Friday, October 29, 2021

Exhibition at Arc Yinnar; Morning Walks in the Pandemic

 I meant to post on my blog much earlier than this but October got fiendishly busy with all sorts of things and also with  things taking up time that were rescheduled because of the Covid restrictions and lockdowns in Victoria. So this is a catch up on all the work I made for my small exhibition  in the SpArc gallery at Arc Yinnar. The work has been inspired by my morning walks in the Crinigan Bushland Reserve which is close to my home, and which saved my sanity these last two years and is now a big factor in recovering my health after my heart attack.  The exhibition finishes this Sunday the 31st of October- and I am very grateful to the visitors that have visited despite the difficulties of travel at the moment.The gallery has a window as one wall so I created some new gum leaves to hang across the  window space. This piece is constructed from hand dyed fabric and hand painted vilene with each leaf individually stitched and cut out by hand and then sewn together to create a cascade of gumleaves, like you would encounter walking through the bush from low hanging eucalypt brances. The piece is for sale for $800AUD.

I also created another forrest piece which has already been sold ( in fact it was sold before the exhibition was hung). I have made these pieces in the past , but this one has been printed with found things from things I found in the Bushland reserve which included bracken and gum leaves.


The other pieces were all monoprinted with the cold press laminator I purchased last year ( but which I only unpacked out of its box about 3 months ago- it just seemed like one more daunting thing to deal with at the time- but since I have unpacked it I have had a lot of fun with it- and it is still a learning curve for some things). The next two pieces have a central panel which was monoprinted and was then surrounded with hand dyed fabric and free motion stitching with Aurifil Mako threads ( which I love- I use the 30 weight so the thread is slightly thicker because you can get such a good line)


Both of these pieces have sold to someone who is collecting some of my work and told me that she  shows some of my work to her students at school to inspire them- which is a huge compliment!

The next three pieces measure approx 25 cm x 60 cm and are also  monoprinted with found things from the bushland reserve. They are for sale for $200AUD. I found that when I picked some fo the gumleaves they needed a longer piece of fabric to express their elegance and  despite the fact that gumleaves usually hang down, i liked the effect when I pointed them upwards ( you can defy gravity when monoprinting). I also like the shadow print that happens when you make a second print with this type of monoprinting. And I am in love with Kangaroo grass- it makes such a smashing whispy print.

I also made a series of smaller pieces, some hand stitched and some machine stitched. The intention was to make eight but I got five done and am still working on the sixth- I guess it won't get done in time after all. These measure 22 cm x 32 cm

For sale $180AUD- this piece is monoprinted and hand stitched-  faced  binding


               For sale $180AUD- this piece is monoprinted and hand stitched-  faced  binding

The next three have all been mono-printed and machine stitched and are $100AUD each.


                                                                          For Sale


The last piece was monoprinted onto a previously hand printed ( with a linocut) hand dyed khadi fabric and then machine stitched.


I am thrilled with the sales thus far. It has felt like a huge affirmation for working in this way , which is sort of new for me. I have used prinintg in the past in my work but have not really used monoprinting before. Working with the cold press laminator has made those prints come out in a much more interesting way than by simply hand pressing. I also accompanied the exhibition with a booklet which I mentioned in my previous post which also contains a poem of sorts. I still have a few of those for sale if interested ( see my previous post). Some other random photos of my exhibition. I included pods and pockets I had made over the past months. You can sign up for the Pods, Pods, Pods Class ( also in my previous blog post)- i send otu the notes and vidoe immediately and will be organising a zoom question and answer in mid November.

And of course I had to include one of the Sentinelles to watch over all this bush inspired work. If you are interested in any of the pieces that are still for sale please email me. I am also available to make commission pieces. Some of the smaller pieces would make great Christmas gift. I am also selling the little printed panels (  they are unstitched  and they are a little bit bigger than A4) which have been monoprinted . They are monoprinted on hand dyed fabric with found foliage from the bushland reserve. They are $20 inclusive of postage. In the image below are four separate prints.

And let me encourage you to buy the work of artists and artisans in this difficult time but to also buy local and things that are made with love and passion, weather it be art , crafted objects or home grown foods. I can't tell you how grateful I am that so many pieces in this exhibition have sold. Like many artists I survive off the sales from what I make- there is no siginificant other or other support, so it means the world to me that you have supported my work, it enables me to live and to continue making. A number of pieces I have sold in this exhibition have sold to people I have known over the years and that means a lot to me. It is an affirmation that my work is enjoyed, that I am not creating in a vacuum and that what I am trying to say strikes a chord. So thank you!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Upcoming Exhibition

 All things going well ( if these lockdowns ever end) I shall be having a small exhibition in the Sparc Gallery at ArcYinnar starting on the 9th of October until the 31st of October ( It was supposed to start this Saturday). I must admit to being less than enthused creating work until recently because I was not even sure the exhibition would happen and what is the point of creating new work when all it does is sit in the house until maybe, someone offers to buy something. I did have some booklets made entitled Morning Walks in the Pandemic- its a bit of a vanity project really- very limited print run which makes it on the expensive side. I walked most mornings during the reign of the Pandemic these last 18 months and I feel fortunate to have had access to such a wonderful little bushland reserve. I took lots of photos and also wrote down random thoughts when I got home from my walk which I have fashioned into a poem of sorts. I have also created new work in response to my walks, inspired by pickings and my photos. When my exhibition goes live I will also post on my blog with the sale prices of each piece. You will make an artist very very happy if you see something that catches your eye enough to want to make it yours. I will also sell some of the monoprinted and screen printed fabrics I have created especially for this exhibition. Again I shall post those on the 9th of October.

So I want to share some of the work I have been making. It is possible to purchase the booklet- which is 32 pages including covers and is A5 size and has been printed in full colour on quality satin finish paper. The booklet was designed by @s.galtrydesign. Here are some pages from the booklet. The price is $25 inclusive of postage to anywhere in the world. I have only had a limited number printed.

In a way the extra week before the opening of the exhibition has created the opportunity to  create more work, though the space is not large. I will give you a bit of a taster of some of the things that will be on display. But I will share the whole exhibition on the 9th of October.

The above is an A4 sized piece which has been monoprinted and machine stitched.

Forest pieces ( 85 cm x 83 cm) hand dyed forest fabric hand printed with bracken and gum leaves, machine stitched.

Screen printed onto khadi paper- nardoo from a photograph I took in the Bushland Reserve.

Mono printed on hand dyed khadi which had previously been printed with a linocut ( I didn't like the resulting linocut print too much- not enough graphic dynamic but the fabric was too nice not to do something with)

Monprinted A4 size- the one above has been entirely stitched by hand. Below is a monoprint before stitching. These have been printed onto hand dyed fabric.

There will be more works like this on display plus a few other inventions like pockets and a gum leaf free fall hanging. There will also be some hand made and printed concertina booklets and of course pods, pods, pods. It is possible to enroll for the Pods, Pods, Pods on-line class. You will find details for the class and payment button  in the link I have provided. I have decided that I will send out the notes and video when payment is made and then I will arrange a zoom session later in October ( that schedule depends a little on what happens with lockdowns). And yes pods are multiplying and accumulating.

I will also be commencing another Traveller's Blanket Class on 25 October- this will be the last class for this year as the course takes around 8 weeks though I keep the Facebook group open for longer as stitching a Traveller's Blanket takes time. If you look at my previous post which I have linked then you will find a bit of a description of this class as well as a Payment button.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Pods, Pods, Pods, and Mono Printing

 And so the lockdown continues- case numbers keep rising and it seems people are so doing the wrong thing. I am sick and tired of people who think they are above and beyond- get real people this is a panademic, not your unfriendly neighbourhood flu.

I have been trying to achieve some work but because of lockdown I am unable to get a hold of the fabric I normally use to dye, so I have had to be sparing with what I have. I doubt whether I will be able to get fabric in the near future as I get it in Melbourne and Melbourne is locked down for awhile yet.

I am supposed to be having a small exhibition at the small gallery at ArcYinnar starting in October but who knows, however work still has to be made in anticipation of it happening even if it doesn't. I thought I would make work inspired by walks in the Crinigan Bushland Reserve where I walk almost daily. 

I purchased a cold press laminator last year and it sat and stared at me in its box for quite some time. But I finally set it up a few months ago and have been having quite a bit of fun with it. It has been great for printing lino onto fabric. It is not any faster but the evenness of the pressure means to overall print is better. Then awhile ago Jennifer Nieuwenhof showed a video of her monoprinting technique on paper and I thought I might give that a try on fabric! I can only get two prints on fabric as the fabric absorbs the printing ink, and I am using textile printing inks- but am rather chuffed with the results. I have used things found on my morning walks in the bushland reserve so these will be great to use for my exhibition. I love that I have been able to use foliage from my morning walks. 

This is the cold press laminator and some of the prints I have  made. I am not sure what brand it is as the box does not say nor does the piece itself. But it has two orange rollers. The pressure is adjustable and it has a small hand crank. I am using a piece of wood ply as my bed and it is 65 cm wide. It was around $140 delivered- and with the fun I have been having with it I  think that is really good value!

The image above is the first print- so that the foliage creates the negative space.

This is the second print showing the shadowing of the first print and with the foliage inked again. I just love how the kangaroo grass comes out int he printing process.

The piece above has been hand stitched ( this is A4 size). The image below has been machine stitched.

And my Pods, Pods, Pods class is running again on 19 September. there is still plenty of time to join into the pod making fun ( i have become a bit obsessed and tend to stitch them whilst binge watching stuff on my laptop at night). Once you get the hand of them, they come together quite quickly and there are three variations on offer which include a pod, a pomegranate and an urchin.There is a button below the last photo for the class which costs $25 and consists of pdf notes, video and we will have a zoom session a week after instructions have been delivered so we can share and ask questions.

The photo below shows a detail of the dots and colonial knots of the sea urchin.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

A Lean Mean Year And Yet...

 And yet I am very glad to be here, thanks to the modern medicine and hospitals and hospital staff. I suffered a heart attack on the 1st of August and had very few of the signs of heart attack. My blood pressure had been reasonably good up to the event ( I had even given up red wine eight months ago and those of you who know me well know of my fondness for a glass of red wine) I was feeling ok, I had been walking a bit less than normal ( the weather has been cold cold cold and wet), my diet is reasonably good ( a bit too much cheese but I eat few sweets) but there is a family history of heart disease on both sides of the family.  On the 1st of August my daughter was staying with me, we had gone for a coffee in the morning and then went to the gallery at ArcYinnar to see Linda Ellery's excellent exhibition  which I had helped hang on the Thursday. I had a bit of left arm pain but put it down to muscle fatigue from hanging said exhibition. On driving home we decided to go for a walk. We had started walking when I started to feel really unwell ( I don't often feel unwell) so much so that I said to my daughter perhaps we need to go to the hospital? ( I am also aware of the heart history of my family) so we did. The triage nurse had me whipped in there like lightening thank goodness, even though my blood pressure was not abnormal and I had no chest pain, and I was not breathless. Enzyme tests confirmed that indeed I was having a heart attack. Latrobe Regional Hospital does not have a cardiac unit yet, so they stabilised me for transfer me to the Alfred in Melbourne and an angiogram to see what was going on. There was narrowing of one artery in particular so they placed stents in that artery- the other artery passed the stress test and the third artery goes nowhere??. I was very glad not to need surgery but now I do have to take medication ( I was on none before this event) I was out of hospital the next afternoon. Thank you to all the staff at Latrobe Regional Hospital and The Alfred and my hat off to all nurses! You do a wonderful and difficult job and in these Covid times even harder with all the gear you have to wear all the time!

I am back home now and feeling  reasonably good. My daughter decided to stay on for the week I came home which has been lovely, even though she works from home in her day time job. It is lovely to have someone here when we are yet again locked down ( that has now lifted a little for regional Victoria). I live on my own so lock down is difficult- especially as the only person I see during lockdown times is my elderly mother whose physical  condition is slowly but surely deteriorating since her stroke and who  like many of her generation refuses to entertain leaving her house despite the fact that it is becoming difficult for her to be there even with all the help and assistance I have been able to organise and the meals I cook for her. I also live and hour and a half from where she lives so it is not so easy to be there  and I still work full time in my business. I am not yet old enough for a pension and because I have been self employed for the last 25 years of my working life earning what a textile artists earns and raising a family on those earnings there is no super annuation to fall back on. I think there are many women around my age in the same position and many more who are homeless through no real fault of their own.

There is no doubt that Covid has played havoc with my income these last 18 months like it has for many people with a micro business- it is not easy to get the financial support that seems to be available for bigger companies- you can't actually go on job seeker as you are a business owner and not actively seeking work. I decided last year that rather than jump through the hoops of Centrelink I would try and tough it out myself somehow- I am fortunate I own my house, but there are expenses involved in living in a house and well utilities need to be paid and I need to eat ( a bit less cheese than I have been 😆). 

Just about all teaching events I have been booked for over the last year have been cancelled due to lockdowns, all exhibitions that I attend have been cancelled so I have turned to the on-line versions of what I do. You, the on-line community have been incredibly supportive and for that I am extremely grateful but nonetheless my income has been heavily impacted. I do grow a lot of my own vegetables and with spring coming my garden needs a lot of work, all of which I have to do whilst also continuing to work. My compost bins need turning but I am not supposed to do anything too heavy for awhile.

Like many I have struggled with this sixth lockdown here in Victoria- we lockdown hard to save lives and to prevent people getting sick with this nasty horrid virus which claims victims amongst all ages. People do complain but as far as I am concerned anything that saves lives is worth  the inconvenience of lockdown. There is an ethical question which I have not heard addressed adequately to counter those who claim their individual rights are too impacted ( have we forgotten what ethics are) which is when do my individual rights outweigh the rights and safety and well being of the community of which I am a part ? The answer is they don't if I am a part of the community .

I decided to stitch the linocut printed panel of this bird and stylised flowers inspired byt Florentine fabric from the sixteenth century. I am using mainly backstitch.

And so I try and stitch and keep working. I am making a new design for a poppy inspired tifaifai for the book which I am supposed to be working on. Meanwhile I keep getting distracted with more pockets and pods and another bit of hand stitching to ease ther anxiety as i now contemplate this next phase of my life. Walking will definitely be a part of that and we have been walking this week in the little bushland reserve near to my home and sadly  cheese will be a lesser part of my existence.

A "bush" pocket. The other night whilst my daughter and I were binge watching The Cook of Castamar on Netflix I was delighted to see the cook wearing a "pocket" in one of the scenes . My pockets are for sale for $125.00AUS inclusive of postage . Email me if you are interested. ( the pockets in my previous blog post are for sale also)

I have decided to run another Pods, Pods, Pods class for 19 September 2021. The last pods class brought up some delightful variations. Details of the course are in my previous blog post as well as a Paypal button for payment for the class which you can find here.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Workshops On-line

I have been teaching on-line classes  since 2009 and  have chosen not to use a dedicated platform to do this- mainly because I want to keep the groups smallish  and also friendly . In the on-line sphere the feel of a class is very different to teaching in the flesh. When you teach in the flesh you can read a room, you can tell who needs a little help, you can tell when you need to take a stop to explain s0mething a bit bettter than you might have, you need to make everyone feel included as much as possible, you can  relate stories and people can respond with their own stories and ideas- it's an interactive space, where everyone's voice makes a contribution. It is the give and take of a teaching space or as a good friend of mine , Fiona Wright from the Stitching Project calls it the bump and nudge of sparking ideas. And this is exactly what happened over the last couple of months- as we have kept checking in with each other  and nudged and bumped each other with ideas as we try and negotiate this new kind of world we are in and try and see how we can create something into the future that actually embraces more connectivity of the bump and nudge kind. Sometimes we are like giddy school girls running with an idea which may or may not come off but it's the fizz of excitement of running with an idea which sparks other ideas. So with that thought in mind we have decide to create a website called the Connecting Stitch with a blog as well- it is still very much a work in progress and will continue to be so in the spirit of sparking ideas, but we intend to share all sort of interesting tidbits and ideas, making ideas and thinking with our hands we also intend to include others into the choir. Will let you know as soon as you can join in to the fun. We have both worked on a blog post- where you will find  instructions on how to embellish a jacket and how to make tie on pockets. We also have an instagram page called connecting_stitch ( which you can look at already)- we will be adding things so follow us if you are interested to see what we are up to.

Pods, Pods, Pods
I have had quite a few requests for the pod workshop. I must admit I have kind of struggled with how to put it together exactly. I don't enjoy zoom for actual teaching but do like it for question and answer. I myself learn from notes with lots of images but that said also watch videos on how to do things. So on that note I have decided to launch the workshop anyway and combine all three things. So Pods Pods and Pods Workshop notes and video will be available on the 1st of August and then we will do a zoom Question and Answer the following week- at two different times on Sunday 8 August ( to accommodate US and European time zones). The cost of the workshop will be $25AUS. You will see in the photos I have branched out the pods into pomegranate shapes and urchin shapes ( how could I resist?) and the notes will have instructions on how to make these. I have attached a Paypal button and once payment is made I will send you an email with a materials list and further instructions.

 The button on the left if for the Pods, Pods, Pods On-line Workshop.

And just when Victoria thought it might have dodged  some of the Covid crisis here we are in lockdown again. I live alone and am unpartnered so these lockdowns are becoming difficult. I am allowed to see my mother for care reasons but that is arduous in its own right ( I do her cooking , some of which I freeze and her shopping)- but frankly I could do with a hug myself and also I need to be vigilant about my own self care which at present is getting subsumed into my mothers' care. And I also need to be super careful in what I might pass on to her. We have been lucky in the Latrobe valley with a few cases early in 2020 but none since, but as the current situation shows it requires extreme vigilance for things to remain this way.I realise covid numbers are on the rise worldwide and we must all take care of each other and there are people in difficult situations everywhere- but if you are partnered or sharing a house please reach out to those that are not. The world has been far from easy for many people and not all of us can at the end of the day receive a warm hug from someone in your immediate vicinity- a kind caring word goes a long way!

And last but not least. I am starting another Traveller's Blanket on-line class on the 8th of August. There is still plenty of time to sign up and create your own Traveller's blanket- they are wraps to remind you of journeys and wanderings on this planet whether it be your back yard, your local forest or beach or the wider world which at present lives in our imaginations. To me there is nothing quite like stitching- it passes time to be sure, but also makes my hands wander, create textures , and fills space with such feeling that it is tangible. I am certain that our hands offer another way of reading.

 The traveller's Blanket on-lien class starts on the 8th of August and includes extensive pdf notes delivered fortnightly for a period of 8 weeks, a little video and  four  question and answer zoom sessions for your questions and getting to know each other a little. I also set up a private Facebook group for sharing prgress and for discussion.

Meanwhile keep  well!