Monday, July 25, 2016

Quotes: Clarissa Pinkola Estés

"It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear. The one who says nothing good came of this is not yet listening." –– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés (b. 1945), American author and psychoanalyst

Friday, July 22, 2016

Studio Series: Naturally Dyed Hexagons WIP

Naturally dyed, hand-quilted hexagons WIP © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Hand-quilting my solids hexagons pillow cover gave me a "next step" for this naturally dyed hexagons textile. I pieced it about a year-and-a-half ago but didn't know what the textile needed next. The above textile is still a work-in-progress and I'm curious to know when another "next step" will announce itself and how the textile will evolve. This is one of my slow-to-resolve textiles, but once finished they are often worth the long incubation period (Here's an example of a problem child that was well worth the wait).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Studio Series: Solids hexagons pillow

Solids hexagon pillow © Karen Thiessen, 2016 
I finally finished this sucker and it looks fantastic (if I do say so myself)!
Solids hexagon pillow detail © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Each hexagon took about an hour to hand quilt.
Solids hexagon pillow verso © Karen Thiessen, 2016
I appliquéd a patch of my screen printed fabric onto the back. Soon I'll write a post about a work-in-progress inspired by this hand-quilted hexagons pillow.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Quotes: Carrie Brownstein

"I always felt like such an outsider, always existing on the periphery, and I am really grateful for that. Starting from a place of normalcy or mainstream, you don't get the same gumption or drive that you do from the fringes." –– Carrie Brownstein (b. 1974), American actress and musician
*source: imdb and sketchbook #28

Friday, July 15, 2016

Studio Series: Matrix collage

Matrix collage © Karen Thiessen, 2016
While I was a textiles student at Sheridan College I developed a complex three-print pattern, but due to time constraints was unable to push it as far as I knew it could go. Fast forward twenty years and now I'm playing to see where it can go. The bonus is that ten years ago collage wedged its way into my studio practice, and now I have a thinking tool that I didn't have during my Sheridan days. Oh the places that this matrix pattern will go...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Woad plant; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of touring textile artist and natural dye expert Thea Haines' natural dye garden. She grows all manner of colour-yielding plants. Of particular interest to me was this large clump of woad. The leaves yield an indigo blue dye.
Woad seeds; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Thea has already collected the seeds for future woad crops. I look forward to seeing what depth of blue her plants yield.

In addition to natural dye plants, she is also growing a test plot of flax for an Upper Canada Fibreshed initiative. The goal is that the flax will be processed into fibre, and the UC Fibreshed is still working out the details of how to do this as there are no processing plants here in Canada. A few years ago, one of Sandra Brownlee's NSCAD textiles students grew a plot of flax in Sandra's Dartmouth garden. Naturally, Sandra crafted a beautiful low wattle fence to encircle it. I believe that the test plot was for the same initiative that Thea is involved in.