Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day 2012

Thank you for all the comments on my shearing post, I am glad you enjoyed it- as I said at the beginning of this year i want to celebrate ordinary people more.

Well today is the day we celebrate our nation- when Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Botany Bay on 26 January 1788 and claimed the land in the name of the British crown thereby ignoring the fact that the land was inhabited. In the  more recent years the focus has been on reconciliation and I must admit some of my recent thinking in terms of creating work has been along the lines of the the folly of early explorers, who  could have laid the foundations for co-existence but instead chose to ignore indigenous knowledge and people.

As a new Australian i come to this land with mixed emotions- I love this land no doubt but I  am not sure I feel truly Australian, however I also do not feel truly Dutch either- I am suspended somewhere and for me the place that makes me feel most  at home is France- maybe it's the ancestry from way back that  creates this affinity.

So this morning I took a walk along the foreshore in Geelong-I must admit I have only recently fallen in love with this part of Geelong- I knew it was there, passed by it for years, but never really used it, it seemed to outside my means to use it- but there is a park all the way along the foreshore for anyone to use- it's one of the nice things about  seaside Australian cities/towns- most of the foreshores are public.And the last few days there has been a little romance on the shore with a wonderful hand built caravel in the 15th century Portugese/Spanish style, made from recycled timbers and named Notorious. It was built by Graeme Wylie and  you can  inspect it from today until March.

So this morning on the Geelong foreshore amidst set up operations for Australia Day celebrations....

The "Notorious" docked with Cunningham Pier in the background- I love the moody early morning sky and the diagonals of the sails.
 A closer look at  " Notorious"- the caravel is surprisingly small.
Hi s masters keeper obviously- this dog sits on the caravel all day and keeps an eye out for anyone inclined to try and wonder on the caravel- I think we surprised each other this morning because it was the first time I had heard the dog bark in  all the days I have gone to admire the caravel and imagine swashbuckling stories.

A carved detail on the front of the caravel.
  Geelong's Bollards are a well known foreshore landmark- painted by Jan Mitchell

These sculptures are called "North" by Mark Stoner- they remind me of shark fins and have a very interesting patina though they are made of cement.

More Bollards outside the mussel boat- which I must try as I love  mussels.
This fountain is at the Botanical Garden end of the foreshore- this fountain surely must date from the 1930's when the swimming enclosure opened

This plaque was attached to the fountain- I loved the textures on the rusted metal plaque.

So here is my Australia on this Australia day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Life offers all sorts of dilemna's which offer no easy solutions and which sometimes leave you scratching your hear. For example I have finally found a small part-time job as a library assistant- the catch is that I have to be enrolled as a student at the Gordon Tafe- so then I look at their course offerings and think ok I might do a women's access course-the course fee is $4916 including course materials and because I have a higher qualification there are no concessions ( I am a low income earner) so I have to pay it- the job will earn me less than what I have to pay so whilst I would dearly love some employment I think I am going to have to pass. This paying full service fee if you have higher qualifications is a new initiative of the government started last year- until then I would have been entitled to a concession as I am a job seeker. Some of the things I want to study were not available when I studied- for example desktop publishing- computer programming in my days at uni still involved punching cards and main frames the size of apartment blocks.It is all quite frustrating as living expenses keep escalating and our ridiculously high dollar is impacting on many a small businesses that rely on selling overseas.

Then there is the extraordinary amounts some sports people get paid- yes I know they train and sacrifice much , and it takes dedication, hard work and slogging it out. But for example on  Monday I went out to my brothers farm to cook for the shearing team of three, they were to shear 300 sheep that day. The temperature gauge reached 35 degrees celsius and they worked in a tin shed with electric equipment.This was one of the days a tennis player retired because of the heat ( and yes I know centre court gets hotter than the  stated temperature- but so does a tin shed) Two men do the shearing and the third does the rousting- ie sweeping, sorting the wool and packing it and filling the pens when they empty. I can tell you that to shear 150 sheep per man in one day is no mean feat. For a start you have to manipulate an animal which is not always happy about being shorn ( though I am sure they are happy afterwards), your waist and back is constantly bent at 90 degrees as you manoeuvre the animal around to get all the woolly bits, and then some sheep have very daggy  wool ( ie wool full of  crap), they have burs and lanolin, and you keep going until all the sheep are done. You get paid a very average wage and you can almost certainly expect to have back problems as you get older. So after watching the shearers in my brother's shed I was full of admiration ( in my youth we lived and worked with sheep as well) for these working men who can expect to work an 8 hour day in stinking heat in less than perfect conditions ( they tell me it's worse shearing in cold weather- because the conditions in a tin shed are cold and you stiffen up), yet what a reasonably good tennis player may earn is like lottery figures to them- yet they work just as hard if not harder- after all tennis players get a day off between matches and it's extremely rare for a tennis match to last  8 hours.Anyway if you ever wonder where your wool comes from just take a look at Dean ( in blue), Jack ( in red) and John ( in dark blue) doing their job- and they will never be "heroes"- just working men.

I love shearing shed though- the tin acquires all sorts of shades of grey and rust- the wood also colours depending on the exposure to lanolin and other elements.

Don't forget there is till time to enrol in my On-line Travellers' Blanket class starting on Feb 17!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aussie Travellers' Blanket & France Tour

I have been hand stitching another Travellers' Blanket whilst watching the tennis ( after watching Tomic play so well last night a thought passed through my head that maybe I should call this blanket the A-Tomic travellers' Blanket because surely he will travel far!). The colours are much more subdued than  my other travellers' blankets and much more Australian. I am also trying something different in the background to suggest creeks and water as the rounds remind me of little micro-climates or water holes.Also whilst there is an underlying grid on the fabric I am making up the embroideries as fancy and colour take me- I am enjoying the process!

And on that note that will be another on-line Travellers Blanket Class commencing on 17 February,here is the information;

Creating a Traveller’s Blanket On-Line Class
Cost $50 AUS
This class explores hand stitching and creating fragments of memory. It is inspired by the idea of the silk road and the great travellers ,like Marco Polo who travelled the road in order to source silk, eastern spices and other treasure. If you travelled that road and you could not write but wanted to keep memories of the  fabrics and silks you encountered, and wanted to remember the patterns and stitches and wanted to keep warm at the same time- what better way then, to sew fragments onto a blanket- a visual aide de memoire. The texture is created with simple running stitch and the embroidery on the fragments of fabric likewise employ simple stitches. This piece is about the rhythm of the stitching and to create decorative effects yet keeping things easy.
Any kind of stories can be incorporated- you may wish to use scraps of fabric that belong to family, you may use fabrics that have been given to you, you may use findings from the beach and create stitching around that, you may choose a favourite motif. You can use square shapes or round shapes or any other shape  that you feel drawn to. You can use the motif in the appliquéd fabric to inspire your embroidery. You will find the blanket starts to dictate the story to you and that is part of the fun of the process.
Email me if you are interested

Also I shall be guiding a tour to France commencing on 11 April 2012.It will be a fabulous trips with lots of highlights. This is the itinerary:

Day 1 Depart Melbourne with Emirates Airlines to Paris via Dubai.
Day 2 Upon arrival into Paris you will be meet and assisted to the Paris CDG train station with in the
airport. 2nd Class train from Paris CDG airport to Lyon is 462 kms and takes about 2.00 hrs. Upon
your arrival into Lyon train station you will be meet and assisted to the coach for your transfer to
Villefranche sur Saone. 32 kms / 0.30 hrs.
Villefranche-sur-Saone Overnight Best Western Plaisance (B)
Day 3 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. After breakfast, you will be meet and transferred
to the Quilt Expo Beaujolais. Includes entrance fee. Remainder of day free.
Villefranche-sur-Saone Overnight Best Western Plaisance (B)
Day 4 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. After breakfast, you will be meet and transferred
to the Quilt Expo Beaujolais. Includes entrance fee. Remainder of day free.
Villefranche-sur-Saone Overnight Best Western Plaisance (B)
Day 5 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. After checking out of your hotel you will be
transfer by private coach to Lyon. Transfer from Villefranche to Lyon. 32 kms / 0.30 hrs. Remainder
of day free in Lyon.
Lyon Overnight Mercure Lyon Charpennes (B)
Day 6 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. This morning includes a morning visit to the Lyon
Silk Museum. Entrance to Musee des Tissus et des Arts Decoratifs de Lyon. Afternoon free in Lyon.
Lyon Overnight Mercure Lyon Charpennes (B)
Day 7 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. After check out you will be transferred by coach
to Lyon train station. 2nd class TGV Train from Lyon to Paris. 462 kms / 2.00 hrs. Upon arrival into
Paris you will be met and transferred by private coach to your hotel. 5 kms / 0.30 hrs.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 8 Continental buffet breakfast served in your hotel. Full day sightseeing using Paris Pass. Issue of
6-day Paris Pass. Morning Seine River Cruise. View the main sights of the city from the River Seine.
Afternoon Visit to the Centre Pompidou. Some time for shopping in the local area.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 9 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Enjoy a full day excursion to Versailles. Use of
6-day Paris Pass. Using RER train. Includes entrance to Versailles Palace and Gardens.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 10 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Full day Visiting museums using Paris Pass. Use of
6-day Paris Pass. Includes entrance to the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay and the Dali Museum.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 11 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Full day sightseeing in Paris using Paris Pass. Use
of 6-day Paris Pass. Morning visit to Galleries Lafayette. Entrance and free gift to Galeries
Depart: Wednesday 11 April 2012
Sat 21 APRIL PARIS….Continue
Afternoon wine tasting at 'O' Chateau. Includes entrance to the Wine Cellar and tasting session.
(3 French wines).
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 12 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Full day sightseeing in Paris using Paris Pass. Use
of 6-day Paris Pass. Tickets aboard the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour. Morning Visit to the Paris Fashion
and Textiles Museum. Includes entrance to the Fashion and Textiles Museum. Remainder of day
free for shopping/exploring etc.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 13 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Full-day sightseeing in Paris using Paris Pass. Use
of 6-day Paris Pass. Tickets aboard the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour. Includes entrance to the top of
the Arc de Triomphe for a panoramic view of Paris. Afternoon visit to Notre Dame including
entrance to the Towers of Notre Dame. Remainder of the day free for shopping/exploring etc.
Paris Overnight Duminy Vendome (B)
Day 14 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. After checking out we meet our guide and travel to
Giverny. 77 kms / 1.20 hrs. Includes entrance to Monet's House and Gardens. We then travel to
Jumieges. 84 kms /1.20 hrs. Visit to the Jumieges Abbey and includes entrance fee. Continue onto
to Rouen 27 kms /0.30 hrs to meet our local guide for a half day walking tour. View the main sights
of the city.
Rouen Overnight Mercure Rouen Champ de Mars (B)
Day 15 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. After checking out we meet our guide and travel to
Caen. 126 kms / 2.00 hrs. On arrival we meet our local guide for full-day Landing Beaches tour and
view the main sights of the city. Next we travel to Bayeux. 30 kms / 0.30 hrs. Tour of the Landing
Beaches and see the Bayeux Tapestry. Continue onto Arromanches. 9 kms / 0.10 hrs. to view the
landing beach at Arromanches including the Mulberry harbour blocks. Onwards to Longues-sur-Mer.
6 kms / 0.10 hrs. to view the German Gun Battery before proceeding to Colleville-sur-Mer. 12 kms /
0.15 hrs to see the American Cemetery. We then complete our tour with our trip to Bayeux. 22
kms / 0.20 hrs. for our overnight accommodation.
Bayeux Overnight Novotel Bayeux (B)
Day 16 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. After checking out we meet our guide and travel to
Mont St. Michel. 115 kms / 1.30 hrs. Includes entrance to Mont St. Michel site and abbey. After the
tour we continue onto Tours. 280 kms / 4.00 hrs. for our accommodation.
Tours Overnight Mercure Tours Centre (B)
Day 17 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. Full day touring the chateaux of the area. Tours to
Blois. 65 kms / 1.00 hrs to see the Chateau de Blois. Includes entrance to the Chateau de Blois.
Next to Chambord 16 kms / 0.15 hrs. Includes entrance to the Chateau de Chambord. We then
continue to d to Chenonceau 60 kms / 1.00 hrs. Includes entrance to the Chateau de Chenonceau.
Return back to our hotel. 45 kms / 0.45 hrs. Tonight we enjoy a gourmet dinner at a quant rural
and rustic French restaurant just outside of town.
Tours Overnight Mercure Tours Centre (B/D)
Day 18 Continental buffet breakfast served in the hotel. After checking out we will be transferred to Paris
CDG airport to board our Emirates Airlines flight to Melbourne. 262 kms / 4.00 hrs. (B)
Day 19

There is a land fare only available for those not in Australia. Again if you are interested please contact me and I will send you the full details

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yesterday in Melbourne

I found myself with some time to kill in Melbourne yesterday so decided that i would pop into the NGV Ian Potter Centre to see if there were any Fred Williams paintings on display. The gallery did not open until 10 and as I got the the city at 8.30am I had a bit of spare time. So i walked the block bounded by Degraves Street, Flinders Lane, Hosier Lane and Flinders Street/federation Square- this is what i found:
This statue on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders lane- I have never noticed it before and I think it must be newish- don't know what it is called either...
People practising Tai Chi in federation square- with the iconic Flinders Street station in the background- it doesn't look so interesting from this angle.....

St Paul's Cathedral taken from Federation Square....
Heading towards the Ian Potter Centre- a maze of glass and angles
The Forum Theatre built in the 1920's built in a moorish revivalist style- but with gargoyles?

And graffitti- lots of graffitti and grotty laneways and alleyways- the city could do with a decent scrub there was grimy dust and dirt and rubbish everywhere- second story windows were  often opaque with grime- and the green garbage trolley bins do not add to the ambience one iota even when they have been graffittied...
This graffitti consisted of a paper cut out which I really liked

This image is not so much about the graffitti  but the fact that someone had made the letters for the word material out of actual fabric which had been hung from the barred window shutters ( imagine this is all in the most liveable city in the world according to some...)
A sentinelle face of sorts- certainly an icon

And finally to the Gallery and Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western desert Art- could not photograph here as many of the pieces were from private collections and the exhibition will travel to Paris inApril- click on the link and you will find images once you enter the site.
And then these from the Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries;
 Walangkuna Napangka- "Women's Dreaming at Tjukurla" 2007
Just to the north of the Tjukurla community in Western Australia a ceremonial snake entered the earth leaving upon the surface its dry ribbed skin thereby transforming this previously open plain into a large iridescent salt lake. A group of ancestral women tracked the path of the snake to this newly created water form and began to prepare for ceremonies by manufacturing mjimparro ( hair-string-skirts) and collecting and preparing various bush foods. The lakes' creation alos attracted a variety of animal life that came to inhabit the landscape including tjikaka ( black ducks- cool name for ducks don't you think- I mean duck is such a blah word) kuurkuurrpa (owls) and lungkata ( blue tongue lizards)
 Bugai Whyouter, Pinyirrpa Nancy Paterson "Parnngurr" 2009
The artists walked on foot  int his  country in  puyiman ( nomadic bush) days. The minyipuru ( Seven Sisters)also travelled through Martu country in the jukurrpa. They flew close to the Parnngurr, where the women's law tells that an important event took place. Afterwards they flew to Kalypa. The dance for this site is performed by both men and women.
Weaver Jack Lungarung 2007- no artists statement

Spider Kalbibidi Judi 2006- also no statement

And last bot not least- though this is not my favourite Fred Williams painting- Echuca Landscape
So that was my morning- now to get to work and be inspired.....

Monday, January 09, 2012

Small Sentinelles

I am  ready to start really working again, not that i have sat idle, but I went up to my mothers, so that took 3 days out of my week, and I did do some handwork whilst i was there. I did however forget to take my camera, so no photos to share of some of her garden, which is full of all sorts of vegetables and flowers. I miss my vegie patch and yes i could have started one here, but when I am away  the plants aren't watered enough and then I feel it has been a waste of effort.

I have been printing more sentinelle panels. These are for sale if you are interested. Each panel is hand printed with a linocut and printed onto my own hand dyed fabric. Each panel measures approximately 19 inches x 8 inches (45cm x 20cm). The cost of each panel is $15 AUS plus postage ( maximum $5 AUS for overseas- less for Australia). Please contact me if you are interested. And i can custom print as well if a colour you like is not present.
I stitched one of these small panels during the week- I am finding it a very soothing process and they seem to acquire their own personalities and subtleties.It is difficult to get the colour right in the photograph, the blue is much more of a cornflower blue, but she just oozes mystery- I am not quite sure what she is trying to reveal yet.....

I am thinking of making a series of just sentinelle faces as well- after looking at some of the drawings I made as i was working on the bigger pieces.Have to go to Melbourne today and thought I would visit Opendrawer Gallery as I have to take some Pukka Essentials to them. And yes Creative Arts Safaris is planning a tour of Southern France and Barcelona in 2013- if you need more information or would like to go on the mailing list for more information just click on the link.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Wow 2012!

I want to wish everyone who reads my blog a Happy, Safe and Creative 2012! For my part I wish  that the troubles in Syria would end and worry about my friends as we can no longer email, I wish that there be peace in the world and that the useless death of young men and women in wars would end, i wish that there was more monetary equity in the world instead I see more and more money in the hands of fewer and fewer people- these are big picture wishes and I would like to be able to do more but often feel powerless to be able to do anything. I would also like to see less focus on celebrity ( this is a very personal peeve) and more celebration of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. On a personal level I hope to see my children continue on with the great progress they made in their studies in 2011,i hope and pray that friends and family who are dealing with the dreaded c illness continue to show the courage and will to survive that they have, despite moments of despair, and I wish to continue on with my Sentinelle work but will focus on different things- perhaps some of the concerns I have expressed here.And i hope to enter more quilt exhibitions and start a new body of work.

The last week since being home ( and whilst I was away) I have been exploring stitching by hand on paper. It's something I started about 6 years ago when I was looking at cross stitches and crosses in relation to expression, but wanting to have something to stitch on whilst away that was not too bulky to carry around. So I stitched in a Khadi book- i am really enamoured  of book making and intend to do more in the coming year, though struggle with how to add meaning to a book. So I started stitching - initially just straight stitches, and recording when I stitched, to see whether my stitches differed at different times of the day or night or depending on whether I had eaten or drunk some wine- yes I know pretty boring  really.
I couldn't really detect any discernible difference so decided to end that exercise. But how different do these strokes/stitches look compared to a stroke made by a pen or pencil?? Then I looked at altering the length of the stitch- intitally I started with colonial knots but they pulled through the khadi paper so I ended up using short seed stitches.

I love the effect because the fact that the paper is recycled from cotton rag gives it a very strong structure and a pleasing puckering( is that the right word? ) of the paper where the stitch enters and emerges from the paper- the texture is really really interesting..... and dare I say it I am finding a reason  for stitching rather than drawing ( because my stitching really is a kind of drawing)- and it feels very textural under your hand.
So next I tried something which was quite drawerly, and though it is not readily apparent from the photograph ( one of the shortcomings in photographing stitching) the texture on this is quite different to a drawing and is exactly why I am drawn to stitch.... and then last- this took ages...
Again the photograph does not do it justice- the texture on the page is actually quite dense and undulating and completely different to a machine stitched line or a hand drawn line. I will keep stitching into this book and exploring differences.

France Itinerary for April 2012 
Don't forget I will be taking a tour of textile enthusiasts to France on 11 April 2012- there is still time to book. I tried to upload a stand alone page with the itinerary but blogger would not co-operate. If you would like to see the France Itinerary for April 2012 please email me. We have some wonderful sights organised and the Quilt Expo in Beaujolais will be a highlight, as well as the wonderful Textile & Decorative Arts Museum in Lyon and the stunning Bayeux Tapestry.

My Sentinelle Catalogue is now officially for sale. The cost if $15 Australian plus package and postage which will vary according to the part of the world you live in- just email me if you are interested in buying one.

Travellers' Blanket On-line Class
And I shall be starting another Travellers' Blanket on-line class on the 17th of February 2012- again email me for details and cost.