Friday, October 31, 2008

*Important * USA Orphan Works Bill

As you know my blog is primarily textile and stitch related and I try to keep political debate at a distinct minimum but there is an issue pending that I feel needs to be addressed and at the very least, other artists need to be made aware of it. I have long tried to emphasize to fellow artists and my students as to the importance of respecting copyright. I have often taken a shit kicking for it too but feel very strongly about this subject and will continue to foster that respect and attempt to educate others about the legal issues that can ensue.

The Orphan Works bill in the US is a most controversial and complicated act , if which passed, will have ramifications affecting artists worldwide. I encourage my fellow artists to educate yourself on this issue and act with your conscience accordingly.

On April 24, 2008, the Orphan Works Act was introduced into the U.S. House and Senate. Currently, copyright is granted the moment a work is created. The Orphan Act Legislation proposes a change in U.S. copyright that would require artists, illustrators, photographers, and any creative individual to actively maintain and defend their copyright by registering each and every work with privatized registrars. Failure to do so would leave everything you’ve ever created as an artist up for grabs by anyone who wanted to copy, reproduce, create derivative works of, or flat out steal your work since the act defines an “orphan work” as any work where the author is unidentifiable or unlocatable, and applies to both published and unpublished works, U.S. and foreign, regardless of age..Once your piece of work is placed onto an Internet site; it will become the full domain of any person who wishes to copy your originality. A large majority of people who see a design, photograph, etc. will not take the time to research its original ownership, or see how long along this work was published. This is where as an artist you should be concerned, and unfortunately the Legislation of the Orphan Act of 2008, does not protect you as an individual.
( With special thanks and credit to Pamela Baker)

For a reasonably simple explanation of the bill, click the link below:

For my American friends to seek more information and how to contact your members of Congress to express your concern and/or protest the bill :

There is a page for international parties to send their thoughts and register their protests also and I urge my Canadian and European friends to participate if at all possible. Although at the moment, this legislation is US based, believe me in time this will have a powerful affect on all of us and our work and we will feel the trickle down effect worldwide! Click this link for international responses:

A word from Sara of Sara's Texture Crafts, with credit to Sara, on how to go about protecting oneself:

"I do feel the most important thing we can do as on-line sellers of arts and crafts (as well as opposing, or seeking more preferable amendments to such bills/laws as 'Orphan Works), is to start adding copyright 'watermarks' to our product/artwork images (completed or otherwise) before we post them to forums, social networks and shopping sites. That way it is clear where the design came from and the year it was created. Should you then wish to follow through on any unlawful copyright infringement, you the 'originator' will at least have some power to authenticate your claim. At the moment I see far too many photos of works that are unmarked by the artists... these could all easily be 'borrowed' for someone else's gain. Remember even if the text accompanying the photo in question contains details of the author/origin of the work. The photo itself can be downloaded separately from any blog, social network, forum, search engine and some websites... in these cases if a photo is unmarked it could easily be reused in another way without any credit to it's origin, becoming an 'Orphan Work'."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We are not amused!

On occasion Mother Nature can be a bitch and last night she lashed out and dumped an early vicious winter storm on us causing much tree and plant damage. It's rarely we get a snow storm of this intensity before Halloween! London is known as The Forest City and we are fortunate to have so many beautiful trees and reforestation programs here. The tree damage was unbelievable as you can see here:

Frozen sweet peas early a.m. and evacuated to safety by afternoon along with lavender and a yellow rose

Wild crab apples iced over at the Westminster Ponds

Fir tree bent to the ground by the heavy ice

And , you might ask, how is this textile related?
Well of course, I have taken some storm related pics to transfer to fabric for the ongoing tryptich! So I might forgive Mother Nature just a tiche, in spite of her tantrum, for giving me this golden opportunity!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art Bra mania this month.......

Photos - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Copyright - Léonie Hartley-Hoover

Being October and Breast Cancer Awareness month, there has been a resurgence of interest in and publicity about the Art Bra movement so I am going to share some blogs and sites with my readers so they can find out more about it and view the spectacular work of the artists involved.

Although 2007 saw the last calendar published, the travelling exhibit is still touring the country.

If your gallery, guild or show should be interested in displaying the exhibit, please contact Vickie at

Nefertiti - August 2007
Copyright - Léonie Hartley-Hoover

The Art Bra quilts are still an ongoing project. To see all of these beauties and the invidual blocks:

And Finally - Thanks to the original Little Miss Dynamite - Take a bow Vickie!

Photo credit - Mike Brown

On a roll with Little Miss D....

Rolling is the operative word here as making the little dynamite sticks took considerable patience and dexterity! First I had to find the perfect wick or cord for it. My husband was fascinated with the process as he was a mining technician in his younger days and knew what dynamite should look like! I had about 8 different strings and cords to try out and my husband and I sat at the kitchen table with a teflon cover placed on it - barbeque lighter in hand, like a couple of pyromaniacs lighting them all to see what kind of residue they left and if they burned to our satisfaction. They did NOT!! So, off I went in search of the perfect " wick". I finally came back with four more cords. The ultimate winner was nylon and polyester and it burned to perfection.

I had a quarter of a metre of the most beautiful reddest red ultrasuede I could find and after a lot of measuring and balancing size against the female figure ( found in a bin at a charity shop a couple of years ago) I drew some sketches of different size strips I thought might work. I did a couple of dummy runs on felt and then with the rotary cutter , cut two different size strips from the suede. I cut more than I needed as I knew I would no doubt ruin a few and then came the tedious part, rolling the sticks as tight as I could....they had to be really secure. I proceeded to seal the edges cleanly with E6000 as those sides would not show. I had quite a production line going by now. I cut a series of 16 inch nylon/poly cords and lined them all up. Using a large eyed needle, I threaded a single cord into the eye . Then I carefully lit the farthest end with the barby lighter until it was molten, then blew on it just when it was at a certain stage of gooeyiness ( therein lay the trick - it had to be just the right amount of gooey !!) and then I put the needle through the dynamite stick and pulled slightly so the gooey knot caught inside the stick, without mucking up the ultrasuede outside but thereby gluing itself to the inside of the stick. A tricky feat I can assure you! Each one had to have a little tug on them to see they were secure enough. Next,I had to estimate how much wick to leave at the top as I had to burn that end to a perfect little knob to look realistic enough. That was a "suicide mission" because if the fire caught too quickly I was left with a sad looking stub not a nice shaped wick. If that happened, the dynamite stick was ruined as the other end was already secured inside. I only destroyed two of them so that wasn't too bad in light of things ( no pun intended). It was a fun experience but took a lot more time ( and patience) than I bargained for.

The string of firecrackers on the left cup was a little demon to make as there was a curved seam on the outside of the bra cup which formed a " dip" and the bugles would not lay as flat as I wanted them. It was an exercise to turn a purist's hair grey and I can't begin to tell you how many repetitions of silamide are securing them. I couched down two layers of nylon/poly cord one on top of the other, between the two rows of bugles and then " lit" the top of the crackers for effect.
The " explosion" on the right cup was three layers of ultrasuede, which when stitched over the outer fabric, foam underlining and back lining made for six layers of fabric to stitch through. No mean feat!

The word " Danger" was colored in orange on the safety ribbon so I had to very carefully paint over it in diluted red acrylic and then seal it.
The stars and the shooting stars are made from angelina and then bonded onto handpainted yellow ultrasuede. I also painted the HOT insignia and then I made her a little firecracker necklace out of bugles and swarovskis.
The beaded flame on the left hand side is ready to light the wick on the dynamite.
I put on the little glass chili peppers saluting Vickie's hot Texan culinary tastes and if you zoom in on the overall pic, you will see LMD is holding a pomegranite margarita in her left hand. I can tell you I was ready for one myself after this process!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Little Miss Dynamite leaves home.....

Little Miss Dynamite is
officially in her new home
at the Somerset County
Health Department in
having cleared
customs without an

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month both in Canada and the United States and I've had close associations with BC charitable causes on both sides of the border for several years now.

This year I chose to honor Victoria Adams Brown , the original Art Bra calendar creator and founder of The Way to Women's Wellness Foundation by creating Little Miss Dynamite ( my nickname for her) and donating it as a gift to the Somerset County Health Unit for their exclusive use in their health education programs to promote breast cancer awareness.

Somerset is sponsoring the Designer's Cup Challenge, a bra art competition to raise awareness and educate women about the disease. The competition is open to anyone who lives or works in
Somerset County. Vickie gave permission for Somerset to use some of the images from the Art Bra Calendars in their brochure for promotion purposes.

All bras received by the October 10th deadline will be evaluated by a committee of judges selected by the program sponsor. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place, as well as a People’s Choice Award, voted on by attendees of the opening reception to be held on October 29, 2008 at the Governor Tawes Library in Crisfield MD. In a separate post I will share more photos and descriptions of techniques in the making of Little Miss Dynamite. Below is a copy of the Press Release for LMD.

Press Release

WESTOVER, MARYLAND, OCTOBER 7, 2008 ---- The Somerset County Health Department’s Designer’s Cup Challenge recently received an art bra entitled “Little Miss Dynamite”. The bra is a gift from designer Léonie Hartley-Hoover of Ontario, Canada in honor of the original Art Bra calendar creator Victoria Adams Brown of Perkasie, PA. Brown’s dedication and sacrifices via her advocacy and promotion of breast cancer awareness, research, mammogram programming, and patient support has led to her being referred to as “Little Miss Dynamite” by the artists who have contributed their time and artistic talents to aid Brown in her efforts. Brown is also the founder of the Way to Women’s Wellness Foundation. Brown is one of those rare people whose enthusiasm and vitality is infectious and her determination and hard work are at the core of the Art Bra movement. The result of her efforts is evidence indeed that one woman, with the support of a few friends, CAN make a difference!
“Little Miss Dynamite”, which is for promotional purposes and is not eligible for prizes, will be available for public viewing along with the art bras submitted for Somerset County’s Designer’s Cup Challenge at the reception on October 29, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 the Governor Tawes Library in Crisfield. Refreshments will be served. Suggested dress is jeans and dressy tops. The cost is $5.00 per person, payable at the door; however, reservations are required and can be made by calling 443-523-1760. Any proceeds after expenses will benefit Women Supporting Women Crisfield Chapter and/or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
# # # #

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Science, Engineering,Travel = Stitching?

I have always tried to encourage my students to see the world through different eyes. Sometimes people just get so locked into reading stitch related books and magazines that they tend to see the world with blinders on. If you reach a point where you feel you've reached a creative block, pick up a magazine or book that has a very different topic to what would normally attract you. You just might surprise yourself as to what can inspire you. This week I have been watching for the Science and Engineering Visualization challenge results. Look at these photographs - the wonderful color combinations, shapes, sizes and design elements you can pick out from them. I can see so many beaded pieces in these photos - can you?

Then hop over to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK and check out their fabulous Nikon travel photography competition. You will see the top ten choices but to the right hand side of the page under "Related Articles" you will see the rest of the competitors' works. The pics are impressive and will definitely stir up some feelings in you. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Long summer gone.....catching up with Fall !

Well, there's blogging and..... blogging.....there are those who are faithful daily to their blogs and well, there's the rest of us. I've never been one to keep a diary capturing day to day life - just too busy living to write about it ! However, our blogs keep us in touch with others and update us from time to time on events and creative endeavours. With the colder weather settling in and hibernation mode approaching, perhaps I'll be prone to writing a few lines more often! I'll give it an honest go.

The Art Bra Ladies continue to thrive and have created wonderful blocks again for this year's wall quilt contribution. The calibre of the stitchery and creativity among this group is superior and I feel very privileged to be among these artists. Every year the quilts are more spectacular and being a participant is daunting as one has to strive to be better always so as not to disappoint oneself or the group. I'd like to thank all of the women in this group for setting the bar high and for encouraging me to push the limits with my work. Below is my block for 2008 and if you click on the Flickr site below that, you will see an enlarged version of my block, in addition to the fantastic blocks my friends have made for this year .

Léonie's 2008 block

I will post pictures in due course, when the quilt is completed, as the final result is always breathtaking and eye candy worth ogling!
Victoria Adams Brown has also featured my block on her blog's August 3rd posting where she gives more information about the Art Bra quilts and this year's offering.

Fall is the time for getting back into the swing of teaching and workshops too. I am teaching two repeat online classes with Joggles this semester, Bead Embroidery for Beginners and Intermediate Bead Embroidery. The classes have just started this week so if anyone is interested, it's not too late to sign up, so hop on over to for further information and sign up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Glorious landscapes

Who doesn't love Mother Nature? She has long been a beloved subject of artists of all genres. Of late, it seems there has been a passionate interest among textile artists to create landscape art and there are numerous blogs and tutorials available to pursue the technical aspects of same. However, we are always seeking inspiration to kick start our creative bent. The photo heading up my blog today is of an iris bog not far from my home. After what seems like a " forever" winter, one is greeted by a sea of yellow and rich greens which lifts the spirits and warms the heart. I hope to incorporate part of this glorious scene in my ongoing Earth, Sea, Sky tryptich which I will be blogging about in the future.

For breath taking photos that will hopefully give you some inspiration, clink the link below. Thanks to Smashing Magazine for their always insightful and informative blog articles:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do you tend to explain your art?

"Explanations are the traitor of art
Serious art defies easy interpretation, and artists should resist the call to explain themselves"
......Jonathan Jones

This quote from the Art & Architecture blog in the British Guardian newspaper
gave me food for thought this morning. As textile artists, do we explain too much or does the need for explanation go hand in glove with the medium?
There are a myriad of blogs out there in cyberspace written by textile practitioners, many of whom are professional teachers or by those who naturally teach as they write to their readership. Everywhere you look tutorials abound. BUT I notice that aside from the " tutes" and blogging, many textile artists seem to have a need to explain their work and why they did it etc. Even at Gallery Openings where texile art is prominent, I hear artists explaining their process to viewers or prospective clients. I personally don't see this done as much in other mediums in these type of venues. More often than not, you see the viewer immersed in deep thought over a painting or sculpture and you can almost see the wheels going around while they try to discern in their own mind what the artist is trying to say.
What are your thoughts on this? Does our medium demand explanation or is it the fact that there is a largely female population immersed in this art and verbal communication comes more readily to women? As females and nurturers, does teaching or explaining come naturally? Do women artists in other mediums feel a need to explain their work?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

For my CQ Friends

Many of my good buddies are Crazy Quilters and I personally LOVE the medium. My ever vigilant son , the DA, put me on to the Apartment Therapy site recently. Goodness knows how he came across it!
I've often thought about crazy quilting the old wing back chair in my studio and this patchwork link has certainly got me re-thinking this again!

OK ladie and gents- start the wheels going around!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

July 4th - Happy Independence Day to my American Friends!

Textile of the Day

On July 4, 1776, the United States claimed their independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Today Independence Day is celebrated all over the nation and by Americans stationed around the world.

Greetings to my American friends and have a safe and enjoyable day!
To follow up on our Textile for the Day here's an interesting site to learn more....

Monday, June 30, 2008

I've been tagged my good bud Betty Pillsbury over at

This is not something I often do but I will humour my dear friend as she knows my secrets and if I don't follow through she might threaten me with 100 lashes of chenille, for she also knows my foibles ( and I have rather a dodgy relationship with chenille!). So here goes.....

Ten years ago.......

I was living in a small rural village fish bowl, albeit an idyllic setting but one where privacy was a foreign word!

Five things on today's t0-do list........

Read ,my new Image to Stitch book by Maggie Grey
Continue the reshuffling of the studio to find more room to move around!
Prepare vegetable vindaloo in the crockpot
Finish some gardening projects
Sit with my family on our back deck, sipping a drinkie and watching the Canada Day fireworks!

Snacks I enjoy.....

Cheese and crackers
Berries and yogurt
Fennel ( anise)
Savouries of any kind..
a good cup of tea, esp. blueberry tea and mint green tea

Things I would do if I was a millionaire.....

Set things in place for my family that would always ensure their financial security
so they could enjoy life more and for some, to take risks to follow their dreams
Take that long desired trip to Morocco
Set up a foundation that would do quiet meaningful deeds for others
Hold an ultimate stitching retreat with a huge gifting suite and swag for my true blue loyal friends who loved me when I was not a millionaire
Find that elusive beachfront home with a huge studio and uber garage

Places I have lived.....

London, England
Worthing, England
Mt. Brydges

Other Bloggers:

Introducing new blogger Vickie Brown -

Happy Canada Day! July 1st

Textile of the Day !

Today we celebrate Canada's 141st birthday and most everyone has time off work to enjoy the day in whatever way they please. There is much to be thankful about and to be grateful for living in this wonderful country where we enjoy so many freedoms and opportunities.

On Canada Day, I'd like to salute our peacekeepers and men and women of our armed forces who are stationed around the world proudly representing our country and helping to make the world a safer place for all.

I am both fortunate and proud to be a Canadian.

I'd like to share with you some pictures of my beautiful home land accompanied by the music of one of our national treasures, Gordon Lightfoot. The song " Beautiful" also has great sentimental meaning for me so I hope you enjoy both the music and the scenery as much as I do.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mum

My Beautiful Birthday Girl Joanie

After a long absence, I am finally returning to blogging. I have been spending more time with my Mum this past couple of months and today we celebrated her birthday. She was in fine form, matching wits with my fellas and holding court as the grand dame of the family. She thoroughly enjoyed her day and we are lucky to still have her to spoil.

On a textile note, paisley prints seem to be coming back into fashion and they are one of Joan's all time favourites! So, one of her birthday gifts was three yards of paisley fabric in her favourite colours. I am going to make her a quilted jacket with it to keep her cozy and warm for those cool summer nights and early fall days. She was delighted and we spent the afternoon pouring over ideas and pattern designs. We will keep it fairly simple and functional as the fabric is jazzy enough! If I play my cards right, she just might let me use the bit extra left over to tart up some denims for my upcoming Denim Duds Redone class at

Birthday Fabric for Jazzy Girl

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Surfer Girl......

At last hints of spring are in the air and while snow still exists on the north sides of the streets, in the depths of the woods and of course, arena parking lots, there's the promise of more blissful days to come. Tomorrow, I am running away to take a scenic tour of Lake Erie's shore only thirty five miles from home. It's my own kind of personal holiday. Via Aylmer and a wonderful Mennonite thrift store and St. Thomas, where there's a delightful family farm market and a yarn shop crammed floor to ceiling, I'll wend my way towards Port Stanley, a picturesque little fishing village that always lifts my soul. Nothing like a brisk ( read chilly) walk on the beach, collecting the flotsam that nature has deposited there over the winter and then a warm coffee and home made burger at the welcoming Mackie's, a fixture on the beach since 1911. This time of year you don't have to fight for a seat although the pedestrian traffic is steady enough.
I love the beach this time of year in all it's wildness and solitude. It's a time of rebirth, a time to think and reflect and be inspired, gathering ideas for new works. In a beach frame of mind, here's a few sites to give you some inspiration too.......

Leonie, surfing the sixties and still hanging ten!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Digger

But seriously.......

Twenty years ago today a very special person came into the world who epitomizes the words "Omnium Gatherum". He fits the description to a "T". His natural curiosity, thirst for knowledge and sense of adventure opened up new worlds to me and taught me to see through fresh eyes. Thank you for teaching me , loving me in spite of my faults and for being such a beautiful soul. The world is a far better place because you are in it.

and by the way, congrats on the OC Oscar for Best Random Knowledge

" Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it! "....George Carlin

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter eggs - nah, I'll take the eye candy please!

My kinda Easter blooms! Beady blossoms by Jenny Friske - Daffs by Mother Nature

Well it's Easter Sunday and the sun has finally broken through the grey gloom and the dirty brown snow is finally starting to recede somewhat. Spring has officially arrived but Mother Nature has not yet fully come around to that realization! With Easter falling early this year, there's no spring bulbs up, no sign of green, no robins and in a flurry I hid the Easter eggs and no one can find them, including me! The cat seems to be the only one having any luck in that department as I hear him excitedly batting them around the hardwood floor in the hallway.
I'm incredbily restless, not bored but slightly unsettled. I't's just that time of year and I NEED COLOR ! I'm not in a creative slump but I've got the bouncing brain syndrome plaguing me once again ( too much creative energy but can't hone in on one idea long enough to kick start it ).
I decided to leaf through my creativity folders. Smashing Magazine's Creativity Spark from Masters of Illustration immediately drew me back to one of it's older posts but one that will definitely get your gears rolling:

Be sure to scroll down the screen as it just gets better and better. If you click on the individual photos, you will link to the portfolios of the artists for even more eye candy.

Ahh, who needs Easter eggs?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tardy blogger, busy stitcher

Hi folks:
Sorry to be such a tardy blogger, but life takes over periodically. Besides devoting time to the senior set whom we love dearly, I have been clearing the studio for bigger things to come. As we moved closer to our family to help out, we sized down considerably and we ( read me) is feeling the pinch enormously. I've reshuffled that studio so many times and there are only so many walls ( read two) without doors and windows taking up space. Both available walls house my enormous bookshelves with over the table lights underneath - that leaves zilch for design walls, art etc. SO, we make do and dream on for a new abode in a couple of years.
Although I've not been blogging about much these past few days, I've posted a site that will give you all much inspiration and hopefully will keep you busy for a while. I plan to be back with you very soon with new projects in tow.
Living in the snow belt keeps us busy too - 20 cm last night! The snow plough operator made sure we continued our exercise workout by depositing most of the street's detrius in our drive way AFTER we had cleared it out! OUCH !!!- ah BUT we are living in CANADA, it is MARCH and although we whine - which is allowed this time of year - we wouldn't want to live anywhere else on earth!

Take a snow shovelling ( or gardening break for those of you who wish to gloat!!) break here and get inspired .....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Mighty MacFAB

Rita Zekas has written an article this weekend in the Toronto Star about one of my favourite fabric haunts in TO, MacFAB or MacDonald-Faber as it used to be known. There is always something new and exciting in their stock and it's definitely the in place for buttons if you are looking for something different or one of a kind. It's a treat to shop there and you always find more than what you came for! The staff are wonderful to deal with and will go overboard to help you find what you want for a special project. Just don't mention Annie Lennox to Cameron or he'll get excited and lose all sight of what your shopping needs are! He's a humongous fan and will talk about her til the cows come home! He's never missed a Toronto concert. Let's hope they don't print her on fabric or he'll have BOTH windows covered!
In all seriousness, it's nice to see MacFAB get some good press.......

Here's their web site too:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New major project almost under way.

I have been working on a long range plan for a personal project. It's been three years in the design stage and I think it's about time I MADE time to actually start the hands on work . I think I have secured the needed fabrics and beads for the project with a couple of exceptions that are still in the design works and that I am still collaborating on with a couple of friends.

This project, which is to be a tryptich, was inspired by a tiny Japanese dancer, Mari Osanai, a one of a kind performance artist,trained in classical ballet and modern dance ,who interweaves Noguchi taiso, yoga, tai chi and hip hop into her performances. She has her own unique style of complex movements, twisting her body so easily you'd think her bones were made of jello.
She wrote and performed a solo piece entitled " Sea Watching" and I was so entranced by her that I returned four times to see her at the London Fringe Festival. In fact, her performance was so magical and mesmerizing, I had to take my son, who has an appreciation for dance and a good girlfriend along because Mari defied description and seeing was actually believing!
I confess I did in fact see her perform this piece FIVE times as on the fifth occasion she teamed up with Xiang Bang Fu of the Toronto Chinese Dance Theatre at the Toronto Dance Festival and they turned Sea Watching from a solo performance into a stunning duo performance that kept the audience spell bound. Such is the magic of creativity and the dedicated artists who give their all in the delivery of it.

Once in a while, someone like Mari touches your soul and you carry around the memories of that moment for a very long time. "Sea Watching" has now manifested itself in the guise of a textile piece that excites and stimulates me more than I can put into words. During my design phase, the working title of the piece has been " Earth, Sea, Sky" just to facilitate naming the myriad files I have been accumulating but I think I shall have to come up with a more worthy name in time.
However, I will be starting this project soon and will blog my progress on it so I can spotlight the lampwork artists and fibre artists whose work I have carefully selected and hope to incorporate into this labour of love.
Just this past week, I received a lampwork bead from Jenny Friske-Baer of Divine Spark Designs. Jenny creates amazing beads of the most superb colorings and stylings. I already had the beautiful batik fabric selected for a portion of the earth segment and when I saw Jenny's bead I knew I had to have it. Oh wow, am I a happy camper with this combination! The colors blend beautifully.

It's like camoflauge - can you spot Jenny's spree?

Chinese New Year greetings

Artist: ayako fujioka

As a family, we have always had a soft spot for Toronto's Chinatown, which is located right next to the heart of the textile district. It is a delightful area that is bustling with humanity and the air is always electric with sounds of street vendors shouting out and encouraging people to shop in their stalls etc., the many different chinese dialects and other languages, the street sounds of trolleys and delivery trucks. Walking through Chinatown makes one feel so alive and happy. There's almost always a constant air of excitement and joy for life there.
I always take time to visit the area of Dundas and Spadina , as an extension of my textile consumerism. I have a couple of special vendors I visit there who deal and love to bargain with me for their exotic beads and stones. I always seem to walk on air when I leave their premises with a bauble or two stashed in my pocket and I then go to my favourite green grocers and pick up fresh produce to take home. This time of year is especially enjoyable in Chinatown with fresh branches of cherry blossoms for sale in the shops, the splendid shocking pink and green colors of the exotic dragon fruit, the heavenly smells of pork buns wafting from the bakery and vibrant red New Year decor everywhere.
This year our Chinese friends celebrate the Year of the Rat and it's a special year for me as I was born under this sign. Jasmine tells me it is lucky. I think she is right if the bargain I struck with her sister for this antique jade is any indication. Gung hay fat choy for this happy little rat!

A very special xie xie to my friends and suppliers and all best wishes for a happy and
successful year ahead!

Fun with Elvis quilts

Julie over at Big Horn quilts sponsored an Elvis Quilt contest and has posted the results in a gallery on her site. There's some innovative pieces there and you can vote for your favorite before February 15th.
Also check out Julie's amazing fabric inventory - it's the best and I have had very good service from Big Horn! No affiliation - just like to share good dependable sites with you.

Here's the link to the Elvis gallery and voting procedures:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Armed for the Winter

The latest fashion rage here is arm warmers and at -16 degrees plus windchills, this weekend you darned well need them. Especially if you are foolhardy enough to have invested in one of the new three quarter sleeved coats so you could be tres trendy!
Having said that I can remember sporting magenta coloured thighs but looking so cool in a camel mini coat and Puss in Boots styled brown suede over the knee boots in the heart of January. But that was when I was young and foolish......and now I am old and comfortable although still striving to be fashionable within those parameters!

To check out the latest " must have" accessory for those winter climes.......

Followed up by: Make your Own Stylish pair

Ooh, wouldn't this be such fun. Hit your local thrift shop, buy some interesting wool sweaters - cut the arms out and get that Embellisher working! It puts a whole new spin on the term "Throwing down the gauntlet" doesn't it?

Arts, Crafts as a political and social tool

A merry little Christmas elf thought it would be fun to put this button in with my Christmas goodies. Of course, the sentiments were greatly appreciated and don't we all wish that was the answer to it all!
Interestingly enough, shortly thereafter I discovered there was a recent interesting exhibition in Calgary, Alberta ( Canada) entitled " Craft Hard Die Free: Radical Curatorial Strategies, Craftivism in Unruly Contexts". The photograph accompanying the announcement certainly made my button look like small change:

The colours are so full of life and joyful and definitely this artist made a powerful statement!
Unfortunately, in any associated information regarding the exhibition or in my research of same, credit was not given to either the artist or the photographer which to me, is a major and grievous oversight!
However, in the course of my search, I discovered another very interesting blog which covers digital, radical, techno, innovative, fine, D.I.Y, process, craftivism and hobbyist craft - The Craft Research Blog which covers the diversity of the crafts movment in the world today It's a little headier than most of the day to day stuff we discuss in blogging the textile world but certainly worth a read.

Back in Blogland

After a rather long hiatus from blogging, I'm attempting to get back on track! A couple of major deadlines, then Christmas hols, in addition to some serious concerns regarding our elderly family members and the passing of one in our extended family, has steered us away from things more creative.
Catching up is never an easy task but we are getting there. A special thank you to those who in private e mails have offered their friendship and support. It has been greatly appreciated.
Now onto the new year, albeit a bit late but it's a start!