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, June 29, 2016

Beading and hand quilting

In the studio I am sewing dresses for myself, in anticipation of hot summer weather. See my page Clothes Sewing. Mostly blue dresses, hmmm, seems to be a theme . . .

On the sofa in the living room, in the beautiful evening sunshine, with the long rays of sunlight bouncing off the water at high tide and reflecting of all the walls and ceiling of the living room, I am delightedly doing handwork and listening to Wil Anderson podcasts: Wilosophy and TOFOP.

Adding the beaded dew drops to the cobweb embroidery. I love how this is proceeding.

Hand dyed fine weave cotton, stamped with dragonflies and other motifs.

Beginning the hand quilting of the panel.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Roses, sunshine and low tide

Summer beauty - the late rays of the evening sun shining through the foliage in flower arrangement.

Cobweb embroidery proceeds

I like the way this is turning out. I am using a variegated black/grey perle cotton #12. The stitch is split stitch which gives good control on the small curves. I am looking forward to the beading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cobweb embroidery started

I am beginning another embroidery on natural coloured linen, of a cobweb.

The guidelines are drawn with a Frixion pen. The lines will erase with heat, but in any case, will be covered by the embroidery.

After the embroidery part is finished, I want to add tiny crystal beads, to look like dewdrops.

Here is my inspiration image, from the internet:

Hand quilting "Sunlight on Water"

Sunlight on Water is hand quilted now. After I bind it I may add more blue quilting, but I need to evaluate that later. I love how the hand quilting shows on the backing fabric, which I had stamped with dragonfly motifs.

Front detail.
Back detail.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Foundation paper piecing "Sunlight on Water"

I cannot say that I really enjoy foundation piecing - and I don't know why, as the precision and final results are so much in keeping with my style of work. Somehow it is the fiddly bits of the fabric placement (and the inevitable mistakes), the fussy seaming, and the final paper removal that put me off. Am I whining ?? Oops, let's carry on as I am happy now and like my final result!

Our quilt guild library has a copy of Karen Stone's wonderful book: Karen K. Stone Quilts. Karen Stone's work is truly inspiring. I borrowed the book a few months ago, and have used one of the author's simpler patterns, in a limited way, to accomplish my goal of showing the sparkly effect of sunshine on water, using fabric as my medium.

I did a couple of watercolours, exploring my idea. I did not work from a photo reference; rather I used the images that I see every day (when it is not raining, that is) from our front windows. I find that it is almost impossible to catch the ephemeral effect of light on water in a photo. I am happy with the watercolours, particularly the second one below, as getting close to my mental imagery.

Mandala shapes, india ink and watercolour pencil.

This one already has plexiglass over it, so the colours are dimmed in this photo. Mandala shape, india ink and watercolour pencil.
I used the colours in my watercolour sketches to inform my fabric choices for my foundation pieced fabric piece which I am calling Sunlight on Water. The "water" background fabric is a fine weave cotton that I hand dyed blue.

Here is the piece under construction. At this stage I have done the piecing, joined the three blocks, sandwiched with wool batting, and after much thinking, decided to hand quilt. Note the backing, which is the same fabric as the pale blue on the top. The backing piece has been stamped with various dragonfly images. The tightness of the weave directed my decision to hand quilt, as my practice pieces suffered from skipped stitches when free motion quilting.

Sunlight on Water under construction.

Back of the piece showing hand dyed and stamped fabric.

Detail of the back showing the hand quilting.

This hand quilting thread was in my swag bag at QuiltCon last year. In comparison with DMC 12 weight perle cotton, it is not as tightly spun and tends to get a little fuzzy if I work with too long a piece. That being said, it is the perfect colour for sunshine on water and I am delighted to make use of it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Watercolour Tuesday

I am so happy that we are having a rainy June after our very dry spring. It is filling up the underground aquifers so that our wells will supply us all summer. Last summer was so hot and dry that it was worrying and uncomfortable.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Embroidery on photographs

I took some photos of the scene from our front windows which I have using as references for quilts, embroideries and watercolours.

I liked the images so much, that after some investigation into stitching on photographs, I decided to experiment. There is an extensive history of embroidered photographs, but my efforts so far are quite modest.

Photograph, ink jet printed on tomatte photo paper, backed with quilt batting, and enhanced with free motion machine embroidery. The canvas backing is painted with blue acrylic paint. The photograph is attached to the canvas by stitched on beads around the perimeter.

A visit to Vancouver

Finally, finally feeling somewhat better after 8 weeks!!! of a viral respiratory illness.

We took ourselves off to West Vancouver on Wednesday, and went out for a joint early birthday celebration dinner. The next day into Vancouver for lunch with friends, then visiting with our host's other visitors in the afternoon, before I joined my book club group on Thursday evening.

All lots of fun and very social. Sadly I was wiped out and coughing again when we woke this morning, Friday, to get the early ferry. Have been napping and taking it very quietly since we got home.

A birthday cake for Julie / Alice / Jean.

Julie and Jack.

Alice and the cake.

A great wine that Devorah found at the local liquor store.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Watercolour painting group on a Tuesday afternoon

We painted in Nicole's lovely garden this afternoon, and said goodbye to Carol.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Butterfly in the garden and Graham Thomas rose

Several of these large lovely butterflies were feeding at the fragrant blooming Mock Orange bush about noon today.

Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)
According to the Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility, the Pale Swallowtail occurs only in southern British Columbia, and flies from April until late July. I saw them for the first time today, June 2, but that is probably because the Mock Orange just began to bloom yesterday, and it is right near the front entrance to the house.

Look at the amazing yellow colour of the Graham Thomas rose. The plant itself is rangy and unattractive, and like many yellow roses, is continually afflicted with blackspot. However, the blossoms make it all worthwhile. A David Austin English shrub rose, it only blooms in the spring.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Raindrops on Water" art quilt completed

Last evening I finished the binding on my latest art quilt that is destined for my art show this summer.

The quilt is called Raindrops on Water. I used reverse appliqué to create the circles within circles. I like the sense of depth created by that technique, plus it is much easier to do needle turn appliqué by turning under a concave edge of an inner circle versus an outer convex edge. I deliberately let the circles be off centre and slightly wonky as I want this quilt to look organic. The appliqué, quilting, and final binding stitching is all by hand, with just the piecing of the 8 inch squares, and the initial application of the bias striped binding done by machine.

The batting is Hobbs Heirloom Washable Wool from Connecting Threads. I love this batting and it is all that I use now. Hand quilted not too closely, as in this case, it is puffy and light and warm. When the batting come out of the bag it is very creased and hard to sandwich, so I put it in the washing machine on a delicate cycle with cold water, no soap, then dry it on the delicate cycle, taking it out while still a tad damp to air dry, spread out to release the wrinkle.  It does not shrink in the washer and dryer, and this treatment makes it easier to use.

Raindrops on Water is 56  by 60 inches in size.

Detail showing the reverse appliqué circles within circles, and and the perlé cotton hand quilting.

The back of the quilt is pieced from grey fabrics.

Detail of the hand quilting from the back of the quilt.