Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time Flies


My eldest daughter turned 18 today- such a milestone but where has the time gone???

Yes I do have a cat- and finally I am sharing a picture of her- she sleeps on my bed most nights- who knew a cat takes up that much space????? I am probably 50 times (or more) her size and yet she manages to take over the greater portion of the bed. But nonetheless she has been a part of our lives for seven years now ( it's her birthday soon). Her name is Mitsou- she is a lilac point burmese and has a wicked sense of humour, and is just a little crazy, but funny as well. But most of all I think of her as a "vredig beestje" - it's dutch I am sorry- it sort of means peaceful animal- but a little more and in a sense more surrounding as a feeling- it's gotten me through some of the worst moments thes e last 2 and a half years- it's my little mantra- she sits on my lap and I think "vredig beestje" ( even though she is super good at killing mice ,rats and I hate it ,but birds too, and she has even be known to bring home decapitated baby snakes, one wonders where the head went????) In fact it has become such a mantra- that when I sit to hand sew/quilt she thinks that is the signal for her to sit on my lap and be vredig! We are hoping to find her a home for a year when we are in France ( anyone interested?)- the quarantine regulations make it too hard to take her with us.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Couleurs d'un Pays


I think I am making some headway in my thinking for the theme for Val d'Argent."Le Carredour Europeen du Patchwork invited all the continents to show their treasures. From this idea,travel through the country of your choice, upon a free topic, as long as the piece only includes the colurs of the flag from your selected country"

As someone has already observed red/white/blue of the Australian flag are hardly inspiring and yet when you think of th eoutback you do think of red and blue- just a different red and blue, and there is white too with saltbush, bleached bones and flannel flowers...... i am still thinking but this blue/red combo is much more pleasing and so much more like the country I live in.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Evolon Madonna


A week or so ago I showed the Madonna transferred onto the Evolon. I have now stitched her with machine stitching. She looks quite different to the hand stitched Madonna I did awhile ago.

I also have to put the thinking cap on for the Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork concours this year with the theme "Colours of a Country"- you have to include the colours of the flag of the country- and well red white and blue of the Australian flag is hardly inspiring. I do have a few ideas, but I am still not entirely happy with how they are panning out.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lovely Lutradur

I haven't fallen off the planet but the power supply to my computer did and I was left computerless for five days as the necessary repairs were carried out. This put a considerable dent in the week but perhaps it was for the best as last week the contract arrived for the publication of Lovely lutradur written by Marion Barnett and myself in French. We had discussed it eons ago with Editions de Saxe and as we had heard nothing I had assumed that maybe they were no longer interested. Wrong..... but alas I had sold some of the work we photographed for the cd and I could no longer track it all down. And of course the publishers want to take their own phtographs. So I had to recreate quite a few of the smaller pieces. I decided as long as the subject matter was similar I didn't think it mattered it the work wasn't exactly the same.

So I sewed and sewed to get everything ready for the courier by Thursday afternoon. Thankfully my machine behaved, the twelve weight threads that I am trialing for Aurifil proved to be a godsend ( these are brilliant for doing satin stitch binding and quilting- I hope they do decide to go ahead with producing the threads), and surprisingly some of the pieces turned out better than those I did first time around. I don't really revisit work but I think the little stone angels piece and the boabab tree are better the second time around. The fabric I lay behind the printed tree on the lutradur proved to be particularly effective for creating interesting texture.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Change in the Weather Exhibition

Work displayed from left to right is by myself, Clare Smith, Cheryl Comfort, Wendy Lugg and Clare Plug.

A Change in the Weather is an exhibition curated by Clare Smith looking at the issue of climate change. Clare's husband is a climate change scientist. The exhibition is on display at Minerva Gallery in Wellington, and will move to the Cloakroom Gallery in Queenstown for July.

These two quilts are by Ronnie Martin and JennyBowker.
These two quilts are by Sue Wademan and Gloria Loughman.
Alison Schwabe , Margery Goodall and Sue Wood also have pieces in the exhibition.
Here are the artists statements which also includes quilt prices for Minerva Gallery- if you are interested in purchasing a piece please contact Minerva Gallery direct
Statements - A Change in the Weather

MAELSTROM - Alison Schwabe
My design was developed around the cartographic symbol for cyclones/hurricanes. The dark green base colour represents The Earth. The swirl of coloured inserts represents the variety/maelstrom of scientific data and expert opinions on changing climatic phenomena, and the highly charged emotional and political atmosphere surrounding the facts and the measures needing to be implemented to ensure the survival of humanity at this critical time in the planet's history. The hand quilted grid is red, a colour associated with danger.

Acid Rain - Gloria Loughman

Burning fossil fuels, coal fired generators, and smelting furnaces produce pollutants that react with moisture in the atmosphere to become acid rain. This can have catastrophic effects on the environment, killing our forests and polluting our rivers. Using alternative energy sources such as wind, geothermal and solar will help reduce this appalling situation.

Background composed of fused and stitched rectangles. Trees machine appliquéd. Mainly hand dyed and painted cotton fabrics.

Changing Tides - Ronnie Martin
Historically many of the settlement areas of our country have been on coastal areas. This early trend has continued and now many of our cities and large towns are based in the very places which are most likely to be affected by rising water levels. I am reminded of the children's bible song about the wise man building his house upon the rockŠwhere should the wise man go now?

This piece uses both hand painted and commercial fabrics in a naïve style and simple colour way to reflect the continuing Polyanna - like attitude we have to what is really happening around us.

Wendy Lugg - Mourning Cloth
NZ $1,900

Modern civilisation has made its mark on the earth, resulting in vandalism far worse than these muddy handprints photographed on the wall of a dilapidated house. It seems unlikely that the various current attempts at makeshift repairs will be sufficient to halt the disintegration of the fabric of our world.

Vintage cloth, thread, printing ink
Printed, dyed, layered, stitched

Margery Goodall - Watching the Weather: views # 9-12

NZ $1100 (group), individual units $NZ 300 each
STATEMENT: "The beauty of the landscape in all its moods belies the underlying menace of these changing weather patterns."

View # 9 - What price a perfect day?
View # 10 - Dust storm
View # 11 - Wild fire
View # 12 - Flood watch

Purchased printed fabrics, textile inks
Machine stitch, ink painting and over-drawing on already printed fabrics

Jenny Bowker - Hot Water - Dead Sea
Aus $ 1600

At the waters of the sea increase in temperature the sea will become
more acid. Corals and molluscs will be unable to form shells and the
reefs will die. For a while at least, coelenterates like jelly fish
will fill the seas.

Cotton fabric, wool mix batting, layered appliqué, piecing.

Dijanne Cevaal - Extreme Conditions

Extreme conditions is the public face of climate change. When 7 February 2009 dawned we knew the forecast was for 47 degrees celsius, hot northerly gusting winds, a blustery south westerly change - fire danger extreme. The temperature did soar to 47 degrees celsius ( the hottest temperature in this state in white recorded history) the hot notherly wind blasted dust into the air and the southwesterly change came with mini tornadoes that unleashed branches as big as trees into the air and with only minor temperature change.It was the most frightening day I have experienced and the devastation heartbreaking. Whole towns, whole families, all gone. The fire index was 6- a never before seen index figure , it was three times higher than Ash Wednesday. The drought conditions of the last 10 years, the dried out dead fuel and rising temperatures have all contributed to a day that will continue to impact for generations.

Clare Plug - Antarctica Series: Ice Crack 6

Artist Statement:
Sea ice is a dominant feature on the Earth and much of this ice forms annually.

It effectively doubles the size of Antarctica each winter, acting as an insulating blanket, and then in early summer as a reflector of sunlight. This dynamic process means sea ice has a vital role in the balance of heat that maintains global temperatures within a comfortable range.

Scientists study this complex process as they race to understand the changes occurring in the Earth’s climate and weather systems.

Own discharge-dyed cotton fabric.
Whole cloth, machine quilted.

Cheryl Comfort - Unless

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot
nothing is going to get better
It's not.
The Lorax
Dr Seuss

Unless we change
Unless we take responsibility
Unless it's a hoax
Unless I make a change
Unless we do it now

Sue Wood - 'The forgotten factor'.
Price: $1400

In the rural location where I live, fertile farming land shrinks under the onslaught of drought and fire. We debate the causes and we debate about what to do, but we don't talk any more about the impact of an exponentially increasing world population. How many people is too many?

Sue Wademan - 'Weather Patterns'
Our planet earth, as well as each of the other planets in our solar system, has warmed by about 1
ƒF over the last 100 years and we call this global warming.
Why this is happening has sparked a huge debate. Some scientists think it is a natural occurrence, that over millions of years the cycle from hot to cold and back again has happened many times, but others think that it is the intervention of human endeavours which has put the planet in peril.
One thing's for sure, the climate shift has effected
'a change in the weather' & the 'weather patterns'.
My art quilt shows some of these patterns. The lines represent coastal inundation; the snowdrop shapes show the icicles in the atmosphere; the droplets of water denote how precious our water is on planet earth and the stitch lines indicate the heavy rain we seem to be having.

Irrigation - Clare Smith
As I flew over South Africa a few years ago I was surprised to see large polka dots across a dry dusty valley. It took a while for me to work out that those circles were caused by irrigation. If we don't make major efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the earth warms the predicted 2-4 C by the end of this century then parts of the earth will become drier and we will have to turn more and more to irrigation, but this causes problems too.
Salination of the soil due to irrigation is already a problem in parts of Australia. Irrigation of cotton crops in Russia has already led to the drying up of the Aral Sea, which was once the 4th largest lake in the World. Millions of people around the World already suffer from a lack of drinking water.
Hand dyed, monoprinted and screenprinted fabrics, commercially printed fabrics. Hand appliqué, machine quilting.

Clare Plug created a hand out detailing further information as well as some personal things that could be done to change the individuals carbon print on the planet. And I know some people don't believe in climate change as anything other than a natural progression that has occurred since the beginning of time but on the other hand the suggestions really beg the question- will it hurt for us to adopt any or all of these things? And in the long run I am guessing it will save you more money.

Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions.

Quiltmakers all understand the principle of subdividing the big challenges – like making a quilt – into smaller, manageable & achievable steps. They make one quilt block/unit at a time and before they know it will have enough to assemble to make a whole quilt.

Even making seemingly small changes to your household routine can quickly add up to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over a year, and so reduce the size of your own Carbon Footprint. And your friends and family may well join in too!

# Grow something you can eat.

Eg. Sprouts in a jar, microgreens in a shallow tray, salad greens in a recycled container.

Or plant strawberries, or a lemon tree (lemons are useful for all sorts of thing!).

# Aim for one car-less or dryer-less or dishwasher-less day each week.

Use the bus, the washing line or the sink instead. Or Car Pool with a friend/colleague/clubmate.

# Visit your local Library to read the magazines; its very cosy, comfy & friendly there these days.

Or just borrow a book or DVD instead of buying them.

Forgo a newspaper & read it there or online instead.

# Have your car’s tyre pressures & tuning checked regularly, and unload that stuff you’re carting around everywhere in your boot, to improve your mileage/litre.

Or defrost the freezer more often, anything to make your ‘machines’ work more efficiently for you.

# Dig out that Crockpot from the cupboard & use it & your Microwave more for cooking in. They use a lot less electricity than your oven. While you are at it cook double quantity & save for tomorrow or cool & freeze for reheating another day.

# Look through your own patchwork fabric stash before shopping for more. Quiltmaking was traditionally a frugal craft; rediscover the joys of making something beautiful out of what you already have.

# Put on a jersey or thermal top & turn down the thermostat to 18’C.

# Make one night/week meat free. Farm animals generate gases that contribute to global warming.

# Switch something off – a light, an appliance on standby, or the oven 10 minutes early & use stored heat to finish the cooking.

# Everyone Recycles @ Home these days but what about @ Work? And let’s not forget the 2 other ‘R’s, Reduce and Reuse. Bring your own mug for the coffee machine and lunchbox (filled!) to the office.

# Make “Fridge Minestrone” or similar regularly, or at least rescue those assorted leftovers or paid-for veges before they die in there. Alternatively gradually save up all those dribs & drabs in a container in your freezer & make an unrepeatable “Mystery Soup” for a winter night’s Sunday Tea.

Where can you find out more Information?

On Growing food:

& NZ Gardener magazine (at the Library) & join up for their excellent free weekly e-newsletter.

& Collect your free ‘Go Garden’ magazine from Mitre10 + on

& Kings Seeds have instructions about growing sprouts & microgreens, as well as selling seeds.

& Out of Our Own Backyards is an online network all about growing your own food:

General info Online:


& a Frugal Living network:

& an excellent Step by Step guide from from Northland Regional Council:

& Christchurch City’s Sustainable City programs:

& Blog:

& Worm Farming:

Magazines & Books:

& NZ’s own “Good” magazine is a very good place to start. Many other local magazines also have Green sections, supplements or feature articles offering useful info.

& Alison Holst’s microwave & crockpot cookbooks are full of practical ideas on how to use these appliances to their max.

& Excellent overview -

& Gareth Morgans new book – ‘Who’s right about Climate Change?’

Calculate your household’s Carbon Footprint:

By using an online Calculator, this will help you work out how to make you next best step. You’re on your way!


& or at from NZ’s Landcare Research:

Climate Change Science:





Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Intentions, But....

The week started off with good intentions, but with Final year exams and folio delivery for my eldest daughter and the attendant running around of getting printing done, and mounting,a puptil free day Friday and a lightening visit from my mother and partner to deliver a chest of drawers I purchased off ebay some time ago ( to fit all my threads- it has been custom built for some other purpose but will do very nicely for my threads- when I purchased it I did not read the measurements properly and had no jope of fitting it in my car) my week just flew by the wayside. I absolutely have to work this weekend as I have to remake some pieces for the Lovely Lutradur book which is being published in French for release in September. I clear forgot that I have to have the pieces there by Monday ( they will be late). The only upside is the house is reasonably tidy because with being away so much in May things got a bit raggedy.

Yesterday we spent in Melbourne- searching for fabric for my elsdest daughter's formal dress at D'Italia, visiting Beautiful Silks , and Melbourne Etching Supplies both in Fitzroy and a quick visit to Victoria Market for some fresh produce and the day was gone! We also dropped into Readings bookstore in Hawthorn- to find a book on Gwen Harwood's collected poems for my daughters English Lit subject- yes they did hand out photocopies of the "to be" studied poems, but it is always good to read other poems in a poets life. The photo above is of some of the supplies I picked up at Melbourne Etching Supplies- I love all the tools asscoiated with printing- the little carving tools and the barens- and I also love journal books of all kinds- so decided to opt for a square one. I also picked up an invitation for an exhibition of Marco Luccio's work which is being shown at Steps Gallery in Carlton. I really like this artisrts work- his etchings of architectural structures- and the invitations are inviting indeed. I really wanted to go see his exhibition- but we were heading the wrong way- maybe I will go to his artists' talk on 21 June.

And the last photo- I have been mapping /recording the slow disintegration of a poppy pod ( I have shown photos before of this pod)- it has now become a skeleton with the rainy weather and is finally in a form where I feel I can maybe work with it.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wow! Bookings Now Closed

Yes i do feel like a whirling dervish!!! ( this one I photographed at a photo exhibition of whirling dervishes at Khan al Pasha in Damascus in 2007 where he performed for the opening of the exhibition).

I am so surpised at the response to my on-line lino-cutting course from all over the world!! I have now closed bookings so that participant numbers are manageable! thank you so much for responding. In all likelihood I shall do another course later in the year. Back to my research- which has taken me to the medieval woodcut and a wonderful printed textile called the Sion Textile housed in Basel- for which I can't find any decent pictures in google ( though I do have a wonderful picture in a book entitled : Origins of European Printmaking which i can't reproduce for copyright reasons)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Lino- Cutting Course

Printed on hand dyed Fabric- For Sale $7.50 US inclusive of postage.

Thank you to everyone who emailed me about the online lino-cutting course which I will start on friday 3 July. I will be emailing you in the next day or so. Life got a bit hectic with my daughters Visual design and Communications folio which has to be delivered next Tuesday requiring some extra running around.

For those who missed the information on my previous post here it is again:
My on-line lino-cutting course will commence on Friday 3 July 2009. It will involve three lessons at fortnightly intervals, and will look not only at how to make a lino-cut, but also the importance of design and balance in creating a lino-cut and various means of using your lino-cut with fabric. We will also look at how other artists have used lino-cuts for inspiration .You will create a number of lino-cuts in the process as well as hand printed fabric and a small fabric "steel" ( or swatchbooks) as an example of the possibilities. The cost of the three sessions will be $ 30 US. I can invoice you via Paypal. or you can pay me by Paypal, or if you are in Australia I can be paid by cheque or direct debit. If you are interested please email me- follow the links on my profile. If you pay by June 19 you will go into the draw to win a package hand dyed fabric and threads.

I have been doing lots of research and playing around with ideas to workshop. The little person lino-cut I made today. I was going to use it in the workshop but it involved very complex and fine cutting which is not so easy if you have not done it before ( as it is I cut off two eyelashes.....) I decided that perhaps it was too difficult. The height of the little person is 28 cm by 18 cm wide. I guess they would make lovely little dolls especially with some hand stitched detailing. I was very much inspired to put in so much detail, by the work of a Lithuanian artist Vytautas Ignas- I love the complexity of his work even though his own inspiration is the folkart of his native land.

Anyway i have decided I will sell the little persons as individual prints. The price for each little person printed on hand dyed fabric is $7.50 US inclusive of postage. Just email me if you are interested!
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Transfer Printing on Evolon

The first image is some of the printing I did as a demonstration at the Textile Art Festival in Brisbane last weekend.
I spent yesterday printing my village lino-cut scene onto Evolon- which is another polyester non-woven product with an almost velvet like hand ( or chamois) I did fabric crayon rubbings of the lino-cut and then painted the transfer dye over the top- it gives quite an interesting effect. However I really feel this needs machine stitching and my machine is still getting fixed- and I can't see myself driving to pick it up until early next week.

The Textile Art Festival in Brisbane was really interesting- lots of good displays and lots of colour! Some of the stalls selling wool were very enticing but I restrained myself. I wish I could show photos but I forgot to take my camera.

My on-line lino-cutting course will commence on Friday 3 July 2009. It will involve three lessons at fortnightly intervals, and will look not only at how to make a lino-cut, but also the importance of design and balance in creating a lino-cut and various means of using your lino-cut with fabric. We will also look at how other artists have used lino-cuts for inspiration .You will create a number of lino-cuts in the process as well as hand printed fabric and a small fabric "steel" ( or swatchbooks) as an example of the possibilities. The cost of the three sessions will be $ 30 US. I can invoice you via Paypal. or you can pay me by Paypal, or if you are in Australia I can be paid by cheque or direct debit. If you are interested please email me- follow the links on my profile. If you pay by June 19 you will go into the draw to win a package hand dyed fabric and threads.
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