Monday, April 25, 2016

Internationale Arte Textile Biennale Beaujolais

Is time flying faster or have I simply been ridiculously busy? I know that since my last blog post I have been stitching like crazy trying to get new work finished  for Quilts en Beaujolais (Internationale Arte Textile Biennale Beaujolais) and printing fabrics and trying to make some explanatory notes for a french audience about banksias as most people have not encountered banksias. I then thought I had killed my friends' sewing machine, but fortunately it has lived to tell another tale and sew another quilt.

Then I met my middle daughter in Milan for a few days before returning to le Triadou. However by this time a little worm had got into my head. Some years ago I did a week long printmaking course in Florence- they also run a year long program or a 6 month program, and the thought struck me that this might be the ideal course for my daughter to do, as she loved her travel in Italy and loved Florence and makes wonderful drawings. The course is also well respected. So on a whim we are leaving later today for Florence so we can visit the print making studio and explore possibilities, after all it is not possible to just  get there and see when you are in Australia.It meant changing plans a bit but I am a bit excited about visiting Florence again( I was there around this time last year and loved it)

So I wanted to quickly update what I have been making and some of  my encounters! I also ran out of my favourite threads but Aurifil came to rescue and sent me some threads thank goodness! Thank you Alex Veronelli!

The banksia piece above was hand printed and machine stitched and appliqued.

The Babbling banksia mouths beside the previous banksia piece- all hand dyed fabrics and machine stitched

The small hand stitched piece seems a little dwarfed by all the other babbling banksias, but I wanted to show variation on one subject matter.

More olive tree variations- these pieces were touched so many times that Ineke van Unen  my QenB neighbour kindly lent me some of her red hand don't touch signs- but it still did not stop the pawing.
And my hand stitched babbling banksias hanging side by side. Had a terrific four  days at Quilts en Beaujolais, catching up with old friends and making new ones and as always the  cameraderie amongst artist was lovely! Then it was up early on Sunday morning to catch the train to Milan to meet my daughter ( I had thought trains would run earlyish on Sunday morning from Villefranche Sur Saonne to Lyon- but unfortunately no so had to take a very expensive cab ride to get my TGV to Milan on time) We stayed in a hotel  towards  the  peripherique that runs around the old part of Milan and quickly learnt to negotiate the public transport. We were also blessed to be, 20 metres from a wonderful cafe Cinema Teatro Trieste which we treated like home for 3 days. it has great food , live music and wifi and was open early in the morning until late at night- the staff were really welcoming and friendly- we loved it.

Of course we visited the Duomo- with all its lacey decorations and the Duomo museum was well worth a visit. Below is a detail of a tapestry and  a stained glass angel.

We took the train to Stresa for a day to visit Lago Maggiore and Isola Bella- and  caught a water bus for 5 euros each which took  us around all three Borromean Islands and a glorious sunny day. The view below is looking towards Isola Bella.
  And then to my great delight there was a William Kentridge exhibition showing at Galleria La Rumma. Loved the scale and multifaceted aspect of the exhibition. You walked into a darkened space- set up with screens around the space to create a panorama which was animated by  film of a drawn landscape and printed  images as well as actual performing artists enacting the unfolding scenario- with music especially written to accompany the animation-absolutely fabulous! Then on the other two floors of the Gallery there were works used in the film and  several tapestries and printed works and sculptures used for the film. And from a fan I have turned into a devotee!

And to end on an Italian note- there is a small roman bridge near le Triadou- you can still walk across it 2000 years after it was built- my goodness they built things to last!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Preparing for Quilts en Beaujoalis

One of the things about being invited to exhibit at  big quilt events is that you have to have work that has not been seen before. I have created few pieces by hand last year and also some small bits and pieces by machine , but really last year was a year where I did not actually produce much work. I think getting the book done and then getting it all sent out took a lot of energy. I also seem to have done a lot of printing and then of course the medieval Project has been touring as well. So all  in all I produced less work  of the quilted variety than I normally do.

So since being back from Chartres I have had the nose to the grindstone. My work which I will show at Quilts en Beaujolais will be inspired by nature- a bit of a return to a theme I have explored in the past but haven't really done much about in the past few years except for Coqueclicots. Quilts en Beaujolais will be on at Villefranche sur Saone from 13- 16 April. I love this event- there is always great quilts with lots of interesting  work by different international artists and there is also great cameraderie amongst the artists which is always fun!

I made a pomegranate Tifaifai (the positive cut out) for Chartres for the theme Confiance. I have now finished the negative cut out. Both pieces are heavily quilted on a domestic sewing machine with Aurifil 28 weight Mako threads ( they are cotton and I  love how they sit on the surface of the cloth)
I know I have posted the image of the positive tifafai before- but it's nice to see the difference between the positive cutout and the negative cut out. I am still undecided whether to also paint in some seeds on the  pomegranates on the negative.

I am always surprised how different they look even though the reddish fabric is exactly the same and the dark fabric only varies  a few shades from the  positive to the negative.

And then there have been banksia explorations ...

The first image is of fabric I hand painted in India last year during my residency at the Stitching Project, and then hand printed with the woodblock I had made through the Stitching Project.I must admit I struggled a bit with the colours of this , even though they are very Australian- I wanted very dense quilting to make the banksias pop out.So what you are seeing is the quilted piece and on the right the stitch work on the banksia pod itself.

Then there is the Transfer printed banksias I did- with a hand painted banksia pod and woodblock printed surround, again  through the Stitching Project. The effect is quite different. I have another print from this transfer- in which the colours are much redder- can't wait to see what it will look like once stitched. Again this piece is stitched with Aurifil Make 28 weight thread. The weight of the thread gives me  good lines especially as I tend to stitch the lines twice, sometimes three times.

 I have been drawing and thinking about banksias since arriving here even though I had not produced much work until now. I really wanted to capture their weirdness in lots of different explorations. ( I intend to make a hand made book to accompany the exhibition to explain  what I am on about- time permitting) So the drawing on the right was another idea- I had thought I might  have to piece to get the effect that I wanted, but then a thought struck me-I like dyeing what if I could dye the effect I wanted? So the result is on the right. I fold dyed  four different colours, though the outline colour is all the same dye colour  to give uniformity. I am still undecided whether I will cut this piece into a banksia shape or just leave it as is. It is actually quite large for me.This really does look like mouths babbling for me. Can't wait to see what stitch will do to it. If I had pieced the shapes they would have been much more regular- and I wanted each "mouth" to be different.

I must admit Nesta my doggie companion has been a bit disgusted with me- we are still walking but when I sew I am tucked in a room inside the house and she has to entertain herself. She likes it much better when I go down to the atelier downstairs.

Spring has sprung here. Everywhere there is flowers and trees in blossom. Even the gutter on the little old stone shed looks like it has been purposely planted.I love the colours in the plant below- it just grows by the roadside.

 And last but not least- these are the Aurifil Mako 28 weight threads I use.These new ones arrived this morning- which means I can now sew up even more of a storm! I love the colours and the sheen on this cotton. I am extremely grateful to Aurifil for  sponsoring me with thread  for my work- thread and stitch is such an important part of my work so I try and use the best there is.And thank you to Alex Veronelli for your continued support!I have tried a lot of different threads in the past but I keep coming back to Aurifil- their colours  suit my work and the Mako 28 weight comes in big bobbins , and the sheen on the cotton have made me abandon rayon threads .