Monday, October 31, 2005

Seven Pebbles

Seven pebbles

Saturday afternoon and evening we attended the Colac Eistedfod so that my daughters could participate. All three play piano, and Ynez played in the afternoon and played very well, then Siena and Celeste played in the evening. Celeste won her Grade 3 section and got an Honourable Mention in the Open section and Siena won her Grade 2 Section! It is organised by the regional music teachers to give kids the opportunity to perform in front of a Music Board adjudicator before the music board exams in mid-November, so hopefully this will be a good omen!.

However we had to sit and listen to all the other children play so I hand stitched these two little pieces whilst we sat and listened. The stitching by hand gives quite a different effect to the machine stitching. I am working on a bigger barnacle/sea urchin/oranges piece but to my utter dismay the cat ( a slightly weird but wonderful Burmese called Mitsou) has eaten large holes in the only piece of batting that would have fit the purpose- the only other thing to do is to join lots of pieces together- a job and a half! Not only that the local patchwork shop where I could buy batting when I have run out ( as I tend to buy in bulk) has shut down! argggh!!!!

Some people have made comments about the fact that i seem to work quickly and be prolific. Once the idea is in my head things do come together reasonably quickly- but it is also my job to do this work- so I treat it as a nine to five day, with overtime when I get enthused, and I might be up at 5 am and be sewing . I wish I could say to rate of pay matches my enthusiasm, but unfortunatley that is not so.

I am also creating work for an exhibition I am having in the South of France next year at Centre Europeen du Patchwork with Annette and Robert Claxton called Fusion. I am still umming and ahhing as to whether I will enter The New Quilt at Manly ( one of Australia's premier art quilt exhibitions)- I have a long string of rejects from that show and I am not sure I am in the mood for yet another reject .

And tomorrow Nanowrimo starts! So the nose will be to the grindstone then!Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Detail Stitched!

Stitched this piece today- it is about 8 incehs wide and 22 inches long. Again I can't get the colour right on the camera and this is as close as I can get it playing around with the image. I have again used the lutradur ( which is opaque white, but transparent at the same time) and transferred the dye onto it. I have done some hand stitching. I had been intending to make cards but liked the whole piece . I will make a larger version of this as a quilt. The circle things remind me of umbrellas or sea urchins.

Have to head off now and watch kids play piano in an Eistedfod at Colac- for 4 hours- that's the problem when they are all different age groups! I was going to take some hand stitching, but I already finished this piece and I don't want to hand stitch the whole piece- so will have to find something else to do.Posted by Picasa

Stitched! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Another Stone Angel Pattern

Two Angel panels

Thank you all for the very nice comments about the first stone angel panels. I will try and answer the questions. Omega asked about the background fabric- I actually used it to photograph the piece on- but decide I liked it- don't know whether I will use it- but the fabric was discharged velveteen- and had shadowy ghost sort of shapes which seemed to set the mood for the piece. The number of squares do not match a rosary- but I do like the repeats, as prayers are repeated and I would have thought the original purpose of the stone bibles would have been to remind of prayers or some such things. Re the squiggle lines- I wasn't consciously repeating the waratah petal patterning- but yes it does look a little like it. I was trying to make it look like writing but just the pattern of writing rather than anythign in particular.

The second panel ended up different to what I thought. For a start I transfer dyed some turquoise with the stone angel printed in black- it was too dark to use. So I went back to the orange but used another piece of lutradur which was more transparent ( I had forgotten I had bought it) this allowed the background fabric much greater play- and I chose to use a aqua coloured background fabric, which in the actual piece gives a patina of corroded copper- which is quite lovely. Definitely worth working with this and playing some more. I have over the years collected many black and white postcards of sculptures in churches I have visited- with the intent of using them one day- I think I should be able to create my own lino-cuts inspired by these cards and then use them to create a series of panels. I have been looking for ways to incorporate the things I have seen when travelling into my work, and this might just be one way.

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Detail - angels on aqua Posted by Picasa

Felicity's Tag

Felicity in Kuwait ( hope to meet you next year!) tagged me for twenty things so I have included the good the bad and the ugly.
And I tag the following five:
Sandy Marcoux
Claire Fenton
Claire Bryant
Rayna Gilman
Lisa Call

So here are my twenty;
  1. My mother tongue is Dutch and I have three children; Celeste, Siena, and Ynez and I am married to Collin
  2. My father always claimed we were descended from French Huguenots- something we all took with a grain of salt but it turns out to be true, so maybe my mothers claims to Spanish ancestry will one day prove true as well.
  3. I studied history and law at university.
  4. I practiced law for nearly 10 years and then I travelled for a year with Collin after I quit being a lawyer and spent 6 months in Africa and 6 months in Europe.
  5. Travelling in Africa changed my life- I saw the most devastating poverty and realized that the world is not a nice place and that there is no such thing as democracy
  6. Africa freed my spirit for whilst I saw the most devastating poverty I also saw the most courageous dignity and the colour of life- I knew my life would never be the same again.
  7. I was in Africa the day Nelson Mandela was freed- we knew something special had happened everyone was so happy- and we were in Ireland when he made his first visit to a western country after being freed

  1. I love living in the country- as a rule I don’t like cities much unless of course you asked me to spend a year in Siena, Venice or Paris ( someone please ask me???)
  2. We have a huge vegetable garden and orchard, and we process much of our own food and make our own wine ( though it usually runs out before the next harvest)
  3. I think that the Black Madonna and Demeter myth are related- maybe it’s because of the Eleusinian mysteries
  4. I have wanted to be a writer since I learned to read but I was nine before I could read properly- before that I memorized everything.
  5. I like to have bare feet and dislike wearing shoes and I like sitting on the floor
  6. I am sometimes grumpy and yell too much but I also like laughing so much that your sides hurt.
  7. I run a business based around my art, fabric and teaching.
  8. I collect ethnic textiles and have some good pieces because I have swapped them for my art and I also collect prints by young printmakers- under 25
  9. We recycled a 1940’s wooden house and moved it to our land on a semi trailer- it is still not completely renovated but it is a roof over our heads.
  10. I want to add to the world rather than take- even if it means planting trees and adding to the robustness of our environment
  11. We all lived in a castle in the Morvan in France for 3 months
  12. I have written a book called Tifaifai Renaissance- making my own designs in the tifaifai method, some history and some dyeing instructions.
  13. I have a Masters in Visual and Performing Arts with textiles as my exhibition project.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Stone Angel in Fabric

Angel- full view

I decided I would finish this piece, even though I wasn't sure it was working. I tend to finish things, and have very few unfinished quilts( but still have to finish the Nanowrimo novel from last year...) I found I liked it much better when I got over the fact that I had not lined up the printed squares too neatly- I actually like the spaces that created and am thinking of doing some hand stitching in there to add to the texture , for that is what the stone bible is of course- a textured page to recall the prayer or thought or lesson. I also added in an almost emerald coloured thread to some of the squares- it seems to wash out a bit in the photo, and is much nicer in the real. The lutradur is hard to photograph because of the light- but on the other hand when light shines on it , it has a rather rich glowing effect which the camera seems to take away. The whole piece also has a rather pleasing crackling sound - like crumpling paper, which in a sense suits the image. It also feels very textures because whilst the lutradur sews very well its feel is somewhat stiffer and so the stitching really creates line sof texture. I think I will do another of these and reverse the colours- black on turquoise, using black and orange thread. the piece is 40 inches long ( 1.02 m x 27 cm) by 11 inches wide.
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Detail- Angel Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stone bible

original stone page with painted paper

I got all enthused with transfer printing a page from the little Ethiopian stone bible/prayer book I have. The image is carved in relief and I guess worked as a memory aid of sorts for remembering the prayer or the saint. The stone page printed quite well, and I then transferred onto polyester film- which I have discovered is called Lutradur ( non-woven ployester). I made a long panel and am sewing in the detail- I haven't decided yet whether it is worth continuing- the stitching does bring up the image a lot more,but is a whole panel of these images juxtaposed with imaginary writing interesting enough?

I haven't forgotten about memory either, but want to do some more searching. I am especially interested in using not so much my personal history as such but more the elements of that history divorced from myself as it were- so that they have been removed from the personal in some way but have grown out of that personal- I guess I am somehow trying to abstract my personal memory into some other kind of image/textile, because that is what I work with- imagery/textiles.
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Transfer Posted by Picasa

Ethiopian stone bible Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

Waratahs and Memory


This gorgeous tree is flowering in my garden- the flowers are the size of cupped hands held together and after the rain today it looked just magical.

Omega in her blog has done a post on memory as well- we are threading the same needle of memory or weaving the same tapestry of memory. I have made a word document of articles/ images/ and artists I have looked at on the internet in relation to the incorporation of memory and art or textile. I will try and put it in the body of a post sometime in the next few days and make sure all the links work. One thought that occurs to me that this might be an appropriate thing to move to a Wikispace, so that those interested in memory and art can contribute in a public space- and yet it be a resource for all those interested. A book that i found an interesting read in relation to memory was Frances Yates, The Art of Memory. Omega also mentioned Proust and the famous madeleine incident, but there is another book with such a moment and that is Rainer Maria Rilke's "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge" where he looks at a demolished wall of a building and has a physical sensation of the inhabitants- perhaps a moment of the phenomonology of Merleau-Ponty ?

And Caitlin, who noted that the shadows and texture created with textiel and stitching is what draws her to work in textile and her defence of it- if you place a quilted piece onto a colour photocopier ( not a scanner as the scanner actually seems to react to the weave of the fabric) you will see exactly what you wrote about. It fascinates me that the eye does not see this so much as perceive it yet the colour photocopier is the piece of equipment that does.Posted by Picasa

The Waratah Tree Posted by Picasa

Waratah with rain drops Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Memory Book with Holes

I have made the journal/book to write the second lot of memories- I decided to make the cover holey as that is the nature of memory- variable and with gaps. I transfer dyed some polyester film and sewed that onto Japaneses momogami paper backed with hand dyed muslin- this makes it very stable to sew and gives it a leather like quality as the momgami is pliable but strong. I like soft covered books. The writing pages ar emade of Chinese rice paper, which is quite transparent so can only be written on, on one side.

I also finally finished some cards- I had started some before I went away, and have also made some new ones the last couple of days as I had promised Clare in New Zealand some atc's - so when you have to make a couple you may as well make a dozen or so. Clare has in the last week sold four of her quilts - through an intitiative in New Zealand- where a group ( not sure which one) decided to hold a "quilt sale". They did a lot of advertising including ads on tv and I guess it worked. Another New Zealander , Marge Hurst has also sold a quilt at the same event ( not to mention all the others that have sold). They are selling any type of quilt and seem to have really attracted buyers. Wish I could say i had sold some of my quilts ( quilts and sale prices ar eup on my picturetrail site), it has been really really slow this year. I am thinking of having quilt open day here in Gellibrand at the end of November and inviting a few of my friends to hang their quilts and textiles amongts our trees and also sell off stuff cluttering my room, and which I haven't used in years, in readiness for moving into the shed ( oops studio)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When I attended Quilt Indulgence in Mittagong in September, I overheard someone say as they looked at my work- she may as well just paint. I did used to paint occasionally, but feel, myself , that i express myself differently in textile and that somehow for me it is more expressive. So working with the transfer dye and polyester film , actually allows me to reflect on why don't i just paint? The first image is the painting i did on the paper ( the colour is a bit bleached as I had already transferred the dye) the second image is the transfer on the polyester film ( and the colour on the new film that i bought in the Netherlands comes through very clear) and the last image is after cutting back and stitching. So- I have come to the conclusion that stitching really does add another dimension even in something is simple as this paisley inspired motif and that is why I don't paint.

And Omega has thrown some ideas into the ring in terms of incorporating memory in work ( and see the links in her comments to my post). Some of you know that my lacework was inspired by somehow incorporating memory and cultural heritage into my work- and since I have been searching for ways to use memory, or the very notion of memory in my work without resorting to the use of photos as part of the work ( though I have some fabulous pictures of family members in kledendracht). I am also intrigued by the notion that memory may be more than cognitive thought- that it may also be an aspect of the senses and in particular touch- the knowingness of feel. One reason i have for thinking this is when I made my prototype lace pieces, my daughters who had just come home from school fell upon it and immediately seemed to know what it was. I have avoided lace for most of my life as I hated frills and ruches and lace so until I started making lace you would have been hard put to find any lace in my house- so how did my children so instantly know what it was and what it was for? And I mean they fell upon it -really. Is this perhaps part of the reason why largely women are drawn to textile??

I spent yesterday searching the net for artists who had referenced memory as part of their work, and would appreciate any links anyone has that may enlighten. I also decided that i would do another memory book- I did one for my masters/lace project really early on- as I wanted to tell the story of my families and my immigration and at that stage I could not think beyond the narrative aspect- it was the jumping off point for the lace pieces which incorporated the written embroidered squares. I have not looked at the book I made for some time, but as I read about memory and how it changes in the context that we find ourselves remembering I wondered if I did the book again how different it would be? So that is what I intend to do today- get the book made ready for writing and remembering
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Inspired by paisley Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005

Back to Work

Today I have been painting papers in order to do some transfer dyeing onto polyester film. This film is different to the one I have previously used and I am still testing it out- but the colour transfers quite intensely. These will be long panels meant to hang beside each other ( I only got two transfers done today and will do another tomorrow) and they will be stitched in different colours and the fabric underlay will also be in different colours. I am making them for my exhibition with Annette and Robert Claxton next year at the European Center of Patchwork
in the Languedoc region of France. Our exhibition is called Fusion, so I am making this work to hopefully complement some of Annette and Robert's work.

Summer is coming- the weather has been warm and beautiful so I could work outside today! And Collin built a hothouse whilst i was away , so now we can extend our vegetable growing season, and grow eggplants! Hopefully I shall have tomatoes by Christmas.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday already

I have posted some photos of things I have been working on since back. Firstly an A3 sized piece using transfer dye and polyester film I bought in Holland, to see whether I like the effect. I also painted some fabrics as I replenished my supplies of Trapsuutjies paints- alas I did not have much white fabric to hand, I thought I had left behind a roll so that I could jump into things when I got back- but that must have been in my dreams! And lastly some of the things I print with. The two green foam stamps are designed by Laura of Trapsuutjies and as one is of a pomegranate , how could I leave it behind? She has the stamps/stempels for sale from her website. The others stamps are indian wood block and a batik copper tjap. I have had both for ages, but sometimes you forget what you have and I found these when I was looking through my printing box.

I also did some trawling of the internet looking for art that deals with memory and art- I am still exploring memory/culture/and art as part fo the art making process. There is art dealing with very particular memories- for instance the work of artists whose parents experienced the holocaust- so that the artists memory is a kind of reflected memory, or art dealing with memory of trauma ( for example Gwen Magee's work I have mentioned before), or memory of displacement, but I have been able to find little art dealing with the place of memory in experiences that are't painful or about alienation. However today I stumbled across the work of Elena Climent- and instantly fell in love with ( being a collector of all manner of things) I love the richness of the colour of her work and its very nostalgic presence. I also like the fact that the catalogue is a pdf file so I can print it off when I get some better paper. I hope you enjoy the work as much as I did.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Home via Paris and Singapore

Arab Street, Singapore- some traditional shutters of which too few remain.
Eating stall at food market, Singapore

Indain temple near the little India Quarter, Singapore
Ceps and Chanterelles- market vendor Rue de Mouffetard, Paris
Fruit and vegetable stalls in Rue de Mouffetard
Cheese deli , Rue de Mouffetard, Paris

Finally home- the journey always takes so long- more than 20 hours of flying, and this time we decided to stopover in Singapore for a night.

We ended up only having one day in Paris and stayed with friends. We decided we would like to see the Klimt, Schiele and Viena school of painting at the Grand Palais, but it was not to be. The queue to get in was over 500 people long, the weather was glorious and many Parisians were out and about. So instead we headed to Rue de Mouffetard, and enjoyed the market stalls and food delis that lined this famous eating street. The mushroom season is in full swing and the ceps and chanterelles were enticing- but unfortunately you cannot take such things home. I do wish I knew more about identifying edible mushrooms in this part of the world.

Then onto Singapore where we spent some time in the Arab street quarter, looking for white silk georgette- which was not an easy matter amongst the richly coloured fabrics and silks on offer- and one guy wanting to send me things to Australia- no worries. Bought threads in a funny little Indian shop in a back lane in the Arab quarter- at $2 Singapore a cob how can you go wrong, and then onto shops selling the more traditional batiks. We also ate in the food markets- where for $10 Singapore you can eat a delightful meal and fresh fruit juice to boot, for two people. There was one of these food markets not far from our hotel and we walked there one evening and found on offer about 20-25 different stalls offering all kinds of Asian foods. Sinagpore is such a mix of cultures that the culinary mix is fabulous not to mention the colours and inspirations.

I like the juxtaposition of these two great "culinary" cities- the food so different, yet each offering such taste delights.The food stall in the photo was tiny- one room where a team fo two cooked their specialities over gas burners in tropical heat.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Hague and Rembrandt

On Monday and Tuesday we were at the Panorama Mesdag in The Hague to install Across Australia ( pictures of this on another day) . The opening of the exhibition is tonight and the Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands will be opening the exhibition.We went for a walk along Zeestraat.This street is lined with galleries and bookshops and we found these sculptures in one of the squares along it. The Nightwatch sculpture was quite entrancing- I neglected to write the artists names ( who seemed to be Russian) but the sculptures reflected Rembrandt's Nightwatch. There was also a sculpture of Rembrandt contemplating the models for his painting. The sculpture was three people short compared to the painting- but these are still in the process of being made.

My daughter Siena was quite entranced by this sculpture as you can see. I enjoyed the fact that the figures were larger than life ( but not so large that they were overwhelming- because people of those times were of course smaller as well) but still accessible and that you could walk in amongst the sculptures- it was quite a unique experience.
Tomorrow we go to Paris to visit friends, and then fly home via Singapore for a night- and then I have to put the head down and seriously get to work.

Hello Manuele- I am glad you enjoyed using the Husqvarna Viking sewing machine at Val dÁrgent- it has some great features- and I am looking forward to getting back and using mine. I also appear to have bought a roll of polyester film to take home with me and play with. It is not the same as the polyester film I have used previously but is interesting none the less- and the transfer paints worked beautifully on it yesterday when we had a workshop at Dreamline.

I am also intending to participate again in Nanowrimo- November novel writing month- and you can register at the link provided,if the muse strikes and decides that you must write a novel in the month of November ( but first I have to finish the novel I started last year which is all but finished- about 5000 words to go). But i am already musing about The second Novel About Absolutely Nothing With More Annotated Recipes and Design Ideas(gggg). The idea is that you write a novel ( well it is a novella really- the goal is 50,000 words) during the month in November- turn the internal editor off and simply write. It worked for me last time and actually enjoyed the process a great deal , and instead of looping around the internet, spent some of that time writing.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Ribeauville is a small Alsace town close to Ste Marie aux Mines where I taught at the European Patchwork Carrefour. It has many saxon houses in a bright array of colours, and even the wooden beams are sometimes carved. I love all the brightly coloured geraniums in the window boxes.This town also was part of the great textile printing factories that emerged in this region of France in the eighteenth century and it is possible to visit a factory where cloth is still printed with he original copper printing rolls.It is also worth visiting the Musee de límpression'sur Etoffes in Mulhouse

We visited Ribeauville after we picked up Sandy from the airport in Baden Baden ( and we were two hours late- sorry Sandy)We visited this town after we had dropped our gear at the gite we stayed in in Ste Marie aux Mines. The gite was a tiny flat but had a most delightful aspect onto a back graden, which you would not know existed from the rather drab facade of the building. And in typical French style there was a rather productive small vegetable garden as well- with a wide array of vegetables ( I love vegetable gardens and have taken quite a lot of photos of them over the years- but forgot to photograph this garden). The owners ,an elderly couple, were harvesting apples from their espalliered apple tree, and neatly wrapping the apples in paper and storing them in wooden boxes- which I imagine will be made into some wonderful Alsace apple tart at some stage.

We also got used to the church bells rather quickly. The bells tolled every quarter hour ( so you could not possibly forget the time) and the first night it seemed like we heard every ring- but by day 5 we didn't even wake up in the morning when the bell did it snooze button 6 am action- which was to ring 4 ( to mark the 4 quarters of the hour) then six rings with a different bell and about a minute later another 6 rings- those poor miners had no hope of not getting up!