Thursday, January 31, 2008

Count Down

It is back to school here for the teenagers- with all the teenage angst that goes with it. I can't believe how expensive school shoes are and then they all "have to have" t-bars which are the most expensive- ridiculously expensive and which actually have cardboard in the soles- so one incident of getting wet and the shoes warp. But yep every girl has to have these and parents get harassed to get them.

So not much getting done on the work front.


NETHERLANDS:I have organised a workshop in the Netherlands at the Quilters Palette in The Hague on Sunday 24 February 2008.

the description in Dutch is ( the english version is on my Seriously Textile Blog) :


Door Dijanne Cevaal.

Dijanne is een (in Nederland geboren) Textiel/Quilt Kunstenares die sinds haar 10e in de Otway Ranges van Victoria Australië woont. , Ze creëert, onderwijst, schrijft en maakt originele (Quilt) Art. Ook verft ze haar eigen stoffen. Ze heeft diverse internationale Quilttentoonstellingen gecureerd waaronder een prachtige tentoonstelling in Panorama Mesdag in 2006.

Wij zijn dan ook erg blij dat Dijanne speciaal voor het QuiltersPalet tijd heeft gevonden in haar drukke schema om een workshop Tifaifai te geven. Deze techniek is door Dijanne ook beschreven in haar boek Tifaifai Renaissance, gepubliceerd door Pride Publishing.

Bij deze workshop ga je aan de slag met technieken die terug te vinden zijn in de prachtige Polynesische quilts. (ook bekend als Tahitiaans (echo) applicatiewerk) Wij zullen daarbij echter gebruik maken van moderne, hedendaagse inspiratiebronnen. Deelnemers kunnen hun Quilt maken aan de hand de door Dijanne meegebrachte ontwerpen maar zij zal ook laten zien hoe simpel het is om een eigen ontwerp te tekenen en uit te voeren. De keus is aan jou!

De ontwerpen zullen simpel en niet al te groot zijn. Zij kunnen een opzichzelfstaande kleine Quilt vormen. Maar kunnen eventueel ook gebruikt worden als blokken waaruit je een grotere Quilt kunt samenstellen.

Er zal gebruik worden gemaakt van een eenvoudig, uit 2 kleuren bestaand, palet met eventueel een 3e kleur als highlight of contrast. Het doel is een Quilt te maken die er echt “uitspringt”.

Level: voor iedereen die ervaring heeft op de naaimachine.

Uiteraard moet je zorgen dat je naaimachine op de dag van de workshop in topconditie is.

FRANCE: It also looks as if we have managed to get a space for a workshop just outside of Paris at Crecy-la-Chapelle. There is a patchwork atelier and the space is available for use on the16-17 February 2008.

BELGIUM; There is a possibility- just maybe to do a one day workshop in Belgium on 9 February

If you are interested in any of these workshops please email me and I will send you further information.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Red and a Doleful Zenobia

I have been dyeing red red fabric- somehow good reds with a lot of depth of colour have eluded me this past year- not sure why, perhaps our water has more chlorine in it than normal, which would not be surprising given the dry conditions until recently. All my hand dyed fabrics are for sale if anyone is interested ( $35 US for a metre inclusive of postage).
I have also made up some Zenobia dolls ready for hand stitching- what i thought was a reasonably happy face looks rather doleful to me- of course she will change with stitching and headdress- so we'll see.

I am flying to Europe on the 4th of February to be with my aunt ( well she is more like a sister- our age difference is not so great) as my uncle's condition is all downhill. I am forever grateful that we went to Italy last year and that we had a week of sushine. Some of you who know how I struggle to earn a living from my textile arts might think this a bit extravagant- but my aunt and uncle have been the best support over the seven years I have been going to Europe- and they- of all my family have best understood my need to create and teach. They have always stood ready to provide me with a bed ( and my children too when they have travelled with me), a wonderful cooked meal when I came home from teaching for a day, and Ed would unload the car for me,leant me their car when I needed it and their ear , and they have helped make it possible for me to get to the point where I am now- they are my unofficial patrons and I am totally grateful.

I have worked hard the last few days packing up Across Australia and returning the quilts to their owners before I go. I had hoped to tour it some more, but it takes energy and time to make the arrangements and with my exhibition in Munich looming in August I have plenty to keep me occupied.I am going to Melbourne later today to return the Melburnian Across quilts and catch up with friends . I had to take a large suitcase into the post office full of parcels yesterday.

If anyone is interested in a workshop for a day in Holland or Belgium or even France during February let me know-.Or if anyone is interested in my bringing hand dyed fabric let me know- my suitcase going over will be pretty empty.It all helps defray the cost of the airfare.
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zenobia dolls

Shirley asked about some of my process in making a lino-cut, so I thought I would share. As you all know I am having an exhibition later this year in Munich and I wanted the subject matter to include some of the things, images, feelings I encountered in Syria last year. The exhibition has the working title Carvanserai- which allows me scope, suggests the silk road, and other kinds of exotic rich experiences. I realise this is a rather romanticised image that I have built in my mind so I am researching to keep on track. One of the wonderful sights in Syria was a visit to Palmyra and the wonderful avenue built during during the time of Odainathus and Zenobia his queen widow, who was famed in the known world for her beauty, her astuteness in things military, her bravery, her knowledge ( she spoke 5 languages apparently) and her philosophical insights. I have read a number of things abot Zenobia and have been trying to find images of statues of her. The closest I can come is that the first two images on this post - they may or may not be Zenobia ( and the first statue I saw in the museum in Damascus). I also saw another two images which was part of an electronic text archive which are copyrighted. Scroll through the article and you will find two images of heads that were found on a dig in the nineteenth century.

The first image on my blog, suggests someone less roman or greek, whilst the second image suggests much more classical structure ( and fine greek craftsmen were employed in the city). The two images on the linked article also suggest a more classical allusion however the first image has a headress which I find interesting. So then I drew what I found most interesting in all of these images. I transferred the drawing to the lino by simply drawing onto the lino. If the pattern were more formal i would probably transfer by tracing , but with this image I drew because I want the image to be mine, and you seem to refine and perhaps stylise with each time you draw. I then cut the lino- creating pattern and texture on the robe. and printed fabric with the image. The cut lines on the lino are quite fine- and indeed one bit has already been damaged ( which I will have to glue back) so these will be a limited edition doll. Some of the headress detail I liked in the linked article will come from beading and applied fabric. I know I have played with this kind of doll before but they turned out very masculine. I am hoping this doll will look much more feminine. So today I will sew some up and see hwat happens.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Published in French!

This came in the post today! It's my 72 Ways book in French.It looks good with the coloured squares alongside the black and white squares and the directional drawings as well- it fills the page nicely! So thank you to Les Editions de Saxe for publishing it. Until they publish it in English I have the rights to keep selling my English version as I have been.And it would actually make an interesting coverlet as per the styling on the cover. It least it neats the pink and green quilt that I had to make for the cover of my last book-Tifaifai Renaissance which is now out of print. I have never been able to look at those cover quilts since.

I also won Belinda Schneider's naming of her dolls on her Bel's Nook and I found a four leaved clover. Maybe it all portends well eventually.
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Pomegranate Cards

The top three photos are pomegranates I printed onto silk with Trapsuutjies Textile paint. The colour of the thread plays a big role in how these cards will eventually look. The bottom photo is a journal cover I made for a Mojo journal I bought in London a few years ago.It is free machine embroidery lace couched onto yellow fabric.

I am finding it hard to get motivated at the moment- I hate it when I fee like this as I really need to be doing so much.

And I should have put this on my blog earlier, but for any Australian quilt artist out there ( or New Zealand or South African ones) I am the Australian co-ordinator for a travelling quilt project, that will travel to New Zealand , South Africa and Australia and elsehwere. Anne Scott form New Zealand quilter is the Kiwi co-ordinator and organiser and Jeanette Botha is the South African co-ordinator.

Here is the information- if yo are interested in registering your interest simply email me:

The theme is "My Place".

· There will be 30 works from each country and
these will be selected from entries received.

· Finished entries are due 15 July 2008.

· Entries must be 50 cm square (finished). They
may be any kind of fibre art. The size has been chosen so the quilts
can be stacked for ease of international freight.

· Each artist should provide a photograph of
themselves, a 75-word statement that describes the inspiration for
their piece and a release allowing the piece to be photographed and
shown at various venues around the world.

· The travelling exhibition will premier at the
South African National Quilt Festival 2008 before touring venues in
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand - and possibly elsewhere for
at least 2 years. The quilts will be displayed at Taia Textile
Gallery, Wellington during Symposium 2009.

· Each piece should be sturdy enough to be stacked
and freighted. repeatedly. Pieces with significant three-dimensional
features, pieces that require special hanging apparatus, or pieces
that are delicate and require special handling are not suitable for
this exhibit.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Expressive Quilts

I have not done a stitch for over a week now and I really need to work on another coral variation for an article I am writing for the Dutch Quilters Guild magazine. I wanted to share the original inspiration for the Coral Variations. This tiny piece of something ( I think it is coral but I am not absolutely certain) was the inspiration. It measures about 1 cm across and I picked it up on the beach when we stayed at Turtle Beach in Queensland a couple of years ago. At one end of the beach was a rocky area which was a graveyard of broken shells and somehow I spotted this tiny fragment and picked it up. It was akin to finding a needle in a haystack. But it is also about looking- looking for possibilities, for form and lines that can be used as inspiration for work , to create something in another medium not as a faithful representation but as something that inspires a feeling . For me, this tiny fragment filled me with awe for its sheer beauty- so much contained within a tiny tiny fragment that once was life.

So why am I waxing philosphical? Yesterday as I was trawling the net i came upon an article Gwen Magee had put up on her Textile Resource blog ( which has all sorts of wonderful things on it). In a recent post she transcribed an article by Nancy Doyle entitled Getting Discouraged. These lines struck a particular chord:

The bottom line. I don't believe in the idea of talent - that we have it or we don't. Art is not measured only for its perfect design or flawless technique - the main objective in art is expression. If an artist has great skills, and has little to say, his art is not as valuable as someone with little facility and a great vision. Of course, the ideal might be to have both - but of the two, expression is the more essential ingredient. Expression is what is remembered centuries after the fact, whether it is Michelangelo or Van Gogh. So - this means that we are to be evaluated not by our aesthetic perfection, or our talent - but by what we have to express, and how well we express it. So, if we are criticized for weak design, or poor drawing, this is not necessarily a sign that we are not good artists. We should strive to be the best artists we can, in terms of formal elements, drawing, etc. - but the ultimate goal is our expression. We should not be as concerned with whether or not a work of art is "good," as whether or not it expresses something substantive and meaningful, for us and for others.

For me this Expression is the crux of the matter- it is what i try and teach especially in my Inspiration in Fabrication classes. Looking is part of expression , learning to look is part of the journey, part of the process. Without expression things can be nice, with expression they can transport you to another place, another way of seeing ,to some form of understanding. For example rough stitching seems to have become a bit of a rage at the moment- and especially in contemporary quilts much more hand stitching is apparent now to say 10 years ago- rough stitching seems to be the used to express some form of individuality. However for whatever reason, unbeknowst to me ( because it certainly doesn't form any part of my housekeeping routine ) I stitch rather neatly- I can vary the size but I can't stitch rough- I have tried but it always becomes neat- there is a regularity in the rhythm with which I stitch and I suspect that is a determinant in the neatness- so is my work any less expressive because of this neatness? I am isolating an element of part of what i do but it is also llustrative of the fact that single elements do not a whole make- you need many things to create expression- and creating expression to me is all about communicating a feeling.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hand Dyed Silk and More Sunset Forest Fabric

Sunset Forest #4
Sunset Forest #5
Sunset Forest #6
Wow- I can't believe it. All but Forest #9 ( green forest fabric) has been sold. It is like you are all single handedly willing me to get this house! Thank you so much for the buying tyhe fabric and books I hope the fabric lives up to your expectations!

I have been rock tying silk as I wanted to get quite a coloured piece of silk that I can hand quilt by accenting the tied bits somehow. I haven't yet worked out quite what or how I will stitch it, but I have a sudden need to get silk thread- can anyone suggest where I might get some white silk thread I can dye? But the fabric is seriously luscious even if I say so myself :-) I have also been using a blue colour from Kraftkolour called Ultramarine ( I normally use the mid blue of MXG blue) but I really like what the ultramarine does on silk. I also used it on some other forest fabrics which I will post in the next few days.
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunset Forest Fabric

Sunset Forest Fabric #5 SOLD

Sunset Forest Fabric #4 SOLD

Sunset Forest Fabric #3 SOLD

I dyed some more forest fabrics- these look like summer sunsets to me. They are for sale and measure about 1oocm x 110cm ( 39 inches square) and cost $35US inclusive of postage ( 24 Euros)

I feel a bit of a fraud at the moment- I haven't done anything substantial for days and days now- I just can't seem to get the mood. The most I am managing is dyeing some fabric and a desultory stitch or two in my Palmyra palms. I just can't seem to muster any enthusiasm and things aren't helped by the fact that my favourite uncle ( the aunt and uncle I always stay with when I go to Europe) is in intenstive care in Ghent with a massive deterioration of his Parkinsons disease. I wish I could be there to help my aunt. I am glad that we went for a holiday to Italy last year when he was still able to do such things and then went to see some of their Austrian friends on the way home. My now ex thought I was on a jaunt- but they have always been so kind to me and store my things for me ,that it seemed a small thing to do as I could not get a flight home in any case. We scored a week of sunny warm weather and could eat al fresco on restaraunt terraces, and the Adriatic sea was perfect and calm and he genuinely enjoyed himself.

I need to wake up with the spirit of enthusiasm and creativity bubbling tomorrow. I need to make somethings and lose myself in the process.

On an up note- I have just noticed- the kookaburras seem to have wrested the backyard back from the crows who seemed to have chased of so much bird life this last 6 months. Their cawing swooping shapes sending a kind of dread into the garden. I love kookaburras and am glad to see them back- I like their laughter and they keep an eagle eye on any poisonous serpents that want to make the backyard home.
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Forest Fabric For Sale

Forest Fabric #10 SOLD

Forest Fabric #9

Forest Fabric #8 SOLD

I was thrilled to sell the forest fabric I posted yesterday so quickly- Thank you! I have put up three more pieces, about 1 metre square and $35 US for the piece ( or 24 Euros) inclusive of postage.

I also got nominated by Shirley , Marion, and Sandra ( and you should go read Sandra's blog for her take on what it means to be an artists and be prepared to take belly laughs with you!)For Make My Day Award. Many thanks for this- it is good to know that people enjoy my blog! I will make some nominations tomorrow! I thought I might nominate bloggers that I had met throughthe internet- but I have to put the thinking cap on for that one!

I have done little sewing these past few days. We went looking at display homes this morning. It is a bit disheartening, as most of the homes that we like ,are a bit ,actually quite a bit outside of my budget. They are very modest homes indeed, but I do want to have a good kitchen as I enjoy cooking, which also means pantry space if at all possible. I will keep looking.The size issue is affected by the fact that i work from home- I need space to work, as there is nothing available outside my home to rent to work in . One of the down sides of living in a small country village.

I did buy some more lino to make some more lino-cuts for my exhibition later this year- hopefully I will get onto that tomorrow. And I will get up early and dye some more forest fabric as well, it gets too hot later in the day.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Hand Dyed Forest Fabric For Sale

Forest Fabric #14 SOLD

Forest Fabric #13 SOLD

Forest Fabric #12 SOLD

Forest Fabric #11 SOLD

I have bene dyeing Forest Fabric the last few days as a friend in France ordered some forest fabrics. I did a couple of different batches with slightly different colours. The fabrics are for sale . They measure 1oocm x 11 cm ( around 39 inches) and cost $35 US ( 24 Euros) inclusive of postage. Each fabric has a number underneath for identification.

I always love ironing these bits of fabric- each one is so different. This is the type of fabric I used in the View from My Studio quilt with which I won a prize at Val d'Argent last year.
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Coral Variation #23

I have finally finished another Coral Variation. This one is number 23 and is for sale. The price is $50US inclusive of postage. The background fabric has been hand painted and the lutradur has been transfer printed with a lino-cut.

The second piece is hand dyed silk. It has been tied with rocks and has had several colours applied to it. It is 12mm weight habutai- which is really lovely for hand quilting and machine quilting but is not transparent like the 8mm habutai that so many of the silk scarves are made from . I have used it in a number of quilts and it looks sensational when it is lit by gallery lights or down lights.The piece measures 45 inches ( 114cm) x 57 inches ((145 cm). It is for sale for $175US inclusive of postage. The reason I am selling this one is because it is not quite right for what I had in mind but it is a seriously lovely piece of fabric. Now that I look at it on the photo there is a real sense of depth i nthe piece.

And eek it is already day 8 of the new year, I had plans to make a small piece a day- so far the count is one. Oh well.
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Palms of Palmyra

Thank you for all your good wishes for the New Year!
It was so hot passing through Melbourne yesterday so that we did not stop at an art shop as intended, and I didn't buy lino to make a lino-cut of the lamp/recess.

However I have started hand quilting a piece I started awhile ago- before I went to Europe in September- my impression of palms and Palmyra and Syrian silks. Co-incidentally i found some drawings I did about five years ago in one of my journals of very stylised foliage from Assyrian carved reliefs. I wanted to combine those very stylised patterns with some of the palm patterns that were carved on the Roman ruins at Palmyra. I also used some silk in this piece which is modern woven silk using traditional patterns- I will show more images tomorrow.It is of course the worst time of year to be hand quilting with the temperatures soaring in high thirties and forties, celsius ( 100 plus in fahrenheit)- but I like to watch the tennis and hand stitching is something productive to do whilst watching the tennis.Alos the slowness of stitching byhand allows me to contemplate the next pieces I intend to do.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Away until the Weekend

I want to play with this image for anothe rlinocut.

I am away for a few days visiting my mother in Gembrook- won't get any sewing done- but somtimes it is nice to have a break.
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