Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bush Sentinelle

I posted  this new sentinelle on Instagram and Facebook but I thought I would also blog about her.
In 2012 I started a series of work entitled Sentinelles. The series depicted my concern for the environment and was a reminder to myself to be proactive and to do what I could. I chose the humanid form with an halo because it occurs in many cultures. I made a little catalogue to go with the series explaining each piece and in all I made ten life size sentinelles ( they were  supposed to be the same height as me, though there was some minor variation between each one). I also made a sentinelle linocut because people asked me if I had any small ones, that they themselves could work on. I was gobsmacked by the response and the beauty and thought people embroidered onto the  printed panel. It ended up becoming a touring exhibition with 142 pieces which travelled in Europe and Australia. I still have some of the large pieces ( one hangs in my bedrooom- Tracks Across the Land) and I still get asked if I have any more small sentinelle panels to sell.  I don't as the lino has become too fragile to print with and I want to keep it for the archive of the series of work.

I thought the series was done and dusted- I don't exhibit the large ones any longer but I woke up a few mornings ago with a sentinelle demanding to be drawn.

And so this sentinelle encapsulates all the concern for the people, the wildlife and the land that has been so damaged by the recent bushfires ( which are still burning but at present not out of control) She looks straight out into the world as all the sentinelles did, as a challenge to each one of us, because we have to find a way forward out of this nightmare because the political system is incapable of doing so. There are good guides and custodians out there and science that tells us this is not normal and there are things that can be done. We have to love our land beyond everything because without that love there is nothing, no  bush, no wildlife and no people, and lets face it big business is not in it to help in this matter- they are just corporations for the profit of their shareholders and the owners. The koala is the face of the wildlife that was devastated by the bushfires ( there were many in different states), the gum leaves and flowers the bush, the banksia the babbling of many. 
I then transferred the drawing onto  the lino- she changed a little and things also changed a little as I carved the lino.

She is challenging us to work together because we have to get it right and we have to do way better than what has gone before. She measures 18 cm x 45 cm . Her price is $25 AUS inclusive of postage.( $5 of every sale will be donated- see below)

I will donate $5 AUS for every panel sold to  Wildlife Victoria. I have done a bit of research and found that Wires in NSW have received  more donations than Wild Life Vic because a number of celebrities were  organising funding drives. It is great what they achieved, but I suspect  almost as many  animals are and were affected in Victoria. I  also know that many people, including myself ,have donated to recognised organisations like the Red Cross, and Vinnies. But for me this sentinelle is about our land and our country and its wildlife which is unique and precious and also needs our help.

I have printed the sentinelle on a number of different colours, if you see a colour you like let me know. I will add a Paypal button but if you are in Australia it is easier to pay by internet banking and it is better to email me . I will be dying more fabric to print more panels in the  next week- just have to wait for the air to clear a bit as, air quality outside is not good because of the smoke from the fires on the border.

The beige coloured one in the first photo is actually a trial print on craft paper. I will try and dye a colour similar to it as a few people asked me about it.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Mojo Seems to be Returning!

My mojo has been missing in action for quite awhile- it returned here and there a few times, but in all reality i need alone time to develop work, without interruptions. I don't answer my phone or emails. during the day, I just work away at stuff. Sometimes  I will leap from one thing to another- but it also  sparks ideas. It's hard to explain but I find it difficult to create new work if my mind is wondering elsewhere, I mean if my mind is wondering around other things than creating work.

The good news is I have found a house sitter, which  is maybe  the reason my mojo has been returning- it is one less thing to worry about, though now I do have to repaint my spare room ( which is presently wall papered in dire stuff). I will just have to get onto it. Thankfully my  electric wiring in the ceiling for the lights got rewired the other day- it was a great relief to know that it reduces the risk of a house fire enormously.

A few people expressed interest in purchasing the  octopus linocut so I have printed up some more on different coloured fabrics. The linocut measures 24 cm x 30 cm and has been printed by hand onto hand dyed fabric. I can see that  the octopus will be fun to stitch- and I am chomping at the bit to get going on one but first I have to finally finish my sea scene.

Octopus Linocut Printed panel.
The price of the panel is $23 AUS inclusive of postage. In the photo below is the range of colours I have at the moment.

I have taken  shots of  single panels so you can see the detail.

I have added a Paypal button for the octopus  if you are overseas or simply email me  if in Australia and I can give you bank details , and to tell me the colour you would like.

And I have been working on another linocut  inspired by the original sentinelles- whhcich were about my concerns about the environment. I get  asked every now and then whether I still have sentinelle printed fabric, but the linocut itself has become so fragile that I do not want to print with it any longer as I want to save it as part of he archive of that body of work. So I decided to make an entirely new sentinelle ( which I will reveal in the next few days, I am still refining it a little, making sure it will be interesting to stitch. Meanwhile here is a photo of the original sentinelles.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

What to say ?

The country in which I live has been devastated by horrendous bush fires that has resulted in death of people and volunteer fire fighters, loss of property and decimation of forest and wild life, not to mention the loss of business and livestock. I live about 100 kms from the worst of it, but my house has been shrouded by the smoke from the fires, so that I could barely see the houses across the road- and yes that is uncomfortable- but nothing like what people have had to endure in affected areas. I refer you to an article by Jackie French in the SMH about what it has been like for people. I have friends who have lost houses , whose health has been affected by the inundation of smoke, who are still desperately preparing their properties for the onslaught of tomorrow which is predicted to bring more terrible conditions.  The pain and stoicism of people is palpable. Even if you do not believe in climate change, what is exactly wrong with trying to make the planet a better place? And then there are the trolls- why in a time like this are there such negative horrible people out there ? It is like social media unleashes the worst in some people- and yet on the other hand good things  come out of social media too- knowing people are safe, sending support because you know what is needed, the donations to help recovery. And people who have been dealt this blow are so incredibly brave, their stories remarkable- their sense of community so strong, their willingness to help others worthy of hero worship.

My heart blanket became more and more about the bushfires as the days went on- how we need to have empathy for people who struggle not only through disasters like this, but in their daily lives through illness or circumstance. We are a community of humans, we have to live together and to do so we need to have empathy for those who live next to us, across the road , across the city, across the sea, on the other side of the world- and we need less of the " I am alright Jack attitude"

Background stitching is going in, with a very lightweight thread.

I am still working on the "one World" blanket although progress on it has been a bit slow- there have been distractions  worrying about friends, my mum, and my country.

I seem to have acquired a rescue cat, Portia Bull's Eye ( because of her patterning). It is lovely to have a creature here but the timing is a bit awkward, but she needed rescuing and I have missed having a cat in my life. So I will definitely need a house sitter. So if anyone is interested in living in my house for 2 months from April until June you are most welcome. Unfortunately I cannot afford to pay you ( to be perfectly honest i was a bit shocked that people get paid- I have done house sitting for nothing in the past unless people insist on paying me. )

And I have finally hung the gum leaves I created for the Aussie bush project in my windows in the lounge. I think I need to make some more for  the other window as well- I quite like the effect

 And I have made a new linocut of an octopus- they are such fascinating creatures and I believe the health of our sea has a lot to do with the health of our land. I will be  printing this linocut on different fabrics- print measures 24 cm x 30 cm  and if you are interested in purchasing  email me.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Welcome to a New Decade

 It has been a pretty horrible and busy year to say the least.  Early in January I finished my radiotherapy, and then it was onto my shed to clear it out as I had sold my block of land, ten years after I put it on the market. I put all my belongings into storage as I had not had the time to look for any other property. My father died  in February whilst I was on Atauro Island and though  he had many illnesses including cancer, it still comes as a shock. After returning to Australia it was straight onto France for exhibition in Chartres and i think that is when the tiredness of the radiotherapy hit- i seem to have done a lot of sleeping apart from attending the exhibition. Then it was back to Australia to welcome the ladies from Boneca de Atauro for them to exhibit their work at the Australian Quilting  Convention in Melbourne and my goodness we had some very busy days! After farewelling them back to East Timor it was back to Nantes for exhibition at pour l'Amour du Fil, some teaching and then some catching up with friends before returning via Barcelona and more teachin near Girona. Then it was back to look for a house- whilst away I had been searching the internet for a house and  after initially  thinking that Churchill in Victoria might be a good spot, but changed my mind when I read that people had died and many houses had been destroyed in the 2009  Black Saturday fires. After living in the Otways since 1996- I did not want to live  in another high fire risk area- so I settled on Morwell, and it has good access to  regular public transport .

 Found a house and was able to get an early settlement and then the job of cosmetic renovation started. The house was and  still is in original condition so with the help of friends two bedrooms and the lounge and kitchen were painted- the hallway and the third bedroom await the peeling of wall paper and then painting. We discovered that the wiring for the lighting was pretty dodgy so the whole electrical circuit for overhead lights needs to be rewired ( which will happen soon) and the gas heater was dead as was the gas stove, so they all needed replacing- the gas heater might have to wait for the time being. Now it appears there is a problem with my drain- have tried all the usual stuff  so it looks like the plumber will have to be called. I have worked at setting up a vegetable garden of sorts but not much other gardening has been done apart from attacking the overgrown  ivy which was threatening to take over my guttering.

I am still sorting through books to take to the opshop and have finally rearranged all my fiction books in alphabetical order- they had got into disarray with all the moves- and are now spread alphabetically over a few rooms.

The wall on this side of the sitting room is still waiting for the installation of art work- every room in the house has picture rails except the lounge. I may  install one of those picture hanging rail devices near the ceiling which would allow me to change things around  as I please and would cause the least amount of damage because the plaster is also circa 1950.

So things were starting to take shape and I was beginning to settle into my home after the paint dried ( which took ages because of winter) and had finally had my furniture moved to the house and was starting to allocate stuff to where it needed to go when my mother had a stroke. Her whole left side was affected and they did the clot retrieval procedure despite mum having had the stroke at least 24 hours prior. I was surprised they did the procedure as I understood the window for the procedure is maximum 15 hours- but the doctor told me because mum had been fit and well and living independently prior to the stroke that they now try the procedure even though the time frame was longer. I would have to say it's been quite a success as mum is back home living independently- with a bit of help but prior to that it was a lot of back and forth to the Monash Medical Centre and then the Rehab Hospital- what a great job all those people do and I am incredibly grateful. So hopefully things will continue to improve and mum should  have back full functionality with a few minor deficits which  they are working on and say can still improve.

However it has meant my year has been extremely fragmented and nowhere near as much work as I had hoped got done. It is a good thing I am used to being frugal and after shed life have decided I can do with a minimum of electrical appliances- so have got a small fridge, but a good washing machine for my dyeing and printing. I have also decided to limit my wardrobe to one chest of  three drawers. I am so used to travelling with a limited wardrobe ( my suitcase is usually full with quilts and such things) that i decided to adapt it in my daily life- my only concession to more space is a few  jackets I  bought when travelling in Syria and two winter jumpers that won't fit into the said drawers. But the rest of the clothing fits and I intend to keep it that way- it's actually quite liberating and not many choices to make! Plus I  am intentionally mending clothes as well especially a few favourite pieces.
My veggie garden is taking shape- and I have already had a meal of beans and zucchini from my little patch. I did buy an advanced tomato plant which has been delivering a tomato every few days , plus rocket and lettuce and herbs. I will grow the garden bigger for next year as i don't particularly enjoy mowing lawns. There will be quite a few plants getting the chop come winter time- I just wanted to see what everything was before I started chopping..

My herb patch- I am battling the ivy and some other invasive spreading thing but I have managed to rescue a bit of soil!

But the year ended on a great up note- my  middle and younger daughter finished their courses this year and are both graduating with Distinction ( as did my eldest daughter a couple of years ago) I am incredibly proud of you all- your work ethic is wonderful and you have worked really hard for well deserved results. Does anyone need a qualified textile designer, I can highly recommend one!

So that was my year in a nutshell-  but there are good things to look forward to in 2020. I will be teaching at Grampians Texture in mid March- my classes booked out quickly thank goodness and I should be teaching at a Slow Stitch Retreat in Ulladulla in late March- but as the area is affected by all the dreadful fires and will remain on alert for the summer- we will see what happens. Then I am off to Moscow to exhibit work at the Moscow Quilt show the second weekend in April and the next week  in the Netherlands  at the Quilt Dagen in Rijswijk. I will also be teaching in the Netherlands in the week after Rijswijk in Schagen- a town very close to the town where I was born. I intend to stay in Europe a bit longer so if you are interested in my teaching in Belgium, France or Spain or Italy please email me. I am working on updating my class samples and adding some new workshops to those that are already listed on my blog. I will be teaching near Girona, Spain in early May  I hope!

I am also working on a heart quilt- which I started on the 1st day of December thinking about how to generate greater empathy and how to be more compassionate. I am surprised at how different each day demands it's heart to be and how much my emotions are playing a part. There is quite a few fiery/smokey looking ones as we watched the Australian bush burn last week with dreadful fires all up and down the coast and with loss of life and property and business. The volunteers do an awesome job and have been exhausted because the fires started early and it is only the beginning of summer- it would be nice if  a few resource and media billionaires ,who claim to have an Australian heart ,saw fit to donate some of their billions so proper equipment could be bought and if our government would actually  provide some leadership- but they are all on leave  after 43 sitting days of Parliament.

So I leave you with a small commission piece I recently finished and some of my hearts that are starting to grow and grow. I wish each and everyone who reads my blog all the very best for 2020- lets hope it becomes the decade of true compassion as we battle to save our planet!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Linocut Printed Fabric

Over the last month or so I have had a number of emails requesting what printed fabrics I have available and I haven't had time to photograph everything. I decided I would put it on my blog as other people might be interested also- as they would make a good Christmas present as they are relatively inexpensive to send overseas. Scroll through to see what prints I have available, there are lots of different sizes.

I hand dye all my own fabric so if there is a colour you would like just let me know and I can dye it and print it up as I am going to be doing a dyeing session on the weekend after visiting my mother in Rehab ( she is improving every day). So if there is a print you like but in a different colour that can be done. I have also included some images of pieces I have myself stitched just to give some ideas, but as I am not really an embroiderer- more of a stitcher- they are fairly basic. It is all about the colour of the thread and  accentuating the lines in the linocut or filling in the space. All the print designs have been  drawn and carved by me, that is,  it is original artwork and has also been hand printed by me.

Please note the size is print size- the fabric is larger  to accommodate seam allowances. Prices are inclusive of postage and packaging. Also because the fabric is hand dyed there may be slight variations in the background colour.

If you are interested in any of the prints please email me. There is still plenty of time to get them to you for Christmas. If you don't see a colour you would like , just ask!

Also as an incentive- everyone who orders before 5 December 2019, will have their name put into a hat, and a winner will be drawn on 5 December 2019 EST . The winner will get four prints of your choice  as a gift.

Tree of Life $28AUS- it is a large print it measures 40 cm x 50 cm- the price is inclusive of postage. You can request any kind of colour ( images of other work show what kind of colours I dye)

It looks good stitched by hand or machine. The one below I stitched by hand. I know  the green of the leaves falls a bit into the background but that was because that was the only green I had with me at the time- I think it would look a bit better in a darker green.

 Lady Without a Donkey  $25 AUS 38cm x 25 cm - price is inclusive of postage. Again if you like the print but don't see it in the colour you would like just ask and I can do it!

The middle  photo is of the panel I have stitched which was shown at the Berry Quilting Retreat earlier this year.

Blackwoods Dancing $23AUS - measures 44 cm x 22 cm

The piece above has been stitched to show you what can be done - the background fabric was pretty nondescript so all the colour comes from the threadwork.

Underwater $23AUS - measures  30 cm x 23 cm ( you can see from the photo below a fair range of colour is available)

I haven't quite finished the stitching the panel below- the background stitching still has to go in , but it gives you some idea of how much the colour of your thread plays a role.

 Babbling Banksia $23 AUS- measures 30cm x 30 cm

The machine stitched version of this print recently appeared in great Australian Quilts 2019- Quilters Companion with instructions on  how to assemble and stitch

Gumnuts & Gumleaves $23 AUS measures 30 cm x 30 cm

Pomegranate ( inspired by a Florentine design) $23AUS measures 30cm x 31 cm

The quilt below has been machine  stitched  and used three of the linocut printed panels.

Copse of Trees $23AUS  measures 30cm x 30 cm
This print can be printed onto any colour background. Unfortunately I have not had the time to stitch this panel as yet.

Renaissance Tree  $17AUS measures 19 cm x 24 cm. This print has been very popular and people have done some fabulous things with it! It was inspire by the Palazzo Davanzati in Florence.

French Roadside Weeds $17AUS measures 24 cm x 19 cm.
I haven't had time to stitch this one yet- one day!

Bird $17AUS measures 24 cm x 19 cm. Inspired by some of the motifs used by the Wiener Werkstatte. I haven't had time to stitch this one either.

Rabbit ( inspired by the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry) $17AUS measures 24 cm x 19 cm

Shadow Figures $17AUS measures 24 cm x 19 cm
These figures were inspired by a workshop i did near Rimini a couple of years ago where we had to make figures out of shadows cast by foliage.

Vase with Poppies  $17AUS measures  24 cm x 19 cm ( approx)

Motif for Embroidery   $17AUS measures 20 cm x 20 cm. I have used some of these motifs in the traveller's blankets I make.

The  rest of the prints  are much smaller in size - sizes do vary a little from 12-15 cm on any side.

 Sea Scene $8AUS approx 12 cm x 12 cm

Cocteau's Cat $8AUS this print is slightly larger

Pomegranate $8AUS

Hare $8AUS
The hare print is actually double- the stitched piece is one I cut in half

 Owl $8AUS