Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daytime Village Scene

I have been stitching stitching and stitching ,finishing the work I had started for Caravanserai some time ago but did not finish. I am taking a break as my back is sore from all that stitching. This was the day time village scene that I painted awhile ago and had not heat set the textile ink enough so that when I dyed the cloth the textile ink blotched in some places. At the time I was really disgusted with it, but some months later and I found that I thought I could resurrect it. I will be covering the moon with ochre coloured fabric as it bothers my daughter to have a moon in a daytime scene. But the rest has all been stitched and colour added with iridescent Shiva paint stickes. The round rocks at the bottom will be coloured in too. The colour of the binding will be tricky- I want to think on it overnight.

It sounds as if we are gearing up for another shocking day on Friday. The forecast for tomorrow is bad but for Friday they are saying 45 degrees celsius and a south westerly change with winds up to 50 kms. We all have our valauables packed ( i shall be packing the last of them tonight as well as backing up the back up hard drive)/ I am able to pump water from the river but I don't think the house can be defended on a shocking day .However meanwhile I am trying to green everything as much as possible and really soak stuff good and well. At least all my quilts or nearly all will be in Melbourne at AQC!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Never Say Never

I know some time ago I said I would not be making any more forest/view from my window quilts? Wrong. I had to make another one as I had put it in for the Tutors exhibition at AQC ( which I must admit had slipped my mind) when I sold the piece earlier this year. Moving house was an expensive exercise and so I was very glad when someone wanted to buy it, but it also left me with a dilemna which I discovered afterwards that I had entered it elsewhere. So I contacted AQC and they allowed me to substitute a piece so I made another View from My Window piece- simply because the view from my window is still of trees, and the afternoon sun does set behind the trees.Oh and there is still three places available in my Tifaifai class at AQC in case anyone is interested. Just follow the link for AQC.

I have been working hard - actually I got embarassed into working hard- there were several pieces I did not finish last year for my Caravanserai exhibition. They languished as so much stuff was going on in my personal life and that's what kept happening. I would think I must and then something else would happen and they simply did not get made.But last week AQC rang me up to say they had managed to snare an article in the Herlad Sun- this is one of our big daily newspapers- which is good publicity for AQC and for me. So now I had to live up to my promise.... The photographer came out yesterday and he was knocked out by the nature in my surroundings and the cat did her best to win him over- so he took lots of photos of my quilts , myself and a lovely large old gum tree in the background and with the cat who behaved like a movie actress ( and yes she is a tart!) I really dislike being photographed but it certainly was more fun knowing i was showcasing some of our fabulous scenery.

We had a community fire meeting on Thursday night as we are in a community where the risk of fire is great - there was some ok information, but most of us knew a lot of the information, but I was a bit shocked by the lack of co-ordination between say our shire and the emergency services , powercorp and the police. The shire guy talked about recovery- and yes it is good to know they have a plan- but we are more concerned about what if a fire hits here- what will we do? There is no community safe area because none of the governmental/bureaucratic bodies want to take legal responsibility for that- we were told we must wait for the police- we don't have a police officer stationed here- the nearest one is 22 kms away in Colac- the fire is likely to come from the north west- which would cut us off from Colac- and there is only one road in and one road out- which means the police are unlikely to be able to get through for a certain time in case of fire.

Then the discussion turned to closing certain roads on extreme fire danger days- but we were told by the shire that everybody was too worrried about the loss of tourist dollars so they couldn't do this. Excuse me this seems to me to show a certain lack of clear thinking......( and I am talking about extreme fire days of which we get maybe a weeks worth a year- some years more some years less)- but the tourists are more important than the communities???? And if a fire does strike there will be no more buildings part of which constitute community. And the tourists I encountered on the sunday after that fateful Saturday which was also a total fire ban day, with open fires , shows that they had a total lack of respect for the conditions or for the communities where they were visitors.

I think it is time that everyone also realised when the CFA and media forecast extreme conditions like February the 7th and a total fire ban - and the warnings were out- then that risk applies to everyone who lives in the state- not just the communities at greatest risk- stay home if you don't live in high risk areas, and if you are at risk and can't see yourself saving your house get out as early as you can before even a hint of a fire.

Also communication is a really big issue for us. Most of us with modern phones would lose the ability to phone due to power shut down which is done for safety reasons. Only old style phones would enable you to get through ( anyone have a spare one ?) we are also in a mobile blackout area because Telstra does not consider it commercially lucrative enough to put in a tower ( yet they could put in a mobile tower when the great bike ride went through a few years ago)- it was mooted and Telstra would also put in a tv repeater which the community would have to pay for ,as we also have very bad tv reception- what seems to be a basic right in much of Australia- is not possible here- even 774 ABC has dodgy reception here even with a battery operated radio.I think big companies which are supposed to provide services to a community ( for which we pay) should actually deliver those services as a matter of equity not of commercial expediency. Having to post ever bigger profits for ever greedier shareholders is not a good premise on which to deliver equitable and fair services to all communities.

There I am off my soap box.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Triplet Falls in The Otway Ranges

I have been hand stitching and hand stitching on my Palms of Palmyra piece ,so not a lot to show. I decided I could not possibly finish the second travellers blanket before AQC- I won't mention all the other things I have still to make. I really should have done a lot more work these past two months but it just didn't happen. Anyway now it is a matter of urgency.

And on Friday when I went to order my dye and printing supplies for AQC ( with some trepidation i might add as I knew they were located in the area badly affected by bushfires) I found out that KraftKolour had indeed been burnt down. The owners did get out alive thank goodness .and they have stated they will rebuild their business and have asked people for patience and loyalty as they try and rebuild in the aftermath.I have been able to source some supplies elsewhere but they can count on my loyalty for the future!

This morning my youngest daughter and I went for a walk to Triplet Falls which is about 20 kms from where I live. It has long been a favourite spot but it's been too long since we were there. It was beautiful despite the smoke haze which lay over the Otways from the bushfires more than 2 hours away. And when we got right down to the river level the strangest sweetest smell emanated- it smelt like pure oxygen to me- with all that forest and tree fern growth. ( the small photo on the top left is the view from my work room window and the bottom left photo is of a flowering gum on my block of land)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Traveller's Blanket

I have finally managed to put on all the squares of the traveller's blanket for Zenobia. However not all of the squares have been embroidered yet , not even two thirds- still a long way to stitch and then there is the quilting to do. But I wanted to do all the squares before I started on anything else. I still have a lot of things to make before AQC at the end of February.

Whether I will get them done is another thing.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not a Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday and I won't remember it as a very good one , not because I didn't get any presents or anything like that ( and my girls made the cards and bought me the delightfully colourful footstool), but because I am shocked by the magnitude of the devastation and death toll of the bush fires last Saturday some of which are still continuing to burn. I shall be digging deep to send money and will also donate a quilt to the raffle which will be run by Vic Quilters for the duration of AQC to help raise further funds. Please dig deep if you can afford to- it will take an enormous amount of money to help the people who have lost everything to re-establish themselves, if that is in any way possible given that so many have lost family and friends and their townships.

And if you cannot help in any other way think of doing a rain dance- although Queensland which has had terrible floods would be crying no no - but we desperately need rain here.It keeps on looking as if it might rain but nothing happens.

Also spare a thought to the volunteer firemen, DSE officers and police and their families who have had the dreadful task of dealing with the fires, and then with the clean up- it must be one of the most gruesome and heartbreaking tasks that they will ever deal with, and all the other volunteers who have come to help in any way possible. We are a lucky country that we have people willing to give so much of themselves to help others.I hope that this selflessness will create the fabric for reconstruction with the input of much needed money
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 09, 2009

Still Here

Just a quick update and will post some more this evening.

The Otways were spared on Saturday - the weather conditions were horrendous and it could have wreaked the tragedy anywhere, there were tree limbs the size of trees flying around the house as the mini tornadoes eddied around the front of the cooler front moving in.It is with horror that I watch the tragedy unfold- so many people, so much devastation.

My heart and sincerest condolences to all those who have lost so much.

And then on Sunday morning early, my youngest daughter and I went to photograph the river which has a bush camping ground near it and to my complete and utter horror found two lots of campers with open fires- I was aghast and came home and reported them. It was a day of total fire ban- the Otways are still tinder dry, the winds were still strong- what kind of idiocy makes people think they can flaunt the common rules for community, especially after the worst day ever for Victoria and Australia?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Slow Progress

I am making slow and steady progress on my travellers blanket for Zenobia.It's been hard work in the heat wave we have been experiencing . The temperatures soared to 44 degrees celsius last week ( that's about 113 fahrenheit) and even with aircon the heat was almost unbearable. Then the whole electricity grid for the state broke down- fortunately they fixed that quick smart. It was the hottest three day period on record and temperatures are starting to build again. I hold my breath in this kind of weather as we live in a high fire risk zone and there is always some malevolent idiot out there ,who lights fires as happened in the east of the state last week. It was also the week thatI had to do loads of running around for school things as my children started school this week after the long summer holidays. Finally I have my days back!

And I have a load of work to do- so sitting and stitching by hand seems and feels like a decadent luxury- it doesn't feel like work, and makes me feel a bit guilty- i don't know why because in all reality it is work. I sit and watch movies and just stitch and stitch. Current favourite movie is the Painted Veil and Miss Potter- both have me sitting in tears as I work, and yet the tears make me feel better, it's like they are the unshed tears of the last few years- both are about ordinary humans with their human foibles yet also humans who do quite remarkable things - so uplifting inthat sense- maybe I am just an old softie! I am using domette as my batting/inbetween layer which makes stitching easier and gives a lovely suppleness to the whole.
Posted by Picasa