Thursday, December 30, 2004
I have been dyeing quite a lot of fabric recently. This is one forest piece. I am selling them through my picturetrail site. I am going to do some more dyeing in the next few days.
And this afternoon is destined for more lace making. I still have a lot of work to do, though I did print some more panels yesterday.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tree for Life
I am shocked by the devastation of the eartquake in Sumatra and the tsunami that followed and destroyed so much in countries bordering the Bay of Bengal. I have been thinking as to how best I can contribute something to help- and have decided to sell all of my small quilts for US $25 each including postage, with funds thus raised to be donated to Medicins san Frontieres http://www.msf.org- which is an organisation I have supported in the past.They are an organisation who follow the Hippocratic oath without policital doctrine and really do go into the very diffcult places. They will need all the help they can get as most fresh water sources have been destroyed and dengue fever, cholera and typhoid will no doubt rage. I have posted a photo of the tree I drew with my sewing machine ,for trees for me are often a symbol of the human tenacity to survive- often against terrible odds- but sometimes help is needed. My small quilts can be seen at http://www.picturetrail.com/dcevaal in an album entitled Small Quilts for MSF.
Wow- all the small quilts are gone in less than 3 hours! It will allow me to make a donation to MSF of approximately $330US. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for purchasing !
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
This morning I photographed some more things in my garden. I just love the picture of this artichoke flower- yes I know another artichoke!. It is huge, about two hands across and the colours are just beautiful. This one I am letting go to seed as the flower was so sculptural that i wanted to see how it would develop. The picture below is of honeycomb that the hive of bees left behind when we tried to move them into a real hive. The patterns are just gorgeous. I have been leafing through Phillip Ball's The Self-Made Tapestry- Pattern Formation in Nature by Oxford University Press in order to better understand pattern and repeats, and am fascinated that so much pattern/decoration is really just repeating what nature has already mapped for us, so that in a sense when we are creating patterns we are mapping, and that the marks we make on the surface are like footsteps through the maps. Oh and I found Maggie Relph's website ( for African fabric- she gets them in Ghana from local makers, so this is an instance of where the artisan does get paid - she also traveled through Africa with Guerba on a similar journey we did, but she did it several times) http://www.africanfabric.co.uk and whilst I was at it I also found this very good website about adire fabric http://adireafricantextiles.com, which is well worth a look in a spare moment. There is even a glossary of adinkra symbols and their meaning.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Yesterday I pinned together this piece of lace- it is just over a metre wide and about 3 metres long, now I am sewing in the lines of stitches to keep the motifs in place. The motifs are the drochel inspired prints done on silk in gold printing ink. Now I just have to keep sewing to secure it all and then it will be finished and I can think about the next piece. I am reading a book by James Trilling , called Ornament- A Modern Perspective.Of course much of textile design up to the twentieth century could be classified as ornament, and I must admit to being drawn to things that are ornamented- not especially the over the top roccoco stuff, but for example some of the detail in the Lady and The Unicorn tapestries, or the rich, rich textile designs of the renaissance.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
My kids went out this evening into the bush with our friends Audrey and Daniel ,and this is what they saw. I think it beats a shopping centre maybe? Now I have to admit when I have had visitors come from overseas we have gone to the same place to show them kangaroos, and of course they have not been there. These are grey kangaroos which are not as big as red kangaroos which can be as big as a grown man when upright. Still grey kangaroos can be as tall as shoulder height of an average person, and the grass is huge this year after all the rain we have had, so these kangaroos are a pretty decent size.
Last night's Fire
I live in a region that experience extreme fire conditions in summer. Fortunately that has not happened so far this summer, and because it has been so wet we have been able to have a small fire outside to sit around at night. Last night we played music and enjoyed Christmas drinks sitting around the fire. For me fire is also a metaphor for creativity. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night just burning with ideas. Sometimes a "fire" quilt falls out of the sky and demands to be made. I have made about 17 hellfire quilts so far. They are also often a metaphor for the tenacity of humans to survive in conditions that are far from ideal.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
Arches at Parc Guell
Gaudi built the Parc Guell for his benefactor Guell and gaudi actually lived in the parc in his later life. There are many whimsical things and constructions in the parc, and the mosaics are brilliant- however the thing I liked best was the kind of arched grottoes he created out of stone. I also visited the Textile Museum in Barcelona ( a wonderful 15th century building in the Gothic Quarter), which has a pretty good collection reflecting some of the textile hsitory of this region. The piece I liked best was the inner cope of Sant Valeri. The cope is basically in pieces - but the pieces that remain have been pinned to a background and restored as much as possible- so not only is there the woven material but the human hand is present by tiny stitches of the restorer. Next to the cope is a map of where all the missing pieces are held- in musuems in Madrid , New York, Chicago,Lyon, Paris,Boston,Berlin and more- a map of appropriation.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
One of Gaudi's Drawings
If one city is defined by the artist who lived there then surely that city must be Barcelona. I went there for a few days earlier this year- a couple of perfect, sunny, but cool days in Catalonia. Barcelona is basically a big whirring city where the Olympics were held not so long ago with a gothic inner city and some magic buildings by Antoni Gaudi. I fell in love with his buildings the most famous of which, Sagrada Familia , is the icon for Barcelona- and yet this is somehow the least of Gaudi's buildings, though the scale is grand. La Pedrera, and apartment building near the centre is a most amazing construction with flowing lines that create spaces such as rooms, and the most amazing structures on the roof line. I took this photo and through the arch you can see Sagrada Famila in the distance. The drawing , which was in the Sagrada Famila Museum must surely have been the basis for the ghostly creatures that adorn the roof of La Pedrera.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Close-up of African Journey
Yesterday was a day I would rather forget- everything I tried somehow went wrong- and then the temeprature outside was making the printing ink too runny- so I gave it all away as just a bad bad day! I have posted a photo that is a close-up of one of my quilts.It incorporates tie dyeing, gocco/riso printing fo guinea fowl feathers and a lino-cut print of an elephant from a photo we took on our African travels. If you click on the picture you will get a bigger image and you can see the stitching.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Early Morning Sun
The birds wake me up very early in the summer palace, and so I usually go and check my email, and catch up.The light in the morning is special and today was no exception. This photo is looking towards the back of our property, with the vegetable beds in between and gum trees up the back. Another day of visitors and very little work, but then things quieten down and I shall be able to get into some work again. A cache of books arrived from Charles Sturt University- some last minute reading before I plunge into my exegesis for my masters- and then lace and more lace. Most of the ideas are there, just have to do it now.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
African dyed fabrics
When I travelled through Africa in 1990 I fell in love with the indigo dyed textiles of western Africa. The fabrics are a visual feast despite using something as simple as tie dye. The two pieces on the left I purchesd in Africa the other two pieces I bought off Maggie Relph, whose website I cannot locate at the moment, but who sells wonderful African fabrics. One of the pieces has a stitched resist. I think what I love about the African resist dyed fabrics is their spontaneity, and a kind of "roughness" of the technique, and yet the cloth is fun and exhuberant. Yesterday was market day at Apollo Bay- it could have been better but it could also have been worse. Fortunately we were in the shade as it got very hot. And then there was family and friends over for a barbecue. I love the long days at this time of year, and the fact that you can sit outside and enjoy the night sky.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The drawings I posted the other day of the drochel lace, have now been made into a Riso screenhttp://nehoc.com.au and I have printed a trial run on some hand dyed fabric with gold textile ink.So now to the silk! Will go and do the market at Apollo Bay on Saturday and hope to sell some things. The fabric is all dyed and fish and seahorses made, and even some of my bags have come back from a little Gallery in Melbourne which has unfortunately shut down- so one less outlet!Hope to get my Australian lace piece made today as well, so that will be the two central pieces of my exhibition done- the other pieces will have to fit around these pieces and tell their own story.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
I know I should be writing about my textile inspirations, but the King Protea is flowering at the moment- they are such amazing sculptural flowers.We have quite a lot of proteas in the garden but this one sets the largest flowers. Think medium cake mixing bowl and you can imagine the size of the flower.I need to do some dyeing but some bees have decided to use the space under my dyeing table as a most excellent place for forming a hive, and as we are waiting for the wax forms to come ,to put in the real hives and hopefully entice them into producing us some honey, we dare not move them or agrravate them- so no dyeing.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Designs from Drochel lace
Thank you to all those who replied to my previous post. It is nice to know it is reaching around the place. The design I have posted today is a drawing I made from a scan some friends of mine made of the drochel lace I have previously posted a picture of in October. The friends have a super duper scanner and allows you to really hone in on the fine detail. What amazes me more an more about this piece of drochel lace is that the linen with which it has been knotted is incredibly fine and so the making of this lace must have taken a long time- the knots are barely discernible with the naked eye. I will make a Riso screen of this drawing- and I have altered the scale by photocopying and I will print fabric with it to use in my lace making.Where you see the little dots in the design was actually closely knotted threads, but it's too difficult to get that detail into a Riso drawing so I opted for the dots.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Keys to the Cupboard
Our room at Chateau de Chassy was large and had the most enormous oak beams. Our clothes cupboard was an antique wardrobe and it had elborate metal decorations around the key hole and these lovely huge keys. I took rubbings of the key hole in my journal and traced the shape of the key. I transferred the rubbing onto fabric via the computer , set it with matte finish and then stitched around the outline of the shapes.
And on another note who is reading the blog???
Sunday, December 12, 2004
When I woke this morning in the summer palace, a mist hung over the valley and condensation covered every sprig ,leaf and blossom. Everything looked refreshed after yesterday's heat. We spent last night sitting beside an open fire and looking at the starry starry sky. I am going to make a concerted effort to finish the nanowrimo novel in the next few days. My first piece of "Dutch"lace is done, just have to work out how to finish the edges. Now I have to make the "Australian" lace- and then it is into the other lace pieces for which I have already drawn a number of designs.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Front of the property
When we first bought the block of land in Gellibrand there were few trees on the property,although the nature strip was full of trees. So we have been able to plant trees that suited our needs and also that of the wildlife. We used to come down on weekends and pitch our tent and dig and plant trees. Then we recycled a house from the suburbs of Melbourne which arrived in 3 pieces and was put back together and slowly you stop sleeping under the stars because you are inside the house with electricity. A couple of years ago I got sick of sleeping insidethe house , and in the summer we pitch tents aka Summer Palaces. They aren't much but the night sky is the richest jewel, and the air is fresh and pristine and you sleep as you should sleep. The birds wake you in the morning and the hoot of an owl sent me to sleep the night before last. Last night was too scarey to sleep out- too much thunder and lightening, but it's going to be fair weather for awhile. The tables next to the palaces are my summer work tables.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Grafitti at Chassy
I got my journal quilts 2003 back from Houston last week. This was one of the pieces I created based on a photograph detailing a small section of "grafitti" on the attic stair wall at Chateau de Chassy. As you can see some of the scribblings go back to 1671, and several names were inscribed on the wall. I loved the idea that this writing/grafitti was so old and off course quite awkward as it had been carved directly into the stone of the wall. My kids would often sit on the stairwell and run their hands over the writing, because not only could you see it but you could feel it as well. I transferred the photo onto tissue paper which I sprayed with matte finish and then adhered to fabric. This enabled me to sew the lines around the writing without ripping the paper. I also altered the original colours. I want to do more of this work- it has a very Paul Klee like quality to me, but also shows the inclination of human nature to inscribe and even when writing is not possible, marks still being made by way of scratches and strokes.
Monday, December 06, 2004
I hand dye all the fabric that I use in my work and I also sell hand dyed fabrics. I usually keep this box loaded up and when it is full it holds more than 300 fat quarters. The box had gotten low with being away so much so I have spent the last couple of days dyeing to fill it up again- and then it all had to be ironed. I also dyed some larger pieces- but they are still to be ironed. So today I am going to Melbourne past one of the shops I supply, Patchworks Unlimited , and do some shopping for italian food at the Mediterranean Wharehouse ( Italian supermarket), get some more dye, and come back tomorrow.