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.

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.

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