Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tour Finished- Reflections

Well the tour of France is finished- we saw a lot despite the weather- rain and wind!I hope people had a lovely time....
So some  reflections from the last 4-5 days.......
Roses in the window of the loveliest rose shop, just behind our hotel in Paris.

Black tulips in Monet's garden in Giverny.

 Just the loveliest view through one of the windows of the ruined Jumiege Abbey.
 Perfect little cakes in a shop window in Rouen.
 Looking seawards from le Mont Saint Michel.
 Copper pots at Chenonceau Castle- I loved seeing the kitchens in the castle! And I loved the little maze/labyrinth in the gardens- but I did not photograph it so it shall remain my secret!
Silk embroidery in the hallway of Blois Castle- it was very large.

Monday, April 23, 2012

From France

It's hard to believe we have already been here for 10 days.... it's been a hectic time, seen lots of things and enjoyed many museums and French food and lots of walking.Despite the weather- very cold and wet, we have managed to enjoy some of the wonderful things that can only be experienced in France. So here is some of it in photos for you...
Only in France could a little dog wait with such excitement in a cheese shop for his master to emerge!

 Wall stencil near Rue de Mouffetard- this stencil is quite sophisticated and who is taking photos of whom?
 Chandelier in Fontainbleu- how amazing and really quite beautiful.
And yes the Louvre today- and yes hundred of tourists in the Renaissance  rooms to see La Giaconda- and yet, Botticelli frescos rushed past- how gorgeous is this and how lucky to be in the presence of such brilliance, I don't know but I like to think of it as a little magic!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Deep Blue Sentinelle and Out the Door!

Ha I have a Certificate III in Micro Business- it was a bit of a slog in the end- the business plan was over 22 pages long-  and I already think some of it needs re writing, simply because I have thought of some other things.

I have also been sewing  like a fury- one last sentinelle with this stencil- other  new sentinelles will be different, and they are moving on in the world. So here she is - there is still stitching to do in the badge areas but I like her face:

Just about to head out to the airport and arrive in Paris tomorrow and then we are off to Beaujolais and Lyon! Will have a glass of champers at the airport that's for sure- it's been hard work and there is all sorts of administrative things undone which i can't do anything about because things haven't arrived in time.

That was a few days ago,and I hit the save button not the publish button! Now at Quilt Expo en Beaujolais- some wonderful work on display- which i shall share in another post later this week. And it's great to be in france- catch up with friends- still haven't quite finished to blue sentinelle despite best intentions- but she is growing!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Five Sleeps until France!

As always thank you for your comments! And your thumbs up for my blog! I have been trying to finish work for exhibition at Quilt Expo en Beaujolais as it had to be in the post earlier this week and also finishing of the business plan and financial details...crossing all the t's and dotting i's- it all takes such a long time. But First of all back to Alice Springs. We went to a number of galleries whilst in Alice- all of indigenous art which is of course a great tourist attraction for the town- and there are many different indigenous nations( I say nations because their language is different and their creation stories and their regions) represented by art centres and galleries.

One gallery we visited Talapi Art Centre was in the process of  mounting a new exhibition and allowed me to take photos of exhibition views. There was some wonderful work on display as you can see from the photos.

My favourite artist was Nirvingka Lewis- see photo below- her work was a little different than the more usual dot and stylised motif  paintings- she had actually burnt on the marine ply panelling and then added painting- the motifs were also of everyday life and had a lovely naive charm- I wished my budget would allow me to have bought one- maybe another time.........

 I also wanted to mention my hostesses again- simply because they have the lovely annex cottage available for quilt retreats or quilters visits to Alice Springs at a very reasonable nightly rate. So if you are at all interested you can contact me and I shall send you Barbara's email details so she can provide further information. I have to say that Barbara and her sister Nancy  are incredibly creative and they are  incredibly productive and inventive:
 Nancy is a ceramicists and these meerkats were just so charming ( one came home with me)- ceramics and quilting is not the only thing Barbara and Nancy do- they paint their own wool to knit all sorts of fabulous things and  socks and  slippers that are felted, they felt and Barbara makes beads- their house and studio was a treasure trove of creativity- very inspiring and most certainly anti-minimalist- it made me realise that all these bare and minimal homes give you no idea of what the people are like- not so with Barbara and  Nancy every nook and corner  revealed yet another creative pursuit- a rich and varied life and production and incredibly kind hostesses.Thank you Barbara and Nancy for a wonderful week in Alice Springs!
  Barbara with a challenge quilt she made which had to incorporate the nine patch block and yellow under the tree that inspired the quilt.
Nancy was making these budgerigars for a bird exhibition later this year ( Australian native bird) which were first knitted then the knitted wool is painted and then they are felted- they were just  wonderful and I am not sure how many Nancy was making but as these birds fly in quite large flocks I think a flock may have been the plan!
And Nancy with her  budgies.

And then last but not least- I have  quadrupled my  quilt output this last month- until the beginning of March it stood at one  quilt for the Beneath the Southern Skies exhibit ( though I did start the full time NEIS course in that time and that impacted on available time, and I did make some small stitched pieces) but I wanted my sentintelles to have maximum impact in Beaujolais ( I am still working on one more which I will take with me - a lady of the deep blue southern skies I think) 
So here is the finished blue sentinelles:
 And red sentinelles......
 And a lace sentinelle- it is the  stencil i used to paint all the other sentinelles- too pretty not to use and allowed me to create a lace like piece- which did not want to hang completely straight- but then the  folds and irregularity actually added to the piece- I am nit sure what a quilt crowd will think of her....

All of my work is for sale ( including the other sentinelles except for the Red Earth Sentinelle)- email me to inquire as to price etc.I also have available lots of the small printed panels- they are $15 each including postage- just name your colour- as I will spend the next 3-4 days doing a lot of printing.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Finally Some Catch-Up

My goodness it has been a busy week, and in the middle of it all my favourite uncle passed away- as if the  torments of early onset Parkinsons disease was not enough an aggressive leukemia finally struck him down-  a gentle and kind soul,who made my aunt very happy,vale Ed, the Netherlands will be a little less the Netherlands without you.I had hoped to see him when I go to Europe later this month-but my wish was selfish instead i will have to hug my aunt.

 I have been making some new work for Quilt Expo in Beaujolais ( where I shall be taking a small tour group to enjoy the quilts and wine), but then realised Easter is in between now and my departure date and I had clear forgotten about it- so limited shipping time, which means even more desperate sewing. I have also been writing a new business plan- I am almost there but it is taking a lot of time and effort and initially a lack of enthusiasm- but now that I have some structure in my plan I can see that my focus has been wandering for quite some time, since 2006 really, and I somehow haven't picked up the pieces and moved on enough. The business plan has given me the opportunity to refocus, to make changes, to see that my business is way way different then when I first did a business plan back in 1994- in fact it is almost completely a different business.It is good to sit and write goals and plans- and get some vision happening- because it isn't all about making, but about organisation, about exploring new avenues, about structure, about dedication and hard work and then about creation ,and dare I say it marketing- my nemisis. It is really hard to constantly push yourself out there, to sense... not too much but also not too little. Writing a vision statement was challenging too- different to an artists statement and yet for an arts practice  the vision needs to incorporate some of the artists' statement- I am still tweaking with it and not happy with it- but envisioning  your practice/business in the future is a worthwhile exercise.

And last but not least - my trip to Alice Springs and the Big Red Rock- Uluru and the magic of Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon. I was teaching in Alice Springs and my hostesses were Barbara and Nancy who kindly let my mother ( whom I had taken with me)  stay in their annex which proved to be a lovely cottage which is available  for retreats/ and or quilting retreats ( but I will blog about this separately later in the week- when the business plan is out of the way) . We did a 3 day trip out to the rock with Emu Run tours because Uluru is some 400 odd kms from Alice Springs.We had a great guide, Dan, and a terrific group of people- and we slept in swags- and I can tell you the starry night from a swag is a magical experience! I loved it all and the red centre was surprisingly green after recent rain, so the dust and the heat and the redness were not so readily apparent. I have tried to find websites that informs about Uluru and Kata Tjuta and it is surprising how many of them mention Kata Tjuta standing sentinel to the region. The red centre of Australia has a rich history of human occupation and it is here that the creation stories start for the Anunga people.Of course we saw Uluru at sunset:
I was not expecting to see so many deep crevices and  holes in the rock-  as we did the Mala walk and another walk- and  many of the caves have become part of the creation stories. There was some rock art though Uluru is not  known for it's rock art;
And of course we were up at the crack of dawn to see the sun rise over the rock- all that was missing was the  Australian Children's Choir- it was special  as the sun came up  behind the rock, but there were so many people photographing ( and I had forgotten my good camera) that i concentrated on Kata Tjuta instead- the texture created by trees and spinifex grass in the foreground and  the dawn light slowly lighting up the redness of the rocks , just created a remarkable very painterly image and indeed you could see them standing sentinel watching over the poor lonesome big red rock;
But I think my favourite was King's Canyon - sacred to the Luritja people. It was possible to do a rim canyon walk, but I decided i would like to explore the bottom of the canyon better- and what a  magic place it was-rocky river bed, lots of textures, even some cycads, water holes and I felt I could sense singing- its sound reverberated in my head as I wondered and found a myriad of textures and little treasures ( more over the next few weeks)- I would dearly love to have spent a week there to get a sense of its rhythm and pace of its life...rivers are my secret place I think- and here is a website about aboriginal culture, art and music
The bottom of the canyon is littered with rocks- all kinds and all colours, you can imagine the river flowing fast in times of  torrential rain, and the river gums shoot majestically from the rocky terrain ( another thing I had not expected to see- was beautiful sculptural river red gums)- I could not resist this composition, one black tree contrasted with the gorgeous river gums ( I think there is a tree or trees  in my secret life)

And this rock formation like the pages of a book- an ancient book telling of the land and the people. The canyon was used mainly for men's ceremonies and as i wondered you could sense it as a special place.
And this face I found at the bottom of a tree- what was it telling me?

Chapters of  stories, of ceremonies, of people, what a book! And then there were so many textures- the whole  canyon was like a texture park- everywhere you looked there was texture of one kind of another , patterned tree juxtaposed against the cloud textured sky...
On one of our last nights in Alice ( and I will blog more about some of the art I saw and also about  retreats in the Annex) we went to Simpsons Gap in the Macdonnell ranges for a sunset bbq- we braved the ants, the flies and the mosquitoes to end another perfect day in  Australia's centre- and what better way then one of my sentinelles meets the ancient rock ( it is said that this landscape and rivers are the oldest in the world) ...

And on a completely different note- my 400,000th blog visitor ( since I have had the sitemeter visit counter) visited this morning from Jyvskyl in Finland - if this was you please contact me I have a little surprise for you.
Thank you to all who come and visit my blog and for leaving your comments , many of you have helped with my journey. Some one recently said  that blogging was about an ego trip- but as a journal keeper since age 15, I have found that sharing  here  has little to do with ego or with a swollen head but more about sharing this wonderful world that i have the privilege to travel and feel inspired by - and the fact that that sharing creates friends has been an unexpected but delightful bonus!