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A Meaningful Journey in Textile Art – Guest Blogger – Wendy Mackinnon

October 22, 2016

Autumn Exhibition – Blog #8  – Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch – Asters

I always have a sense of satisfaction at the end of a 2 year program when I pause to reflect on all the wonderful work we have all achieved.  But for me, it is the journey that has the most meaningful lessons.  Taking vague ideas, filtering them through design principles, and learning to listen to the work in progress is a wonderful challenge.  Along the way, we meet and bond with other emerging artists in our class and have the luxury of spending creative time in a supportive environment here at ‘the barn.’ The guidance of Gail and her assistant Penny along the way is focused on our developing the skills to work independently. Much of my work is inspired by the flora of the West Coast as in my umbrella titled In the Shade.   However, world travels remain a strong influence as in my piece titled Gellabeya.

The Art of Machine Embroidery

October 13, 2016

Between our past two exhibitions a very special class finished up. The Art of Machine Embroidery is a class that began last January and we’ve had a wonderful three sessions. The students have had an incredible time further exploring machine embroidery and implementing techniques to translate their inspirations into art. Here are a few pictures from class and some of their work which I’m excited to share with you. Our next Art of Machine Embroidery class begins in November, click here for details.


Stitched Art in Coastlines: Guest Blogger: Gillian Smith

October 9, 2016

Autumn Exhibition – Blog #7  – Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch – Asters

I am a passionate kayaker and love the shoreline where the sea meets the land, a constantly shifting scene with the movement of the tides. I chose the theme “coastlines” for this course, and although I have done many 2-dimensional island collage pictures, decided I just had to take the opportunity to create a 3-dimensional island with trees, shrubberies, rocks and seaweeds. I was looking for texture in a variety of techniques and Gail pushed me through much trial and error to find the best materials and proportions for this ambitious project.

I wanted to go beyond the familiar pictorial with images of spawning sockeye that I have been collecting for 6-8 years, ever since I since I saw a picture of their brilliant red and chartreuse coloration against the dull green river, another type of coastline. I was interested in using colour and layers, painting with dyes and transparent fabrics. How realistic or abstract would the piece be? I ranged through techniques learned in earlier courses and this one to put together what worked for my design ideas.

My Textile Art Journey has Been Like a Roller Coaster Ride – Guest Blogger: Pauline Oakey

October 3, 2016

Autumn Exhibition – Blog #6  –  Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch – Asters

So, here I am at the end of Level 3 design and experimental stitch, with both relief and admiration for the journey.  When I first saw some of Gail’s student’s work over 12 years ago, I was blown away by the high standard of artistry and stitching skills.  Never I thought, could I achieve those heights of artistry and skill of stitch.  It took me nearly two years to pluck up the courage to take one of the many courses offered.  Now, over ten years later I have arrived at the beginning of another journey.  I have gained so many different skills, that I have to go back over my notes to jog my memory.  And then there are all the variations of each technique.  I’m looking forward to trying out many experiments in the near future.  My journey has been like a roller coaster ride.  Some frustrating moments, which have been offset by some rewarding accomplishments.

Fabric art may come naturally to some, but most of us have had to push ourselves and cope with the failures before finding the successes.  I look forward to many more rewarding hours and days creating in the medium that I love!


Personal Experience with Design and Stitch…. Guest Blogger – Linda Ingham

September 30, 2016

Autumn Exhibition – Blog #5  –  Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch – Asters

“Level 3 Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch has provided the opportunity to build on the skills learned in L3 and L4 Art and Design and apply them to designing a series of stitched pieces. It is exciting to develop a unique design based on research and personal experiences. There are no limits; the only boundaries are those set by you. It has been a very rewarding journey.”

Take Your Sewing Machine Out of Mothballs

September 23, 2016

A little history – be sure to check out the video link at the end of the post to see Gail making machine lace.

Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts

It seems incredible to believe that Swiss manufacturers were turning out exquisitely stitched machine embroidery to imitate some of the fashionable hand made lace and other embroideries in the mid 1800s.  Elaborate multi needle machines were doing exquisite work.   Soon afterwards  the domestic sewing machine was used as a simpler machine to imitate lace and hand embroidery. The humble Singer Sewing Machine had an important role in the forward movement  of sewing.  The Singer Sewing Machine Company was the first in history to implement the payment plan which was very useful to those who now had this option available to them.   Today, even though the machines we use are more sophisticated in a variety of ways, we still use some of the basic functions of the sewing machine to do free machining. Students are always amazed that they can work on any basic elderly machines and get great results. Of course you can also…

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Fiji Inspired My Art – Guest Blogger – Patti Olds

September 22, 2016

Autumn Exhibition – Blog #4  –  Advanced Studies in Experimental Stitch – Asters

My Level 3 Stitch work was inspired by the brilliant sunsets, geometric patterns, marine life and beautiful flowers I have seen on my visits to Fiji. Gail’s classes have taught me how to use color, proportion and complexity in my designs and projects.  Experimentation has taken me to a whole new level and I have learned to see, think and stitch outside the box. I am looking forward to the challenges that Level 4 will bring.

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