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.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Drawing class homework, chalk on black

At last week's art class, we painted a half sheet of drawing paper with black india ink to take home. The assignment was to draw a night time scene, by subdued light, drawing only the highlights, using white chalk.
I did a preliminary sketch in my sketch book, then made this drawing, which I am calling "Kettle by Candlelight". Rather fun!

Textile art piece, "Happy Together"

I am allowed to submit two pieces for the Ferry Building Gallery Show, so I have finished my piece that I dyed with cochineal.
I have titled it "Happy Together".
Front and back are a soft and dense wool melton, dyed a soft red with cochineal. My left hand, my husband's right hand, from my own drawing. Hand fabric dyed with maple leaves. Embroidery and beading make it beautiful. Bound in gold silk.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Art class with model, ink techniques

Homework from last week. The assignment was to draw 7 versions of a hand, using a different technique for each hand: stippling, cross hatching, tone, etc.

Today was our fourth, and last, class with a live model. Today we using ink. First we did quick gesture drawings using a brush dipped in ink, then a longer drawing using ink, water and a brush. Finally, we coated a 1/2 sheet of drawing paper with black india ink, and after it dried, used white chalk to draw the figure using highlights only.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blue scrap quilt

I have put together a quilt entirely from scraps and orphan blocks.
I started with the idea of crumb quilting, and then went from there. I did not make sashed blocks. Instead I just kept sewing large chunks of "made" fabric together until I had a top about 64 by 72 inches. The borders are pieces of blue fabric 4 inches wide and whatever length I could get from larger scraps. It is sort of an improvised log cabin pattern.
The fabrics are mostly blue, with greys and off-whites and just a few spots of colour from prints that were already in the orphan blocks.
The back, not show in the photo below, is also pieced from many larger leftover fabrics in blue and grey.
Pin basting the blue scrap quilt, with a wool batting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More live model drawings

More gesture drawings of a live model in today's art class.

Friends reunion in Palm Desert, California

This past weekend was my annual reunion with my high school friends, five of us who graduated from Fort Saskatchewan High School together in 1970. Anne bought a snow bird home in Palm Desert last year, so this was our second year visiting there. What a lovely place to all be together. Janice was missing because of foot surgery, but we had some happy Skype visits with her so that we all felt that we were together.

Just four of us around the pool.
A continuous line sketch of the dining room.

A continuous line sketch of the kitchen.
A panoramic night photo taken from my friend's West Vancouver balcony, looking east towards the Lions Gate Bridge, south to Vancouver, and west to the setting sun over the University of British Columbia endowment lands.

Heading home from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, looking out of a rainy window from the ferry to a typical British Columbia scene of a tugboat pulling loaded barges of wood chips up to a pulp and paper mill on the coast.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Drawing with a live model

Drawing class this morning with a live model. Working with gesture drawings.

We started with simple interior lines, no outlines allowed.
We moved onto a mass gesture drawing, using the side of a charcoal stick, looking for weight in the figure.
Horizontal cross contour lines.
Cross contour lines and limited shading by smudging the charcoal lines.

"Heart Lines" completed

I have finished "Heart Lines", my submission to the Ferry Building Gallery show in West Vancouver, to be called Love in Many Languages, planned for February 2016.

The left hand is mine, the right hand my husband's. I hope that is not too sentimental!

I bound the piece with a narrow binding of black Kona cotton, cut on the cross grain and folded double. The binding is hand stitched on the back side. I am careful to do a professional job of joining the strips and stitching the mitred corners closed on both the back and front.
I feel that a good quality narrow black binding mimics the look of an exhibition frame, as required by art galleries for watercolour, prints, and drawings. Also, it gives the eye a place to stop and move back into the image. It truly does frame the piece and enhances the colours.

This piece is made with hand dyed fabrics, using Procion dyes for the background colours, and maple leaves for the hands. Hand embroidery was done with DMC #8 perle cotton, and free motion machine quilting with Connecting Threads cotton #50 thread.  The hands were first quilted onto thick wool felt that had also been dyed with maple leaves, so there would be not any change of colour at the edges of the appliqué. Then after being carefully cut out, the hands were machine appliquéd onto the base fabrics. Embroidery followed, then the quilt sandwich with wool wadding and a heavy linen/cotton backing fabric, free motion machine quilted. After the narrow black binding, I made two sleeves for the back of the piece that will hold 2 inch wide wooden strips, that have been painted a dull gold colour with Inka Gold paint (it only shows at the very ends, but it keeps the wood smooth and I know how pretty the pieces are). The top wooden strip will have screw eyes at the ends for hanging, and the bottom strip will keep the piece square and straight. The piece measure 20 by 20 inches. November 29 is the day for submission - wish me luck.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Submission to the Ferry Building Gallery

I am making a new piece for the Ferry Building Gallery show.
I decided that the previous piece would not work, as the hands needed to be touching. Also, as much as I love the wool fabric dyed with cochineal, it was not working well for a wall art piece. So, leaving it for now and moving on . . . 

Here I am halfway finished my new iteration. The hands (my left hand, my husband's right hand) are touching. The Kona cotton is hand dyed by me, the red, blue and greens with Procion dyes and the hand fabrics with autumn leaves; big leaf maple. The embroidery is half finished. I will back the piece with a heavy linen/cotton fabric that I bought at Dressew in Vancouver last month. Wadding will be wool, and I will do some free motion quilting. Really enjoying this now and hoping to be finished very soon.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A tai chi lunch to say thank you to our teacher

All the best to a great tai chi teacher - she has inspired all of us!

More work on thread painted art piece

I painted with fabric markers to add colour, brown, to the tree and branches shape so that it stands out from the background. I used several green markers on the grass area, and dark grey and white markers to add definition to the rocks in the ground.
I stitched with several green threads to add more undergrowth details.
I trimmed off a lot of the roots fabric from the bottom, as it was too much and was dominating the picture. All the edges were trimmed and finished with a serger to keep it from ravelling while I do more work.
A stitched grey cobweb in the upper left sky and branches may be too delicate to be seen from far away, but I like details that need to be seen up close.
Now, what else does it need? I think the sky area upper right needs some quilting to match the texture of the rest of the piece. And would some beads add or detract from the piece?

Edge of the Forest textile art exhibition in Newfoundland

The Edge of the Forest exhibition , a Surface Design Association of Canada show, is now in Newfoundland. This link is to an amateur video of a fibre arts group visiting the show https://www.facebook.com/NSDCC  .  My "Cedar Forest" piece has a brief appearance at about 4:20 on the video.

Exhibition dates:

March 1-30 – First exhibition – Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

*NEW* April 20-May 4th, 2015 –  Art Square Gallery Toronto

Opening Reception – April 22, 2015 6:30-9:00pm

June 4-July 9, 2015 – Exhibition at  John M. Parrot Gallery,  Belleville, ON

August 11  – October 18, 2015 prior to & during Fibre Arts 2015 Conference, Woody Point, NL

*NEW* January 11 – 30, 2016,  Fish Creek Community Library, Calgary, AB

*NEW* March 23 – April 3, 2016, Coast Collective Arts Centre, Victoria, BC

*NEW* July 9 – August 21, 2016, Fibreworks Gallery, Sunshine Coast, BC