Friday, 30 November 2012

Studio ...

Rocketing along preparing lovely goods for our holiday studio show and sale tomorrow! 

A myriad of pieced panels composed of prints on silk, cotton and linen for lavender pillows and my beloved Juki. Aerial view. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Open House!

We're all busy in our studios preparing for our annual Open House Show and Sale.  We transform the main floor into a showroom where you can browse and visit and even take a little refreshment while checking out our newest work and the work you've come to expect. 

Latest works in textiles, metals and ceramics by artists/designers Valerie Knapp, Vivienne Jones and Carolynn Bloomer — Saturday and Sunday, Dec 1 & 2 between 11 - 6. 

Drop by and see us!  There is always a wonderful eclectic range of things 

and it's fun to shop in this unique setting.  
more details?  Get in touch. 
I'll try to post some images from the workroom soon.

Feel free to share the invite with friends.

l. - r.   Butter dishes, Carolynn Bloomer.   Brooch, Vivienne Jones.   Pieced zipper bags, Valerie Knapp.
l. - r.   Labyrinth #2 (detail), Valerie Knapp.   Necklace, Vivienne Jones.   Plate - Really, Carolynn Bloomer.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Window Work

It's wonderful how a project can be an instrument of transformation, as when I was invited to create a translucent embroidered covering for a simple window in a beautiful room. By day the outside is subtly obscured, rather softened, and the light filters through emphasizing the delicate, skeletal stitched nature of the piece. As darkness falls the piece takes on a different character. With opaque black night as the backdrop the surface transforms with the shower of light from within the dining room. All the subtle details emerge in the fullness of the silken glow; one almost forgets it's translucency and the outside is gone.

Window Work 2012, Valerie Knapp©  Embroidery, silk organza, vintage lace and trims, thread, sewing.

Window Work 2012, Valerie Knapp©  Embroidery, silk organza, vintage lace and trims, thread, sewing.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Time in the Quiet Zone

Time will be in the show Quiet Zone opening Nov 3, 2012 in The Gallery at Queen Elizabeth Park Cultural Centre in Oakville, part of the World of Threads festival of exhibitions in Oakville and Toronto. 

A perforated and appliquéd tree peony pod, drawn from my garden, appears caught in a ground of vermicular lines embroidered in minuscule backstitches. Worked on handmade French paper in DMC and inspired by my passion for French 18th century textiles, Time is a way of channeling between then and now.  

I also wrote about this work at an earlier stage — the post. (Note: This image is more true in colour).

Although I have a long history as a printer and still use printing in many aspects of my work, this piece has none, yet it's primary influences are printed textiles.  A wonderful reference if you're interested in historical printed textiles is Printed French Fabrics by Josette Brédif. 

Time 2012, Valerie Knapp©.  Embroidery, perforation, drawing, appliqué on paper (Saint-Gilles).
Time (detail) 2012 , Valerie Knapp©. 

Time (detail) 2012 , Valerie Knapp©.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Sewing Kit

One of my favourite objects to make is this pieced linen sewing kit roll.  The Big Dots and Sticks are relief printed by me and the tiny square is a vintage French silk denim and the patches on the inside where you stow supplies are felt. When I developed the first samples I was surprized with the interest and they were snapped up quickly, perhaps because it's a satisfying organizer, intimate in scale and soft to touch. 

I just took a few into the Guild Shop, including this one ... 

Linen sewing kit roll with the 'Big Dot' border. 

Linen sewing kit roll.
Linen sewing kit roll insides.  'Sticks' print on the pocket.

Monday, 18 June 2012


While in Italy in April we went to the island of Burano, historically significant for lacemaking and nowadays the main attractions are these charming colourful houses and fresh seafood. 

I've always liked pegging up laundry, love the fresh air snapping through my clothes and sheets. I simply enjoy handling cloth in most activities related to it.  In Burano, everyday linens and clothing begged to be photographed. They appeared in thoughtful combinations, elevating the practice to a different level.

The island is in the lagoon north of Murano in Venice (see previous post).  

Colour Theory Study.

Composition and a feat of 'out the window' engineering.


London Plane never looked so good.

B & W Study #1.

B & W Study #2.
Photographed April 18th, 2012 on a fine sunlit day.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Lacemaking in Burano, Venice

While in Venice in April we boated out to the island of Burano on the vaporetto, the water bus. The island is famous for lacemaking.  The Museo de Merletto was an exquisite jewel to discover on this beautiful sunlit day as were the colourful houses (post to follow) and a wonderful meal on a terrace. 

 Photos were not allowed in the museum but I managed to snap a few ... 

Some say the the first formal needle lacemaking for the European royal courts was Venetian and Burano prospered as the centre of excellence and production between the 16th - 18th century, famous in particular for 'punto in aria' (points in the air), one of the most delicate forms on display at the museum among the many fine examples.

'Punto in aria'   Museo Merletto, Burano.

Museo Merletto, Burano.

I saw lacemaking still being done by hand on the island.  The shops stocked work that was locally made and products made in Asia.

Museo Merletto, Burano.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Recent Work

Thread - On Top of the World is a detailed, somewhat improvisational embroidery I did in January. I will post other new embroidery and mixed media works in the coming days. I've been away in Italy for a while and been doing catch-up back in Toronto.  A few holiday pics coming soon too.
Thread - On Top of the World. Hand embroidery, drawing and perforation on Japanese paper. 10 cm H x 15 cm W. Valerie Knapp 2012©

Thread - On Top of the World. (detail) Hand embroidery, drawing and perforation on Japanese paper. 10 cm H x 15 cm W. Valerie Knapp 2012©

Friday, 6 April 2012

Blooms at Easter

Can't get much sweeter.  The crazy heat wave a couple of weeks ago brought out the early spring flowering bulbs sooner than ever before. Chionodoxa luciliae is so fresh and bright with white eyes, one of my favourites and it naturalizes readily.

Chionodoxa luciliae in chickie egg cups. 

A mini daffodil 'Tete a Tete', Puschkinia libanotica, and Chionodoxa luciliae with a sprig of tiny white flowers (?) from the market.

Spring flowers.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fresh linens for spring

The longer and brighter days have been so welcome!  Even though it's been a super mild winter I love how the light changes towards the end of February and everybody's spirit starts to improve. 

Here's the latest bunch of linen hand towels that went off to the Guild Shop last week. Coming soon — I'll be stocking my shop at I'll provide the link as soon as I get work in there. It's been so busy.  

Batch of relief printed 100% linen hand towels. Various prints. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Revisiting Crochet

What a fun project to crochet a bonnet for our neighbour's precious baby girl Camilla.  Winter evenings are perfect for handwork. As I worked on this dreamy pink number I tripped into memories of making crochet hats for my kids.

Crochet bonnet. Soft cotton blend yarn from France. Fun pointy crown detail.

Flat view showing shell stitch all along the edge.

 Camilla, age 1, 2012. 
Oh did I get sentimental so I had to find a photo of my daughter Maxine in hers. A range of multi-coloured wool and cotton yarns were worked in a variety of stitches and a dotty green grosgrain ribbon was woven in along the edge. There is a big pom pom hanging from the crown but alas no photo showing it.

Here are the girls ...
Maxine Bell, age 2, 1991.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Boxed Embroidery at David Kaye Gallery

Dream #4.  Hand embroidery on cotton 
sheeting. Vintage Ryrie-Birks ring box.
Boxed Embroidery Series ©

David Kaye Gallery has a few pieces from my ongoing Boxed Embroidery Series including Dream #4, Four Seeds and Party Dress. The tiny sleeping children I love to make are worked on cotton bed sheeting. This one is nestled in a beautiful vintage box that was a special gift from Lily Yung.

So innocent, these dreamers.

In Party Dress, the relief print Memory Dress appears printed and stitched on the palest pink vintage silk crepe de chine that I used to make party dresses out of back in the day.

Party Dress.  Silk crepe de chine and DMC thread. 
John Diggin's Jewellry box. Boxed Embroidery Series ©

And seeds ... optimistic, emblematic of the new, a fresh start. 

Four Seeds.  Embroidery on silk. Leather Ganeshi Lal & Son bracelet box. Boxed Embroidery Series ©

Monday, 23 January 2012

Pretty Pink Petals of Pelargonium

Inspired by a friend's post Seed Starting Update I snapped a photo of a Pelargonium (unidentified) blooming in my kitchen. A gift in winter, on a gray rainy day...

Pretty pink petals of Pelargonium in January.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Great to be back in the studio

A nice project to ease back into work, this pair of pillows for a stylish client. Mostly linen, pieced with glints of my relief prints and other vintage bits. Reversible, although not intentional. I like to have detail on the back, one always enjoys a surprize. I had fun photographing them ...

but not identical.


 the backs.                                                                                   Happy New Year