Taking a Break With Some Beads

b_beading_7726 aThe knitting order is done. A painting has just been finished (post to come soon!). Panels have been primed with gesso. It seemed like a good time to mix things up a bit and spend some time on fibre art.

b_beading_7727 aI’ve taken a different approach to this piece compared to everything I did in 2014. First, this one is small; 10 inches by 12.5 inches or so (unmounted). Secondly, it is completely unplanned, it was a case of drawing out the image with stitch. I needed to loosen up the pieces to enjoy working on them and let them evolve and not have rules. I needed to shrink the size of the pieces as on large works the bead work was being lost in the scale. The beads worked wonderfully when viewing a piece in person (lots of “wow” factor), but on a computer screen the detail was completely lost. Unfortunately the reality now is that work needs to look better on a screen than in reality, that is how shows are chosen. So in keeping with “playing the game” I am going small with the fibre art pieces so that the beaded detail shows.

Now I am starting to flesh the image out with glass seed beads. Each bead is about 1mm in depth. Time consuming work. Last night I sat down to work on the piece, BBC documentaries playing in the background (slightly addicted to BBC docs!), and when I finally looked up at the clock it was 4:00 am. What is more, only a small portion of the area is done. Slow, slow work…and morning comes way too quickly when you work until 4:00 am or later.

b_beading_7728 aThe piece is again made of naturally dyed threads and fabrics that I have hand dyed in micro batches. The base piece is cotton dyed in marigold, the blue thread in the image above is indigo. There are also, to date, appearances of logwood, cutch, and a funky lac/madder combo (seems to be a weird personal favorite on cotton….no idea why).

I am using up bits and pieces from my stash of naturally dyed materials; making what I currently have work before I end up with an unmanageable amount of naturally dyed fabrics and threads. Next in the “stash busting” will be using some of the eco-printed fabrics, perhaps incorporating stitching and beading (of course!), and maybe going with creating functional items for a change.

Fibre art by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com
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Also check out the project I am building at
www.handmade-canada.com .

A project being built for for Canadian artists, artisans, writers, musicians and growers.

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What’s Happening Thursday

Seeing as I’ve been foot powered for four weeks I’ve been tackling quite a few projects. Here is what is happening today:

blog knit crochet_4367Weaving in ends and blocking knit and crocheted pieces.

blog knit and crochet_4363Prepping cotton pieces and yarn to be scoured, mordanted and dyed.

blog crochet_4375Reworking a crocheted prototype…different hook size and measurements. Sometimes you just “know” you can make an item more functional and better.

blog crochet beads_4372Working beads into crocheted pieces.

blog spin_4386Breaking down yarn scraps to spin……

blog spin_4383….and spinning them. The ball of yarn is growing. Quite frightening to think these scraps would normally just go to the landfill.

blog stiching_4379I have also started another stitched piece. Smaller. Experimental. Naturally dyed (as usual). Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, we’ll just see where it goes.

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Crafted by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com

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Interested in the new project I’m building? Check out Handmade in Canada.

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Recycling for the Wrist

recycled yarn bracelet

recycled yarn bracelet

Last week I shared a post called “Spinning Scraps”. It was a post describing an idea I had of taking small yarn scraps and turning them into recycled and re-useable yarn. In short it involved breaking down the yarn and re-spinning it on a Turkish drop spindle at an incredibly slow pace. It was one of those things that I just had to see if it would work.

Well it did work. The yarn formed on the spindle with all sorts of pretty mixed, naturally dyed colors, and I just had to see if the yarn could actually be turned into something. I decided on a quick project (because I was very impatient to see the results) and created a crocheted bracelet.

recycled yarn bracelet_3853 a

recycled button and wooden beads used as embellishment

To add to the earthiness I incorporated some wooden recycled beads bought at Nu To Yu on Pender Island (British Columbia, Canada). Every time we are on the island I hunt through the bins at the shop looking for treasures to incorporate into my projects. The button, used as a closure, is also one of my finds.

recycled yarn bracelet _3861 a

recycled yarn dyed with marigold, pomegranate, chamomile and lac

This has been a fascinating project. I am going to keep playing with the recycling of yarn, and perhaps try a larger knit or crocheted piece next. It is unpredictable, it is organic, it is eco friendly, and it is a pretty interesting way of working.

www.debra-hunter.com

Nothing says “Fairy Tale” Like Beaded Stars

I feel like I have been neglecting this blog a little bit, but I have been spending my normal blogging time beading and stitching. Most of the past week I have focused on beading. I think glitzy, sparkling, beaded stars are just perfect for a fairy tale themed piece.

blog star money in progress 1Here are a few detail pictures, as you can tell this piece is all about fun.

blog star money in progress 2Hundreds upon hundreds of tiny seed beads. My goal is to have all the beading done by this evening.

Artwork by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

www.thehuntergroup.ca

Tackling the “Works in Progress”

It always seems like no matter what the project, there comes a time you hit a dead spot, a time where the project is almost finished but it is almost painful to put in the last few hours to finish it up. Looking around my home and down in the studio it is time to tackle these projects before they are simply left as “U.F.O.’s” (UnFinished Objects).

In this post I will share a few of these “works in progress” in the hope of actually finishing them in the next week or two.

 beading

From left: Cotton hand-dyed in lac, indigo, tansy (just a little showing through) and madder.

Let’s start with the one that is causing me the most misery. I’ve been developing a few hand dyed, hand knit and hand beaded items as an expansion to the current hand knit items I sell to a few shops here in Alberta. The dyeing is enjoyable, the knitting is fine as is the beading, however throw it all together and it is one hugely time consuming item. If I were just doing it for fun it would be fine, but after years of costing out photography jobs I can’t help but think how unprofitable these items are, and this thought process alone seems to stopping me from completing them. I have 11 more waiting to be beaded, so I really need to finish those in the very least. I could toy with different ways to bead them that might be a little quicker, but I like beading to be bomb proof. I really dislike it when you buy a beaded item only for the beads to fall off in a flash, so cutting corners isn’t an option. I should really just try to finish these this week and then reserve beading on knitting for only higher end items.

 beads

The next “work in progress” is a fibre art piece that has literally traveled with me everywhere  for the last few months including the coast four times and the cabin at least six times. The piece, depicting a grain elevator, is hand-dyed in natural dyes, masked, stitched and beaded. It sat in its “Is it done ?” phase for a very long time. Then when I finally reached the decision that it was “done” I had to decide how to mount it. Did it want to stretch it or board it or hang it? Last night I decided to go with hanging it as I have a frame in mind that I think could work with my hanging pieces.

grain elevator pieceSo all is good last night. I iron the piece, cut the backing, make sure everything is square (well square-ish, this is fabric), and get ready to machine sew the backing on. Ah yes, the sewing machine………..that white piece of machinery buried on one of my work tables. No kidding I had to dig through hand-dyed yarn, knit items, multiple chargers for devices, dried marigolds, dried tansy, dried onion skins (natural dyers are all nodding their heads knowingly at the moment!) and driftwood…….an awful lot of driftwood, which is kind of funny sitting here on the prairies in Alberta, but it is there because “I had an idea!“.  An hour or so later the sewing machine was finally in a useable environment, with all that work to sew 60 linear inches. That pretty much explains why some things just don’t end up finished….hassle factor.

This piece is almost finished. Maybe 10 minutes of hand sewing, another 15 minutes to sort out the doweling, and then buzz it down to the studio to shoot. Hopefully I will be sharing the finished piece here next week.

sewingSpeaking of shooting finished pieces, that brings me to the next “W.I.P.”. A painting. A painting that looks fine under natural light, incandescent light and flourescent light yet shows a flaw when I shoot it in the studio. The flaw is in one small spot, but it drives me crazy. Fact is, everything needs to look great on a computer screen so it is important that I fix it. I’ve come across colors recording differently with photography before, bride’s maids dresses are notorious for it, but at least this is a quick fix. I just need a quiet house to focus on it and get it done……”quiet house ” is not happening at the moment with 5 kids running around…..I think this will be a “middle of the night” job.

painting detail (iPhone pic)

painting detail (iPhone pic)

 

The final W.I.P for this post is a piece that might familiar, a stitched, beaded and lino cut piece. I did a piece late last year that was similar. At the time of doing the previous piece I also started a second one that was similar but not the same. I have started to do this with a few of the fibre pieces, having two to work on that are similar, because usually part way into a piece I start to think about what the piece would have looked like if I had done things differently. I tend to be fairly conservative on the first piece. The second piece I can be more experimental with, use odder colors, or more beading, or whatever comes to mind. I want to get this piece really happening before I get too involved with the skull piece.

Other than that there are two more paintings in progress to finish, coffee sweaters to weave in ends, embellish and package, and a special request  item to knit………oh, and tweak the website again.  Time to get busy and get a bit of this off the books.

Photography and art by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
www.thehuntergroup.ca

blog H

Still Beading……

I am still beading. One week left to finish the piece completely. The sun (pictured below) was two days of beading in itself. The piece is starting to sparkle and might even be finished in time.

blog beaded sun

beaded sun

 

blog beaded trees

beaded trees