Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cedar Forest

This quilt fell out of the sky late on Sunday afternoon. I found the fabric that I had started foiling amongst my things that had been packed away- the background tie dyed fabric was too nice not to use- my original idea was to represent the cedar forest which Gilgamesh and Enkudu had to traverse in order to chop down the father of all cedars-originally I had only foiled three cedars- it improved when I added more cedars and some stitched ones. It enlivened the piece- and because it fell out of the sky it quilted like a dream! Several people have made the comment about the unexpected circle quilting- as the story of Gilgamesh is said to be the oldest written story and seems to be a creation story of sorts the circles represent the creation- droplets in the ocean of such stories.( it also suited the tie dyeing- but purhaps I enjoy the tie dyeing because of the circles)

The formal dress is finished - hoorah- zip in and everything ( not quite perfect but I am not touching it any more....)

Thank you one and all for your good wishes- I know I made the right decision- i have no regrets- it was all too much, and I feel I need time to reflect and move from there. On an upbeat, my middle daughter is actually coming to Europe with me. I complained to the very top of the tree and it brought some results and I know she is excited about going. It has meant a lot of scrambling around getting the airfares and other stuff organised. I had to provide an itinerary- usually that stuff is all on my email and in my head and workshop dates in my diary- itineraries what are they??? I am a very easy traveller and always carry a tent in the boot of the car in case other accommodation can't be found.And I like being able to change things if it isn't what I expected or the weather is bette relsewhere :-). I am sure looking forward to getting on that plane - if only to turn off for 24 hours!

And on another note I am teaching at Centre Europeen Du Patchwork in Salelles d'Aude in the Languedoc on 10 and 11 Septemeber- if you are interested just go to the website. I hope it doesn't get cancelled too- it is always a lovely relaxed atmosphere at Marie Goddard's worshop space and always interesting things to see in her exhibitions in the gallery! We are doing Transfer Dyeing and Stitching ( working with lutradur) and machine quilting a la 72 Ways ( Pique Libre)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ye Gads

I have finished the tifaifai quilt- the positive image- it took a lot of sewing and I couldn't work out why, but it is quite a lot bigger than the ones I normally make ( trust me to do this when I need time time time to make so much...)

I cancelled the house contract- I couldn't sleep the other night worrying about the fact that if there were other blowouts in the contract then my resources to cover that were severely limited ( after all I am not a lawyer any more but a textile artist/freelance teacher, sometime author, quiltmaker, fabric dyer, general taxi service ,and mother) - and I don't want to tie myself into a corner where the mortgage rules everything. Then there was all the running around I had to do for what was ostensibly a build where they organise all the connections- but apparently not because we do not have standard connections here. It was just too stressful to achieve all the permits and quotes for everything they wanted in the four working days left before I go away.

I am also doing workshops at the Textiel Weekend in Tilburg on 4-5 October , if they don't get cancelled , apparently there have not been many bookings thus far. I hope they don't as it is always expensive to get to Europe, and to have things cancel is a nuisance not only cost wise but I am away from home as well and could have been doing things in my studio . I have to say that 3 of the 4 workshops are ones I have not taught before in the Netherlands or Belgium ( and include my spin on lace making, gypsy moments) and the brief is to have mini workshops of 2.5 hours each. So if you are intrested - sign up! There are plenty of other activities as well.

Oh and we finished the formal dress ( well almost- I have a problem with the zipper in the back kind of bubbling near the bottom- I hand basted it in- could this be because it's too long? The drop of the dress sits really well when the zipper is not in place- we have a slim girl so we can put in a shorter zipper- any suggestions welcomed but I don't want to spend all day fiddling- already it took most of the weekend and I had to get up at 6 am to work on my tifaifai) But it is done! Ha and I don't have to stress out Wednesday night doing last minute stuff on it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

My PLace

I Had a Dream

I have done a number of quilts inspired by the view from my former workroom window. In the late afternoon the setting sun would backlight the thicket of trees as I looked out my window, and I would dream away, of new adventures, of hopes for my children, of new work. This is the last such forest piece I shall make, for my life has changed, my dreams have changed and I need to find a new way to dream my world.

This is my piece I have made for My Place- it has languished on the back burner for the finishing touches- but as I leave Oz on 21 August it has to be done- all the quilts have to be shipped to South Africa before I go! Brenda Gael Smith is building a My PLace website for all the pieces in the exhibtion- 90 in all from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is better to go and look at the website later today- I have to rephotograph some blurry images I took, before it can be completed.All the pieces are 50 cm square. I am looking forward to seeing what New Zealand and South Africa have created.

I am still in a quandary about what to do about the house- I did sign the contract but since then there have been two more phone calls- of items which will incur additional costs- survey and a stormwater pit( which has to be large as the land is level) which seems to be a new requirement from our local council- none of these items are loose change items. The annoying thing was I chose a project home so I would not have to do all this leg work ( I also have to arrange the septic and its connection) , clearance of trees- and yet here I am doing it and stressing out about it and with too little time to do it.

What I really want to do is pack my bags and move to France- but my daughter has to finish her VCE next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pomegranate Tifafai

I have been working on the pomegranate tifaifai putting in the stitching- I was hoping to be much further along but life keeps on intervening.

Finally when we are at the contract stage for the house - I got the final price - which is about $12000 more than originally quoted, because we need special bushfire protection things like metal wire fly screens, different front door, different eave structure, and the earthwork costs are more- argghhh. It has me hyperventilating in a big way- do I sign or do I abandon the whole thing??? If it goes ahead they will start building at the end of the month- so I am agonising - what to do???It is not as if I can raise that sort of money in so little time. Just when I thought I was getting things sorted.

I still have a mountain of sewing to do for my exhibition at Textil Und Kunst in Munich- and I have had to abandon the idea of making catalogues- I have run out of money- it's a pity but that's the way life goes.

One thing my daughter and I have worked out working on her formal dress ( yes that has to be done too- the diamante braid arrived yesterday... ) is how to make Fortuny style pleated silk- I never thought I would turn my hand to that but it seems that was the only way to get the pleating she wanted and I must say it turned out rather well- the pleating- the dress is still in the construction stage...

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Small Pieces

Pomegranates For Sale $60 US inclusive of postage ( approx 20cm square)

Teapot and Rosewater Jug For Sale $60 US Inclusive of postage ( approx 20 cm square)

Pomegranates For Sale $60US inclusive of postage ( approx 20 cms square)

I don't seem to have got much done on the weekend- I had such plans! I did do some hand stitching on the Travellers Blanket but not as much as planned, I also dyed fabric for the pomegranate Tifaifai's I am working on but did not get the fabric washed - combo of weather ( very cold and wet) and other usage( I still have to wash things at the house I used to live in)- as I had hoped to get the borders on one quilt and get it at least basted. We did do some work on my daughters formal dress, but there is still quite some to go and I think I will have to dye some habutai as the lining we bought is not sitting nicely enough.

I did do three small pieces- I need to make a lot of these still, though I have had to abandon my plan of making 20 of each motif- maybe twelve?? I did kind of find a new way to quilt the pomegranate pieces- which is to combine the lightness of green foliage with the dark background- a juxtaposition of the underworld and the upper world - which really reflects my feelings over the last week. I am still anxiously awaiting the title for my piece of land- it is taking the Titles Office forever- meanwhile everything else cannot go ahead- the builders are ready so that is a bit frustrating. I have also mulled over ideas of working with an icon image from Sedanaya- more ont hat later.

On Raggedcloth Cafe there has been an article by Clairan Ferrano about working in a series. I suppose I have worked in a series sometimes- for example my Hellfire series- though each piece is quite distinct and individual and not a minor variation on a theme. I have also done the tifaifai method of working and after I finished the book Tifaifai Renaissance ( which is now out of print) I never thought I would make another tifaifai quilt- but I am drawn to the pleasant mandala like quality of the designs, their symmetry even though they are not truly symmetrical, and their sheer decorativenss- so I have found myself making more Tifaifai's and am even contemplating another book on them. But whether they are truly a series- I am not sure.

One thing that I do do a lot of , is research what I am doing-I like to work to a theme- for example I am working with the idea of Caravanserai ( and my impressions of Middle Eastern travels and in particular Syria). I have read books, researched Syrian artists, textiles,carpets, colours, history, myths and legends and have come up with ideas from that research whilst incorporating it with my own observations and journal notes. I seem to have gotten slack of late in keeping a journal- but find journal notes and ideas incredibly helpful in suggesting ideas, connections and feelings. So I guess what I am saying is working to a theme can produce interesting and connected work as well ( though whether I actually succeed in this, is up for the jury). It is my preferred way of working I think.

And in previous comments some people asked me about on-line classes. I must admit the idea has crossed my mind before- but I am wondering what do people expect from such a class and what type of class would people like me to teach on-line? I would really appreciate soem feedback on this if you have the time.

Someone also suggested a book( perhaps) on lino-cuts and creating balance and negative/positive space as there was not much out there. That may be true of lino-cuts themseleves but there is quite a lot of material out there on designs and the elements of design - I am not sure there is a whole book there but certainly an article looking particularly at linocutting for fabric might be worth exploring ( when I have some time...)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Inspired by Syrian Carpet

I have finished the Syrian horse rug inspired piece. I am really pleased with how it came up- It will get tassels on the points on the bottom- just haven't decided what size yet- but I think it may end up with tassels made from rayon that I bought in the Tassels souq in Damascus.The colour is really rich and deep just as I wanted it. This quilt is for sale ( haven't decided what to call it- any ideas?) for $2500 on condition that I exhibit it in Munich during September and in Belgium in early October- and then it can be shipped. It measures 35 inches (90cm) x 57 inches ( 145 cm)

One of the things that happened as I worked was the serendiptious combinations of a number of elements- it wasn't only the colour of the horse rug I have which inspired these colours, but also the shapes of a very old textile I had drawn when visiting the Damascus Museum- it was in indigo and red and the motif is very similar though at the time I did this I could not find my journal and found it the other day when unpacking stuff, and one further element was a replication of the diamond motif from a cylinder seal- I am fascinated by cylinder seals- again an entry in my journal. And In some ways it also reminds me of mashrabeya.

Don't forget the Lovely Lutradur cd is now available details of content are in my previous post- simply email me ( which you can do by clicking on my profile)- and also I have 72 Ways Not to Stipple or Meander available as a spiral bound book or cd.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Voila! Lovely Lutradur CD Is Finished!

It's done!! The Lovely Lutradur CD ,Marion Barnett and I have been working on is done! The CD is a pdf document ( you need Acrobat reader which is a free download) of the book we have written regarding this material and its use ( wouldn't a publisher be nice...) Anyway meanwhile- the book/cd contains information on what Lutradur is , how to colour it, ideas of what to do with it with instructions, trouble shooting , suppliers section and a gallery section- 88 pages in total with information we hope will inspire you! We have created the Gallery section in a separate pdf document to give you more printing options. The Cd is available from Marion or myself- simply email Marion or I. I can process orders via Paypal very easily and if you cannot use Paypal.

We have priced the Lovely Lutradur Cd to include packaging and posting- so the prices are:
Australia $25 inclusive of postage
United Kingdon 12 GBP- inclusive of psoatge
Europe 15 Euros inclusive of postage
USA $24 inclusive of postage

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Zenobia's Blanket

Procrastination is not a good thing especially when you have a mountain of work to make .... but the carpet inspired piece ( I posted a pic about a month ago) was really playing on my mind- because it was crooked. I am no perfectionist mind but it was just too crooked to live with. I have been looking and looking to see how I could fix it and finally found a way but whilst I was at it I found this bit of tie dyed silk from awhile ago- and it's perfect to make Zenobia's blanket combined with a royal purple piece I had left over from the Gilgamesh blanket.

Thank you for all your lovely comments about my Traveller's blanket and Lainie asked what was the story behind it again. The blanket is inspired by the idea that the maker is a traveller in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta one of the great travellers from medieval times in the decade or so preceding Marco Polo- and the fragments of fabric that he sews to the blanket are an aide de memoire of his experiences , but, as he is also a fabric merchant it is his way of memorising cloth to be replicated in the future when he is home- it's a bit of a play on the idea of memory of cloth and memory as a sensation rather than a photographic record.

I am toying with the idea of making the catalogue - Caravanserai -for the exhibition available for sale on the Viovio website- I still need to add in some more pics and some more text.Basically you order the catalogue via the website and they print it and ship it to you and I will add in a small oroyalty for myself. I don't know whether the idea appeals to anyone? I had wanted to bulk buy them but I have run out of time and money ( the heater was important in order to make my work space more comfortable)

SOS- does anyone have a metre or 1.25 metres of Rhinstone diamonte braid ( metal ) 4 diamonte's wide that they are willing to sell or swap? We need it for my eldest daughters' formal dress al la Bond style- and the only places I have been able to find iit require you to buy 10 metres of it- which is just a tad too much!

And on another note- after lots of computer problems on both sides of the world it looks like we are finally in the last stages of getting our Lovely Lutradur cd ready for sale- I am hoping we will have it available by Monday- so watch this space!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Travellers' Blanket

I have finally put all the squares onto the travellers' blanket- now all I have to do is the stitching around the squares but it is gettign there. Being able to sit in a warm shed in this cold and wet and stormy weather certainly helps! I think the single square above is my favourite- but that may change tomorrow. There is also a mistake in the whole piece- see if you can spot it! Now I have to get down to some serious machien sewing- there is a lot of stuff to make before I leave for Europe on the 21st of August! I have some free time for teaching during the week in early October if anyone is interested ( in the Netherlands or Belgium or Northern Germany)

On the weekend I will catch up and reciprocate some blog awards I have received in recent times-it's wonderful to think that my blog can inspire other people and I really do appreicate getting the awards. I know I get a lot of inspiration from other people's blogs

I am also planning some Creative Summmer Arts workshops in my studio this summer. I think some book making courses and even some lino-cut printing /cutting etc. I have to put my thinking cap on!