Monday, July 31, 2006
I know I have posted a picture of Broccoli Sunset before but I had a pleasant surprise the first day of the Stitches and Craft Show- it won first prize in the Art Quilt category. I won a voucher for commercial fabric ( seeemed a rather odd prize) however they kindly allowed me to take white homespun- so lots of fabric for dyeing! Thank you Leutneggers!The best of show was a miniature quilt by Luixin Newman- which had the most delicate hand quilting and an amazing 1,600 leaves appliqued on it!!It was a lovely piece.
The show was fun- ran into lots of peope I knew- got to play with the Bernina dry felting attachment and the BSR foot- and challenged myself to find as many free machining designs as possible, whilst allowing people to have a go with the BSR foot- I came up with 48 during the show- but I am going to redo the samples so that they are more even ( 5" square) and I will be producing a spiral bound folio- which I will be selling. I should have it ready by the end of the week so watch this space and let me know if you would be interested in such a booklet. I am hoping to get the total up to 72 different free machining ideas.The bernina Dealers that were there will all be stocking it- they were very supportive of the whole idea and people kept coming by every couple of hours to see what new ones I had sewn up.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I am going to be away for the next four days in Melbourne at the Quilt and Craft Fair at Jeff's Shed. I shall be demonstrating at the Bernina stand. I have also booked my flight to Europe in September to go to Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork at Val d'Argent. Now all I have to do is find a place to stay!
I have managed to steadily work this week but have not much to show for it- a lot of it has been preparation for work I want to fo next week. I made these dingle dangles for the wrap I have been making- I will suspend them from the ends somehow
Sunday, July 23, 2006
A colour page from my journal- more pomegranates.
And some fabric I painted yesterday I am intending to use it in a quilt- though I haven't planned the quilt as such but Imight repeat the meandering lines. I also found some interesting websites to look at: Els van Baarle - a Zeeuwse ( actually quite close to where my fathers family comes from) who makes wonderful art cloths using a variety of techniques- I love the wonderful atmospheric photo of the golden piece against the wall . I first saw some of Els' fabnric at the European Quilt Championships. More batik fabric from Helene in Belgium- i love the use of positive/negative graphic as a result of her scribbling/writing. And another website of Venetian windows- I love Venice, and hope I shall be able to go there again at some stage- but it is very expensive for Australians to go there.
And I have still not heard from my friend in the West Bank- and given what has been happening I cannot believe that a country can carry out such disproportionate strike power on innocent civilians in the way Israel has in total and flagrant disregard of rulings of the International court of Justice ( perhaps I am rather naive in this- but can you imagine if the converse happened??)regarding the wall and in abject violation of the Charter of Human Rights. For whilst the focus has been on the bombardment of Lebanon and the bombardment in Haifa ( and thank goodness the SBS News Service is giving us a sort of balanced reporting of what is going on) the people in Gaza are still without power without money with very limited water, and are still being attacked daily inside their territory and civilians are still dying. And eerily two of my children have been listening to the Zombie song from The Cranberries- even though they don't understand the real import of the lyrics- it has been playing the last few days in my house - and it seems rather apt- unfortunately it seems to be human nature that if you have bombs you use them on others that may not have the same fire power. And on reading one SBS news report it seems 106 Palestinians have died ( allegedly militants but with an alarming number of children amonst the dead and with an even more alarming number of casualties in refugee camps) compared to one Israeli soldier- it begs a very obvious question which I don't think any thinking human being really wants to answer. Stop this outrage- it is wrong wrong wrong and nothing will make it right !
Friday, July 21, 2006
When I woke up this morning the ground was frosty white- we even had ice on puddles- which I don't ever remember seeing before in the nine years we have lived in Gellibrand. Then the day turned brilliantly sunny and as I have been holed up inside since getting back it was great to be able to sit out in the sun and do something... but what to do.???I have been working and playing with the lace again- I want to make more pieces but I also want to make pieces with other things than the tulle I have been using- so that it is the idea of lace- the whole transparency thing that is important. So this one is a bit of an experiment- I need to work on it more but I really like the seethroughness ( is there such a word)
And before the sun came out I was trawling around the internet , as you do , and came upon a site about Bonegilla. Bonegilla was the migrant reception centre for non-english speaking migrants who came to Australia in the post war years. My family spent two and a half weeks there- my father got the first job he could to get out of there,and so we moved to a station ( big farm- like about 30,000 hectares) 18 miles outside of Jerilderie. Bonegilla wasn't the most wonderful time for us- we had come from a reasonably comfortable life to be sent to army barracks converted into huts for families and dorms for single people surrounded by high wire fences with barbed wire on top- with a canteen that served food which to most migrants seemed unapalatable ( I seem to remember there was a riot about the food some years after we left) However there are really nice memories about the experience as well- the warbling of magpies the first morning we woke in Bonegilla ( we had arrived after dark in August)- it was the most magical sound and still thrills me, the lovely wooded hillsides that surrounded Bonegilla that seemed so rich ( we came from a flat flat land). Anyway Albury Museum has a section devoted to Bonegilla- a good thing - at least it is a record of what people experienced- the good and the bad and there is a healthy lore alive surrounding Bonegilla. Anyway I tried to fill inthe form about my presence in Bonegilla and it would not send, so I emailed the contact addie and mentioned in passing my lace work relating to the experience. Imagine my delight when within two hours I had an asnwering email asking me if I would be interested in exhibting my lace later next year as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Bonegilla and the migrant experience. I hope it happens- this is entirely what my lace work was about and was the story I was trying to tell.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here are some sections of the wrap I have been making- it's too long to photograph in one piece.I have decided to line it with habutai silk which I am dyeing. I also decided to dye some heavier weight habutai ( 12mm) but that turned into an abject failure- it is dim grey and not at all what I had in mind- waste of good fabric, though I may try some polewrap with black over the top- but not today.
There have been discussions on the Wow factor on other blogs ( Lisa Call, Cathy Kleeman and Omega) , which is interesting. I know that many people think working "big" is an important element for Wow. I agree working "big" makes an impact, but sometimes it makes me feel overwhelmed too as if someone is trying to force me into being wowed . I must admit to a suspicion of big works- though there are some that have impacted on me. I like being drawn by works- you know you look and there is something which beckons you to look again and again and find new things, big is simply sometimes just big, and I feel let down.I guess for me art is a little like a journey of discovery- you discover the piece, you discover the artist and you discover something about yourself in the act. I love the protrait of Baldassare Castiglione by Rapheal- it is a relatively small portrait of an incredibly urbane looking renaissance man- it is one of the reasons why I try and visit the Louvre every time I visit Paris- this portait is one of the finest ever made in my humble opinion ( if you click the link there is a link which says portrait). What do you see?
And then happy accidents of creating- which in all reality is what serendipity is. Doing and working through the processes often surprising things happen- those that add edge to the work you are making- to me whilst in a sense they are accidents are also evidence of the process- and those accidents don't happen if you do not engage with the process.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I have been working- really- I am making a wrap- kind of quilted- well more stitched really, but the batteries in my camera are flat so i can't show you.
Given that the situation in the middle east looks disastrous i thought I would share
these delightful naive embroideries made by women from a small village in Northern Syria. The women who make these live in the beehive huts I have shown in an earlier post. They make these embroideries for sale through an organisation called Anat which is the brain child of a German woman, Heike Weber who now makes her home in Damascus. There are also Palestinian refugees and other Syrian women in other areas who also make wonderful shawls and dresses which you will see if you visit the site. The women have been able to earn an income which has seen the women gain economic ascendency in their village and assume the decision making roles . Apparently one of their first purchases with this income is usually a tv.
I wanted to show them because these women have very little- certainly no stashes , no threads to speak of except what is supplied to create the embroideries, no dyes, no sewing machines with the latest computerised gizmos, no quilterly gadgets or rulers and rotary cutters- most live in a one roomed bee hive hut which, if they are lucky has a fridge and the average number of children is over 6- they all live in this space. And yet they make these lovely bright and charming embroideries. Yet these people with so very little will be the real victims- both physically and economically from al this warmongering. I am finding the world fairly unbearable at the moment.
I am worried about my friend Lima in Ramallah- she used to email me every second day but I haven't heard from her for two weeks. I know they moved to their house in the countryside feeling it was safer for their children and that she was having problems getting through the check points into Ramallah to get to work- as she was a east Jerusalem id holder- her husband and sons are west bank id holders- she had tried to get east Jerusalem id for her sons as she was born in East Jerusalem - but Israel refused to issue her children with the asked for id because it was said the children do not take the identity of the mother- which I found a rather odd irony .
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I tie dyed some silk today. The purply background was supposed to be aubergine instead of purple- so that put me off doing anything with it today. I really like how tie dye takes differently on silk compared to cotton. I dyed it as i wanted to just get back into sewing, and really need to make another quilt this week- but I am a bit dirth for inspiration. What to make- more pomegranates- play around with unfurling fern fronds, trees or lace variations..... nothing is grabbing me at the moment.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I have been thinking about what i am going to do when I go to France next year with my family- I need to really capitalise on whatever I do. Having been to Chateau de Chassy before is good- I know what to expect and I will be working on a dedicated book project with Mme Tison. It also got me thinking about how it all started in 1997 when I entered Chassy D'Or a contemporary quilt exhibition Mme Tison used to organise and which was exhibited in the castle. I won equal first prize with one of my Hellfire quilts ( qudos only) and Mme Tison purchased the quilt- which was really one of my first sales of my more "arty" quilts. The sale gave me much needed confidence and started the correspondence which led to my family and I staying at Chassy for 3 months in 2000.It was an incredible experience to live in a castle when we live in a very humble three bedroom weatherboard in the otway ranges. The french painter Balthus lived there in the 1950's and many famous artists visited the castle. The painting is one of that Balthus did of the forecourt of the castle. The first thing my kids asked when i told them we were going again was if the little hotel down the road was still open- on Monday nights, like all the local people, we would wonder down there for our evening meal and for a very reasonable price would be served hearty home cooked meal and the cook ( the owner and a local woman) would always have a little special treat for the girls, which was really sweet of her.
The castle lies about 1 hour east of Dijon in the Morvan natural parc- it is well serviced with tourist accommodation including caravan parks. I shall be giving a few workshops whilst I am at Chassy and another thought that crossed my mind was to have a week long get together with other artists- to make a collaborative project- so that there is no instructor but we - but that we all share and work together and assume each others expertise- I need to think this through a bit more- but it could be an interesting thing to do and may build relationships for the future. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I may also be organising some exhibitions for a two week period in the castle. Need to work on the logistics of that! But there is sure to be some Australian work on show!
In 2007 I am also giving a workshop at le Palliseau and in le Mans ( and whatever else I manage to organise). I had better practice my French!
Friday, July 14, 2006
And a lovely surprise yesterday. I ordered Palestinian Costume by Jehan Rajab last week along with the Hilary Spurling biography on Matisse. As I found it through Amazon as a secondhand book it was shipped seperately and they said it would take 4-6 weeks as it was being sent surface- it arrived yesterday - and I am still waiting for the Matisse biography which was being shipped airmail. And it looks as if the teaching in Ramallah may not happen- given that foreign passport holders are not being let through any of the checkpoints into the West Bank. I have to book my airfares to Europe soon.
I shall be going to European Patchwork Carrefour held at Val d'Argent- Ste Marie aux Mines- I will be with the Changing exhibition curated by Thelma Smith. I am hoping to sell some of my hand dyes and small works and lino cut prints- we will see what i can manage to make before then. So if you read my blog and are going to Val d'Argent please come by and say hello. Marion Barnett and Sandy Marcoux will be there as well. And has anyone been to the Textile Museum in Lyon?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Omega i take you point about Arab nations funding Palestine- they have -but unfortunately the money is all holed up in the World Bank as any funding has to go via that regulatory body. Also legitmately earned customs income to Palestine has been held in the World Bank since March.
My friend in Palestine said the women had become very good at utilising recipes that created long storage for them -like home made cheeses in brine- and pickled olives. If I do go in September she is going to teach me some of those recipes. Oh and speaking of recipes- I have put two links in the side bar to food sites- Lucullian Delights and Travelers Lunch Box- both have more than simply food and are a delight. And I even have a recipe of my own to share. In this house no one eats cauliflower without white sauce with generous lashings of parmesan cheese ( I make special trips to Melbourne to get Parmesan cheese and many other Italian things). Anyway sometimes you simply do not feel like making the white sauce- but I have found a quick easy and yummy method- steam the cauliflower in the microwave, or however else you steam it. Mix in a bowl half a cup of sour cream with half a cup of milk and half a cup grated parmesan cheese. Place the cauliflower in a shallow casserole dish and dribble the sour cream mixture over and sprinkle with more grated parmesan some breadcrumbs and some dollops of butter and loads of freshly cracked black pepper.It got the thumbs up at this house anyway!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Then back into town to pick up the Bernina that Bernina is lending me as I will be demonstrating on the Aurora at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair on 27-30 July. Unfortunately they had already allocated all their machines for this year, but i am hoping that maybe I will get one next year or be able to roganise one for France.
Then got home to find ourselves locked out and the spare key we hide is no longer hiding where it is supposed to. So we had to break into our own house via a small louvered window in the laundry - that was covered in spider webs) and the littlest kid had to go through it and she is arachnaphobic- hope she does not have nightmares about it!
I have been following the latest happenings in Palestine via Um Kahlil's Blog and the news links she has there- I can only shake my head and wonder why we have become so immune to suffering that the IDF are continuing to do what they are without constraint or criticism of the international community. I know the whole problem is far from simple - however this is surely one instance where the retaliation and its toll are inhuman. And the palestinian toll since 1948 in human lives has always been greater, let alone loss of land, houses and livelihoods. As i said before i was shocked when I went to israel and ramallah and saw the difference in living standards and amenities- even in east Jerusalem- where one side of the road was israeli and the roads were clean and neat and tarmaced and across the road which was Palestinian and where the roads were dirt/potholed and rubbish wasn't collected- despite the fact that the same amount of rates was paid. Not only that, the wall continues the be built despite an international court ruling that it is illegal- if everyone were to flaunt the law in this way then what is to happen? And lastly but not leastly there is no excuse for the death of any children- no earthly reason that can justify a childs death when they are at home sitting down to a meal or going to the beach.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
And after I got home decided to do another little watercolour- just to get the feel for the layering you need to do in watercolour- this was from a photo I took in Egypt of some of the ironwork on a mosque door- the whole door was stunning- but the details were lovely- they grey is too grey and not the burnished copper colour -it was much more greenish- almost that soft grey green lichen colour- and it looked so beautiful with the wonderful almost mahogany colour of the door. Obviously I have a long way to go!
And last night was the first episode of the new Doctor Who- this was a series that I watched avidly as a child/teenager/and religiously as a uni student- the doctor has gone through many incarnations including John Pertwee and Tom Baker ( whose scarf I liked a lot) and now the guy from the last Harry Potter film ( name totally escapes me.....yew its age)- and he's got the thumbs up- his had that mischievous edge of the Tom Baker Doctor Who- so I will be watching more of these. I wish we could send the tardus to palestine to sort things out and stop that wall!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Thank you Felicity, Omega, Claire and Linda for the suggested inspirational blogs. Some of them I know, some I had forgotten about and some were new! I went and looked at each and every one! I have been spennding too much time on the net but did want to share some journal like website pages. One is Teesha Moore's journal pages- they are bright and fun and the other is Carnets de Voyage from a french site- if you click on each page more pages come up. I did try and google many of the artists but unfortunately there were not many other things about any of the artists.
And today i worked in my moleskin journal- even did a water colour ( I have never done water colour before- though I have had one of those little water colour travel kits for ages) - it was the scariness of putting on the colour. I don't know why either Felicity- but in the last week I have been making a concerted effort to use colour and must admit daily it's getting a bit better and even a bit freer- not so daunting. And like you colour is really important in my textile creating and the control of colour ( or lack thereof ggg) is why I dye fabric- so it does seem strange
to be so reticent in using it in a journal. I even go so far as to write suggested colours on a line drawing- but not adding the colour. Don't ask me why I decided to paint dried fish.....
And i did a quick scoot around the winter garden in between the drizzle that fell all day- I thought our tree ferns had died but I found the beautiful little unfurling frond today. I love neatly stacked piles of wood- we don't have an indoor combustion stove so often one summer nights ( when there is no fire danger) we burn a fire outside- hence the wood- and sit out there.
Friday, July 07, 2006
The first drawing is some of the quilting lines/motifs I teach in machine quilting . The second set of drawings is a page form the book Creative Drawing: Point and Line by Ernst Rottger and Dieter Klante ( 1963) Van Nostrand Reinhold which I picked up in an Oxfam shop in England last year ( I love searching for second hand books in England- you always find a treasure). The book is directed at children/secondary students and has a series of exercises using simply line and points or dots in order to create visual interest and texture- there are some wonderful things for quilters to explore in this little book!
I am always intrigued that quilters want their stitches to be really even and everything as neat as a pin- whereas for me much greater interest comes from seeing the artists individual quirks and meanderings with line- slightly jagged edges- what is the problem ? It really does add visual texture and lends to the individuality of the finished work I mean you don't expect pencil artists to each draw in the same way- if all drawings were alike you would quickly lose interest. I really do use my machine as a pencil, and in all reality think of it as a pencil. That the side effect of stitching is texture is a real bonus!
Ok now a question- what are your 5 most inspirational non-quilting blogs? I have been trawling the net and have stumbled across a few-but what i do see a lot on quilting blog is links to other quilting blogs- is there other artists/ arts that inspire you?
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Today i splurged and bought "Matisse, The Master" by Hilary Spurling after Omega's comments on her blog. I love a good biography and when it is about one of your favourite artists well then you just have to be annnoyed that there is no Amazon Australia and you have to wait two weeks. I will be interested to see if she touches on the influence of tifaifai on Matisse's cut out work of the last years- I have only ever seen mention of it once in all the things i have read of Matisse and then it was a passing comment- but as i am deeply interested in tifaifai and indeed feel my work is much influenced by it ,the connections in Matisse's work is obvious. Also in a catalogue I have ( and am sorry can't name because it is packed away in anticipation of the shed) there is mention of the fact that a friend in Tahiti gave Matisse a tifaifai when he was in Tahiti and that he afterwards wrote to her and asked for another. I think I can see obvious links in the linen printed cloths he did for Ascher & co and in the later work although undoubtedly with his own independent spirit.
And i pray for Palestine every night, the silence really is deafening- I have a friend in Ramallah who has boys almost the same age as my girls- and i fret whether her boys will ever get to do what my girls get to do.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I have been too excited today to do much work- we may be going to live in France next year for at least 6 months, possibly a year- the place has enough space for me to teach workshops if i want and to hold an exhibition, and I have been there before so know what it holds. There is still a lot of discussing to do- but keep your fingers crossed for me. Australia is a great place- but the arts are really on the bottom rung of anything here - king sport rules all- and textiles ranks even lower. After my very happy experience at Centre European du Patchwork in Narbonne, I feel I need to go and do this to at least try something else because I don't earn enough for us to survive here. Plus, whilst the place we are going to ,is considered isolated- it is nothing compared to the southern end of the world and three hours from Melbourne. We will be three hours from Paris! ,and half an hour from one of the great wine and gourmet regions ( yes I do like food- a lot!) and I like the exclamation mark in the lower case
Monday, July 03, 2006
OK I am not going to tell you exactly what it is, but Emmy is most right- it is about lace but also drawing.
Well after a month of dirth and feeling totally inadequate at being unable to do any positive thing about the Palestinian situation apart from signing the petition to the UN who seem to be deafeningly silent as are many others out of the sky yesterday fell two things/two concepts with which i think I can work and fill my time for quite sometime to come.One is quite arty farty and will need to be properly "conceptualised", the other is close to my heart and is simply tumbling out. The cross stitched panel is a prototype.The colour is not quite true- believe it or not it is actually richer in the flesh and the uneveness of my stitching has actually created a pleasing texture ( well for me anyway) It is not that the concepts have not been there before, I had just not really had that aha moment with them.After feeling so low for weeks to suddenly just have this arrive all in a rush is one of the strange quirks of creating- and I suppose is a thumbs up for the notion to just keep going through the motions, even if it is uninspired- just keep doing, even if it is only writing in a journal, ideas somehow do take on a life of their own- and when they arrive come pushing and shoving to be expressed.
And of course some of the materials I need, have been packed away in anticipation of the move to the shed/studio- which is suffering yet another delay. I bought some cotton crochet thread in the little markets that most Dutch towns still seem to have once a week- it has gloss and is mercerised so dyes just beautifully- I know I have another 4 skeins of it somewhere- but exactly where???Arggh I need it yesterday!
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I have been working on an A3 piece today to do with cross stitches. I have done the machine stitching but am still deciding as to what colour thread I will do the hand stitching in. I am working it on lutradur which allows me to pull quite big thread through .And as I look at the photo i think I like th eorange thread better.
I also wanted to share some photos of Palestinian women who quilt. Jenny Bowker went to Ramallah a couple of years ago to teach a group of women the basics of patchwork and quilting and you can see photos of this on jenny's website- which i have linked. When I went to Ramallah I had asked to meet with the group of women to see how they had continued on with their patchwork and asked them to bring some work for me to see. As you can see they have put their skills ot good use , making cot quilts, table runners and childrens quilts. They told me they liked making the things to decorate their houses and to make individual quilts for their children.
When I go back to Ramallah I hope to work with these women and some new ones in order to further their skills and hopefully teach them free machining. One of my challenges for the next few months is to find 4 good machines that will free machine which I can leave with the women to use for the future. My aim is to get 4 good machines that will free machine happily and possibly also have some other decorative stitches.So any bright ideas will be appreciated! At the moment these women only have access to 3 machines in the In'ash Al Usra Centre which has to be shared amongst a large group of women. Jenny told me when she taught there a few years ago they had 3 machines plus one she had taken with her- and that the women worked in groups of four- one ironed, one cut, one stacked and the other sewed and they took it in turns in order to learn each skill- now that is teamwork!
I was bemused that one woman had made a Sun Bonnet Sue quilt.Who would have thought that women in the Middle East would find Sun Bonnets appealing?