Friday, 2 August 2019

Bugs - Vivian Kapusta - "A Closer Look!"

Bugs - Vivian Kapusta - "A Closer Look!"

I have been fascinated by close up photography of bugs. 

You see colour and detail that the human eye cannot see.
This is the head of  a flying spider from east Asia. 
Amazingly, they have 6 eyes, two facing forward and two on each side that face sideways.
Credit to Bassamali for original photo. 

I drew a representation onto cotton duck and thread painted ... using a little artistic licence!
He is mounted on a background of black silk with a little hand quilting.

The finish I have been using for our AQAW quilts is to make an envelope/pillowcase and fit a piece of stiff plastic inside ... before hand stitching to close. 
This keeps the piece stretched out. 
My first piece for this group (the crow) has been accepted into two juried shows ... they accepted the method with no comments.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Art Quilts Around the World .... 

Have you ever felt that you were stuck in a bubble ...
where you can see out, but no one is able to hear you?

Methods: The background fabric is my hand dye ... sunshine at the top to encourage, earth at the foot of the piece.
I layered a black sheer with silver dots, the girl and topped with a 'shot' sheer to represent the bubble.

Art should make you think ... girls/women are often lacking in power. Another version of the glass ceiling!

Photography was a problem - due to reflection of the light, I had to take it from the side angle.

Thursday, 25 April 2019


Steps – Vivian Kapusta

Have you ever had a recurring dream?

My dream spans many years, with slightly different images … but the message remains. 
The dream space beckons me in … it is dark and a little weird … but it is a dream, right?

Stairs float in space, above is a golden door to a cave. 
The key is my reward to climb … what waits within?  
Is this a new part of my life and do I need/want to do the work to get there? 
Do I have a choice?

Methods: the base is a dark cotton fabric with a random design, I’ve layered that with a loosely woven sheer fabric on top. 
The entry is decorated with oddment pieces from my stash. 
Free motion stitching.

My destination waits, it is still weird, but not frightening ...      

Thursday, 31 January 2019


Where I Dream - Vivian Kapusta - Come walk with me ...

Come walk with me ... into the forest! Trees tower overhead, a stream collects last night's rain and runs by at our feet. Breath in the air - fragrant and moist. The sun breaks through the trees, warming the ground ... giving life to all plants and creatures. Listen to the birds ... calling to tell the other forest creatures that humans have invaded their world!

I've loved the forest as long as I can remember, the earth soft with needles, the hush ... pushing away the noise of people and their machines. Come, sit by the stream and dream!

My fabrics are my hand dye (except for the rocks). A little yarn gives a fuzzy ground cover. I like to use variegated threads to give a natural color shift.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Numbers - Vivian Kapusta - In the Beginning

My mind went back to when we started to use numbers and why ...
After we ran out of fingers and toes, we needed another form for calculation. 

In the far East, China and India had developed a method of counting based on units. Originally, they calculated trade accounts in the sand with rocks. Then,an early math-brain developed the Abacus.
Check out wikiHow for directions on using this incredible calculator.

I decided to create an abacus from scratch, I chose materials that would be available in making an early abacus. So: the rough cotton imitates sand, the shells replace the beads normally used today. the corner decorations are hand made wood beads, the thread is made from old saris ... an ancient practice ... the upper beads reminded me of teeth, something else that would be available!


Creating this took far longer than I had calculated!

Friday, 19 October 2018


Vivian Kapusta'Inspiration'

The Speed of Life comes in waves ... 

I was tidying up my studio, thinking about how I would represent 'Imagine'. 
Suddenly, right brain shouted "Use that fabric in your hand!" 
The fabric was a mono hand print. The lines begged to be stitched!
I was leaving on a trip, so that made sense ... I gathered threads, etc.

I've always been interested in how the brain is inspired and how the process of creativity is produced. 
It seems to me it must be an explosion of energy in all directions!
So, when I had time, I stitched ... letting right brain and the fabric manage the end product.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Under the Surface - Vivian Kapusta - Octopus's Garden

When I first heard the title 'Under the Surface' ... the song 'Octopus's Garden' popped into my head and would not leave!

I love doing these small quilts and trying new techniques. The background fabric is painted with the 'scrunch' method. The rocks at the bottom are plastic envelope material that was painted and treated with a heat torch to make it bubble. The seafloor is an iridescent sheer. The sea animals are bits of my hand dye. I highlighted the sun touched areas with a little iridescent paint.Thread painting finished it off.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Art Quilts Around the World

Film Noir, Vivian Kapusta

My piece is based on the only Film Noir that I recall seeing ... Hitchcock's film 'The Birds'
There is a frightening scene of children being chased by crows.
My background is printed on pale grey hand dye. I used a screen with thickened black paint and discharged with clear print paste. I wanted an indistinct, mysterious background. While on vacation, I hand stitched the background with running and loop stitches.

The crow was free motion stitched on canvas and appliqued, with a 3D on the wings. A few choice beeds and trinkets completed the design.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

How do you like these mushrooms?

My garden seems to be in mushroom mode:
Enter a normal mushroom ...

And, then a little button mushroom, probably a puff ball.

Now what is this? 
Each part is larger than a dinner plate ... living under a fir tree!
 17 " across ...
Anyone know what it is?
My friend Pierre, a chef, identified my mushrooms: 
Giant Funnel Cap, Latin: Leucopaxillus Giganteus
Apparently, it is edible ... although it might cause digestive upsets.

This tiny mushroom was growing nearby ...

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Indigo dyeing at La Conner

The La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum sponsored a workshop on Indigo Dyesorganized by Susan Riedel and led by Ako Shimozato and her helpers. They did a marvelous job of explaining the process and leading 15 participants through the magic of indigo.

Here are photos of my work:
a small piece of cotton with running stitch
a light silk (worked in double layer ... with wraps on buttons
Two silk scarves:
1. rolled on a cylinder with string.
2. wrapped on the ends around a pine cone at the ends and a slat of wood in the middle. Note this was crepe silk and took the dye much darker.

I folded the scarf in half and began rolling from the fold ... making the center a little lightr.

This was my last piece ... light silk lining rescued from an old dress. It was done on the diagonal over a water bottle with elastics put on randomly.
I really enjoyed the workshop and the results!
More information:

La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum - Japanese Quilt Shows

These shows are exceptional shows ... if you can get there before October 5th, don't miss them!

What more can I say, one show is extraordinary, the other is remarkable ... see for yourself! The expert colour value and design in these quilts will have you staring in amazement!      (no photos were allowed)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Playtime ... dyeing flat

I spent a day with a dear friend ... playing ...
This is actually not as bright ... it is amazing how the digital cameras can see more colour than our eyes.
I used up bits of white fabrics. I think this was cotton and spandex.
The photo doesn't do this justice. It is about 12" by 40". It is a fine china silk and was wet before spraying dye on. I pushed folds in the fabric to make it about half the actual length and dried it that way. I think it was a scarf blank ... it has selvage on both sides.
This was a cotton - pinned to a board and I dripped dye down the surface.  I did this on dry fabric and at first it sat as beads, as I dripped more dye, it sank in more.
This is my favorite ...happy white daisies! It is on wet white cotton. I made the centers by wrapping elastics around a circular object and arranging the fabric in folds ... then sprayed the dye on.
We used procion dyes in a liquid form with urea. The cotton fabrics had been treated with soda ash. We used stryofoam boards with plastic taped on, then used a slightly larger piece of plastic, added our fabric and dyed it. To dry, we layered another piece of fabric and slid the 'sandwich' off the board and set in the sun to dry.

There were also some pieces I thought were silk and turned out to be synthetic. Most of the dye washed out. An easy test I should have done is to burn a small piece. Natural fibres form a black/grey ash and synthetics melt to form hard brown beads. I have some transfer dye papers ... think I'll try those and see what happens.

Here is an example of the transfer dyes used on an ipad cover that was pearl grey with an assortment of coffee stains, etc.

Here is a link describing how to work with transfer dyes.

So many fun techniques to work with and so little time!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Douglas Coupland, Vancouver Art Gallery

Coupland collected items - commercial and part of our daily life.
Surprisingly, he made quilts. The holes are 'spirit catchers'.
This quilt included hubcaps.

This interested me because it reminded me of modern quilts.
The central object depicts the ice storm in Quebec 
where electrical towers toppled over.
Coupland abstracted several well known artists. 
This one: Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky by Emily Car
As a child, he was fascinated with lego. 
This is his first set - replicated many times.
and, more complex 'totems'
There was a room of signs ... social and intellectual statements. 
This interested me because I was a teacher!

Coupland was fascinated by technology and images.

This needed a camera phone to see the image.
He did a series of photos with the face obliterated by paint.
These reminded me of the adolescents whose brains turn to mush in the time between childhood and what society calls maturity.
This large collection was like looking into a brain ... with all the images we store.
The view from the restaurant at the Art Gallery. 
They now call Vancouver 'the glass city'.
Food is good!

I had little knowledge of Coupland's art, I had seen some items over time. This exhibit shows an artist who works in a wide variety of mediums ... reacting to the world around him. It was almost like looking inside his brain ... with all its complexity! 
Photography was encouraged.