Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Re-Invention Part II

 I am still working on reinventing things- it takes time to weigh up the pros and cons of many elements. I am trying to nut out one or two big goals in a more precise but in a step by step manner

I have in the flesh teaching coming up in Mildura at Lesley Mays Patchwork & Craft which will be Creating your own Linocuts & Printing and Stitching on the 1st & 2nd of May.


I will also be teaching  Creating Linocuts and Printing on Fabric at Amitie Textiles in Torquay on 8 May.

Also there is still the possibility to join my on-line Linocut Creation and Printing on fabric class which starts 4 April. This class takes you through many exercises to  build your linocutting skills and also to print on fabric. You work at your own pace and develop skills in areas that interest you. The pdf notes are also extensive. You will find details here just scroll down the page. Below are some examples of some of the possibilities of linocut printing on fabric.






Last weekend I taught at the Slow Stitch Gathgering at Ulladulla- the first time I have taught in the flesh for over a year. Initially it felt strange to be in a room full of other people , but I quickly adjusted- and what a delight it was to be in a wonderful creative space with 5 different tutors without the whirrr of machines. It was lovely to see so easily what everyone else was creating. It was all very gentle and calming and we were well cared for by Marilyn's Patchwork Corner- which has a great selection of hand stitching threads if you find yourself in that part of the world.

It was a long drive back as I did it all in one go, I am simply not used to such a long drive anymore after a year of driving very little except to gop back and forth to my mothers. I broke the drive up there into two as I did not want to arrive too tired so I stayed at Eden right on the beachfront which was delightful and ever so enjoyable. I find a super big urchin ( which whilst dead is still decomposing) and the banksias grew right up to the beach.


Babbling Banksia's meeting the sea at Eden. There had just been a wild storm and there was loads of kelp on the beach-  almost like a whole forest. After watching My Ocotpus Teacher I have a whole new respect for kelp- whole forests of it exist on the East coast of Australia all the way down past Tasmania but as the ocean currents are warming they are depleting- with it's concomitant effect on other creatures and our climate. Tread gently upon the earth for we are part of it not in control of it.





Friday, March 12, 2021

Re-Invention Part II

Part of re-inventing is not only creating on-line classes but also thinking about how I see my micro business for the next few years- what are my hopes and aspirations. How do I see my arts practice over that period of time, how do I sustain my practice and thereby myself for that time. This has also meant examining where I am at. I have been listening to lots of podcasts- among them Laura Boswell and Peter Keegan's Ask an Artist,  and Starving Artist with Honor Eastly and have then stumbled on a whole plethora of podcasts  to do with art creation. The podcasts are interesting to listen too because there is always something to learn but it is also interesting to hear of the struggles and obstacles and successes of other artists. One overwhelming take away from listening to different artists is that it takes a long time to develop an art career and it requires patience, dedication, hard work and diligence. One point Laura Boswell made ( and I admire her print making a lot) was that trying, experimenting and testing for consistent outcomes ( for your audience and market) is a big part of being an artist. She pointed to the example of a student who asked her what happens if I use this type of paper instead of that type of paper- rather than give a ready answer she replied to the student why don't you try the different papers and experiment ? Because that is what she does as an artist- there are no ready answers to everything but a lot of trial and error and experimentation to get the effect you want.

The other aspects of being an artist they pointed to was the acquiring of a good grounding of skill and then lots of practice and even then the outcome will not always be certain but will have its serendipitous moments through the accrual of practice and will have its disasters. Another point that was raised was research and development- learning about other artists, art history but also learning about  the different materials and techniques for using those materials which then go on to inform how you make things.

 I consider myself to be a textile artist rather than a quilt maker because I do many textile related things not only quilts- for example I dye fabric, I print fabrics , I use a number of techniques to get imagery onto fabric including breakdown printing and transfer printing and I stitch by hand and machine not only to quilt but to embellish, but I definitely have art in mind as my end result.  I also write and have written many industry relevant articles and books  but also a book that included some creative travel writing, I am a curator having travelled many exhibitions overseas, and I teach. Oh and I am a traveller. In the textile world I am considered well and truly mid career if not further along but in the art world I am on the beginning curve of mid career. I am also a creative entrepeneaur- I have made something out of nothing and I have done this for quite a few years now. And yes I put that in bold text- I have never thought to describe myself in this way but that is indeed what I am.  

I am in the process of rewriting my bio ( what do you think is interesting that I do? feedback would be appreciated) because bio writing has really changed with the popularity of social media and I am in the process of mapping my goals- both business and personal as an interlaced map.

There are lots of ideas floating around , out there and in my head and I am also looking at how I value my hours of work. The pay/hours of work equation has been woefully low, yet artists consistently undervalue their worth and are expected to undervalue their worth and are expected to do many things for free because the work of an artist is undervalued in society as a whole.

Anyway I am still working through many of the ideas I have encountered in this week of  research and re-visioning my arts practice. What I would really like to achieve in the next few years is an exhibitiion in an established gallery! Plus another book about something closer to home- inspired by morning walks. And I would consistenly likje to make artists books.

My on-line Linocutting and Printing on Fabric course starts on 4 April- so there is plenty of time to enroll. In it I  share my many years of experience of printing on fabric with lino ( see my previous post for details and Paypal button) and there are many exercises to build your skills. You could also print on paper if so inclined.

And whilst I am on the subject of podcasts I have this last week been making pods. I mostly make these at night at present, as it is a slow process. I was intrigued that I wrote in my journal  about this time last year that I wanted to make pods- pods of kindness or tenderness pods- the holders of fragile and tender ideas .


These pods sit in the palm of your hand- part of me wants to make the walls more stiff but another part of me likes that the walls are soft and change shape. They are sitting on top of a hand dyed Sudanese cotton bought at a flea market in Trieste and printed with linocuts.

I have also created a page on my blog of prints for sale. I have listed all the types of prints I have ( there are a few more to add, but I have to print them first). I have not listed all the colours as there are many possibilities with hand dyed fabrics and basically you can request a colour family you would like. If you scroll down the page you will find images of stitched pieces and some instructions and ideas of how I stitch the printed pieces. I use very simple stitching.


Monday, March 01, 2021

Re-Invention

 I am in the process of reinventing myself sort of. I had my 65th birthday recently and in days gone by that meant retirement of sorts but in this day and age in Australia I have to continue working for at least another 18-24 months until I can receive a pension, and I have no plan to retire in any case  ( i believe it's the same in other parts of the world as well). I also started work in a time when initially no super was paid and then after I did start paying it in my late twenties it was possible to liquidate part of your super to purchase your residential home- which I did with my ex husband.  I did accrue some more super , but then had children, and the super stayed the same miniscule amount that it started out as, and increased in value by less than 5%- which was abyssmal when you consider the time frame in which it was supposedly invested ( for a period of 25 years I might add). I was told this was because it was only a small amount and of course i was unable to add to it as I was self employed earning a very low income. I then got divorced ( divided assets equally  in an effort to be fair) whilst my children were still young teens and joined the countless women who struggle financially as a single parent and could not find mainstream work, despite spending quite some years trying. So no super to speak of and very few savings as I live on an extreme budget and have done for many years. I also live on my own and have done since my divorce.

I have started an on-line Marketing course with Arts Action which is for regional Victorians- and though I know a lot of the stuff it never hurts to revisit things or tweek things. Plus I am not good at marketing- it's my least favourite bit of running an arts practice ( that and the book keeping)

I am now at another turning point- much of my work last year and even this year was cancelled  due to Covid19 and travel seems unlikely to resume until 2022 as much of my work is overseas. This has created significant hardships. I was fortunate to receive a Supporting Creatives Victoria Regional grant which was used to have professional videos made and creating more on-line courses. But I have a confession to make I have struggled with zoom , not because it is unwieldy (though trying to accommodate time zones across the world is a juggling act in its own right) or new but simply as something that somehow does not sit right. The other day I stumbled across an article in the Guardian that might explain my struggles as other people apparently also have the same issue. It boils down to the fact that it is actually unsettling and unnerving to see so much of yourself- and as a teacher I see myself a lot ( normally you don't see yourself in the class room situation). This has the unnerving effect of making you feel uncomfortable and hence struggle with attending zoom sessions let alone organising them. There are ways of dealing with this, as suggested by the article- which would work fine if I was not the teacher . So I have decided that  I cannot run too many courses concurrently- so that I can properly prepare myself for zoom sessions when they are only once a week. I also find it difficult to "read" my students with zoom and it actually does take a lot of time to prepare and be there in the zoom setting. Normally with in the flesh teaching I move around the room and keep an eye on things- to help those struggling a little, to  encourage here and there, to suggest and to discuss , to judge the pace- some people work slowly, others work fast- with zoom this is a completely different experience. I like the interaction of a classroom space as then you all learn from each other and it is much more inclusive. Ahh the vagaries of zooming!

Meanwhile I still have Musing in Textile: France books for sale ( though the numbers are down to the last 50 books) and I also have many printed fabrics available. I will be creating a page with the type of prints I have available ( it  is not possible to show all the colours available simply because it is a huge exercise photographing everything, though I can dye the colours you would like) and I will be creating a worksheet of sorts with stitching suggestions that can be permanently accessed for working on the linocut printed fabric. Also my quilts are for sale if anyone is interested.

 I will also be running more on-line classes but in a much more staggered fashion. I will run the linocutting class Starting Friday 2 April.  I will run another Traveller's Blanket Class starting  Friday 7 May and I will provide details in due course. I have  slighly increased the price of each workshop in line with other professional teaching on-line.

The class description can be found under the On-line workshops tag or below ( there are images of the linocuts I make on the on-line workshops page or throughout my blog)

Linocutting On-line Class



Beginner- Advanced

This  on-line class has been designed for those interested in printing on fabric or creating unique one-off printed fabrics for use in textile work. I will share with you how I have adopted linocutting into my textile practice. The class will focus on creating designs for linocuts, carving the linocuts and printing on the fabric using a number of different printing ideas. I will take you through a workbook I recently created to  develop designs for multi block printing.

Creating linocuts is undergoing exciting new developments at present , due to the fact that it is so accessible, relatively low cost, can be done at your kitchen table or desk, and the outcomes are always unique.  The materials needed are available from art shops and some textile suppliers. No one print is exactly the same. However it is possible to create repeat prints- keeping in mind  that printing with lino will give slight variations.

We will look at the tools,  creating the design, transferring the design, carving and practicising strokes, carving your linocut, printing on fabric, multi blocks to create vignettes and repeat block printing.

The class will consist of:
  • videos taking you through the process
  • extensive pdf notes ( a condensation of 25 years of printing experience) 
  • a private facebook group for discussion and sharing 
  • weekly zoom sessions for questions and answers and getting to know each other a little.
I will encourage you to make your own designs, inspired by observation or photos you have taken.



The class will run for a period of four weeks, but I will keep the facebook group open for longer as you will work at your own pace. It is always good to see how others create their designs and to trouble shoot less successful prints and to discuss design.

 The cost of the course is $100AUS. ( depending on currency exchange rates , approximately $77 USD, 64  Euro, 55 British pounds)
To register for the course simply pay via the Paypal button and I will be in touch with further information.
This class will commence on  2 April 2021


Sunday, February 07, 2021

Summer, but it Does Not Feel Like Summer

 Summer is decidedly cool and wet this year- a relief after the bushfire summer in the east of  Australia last year but not very friendly for growing some vegetables that like the hot weather. Everything seems late this year, although usually things are a bit more advanced in the city, and well the zucchinis are only pushing out one or two a week and eggplants are only now flowering. Hope it warms up a bit for the rest of this month and March. It is however wonderful to have fresh tomatoes every day, I am in tomato heaven but whether I will get a zillion to process I am not so sure. I tried a few different varieties this year but the romas are like cocktail size- I am sure I sowed full  sized roma's, and the Rouge de Marmande is far from early, but setting lots of decent sized tomatoes.



Anyway I am glad I am not feeding a whole family, but on the other hand there is plenty of fresh vegies ofr one person and the green climbing beans have gone completely mad and I am getting a few sunflowers even though the snails feasted on the  seedlings when they first popped up.




My on-line classes have been going well and I will schedule some more for early to mid  March . There are Paypal buttons on my on-line class button which you can find here On-Line Classes. There is descriptions of the classes and prices on that page. I will run both the Tifaifai Class and the Linocutting Class. Will provide exact dates in the near future. Some wonderful designs have been made in the Tifaifai class that is currently running. By enrolling know that you are supporting an artist and hopefully you will learn some wonderful new techniques!

It looks like I may have some in the flesh teaching at Torquay late in April. Very disappointed  that Grampians Textures in March  was cancelled but do understand the dilemna the organisers faced in the face of Covid restrictions and the logistics of on again off again border closures. Hopefully the Slow Stitch gathering in NSW  in late March will go ahead- I won't know myself travelling more than 200 kms.

Still walking most mornings in the little bush reserve near my home, I feel very fortunate to have something so lovely very close by- it is like losing yourself in another world for a part of each day.


I love how the Nardoo looks in the dappled light and how the reflections play amongst the leaves. Have not spotted any tortoises recently, one of the other walkers told me the kids come and get them and who knows what happens to them then- such a pity.


Printed up some of this linocut  on hand dyed fabric and it is for sale for $25 inclusive of postage. I only have one red one at present but need to dye some more fabric later this week. If you are interested in buying one let me know by emailing me and I can send you details.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Tifaifai and Linocut

 

I want to wish everyone the very best for 2021 and keep safe and healthy. I suspect that 2021 is going to be a lot like 2020- pandemics don't just disappear despite vaccines which will be an interesting logistic exercise . I certainly don't anticipate doing any travel until 2022 so in the meantime I hope I sell a few works and people join my on-line classes.

I have been busy fine tuning and editing my notes for  the Tifaifai on-line Class starting on 14 January ( there is still time to join) and the Linocutting and Printing on Fabric  On-line Class starting on 21 January. It is a long process and you need to distance yourself from it from time to time , because your eye does not see little typos where words can have more than one spelling or where words look very similar but are in fact an entirely different word. You can find descriptions and  Paypal buttons for the classes on the On-Line Workshops page. There is stilll plenty of time to join. The linocutting class has been devised  for designing linocuts for fabric printing and the considerations are a little bit different to working with linocuts on paper. You will be able to make plenty of unique fabric for your  projects and quilts.



When I take a break from editing and fine tuning I have been working in some sketchbooks that I started in an on-line class I did with Laura Kemshall called the sketchbook Challenge in November. She shared lots of ideas and techniques to use in a sketchbook. Mine has been rather slow going because I have been busy with many things ( including my mothers fall and her recovery from that) but it is a welcome distraction  from editing. I actually started two sketchbooks as I was impatient waiting for paint or glue to dry. I chose to do totally different subject matters.  I am far from finished but the blank pages are disappearing  even if they are only covered by a coat of paint. I have had fun doing it and I have discovered I have a lot of water colour pencils which I have bought over the years but never really used until now. In fact the activity has taken over the spare room for the time being.







I had already started the sketch book when I thought- i should base it on the little Bushland reserve where I walk most mornings and have taken lots of photos and then banksias had to creep in , because well I love banksias. I am gearing up to do a more in depth sketch book on the Bushland Reserve- seeing it will be my distration this coming year. It has been lovely  seeing all the small changes form day to day and encountering all the creatures that live there



This is part of the Kookaburra track and as you can see summer is drying off the grasses. I think this is my favourite track in the whole reserve ( it might have to do with the fact that it is mostly downhill) Anyway back to editing!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Where did the Year Go?

 Despite all the lockdowns  ( we had close on eight months with a small break somewhere a third of the way along) time seems to have scurried out of the window. We spent Christmas at my mothers and I saw all my daughters for the first time since beginning June. I have to say that even though it was lovely to see my daughters this is the least favourite time of the year for me. I grew up in a house where my parents did not believe in Christmas- but now years later ,every year the carry on about Christmas starts-  when I had young children it was apparently too far for family to travel  to our place for Christmas, which meant we were often on the road trying to please family- occasionally I succeeded in just having Christmas to ourselves and staying and enjoying home.  My father who professed to be an atheist was somehow strangely attached  to Christmas  especially towards the end of his life and  my mother has  done a similar thing. Now that she has had a stroke it means I have to cart all the food there , cook it all on a stove that needs replacing  ( but she won't because she loves the look of it ) with kitchen equipment that is inadequate. I tried to prepare a fair bit at my house, but I must admit I felt like a packhorse carrying it all to the car driving there and then unpacking it all. Anyhow it is all done and dusted for another year- next year I think I will go camping! And I hope however you spend your time at this time of year that it was enjoyable for you!

And then yesterday listening to the radio whilst driving they  dedicated the day to all the people who had to work- with all the hullabaloo about celebrating and big Christmas dinners etc etc- we seeem to forget that for  a fair proportion of the population work continues as usual-  service station attendants, hospital staff ( cleaners, food deliverers, nurses, doctors), fire station staff, police, zoo keepers, and many other jobs that  continue on as usual.It all gets swept away under this  retail extravaganza called Christmas.

I created a magazine style report of this years doings and things I have made. It was easier to do it that way than putting it in my blog. So I share it here for you to enjoy. https://www.flipsnack.com/Origidij/the-sanity-of-morning-walks-and-other-reflections-google-d.html

There is still time to enroll for my new courses which you will find under the on-line Workshops tab on my blog  or here.


It is summer here, and the grass in the little Natire Reserve where i walk has all gone to seed and as the hot weather starts it will all die off.

I want to wish all of my readers all the best for 2021, lets hope it will be better than  this year has been and that we  can safely navigate through it  and come out the other end.

Monday, November 30, 2020

On-Line Workshops

 The last two weeks have been ridiculously busy trying to finish work for my new on-line workshops starting in January. I have created a page on my blog especially for the on-line workshops I teach and will be updating that further in the next day or so. The Tifaifai class has been written up http://origidij.blogspot.com/p/on-line-workshops.html and is now available for  you to register. I have created five new patterns, varying in size and complexity so that the class is suitable  for all levels of expertise. I will guide you through all the necessary steps both by way of video and pdf notes with interactivity via a private Facebook group and Zoom. I hope you will join me and try one of my patterns or  better still use your own inspiration to create your own design!



I will also be adding a Linocutting and Fabric Printing on-line workshops in the  next day or so, which will take you through all the steps of designing for linocut, carving your lino (  or easy cut) printing on fabric, layering with different linocuts to create  vignettes and repeat printing.

Lastly I will be runing my on-line Traveller's Blanket class starting 18 December 2020. Christmas and the accompanying holiday period will be very different, and especially at the present time many people  will be alone or at least in environments where limited movement outside the house is advisable. There is nothing quite so soothing as stitching, the rhythm calms the mind and creating colourful and beautiful blankets is a good antidote! The Facebook and Zoom  sessions allows us to get to know each other a little better and also ask questions which hopefully I will be able to answer. I am going to offer this class at a special price of $50 AUS once only, simply because this has been a tough tough year.





I must admit my  mojo had been a bit missing in action until a week or two ago . I did work, but just could not get into a good working routine.  Then when finally I did get my work enthusiasm back, my mother had a fall. At first it seemed it was not so bad and she was walking , but as the days progressed so did the pain. I visited her at home and we spoke to the gp by tele conference, but really there was no improvement. So in the end I had her hospitalised ( which she was not very keen about) simply because she is not always the most reliable reporter of symptons and there have been issues with her blood pressure again which is not great for a person who has had a stroke. Fortunately X-rays and Ct scan showed nothing broken so it appears it was deep bruising which affected her ability to walk stably. Hopefully she will be released today which has meant I have had to cook a lot of things for her as she is not really cooking very much anymore. And I will probably  need to visit her more frequently but this latest incident has shown that if she continues to live independently she needs some help. I am still working fulltime and it's another three years until I reach retirement age ( though I can't see myself retiring as I love what I do) and I live a 3 hour round trip away from where she lives which makes things hard and my time stretched to the limit. I need space to work as I work from home and though my daughters are now young adults with independent lives- this year has been especially tough and I would like to see them as well. Plus my garden apart from the vegie patches  is a bit of a mess simply because I have not had time.

Hopefully some in person teaching will resume in 2021, but I doubt  overseas teaching will happen simply because the government has been saying that borders will remain closed for some time and as my own  health is a little immunity compromised from the cancer treatment I am not that keen to hop on a plane until they find a reliable vaccine and people are actually vaccinated which I imagine will take some time. So hence all the work to get more on-line teaching ahppening. The next step is to build a proper website- which will be another learning curve!

I  hope you will join me in some of my new on-line classes. I have created new content and have basically revised my Tifaifai Renaissance book with different ideas and uses of end product. Like wise the linocutting class will have new content as well.