Thursday, May 29, 2008

Home For One Day

Braidwood was busy and fun- I will report more next week, but the next week or two is a bit crazy.Tomorrow I am off to Sydney for one night to talk to Creative Safaris about doing textile/cultural tours ( so more on that next week I hope) and then I am off to Adelaide to teach dyeing and printing for four days for the South Australian Quilters' Guild. Then I got contacted by the project homes- they have to make an extra charge because I live in Gelliand- hrummfph!

I did finish one Pomegranate piece today and it is for sale for $60US inclusive of postage. But the best thing was when I went to pick up my mail at the Post office my album I had made with VioVio had arrived and I have posted two pages from the album. I am absolutely delighted with the result- the pages are 11 inches by 14 inches and the images ( apart from photographer error) have all come out great- colour is good and the quality of the paper is good. I will definitely use this service again if I can work out how to minimise the cost of postage! And so far it makes a lovely record of my work for Carvanserai!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Working on the Village Scene

I have been thinking about the village scene on and of since I posted photos of it recently. I have very few ufo's genrally working out a solution to resolve an issue. I did paint another scene but it did bother me to put this one aside and not finish it- besides I need th epins in order to pin my next quilt. So I neded up requilting I had done with the silver metallic thread and a 35 weight Valdani thread in ecry variations. It's come up enough for me to be reasonably happy with it- if there are good gallery lights the silver thread will throw of a bit of sparkle if not the heavier weight thread will show up even at a distance- it's almost a negative image when you see it in the flesh- and this is not quite so obvious in the photo.

And another arghhhh moment- my hard drive on my computer got fried- we think it was a virus and we could rescue nothing. Fortunately I did have a back up hard drive but I had not backed up since late January- so basically four months of images and other work down the drain and I have to get another hard drive. Can't afford to get another computer at this time.My anti virus ware was right up to date as well!

I have signed a acceptance of quote to build a house. But some trees have to be pulled out- anyone want to come and help???? Not quite sure how I am going to do this as I am away from tomorrow for 5 days teaching at Town Stay in Braidwood, NSW. There are still places for Monday and Tuesday of anyone is interested. I rarely teach in NSW or Canberra. We will be doing Tifaifai but I have decided to also include Breaking all the Rules as the fabric supply requirements are the same and I will be bringing some of my hand dyed fabrics. And it is fun to see how differently things come out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More teapots and a Surprise

Teapots For Sale US $60 inclusive of postage
It was a bits and pieces sort of day- little bits of work done here and there and some admin. I did jazz up the pomegranates in my pomegranate tifaifai. I used Trapsuutjies cover all paint- which when dry has a chalky kind of finish. The seeds will be stitched around but it added another dimension to the quilt top. I feel happier with it now. I also made another teapot- I am trying to really get as many done as I possibly can- the discipline to get at least one of 8x8 done a day is needed!I am not sure how they will hand yet- but there will be twenty variations of each design. I need to get back on track with my dolls as well as I want to make at least 20 of those for the exhibition as well. And then there is the big work. Now that I have crossed the hurdle of finally making a bigger quilt ( the commission) I seem to have a bit more enthusiasm for the whole- I think I may have found a solution for my village scene- more on that tomorrow.

And then a lovely surprise in the post. A Goth Doll from Belinda Schneider from Bel's Nook- the first doll is offspring from Friedrich and Loretta and Violetta. I always love getting surprises- especially whimisical ones like this!
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Springtime Pomegranates Whilst it's Autum

Pomegranates ( 8x8 inches)for Sale $60US inclusive of postage
Pomegranates for Sale ( 8x8 inches) $60US inclusive of postage
Pomegranate postcard ( 6x4 inches) $27 US

Been running around looking at houses again. Especially trying to get a feel for the size of the spaces as display homes are always large and it's hard to visualise a house that is at least a 1/3 smaller. So the kids and I have decided and taken the plunge- it has me kind of hyperventilating but as it is a custom built home I should be able to find a mortgage unlike the situation of moving a house .It is unlikely to be finished before December and it may be even February before we move in- so quite a long wait, and meanwhile the guy still hasn't come to put the slab in my shed so that I would at least have somewhere to work, other than the corner in my daughters' bedroom.

So I have been making pomegranates and they are quite bright and airy- very spring like whilst it is most definitely autumn here!
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Autumn Forests

Autumn Forest #1 For Sale $40US inclusive of postage

Autumn Forest #2 For Sale $40 US inclusive of postage SOLD

Autumn Forest#3 For Sale $40US inclusive of postage SOLD
I did some dyeing today and these autumn forest fabrics turned out like real bewdies! Just like the trees in the autumn garden.

The top piece is a little sample I am doing. I think I showed a photo of a Syrian horse rug I bought when in Syria- I really liked the colours and it was all half square triangles. I did think I might make a piece with half square triangles but it is not really me so I have been batting my head against the wall trying to think of some way to still get the effect but do it differently. I tried this little piece today- stitching every other triangle- i also laid on some copper banding- i am still in the thinking stages. Maybe I should just freehand applique hand cut triangles on. I will try that tomorrow but now that I look at the piece on the screen I do quite like it.The copper banding will get some hand stitching over the top in coarse black cotton.

I also spent some time making a portfolio book with Viovio. Has anyone used this company? Their system was quite easy to use and you can also upload your own pdf. Anyway I decided to take the plunge and produce my own book of images to do with the work I am doing for my exhibition. ( Th e postage cost almost more than the book- as I used International express post- I thought it was possible to get prepaid satchels in the US for international post?). I will be interested to see what the quality is like and i deliberately used images of different sizes so that I can see what works and what doesn't in case I do like their system.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Light the Way

This morning whilst browsing the ABC Website, the Australian national television broadcaster, about Budget reports I came across this article an excerpt of which follows

Women are heading back to the sewing machines writes Clara Vuletich.

"...the satisfaction and empowerment you feel when you have made it yourself is infectious ... it is something we have lost since mass manufacturing was developed. Not only have we become passive and deskilled as modern day consumers but we are also buying into the idea that the fashion system can satisfy our needs." More...

I left a comment which hasn't appeared yet but it seems to me that this is a wonderful opportunity to add our voices by way of comment. I would like to see a thousand voices or more so that they will be forced to look at what this might be all about. In my comment I mentioned not only the very creative endeavours of so many women but also the incredible goodwill I have personally witnessed when I have toured exhibitions- and also the incredible trail of love that textiles leaves on the entire globe- from Blankets of Love for prenatal babies to quilts for homeless and refugees, from Fiber Arts for A Cause, the thousands and thousands of raffle quilts made to raise funds for charitable causes, from knitted beanies for Afghani children ,from the Anat project I witnessed in Syria to Pascale Goldenburg's project with Afghani embroideries in Europe- all done with love and a realisation that there are many many people in the world less fortunate than us. So if you do one thing today- please leave a comment on the ABC website- write in your own language to show how widely the language of textiles travels. Ask your friends to also comment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And the Winner Is ?

I redid the villages today- and I will redye. Our newish kitten/cat tried to help as well so I had to redo it twice .....pawmarks in black tectile ink didn't add to the atmosphere somehow. I will also keep working on the other one- maybe something wil happen to resurrect it?

Ok and the winner of three coral Variations is Evy from the Netherlands.

On the house front- it's no go zone with the banks because by moving a house I am technically an owner builder and no one wants to lend unless you are actually a builder which I am not- so back to the drawing board ! I really appreciate you all putting positive wishes into the stratosphere for me- somehting will happen!
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tales from the Palmyra Road

Forest #1 For Sale $40US inclusive of postage SOLD
Forest#2 For Sale $40 US inclusive of postage

Wow - thank you for all the comments, and I am delighted that some of you find me worthy of reading and looking first thing in the morning! Many thanks. I realise now that I expressed myself rather badly re the Coral Variations- I meant for one each to go to three people- but the way it reads is that someone will get three variations. So I will have to leave it like that! Don't forget if you want to be in the draw to leave a comment ( preferably on the previous post) or you can email me via my profile.

I finally basted the village scene I have shown in white previously. I dyed it and feel the colours came out too dark. ( I may redraw it yet) On the photo it doesn't look too bad. I have started stitching it in silver metallic thread- and under light it looks fine and it sparkles but in daylight it seems flat. Not sure what I will do now- if the gallery has spot lights or down lights it will be fine because it will sparkle but if not it will be rather boring. So to continue or not to continue?
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Monday, May 12, 2008

750th Post

It's hard to believe but today is my 750th post- a diary of work , some ideas , trials and errors,my life, ( and my trials and errors there) and most of all friendships created. I thank each and everyone of you for your comments, ideas, suggestions and support. So given I have missed some land marks recently ( the Neoworx meter passed 125ooo, but the meter I actually watch the most is site meter and that is nearly up to 170,000 visits since I installed it) I am putting three of my Coral Variations up for grabs as a thank you. Simply leave a message and contact details and I will put all the names into a hat- and I will draw the lucky winner day after tomorrow ( 14 May) at 5pm eastern standard time( Australia) and contact you if you have won, so I can post you the piece.

There is a bit of movement on the house front- we think we may have found a recycled house- that is, a house that would have been pulled down, but for soem buyer like me- it will be moved here and then there is the fix-up and services to be installed, including a septic tank, perhaps a rewire, all of which costs of course. The house is just a little outside what I had hoped to pay- and I did haggle but unfortunately they did not know the time honoured tradition of sharing tea , passing the time of day and getting down to business, so Ineed to find a bit of extra funds so I don't feel quite so panicky about all this. I like the idea of recycling a house and it is the cheapest option of all things I have explored although there is more work once it is here.It is also the quickest way to get a roof over our head and get on with life. So in light of this, I am prepared to accept reasonable offers for my work - there is work on my picturetrail site and I will put some more there in the next day or two.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Variation of Form

Today is Mother's day in Australia so it's appropriate to be playing around with the "form" of pomegranates- my favourite fruit! I am always amazed at how different one form can look depending on what you do with it. Yes it is a pomegranate but visually they read quite differently The fist image is actually the negative whereas the other two are the positive image. Then you can also juxtapose the size of form- creating contrast. There is all sorts of playing to be done! I consider myself lucky to be working with textiles ( even though sometimes I wished I earnt a decent living wage) - I love everything about textiles. I love the patterns, and repeats and though I tend to assymetrical balance, the balance of printed textiles is always at play in my work. I consider myself a colourist of the dyeing kind with a penchant for creating decorative patterns that are enhanced by stitch or whatever it needs.

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there!

I took myself for a nice walk this morning- i need to start getting fit again. There are possibly some exciting developments on the horizon which may or may not include me leading a textile tour once in awhile to far flung places where textiles are still a way of life. More on this in the not too distant future!
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Day

Pomegranates For Sale $60 US inclsuive of postage ( 8x8 inches)
Pomegranates For Sale $60US ( 8x8 Inches approx 20cm square)
Pomegranate Postcard ( 6x4inches) For Sale $27 US inclusive of postage
I have been trying to get some stitching done today- no one at home and I haven't got my Arabian nights village basted yet, maybe tomorrow. I also have to write up some workshops in dutch- whilst my dutch is good I find it difficult to write up workshops in another language- so often the names for the processes are not in the dictionary and certainly the names of the products vary sometimes.

I have also been trying to use the Valdani threads Dale from Thread Studio sent me- I have to run up some samples for her. I have to admit whilst I have used Valdani threads before I tend to use rayon machine embroidery threads- the effects of the two are quite different. I also got her to send a palette I would not normally use, but at the time I was thinking lichens and free machine lace ( it wills till come), but today I decided to use them in conjunction with the work I normally do. I did get the heavier weight threads and I am really pleased with the effect- especially on the tree- the contrast between the sheen of the lutradur and the dullness of the cotton thread actually creates quite an interesting contrast and texture. I must admit I am not a great lover of variegated threads- often finding the variegations too loud- however Valdani's have lovely soft muted variegations, just enough to create interest . I also used them on the pomegrnate pieces in the backgrounds and liked what happened.

Dale also sent me some iridescent shiva sticks- I have been eyeing them off for awhile- it's one of those magpie things- but wasn't quite motivated enough to use them on a piece. Well I can tell you I am now in love with them- especially the gold iridescent ( and I am sure I will find uses for the other colours) . I really like the effect when you apply it over quilting- the gold catching on the thicker Valdani threads.
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I finished the commission and was eager to post oit to its new owner this afternoon. I did take photos at home but they did not work out- who knows why. So these rather bad photos are the only ones I have of the finished quilt- and I forgot to measure it . Oh well not good for the record keeping!

The roosters around here get up incredibly early in the morning- around three am when the log trucks start rolling ( I know because I can hear everything out in the tent including the blasted trucks- don't they sleep???) Then they seem to doze and then we have one eager rooster who feels the need for another wake-up call at around five- that sets the whole neighbourhood of roosters off again- then they doze again and then they do the serious crowing at around 5.30- it's so loud there is no way you can snooze through that! So I am always up early- I really would like to sleep in sometimes or just laze a bit longer in bed- but those roosters are very determined!
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Work in Progress

Ocean Waters #1 For sale $40 US inclusive of postage
Ocean Waters #2 For Sale $40 US inclusive of postage

I have posted a picture of my commisssion in progress- I stitched all day and there is still quite soe to go. Plus I managed to get a crease in the back cloth which I did not realise until I had done quite soem sewing. Hence the in progress shot- I wanted to see whether titwould still hang all right because to unpick that amount of stitching and the consequent tiny holes caused by the needle in the silk ar enot worth the effort. It is of course caused by the fact that silk strecthec quite a lot when you stitch it densely- and this piece is densely stitched. It annoys me that there is the crease but it is just going to have to stay! It will be flattened so much by stitching it will barely be noticeable... but still......

I also dyed some ocean coloured fabrics and they are for sale.
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Monday, May 05, 2008


I have been working all day on the commission quilt- it is taking a lot of stitching and there is still a lot to go. I don't normally do little practice pieces but somehow I am a bit more timid when doing a commission piece especially in silk- the needle marks show if you have to pull anything out. So I did this little piece to try out the type of stitching i might surround the barnacle shapes with- I wanted the feel of the sea but also seaweed. Anyway I decided to finish it off as I was not going to get one of my other 8x8's done- so this is for sale at $60US inclusive of postage . It measures 8"x8" ( approx 20 cm square) and is hand dyed silk.
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Sunday, May 04, 2008


Pomegranates 8"x8" ( 20cm square approx) for sale $60US inclusive of postage
Pomegranate postcard ( 4'x6") for sale $27US inclusive of postageSOLD
Hand dyed fabric each piece measures 55 cm x 200cm ( 20"x 117") for sale $60US each inclusive of postage

The weekend has flown and not much work done. Still searching for solutions to my housing problems, which takes up slabs of time when I would much rather be doing other things. I photographed the lichen in my garden- the apple trees seem to be havens for all sorts of woderful lichens- I particularly liked this one because of the coloured discs ( though I did doctor the image a bit). Might have to try that as a bit of free form lace with the valdani threads I have to make samples with- the colours of the threads are somehow so woody and organic.

The other day when I was doing some dyeing outside ,you sort of get into a trance like state- you know what you have to do and you just set to- the process is something so well practised that you really do not need to think about it too much. I started thinking about how some people really measure everything to the nth degree in the dyeing process ( this of course does help you duplicate a particular colour I will freely admit)- but it is also about controlling the process, and whilst I know certain ingredients need to be there to have a result I think I trust to the process rather than control the process- for me trusting it allows more serendipity to happen- you know the basic part will work but allow yourself the lack of control in the utmost detail- and somehow wonderful things emerge out of the dye bath.

Awhile ago Jude from Spirit Cloth bought some hand dyed muslin ( lighter weight and lovely for hand sewing) from me- I also sent her a couple of log cabin blocks- I was really interested to see what she would do with them- her work is quite quite different to mine and yet I love it- for its intrinsic textile process- I also sense a trust in what she does with textile and for me that makes her work really expressive- I wa snot disappointed that's for sure !

And then Rachel from Fiber Focus asked me to write a little about my work ( and maybe again about some other things in the future) for her blog which focuses on all sorts of wonderful textiles- the stuff in her etsy shop is gorgeous- and if I weren't saving every cent for my house that will be built ( one day) I would be her very good customer- anyway I am really grateful to Rachel for featuring some of my work and make sure you check out a lot of the other posts- there are some serious textiles to explore! I am just constantly amazed at how blogs connect people from all over the place.
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