Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back in Gellibrand

Exhausted but back in Gellibrand. My plane arrived at 2am last night- it was 3 before I cleared customs. Passports quizzed me as to why I was so frequently out of the country -I felt like saying perhaps there isn't sufficient work but didn't. Mooched around the airport until about 10 am to catch the bus to be picked up. There were some other people there in the same dilemna- except they were first time tourists to the country- with no hotels available in Melbourne because of the Grand Prix- so a few of us gave them some ideas for alternatives- but not necessarily the best first impression- stuck in an airport at 3 am wondering where to go??? Actually airports as a general rule are a rather horrid first impression of a country- all that queueing to get off the plane, for passports, for baggage, for customs control.

The photos is one I took of the workshop we did in The Hague last weekend. We did Tifaifai- and though we worked small most of the people managed to finish a top and some did iron on ,their negative cut-out. And most tried to create their own design- it always surprises everyone how lovely they come out despite cries of "I can't draw!"

Tomorrow it is work work work- no more slacking!!! My uncle is in rehabilitation now and closer to home- anxious to do as much work to gain mobility- I had not dared hope for such an outcome when I left. My aunt has been such a terrific support for my uncle- visiting him twice sometimes three times a day- exhausting, but I am sure it has helped in his recovery process.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Play day

A lot to tell! I met up with Marion Barnett to work on our Lovely Lutradur book which now has a time line if not a publisher at the moment. We want to add lots of visual delight to feast the eyes ,so self publishing will prove too expensive- though we will make a cd. However we did have time to visit the Centre Pompidou . What a delight to find an El Anatsui piece from his Detritus series on display! What a wonder- and it makes you wonder how did he think of that ? and then delight in his cultural heritage in his art making. Then a seriously wonderful sculpture by Nikki de Saint-Phalle of a bride which was deliciously eccentric as are many of her garden and fountain sculptures.I first encountered her work when I did my studio residency at Chateau de Chassy and the township of Chateau-Chinon was graced with a Nikki de Saint-Phalle fountain. And another delight for me - some Simon Hantai pieces whose work appeals to me for its tifaifai like quality, although visually it is quite different- it is more about the process.
Then next day was a more sobre experience delighting in some of the gothic details of the Cathedrale of Beauvais- the leadlight windows casting a wonderful colourful veil over the wall decorations of one of the votives/chapelettes.
And yesterday i spent the day with Laura and Annette- and we had a lot of fun playing ( again...). The Trapsuutjies paints Laura sells are so versatile- no wonder I am always dragging more pots of it home! Laura has an Dutch, English and French booklet on various techniques on her website, including the technique I used in my previous blog post.And of course you can purchase the paints via her website as well.Some of what we did yesterday you can see in the top photograph.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Afternoon Play- Suffer Sandy!

Yesterday I drove to Tilburg to pick up some materials for my class later this week in France. I always like calling past Zijdelings, to see what new surface design materials Karina has and what new books. As I got some money for my birthday , it was impossible to leave behind Linda and Laura Kemshall's new book The Painted Quilt.Apart from describing different painterly techniques for design on cloth the book is a wonderful visual dance of the interesting and original work both Kemshall's make.

On the way back to the hospital in Terneuzen to see my uncle I stopped by Laura Liebenburg to indulge in some fabric painting with Laura and Annette Jeukens. I somehow couldn't find much inspiration but it is always good to get together with Laura and Annette,and see what they have been up to.We decided to get together again next week and see if Annette and I could find our misplaced inspiration, though sometimes simply doing helps you to find it. They also showed me a lovely felting book by Irene van der Wolf, who does really wonderful imaginative things with felt- Annette is going to sell me her copy as she can more easily get another.

Then there is an exhibition in Bruxelles entilted From Gilgamesh to Zenobia- which is an absolute must to get to next week, and I am hoping they may have a catalogue.I am hoping it will deliver some inspiration for pieces tht I need for later this year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spring Weather

Spring is in the air, and even the birds are being ebullient in their spring cheer. My uncle is recovering at a remarkable rate- it has been like watching a small miracle unfold- from a person who was given very little chance of surviving, and then if he did ,unlikely to talk or walk or ever eat normally again ( the prognosis of the week before last)- it has been incredible to watch him talk, walk and eat normal meals again in a space of 6 days. One of his Parkinson medicines was also causing considerable side effects- my aunt and I have been insistent that it was the medicine and not the Parkinsons which was the cause of very debilitating hallucinations ( though last week the neurologist insisted it was caused by the Parkinsons)- and hallelujah- finally today a small concession- they believe we may be right about the medicine! It has been a considerably more happy trip than I had dared hope.

I went and visited an acquaintance in Turnhout who had invited me to be a guest exhibitor at a small exhibition they are having ,in a delightfully restored rectory in Old Turnhout in October this year.It is a thrill to be invited and I will pass on more information when I have it. She also took me to a wool factory just outside of Turnhout- so I shall have to get out the knitting needles again- it was too dangerous to leave some of those lovely wools there!

And of course I leave you with some very Dutch images- The Schelde river mudflats with pretty rippling patterns, part of my ancestral heritage( though the other side of the river), a small country lane with the trees still bare ( this is so different to the Australian landscape) and of course a windmill which is not far from here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hand Dyes and Adieu

I have spent the last couple of days hand dyeing fabric and ironing it, to take to Europe with me.I even managed to get it done the day before I leave. Usually this job is a last minute panic rush job. So yesterday afternoon the girls and Iwent blueberry picking and put a lot in the freezer. I decided to abandon any ideas of making a quilt or sewing. I need the calm before arriving in Holland and finding out how things are with my uncle and aunt.

The classes in France are also full now- though watch this space as there may be a small chance we will do something near Lyon later in february. Sometimes it would just be easier if I lived there, but unfortunately my children don't want to.

I will try and blog whilst I am away.
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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Last Minute Preparation

I tied this piece of silk a couple fo days ago, trying to get sea colours. Whilst I like the way it turned out I am not completely sure it is as i wanted it. That's the beauty of dyeing - you never know quite what you are going to get. I am sure I will be able to think of something to do with it.

I leave onMonday.


February 9.
The workshop in Belgium will now be cancelled.
February 15/16. ( Friday and Saturday) This workshop will now take place at Gretz on the East side of Paris.It is accessible by RER and will be held at a private house ( and therefore there is limited space- 10 students only). The cost will be 90 euros for both days. ( only 2 places left)

We will make a number of small pieces interpreting one source of inspiration- for example a flower, or favourite photo of a window/doorway, anything you fid interesting ( the source of inspiration should be simple and not too complex)- and then look at different ways to interpret that source of inspiration, looking at positive/negative balance in your design- the effect of stitch to the overall design, the effect of changing colours.The idea is to give you some design tools for use in future work.

February 24. Tifaifai at the Quilters Palet in the Hague. Is now Full

If you are interested in any of the workshops please contact me.
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