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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Scottish sketches

I returned from my Scotland holiday on May 31. I tried to sketch every day.
















Monday, May 8, 2017

Making travel journals

On May 16 I leave for a two week vacation in Scotland. I want to do lots of sketching.

I have purchased a Fabriano watercolour coil bound pad of 140 lb paper cold pressed, size 5 1/12 x 8 1/2". I will take some technical ink pens, an automatic  graphite pencil, watercolour pencils, and a water brush in a plastic case.

I have also made two folding journals, one from a single sheet of drawing paper and one from a single sheet of Arches 140 lb watercolour paper. I used Cathy Johnson's instructions for a super quick, no sew, folding journal. Link to the youtube video is here. 

Each journal has painted watercolour covers. I glued the covers on with acrylic gloss medium, and coated the images with medium as well. The top journal is watercolour paper, and the larger bottom journal is drawing paper.

Here are the journals opened to the first page. They open accordion style, and can be used on both sides.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Art Show Plans for the Summer of 2017

Spring and summer are the time for art shows. I have just put in a couple of submissions.

1. Just coming down today, April 30,  is the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association annual show, Current Threads 2017, which has been on for 2 weeks at the Waterfront Gallery in Ladysmith. I had 2 pieces in the show.
Detail of a 60 inch long embroidered textile hanging.

Detail of a 60 inch long stamped and hand quilted textile hanging.
2. The next show will be the local Denman Island painting group, the Group of Several. See poster below. May 18 to 23, 2017. Unfortunately I will be away in Scotland, but I have some pieces to submit.
The theme is "Cowness" and I have done an acrylic portrait on a full size sheet of watercolour paper of one of Linda's cows. Also some ink and watercolour sketches of Mount Washington, originally done on rice paper, now mounted on stretched canvases with acrylic medium. And a 2 foot square painting on birch plywood, of a magic realism forest scene, based on a photo I took in the Chickadee lake area.
This year's poster.
Cow portrait. Acrylic paint  on 140 lb watercolour paper, 30" by 22".




Four rice paper ink and watercolour paintings of a Mount Washington scene, mounted on stretched canvas.

Acrylic painting on birch wood panel, called "Forest Light".


3.  Comox Valley Art Gallery show June 2-30 2017: Image to Text to Image. Submitted April 30, 2017 my collage "What Do You Think of Red?". I think that I find out if I have been accepted on May 13. Delivery of art to the gallery from May 16 to 20. Location: CVAG Gallery in Courtenay, B.C.

What Do You Think of Red?
Collage on stretched canvas. 36" by 12" by 2".
4.  Coast Collective Gallery in Colwood (near Victoria), B.C. Eco-Threads June 28 to July 9, 2017. Submitted April 30, 2017 my painted textile wall hanging "TREE". Artists notified Jun 8, 2017. Delivery of work June 21 to 25.
TREE. I painted the cotton fabric with acid fabric dyes, then stitched the shapes, and added fabric paints.
5. Denman Island Annual Artists Studio Tour August 12-13 2017. I am going to hang some quilts with the Denman Quilters group at the Arts Centre site.
Als0, I will show some work at Pelka's studio: Torn Edges Studio - Pelka Wiltshire and Jean Cockburn.
"Torn Edges Studio is the creative laboratory of multi-media artist Pelka Wiltshire. Joining Torn Edges Studio this year is, Jean Cockburn, fellow multi-media artist. These two artists explore the use of paint, print, fibre, stitch and found objects. Come visit and get inspired."
I don't know what art I will show yet, but I do want to hang "Dragonfly Dream".

Soft sculpture "Dragonfly Dream".
6. Denman Moments, August 17 to 29, 2017. The final show of the season at Arts Denman Summer Gallery. I am going to show my colour theory painting from art class of a crab shell.


"Rock Crab Shell on Baynes Sound Beach, Denman Island". Acrylic on 300 lb watercolour paper.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New fabric for sewing projects

Just received from this order from Thread Theory, and Morgan included gratis some light grey ribbing to see if I can use it for an upcoming project.

Merino Wool Blend Double Knit - Moroccan Blue - 1/2 metre × 3
Easy-Thread Sewing Needles × 1
Bamboo and Cotton Stretch Jersey - Navy and White Stripe - 1/2 metre × 3
Bamboo and Cotton Stretch Jersey - Heathered Grey and Navy Stripe - 1/2 metre × 3
Cotton Interlock T-shirt Knit - Black - 1/2 metre × 3
Adhesive Tape Measure × 1
Camas Blouse × 1
Tissue Pattern

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sewing for participation in Me-Made-May 2017

This year I'm going to participate in Me Made May 2017.
I'm not going to post on Instagram, or here on my blog, just try to wear everyday something that I have sewn or knit for myself.

What is Me-Made-May'17 and how it works...

Me-Made-May'17 (#MMMay17 for social media interaction) is a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more. The me-made and self-stitched challenges have been taking place for eight years now and they work on both a personal and community level. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them (more on this below). For example, a very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May 2017. Some participants choose to document their challenge photographically (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants.

Yesterday I received a wonderful parcel of Jalie patterns that I had ordered, and today I ordered fabric  online from Thread Theory. (I have pretty well given up on fabric from Fabricland as the quality is too poor. I put time and effort and money into sewing, only to have the fabric pill and sag.) I recently received an order from Blackbird Fabrics so I am well supplied to make some wonderful clothes.

Today I traced patterns from Jalie, and cut out six garments. I think that pattern tracing and cutting out is the most tedious part of sewing, and takes concentrated continuous time. I had a free day all day today, so now I can sit and sew whenever the mood takes me.

1.  Jalie 2805 v-neck tee shirt, long sleeve. Using grey sweater knit from Blackbird Fabrics.

2. Burda 6908 long sleeve collared shirt in blue and white stripe cotton. I made this shirt earlier this year from Liberty cotton, so I know that it fits well. My first shirt was very long, so I shortened this one by 2 inches.

3.  Hemlock Tee in a woven fabric, raw silk in colour denim blue from Blackbird Fabrics. Cut the sleeves on the bias, a hint that I found online for using woven fabric with this pattern designed for knits, but oversize so hopefully okay.

4.  New Look 6266 sleeveless shirt, in navy silk or rayon, origin unknown, but so nice and drapey. I really did not have enough fabric, so the under collar, etc. are cut from Liberty cotton. I made this shirt in flannel earlier this year, so I know that it fits well. The flannel was from Fabricland and is stiff and cardboard like, another reason not to use that source of fabric.

5.  Jalie 3676 Vanessa fluid pants. Navy rayon challis, origin unknown, really nice and drapey.

6.  Jalie 3462 Eleonore pull on pants. Capri length, heavy black 4-way stretch from Fabricland (discovered a flaw - grr - so had to cut across grain. This may turn out to be a muslin for fit). I don't like low rise pants, so I added 2 inches to waist height.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Painting finished?

When is a painting finished? Never probably, but I have done all that I want to do with this one.

Hard to get a photo without the glare from the windows in the studio on the right hand side. The windows face west, a no no for an art studio.


I did this ink drawing after the painting, exploring the Celtic motifs in the tree images.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Yet more on Independent painting

Today I finished tweaking the background, and realized that it was time to be brave and put in the foreground tress. Nerve wracking. What if I ruin it????? But my instructor says to go for it, always take risks, take it further, and never be afraid to ruin a painting.

Taking inspiration from https://paintingdemos.com/embroidered-forest-watercolor-acrylics-and-zentangles-painting-tutorial/ by Sandrine Pelissier, and the painting "Almost Grown by Peter Doig https://uploads7.wikiart.org/images/peter-doig/almost-grown-2000.jpg .

So, I forged ahead. I placed the newspaper shapes on the painting, fussed with the placement, then outlined with charcoal willow stick.

I brushed off the charcoal so only a faint line remained, then painted the initial tree shapes in Hansa Yellow. Then I sketched in some branches, and painted those shapes in yellow.

The first tree shapes painted in yellow.

After an afternoon of painting, the trees are really taking shape. Overpainted with Alizarin Crimson Hue, a transparent red, then Red Iron Oxide, also transparent. Fluid Cerulean Blue, also transparent. used on right tree to make it recede. Violet used for shading, then FW Acrylic Ink in Indigo Blue. Interesting the way the molding past motifs show through - I think I like it.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

More work on my Independent painting

Progressing on my NIC Fine Arts 121 final Independent painting.


Some shading has been done on the water to create perspective.

Planning the placement of the deer stencils in relation to the final foreground tree shapes.

Preparing to the paint the doe with Golden Fluid Transparent Red Iron Oxide paint.

The buck was painted in a darker colour for variation, and to put that deer at a distance.

Detail of the front details applied with tinted Golden Light Molding Paste and quilting stencils.

Detail of the upper row of trees.

Almost ready for the foreground trees.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Upcoming Current Threads 2017 show at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery April 15 to 30, 2017


I have made two banners/wall hangings. Both about 5 feet long and 11 inches wide. Detail pics below.