Illustrating, stitching and beading….today’s “work in progress”

I guess there is something to be said for snowy days. Our youngest slept in, and didn’t wake up in a “mood”, meaning that I actually managed to accomplish something before the 11:00 am pick-up time for Kindergarten. Accomplishing something in the morning is a rare occurrence.

This morning I was able to put a few more rows of beading in on this piece. It is slow going with four seed beads being stitched on at a time.


The piece is all naturally dyed, with the base of cotton being dyed with marigold, madder and cutch. The fish started life as a lino-cut and then were block printed onto the cotton. I had attempted block printing many months ago, and while the results were “fine” I wasn’t really “wowed” at the time. I have spent the last few months thinking about it and what needed to change for me to be more excited about lino cuts and block printing. The first thing I realized was my first subject matter (leaves) might have been just a bit too twee for me. The second problem was that the prints were just too weak . A little experimentation on another project and I stumbled across the dye that I thought would work best for me, and it was a great improvement.

I have been wanting to do a fish piece for a while, but the idea had always seemed a West Coast piece in my mind, and a beaded piece takes a lot longer than my trips to the coast ever last. I am kind of funny with the way I work. When I am on the coast I tend to work on coast inspired pieces, but when I am in Alberta I focus on the imagery of the mountains, plants, woods and prairies of our province. This is almost like split-personality art. However last week I was thinking “Why not do a fish piece, tons of people fish in the lakes in Alberta!” There was the link to Alberta. (I know, I’m not exactly rocket-science material if it took me that long to come up with an Alberta link. Feel free to laugh!)

The fish still have a way to go. There will be more beading and more stitching with naturally dyed silk threads. The fish repeat through the piece which is a little different from what I usually do; they are all basically the same with tiny differences.

In addition to the stitching I finished another illustration. This is turning out to be a most enjoyable project.

illustration These images are being used as little chapter dividers for a book by a local author. I shared a previous drawing in this post. I must be doing okay as my children laughed themselves silly when they saw the drawing, plus my five year old congratulated me for “coloring between the lines”!

Hopefully tonight will mean more stitching and maybe a bit more work on the illustrations. I have five and a half fish to bead, 14 illustrations to go, and………….a Halloween cape to sew.

Artwork by Debra Hunter
fibre art, photography, painting and illustration