Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Painting Fabric

Yesterday I went to Laura Liebenberg's atelier and Annette Jeukens ,Laura and I had a play day. We made hand made paper in all sorts of colours and then also painted some fabric with Laura's paints ( see the link under Trapsuutjies- blogger won't allow me to make a live link and Annette also has a blog- again see the link column) Laura also has pearlescent inks now ,which are terrifc on dark colours. I couldn't bring both pieces I painted home as one was too wet, but the one pictured will get a lot of handstitching at some stage- it is again an exploration on cross stitching.I had to come home earlier than I wanted as the files( traffic jams) and the Antwerp ring around five are not fun!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reporting In

I have finally found a small amount of time to report in. It has been hectic, and I have been trying to find an airfare back home ( somehow I mucked up my frequent flyer returns last year) which has been a little difficult as it meant I was returning from europe instea dof Australia, and airfares from here have hit stratospshere highs no doubt caused by the rugby world cup and the Australian penchant for all things sport!

However Ste Marie aux Mines was as always fun if tiring- a full teaching schedule plus friends to catch up with. I had a rather bad experience getting to Europe- lots of excess luggage costs etc etc- however the first day in France was topped off by a prize in the Councours this year "A Garden Passionately"- my quilt "The View from my Studio"or whatever I called it won a new machine from Husqvarna- the quilts in this exhibition were very good so I was really surpised and thrilled to win a prize.However now I have the dilemna- keep the machine here in Europe or sell it- I think the second option is winning at the moment- so if anyone is interested in a brand new machine in Europe.....

Then I taught in Belgium this last weekend for a group where I have taught before. the good thing about return teaching is you get to know the people you are working with and they get to know you- and they really did some wonderful things last weekend.
Plus Therese Keppens the organiser, organised for me to see several lace related things- and I am back in love with lace. We went to the Carolus Borromeus Church in Antwerp and their lace room- seriously if you are ever in Antwerp on a Wednesday see the lace room- seventeenth century- stunnning stunning lace- to die for gorgeous stuff and because it is all seventeetnh century you can see how lace evolved in that century.Then onto the Mode Museum in Antwerp and some private viewings of Binche and Valenciennes lace and the curator giving so much of her time and so much information- it was wonderful to be in the presence of people so passionate about lace with such incredible knowledge.So the first photo is of the church and the second is of lace worked in metal thread from the eighteenth century- little survives because the metal corroded away-but isn't it fantastic?( and yes it's upside down) This piece was from the Mode Museum who are updating their website.

I am going to be in Italy after 9 Octber- so if anyone in Italy would like a class- contact me- long story as to why I will be there- it's for another time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Bower Birds Dance Hall


I really haven't time to blog today but we found a Satin Bower birds bower today in the undergrowth on our nature strip. The satin bower bird male is a deep blue black satin colour and has violet eyes. Only the mating male turns this colour - all the immature and non mating males and females look the same- they are khaki and brown sort of banded. They are a reasonably big bird being slightly smaller than a crow. The male builds the bower in order to perform his mating dance and strews the surrounds with all things blue- to make the place more enticing.They are also a nuisance particularly as this is not their normal habitat- they are normally forest birds but because of the logging they have come into the valley- I doubt that they will leave when the logging stops. They are voracious eaters and will hollow out a carrot in the ground.

I have dyed fabric today- the fabric i ordered recently (4 bolts) must have contained two bolts of a different cotton ( and it feels a slightly different weight)- it has dyed nowhere near as nicely as the first two bolts. Now it has to be washed and then ironed.It will be a late night. Then there is all the packing to do- just as well I don't leave until late tomorrow- though I have to get to my fathers by mid afternoon. Packing clothes is no big deal- two pairs of jeans, 4 t-shirts, a jumper and jacket I will wear. I hate travelling with too many clothes- waste of space and if I need anything I can always buy it.

I will try and blog if I can, but being able to load photos is always a hassle. I will be back Ocotber sometime- when I book my ticket back- because of the Rugby world cup in France this is proving more expensive and difficult than anticipated.
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Talk/Lecture


I have been working on my lecture- the powerpoint is done and the notes are written- just needs a nights' sleep before I do the final edit and send it for translation. I ended up with 100 slides in the presentation- some I can work /talk through fast as they show progressions form inspiration to interpretation, some not so fast as so much of my work contains stories thatare inspired byt the original textiles or traditions assocaited with textiles. But the thought that struck me was that maybe I should make a cd of the presentation with the text as appendix and sell it? Would you buy it if you had been to a lecture and someone was selling a cd of their talk?( Given off course that I might not inspire a single soul- but that's my risk)

I don't think I have ever shown an image of this quilt before which is called "At Our House Under the Stars the Tree Spirits Dwell". It is actually pieced which is a bit unusual for me :-) and is the basis of a workshop I teach called Breaking All the Rules. I am absolutely useless at making anything meet- well i can but it is a stressful experience so I would rather not go there- so this is about making nothing meet and seeing whether you can still get geometric effect.It is also inspired by the Adinkra cloths of West Africa where geometry is loose and bends all the rules but the effect certainly appeals to me- but this one is about our own story.My middle daughter drew the tree spitrits when she was four- we always used to knock on trees and ask "Is anyone home?"- it was surprising how many things are at home in a tree!
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Friday, September 07, 2007

Coppery Evening Light


These trees are up the back of our property and when the sun sets- there is a short moment when they glow all coppery. The colours are wonderful but it is only fleeting. I have worked all day but have nothing to show for it.I think I will get it all done if I abandon doing a few things, but it will be hectic as always.

I have decided dh can have the shed seeing he has invaded it- it was to be my studio where I could teach and even hang some of my work- but I haven't the energy to fight for the space after the last year (which has been a year I would rather forget- too much pain and hurt and too many losses and deaths and major illnesses and surgeries for parents and partners)- so I will have to think of something else- hopefully something will strike me when I am overseas.Something fresh and new- perhaps the solution is to find a studio space away from home so that it can't be invaded- but unfortunately Colac does not appeal to me, and there is very little else. I still would like to live in France but unfortunately my children don't want to go which means I have to stay here at least some of the time, and keep doing what I have been for the time being which is pretty exhausting. I am taking so many things with me for workshops that I really should have some of my supplies over there- ready to go- fortunately the suppliers I use in Europe have been very helpful in getting stuff to places I need it ( thanks Trapsuutjies and Dreamline!)- but it all takes a lot of organising. Sometimes I think I should set up an Art Van Go style thing on the continent- but I don't really want to be a mobile shop keeper.

I love making, creating, and I love to teach- but I teach in blocks so that I have time to create, I couldn't teach every weekend. Teaching takes a lot of energy, not only in what you deliver but also in how you deliver yourself- you need to be calm,helpful, and hopefully inspiring- and inspiration levels differ form day to day- but when you teach this is what you have to deliver- you have to work out the energy levels of your students, work out who needs to be helped, who will fly, who will struggle and yet hopefully offer something for everyone.Personally I would love to teach many more 5 day classes where you have a chance to get to know your students better and learn what risks they are prepared to take so that you can actually be more useful in providing triggers and inspirations- one day workshops barely allow you to remember half a dozen names- really when I think about it, unless it is a specific technique ( and I do teach some of those) one day workshops are about skimming the surface.
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Not Getting as Much Done as I Would Like



Ackkk- I had hoped to be much further along in the quilting of my rocks piece- but other things intervened. I did dye about 25 metres of fabric but I will have to wash it tomorrow, ran out of time- and then I have some more to dye. I did do some quilting but not enough. There is always so much to do before I go away- like go to town and stock up the freezer and make sure that the kids school lunches are covered for the next two weeks. Have to cook some lasagna's before I go and a few other things too.IN fact I am always so frantic that getting onto that plane is like a big sigh and rest. There is nothing to do for 24 hours.

Today a book I ordered "Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra " came in the post- it is much too late now for me to work on my Syrian journal project- it will have to wait until I get back. The sellers said it was published in 1890- but I can't find a date anywhere in the book,, though the frontice piece is very charming and there are some old photos of Palmyra. It will be good to have it there when I get back .
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Big Rocks Little Rocks


I have been stitching on the rock quilt- I always love the way stitching changes the surface. I worry that doing very little pieceing or appliqueing is in a way cheating ( though the dyeing takes some doing and planning), but then when the stitching goes in I lose that concern- because it really adds so much interest to the surface. And I finally have my machine back from its service and it is running very smoothly- though the working conditions are far from ideal- work table much too high.

It takes up quite a lot of my day having Celeste here doing work experience- although she made a very nice party dress today- that she mostly designed herself with a bit of help from me. Black and with tulle- I am trying to convince her to make a "lace" wrap, but she is not convinced or to make a embellished belt.

Not long to go until I go overseas- and panic has set in- I will get the Rocks quilt done without any problems but there is still a lot of other things to do- like write up my talk- though I have nutted out largely what I want to do- still it has to be written up. And I did want to make some more postcards with pomegranates- the pomegranates ar eprinted- but they still have to be sewn.
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Work Experience




My eldest daughter Celeste is on work experience this week but unfortunately she could not find her preferred experience locally ( drafting or architecture- which is a bit sad really- that local people won't support young people more) so I agreed to let her do the experience with me on the proviso that she really made some things. She decided she would rather do clothing-so I said ok but it needed to include some screen printing ( gocco or thermafax) and some art to wear. The photos are the little screen she made to print on t-shirts and the resulting printed t-shirt. She is chuffed and I think she did a great job!
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Sunday, September 02, 2007

More rocks

I have been doing some more silk dyeing because what I had in mind has been growing. Gerrie was quite right when she said the process of surface design is often ruled by the serendipity priniciple- which is half the fun- and that therefore it is difficult to surface design with something specific in mind. However that serendipity factor did in the end play a role. I had another go at the orange and black- but had a small piece of silk left from some other thing which had not worked out- so I decide to tie some rocks into it and put on the black dye. I really liked what happened to that piece and it suddenly changed rocks into strata of rocks- and so I tied and dyed the other top sil piece today as I could see it merging into blue. I think it now needs some vertical movement- which I may do with heavy stitching or with torn twined silk.

On Friday I had a delivery of threads from Downunderdale- I often use Victory machien embroidery threads from the Threadstudio in Perth- and always take some with me when teaching due to the fact that Europe does not have the most brilliant selection of threads- or not that I have found. I know there is a wonderful silk place in Paris but I have lost the address. But I also ordered one of the Khadi journals. Khadi is hand made paper form the south of India and is made from recycled cotton rag. I am not sure what it is but i really like working with it- you can also sew on it quite happily- another plus.

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