Friday, December 31, 2010

A Happy and Creative 2011

Wishing all of my readers friends and rels a very happy and creative 2011- let inspiration find you!

My catch cry for 2011 is going to be Print! I want to create a lot more linocuts and print on both fabric and paper and perhaps make some hand printed books. I will also be running another on-line linocutting class beginning on 24 January- see my previous post for more information.

Meanwhile I am still sorting through all of the things that  were in storage- hand dyed fabrics, journal covers , my pomegranate book and pages in the book- hand dyed indigo cloth from Africa.

And it looks as if the tour of Syria will go ahead- we just need a few more travellers- it will be a fabulous trip! Contact Creative Arts  Safaris if you are interested.
And I will be doing some  things with khadi cloth in the coming year.

I also would like to know  if anyone would be interested in my book on Syria- the travel and inspiration and work pieces created as a result?. Leave me a message with your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Madonna by Michael of Crete

I must admit to a love of icons and madonnas in particular and it is the time of the year that makes you think about madonnas. There is something that draws me to them wherever I am. I think its the way the Madonna looks at the child who looks rather grown up in this painting. This particular Madonna was painted by Michael of Crete in 1813 and in the flesh it is brightly coloured  in rich reds greens and golds,with the colours creating a rich texture. It lives in the Monastery of St Serge- Deir mar  Sarkis (  Sergius was a roman soldier who converted to Christianity) in Maloula in Syria and adds a particular charm to the little chapel in the monastery. You are not allowed to photograph it  hence this image comes form a postcard.

My house is still far from unpacked though all the big furniture arrived the day before Christmas and then it was Christmas. I am getting to the stage where the sewing machine is beckoning- but now it is the problem of ideas or more exactly inspiration.

I am also making plans for  Europe next year. I am not sure the tour of Syria in the last two weeks of April is going ahead due to lack of registrations. It is such a pity as Syria is such a fabulous place and the trip that Creative Arts Safaris has created is a lot of fun with loads of different textile experiences.If you are at all interested pop over to Creative Arts Safaris and register your interest. The trip includes most of your meals , lovely and sometimes very atmospheric hotels, and inspiration galore!

Then  I will head to Europe afterwards as I am invited artist at the European Quitl Champiopnships from 5-8 May in Eindhoven in the Netherlands ( and I have to make a lot of new work for this) and then the following weekend I head to Cremona as invited artist at Italia Invita (12-15 May) and then I head for the South of france for an exhibition with Atelier Printemps Sacre. If anyone would like me to touch please email me.

On-Line Linocutting Course- commencing 24 January
I also found my books on printmaking and my box of things that I created for the on-line lino-cutting course. I have had people email me when I am doing my next course and have decided I shall do one starting Monday 24 January 2011. The course consists of three modules( pdf file) delivered in fortnightly instalments for 6 weeks, each containing various exercises. I set up an on-line group to share our work and to  trouble shoot problems. If you are interested  email me. The cost of the course is 45 euros or $55 ( Aus or US)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Found Things

 I found this piece that I must have stuck away. I remember it was inspired by the key and keyholes of the wardrobe when I did the residency at Chateau de Chassy ten years ago- another adventure in France. I didn't finish it- maybe I will now that I have found it again.I really want to focus on work inspired by my travelling but first I have to make some work inspired by the theme Herbarium for Italia Invita in Cremona in Italy next year  in May as i am invited guest artist.

The big furniture does not arrive until next week so that makes getting any work done pretty difficult as I really have nowhere much to work.We did get a Christmas tree though despite the lack of furniture.It does look lonely but is also a bright spark in the corner. I am slowly getting more used to this place

This is another pomegranate piece that I made for our Atelier Printemps Sacre exhibition  at the end of Ocotber. it is for sale for $45 US inclusive of postage. We will be having another exhibition  in the second half of May next year.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I Now Live in a City

I was at a bit of a loss  as to what to do with myself- I am trying to arrange for things to come out of storage but it all takes time and  fitting in with people and least we don't have to pack up the house.

Then I remembered- I live in a city now- one with an Art Gallery and a very good print collection. There weren't many prints on display- but there were one or two old favourites .I need to reconnect with Australia!
Frederick McCubbin- The Burial- he's captured the harshness of settling, the losses and despair in what sometimes seemed an unforgiving bush

Rosemary Gascoigne- Assemblage of Wood- recycling

Fred Williams- i love love love the work of Fred Williams- his take on landscape is breathtaking sometimes and his seemingly minimalist marks are intricate and dense- and the scattering is so like the messy Australian bush- I don't think  Williams would have read the quote from Henry Cross which I quoted in my previous post but it seems to me this is exactly the sort of thing he had in mind .

And these last two images form an exhibition entitled Mary and Max- which was an animated film created by Adam Elliot. the entire film was made from photo stills- not computer generations, so each puppet was entirely hand build and hand embellished- for example if they wanted to show drops of sweat running down one of the characters faces- each droplet of sweat had to be put into place- they used glycerine to create that effect- but every time a drop rolled down it had to be repainted and photographed.They took 132,480 still photographs to create the animation.Obviously it required a team of clayologists and artists to bring this all to life and this exhibition was a wonderful insight into how such a film might be made. Many of the props were on display plus some of the letters and films to show how the film was made.The story sounds quirky too ( not having seen the film) it is  the story of a 20 year penpal relationship between Mary Dinkle and lonely 8yo living in Glenwaverly in Melbourne ( the "burbs") and Max Horowitz a 44 year olf obese Jewish man with Asperger's syndrome living in New York.

It's obvious what needs to be done to climb out of this lack of work- just do the work! never mind what just do it!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Finding Things

I am now officially a resident of Newcomb in Geelong. not that all my things have been moved- far from it.Last week raced by and I am not sure what happened to it. I will have to organise a removal van as a single woman with kids can't move all the heavy furniture including a piano.

So I have been packing as many boxes as i can in the car and unpacking them. I found that though I thought I had labelled boxes, I obviously didn't so some surprises have come out of storage.It is kind of fun being reunited with things I have not seen for a year.The photos are of some of the things- top is some journal pages including a drawing done with my left hand ( I am right handed). The bottom photo is of cd's I wrapped in torn fabric- I can't remember what I was thinking but they are very colourful!

I also found this quote from the book  Matisse the Master by Hilary Spurling wise words that Henri Cross wrote to Matisse who was his friend: Cross asked "What does Nature offer us?" "Disorder,chaos,gaping holes.Yet we go into ecstasies before this chaos, and cry 'How Beautiful!'. A work of art can be plucked from this.It is here that you must 'organise your sensations'. Offset this disorder and profusion.From the very fact that we experience sensual emotion, we may conclude that there is something here for us. How to proceed from a practical point of view in order to express this emotion? Select fragments, always bearing in mind the end result. At this moment, we make a work of art.We transform, we transpose, we assert power."
I wrote it down in a journal... I need to remember this as i work... when I start to work... it's been a month of nothing much.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hand Dyed Khadi Cloth

Just before I left France I hand dyed some khadi cloth- this cloth is quite soft and the weave is a bit rougher than cotton which makes it very attractive for me, plus there is a variation in the colours of the threads which gives the cloth a lovely  ambience. I was really happy how it came up when dyed as the slightly different coloured threads picked up the dye quite differently creating quite a rich effect, I have been thinking about how I might quilt this piece- maybe a la griot?

The bottom image is of some kimono silk I found in my shed the other day. It has been printed with the light grey and red.I had never really looked  at the whole piece so when I finally opened it up to measure it I was surprised to find that some of it had been mended by hand and by machine- obviously too precious to discard. I have about 5 metres in this piece- if anyone is interested it is for sale for  $60.00 US.

And we found a house! Yay- and we move on friday all things going well.It's been a frustrating month having nowhere to really work and I find I get quite despondent when I don't have all my creative triggers around- you know how it is, touching fabric, playing with colours, dye a little of this and a little of that  and ideas are born.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Embroidery and Bower Bird Bower

I have ben making small embroidered brooch pieces these last few days. As i don't really have anywhere to work except what i can carry in my hands. Obviously big pieces are not selling so i thought I would see if little teeny  tiny pieces would sell. Each little hand embroidered piece measures 5 cm square and is entirely hand stitched. They come with a brooch pin and cost $17.00 Aus inclusive of postage.I think I shall call them travellers badges- to be donned by all travellers both in the real and in the imagination! If you would like one please email me.
                                                      The Turquoise brooch is sold
This morning when i got up I found this very close to my caravan door- a bower birds bower.This one belongs to the Satin Bower bird . The male bird builds his dance hall out of twigs and then decorates it with all manner of blue things- whatever he can find and  drag there.The idea is to attract the female bird. Whilst it seems incredibly charming bower birds have become a bit of a nuisance- they are voracious eaters and will destroy vegetable gardens and anything vaguely edible.

And my daughter got accepted in the course she was hoping to get into! Her interviewer thought she might have real flair for fabric design/fashion design......
Here is a photos of a canvas bag she made. Would you buy it?

I am getting very frustrated at not having a home- I feel homeless and whilst I know in reality I will find something eventually and I have places to stay ( I could even live in my shed if I had to but i would rather sell it) , it makes me acutely aware of how really homeless people must feel- not belonging anywhere, not having a place to be creative , having no warm bed or warm meal, having nothing but the street- I can't imagine how alone and futile things must feel.......and the numbers are growing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fabulous Syria

I am hoping that there will be another Creative Arts Safari tour to Syria next year- there is so much more to see. I spent some time this morning working through my photos of the last trip and am longing to go back for these reasons:

Food- the food in Syria is really seriously  good- great dips, salads, and traditional dishes ranging from kebabs to wonderful aromatic casseroles:
This repast was a "quick" lunch with our friend Samir who owns a terrific shop at the Roman gate at the entry to al Hammadiya souq( upstairs)

History- layers and layers of history. Agatha Christie wrote a book about her adventures in Syria with her husband Max Mallowan. I have also seen the best Roman  ruins I have encountered- and I have seen ones in Italy, Algeria, France etc.These images are the long road in Afamia- 2kms of collonaded road that once housed 200,000 Romans ( I don't know whether this included the slaves)

The basilica at St Simeon- was named after Saint Simeon the first and probably most famous stylite- he is said to have lived on a column 40 metres high for years and years in order to get away from it all- but he became a subject of devotion for many and indeed a celebrity. The bottom photo shows a black robed figure who was a christian orthodox monk  atop the  mounting stone  said to have housed St Simeon's column- you could have been forgiven in thinking he might have been a bit of a stylite himself except that he was with a large group of young spanish women.

Riads, palaces and the second most sacred mosque in the world the Ummayed Mosque to which all visitors are welcome- all in Damascus

Textiles- ancient Roman ones, 2000 years old- fragments found in burial chambers, cross stitched Syrian dresses, silk  and raw silk, felted rugs for Bedouin tents

And people- the very friendly and charming Syrian people.
Ohh and rugs lots of wonderful rugs...

Come join us....... I am dreaming.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still No House

Well that week has flown by and I still haven't found a house to live in which also means not a lot of work is getting done either. I could do a lot of hand stitching whilst I  wait , but it makes the finished piece too expensive for todays' market seemingly. So I need to reinvent what I do in some way enliven it , make my mark. If  I have a style what exactly is my style? I would love to hear what you think.

I have also been thinking hard on the idea that I would really love to set up a print workshop somehow- in a space. I have always loved printing and this week I have spent some time with my eldest daughter helping her with some of her printmaking- it's got ideas bubbling, but I also find that a one day workshop really is not good for exploring printmaking and the design of printmaking.

 The following photos of some of the printing my daughter has been doing:

She has combined linocut printing with gocco printing and tried different papers.I  really like the contrast between the two forms of printing.

Isn't the colour green in this photo just the best.......... light on the leaves.

And some pieces for sale- they are $45 AUS inclusive of postage. Email me if you are interested. More pomegranates- Persephone's forbidden fruit.
And I have only recently realised but my blogroll is gone- what do other people use- obviously blogrolling was causing a problem with google search engines- any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back in Oz

I arrived back late last Thursday and the first few days  went by in a bit of a blur-was quite tired from all the travel (early  train from  Montpellier  to Paris and then 22 hours flying with a two hour stop in Doha and then arriving late at night in Melbourne).

Househunting is the pits because I don't fit any of the little square holes on a real estate tenant application forms- but I have to find a house in which to live sigh.... yes I am self employed  and i don't earn a squillion.Plus Australia has become very very expensive even in the 11 months that i have not been here. I have been putting in job applications but in all reality my age counts against me but I will keep trying, maybe there is an employer out there who thinks a fifty plus employee is actually able to do things. So I need to sell some work! Most of my small pieces have been sold but most of the bigger pieces are still available.
This photo was taken at the dyeing and printing workshops we gave at Atelier Printemps Sacré during the exhibition the weekend before last. We had quite a number of young people come and do the workshops and only one quilter. I hope the younger people will be inspired to continue to do some creative things with textiles. And of course in the future we will look to do more work with some of these young people- perhaps getting them to jazz up clothing or some such things.Anne Deckers also did some pottery workshops again for young people- who really enjoyed getting their hands into the clay and building pots. I think in the world out there there are those of us who build and construct things and there are others who deconstruct- both processes are valid as a means of expression but for me construction contains an element of optimism whereas deconstruction and destruction  seem to contain an element of  pessimism- who knows?

My mothers garden is in full bloom and I always love the very sculptural shapes of the grevillea and they are so very Australian.
And jazzing up a Ikea  polar fleece throw- they really  are quite stable for embroidery and it gives my hands something to do whilst i try and find a house in which to live.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Pic St Loup

I dare say this will probably be my last blog post from Le Triadou for awhile- I leave for Australia early on Wednesday morning, and have to go house hunting on arrival, Anyone have a house to rent in the Geelong area???

I am posting another photo of  my friends with whom I am exhibiting this long weekend at Le Clastre, mainly because I think it is the only photo of myself that i have seen in the last  who knows many years that I am smiling ( I hate photos and so always look so serious when in all reality  there is nothing like a good laugh)

And this is my last collage of my le Triadou year- the late autumn vineyards of Pic St Loup and a bursting pomegranate after all the rain, and ripening quinces.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Exhibition in Le Triadou

Last night was the Vernissage of the exhibition Anne Deckers, Liwanag Sales and i are having in Le Clastre in the village where I have been staying.I had taught near Valence so i was a bit exhausted when I got back  and unfortunately no sales ...sigh i wish there would be an upturn in the economy- it surely is tough if you are an artist trying to sell work and make a living. Some people said my work was expensive- but I dye and print and then stitch- i work all week, sometimes way more than that, and I don't think I am even earning a living wage or what is considered to be a living wage and yet living costs keep escalating whilst artists' income diminish.

Anyway onward and onward- I am doing a dyeing and printing demonstration later today and I have to get the stuff together for that- and then I have to start packing. I hope the TGV is running on Wednesday.

Anne Deckers, myself and Liwanag Sales

In front of my traveller's Blanket- there was an occasion recently when I was very glad I was a quilter and not a canvas painter. I drove around and around trying to find a hotel and they were all booked full- so i had to sleep in my car and the temperatures have been very cold recently- I was very glad to have quilts in my car and use those and my traveller's blanket was one of those because it is so soft and drapey.

Gallery view- I love the stone walls- textile and stone walls are just wonderful together!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gypsy Blanket #2

It is finished! The sleeve is done and even the labelling is done!I even included a coqueclicot print. I feel that this work really represents a lot of how I feel these days and i hope it keeps up!There is a good rhythm to my daily endeavours- early morning walk with the dog through the vineyards in view of Pic St Loup, fruit for breakfast, work, lunch french style, more work,  apero's, dinner french style ( I love rocquefort!) some computer time or reading and sleep. I hope I can keep this rhythm up as I have also lost weight- all good things.

Now all i have to do is find a house to live in  back in Australia... I am thinking about Clifton Springs if i can afford it sigh...... I am also working on a book proposal so keep your fingers crossed for me. I have also been applying for jobs back in the legal world- but they don't even bother with a response...  I guess I have been out of it too long- as if you lose all that experience.