Monday, November 18, 2013

A Busy Week

1200 post on my blog is looming. If each were a page that is a pretty thick book, and there I have been dragging the chain, the last week has been pretty busy!

 First a friend from New Zealand, Clare Smith came and stayed a few days, so we went to see things on in Geelong and caught up on a couple of years of creative efforts and family things. We went to see the delightful Robert Ingpen exhibition on at Salt in Queenscliffe- paintings that accompany the launch of his new book Looking for Clancy- inspired by the iconic A.B Banjo Patterson poem Clancy of the Overflow. There was even a painting of the Conargo pub- an iconic pub close to where I used to live in Jerilderie and attended on a number of occasions ;-).

We also saw a wonderful exhibition  entitled Banks Florilegium- The Australian Botanical Prints at the Deakin Waterfront Campus. It's a fascinating  exhibition of lithographs made some hundred years after James Cook's journey of discovery to Australia, and Joseph Banks was the botanist on the Cook journey. He collected an amazing amount of botanical specimens and made many drawings himself. the lithographs were made from those specimens but some time after the journey- almost a hundred years in fact.The exhibition is on in an anteroom of the Alfred Deakin Library at the Waterfront campus. One or two complaints, not well advertised, yet a wonderful little exhibition, badly signed for finding within the maze of the Waterfront Campus, no exhibition documentation or catalogue available, but nonetheless I encourage you to go and see it, especially if you are coming to Geelong to see the quilts this weekend.Some images from the exhibition- aren't they gorgeous and yes Australia sometimes has very subtle and soft colours!

Then  a meal with Alison Holt, a marvellous embroiderer form the UK who is visiting Australia on a teaching trip. I had hoped to take her along the Great Ocean Road but as it happened daughte rnumber one was moving house and I had to help her move, so that chewed up  a day as Melbourne is a large city if you have to drive across it!

Saturday was my middle daughters 21st which we had in my shed which is on my block of land down in Gellibrand (  sadly it has still not sold, so  send a note to the universe for me please). We had a fun night and she has passed a milestone. My daughters Celeste and Siena on Siena's 21st.

But the major thing chewing up my time is the Geelong Patchworkers and Quilters Guild Biennial Exhibition, which opens on Thursday night at 6,30 pm and then will be open  from 10.00am until 4.30 pm for 22,23,24 November at the Deakin Waterfront Campus. You enter through the Gheringhap Street entrance. It is a members exhibition but we have some pretty talented quilters in our group of both the more art oriented type and traditional. However the focus of this exhibition has been the work made by  all of our hands and  a special exhibit called Envisioning Geelong- I kind of thought it up intended to make for it, but have run out of time with everything that has gone on, and in the end did come up with an idea after brainstorming with Clare, but just felt I couldn't bring it to fruition ( and I must admit a bit of food poisoning didn't help). I don't think I can make something in a day! But watch our for a silly photo in the Geelong Echo on Wednesday.If you are in the area please come along and please come and say hello , I shall be wearing a decorated ( if I get time) green glove on my chest! Actually there will be a few of us wearing decorated green gloves on our chest.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Ladies are Growing

A fairly quiet week and still no laptop- I think it will really go to laptop heaven, which is pretty annoying for it to happen at this time. I have been trying to work out where I will live once I come back from Europe in late May, but nothing is jumping at me. Geelong is simply too expensive, but  more in the country also means more travel and the cost of petrol is pretty prohibitive these days, perhaps it will be France after all! We are gearing up for my middle daughter Siena's 21st next week- hard to believe that the time has flown and that she has reached this milestone.We will have the party in my shed seeing that still has not sold-there is plenty of space for people to camp, if the weather behaves. Now if that block of land were to sell life would take on a whole new look!

And the winner of the blog give away from the post before last is Lemonade Sandwich- I looked at your blog but you had not posted in quite some time. Can you contact me please so I can get postal details?

I have been stitching on more Chartres ladies- I am very tempted to say to the world I will make at least one of these a day for  at least the next two months, though some will have to be variations of ones I have already done...hmmmm worth keeping on going or not???It's very soothing work and it is also very tempting to make one into a print, apply some stitch and sell it as Christmas cards- they would hopefully be lovely enough to frame?Would anyone be interested if I were to do this?

All of the  embroidered faces have been inspired  by  feminine representations at Chartres- apparently there are at leats 120- I certainly have not seen them all!

Monday, November 04, 2013


Another week to forget. First someone backed into my car and caused enough damage for it to be awkward and in need of repair- fortunately the other driver was insured, but it will take time. Then my laptop died, I am hoping it is only the screen because I can't afford to get another laptop. Fortunately my daughters partner knows how to retrieve what's on there if necessary if it can't be fixed, but it meant I didn't get around to blogging at all. Add to that I had to do the  layout for the Geelong Patchworkers & Quilters Guild Inc for our Biennial exhibition that starts on 21 November and my whole week was gone! Fortunately the parents are on the improve, but I still feel a bit wonky- they do forget at times that there is only me , there is no partner I can turn  to for  help, or  to talk things through with or even to lose some of the angst. And my daughter started her exams- so school is officially finished until the next stage in her life and that will depend on exam results.

I will put all the names form my previous blog post in a hat before the weekend and let the winner know.

So all of these events do play havoc with equilibrium, and I find it difficult to get  back into a working rhythm, your thought processes get interrupted. Thank goodness I am doing a lot of the prep work for my book  by hand, but still I look at the photos from time to time, and then delve a little more.

Awhile back I ordered a little book from  Junko Oki entitled Culte a la Carte- she does boro inspired kind of badge embroideries with rough stitches. I guess I was drawn to the book for the  preciousness of the fragments that  had been added to and also the sense of repetition in creating the small pieces because I have been thinking about the medieval badges worn by pilgrims,  and looking at how to translate them into something to do for my book- often the badges contained a print of a saint but as I am making work to do with Chartres, I am thinking the badges need to reference Mary in some way .Each of Junko's pieces is small remnant or fragment with tiny tiny  stitches. It made me realise it's alright to have fragments and stitch those and indeed so much  of  what comes to us from the past is fragments, snippets- so here are a few things I have come up with:

Stitching is a kind of drawing for me- but I don't exactly want my stitching to be  like a perfect thread painted drawing- I want the quality of the stitch to be an integral part of how these images appear. I am thinking of these in the same way as the precious little fragments of coptic embroidery I encountered in the Cluny Museum in Paris or the embroidered copes or  procession dresses worn by the Virgin. I am also working with the idea that one of the  most precious relics at Chartres was a piece of fabric said to be from the veil/shawl of Mary. Each of the embroideries is inspired by an image  from Chartres which has changed with the actual drawing and then again with the stitching.

The image below is inspired by one of the stone sculptures of the  Royal Portal. I was intrigued that a number of the statues had female figures with very long braids. Braids were appreciated in medieval times and in fact Baldwin of Canterbury bestowed praise on braids:
"He was allegorising, but this fails to conceal his sensitive taste  in matters  of fashion, for he described the beauty of plaits persuasively and with exactitude, and referred explicitly to their wholly aesthetic appeal." from  Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, Umberto Eco

So they were fashionable and the sculptor has taken a great deal of effort to portray them so , just as much as with the vestments, so I should  honour them too.