Thursday, March 31, 2005


Close-up of tulle and fabric
Here it is Sandy, a close-up of the tulle and fabric piece. I hand stitched the squares on , I suppose I could have done it by machine , but I like the irregularity of the cut-out fabric squares and the hand stitching. All the fabrics have been dyed and some have been printed and most are left overs from other projects.
I have been doing a huge tidy- up, my work room needed it, but it started because i knew somewhere I had a bag of elastic bands with which to finish tieing the piece of cloth I have been tieing ( I found the elastics eventually).I have two baskets of red based scraps which I can't part with, one lot that i was using for the above piece. I have another couple of huge bags of scraps. I think I am going to have to have a garage sale in the near future and rationalise my space a bit better .Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I posted the picture this morning but for some reason I could not publish the blurb. We spent the whole day in Geelong and Melbourne getting supplies ( of the edible kind- needed olive oil for Lebanese eggplant pickle and parmesan and all other mediterranean goodies, and dyes and some microwax which i think might work ok for impregnating handmade paper with wax to give it a really lovely texture feel).
I cleaned up a large part of my workroom yesterday in an effort to kick start some motivation, and also to tidy up the piles of stuff that accrued as I did the work for my masters ( which I have now got, the masters that is- graduate on April 6 though I won't be going) and I am still waiting for the return of the work so I can get it properly photographed. I think it has changed the way i think about textiles and how I will be using it in future- I am really finding it difficult to think quilts as such and the pic I posted is of little fabric squares sewn onto tulle by hand- I think I shall finish it as I find the transparency and the counter balance of the more weighty fabric quite pleasing. Anyway it was something I put aside last year. I am also thinking of doing some more kantha inspired straight stitching on muslin and flannel curtain lining I picked up in England. These are very heavily hand stitched- and really for my own pleasure for the motion of stitching- that is why i was so chuffed to pick up the rayon threads in England.

I would love to do a course with Michael Brennand-Wood to find some inspiration and motivation but alas Textile Fibre Forum is always in the school holidays and I am away so much that i do try to be home in the school holidays for the kids. I wonder how many other mothers miss out to going to the forum because of the timing? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Back to Work!

I wish I could say I had been productive on the weekend in a fibre way- but apart from dyeing 6 damask napkins which I got at Chilford, and tieing another napkin, I seem to have spent the weekend in a social whirl interspersed by a few walks and bouts of cooking. The garden is so full of produce that I decided we should sell some at our front gate and the wheelbarrow shows some of the things we sold. We don't actually live on a main road, but people do come past to go to one of the camping grounds in the forest.

It has just been full moon the tomatoes have gone crazy and I have a seriously delicious recipe for slowroasting them from The Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells. It is so simple and absolutely delicious when you have garden fresh tomatoes and can be used as is, or as part of a pasta sauce, added to ratatouille or any other dish requiring tomatoes ( it is sublime on toasted home made bread). Here goes; Peel tomatoes ( it is easy to peel them if you first soak the whole tomato in boiling water- the peel will simply slip of after about 5 minutes)- quarter the tomatoes into a baking tray. Fill the tray with tomatoes in a single layer and then sprinkly a small amount of icing sugar and salt and some basil or other herb and drizzle with olive oil - bake in an oven for about 3 hours at the lowest temperature setting , giving it an occasional stir and voila you have a dish fit for a king. I haven't tried freezing it ( it doesn't last that long here) but you can store it in the fridge for about a week especially if you put a film of olive oil over the top.

Today I need to get cracking on fibre things again- and find some kind of rhythm.

Produce for Sale Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 24, 2005


I am home and my kitchen has several washing baskets full of quinces and buckets and buckets of apples- plus there is still many apples on the trees. I am not quite sure what to do with all these apples- there are so many! And then there is the tomatoes. Those I will make into pasta sauce for the freezer- but there is so much to do that I am not sure where to begin! And then there is quilts that have to be made for the exhibition with my friend Annelies in Gelderland- as I want to have mostly new work and the space will take at least 10 quilts!
I am still waiting for my lace work to come back from my masters exhibition as I need to get it photographed- I did not have the chance before I went away.

Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

Going Home

Threads! Posted by Hello
These luscious threads ( and some more) arrived Saturday morning from the Handweavers Studio in London. I am lamenting the fact that I ordered no greens, yellows or reds- what possessed me? These threads are rayon and a lovely weight for hand quilting( I do use a big needle and big stitches- I want to see the stitching I do!). Some moons ago I purchased some of these at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Alexandra Palace, and have now quilted several quilts with them.
Today i go home so my next entry will be from Oz. I spent the weekend at the Spring Fair at Chilford and was a bit disappointed there were not more threads there- after all quilters need threads don't they? But I sold a quilt- yay! I needed to sell a quilt as that is what generates my income to some extent.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pomegranates and Persephone

pomegranate Posted by Hello
I have been fascinated by Greek myths since childhood days, and even co-wrote a play in high school years, which was performed ,incorporating the Narcissus myth. The myth that particularly appeals to me is Demeter and her daughter Persephone, and she also appears in other cultural myths. I must admit I came to this myth without any preconceptions - simply a love of Greek myths , but as I get older I wonder what my attraction was and I find many points of reference which interest me. I would love to know what the Eleusinian Mysteries were and have in my mind some kind of Greek version of the Guerilla Girls. In my lounge at home I have a quilt depicting Demeter- as a quilt it is rather awful, but as something that describes my house it is pertinent. The pomegranate is the symbol for Persephone , Demeter's daughter and is also symbolic in other faiths , but for me it has it's more Greek meaning- of sewing the seed under the soil and growth- and what lush seeds they are! If I had been at home I would have searched high and low for a real pomegranate in order to work up my design but as I am not ,I resorted to the internet and found a rather good photograph of pomegranates on a healthy vegetable site which I reduced into grey scale and then traced some of the pertinent aspects of the lines- I then used the scan program on the computer to alter some of the lines and fill in areas so that I ended up with a positive/negative image and then traced it onto vliesofix ( Bondaweb/wunderunder) and voila there it is in fabric. I haven't the black thread to sew it with ( tomorrow I shall get some) otherwise I would be sewing it instead of being here! When working with the image I consciously was thinking of the many fabric designs over the centuries that have incorporated pomegrantes in their design and I wanted to create that lush feel. I love the portrait of Eleanora de Toledo by Agnolo Bronzino and the lush fabric of her gown and I have in mind that i want the pomegranates to have that richness. I can dream...... And I just found a diary of someone- Sahrye- who makes gowns inspired by renaissance gowns.

Persephone is believed to have lived in Sicily and if there ever was an island where you can feel the aura of the ancient Greeks it has to be this island- Agrigento is just the most magical site and Segesta is pretty good too.. A terrific book about Sicily is by Mary Tyler Simeti called Persephone's Island and I have just ordered her book on Sicilian cooking ( I will have to invent the dietary version!), and of course Lawrence Durrell wrote a book about sicily the name of which escapes me and I can't find it on Amazon.

pomegranate Posted by Hello

pomegranate Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


The print made with the lino-cut Posted by Hello
I made this lino-cut on Saturday and printed up some fabric yesterday.It is inspired by kuba cloth from Africa though some of the shapes happen because cutting the lino lends itself to those kind of shapes. One day I will standardise the sizes of the pieces of lino and maybe make a book with some of the prints- or maybe I will just print all the lino-cuts I have at home and make the book anyway. I always feel that if I make a book I will want to add text. I have been reading the Matisse ;His Art and His Textiles and think that one of these days I will somehow collate all the references that are made to paitnings being constructed in'patchwork' like patterns- there are quite a lot of novelists who also use the term to connote connections.

Lino-cut I made Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dyeing on a Sunday in Cambridgeshire

And dyed Posted by Hello
Yesterday Sandy and I spent- 6 hours with no wine like refreshments ( we're abstaining you see and dieting and exercising-daily!!!! and there's little yellow things growing from the tops of our heads- and they're not horns- actually there halos in danger of plummeting...- this is day 6 of a new 'life' regime meant to thin us down and make us no fun) stitching pieces of cloth to create resists. We got up with excess enthusiasm on Sunday morning before the church bells ( and with not a hint of cockies cage mouth) went for a walk and did an extra mile just for the heck - came back pulled up the threads- and put it in the dye pots. Whilst we were at it we did a few fold dyes as well. As you can see abstinence does not a good resist dye stitcher make but a brisk walk will do wonders for fold dyeing.

Painting the dye on Posted by Hello

Stitching to resist.... Posted by Hello

Dyeing on a Sunday Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Embroideries Posted by Hello

I started making these embroidered cards about 7 or 8 years ago- they are small tifaifai's, about 7 inches square and I mount them on card like khadi paper ( A4 size/legal paper) and then stitch them- if you click on the photo you will see the stitching.I sell them for around $30 US each- I haven't kept count how many I have made over the years. I draw them fresh each time so that there are variations. Since I have been in England I have finished eight of them. There is a type of paper I get at home which is a bit better to sew on than khadi paper- I even did a sort of quilt on a large piece of momogami paper- but quilt shows didn't get it and the paper exhibitions I entered politely returned my entry with a note to say that it was textile- well yes but mounted on paper and the paper being an integral part of the whole- ummm... Anyway the orange fabric has been hand printed with a lino cut I made and the whole has been pretty heavily stitched. I am falling in the hole I was worried about- what am I going to do next??? I want to do a substantila piece but the head is blank...

Friday, March 11, 2005


Hawaiian Posted by Hello
This little cut-out is done in the Hawaiian style- that is the design is done on an eightfold- to me this seems more static than the Tifaifai which is done on a four fold.
Yesterday I ordered some books on Amazon- as there are no delivery charges for orders over a certain amount in the UK ( unlike Oz where you seem to pay an arm and a leg for shipping- sometimes more than the value of the book)- and they arrived early this morning!( in less than a day) So happy happy happy. Bought Federico Garica Lorca's 'Deep Song and Other Writings'- I love his plays and was interested to read more about his affinity for duende and Andalusian folk songs, and have already found some treasure within its pages, and Nabokov's 'Speak, Memory' and the book on Matisse ; His Art and Textiles ( couldn't resist that at 30% off !). Now I have to cart it all home though!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Line Drawing

Line Drawing Posted by Hello
The other day when I was in the Oxfam shop in Newmarket I picked up a couple of old books on drawing. One of them was called Creative Drawing- Point and Line by Ernst Rottger and Dieter Klante ( and it does not appear to be available on Amazon), which contains children's and students drawings and then a whole , very interesting section on lines and dots. A lot of this could be used remarkably well in the quilting process, so i sat and drew my own line drawing concentrating on a couple of different textures. I think I might try some more of this!
And last night Sandy and I were looking around the internet- now who doesn't do this???- we came upon a website of some wonderful felted clothing by ">Lizzie Houghton. I love some of the coats.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Some more altered book pages

Inspired by matisse Posted by Hello

I nearly went home today- I am feeling a bit homesick and am missing my family- but I have commitments and I have to bring home some quilts from Chilford the weekend after next. So I had better sew up a storm between now and then, to make up for this feeling. Today was a bit of a loss- weather was pretty boring and I set up the sewing machine, switched it on but then the blahs hit.So have been searching the net for artists residencies that allow you to take your family with you- there are none as far as I can see. Why is it presumed that artists/crafts practioners have no families?? You are supposed to make all this work , and yet live the life of a hermit or free spirit, without the positive interaction of husbands and children.Are we all meant to be single without commitments , floating through the world creating whatever it is that we do with no recognition that we may live in the world much as other people do- that is with families.
if I had the means I would set up a place for artists' residencies where families can come along!!! - in Gellibrand!

more altered book pages Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Altered Books

Matisse inspired cutouts Posted by Hello
After thinking that altered books were not for me- I have to swallow my thoughts ( and a few quiet words). I have just spent the last few days with Marion Barnett from the Alterenative Quilt List ( a yahoo group) and we spent time making altered books and using encaustics. What fun- love the encaustics- love what it does to stitches- I will post some pics tomorrow before I go off to teach for the weekend. First the pages were painted with acrylic and then I lay cutouts on top and then put the encaustic wax over the top- it gives the page a really textural quality. I also made some accordion fold khadi paper books using the same method- and these are a lot of fun as the wax soaks into the paper. Can't wait to show my children this way of working!

Altered Book Posted by Hello