Monday, February 28, 2005

The Village Where Sandy Lives

Bare branches Posted by Hello
When I come to England I often stay with Sandy and Simon in a little village in Cambridgeshire. This morning the church bells rang- it threatened to snow several times, and I thought I would share some images of the village. There are a few old thatched cottages, their windows so low to the ground that you think people must look out of their windows through their kneecaps. The trees are just about the burst into bud, but meanwhile the bare branches create wonderful shapes against the background sky. These things are all a novelty coming from Australia.We have a little church in the town where I lived but it was sold and has been turned into a house, there is no thatch and most of our trees are evergreen- except of course the European trees that have been planted.

Thatched house Posted by Hello

Village church Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Safari Posted by Hello

The Last two Days

Starry Night Posted by Hello

I knew the minute that I started working with a green hued fabric that orange would not be far off. On Wednesday a parcel arrived from my husband- he had printed me up a whole pile of lino-cuts which he sent me here in Cambridgeshire. He and I both make the lino-cuts and they are usually of animals. I also cut a kuba inspired little lino-cut earlier this week and printed up some fabric. So I thought I would use some of them in the little quilt 'Safari'- which is about 24 inches square. it still needs to be quilted, but the top is together.
The other quilt Starry Night is a small version of one of the styles of quilt of a class I teach- Breaking All the Rules- this is one variation where you piece squares so that no lines meet ( which results in lines of colour running through the fabric- eg just look at the black fabric and you will see what I mean) and then you applique more squares in order to alter the balance. You can of course put other shapes or even add in a third colour. The movement comes from the fact that it has been cut by hand and eyeballed rather than rules precisely.I also like trees and I was playing with a stylised form of tree seeing how different the positive looks to the negative.Now I have to quilt them!

And whilst I am at it- I have in the past spent quite some time( not telling how much ) on the website and blog of Sharon Boggon- her site has many things to visit including a glossary of embroidery stitches, her shareware project, her blog which links to many many other textile related blogs- if you can't find it anywhere you are likely to find it on Sharon's site

Starry Night and Safari Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sewing Those Apples!

Sewing Little Apples! Posted by Hello

The trouble with laying out the applique and ironing it in place is you have to sew it! And it takes some time to get around the whole applique at least twice! Husqvarna Viking have kindly lent me a Interlude 445 to use whilst I am in the United Kingdom and I am delighted with the way it sews.

So whilst sewing Sandy and I were chatting- as you do and as we weren't on our way to edinburgh as planned- after all you are going around and around- and we decided we would hire the village hall here in West Wratting, Cambridgeshire, and hold some workshops on the Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th of March- as I am here anyway- combining various techniques and methods of working- we look at contrast and harmony- colour, positive and negative spacing- and using free machine stitching to do just about everything . If you are interested you can email me or leave a comment- but I shall need your email addie to reply.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Two of a Kind

Green Apples Posted by Hello
I have been playing with some more tifaifai- instead of the square format, using an oblong format- I like the pattern long and am always amazed at how different the positive cutout looks compared to the negative cutout. If you cut the positive out carefully then you end up with the negative cutout which of course means you have two quilts ! Now I have to sew these. I must have been in tifaifai withdrawal whilst doing my masters. I have written a book called Tifaifai Renaissance ( about 3 years ago) , and at that stage I had run out of tifaifai steam, but now find myself drawn to making them again- especially after looking at the Matisse book I mentioned the other day.

One thing I discovered whilst doing my masters, is that I am not so hung up any more about whether I am an artist or not- I make, I like decorative , ornamental things and I like stitching- where they fit in does not worry me so much anymore- I feel I want to make people aware of textile by using the intrinsic qualities of textile - the stitch, its decorative qualities ( think of the wonderful rich resource we have of textile designs), its drape and tactile qualities. There is a very interesting article by Polly Ulrich entitled 'Beyond Touch- The Body as Perceptual Tool' in Fiberarts issue #44 ( Summer of 1999) which discusses the unique ability of textile to relate embodiment and to stimulate touch as a source of memory. In this respect I have really come to enjoy india muslins- they are so light and airy and stitch beautifully- so beautifully that I only want to hand stitch them, and then there is the lovely scrims that you can get in England from Whaleys.

">Jenny Bowker ( some wonderful images of Cairo on Jenny's blog- as that is where she now lives- check out her website too- linked on her blog) asked what would i now find to load onto my plate - well for a start I am curating another travelling exhibition called Across Australia ( and yes I am looking for venues) it will be in the format of Australian Bounty and Under the Southern Cross- two travelling exhibitions I curated awhile ago and which were received in Europe , Australia and New Zealand very positively- the format is one quilt by each artist interpreting the theme ( which is pretty wide ranging) with a maximum of up to 30 quilts.

Two of a Kind Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Tiny Tifaifai

More tiny Tifaifai Posted by Hello
I am in a celebratory mood- I have submitted my exegesis for my masters- so that's it! Three years of part-time reading and making over- and now I can go back to doing what i want though there is a piece of hellfire lace lurking in the cobwebs. I spent today cutting out some small tifaifai's. I call them tifaifai because the designs are created in the manner that the Southern Pacific Polynesian people create their tifaifai- though I make my own designs. There are very strong copyright traditions amongst the Ploynesian people relating to Tifaifai- and designs are passed on within families. Last week I was looking at a book Material World:Matisse, His Art and His Textiles ( seriously yummy book and I can't wait for the exhibition which opens on 5 March at the Royal Academy of Arts at Piccadilly, London) and am constantly surprised that very few authors ever make reference to Matisse's exposure to tifaifai during his sojourn in Tahiti. His hostess gave him one whilst he was there and subsequently he requested that she send him another when he had returned to France and there is a photo of a tifaifai hanging in his studio ( this information comes from the Queensland Art Gallery publication of 1995 entitled Matisse)- to me the cut out shapes he used in later life show some influence of the very organic shapes and cut our technique of tifaifai.

Tiny tifaifai Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Karen's Gum Leaves Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Karen's Gum Leaves

Karen's Gum Leaves Posted by Hello This is a little piece I worked on at Ardingly, hand pieced , hand printed with gum leaves from Karen's garden.Hand quilted and almost finished but the edging. Pam from Kuwait send me your email please. I have been staying with my friend Sandy who has been exploring Kuba cloth to try and make an expressive quilt ... check out her researches because they are interesting at

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Procrastination Posted by Hello
Hi Celeste, Siena and Ynez- lots of pirate hugs to you! On deck!
I often reduce pictures into greyscale to see the areas of contrast and to get a better idea of positive and negative space. I did that with the Chinese textile and am still intrigued by the incredible detail of the design and the fact that it is sewn. Tomorrow I go to Wroxham Barns to teach and then spend a few days with an internet friend, and then come back here and get into quilt making! Apart from a hand sewn piece that i did at Ardingly ( and gasp I even did french knots of sorts!) I haven't made a quilt for over 6 months.
Ok some interesting work that you might enjoy; a ">miniature international invitational

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wonder Things

Chinese cape Posted by Hello

Last weekend I spent at Ardingly in the South of England, with the Australian and New Zealand quilts I had taken for exhibition. Downstairs was a stall of Chinese textiles owned by Sally Chang who unfortunately has no website, but her business is called Chang's. We got talking about the indigo dyed textiles she had and then, out from under the table appeared an incredible collection of Chinese textiles and embroideries that she had purchased from villagers in Guizhon Province in China. Of course it was instantaneous love- and plotting as to how to get one of the ceremonial/decorative capes that villagers wore for celebrations. It turned out Sally was prepared to trade a piece for one of my quilts- heaven!! ( it's my birthday present to myself!) The photograph is a small detail of one of the capes. The stitching is very fine and this piece has been executed in a style similar to Hmong appliques. I am so thrilled to have this piece as it bears the marks of human wear and there are a couple of repairs to it- it is exciting to think that this sort of fine work and workmanship is still part of life in a village in China.Last night my friend Sandy with whom I am staying near Cambridge photographed it for me so that i was able to put it on the blog. Hi Sandy!! and thanks.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Time Ran Out

Well here I am, briefly, in Belgium to pick up some quilts before I head back to England to pick up a hire car and then drive down to the Spring Fair at Ardingly. Any suggestions of a good B & B gratefully accepted :-) .So my aplogies no pictures of finished dyeing- it turned out good but not quite like I expected, but then that is the beauty of dyeing. I did not bring my digital camera, as I hate having too many things to clutter up travelling- having suitcases full of quilts is enough hassle. I like to travel light- two outfits, one pair of shoes and my journal and a book to read ,to pass the time when sitting and waiting.My handwork is in the left luggage at Waterloo Station. I could have gone to Tottenham Court to the bookshops, but that would only have created more luggage, so I am leaving that for another day- I love the bookshops in Britain- such choice, it's heaven.
I will report on the Spring fair, and use the old trusty snapper!