Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Could Not Resist

Marian Bijlenga- Untitled 2001 Posted by Hello
Yesterday I went to Zijdelings and asked Karina about the floor talk given by Marian Bijlenga a Dutch fibre artist whose work I feel really inspired by, and which to some extent has provided many insights into my own work. It transpired that she had a book of collages made by Marian Bijlenga- of course this was a book which had instant love written all over it- and fortunately she still had one copy which is going home with me. It is a large book (42 cmx 31cm) entitled Written Weed and contains 232 pages of black and white collages of dried herbs, grasses and seeds- in one word - it is beautiful - the ISBN is 90-70680-65-3.

Part of the reason for mentioning it here, apart from the fact that I love the work, is, that in a sense I am inspired by the same kind of attention to tiny detail and pattern. I have been asked by different people whether I don't get bored walking the same circuit I do nearly every day- and the answer is an emphatic No- every day i see something new, hear something new, find something new- the experience of walking the same circuit over and over makes tiny details leap out at me and I feel I notice more of the small things - a kind of microscoping into the miniscule- and this is something I have been using in my work for quite some time- going into the tiny detail or the reverse telescoping and taking the wider view.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A letter from Walsoorden

Letters From Home Posted by Hello
Finally some time to create another post. I had wanted to load some of the pictures I have been taking but the computer still gets upset with my camera so better not. The above photo is of one of the pieces of lace I made earlier this year and it is actually a screen print of a letter by my grandmother to my mother- my mother loved getting those letters but they also made her feel very homesick- because my grandmother lived on the other side of the world- and as I found out in belgium last week they call Australians "tegenvoeters". The photo shows clearly the effect i was trying to create with the shadow - a kind of sharp and agitated grid- for families are after all a kind of grid or network and in this instance whilst the letter is full of love it also created a prickly and sometimes almost unbearable after feeling of yearning for home.

I am going by Zijdelings this morning to pick up some transfer paints for a workshop later this week- and it looks like I am lucky to have actually touched base with Karina as she is off to the USA on Tuesday. Then later today I am going to Laura of Trapsuutjies to do some fabric painting and printing and playing- which I am looking forward to! And tomorrow I have to quilt and quilt and quilt to get another forest quilt done!

During the week an acquaintance took me to Lier to see the making of Lierse Kant- which is a chain stitch embroidery onto tulle or cotton tulle ( which believe it or not is still made and which I shall have to find- what fun to dye it and then play with it!)- the embroidery is very fine and the impression of the lace is very delicate and beautiful. In the little museum near the atelier they had a sample book of lace which contained rubbings of the lace, plus a notation of the hours worked on the piece. It was fascinating, but I was blown away by Lier itself- it was a medieval trading town and many of the buildings in the centre are still intact and in the Liers Begijnenhof area many hofjes still in existence- and town ports. I shall definitely be going back there to have a good long look around and if anyone goes to Belgium it is definitely worth a visit.I also visited two ateliers where the lace was still being made, and the ladies making the lace said that they had trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in order to be able to open the ateliers. Like so many fine hand crafts there is, alas no young people practising the art, and makes me wonder how modern adaptations could somehow provide new impetus to a very lyrical and fine lace.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Lace Again

Lace Again Posted by Hello
A very quick post- I have just come back from Maastricht and have to go off again in 15 minutes to Belgium- to teach- last week andthis week was/is very very full on!
But yesterday when I got back the professional photos, Robina and Tony Summers made of my lace pieces, were here- and they show the effect I was trying to get with the shadows having a secondary play in the image. The lace looks so different with the play of shadow and really makes the whole seem fuller. This is the lace that was inspired by the Drochel lace. Seeing the images like this is re-enthusing me about making more of this work- and suddenly my head is swirling again with ideas- but with no time to do it! ( not even to make notes in my journal)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Another Day

Yep Some more Painting Posted by Hello
Went out for my walk early this morning- the world is another place before it starts the grind of work and industry. The sun was out and it was just bliss walking and walking, and stopping every now and then to look at the birds or rabbits or hares. There were a couple of very large boats on the Schelde- it is funny when you are on this side of the dyke that runs parallel to the bank of the river- you cannot see the boat- just the communications/living quarters tower so it looks as if a big house is floating by.
Yesterday i came across a Tao saying by Deng Ming Dao;
Be as a crane in the water
If that is necessary
Be still
If you do not have to move.

Co-incidentally I had seen a blue crane on the same day - earlier on my walk. And yes it was in stillness that i could appreciate its grace and elegance. It is in stillness that you see the best things- and we all need moments of stillness.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Next Week

And Another! Posted by Hello
It is going to be a busy week teaching. Today I go to Patchwork Studio in Belgium to teach for three days then Friday I am off to Germany and Dinslaken to teach at Quilt Zauberei- then back here for a day and then more teaching- so I am taking a deep breath- and will dive into the shower to freshen up enthusiasm!

I have posted more photos of painting I did- I can't post many more photos as the Sony powershot software is not happy with ME Windows at all and my aunts computer is struggling with it- so I will have to uninstall it and see what happens.I love the depth I can create with these paints- and the sort of transparent underlay which is really an overlay!

It's another day dawn grey- I need sun it makes the leaves on the trees look so much happier!

More Painting Posted by Hello

More African textile painting

More African textile painting Posted by Hello

Some more of the pieces I made on Saurday. It was my intention to make a quilt with a few of the pieces I painted today- but it didn't happen.It was so nice and sunny that all I seem to have done the last few days is walk and walk. And that is not a bad thing either!

Mono Printing Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Across Australia

Gallery Space for Across Australia in Damascus Posted by Hello
I have mentioned that I am curating another travelling art quilt exhibition of Australian work that will be shown in Europe. It will start its exhibition life in Quilt Indulgence at Bowral, New South Wales from the 8-11th of September 2005 and then it will travel to the Mesdag Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands from early October until December 2005 and then onto the Opera Gallery in Cairo for Australia Day Celebrations 2006 and then onto this fabulous Exhibition space in Damascus in February 2006! It was once a caravanserai. Jenny Bowker has been an incredible help in getting this exhibition to that part of the world- and I am extremely grateful. For those of you who have not seen Jenny's blog ( which I have linked) it is worth the effort to share her impressions of some of the most ancient cities in the world, the stunning desert landscape, and to revel in the wonderful textiles of the region. And I shall more than likely get to go myself as well- and take one of my children! Entry forms are available for Australians only from me or Jenny.

Right I am off for my walk- at least it is not blowing a gale today! Did I mention that Holland can be a windy place???

African Painting

More African painting Posted by Hello
Today I indulged myself and did a workshop with Irene Wolf at her Atelier in Breda using textile paints sold by Laura Liebenberg fo Trapsuutjies- and I had a wonderful time. These are two of the things I painted and I love the technique and the paints which are very versatile and have a nice hand. I can see so many possibilities with this that the problem really is ,that I am limited by my own imagination. Celeste-,Siena and Ynez you are going to love this textile paint when I bring it home.

Irene is also in the process building a website of her artwork, and her project of one hundred skirts- these are amazing- so when her website is up and running I shall post the link- but each skirt is a piece of art to be worn. They are fab and fun. So thank you to Irene and Laura for a very inspiring day!

African fabric painting Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time Posted by Hello
This is a photo of a Hellfire VI - The Fire Next Time.I made it some time ago and have given it to my aunt Diana Cevaal and her husband Ed Wittebrood to thank them for their very kind unofficial sponsorship of my curating and teaching endeavours in Europe- without them I couldn't half the things I do. Actually I am very lucky- I have friends and family who provide me with a bed and a lovely meal on so many occasions- they are the unofficial sponsors of so many endeavours worldwide and not only for me but for many artists. They are unsung- and yet make so much possible!.
This quilt was made for the Freeedom of Expression Exhibition which toured for quite some time about 4-5 years ago. It was supposed to have hung in the United Nations foyer- but some of the quilts were considered to be to confrontational and it was decided not to hang the exhibition there- there was some marvellous work in the exhibition- though I only saw photos of a few pieces, many spoke to the injustices and demeaning practices of this world.
My quilt was based on a quote from the James Baldwin book- The Fire Next Time. The quote is at the end of the book and I thought it spoke eloquently of what was facing the world around the turn of the millenium. It is actually done in the tifaifai technique and I dyed and tie dyed all the fabrics. It is heavily stitched- and I like this piece very much-usually I am quite dissatisfied with things when I am finished and I think I could have done this or that- but this one speaks for me- or that's what i feel anyway.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ducks for Ynez

Baby Duck for Ynez Posted by Hello

Ynez remember last year we saw the baby ducks ?? Here are some more in the same place.

I have posted some pictures of different windmills not far from where I am staying- they were used to do different functions. The wooden one was used for grinding flour.

Windmill in Kloosterzande Posted by Hello

Windmill in Kuilaart Posted by Hello


Old Customs House Walsoorden Posted by Hello

I have been going for daily walks and these are some of the buildings I encounter on my walk.Walsoorden is right on the Schelde River and has a port which of course was much used in times gone by- and so this house was the customs house and the upper story is higher than the dyke so that passing boats could be seen.

Have not done the sewing I intended to do as Husqvarna sent me the wrong chord to connect the machine to power- which I will have to sort out. I will do some handsewing later instead!

Village House Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 08, 2005

In Walsoorden

No photos today, Collin needed my digital camera back home for his drafting course, so I am on the lookout for another camera soon. I arrived on Friday morning in Frankfurt at 20 to 6 in the morning and picked up the car and drove to Walsoorden, in Zeeuws Vlaanderen. Did a smallish walk along the Schelde that afternoon and got a good nights sleep! Yesterday I taught dyeing in Northern Holland and I was pretty tired when I got back.

It gets light so early in the morning here! Of course in my part of the world we were heading for the shortest day of the year whereas here we are heading towards the longest- so I was up early and did a 5 km walk- not another soul in sight- just one or two big ships on the Schelde- the golden light of the rising sun shimmering on the peaceful water and loads of birds, and the sound of the cuckoo as I walked back along a narrow country road- I felt like the little 9 year old child that used to live in Holland- with no cars or other people around,and just the sounds and the birds and the dykes and the canals and the trees it was as if for a moment nothing had changed- but of course it has and you realise it the minute the world starts to churn.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tomorrow I leave

Lino-cut printing today
Phew it has been a busy few days. But to answer a question first- the 10,000 steps thing is to walk 10,000 steps a day- most sedentary people do maybe 3,000, but to lose weight you need to do 10,000, it increases fitness and lowers blood pressure. I have been trying to do the 10,000 steps in addition to my normal daily to and froing, and it takes me an hour and twenty minutes- I am trying to speed it up a bit, but as I have now reached the number of steps on a regular basis I can work on that.

Basted another forest quilt today which I will sew when I get to Europe- managed to dye some wonderful forest fabric the other day which just yelled at me to make it into a quilt- so I obliged. I have also been lino-cut printing fabric and the weather was so gorgeous ( bear in mind we are heading into winter here) today that i was able to do it outside which was very pleasant indeed. Have to iron some more fabric tonight- but then that's it! Tomorrow I leave fairly early in the morning and fly to Frankfurt.
The photo below is yesterday's dawn- it was quite spectacular and though a crimson dawn bodes bad weather it never eventuated.Posted by Hello

Yesterday's dawn Posted by Hello

Monday, May 02, 2005

Getting into panic mode

I made myself a new bag to take with me to hold my wallet etc. I usually have one with alinocut print on it but the last one was just a little bit too short for the wallet with my travel documents- so I made a slightly larger one with greyish fabric ( doesn't show the dirt too quickly!) The more yellowedged tie dye is actually like a little quilted button and dangles.

Today was another 10,000 step walk- my fifth in a row and I can really feel the weight coming off and my fitness improving. It is getting to the stage where I am thinking where can I do a 6 km walk when I get to Holland ?- there is a good little walk near my aunts but it is only about 3kms- there is the dyke along the Schelde that goes all the way to Terneuzen- so I can get a decent walk in there.

Worked on the two tifaifai pieces I was working on when I was England - and put on the borders- so they are now ready to quilt. Husqvarna Viking is kindly lending me a machine whilst I am in Europe, to teach with, but it also means I can do work on off days. I am also taking a quilt to hand quilt.Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

My Studio- maybe???

My studio

These are the bones of my studio/shed/workspace.I will be able to see the view out the back as there will be windows at that end of the shed.At this end there will be a verandah. I am so looking forward to this space. I have run the business and my artists practice from small rooms for the last 10 years and my current space is about 9 foot by 10 foot ( 3mx 3.5m), my new space will be 9 metres by 6 metres (27 foot x 18 foot)- when it all gets done. There is obviously a lot more work to be done- but the structure is up!! And meanwhile I am being patient- and preparing for my trip next week and running out of time. I always imagine that I can do more than I actually can and then have to ditch things . But I have learnt to live with this and don't feel so guilty anymore.Posted by Hello

For Sandy

I will put up better pictures later today and take these off- the sun decided to emerge when I went outside to photograph after it had been dim and dull all morning.
I had wanted to finish quilting yesterday but the power went off for 3 hours so that was the end of the quilting. I have yet to put the sleeve and binding on- I haven't quite made up my mind about the binding yet- I am leaning towards a darkish one to accentuate the graphic-ness of the pomegranates and the dark of the underworld. Now onto the next quilt, and sponsorship proposals for creating a catalogue for Across Australia- so that I can post them before leaving .I am also thinking of creating a booklet of ideas and soem of the techniques I use- with colour photocopy pages in the centre- anyway I might make up one and see....

Today the structure for my studio/shed is going up- finally. I am so looking forward to having a larger space to work in and to have dedicated wall space on which to hang work. However I think it will be early summer before I am in there- things take time and I must not be too impatient.

I received confirmation yesterday that a workshop I enrolled for is going ahead when I am in Holland. It is called Afrikaans Schilderen and is with Irene Wolf (click on enter and then Beeldende Kunst and then Afrikaans Schilderen). With a title like that and my love of African stuff how could I not do this one day workshop!! I am looking forward to it as I haven't done a workshop in ages. I really like the felted work on Irene's website too and wished I had more time- I have lots of wool sitting here waiting for felting- I like the density of the fibre once it is felted- and yes yurts are made from felt!
Posted by Hello

Persephone's Rug for the Underworld Posted by Hello