Tag Archives: Caran d’Arche Neocolor II watercolor crayons

Creating Fusible Fibre Art at Cypress Hill Park

NOTE – I used thumbnail pics in this post and they keep moving themselves around so I apologize for the random arrangement of photos  and text in this post.  Lesson learned!  As usual, you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

Today I drove about 2 hrs from Swift Current to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (SK) to be guest artist as part of the Park’s Artist-in-the-Park Program. It was an absolutely glorious day to be driving the Trans Canada.  Endless blue sky above the prairie vista stretching out on all sides.  I saw cowboys on horseback (probably checking or rounding up cattle), giant bales of hay dotting fields that were still green (which is amazing for this time of year). Swathed fields waiting baling or combining. On the way to the park from Maple Creek I drove by a stock dog competition (herding sheep).     

The workshop was held in the Family Room at the Park’s Visitor Centre.  We were going to be outside in a large event tent, but that had been moved over to the site for the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party (more about that later).     

I brought along some postcards from postcard exchanges I’ve been in plus some of my other pieces to use for inspiration.  This workshop is advertised as no sewing so everything is fused or heatset by iron.     

Postcards used to inspire participants

   Some of my work used for inspiration   

I was told the participants could come at any time between 1-3 pm.  I had 2 sisters show up right about 1pm.  After some basic instructions regarding the process they soon set to work creating their first piece.     

creative chaos in progress

Here is their work as they started out.     

starting to fussy cut from printed fabric

fussy cutting out individual flowers for embellishment

fussy cutting individual flowers for embellishment







fussy cut flowers in place

fussy cut flowers in place

 Her sister used some beehive printed fabric as inspiration to draw her own design.     

her sister's artwork

her sister's 8x10 artwork from her own drawing

Fussy cutting flower for a design

fussy cutting flower for a design




Finished 4 in x 6 in size

finished 4x6 in size








Just as I was getting the sisters started on their projects, I had a couple of ladies come in to make some fibre art. One of them was a quilter but the other wasn’t. I  gave them some basic instructions. Here is some of their work in progress.    

creating a design from fussy cut elements on background

the finished designs fused in place (approx 5x7 in)







She made a second piece from her own drawing.    

her landscape (about 5x7 in) from a variety of fabrics

detail of tree elements fused in place








Mary Leigh decided to draw her own design.  Sections were cut apart to make the “pattern” pieces     

making the flower from various fabricsSelecting the background - approx 8x10 in

detail pic of fused bee embellishment


creating a "framed" pic by putting one size on top of anotherfussy cut bee embellishment


backing fabric cut slightly smaller and fused in place over fabric wrapped to back and fused


The finished piece with some Caran d'Arche shading on the edges of the green

 Geoff Phillips is the Artist in Residence at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.  His preferred medium is oil painting and many of his canvases are fairly large (I’ll post pics after Saturday’s workshop).  He decided to sit and participate in the workshop.   He drew a simple design and began. 

Geoff's design elements on 5x7 peltex blank

design elements fused in place with some Caran d'Arche watersoluble crayon shading

Geoff admitted he had never ironed before so he got a quick lesson in fusing while working on his piece!  Just watching him use the Caran d’Arche crayons to shade was wonderful.  It may not show up in the photos, but his shadings made the piece look very dimensional.

Geoff working on his piece

Geoff Adding shading to his piece

Geoff's finished piece - he even added "stitching"

About 15 min before the scheduled end of the workshop, another person arrived and asked if she could make a piece.  She got a very quick into to what we were doing and started.  She has been doing some drawing, etc with Geoff at some of his workshops. She is also a quilter and decided she will probably add stitching to her piece at her cabin/home.

background pieces applied to an 8x10 peltex blank

all elements in place on fused background



detail pic of some elements fused in place

detail of design elements fused in place

All in all participants said they enjoyed the workshop.  I know I certainly enjoyed doing the workshop.  This type of workshop is interesting since you have no idea how many people will come, what their ages and abilities are, and what they might make.  I’m always a bit astonished at what most folks create given a few basic instructions.  I love it!! 

PS – I think I may have ”lured” Geoff to the “dark side” – he’s interested in learning more about fibre art and quilting!

Inspiration finally strikes!

Today I got back to the studio after a bit of a self-imposed break dealing with a virus.  Said virus caused me to cancel my plans to attend the Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering Western Art and Gear Show as a vendor http://maplecreekcowboypoetry.com/index.html.  It’s not a huge show but it is one of my favourites to do. I’m sorry I won’t be there this year.  I did send one of my unique snow-dyed scarves for their auction tho.  And, I hope to be back next year.

When I came into my studio today to work on the piece I thought I was making, I was having a bit of a hard time, still not feeling great and definitely not inspired.  Then I turned around and saw some silk maple leaves in one of my storage drawers. I suddenly had a flash of inspiration.  For those who don’t know, I spent about 30 yrs plus living in the Maritimes after growing up in Western Canada (my dad was in the military).  One of the things I miss every year are the wonderful bright reds, oranges and other colours of the sugar maples changing colour.  As a  result I seem to make a “fall colours” related project or so every year about this time.  Last year it was my Fall Colours notecard based on a photo taken in my yard in Wolfville, NS.

Fall Maples Notecard image

I’ve made several journal size quilts using this theme over the past few years as well. One was exhibited in the 2006 Journal Quilt Exhibit and the 2008 Summer Show at the Art Gallery of Swift Current before heading off to a new owner last year.

My original project involved using scarf blanks as a background for my piece but I didn’t have the larger size of the black silk ones I wanted to use so I looked around to find what I had that would work as background. One of my hand-dyed rayon sarongs looked perfect so I started with it.  “Repurposed” seems to be the new catchword for this type of thing (grin).

I cut it in half and sewed the the pieces end to end making a base that was about 21″ wide by about 144″ long.  I used my Caran d’Arche Water Soluble Crayons and a rubbing plate from Cedar Canyon Textiles to create marks in the white areas to add some interest.  I also used a stamp made from an eraser and ………. Distress Ink pad to add more marks.  I ended up marking both sides of the fabric then heat setting to keep them on the fabric. 

hand dyed rayon background fabric

watercolor crayon and stamped ink marks added to background


The next step was to add machine needle felted areas of “moss” etc.

needle felted areas added

Once I was happy with the background, I realized I needed many more silk maple leaves to do the project.  I headed to Walmart and bought some maple “bushes” to add to my collection – they seemed to have more leaves than the garlands.  Back at the studio, I cut them off and put them in the drawer.  What I liked were the aged ones, that looked as if they were decaying already.

some of the the variety of silk leaves used

 Now it was time to start sewing leaves onto the background.  At first I was careful to “randomly” sew leaves – that soon passed.  I was trying for a natural effect and sometimes several leaves that look similar fall in the same area.  I found I had to use polyester thread, since the 50wt cotton aurifl that was the right color broke frequently.  I just sewed them on following a “vein” line one after the other, trying to fill an area at a time. In the photo below, you can see one of the needle felted areas which I tried to leave mostly clear.

sewing leaves onto background fabric

I spent close to 6 hours today working on this piece.  I would have spent longer but I committed to volunteering at the Lyric Theatre Open Stage night selling tickets.  Back at it in the morning – it needs to be in Regina by 5pm tomorrow!

I love parcels!

Yesterday I got a parcel from Valerie Hearder.  Once I saw it was from her, I had to open it on the spot at the postal outlet.  It was my ‘Ndebele doll  http://preview.tinyurl.com/l2btjp .  I showed it to the drugstore staff working and explained a bit about how Valerie buys directly from the makers and a portion of the proceeds go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign  http://tinyurl.com/l64quk.   Enough information – here is my doll and a lovely bird card of Jeanelle McCall’s.

'Ndebele doll and Jeanelle McCall's adorable bird card

'Ndebele doll and Jeanelle McCall's adorable bird card

 closer view of "Ndebele doll surveying the studio










 And, if that wasn’t enough excitement ,  today my parcel arrived from Dick Blick just as I was getting ready to start my art practice.  Now how many of you can wait to open a box of art supplies????  Rhetorical question, right!?  I ordered these 2-3 weeks ago on one of their great sales, but shipping was delayed as the item I really wanted was backordered. Even though I knew what was in it I just HAD to see.

1/2 classpack mini Shiva Paintstiks (27) + clear blending stiks

1/2 classpack mini Shiva Paintstiks (27) + clear blending stiks

Since I have some paintstiks that are about 20 yrs old and still not used up, I decided to order the mini classpack to introduce students to the joys of paintstiks.  This way they get a chance to try a variety of colors and see if it’s something they want.  I also ordered the blending stiks to see what they are about and how they affect the paintstiks when used with them.

assortment of Setacolor Setaskrib+ markers
I had a couple of these Setacolor transparent markers already but decided to buy most of the range to add detail to my painted and other work.  June (my studio neighbor) arrived and wanted to know what they did……so I showed her briefly.  Wow, was she ever excited about them. I see them as another tool in my toolkit so I can do better work.  Sounds like another “play day” will be happening soon.

I saved the best for last.   

Tin of 84 Caran d'Arche NeocolorII watercolor crayons

Tin of 84 Caran d'Arche NeocolorII watercolor crayons

 I love how these crayons work, especially on my Jacquard silk inkjet fabrics.  Having more colours to work with is making me very excited.  I can see that next week’s art practice will involve using them.  

inside the tin - look at all the colours!

inside the tin - look at all the colours!

the browns - my SK landscape colours!

the browns - my SK landscape colours!








The sale prices I bought these items at are still on at http://dickblick.com.  

I finally got started on today’s art practice session about 12:30 pm.  I followed the directions in Skydyes but I wasn’t thrilled with them.  I guess it’s because I either didn’t mix the colours right or I don’t see those colours in the stormy skies here.  I gamely tried a few different variations using the same colours.

today's first batch of FQs

today's first batch of FQs

more of today's FQs drying

more of today's FQs drying












Before I did the second half of today’s FQs I scooted out to get some late lunch and pick up Stanza and bring her to the studio since I don’t like to leave her alone all day every day.  She decided supervising the fabric painting was necessary.

stanza supervising fabric painting

stanza supervising fabric painting

these FQs are using lighter colours

these FQs are using lighter colours

the last of today's FQs drying

the last of today's FQs drying














I am starting to see more things I like in the FQs as they dry so we shall see how they look tomorrow after I iron them. 

Since I have a table booked for the Western Art and Gear Show as part of the Maple Creek, SK Cowboy Poetry Gathering http://www.jaspercentre.ca/0000pg.asp/ID/3345/SID/120  from Sep 18-20, 2009, my daily art practice will involve making fibre art to sell.    I will get back to painting more FQs once I have some inventory.  I also need to get my “western” notecards and postcards done so they are ready for that sale as well.  So much for any 2 days off in a row for now.  Tomorrow I think I’m going try out those new Caran d”Arche Neocolor II crayons.