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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ongoing show at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery

Pelka and I continue to get wonderful comments on our art show, The Colour of Water, at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery.

Yesterday two of my pieces sold.

Garden Pond, the piece in the centre, sold yesterday. 
Cobweb with Dew Drops sold yesterday.

Current Threads at the Tulista Art Gallery in Sidney


Sculpture in front of the Tulista Art Gallery.
At the same time as Pelka and I are still having our show at the Denman Summer Gallery, we both had pieces in the Current Threads 2016 show that finishes today at the Tulista Park Gallery in beautiful Sidney, B.C.

I drove down island on July 27 and did shifts at the Tulista Gallery on July 27 and 28. I stayed overnight at the very comfortable Beacon Inn in Sidney, and had a super visit in the evening and next morning with my longtime friend Nina, who lives in Sidney so it was all good.

My two pieces, "Happy Together" and "Heart Lines" at the Tulista Gallery.
Inadvertent selfie while taking a picture of the show poster.
Pelka's three pieces are on the right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dinner tonight: Gougères

Our art show is still on and we are getting lots of great response - very gratifying. But I am still getting over the virus that I have been hosting for 3 months, so I am taking time now to relax and rest.

Summer has arrived on the west coast and the warm sun and soft breezes mean a light dinner is in order. Tonight we had gougères made with gruyère cheese, local tomatoes with mayonnaise, a glass of red wine, and grapes.





To make gougères:
Heat 4 ounces of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add 1 scant teaspoon salt and a grinding of black pepper and a dash of cayenne. Dump in 1 cup flour and stir over heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in by hand with a wooden spoon, 4 eggs, one at a time (room temperature eggs work best). Stir in 1 cup of grated gruyère cheese. Put big dollops of the cheese choux paste onto a silicone mat covered baking sheet, and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Colour of Water art show at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery

My art show with Pelka Wiltshire opened on Thursday evening, July 21, 2016. I was so caught up in the excitement that I did not take any pictures during the opening. I know that other folks did, and presumably they will share, so I may be able to post some in the future.

For now, here are some pictures of the set up of the show.

A blue corner of the gallery. The quilt on the plinth and the beaded wallhanging on the lower right are mine. The other three pieces are Pelka's.

Setting up the show. My sister in law is on the right.

We ran out of space for small items, so put them on low plinths in the centre of the room.

The trees and oceans corner of the room.


Hanging Dragonfly Dream on the covered porch, in preparation for opening night, with the help of my sister in law on the left, and husband on the right.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Printing note cards for the upcoming art show, The Colour of Water.

I like to sell note cards at my art show, with pictures on the cards of the art work on display.


Visitors often like to have a memento of an art piece that they liked, and the note cards are an easy inexpensive purchase.

I give half of the proceeds to the Arts Centre, so I break even on the cost of producing the cards. It is good promotion and nice for both visitors and the Arts Centre.

Here are some the images that I reproduced on the cards.











Here are cards ready to go, displayed in one of my handmade baskets.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hexagon quilt Ocean Currents: edge finish

I am finishing up my large hexagon quilt called Ocean Currents.

I hand pieced all the hexagons together, in a pattern of ocean currents. I machine quilted with rayon thread in various colours, and a modified spiral pattern to look like ripples or waves on the surface of the ocean.

I finished the edges by trimming the wool batting to the edge of the inner hexagons, leaving a 1/2 inch of backing fabric to tuck in over the edge of the wool batting. Then I folded half of each outer hexagon to the back and hand stitched it all down.

Finally, I hand quilted all around the outer edge with #8 perle cotton, and I doing some final hand quilting of the outer row of hexagons. It works well for a finish, and will be sturdy.







Saturday, July 9, 2016

Serging quilt edges before binding

I have been using wool battings for all my recent quilts and wall hangings. One aspect of this is the puffiness of the sandwich. This is a good thing, as it gives definition to the quilting and a lovely quilty aspect to the finished piece.

However, it can be a challenge to get the edges even when applying the binding. My solution is to serge the edges of the sandwich, and then to apply the binding. It works very well, and makes the binding easy to apply with an accurate 1/4 inch width.

Here you can see the puffy edge of the quilt sandwich.

I hope that you can see the "before" to the right of the serger foot, and the "after" to the left. I am using neutral grey thread.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Repurposed textiles with some glitter

These two old linen handkerchiefs were samples from Lesley Turner's Bengalas earth dyeing workshop at Edge of the Forest conference in Colwood in early April of this year.

Hand quilting with gold metallic thread.
I am calling this piece "Sunset".
This piece is called "Sunrise".
Detail of the stamping and quilting
I saw Lesley yesterday at the VISDA potluck lunch on Gabriola Island, and she said she was fine with me using them to make art pieces for my upcoming art show with Pelka Wiltshire at the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery.


Vancouver Island Surface Design Association

The Vancouver Island Surface Design Association is a branch of the Surface Design Association. The upcoming VISDA show is:
Current Threads 2016July 18-31
Community Arts Centre at Tulista Park
9565 Lochside Drive, Sidney, BC
Hours: 10:00- 4:00 Daily
Artist’s Reception: Saturday, July 23 2-4pm




The relationship is overall SDA / Canadian Region SDA/ British Columbia and Yukon Division of SDA/ VISDA.

We had our VISDA summer meeting yesterday at the home/studio of talented artist Morag Orr-Stevens.

Gloria Daly and Pelka Wiltshire in Morag's living room.

Art in Morag's studio.

Morag's art on display at the Gabriola Island Health Centre Gallery.

Morag's art on display at the Gabriola Island Health Centre Gallery.



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hand quilting dragonfly panel with silk thread

In the evenings I have been hand quilting this dragonfly panel. The fabric is hand dyed fine weave cotton, the batting is wool, and the backing is muslin. The wool batting is a dream to hand quilt, and the natural coloured muslin used for the backing highlights the hand quilting details.

The muslin back of the panel highlighting the hand quilting.
I stamped the fabric with motifs of water bubbles with a handmade foam stamp and deColorant Plus dye (a nasty smelling product and not very effective, so I threw away the small sample bottles after this project) and various dragonfly motifs from my stamp collection using stamp pads. I added gold acrylic paint dragonflies with a Thermofax screen. I washed the fabric before beginning the quilting to keep the fabric soft.

The front of the panel. It needs more quilting in a few areas to keep it even.
I tried machine quilting, but the very tight fine weave cotton meant skipped stitches. After some labourious unpicking, I settled on hand quilting around various motifs. I have three spools of exquisite silk thread given to me by a friend which I am using for the quilting. The thread is gold, bronze, and dark bronze and is wonderful to stitch with as it is so strong and smooth and resistant to tangling - so silky!

Wonderful silk threads.
My usual hand quilting these days is done with #8 perle cotton and a size 24 DMC chenille needle. Much easier on the hands and relatively fast. However, for this project using this very fine silk thread, I went back to my store of hand quilting needles and used a small short Clover Black Gold #9 quilting needle.

In order to properly feel the stitches I found that I really could not use a thimble on either hand (I usually use thimbles on both hands to save my finger tips from punctures, and a rubber finger cover on my right index finger to resist hand fatigue) so the tips of my fingers on both hands are roughened from tiny needle pricks. I could manage this because the project is not large, and the fabrics and thread are so cooperative. But I am also quite sure that there are not a lot more hand quilting projects using fine needles and thread in my future.

I never use a quilting frame as it only gets in my way. 

Detail of the hand quilting.

I think at this point I will finish the edges of the panel, probably with a facing as binding does not seem suitable for this project, and then add more quilting as needed for an even effect.