Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Vienna, Stitching, Dyeing and House Sitting

It was an extremely long journey home from Austria as I had a seventeen hour layover in Doha. Did try and book an hotel but Qatar Airways have changed their system so i could not be sure if I could book a hotel for the time period of 5 am until 7 pm at night- so I sat in the airport instead and stitched. The airfares I travel on don't allow hotel accommodation for long layovers, and even entry to the Oryx lounge was going to cost $55US for 6 hours- I am beginning to wonder why I am a frequent flyer with Qatar Airways- as there seem to be yearly reductions in any benefits that you might accrue for using them several times a year for long haul flights. Thankfully the flights were not full and I arrived at around 6 pm Oz time- which means after eating dinner you get to bed at a reasonably normal hour- which seems to allay the jet lag to some extent.

 Since arriving it has been  hurtling and skirtling- and now I am housesitting- my usual menagerie ; 4 dogs, 3 cats,  a dozen sheep, 15 odd chickens, 6 bantams, 2 puddle ducks ( who thought tonight was a good night to try out a puddle for their night sleep and took some persuading that the chicken house is ultimately the safer place) and some lorikeets . The animals seem to  know my habits better than I do myself, especially the dogs who are now happily ensconced on all the couches and who occasionally nick a ball of thread if they think I am not looking.

As the housesitting is close to where my mother lives I go and hand dye fabric at her house, as well as visit my mother ( as I have no running water or electricity in Gellibrand which means dyeing fabric is a little difficult). I am hoping to solve one of those problems soon. I seem to have solved the rat problem, at last, in the shed ( I am still not sure if they are rat rats or native rats, but the dead rat I found looked too big to be a bush/native rat, which are not truly native to Australia as they came across the waters on a boat some thousands of years ago), but was also hit by a millipede invasion whilst away. Most of them end up on the slab floor rather than other surfaces so a good sweep seems to get rid of most of that problem!

Meanwhile I am stitching and stitching on the traveller's blankets, and have fallen a bit behind, which means  days of 12 hour days of stitching once I am back in Gellibrand- it's the only way I will finish what I set out to do for the Craft & Quilt Fair in Sydney from 20-24 June, where I will be one of the guest exhibitors for their 25 year celebration . At this stage I feel like I need an parallel life that does not include sleep as I have also had ideas about making a small accompanying  booklet after I write and overdue article about the Waste Not Want Not indigo  traveller's blanket.

The teaching in Austria seems like weeks ago but in actual fact was only last week. It was a real pleasure to work with some of the women for the entire 7 days of the workshops. We covered lots of techniques but it also allowed them to build little bodies of work. Other people came for only a day or two as their time permitted. Having seven days really allows you to push a bit further and really develop new work. The venue Seminarhof Schleglberg in Rottenbach ,was also excellent with good food , friendly staff and good amenities. I loved the home baked bread that was available!


 The owner, Mr Fritz unloading the  bread oven. Their enterprise is centred around organically and sustainably  grown foods, which they now also sell in a store in another village, and they employ a number of people to help achieve this. They grow their own vegetables and grain.

Thank you to Karin Felbmayer for organising the workshops and finding a wonderful venue and  stopping at your town on the way to the train to Vienna so I could buy a snow globe for my daughter ( which she loved) Some of the work by students:

And a close up of the birch tree inspired piece which was developed in the trees trees workshop and added to. Tanya made this particular piece  and the other pieces in the photo above.


The following piece was from Breaking all the Rules- it was large 2.2 metres ( if I don't mention students names it is so at their request) Made with all recycled and redyed fabrics and denim offcuts- the squares are going to be embroidered and some printed.

 Below are some images of linocutting- Frieda made this lovely  abstract kind of village scene and amazing achievement seeing she had limited mobility for using the tools in her hands.
And after creating a turtle Ingrid was not sure linocutting was for her but then went on to make the village scene below!


 On the Monday I returned to Vienna as my flight left form Vienna on Tuesday night.  On the monday I arrived after one but my hotel was right across from the main Bahnhof   ( Motel One- I highly recommend it as the amenities are good , you can check in early, the price good for the amenities which are a bit upmarket, but as it  was one night and my suitcase very heavy it suited my purpose and right across the Bahnhof, and Vienna's public transport system is not difficult to use at all- there are more emerging across Europe).

 So i took the metro into the centre of Vienna,walked and walked and walked and spotted the same old designer shops you see in every city ( boring boring boring) and decided on a visit to the Leopold Museum in the  Museum Quartier. They had a retropsective of Egon Schiele's work as it is a hundred years since he and his pregnant wife died form the Spanish flu ( make sure you get those flu shots) and what an absolute delight the exhibition was. There were many pieces I have never seen in any books including city scapes from shortly before his death and off course some of his iconic pieces.


 A very early drawing, and of course later pieces. I was so happy I went, it was enthralling seeing so many of his pieces and I would have gone back another day had I had the time. Would have loved to buy the catalogue ,but alas my luggage already weighed 29 kilos although in hind sight it probably weighed less than a kilo ( but I didn't know my lugagge weighed less than 30 kg at that time)





On the tuesday morning - I stitched and stitched and then checked out of the hotel around noon and was able to leave my luggage until later in the day and made a foray into the area where Hundertwasser decorated an apartment building and communal area. I had intended to see this  way back in 1990 when I visited Vienna but it was so cold we went to Sicily instead so I never got to see it

Unfortunately you cannot go inside the building but he lived by the premise of trees everywhere and no straight lines. It was a delight to see all his works in Kunst Haus Wien and the building  that had been built to house his collection as well as host other exhibitions. No photographs inside- but his work is well documented.

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