Jul 23, 2019

Portraits ~ Machine Embroidery On Water-Soluble

The following portraits began with a 'selfie' in 2013. 
At that time I was interested in doing portraits of my direct female line with old photos that I had of my gr.gr.grandmother, my grandmother and my mother. 
In 2017 I was informed that my mitochondrial DNA had been newly recorded as being 20,000 yrs old ... WOW ... my mind did some major flips, my imagination was unstoppable, resulting in a portrait that I imagine may be what my ancestral 'mother' may have looked like 20,000 yrs. ago.

Ancient Ancestor of the mtDNA sequence A1438G

Margaret Davidson Deacon
Esther Irene Deacon Currie
Laura Irene Currie Deacon - being blocked

Sharron Deacon Begg...................................................................................................................................................................

And Then; along came a need for a show .... Evelyn Nesbitt representing an antique corset for; 

Wellington County Museum & Archives
Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Opening Sunday, September 15, 2019

This old corset was found in the walls of an old hotel that was being renovated. I have tried to replicate the lace. Evelyn Nesbitt was one in a stable of young beautiful women who modelled these corsets and other clothing for Ladies Wear advertisements in newspapers and magazines around 1900.

May 7, 2019

“The Secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.” ... John D. Rockefeller

I Try !  I really try. 
My forte is free-motion machine embroidery.
I realized this 37 years ago. 
Why have I decided it was a great idea to try hand stitching is beyond me.
Don't get me wrong, I so enjoy the solitude, the peacefulness of hand-stitching but there was a reason for my love of machine embroidery !
My wedding dress is taking it's toll on my body. Being on the road to 'older than dirt', the hand stitching is affecting my elbow, my shoulder and all the muscles in between. I have taken a short break to allow my old body to recoup (hopefully) and my eyes to rest as well. Being myopic doesn't help when bi-focals are useless for doing such fine work.
So, back to my beloved sewing machine !
Started painting a background for 'Helena' yesterday and have decided to enter her in a show next month.  I am also trying to come up with a different title for my Cro-Magnon woman.

Apr 14, 2019

Gosh darn, April's moving along fast !
My wedding dress project is still on-going ... the 2nd & third layers of thread are creeping around the bodice at less speed than the 1st layer, naturally, double threading each space. I had originally thought I would use a 3rd colour but changed my mind as I like the sheen that the 2nd colour has added and probably would get lost if I added another colour ... so, variegated cotton with double ivory embroidery thread (all sewing machine threads).

On the table now is my newest B&W portrait ...her name is Helena.
I have such a passion for my 'ancient peoples'. I don't just mean my ancestors that, some, I have traced back to the mid-1700's.
I am talking about my very ancient 'mother', the mother of the very successful Haplogroup H ... who was named by Prof. Brian Sykes in his book ''The Seven Daughters Of Eve', as Helena, mother of Haplogroup H. I had my mitochdrialDNA tested and I am a daughter (thousandsxremoved) of this very ancient mother. My mtDNA test determined that it is 20,000 years old ... wow !! ... try to take that all in ! MtDNA is only handed down from mother to daughter and the very fact that my mtDNA has survived till today is mind-blowing ...I can hardly breathe when I contemplate the time-line !
So, recently my fibre art group Connections Fibre Artists were invited to mount a fibre art show based on our favourite book. It isn't always easy to make a b&w portrait measure up to the charge for a show. But The Seven Daughters of Eve is my favourite book ... and I could easily do a portrait of Helena ... yahoo !
I spent 2 weeks researching all I could about the Neandrathals and the Cro Magnons, looking for what a woman may have looked like way back then. There were lots of photos of artists renditions and facial re-constructions ... but I didn't want to copy someone else's work ! There weren't many women portrayed. What I did realize was that these ancient peoples really didn't look very different than we do today !!!! Suiting me just fine, I took a selfie of myself trying my best to emulate an ancient woman. From that point on it was a fast moving project.
I had a ball creating 'Helena', in my own image.
I intend to mount this portrait on a large painter's canvas over hand-painted cloth resembling snow/ice/snow.

Inline image

Mar 13, 2019

The Wedding Dress Progress for March

Yup ... still at it and still eager about it !
I have no freaking clue what my stitch might be called or even if it has a name, but it's easy for me and that's really all I need to know. If anyone would care to educate me re: stitch, I'll gladly listen.
Three little granddaughters came to visit this week and they are happy to sit in my 'office', while I stitch, and watch 'Trolls' on my tiny TV. Amazingly, I can get a lot of stitches in in one half hour.

The front centre bodice has received the 1st layer of stitches as has the left front side. I continued around the bodice into the left back to the zipper ... it's looking fine !
Not the best photo, but you can see the variegated cotton thread that I am using. My tension is loose but I can feel the dress starting to shrink a little anyway. The lining has many wrinkles being slightly larger ? than the dress top fabric. But this is exactly what I want to show ... the wrinkles in the fabric of a marriage ... visible, mostly, only if one gets a chance to see the underlying fabric of a long marriage ... nothing is ever perfect.

Feb 28, 2019

The Wedding Dress

Before I forget, I must mention that I am having trouble replying to comments on my blog ... and to any other blog. Hopefully I will figure this out soon.Meanwhile I look forward to your comments and I will email a response to you :)

Showing a close-up of my stitching on the bodice ... very pastel shades of pink/yellow/blue cotton thread. More stitches will be added in the spaces between the pastel colours ... white cotton thread and again in ivory rayon thread ... yup ! I said thread ... don't know why, but I love the finenest of thread. I will be so happy when I can remove the basteing stitches !

Feb 26, 2019

Winter 2019 has been a bit  brutal ... very cold temps coupled with warming temps, back down to freezing, dangerous temps, 100km winds and ice ! Can hardly keep up.
I haven't been out driving for over 2 weeks !

But, it has been excellent for getting art work done while keeping warm.
I am in a show this coming September 2019 and have that piece done. Meet Evelyn Nesbitt, one of the famous Gibson Girls from the early 1900's.

Another show for spring 2020 ... and almost finished ! Meet Helena. 
Helena is a figment of my imagination, my idea of what a woman, 
from 20,000 yrs ago, 
may have looked like.
She is still on the water-soluble and mounting her will be the challenge.

Portraits for both shows.

When not at my sewing machine I try trying to cook decent meals for hubby & I (I hate cooking, always have, so know that this is a huge pain in my rear to take time away from my work) I am hand-stitching tiny stitches into my 461/2 yr. old wedding dress. Hand -stitching !!!

The basting of gown to lining took a month

The dress was made by my mother in 1972 for a September wedding. It is an ivory peau de soie, simple A-line and it called/filled the need to have some hand-stitching on hand.
With a nod to my hand-stitching friends, I have found great comfort in the feel of this dress under my fingers, knowing that my mothers hands were here first. I can feel her work and the great seamtress that she was. She died before I turned 37, and I feel that I never knew her, never became the friends that I know we would have become. But, I have this work of hers undergoing a transformation and tons of memories are flooding my brain ... it's wonderful !

Mar 5, 2018

Hello again !
Thank you rtquilter for jogging me out of my blogger malaise !
Again, I am just home from housesitting and have imported all of my mobile phone photos to my Mac. I just hate working on that small phone.

I have news that might shock you !!
I am stitching a whole piece completly BY HAND !!  ... yes ! BY HAND !!!

The base of this piece is a print on fabric. A painting on plastic run through a printing press onto fabric !!!
It was done about 15 yrs. ago and has been hanging around ever since, waiting patiently for some attention. While I was basting it to a backing I considered adding rafia ... to represent the vines attached to the trellis that was barely visible in the print ... so I attached brown paper (by hand) for the trellis, then added the winding 'rafia' vines ... and, well, why start up the machine now ?, I asked myself  It isn't a pce. that I need to get ready for a show, nor for anything, so why not find out what 'slow stitch' is like? I'm enjoying it because there is no pressure to get it done fast ... it's just sitting there for any moment that I have free, to sit down, to stitch, to think.
Needless to say, this is a true 'slow stitch' for these arthritic hands. One strand of thread stitched is about my limit at a time.

The 'foundation' is another experiment from about the same time ... cut out circles of felt covered in gauze and plaster. I am just starting to add thread haphazardly to emphasize some areas.
I'll post this finished in a few more years ;)

Nov 17, 2017


Hello Blogger friends !
I am finally back in to my blog ! 
I have been so upset worrying and wondering what I could possibly have done to make access to my blog just dissappear. Last month I sent mesage after message to Blogger Help to no avail ! Tonight I did a lot of 'fine print' reading, changed a few passwords 'et voila' ... I'm back in !! For how long is yet to be seen.

Quick catch-up; not a whole lot of new work being done ... but a whole lot on one piece ! 
My latest portrait is of my mother, Laura Irene Currie, which I have been sewing intermittently since the begining of Sept. Of course September is the month that I take as a retreat by myself, camping in my favorite Canadian Provincial Park. Not true camping but the more comfortable ... senior camping, in a 27' trailer with electricity, AC, furnace (if I need it) etc., etc. 
This year  the weather was absolutely lovely ! The forest canopy, the chipmunks and the deer ... and the beach !!! ... all so beautifully completing the experience.
Weekends usually saw company from home arriving Fri. nites and leaving Sun. afternoon ... the rest of the week to muself.

My grandson, above, had come with his father the night before I arrived to help set up my trailer. Sept. 4th was a bit dark and cool and rainy but that didn't stop either one of them from throwing themselves into the cool lake water.

hubby came for the weekend - it gets cool under the canopy

looking from my trailer down through the trees, past my nearest neighbour, to the lake

Jul 8, 2017

Esther Is Ready For Her Debut !

What a lovely week as far as weather goes ! Sunny, warm, some breeze and lovely skies.  And I mention this as we have had one of the wettest, darkest and coldest springs/summers in a long while ... so very noteworthy !
My peonies were exquisite  ... for exactly 3 days ... then the heavy rains bowed their beautiful heads.

My daughter is settled in her new home, deer and black bear are walking across her lawns and the 3 little girls are happy and excited. Daddy is glad to have his family at home (his hometown) after 5 mos. of commuting weekends to be with them here. 
Grandma is coming to terms (but, slowly yet) that they are so far away... yeah, I know !, 4 hrs is a cake-walk for some of you :( :(
And I thank you all, so much, for sharing your kind words and thoughts with me ... you words are very comforting and you are truly appreciated :) :)

Luckily for me, this week was a busy one. I finished and packaged 'Esther' for her debut in our next show ;

by Connections Fibre Artists.
Would love it if you could join me 
at the OPENING this 
Friday, July 14, 7-9pm

Esther Irene Deacon Currie
Esther has been a more difficult piece for me. I know that my mixed emotions these last 10 months, has played a major part ... but she seems happy and I can hardly wait to see her hanging on a gallery wall. Her name 'Esther' is sewn in an arc just above the leaves (easier to read when up front and personal) and the year of her birth is written in a leaf ... can you spot it ?

And then there is this piece ... finally finished ... inspired by a photo from a friends' vacation in Costa Rica ... of a building in ruin but slated for renovations hence the attempt to close it off from traffic with what looks like re-bar.  
See Study Of A Ruin
Adding the re-bar to the surface after canvas was stretched
- re-bar is painted sticks from a sushi mat - closer-up
Study Of A Ruin
On Wednesday I joined 4 others for a lovely drive to Collingwood to have lunch at the Tremont Artists Studio Galleries with Helen, Ann, Elizabeth & Penny, on the patio. You can see our waiter's reflection in the window taking our photo ;) 
And an equally lovely drive on Friday to Stratford, Ontario with Elizabeth to deliver some pieces for the show opening there next week ... and finishing with a great lunch at the Desert Rose Cafe in Elora, Ontario !!!
Now if the next few weeks go as nicely and as quickly, I won't have a minute to spend on my achy-breaky heart ;)

Jul 6, 2017

I Did My Best To Deny This Was Happening :(

great friends as well as cousins
Amelia 5, Breton, 5 Sabrina 3, Cole 4
Well ... the time has come !
These 4, who have lived within blocks of each other, are now looking at 4 hr. drives for family get-togethers. The will really miss each other !
I will miss these 2 little girls and their sister, Hannah, so much.
I will miss my daughter Sarah more than I can say ... she is my baby.
But, Skype, Facetime, etc., are teaching me new computer skills ;)
And, like a dear friend says ... 'it's not Australia' ... where her son is headed next month !
Aren't we lucky that we live in these days of computer technology ???