an even shade of dark black and we could use ink rather than the charcoal which we used in class, as the charcoal is SO messy.
I laid three bulrushes with their leaves onto a piece of newsprint, and looked down on the image as I drew it. I found that worked well for finding the negative spaces, and I am quite pleased with the image. Not so much with evenness of the background. I drew with the nib end of a Tombow ABT pen, and filled in the background with the brush tip. It was hard to get an even blackness, even though the Tombow is water soluble, and I went over all the black areas with a wet paint brush to try to even out the tone. Then, the Tombow marker ran out, not surprising given the amount of coverage. So the bottom left hand side is painted in with Chinese ink, with is not as black although the tone is more even. I may need to do another piece to see if I can improve on the background.

Drawing class number 5

Last week's homework, to create a tonal drawing, without obvious edge lines, demonstrating light.

My mark on the assignment.

From an earlier class, a continuous line contour drawing of a classmate's head.

Class 5, gesture drawing of an upside down bicycle.

Class 5, gesture drawing of negative space, 10 minutes, charcoal on newsprint.

Negative space drawing in class, one hour, charcoal on drawing paper, edges cleaned up at home. Phew - this was hard work both mentally and physically. And the compressed charcoal is so messy!

"Autumn Leaves" costume almost completed: over-vest done!

Last evening I sewed the last bead to the over-vest part of my Wearable Arts Fashion Show costume. The jersey top and leggings are already done. See also http://whenyouloveblue.blogspot.ca/2015/09/creating-leaves.html for more on my creative process with this piece.
Now I only have the head piece and my twigs to finish. Doable in time time for October 24.
But today, I have art homework to do.