Saturday, January 29, 2005

Last Minute Dyeing

hand dyeing Posted by Hello
Running out of time and in major panic mode- so I went and did some dyeing to calm down. There is so much to do and as always too little time in which to do it. I am hoping this fabric will turn out interesting- I will let you know tomorrow. But I have to much admin to do to do any sewing.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Mud Cloth

Mudcloth Posted by Hello
I love African textiles and the mudcloth on the left I purchased from Maggie Relph last year and the other is a scarf I bought in Belgium. I would really love to get a piece of kuba cloth one day too, but kuba is expensive. There is an African artefact shop in Brussels where I saw some wonderful ones- so one day.... Some time ago I visited Leslie Gabrielse with a dutch friend and apart from his wonderful work, he had a set of architects drawers and he had some wonderful examples of African textiles in the drawers. Talk about green.....
I depart for England next Monday where I will be attending the Spring Fairs with an exhibition called Two by Two- two works by eleven Australian and New Zealand artists. I shall also be doing teaching around the place.

Oh and those of you who have asked about the lace- I am not quite ready to divulge yet( i will)- but I use the Riso printing system ( also know as gocco), which is a reasonably simple way of transferring photocopied images onto a screen and printing and of course I am using tulle- in a method that is not so new after all- the Belgians were doing it in the nineteenth century I discovered to my surprise yesterday.Just goes to show there is nothing new under the sun- and how quickly some things and skills get forgotten .

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thunder Down Under

thunder down under Posted by Hello

Last night we had an amazing thunderstorm, and at the end of it the light was all golden and coppery and this rainbow arched over our garden. It must have been building all day, th echildren were really fractious- but today two have gone to school!
The lace below is a detail of Letters from Home. It is made from a print of one of my grandmothers' letters to my mother. I always remember letters from home making us homesick- it brought home the awning gap of a home on the other side of the world, and even in todays world of jetting about it is still a long way! I have finished the catalogue and if anyone is interested I can send it as a word document. There are no pictures of the lace however- really more of an explanation of the narrative.

Letters from Home Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

If Hundertwasser Had Lived in the Otways

If Hundertwasser Had Lived in the Otways Posted by Hello
I made this quilt last year to enter in the Husqvarna Viking contest
but did not get it finished in time. The 2005 entry forms are available by following the links I have given. I love the art work of Hundertwasser and am particularly intrigued by how he uses lines of colours to create much of his imagery. Whilst i did not use lines of colour as such I used lines of stitching, in coloured threads and stitched most lines several times.
Back to writing the catalogue for my lace exhibition which is taking longer than I thought it would- as each piece of lace has a story to tell.It is sometimes strange how creating work changes and then comes back to the starting point but in a different form. I wanted to tell the story of migration and dislocation , made a hand made book in which to write the story as I could not think of it in any other way at that moment- so it became narrative, I then thought, no I don't want to do narrative, I really want to use imagery, and now find that really the imagery I have used is telling narrative though the story widened in the process to stretch back to 1570 and to perhaps stretch into the future.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tie Dye

Tie dye Posted by Hello
This is a piece of fabric I tie dyed some time ago. I have used it in a quilt as well as in a bookcover . I have been trying to dye the soft licheny coloured background since then, in order to do some more of this fabric but of course it has not been happening. I need to infuse some enthusiasm into my system to to make at least a couple of small works before I go away, but sometimes it is hard to do something every day, although I try and do something creative every day even if it is only to dye some fabric.Today was just, a put some fabric in the dye day.
Here are some websites for the Tutors from the Murrumbidgee Summer school, Leeza Silverman, a beader and Scott Harrower a mosaicist.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Kangaroos Posted by Hello
Well I had a delightful week at CSU in Wagga Wagga. The first day i arrived these chaps were grazing on the lawn around the cottage the tutors had been allocated, and they turned up again for our last "lawn" party in the moonlight last night. I had a small but enthusiastic group of participants - even though we did not have dye for the first two days and it was also lovely to meet some of the people I had previously met through the internet. it was wonderful to see the work of the other tutors, and once I have had time to track down their websites etc I will post links so that you can see their work and enjoy it as well. Unfortunately my exhibition did not get installed so I did not get to see all my lace work up on the walls- I really wanted to see what effect the shadows would have. But I had to get home to prepare for England at the end of the month.

Kangaroos Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Creativity and Fire Posted by Hello

I shall be away the next week, without much internet access so this will be my last entry until next week. I am going to teach at the Murrumbidgee Summer School in Wagga Wagga, which is not all that far from the place we first went to when my parents immigrated to Australia in 1965- Jerilderie. I am rather looking forward to having time off from the lace or the need to even think about it much- there are still a few bits of hand sewing to do, but the pieces are all substantially finished and I will install them during the week. I am very interested to see what the shadows will be like- for when properly lit the shadows on the wall will be as much a part of the whole as the lace itself. I am also looking forward to teaching and getting others to "fire" up so to speak. For me fire is always a metaphor for creativity- I know it can be a dreadful thing, and we do live in a region which has many high fire danger days, and several times fires have come close by, but I used to love sitting in front of the open fire when everyone had gone to bed and watch the flames leap and the embers glow- I used to dream of poetry in those days and kept a poetry journal of sorts. So happy creating for the next week- I am taking some other hand work with me.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Mapping Posted by Hello
You might think I am mad photographing the lace when I am running out of time. But this is an instance where the camera sees more than you do. When I am pinning these pieces- and remember they are quite large it is very hard to get an insight into how they actually look, because the hard wood of the floor somehow doesn't generate the same sense of transparency as hanging it up and looking. This piece is actually made of "maps"- a real map of the island where my fathers family came from called Walcheren, which on a map from 1630 , I found , was still an island, and strands of dna. Ultimately with all the searching I did the only thing that really connected me with any of the past , were these two finites. All the people in between are unknowns to me, but I do carry some of their genes. All the other things are products of my imagination- how I might imagine these people might have related to anything. My other aim was that someone from 1570 ( this is the first record of a birth in my fathers family) might recognise what I was making, and likewise someone of the future might recognise it as the same thing. They may not like it but they would grasp the idea that it was lace- and then if they really looked they might see that it is also a story of roots and migration- in actual fact their story and my story.

Friday, January 14, 2005

More Lace

"dutch" lace Posted by Hello
This piece of lace is the companion piece for the "Australian " lace. The written squares contain little fragments of how my Dutch childhood was different to my Australian childhood- or the things that were different. There is 54 squares of handwritten lace that i did on the machine. Funny thing was when I was putting this together I had no idea in which order the squares were- having dropped them several times and repacked them in their little box- but on the day i was putting it together the very last square was "Tomorrow we got to Rotterdam and emigrate"- it took me by surprise and is perhaps a serendiptous event! I wanted the effect for this piece to be watery, because Holland is without doubt about water whereas Australia is without doubt about land. I also learned to write on Claire Fontaine paper- so each of the squares has been gridded like Claire Fontaine paper- ie pages ruled into little squares. I still covet this kind of writing paper and buy some each time I go to france where thankfully they still use it.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Cactus Flower and Blackwood

The centre Posted by Hello
Yesterday this amazing flower opened on a cactus we have in a pot. It was just amazing- the flower was almost half the size of the cactus- and the flower was about 8 inches across. I just can't get over nature producing such miraculous things. I think Georgia O'Keefe would have enjoyed seeing the throat of this flower. The colours are beautiful and in a way it is like an imaginary landscape in white with a lemon tree.
I also love the seed pods of the blackwood tree- the bright orange and black eyes appeal to my need for orange.
Oh well back to the lace making. Tried dyeing with some woad but the colour is not strong enough. It was some of the woad dye I bought at Lectoure last year- so have opted for the procion. And for those who asked - how am I making these- I can't tell you exactly just yet, but you are on the right track. But I will divulge in a little while!

Cactus Flower Posted by Hello

Cactus Flower Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Poppy lace

Closeup Posted by Hello

Not very good photographs because the lace is really difficult to photograph, but this is the poppy piece I have been working on. I slowly disintegrating into meltdown mode, as I struggle to complete all the work I still need to do. I keep on thinking enjoy it , don't panic, it will come together and go away inner critic- just go away! I have played with this process for the last year and a half- have experimented enough to know what will work and what won't but still there are all these nagging doubts. It is so different to the quilts I normally make, and yet it isn't- it is still comprised of three layers, albeit in a slightly different configuration. I have done more printing than I have ever done and the pieces are big- way bigger than my quilts.Back to the drawing board- literally- have to draw the last 2 designs for some more printing I want to do. And then construction.

Poppy lace Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Make or Break

Fabric card Posted by Hello
Today is my make and break day. Finally Collin has taken the kids to the beach for a day- so I get a stretch of a whole day to work without constant interruptions and squabbling and organising food- well not until tonight that is. So first thing is to dye the silk I printed yesterday with a letter in my grandmother's handwriting- I printed it in gold and looks really elegant- she had a very even neat hand. Then I want to foil some net in my handwriting as counterpoint. I don't know whether this will work, but it's now too late for it not to work- and that will be #8 done once it is stitched. If I can get going on that by late this aafternoon, I can get it finished tonight.
The card above actually contains real guinea fowl feathers- I placed contact plastic for fabric over them, so that kept them in place, and then sewed. And the tiger lily in my garden has finally come out- the plant is taller than me this year and I just love the flowers- but then I am an orange freak!
Next Sunday I go to Wagga to teach at the Murrumbidgee Summer School at Charles Sturt University. I will also install my exhibition whilst I am there at the HR Gallop gallery which is part of the Visual and Performing Arts School at the university.

Tiger Lily Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

Fabric Cards

Fabric cards Posted by Hello

About two years ago I was involved with a fabric card project. It was a lot of fun, so muchso, that I made two cards of each thing I did and kept a copy for myself which I pasted into a journal and then drew some embellishment or simply doodled. I still have about twenty cards to put in the album- one day whe I have more time! I think I can see light at the end of the lace tunnel. About to commence work on lace piece #8. The poppies piece is finished, and came out differently than planned. It is too windy to photograph it today.

Fabric cards Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Ribbon Lace

Ribbon Lace Posted by Hello
Someone quite rightly pointed out that the fabric I was printing a couple of days ago was based on a ribbon lace pattern. The pattern I picked up when I went to visit the Lace Museum in Brugge in a shop called Irma. They had old cardboard patterns sitting in a bargain bucket, and i could not resist.I also bought a piece of eighteenth century drochel lace, as this was likely to have been worn by as part of the Zeeuws costumes, and also a piece of nineteenth century Valenciennes lace.They had some other wonderful antique laces including a seventeenth century piece of Venetian needle lace which was to die for , but way out of my league, pirce wise. The landscape you can see through the lace is our vegetable garden. Back to the machine!

Ribbon Lace Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Artichokes and lace

Hand Written Lace Posted by Hello

I know, I know- it's that artichoke again, but daily it gets more beautiful and it's so big.
The lace piece in the photo is comprised of dyed squares and machine embroidered squares that contain writing ( these took forever). This is my "Australian" piece so I photographed it in front of the banksia serrata. It is quite long- about 2 metres, and only yesterday i worked a satisfactory way to finish the raw edges of the silk on the outer edges.Now it needs a good press and I have to attach the hanging device.

Artichoke Again Posted by Hello

Friday, January 07, 2005


Printing I Did Yesterday Posted by Hello
Yesterday was one of those days- it is the middle of our long summer school holidays ( there is three kids climbing the walls here) and it has done nothing but rain non-stop for 5 days. Every bit of printing I tried had something go wrong with it and at the end of the day with only half done what I had planned I was ready to scream. This morning it did not look as bad as I had thought- there is still more to do, but I can see an end in sight! When you click on the image a larger image comes up, and it is actually clearer . Now to more printing- fingers crossed nothing goes wrong, and then some hard thinking about the last two lace pieces- numbers 9 and 10- at the moment my mind is a blank. I am very tempted to use some of the woad dye I got for painting on silk at Lectoure last year. Unfortunately most of their woad extraction process had been moved elsewhere, though I did get a cursory guide through the woad extraction process. And of course I bought some things in the shop. All the window shutters were once painted with woad to keep off the flies, and even now many window shutters are painted in blue for the same reason. I also had a wonderful meal at a little restaurant in Lectoure called Auberge des Bouviers in rue Montebello. And I stayed in the Haute Garonne at a bed and breakfast run by ">Frances who is an artist and ceramacist and who was a delightful hostess.Her house was one of those wonderful traditional houses of the region.