Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sad to Leave Syria

I am enroute to Bruxelles and very sad to leave Syria- but as the British and Canadian embassies ( Canada helps out Australians when we don't have an embassy on the ground) were pulling out  it would have left our group without consular support, and it was still possible to get commercial flights out. There were so many rumours flying around and information hard to get and often through outside news agencies ( whose reporting I have no faith in- what footage are we seeing and exactly where) that the many  Syrian people we encountered were themselves bewildered and worried , and simply want to get on with their lives .All I can say is that I do not consider Youtube to be intelligent and informed reporting of huge events affecting the lives of people, that when such footage is used ,context is important and news reporting agencies are not providing context and they seem to be using footage without being on the ground in the places they are reporting about.

On a personal level- Syria was lovely as ever- the people kind and charming, we did not encounter any troubles, though the atmosphere in Deir ez Zor was tense ( they thought I was a reporter and that of itself says something about the trust that people may hold for reporters). I am deeply worried about what will happen and hope that the outcome will be peaceful.Syria is a remarkably secular society and is nothing like the western media has made it out to be- it is a place where usually I feel safe and at ease, even in the  last weeks, where strangers become friends , where history seeps through every stone, yet life is very much part of present.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five Sentinelles Done One to Go!

I can scarce believe it but apart from hand sewing five sentinelles are done! it's been a marathon of sewing and the bindings are on all  but one and the sixth one  is basted and set to go- so some more marathon sewing.I haven't worked this hard in a long time and I used up two queen sized batts- so thank you Victorian  Textiles for your kind sponsorship of Matilda's Own wool polyester batting!

On the Workshop  front.....
 There are still some places available  for my 5th of May workshop at the European  Quilt Championship- in  the Netherlands Gypsy Blanket Collage.  I have posted an image of the gypsy blanket just to remind you what it looks like- we will be working a bit smaller as it is only a one day workshop but the idea is to create contrasts and harmonies with thread!

I am also teaching this workshop in France at Best of Quilting in Marcoussis on the 24th of May and I am also teaching free motion quilting ( Pique Libre)  at best of Quilting  on 31st of  May.

It will be your last chance to do workshop with me  for awhile in Europe  because as a single parent travelling has become  difficult to arrange as someone needs to be home for my daughter.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Work Work Work

I have been slack in taking in progress photos as my sentinels develop, mainly because I am just working and working. I intend to make six and I am working on number 5 at the moment so i feel like I may actually get there if I leave the hand stitching to do when i travel to Syria next week. All together if i add all the quilts together they measure 4.5 metres wide by 170 cm long- that is an awful lot of quilting, and my back and shoulders are feeling it.

However the sewing time also gives me time to think about  what i want to say with the sentinels and the badges I want to make for them. They are  developing their own presences- much like a fictional character might  for a novelist  of a book.It's exciting - because things change  quite quickly , what i thought  would happen changes and adapts, and emerges as something different . The photo that follows is  something I will develop into a badge- it speaks small creatures making bigger things...the photo is small because the  thing I scanned was tiny- can you guess what it is ?- I have worked with it before and i think it is perfect for my blue sentinel.

And the sentinel  stencil is changing- in surprising ways - I am actually thinking I might make her into lace
 ( but I am not sure I will have time at this stage). I do intend to make more sentinels but will make some changes to the stencil- more ideas have popped up as I have worked.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sentinelle #3- Blue

It's been a busy week- sewing, writing an article for Down Under Textiles, teaching the Travellers Blanket for the first time. On Saturday we dyed the fabric for the blanket, as the fabrics are not run of the mill patchwork fabric, but muslin and bumph in order to get the lovely soft drape. We will start stitching on Tuesday night.

I also have an article on foiling on lutradur in the latest issue of Down Under textiles. Here is the publisher blurb:
The next issue of Down Under Textiles will be out soon. I have some of my work included, showing readers how to use FOILS with two techniques - adhesives and iron-on paper-backed fusible web. 
There are heaps of other great articles and projects, so grab yourself a copy! It is NOT available in newsagents, call the publisher on 02 4365 2995 or email to find your nearest stockist. 

And work is progressing on the sentinelles- not quite as fast as I would like, but I have promised myself  I will do six and even if I have to stay up nights and do it , it has to be done. In the past i would too easily have settled for  five, but I have to push myself as I think six will look more impressive than five and  after I return for Europe I think I will keep building on the series- depending on how people respond to them. I have one more  piece of fabric to dye and to print- so then they will all be ready for stitch.The one I am working on at present is turning out much bluer than I thought she would- seems blue is ruling!