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Friday, 14 November 2014

* * * Around the World Blog Hop * * *

Welcome!  Today, I was tagged by a wonderful artist & online friend named Sharron Begg to be part of an artists' blog hop.  First let me tell you a bit about her.  Sharron's blog is "Threadpainters Art".  You can guess I found her by googling 'threadpainting'.  As it turns out, I happened to have fallen madly in love with her ink illustrations that can also be seen on her site.  There's just something about them - they look like stitching as well.  He art inspired me to begin sketching things out prior to stitching my art, which is something I had not done before.  I'm linking to her Blog Hop introductory post HERE, please stay a while and look around.  She does wonderful work with soluble stabilizers.

As for me, my name is Monika Kinner-Whalen.  (pronounced Moe-nee-ka, not Maw-nick-uh).  Welcome to my blog.  I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada with my family of 5.  I've been doing landscape threadwork for almost five years now, most of which is inspired by my deep attachment to the Canadian Prairie.  I was born and raised here, and moving away after university left me incredibly homesick.  Apparently, the Prairies can do that to you.  I had no idea what a strong attachment it had on me.  After setting up house with my husband and having three children, we moved back to Saskatoon; back to the big old flatland.  It was unreal.  It's like my spirit returned.  I could breath again.  It filled my heart to the brim with creative energy.  It was at the same time I had discovered fibre art, and everything just took off from there.  Our poured all this artwork!

I love what I do.  I work full time out of my home studio.  I teach creative sewing classes, but I see myself as an artist first and foremost.  Some of my key pieces are touring Canada (east and west) with juried exhibitions. I have had my art commissioned and sold around the world, including all over Canada, the USA, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Africa, and Australia.  I've won awards and have been extremely grateful to be published in books and magazines over the 5 years too.  Yeah, yeah... brag brag brag.  Well, this is a spotlight moment, right?  : )

So, what is it that I do?

I go on treasure hunts with my camera, looking for things to stitch.  I head out down little dirt roads to places unknown in any season and find beauty EVERY time.  Ditches are my favourite.  You might think the prairies are flat and lifeless - in fact, we are teased often that there's nothing to see here.  But like many of use here, I know how to look and where to look.  I find breathtaking beauty easily.  I look up.  I look down.  I look as far as the eye can see.  It's unrestricted and open, known as the quietest place on earth with some of the liveliest and biggest skies.

my daughter jumping waves on a wild & stormy day

And so, I sew it.  I collage a background with the right fabrics for my subject's colours, and then I bring it to life with thread.  I use a technique known as freemotion machine stitching to fill in the landscape.  I use freestyle hand embroidery to embellish and make my prairies pop.  Here are some examples of my work.  First up, She's Blooming!  This one is touring Canada with Dimensions, a juried collection of fine craft with the Saskatchewan Craft Council.

sideways - detail of canola field in bloom featuring thousands of French Knots

That's what you see in the summer.  Below is a piece that was inspired after a tornado warning had lifted one spring.  Trees at the Turnaround.  There was lots of rain and wind, and the sky began to clear.  This body of water was a flooded ditch lined with bullrushes.

This next one is called, The Skating Pond.  This brings back great memories of growing up on a farm.  I love winter so very much.  I truly enjoy our four distinct seasons here.  The landscape is always changing.

And autumn - lovely autumn when the wind changes yet again.  This was from a local conservation area called Cranberry Flats.  It's named, Autumn Blonde.

So, that's what I do.  Recently I've been experimenting with yarn.  I've played with the idea of stitching things a little closer to the earth but on a larger scale.  It's been really enjoyable.  I love what I do, and I look forward to the growth I see in my art with each new piece.

Awarded second place in Original Surface Design, Needlework.  Focus on Fibre Arts Association

What else can I tell you?  hmmm.  You can find me on Facebook HERE.
You can find my images sorted into albums on Flickr HERE.
You can shop for art, cards, and fabric postcard supplies in my Etsy Shop HERE.

You can also just hang out on this blog and click the tutorials or slideshow tabs at the top.  There's a lot to see here after five years.

I think this answers all the questions I was asked to address.  There was one more: 'What makes your art unique?'  I think my work is somewhat unique in that my threadpaintings are done without tracing, templates, or printing out backgrounds to stitch on.  It really is my own personal and original art.  I use only my own photographs as inspiration - so even right from the scenes themselves, they are my compositions from beginning to end.  They are completely my view of my world so to speak, and  done by hand and from the heart.  ; )

Thank you SO much for coming by!

June Grasses - in progress.  Currently touring with the Focus on Fibre Arts juried show in Alberta.

And now, let me pass the blog hop torch over to my friend Karen D. Miller.  Karen specializes in Hooked Fibre Art.  She lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.  Karen blends alternative fibre art techniques with traditional yarn hand-hooking to create fresh landscapes and abstract close ups.  She has exhibited in Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, Ohio and Vermont and been featured in several publications, such as the forthcoming TextileArt Around the World.  Karen has been selected as an Honourable Mention (2014) and a Finalist (2013) in Rug Hooking Magazine’s annual “A Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs ”.  She blogs at Marzipan Road, and will be doing her blog hop post one week from today.  I'll put up a little remind for you at that time.

And thank you Sharron for including me. : )


Kate said...

I love your work, Monika, and your photos!

Threadpainter said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful !
It truly is nice to know a bit more about the fabulous fibre artist Monika !
Thank you very much for sending fellow bloggers my way and I hope that you receive lots of new visitors as well.
I love the way you work !

Lin said...

Great post Monika - thank you. xx

HollyM said...

Nice post, Monica! Wonderful examples of your work too.

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