About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A completed quilt and some beading

I finished my Gai Perry quilt.



Now I am working with a fascinating book that I borrowed from the library,
Creative cloth doll beading : designing and embellishing with beads / Patti Medaris Culea, with Anne Hesse and Laura McCabe.




Monday, March 28, 2016

Studio work

Planning the paper pieced hexagons version of "Ocean Currents".

"Herring School" almost finished. I am adding silver and blue beads to the background. See detail below.


This paper piecing is with small 1" hexagons. I think it will be called "Reflecting Garden Pool". I stamped the insects with fabric paint, and now I will hand quilt with perle cotton.

This is my first experience with reverse applique´ and I love the technique and the effect. Here you see the basting, and on the left, the light grey inner circle has been applique´d to the dark centre. I prefer the smaller dark centre on the right. The imagery is raindrop circles on still water, tentative title "Raindrops on Pond Surface".

Monday, March 21, 2016

Drawings for class

This week our homework is to do drawings of hands and feet. Here are a couple of hands.



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Picking up my watercolour paints again

Back when I was university in the 1970's, doing my undergraduate degree in English literature, I read so much for course work that I lost the time and ability to choose my own self-direct reading. I remember each May when courses ended that it would take me a few weeks to get back into my own book choices. It was a funny conflict - reading so much that I lost the time/will to read.

Now I am having the same experience with my art classes. I overheard a young student in the class, just the other day, saying the same thing, that she always used to sketch in her free time and look forward to it as a pleasure, but now she is doing so much course directed art homework, she has lost the time and, almost to some extent, the joy of her own sketching.

Maybe that explains why I have not picked up my watercolours since I started my art class in September 2015. Or maybe I just need a goal, some structure to my paper based artwork.

The Group of Several, the local watercolour painting group to which I nominally belong (although I have not attended since last year as they meet on Tuesdays, the same day as my art class - more conflict), will be having their annual show at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery from May 18 to 24, 2016. The theme is Denman Beaches. I will be able to rejoin the group in late April when my class ends, but in the meantime, I need to get painting again.

The early morning light was so lovely this morning that I took the opportunity to do a quick watercolour sketch of the big rock on the beach. I did it all in half an hour, but still the tide was coming in so that I started when the rock was still in the water, and it was high and dry when I finished. So, an impressionistic painting.

Scott Bay March Morning Light.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Studio work

Today I started beading the stamped fish motifs on the "Herring Spawn" wall hanging,

and I began the planning for another version of "Ocean Currents", using the same fabrics, but this time with large english paper pieced hexagon shapes.
A photograph is so useful to help give an objective view of a piece. I see now that the fabrics at the top that are leaf prints will not work. Only the small prints that read as solids are effective. Good to see that and I will take the top leaf prints out of the mix.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Submission to Denman Island Summer Art Gallery 2016

In August 2013 fellow textile artist Pelka Wiltshire and I had a successful show at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery.

We are submitting a proposal for another show at the SAG this year, to be called "The Colour of Water".




Inspiration photographs.


Working with a palette of water coloured fabrics, using many textile techniques.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Free motion quilting "Ocean Currents" and starting "Herring Spawn"

I decided to free motion quilt "Ocean Currents" as I do not have enough hand stamina to hand quilt it. I have been using my collection of trilobal polyester embroidery thread, in shades of blue, gold and lilac, and I think that the effect is quite lovely. I have been following the pattern of the bargello pieces to reinforce the effect of ocean currents.



I have started another wall hanging, this one inspired by the recent Pacific Herring spawn, an amazing annual natural event. The colour of the fabric is the colour of the water when the male fish have released the milt.
Picture borrowed from the Internet.
The stamp is a beautiful Indian carved wood block that I bought at Maiwa a few years ago. I used Versafine ink stamp in a soft brown colour. The fabric is more aqua coloured in actuality.

I am going to hand quilt around each fish with Presencia  50wt sewing thread, and then I think that I will add some beading. The stamped cotton is hand basted to a piece of white felted wool.

Sea View embroidery version finished






Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dip pen nibs

I have fallen in love with using a dip pen. It is really good for my handwriting, as it makes me slow down so my writing, actually printing, is not quite so illegible. I tend to write so quickly that I miss putting in letters, particularly at the end of words. I do have a few blots, when using the dip pen, but not that many, all things considered!

I have been using a Speedball nib pen, and Speedball black India Ink. Unfortunately, I did not realize that they rust. You need to take the nib out of the holder after each use, clean and dry it,  and leave it in the air, and not store it in a sealed glass jelly jar - ask me how I know. Result is that all of my original nibs are now rusty and do not work properly.

When I was in Vancouver this past week, I went to the Vancouver Pen Shop and bought myself a wood nib holder with a cork finger rest, and 4 new nibs.

Nibs, starting top left: Brause 361 Blue Pumpkin Calligraphy nib, fine point; Zebra G nib; Hung Glove 513EF, and a Brause 511 fine nib (this one needs a special fine nib holder which I omitted to get), and finally the e+m wooden holder, from Germany.

Vancouver Art Gallery show: Mashup

I was in Vancouver for a couple of days and saw the latest exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Mashup: The Birth of Modern Culture.

I only spent an hour there, and it would take several visits to do it justice. I took a few pics of pieces that took my fancy.



Joseph Cornell

Andy Warhol








Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Applique´ version of "Sea View" and figure drawing in art class

I am progressing with my applique´ version of "Sea View" and I have decided that it will be an autumn version of the scene. I am making the golden maple leaves from english paper pieced diamonds.

Today in drawing class we drew from a live model, and worked on figure proportion. Challenging for me!



Sunday, March 6, 2016

"Ocean Currents" ready to quilt

I finished piecing and joining the 3 panels that make up Ocean Currents quilt. It has been sandwiched with a Hobbs wool batting, and pin basted. Now I am trying to decide if I should hand quilt it with perle´ cotton, or machine quilt. Hand quilting will take longer, but is easier on my neck and shoulders.

I have started another version of Sea View, this time with an applique´d tree shape rather than embroidery. I think that I will do a series of this image.

Applique´ ready for needle turn.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Herring fishery and "Ocean Currents" quilt piecing

My brother left this morning after his week long visit timed around the herring spawn. We saw lots of sea lions and eagles and gulls and ducks, and then this morning the herring fishing fleet was out in full force in Baynes Sound.


Then I tidied up the cottage, and reclaimed it as my studio. I worked on piecing another panel for my "Ocean Currents" quilt, which seems so appropriate will all the beautiful colours of the water during the spawn.
The first panel that I pieced somewhat laboriously and inaccurately two weeks ago.

The panel that I pieced together today. It was so much faster to do, and looks better. Practice always helps!

Making progress on "Sea View" embroidered wall hanging

I just love doing embroidery. Look how this is progressing!

I am filling in the bark on the tree trunk and branches with chain stitch and stem stitch. 
Some of the threads that I am using. I love perle´ cotton, and buy mine at The Needleloft shop in Royston, http://theneedleloft.com/


I wrote an earlier post on how I designed "Sea View".

Current Threads 2015 show, Garden Tapestry, now on in Sooke

The Garden Tapestry show is on again, this time at the South Shore Gallery in Sooke. I sold two of my pieces when the show was on in Duncan. There is still one piece in this show:

Garden Fantasy: Blossoms