Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Draped fabric Posted by Hello
Today was a dirth sort of day- blahh, so blah, that I tidied up my workspace and found these pieces of fabric in amongst piles of other fabric that were not nearly so interesting. So now I have hung them off my book case, to have another look at them, to see if I can engender some enthusiasm and think of something new. Spent a good part of the day at a market because some huge bike ride has come through Gellibrand- over 8,000 extra bods in a town that normally boasts less than 200- but the market was an abject failure, no one was into buying anything except food and then it started to rain.And then my dyes did not arrive so I could not even dye some fabric to muster some enthusiasm. Maybe tomorrow. But my middle child spent her first day at High School for orientation and that got the thumbs up!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bogong Moth

Wing of the Bogong Moth Posted by Hello
It is the time of year when there are many creatures flying around in the night air, and the bogong moth is one of them. The wings are rather plain except for this one eye which because of the plainess of the rest of the wing is quite beautiful. The Bogong moth is a large moth , its wingspan sometimes measuring up to 4 inches.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Bunji Sea Creatures

Bunji Seahorse Posted by Hello
In summer we do a market at Apollo Bay on Saturday's when the weather is fine. Yesterday I went to the market- it was a slow slow day, but I did spend the week getting the bunji sea creatures ready. These are a little of our bread and butter in summer and we have been making them for years. I have officially been verified as having completed my novel for Nanowrimo, that is reached the 50,000 word mark, but I still have a little way to go to finish the novel itself. But I intend to do that before the 30th of November. I also want to get the two lace panels I have been working on over and done with by the 30th-as I want to photograph them on Thursday.

Bunji Sea Creatures Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


The hill behind our house Posted by Hello
This is the hill behind our house- and this is the view I have when I walk down the back of our property. I love it when the hill gets that ring of mist around the top, which even happens in summer in the early morning. There is said to be a cave with indigenous markings on it , but it is also said that it has been bulldozed- who knows?Nobody I know has actually seen it. We are lucky because our view of the hill does not show the house that some guy built right on the top. The trees in the middle ground is the Gellibrand River, and the home of a healthy population of platypii ( duck-billed monotremes)- I have never seen any but there are many who have- so one day.....However we do have echidnas ( the only other known monotreme and often called spiny anteater) and I have seen them!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More Traveller Tales

Bedouin Posted by Hello
This is another of the postcards, that I found by a father written to his children back in Australia in the early part of the twentieth century. This one carries no writing but was found amongst a bundle of ones he had written on so I am presuming he did send this one also. None of the cards carry stamps so I presume he sent them home in a letter to his family. This card appeals because the scarf that comes form the headdress is obviously dyed with some resist technique, which has created an interesting pattern. It also looks as if he is wearing some kind of coarsely woven cloak.When I look at this card and the one I previously posted of the griot I am fascinated by the richness of the textile, the expressivenss of it.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Playing Posted by Hello
Spent some time yesterday, playing around with some pieces of fabric I found when I finally cleaned up the dreaded bookshelf, which had been growing with all manner of displaced things. The printed piece is a screen print of a bindii- a sharp pointy seed pod from a groundcover that causes many a nasty prick in feet even in thongs.It is almost as if there is a weird little prickly face in there. The grey piece is tie dyed, and finding it reminded me that I want to make some more of this fabric.I need to get into some serious work, but I am getting bored making all the square lace panels with writing- I want to be doing something else!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Birds This Morning

Birds Posted by Hello
We have a lot of trees in our garden and as a consequence also many birds. The birds pictured here are the kookaburra, one of our resident family , he was quietly sitting on a post this morning. The next bird is the Gang gang parrot- these are quite large and this is a male because his head is red. They like to get into the wattle seeds and are very destructive , making a lot of mess, but on the other hand they are quite cute. The other parrot is the king parrot- very destructive of fruit on trees, but the male has a brilliant orange chest with a green and lime green streaks back. I photographed all these birds this morning.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Summer Is Coming

A part of the vegetable garden Posted by Hello
One of the reasons I am able to be a textile itinerant is because we have a huge vegetable garden. This photo only shows a portion of it. Our season starts late because the ground temperature stays quite cool until well into Ocotber, so there is not much point in planting anything, unless it likes cold feet. However the silver beet has been prolific this year and this red stemmed variety is quite pretty- the red is almost as garish as procion MX8B red!So I am hanging out for summer and more vegetables.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Seed Pods

The seed pods of the cape gooseberry Posted by Hello
I collect seedpods from all over th eplace. These are from the capegoosberry which grows in my garden. Tha lantern like seed cases contain a small round fruit about the size of a marble which when ripe if golden yellow. They are family of the tomato. I love the delicate lace effects of these seed pods and can imagine these being made into big sculptural pieces.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

From Dyebath to Turtle

From dyebath to pocket art Posted by Hello
I have been abstaining from dyeing because I really must work on the lace I have been making. But I love to dye, and this morning I decided to dye some fabric, wash it , dry it, and it asked for turtles. And my sewing machine which has been playing up because it gets tired of lace as well( that's my excuse) was happy for the first time in days. I always think happy turtles. The back of the turtle has been printed with pearlescent textile ink with a lotus pod, and then freehand appliqued to the background. I dye with Procion MX dyes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Otway! Posted by Hello
We live in the spectacular Otway region in south eastern Australia. We are surrounded by temperate(cool) rainforest that reaches down to the pristine southern ocean. I forget sometimes, that I live in such an area of great natural beauty, for I am often woken very early in the morning as the log trucks start rolling in their rush to denude it. I made this diptych as a commission for someone who lives on the ocean side of the ridge, and she wanted me to depict the sea, the rockpools which are such a delight in summer and the forest.Tree ferns are very prevalent here so no forest scene would be complete without them. I had forgotten about his work as I did it and then went overseas straight after and found the photos the other day . I wish now I had gotten better photos.I have dyed background fabric and printed with lotus pods and bracken. The treefern is made from silk and stitchng and has been appliqued.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lace as Narrative

More Posted by Hello
I have been working on making lace the last week or so and it is going very slowly. I am making 54 squares of "written" lace which reflects upon the physical differences of my Australian childhood as compared to my Dutch childhood.The squares will be set sampler style, with squares of something I have yet to design set in between all the lace squares. I have finished sewing the written squares for my Dutch piece and am now working on the Australian piece. it takes forever- each square takes about 35 minutes and is quite heavily stitched even though it does not look like it. This is also one of the instances where the camera sees more than the eye. When you look at these pieces with the naked eye, it takes a little time for the eye to see the writing- which is the effect I want, but the camera sees it instantly and that is depsite the fact that the romeo is still attached.

What i have been working on Posted by Hello

Monday, November 15, 2004

After the Rain

Old Fashioned Posted by Hello
It rained all weekend, which is good for the garden and not so good for the humans. I spent the weekend working on my nanowrimo novel which I have entitled The Novel About Absolutely Nothing With Annotated Recipes- I anticipate that if I ever edit the novel, the recipes, which will include cooking ,dyeing, printing, and whatever requires a recipe, will make up the bulk of the book!As I wandered around my garden this morning all the pinks struck me. Normally I do not like pink as a colour to work with, but just about every flower in my garden is pink or red. This morning the droplets of rain sat like crystal treasures on the leaves and petals of the flowers, but I am ready for some warmer weather so I can work outside!

Bottle Brush- After the Rain Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Africa! Some of the Things I worked With

Drawing for Dawn on the Ridge Quilt Posted by Hello
I thought I would share some of the photos I worked with and a drawing I made for the dawn on the Ridge quilt. The photos were taken in Samburu Game Park in Kenya. I still look at the photograph of the leopard and am awed by how graciously she allowed herself and her cubs to be photographed. The drawing was based on the photos- normally I do not make such detailed drawings, but I usually do keep a journal when I am preparing for an exhibition- where I write down ideas, quotes, colour thoughts and occasionally do drawings of shapes and inspirations.When I looked over this particular journal, which I had not done for some time, I was surprised by how much drawing I did in preparation for the exhibition- which was my first solo- I need to do this more for future ones- drawing I mean.

Samburu  Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

Grevy's Zebra Posted by Hello

More Asanta Sana Africa

Grevy's Zebra Posted by Hello
These are the last three quilts from the exhibition. I thought I had another one, but cannot find it.
Grevy's Zebra was a stencil made from a photo that we took in Samburu- which is the only place where Grevy's Zebra occurs. Their stripes are much finer than other zebra's and this makes the animal seem much finer or petite, though they are the same size than other zebras. I hand painted the background and appliqued the trees and the stencilled zebra.

Deep in the Jungle... was a quilt about an experience that could only occur in Africa. We traveled through Africa with about 18 other people- of course half the crew did not like spicy food so our solution was to make spicy condiments like mango chutney. I had bought some chilies at a market a few days previously in Bujumburra, to make some chutney. As we traveled deep into the Zairean ( now Congo) jungle we encountered a Baptist choir on a ferry crossing on one of the anabranches of the Congo river. They sang for us as we crossed and I gave the choir master every single cassette tape I had. About ten miles further on we stopped in a village and were allowed to pitch our tents, and they had a fire place where I could make the chutney. As the evening progressed and I chopped chilies, choirs started turning up out of the jungle including the choir we had met- they were there for a choir competition! ( So this is what happens in the heart of Africa- forget Joseph Conrad or African Queen) At this point I realized how hot the chilies were and my hands started burning- I mean burning ( I had to keep them in wet cloths for the next 2 days) and the choirs sang all night- they sounded so beautiful- it was an amazing experience. Anyway the chutney was duly put into one of those very large plastic gherkin jars and within a week had eaten through the bottom of it!

Goma is a quilt inspired by the landscape around Goma, which is very volcanic with an eruption some time in the 1970's. Goma was also the place where thousands of refugees were massacred in the terrible war that occurred in this region in the early 1990's. The hills had very steep hillsides and every piece of land was utilized for crops of one kind or another. The villages were perched on top of the hills. Unfortunately you cannot see the heavy machine embroidery I did on the cultivated fields. The "eye" fabric I had purchased at a market in Bujumburra.

Deep In the Jungle I heard the Voice of Angels Sing Whilst My Hands Burnt With Chillie Posted by Hello

Goma Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2004

More Asanta sana Africa

Homage to Adinkra Cloth Posted by Hello

I am sorry the photos are not as clear as they could be , but I have scanned them off slides. Homage to Adinkra is made in response to the indigo dyed adinkra cloths we encountered at Kano market in Nigeria. These cloths are stamped or painted with resists and then dyed in the indigo. They are wonderful records of stories, as they vary between maker and maker, though some universal symbols are used. Adinkra stamps are made from gourds and stencils are often made from scrap tin .
Masks, was a response to the faces that appear in the hand dyed fabric I make. Collin drew many masks as we traveled and I took one of his drawings of a mask and machine embroidered it. I set the mask blocks with variations of log cabin, as log cabin construction was used by the ancient Egyptians in sewing together the very narrow linen strips they wove to make larger pieces. There is a wonderful mummified cat in the Louvre in Paris where you can clearly see the log cabin style piecing!

Masks Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Asanta Sana Africa!

Warrior Cloth inspired by the Griot Posted by Hello
In 1996, with three children under the age of 5, I decided that I needed to have a solo exhibition in homage to Africa, which had done so much to alter my life and change my journey. I will post some more photos over the next few days but these two quilts are my favourites from that Exhibition. The Warrior cloth was inspired by the coat of the Griot in the postcard , which I have posted previously. The cloth was printed with a lino cut and then overlayed with an applique grid inspired by Nigerian pottery. The kente cloth in the borders is antique, and I attached shells and beads as well. Dawn on the Ridge at Samburu was a reflection on one of the many magical mornings we had. On this occasion at 5 am in the morning we were privileged to see a mother leopard and her two cubs descend from a rocky ridge and saunter by our clicking cameras in the Samburu National Park. In the next few days I will post a photo of the real leopard as well.The purple tie dye panel represents the "soul badges" that the bearers of kings had to wear to show that they were worthy of the task. The leopard is the symbol of kinship in many African cultures.

Dawn On The Ridge at Samburu Posted by Hello