Saturday, February 27, 2016

To The Grindstone

Thank you to all those who responded to my previous post both on my blog and privately. Your thoughts and advise are much appreciated and I value all sides of the story as it is not easy I know.

I have found it hard to get anything done, but I am getting to the panic side of making things for events that I have been invited to ,so there is nothing for it  but to put the nose to the grindstone and just work work work.I miss my own sewing machine a lot, I think if I do spend periods of time in France I may need to buy one.

This week we had a linocutting class and the beauty of small classes is that you can actually also make some of your own work and still keep an eye on the work of participants . Sometimes it is good for them to see how you work in any case.  So I made a new linocut this week inspired by the weeds and drawn extrapolations thereof encountered on my walks.

Some sketches I made of weeds in the vineyards that we walk through every day.

The weeds were drawn onto the lino with a black permanent marker and then the cutting begins. Once the lino has been cut I make a proof print on news paper or magazines just to see if it needs fine tuning or some more cutting away.

I am still undecided whether I will actually cut this into four separate linocuts or leave it as is. And then once I am happy the print  will print well on fabric, I print on fabric.

I am quite happy with it and I think will lend itself quite well to some stitching or combining with other prints.

I have to come up with a piece for the theme "Confiance" for Chartres- yes I know I have left it  a bit late to some extent, though I know I can finish what I intend to make in time. I have struggled to come up with any ideas as I am feeling anything but confident, and in any case how do you portray trust ? Last year  Joyce Hammond who did her Phd thesis on Tifaifai (and I referred to it in my book Tifaifai Renaissnace as there was very little information available) requested the use of an image of one of my tifaifai quilts for an article she was writing. A month ago she sent me a copy of the article about tifaifai and the  internet, published by the Pacific Arts Association . It is the first time an academic has mentioned my work and the article is interesting ,and it started me thinking about tifaifai again. It is such a lovely way to create a design and when I have taught it  students are always surprised at how well their own designs turn out, even simple ones. I ask them to trust their designs will work. So I trust, in the idea that the design will work and create a  tree of life of sorts which is after all the trust we must have  in nature that life will continue.

So I decided something tried and true and I am confident the design will work.As it happened when I was moving my stuff into my shed I found an old piece of Vliesofix with a partial tifaifai design of pomegranates drawn on it.I stuffed it into my suitcase at the last moment on a whim. Once upon a time I made quite a few of these and used to sell them at the Metro Craft Centre in Melbourne, before it was shut down. So this week I dyed the fabric ( I had forgotten how much I needed to dye) and crossed my fingers that the vliesofix wasn't too old and would stick to the fabric. It took quite some time to cut out, as the design was quite fine. The first image is the commencement of the cutting.

The image below is the pile of spaghetti like cut out that you get when all the cutting is done.  You look at it with a bit of desperation wondering if anything will come  out of it.

  Then the laying out, which takes ages as this design is about 90 cm square.

The whole design laid out, and finally you can see how it will look sort of, as it undergoes more changes with the pressing and then quilting/stitching and of course the borders.

And finally the pressed top ready for the attachment of borders. The last tifaifai I made was in 2009 so it 's been 7 years since I made one, and I must say I am  pleased with it so far, but know stitching will make all the difference.

Another image of the Pic- it dominates my life every walk we make and it's always different. Spring has been in the air and the old stone shed continues to bring up intriguing things. This morning I decided to lift the piece of corrugated plastic on the old wagon and found  a myriad of wasps cocoons- built mud cocoons.

And I have had several requests as to whether I will be running my  Travellers Blanket on-line class this year as it is  awhile since I ran it. I have decided that I will seeing I have started another blanket of my own- though it's a bit different to the other blankets I have made- but it is still about a story.

The on-line  course consists of pdf files which are delivered fortnightly and a closed Fb group  for discussion and sharing. The course will start on 25 March 2016. The idea of the travellers' blanket is that  you use stitch and fabric to tell a story with simple shapes and ideas.It is a contemplative process and  participants have often said that in the end the blanket itself kind of determines how it will be stitched and how it will tell the story. The cost of the course is $60 AUS ( 40€ or $43 US). Just email me if you are interested and I will send you details of how to make payment ( by internet banking or paypal) Some images of stitching in progress can be seen here. The blue Travellers' Blanket I made was on the cover of Quilting Arts a couple of years back.

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