Tag Archives: kelp

Looking closely

Over the past months, I have taken a lot of photos of landscapes and seascapes. They will start to appear in my photo gallery.

But this post is about taking the time to get close up to things, taking a very intimate approach to photography… 

Queen Anne's lace seedhead, macro photography by Andrée Fredette

Ordinary things hold mysteries, and those are revealed by the lens. Like Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), that very common wildflower, at the end of the season, all curled up.

Belly feathers of an American Goldfinch. Macro photograph by Andrée Fredette

Or the belly feathers of an unfortunate American Goldfinch, which died after flying into a window.

Condensation on the side of a Brita filter. Macro photo by Andrée Fredette

Or the abstract condensation pattern on the side of the Brita filter.y.

Fiddlehead ficus leaf, detail. Macro photo by Andrée Fredette

Or the back of a Fiddlehead ficus, all dried up and revealing its patterns in the afternoon sunlight.

Macro shot of kelp on a beach in Ucluelet, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Or the otherworldly creature-like appearance of this kelp bit of flotsam, on a beach in Ucluelet, BC.

Apple, after rinsing. Macro photo by Andrée Fredette

And the drops left on a McIntosh apple, after a rinse in the sink, and before the apple pie baking session…

Quilt and Stitch… Some Ideas, Part 1

Before starting to texture a quilt, I usually go through what I call my doodling step, where I try out some ideas with a felt tip pen on some newsprint. I draw lines without lifting the felt tip pen from the paper, to imitate the “endless line” motion of a sewing machine stitching line…

Stitching pattern, free-style. Photo © Andrée Fredette

Sometimes, the bright ideas are elusive and I scrap a lot of paper… And sometimes, light bulbs go on and I save my pile of paper sketches. On a good day, I can come up with several usable textures and on a bad day, well, it’s a really dry run. Go figure.

Then – before tackling an actual quilt – I take my bright ideas to little “quilt sandwiches”, to practice and warm up.

Stitching pattern, free-style. Photo © Andrée Fredette

In the sample above, you can see the light green stitching lines, about an inch apart, that form “corridors”. I often use those as a first step, to establish a direction, especially when I am trying to evoke a stem, or to draw long lines across a piece.

After laying my road map, I come back (in this case, with a darker thread) and fill in with the patterns that I pick up in the greenery that surrounds me. I am really fascinated by the lines of foliage – both on shore and in the water – on the island. Grasses, plants, kelp, anything is a good source of inspiration.

And I have found that pattern repeats, especially when they are uneven, are very interesting. They move the eye around…

Stitching pattern, free-style. Photo © Andrée Fredette

Here is an example of a textured quilt study, using simple lines to enhance the pieced design.

Mark-making. Stitching pattern, free-style. Photo © Andrée Fredette

I am not interested in perfection, because perfectly spaced lines and stitches look too automated, machine-driven. I prefer the lyrical “élan”, the irregular repeats, much like wavelets washing ashore, no two exactly the same. I want my stitching or mark-making to look a bit more like someone applying pressure on a brush, while painting or drawing. Because I draw with a sewing machine…

Showing Photographs on Saturna

The Point Store Gallery on Saturna Island, BC, is featuring some of my photos this month, until September 25th.

As an experiment, I got some of my pictures printed on aluminum and on acrylic, with very interesting results.
East Point Sky, 30 x 20" photo printed on acrylic - © Andrée Fredette

East Point Sky, 30 x 20″ photo printed on acrylic

The day I took that picture, I had wandered to East Point, on Saturna Island and I was concentrating on the kelp. The previous night had been windy, and the shoreline is always interesting after a big wind…

When I looked up, there was a gift waiting for me: the sky. And these people by the former fog alarm building obligingly provided scale to this grandiose sky.

Speaking of the shoreline after a big wind: a lot of kelp ends up on the shore at low tide. Bull kelp, in particular, fascinates me.

Elegant Duo, Bull Kelp - 24 x 18" photo printed on aluminum © Andrée Fredette

Elegant Duo, Bull Kelp, 24 x 18″ photo printed on aluminum

Wet kelp is very sleek. Its lines are seductive. I tried printing this one on aluminum; in the areas with light pigment, the metal shows through, highlighting the shining effect of the light.

During the opening, last week, I liked watching people interact with this picture. They walked back and forth in front of it, observing the changing light effects.

More experiments to come.

Bull Kelp – Photo Wednesday

All around this island, when you stare at the water, you see bull kelp. Starting to grow early in the season. In full bloom, later, during the summer. Almost poking out of the water in early fall. Too tall for low tide!
Bull kelp, Nereocystis (Greek for "mermaid's bladder")
Here is an informal picture of bull kelp (nereocystis luetkeana) floating about in the current. This annual kelp grows to impressive size (90 feet+) in one season, then breaks down and washes up in the most interesting “curls” on the shore, in the fall. 

It creates forests underwater, where countless creatures hide, live and make a living.

Island View Park and Mitchell Farms, Saanich

On my trips to “town” (Victoria), I often take an hour or more to explore. This time, I went to Island View Beach Park, in the Saanich peninsula North of Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

Not only is this a beautiful shoreline park, but to get there, you travel through a productive rural area – where I often shop for vegetables in the summer and fall.  The picture below was taken in the fall, and shows fields of cabbage.
Fields of the Mitchell Farm, Saanich, BC. Photo  © Andrée Fredette

The land gently rises to a vantage point, then back down to the shore. Once you get to the park, there is a beautiful long view over the water… There are usually quite a few people walking their dogs at the water’s edge. That Friday morning, the light and clouds were especially beautiful.
Friday morning at Island View Beach Park. Photo  ©  Andrée Fredette

And then, I am always surprised by the treasures that show up unexpectedly through my lens. The textures of a ripened seed head of Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) in the shrubbery leading to the beach….

Queen Anne's Lace Seed Head on the Beach. Photo  ©  Andrée Fredette
and decaying bull kelp (Nereocystis lutkeana) rolled up on the pebble beach by the wind…

Bull Kelp Remnants in Winter. Photo  ©  Andrée Fredette