Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy and Safe New Year

I want to wish every one a Happy and Safe New Year!

I have been making more pomegranate cards to sell at the winery next week.I had almost forgotten that we are able to sell small items. So here's hoping some sell as I have to meet accommodation costs in Syria where even modest hotels are quite expensive compared to France.I have to be there and demonstrate at the Gallery for three weeks so the nights really do add up! I will be back to the quilt making tomorrow.

Have a good one!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Is this the first quilt or what?

Sometimes you can't see for looking. I am very interested in the history of textiles and of quilts. There is much debate about where quilting emerged, and some very old coptic quilted textiles exist as do some Chinese ones that may date to BC. But as I have been looking at the history of Syria from one of those Time Life books called "The Cradle of Civilization" by Samuel Noah Kramer and looking at the wonderful reliefs- but what do I see??? Is that a quilted textile on the horses' back? Has to be- it is the horse of Assurbanipal an Assyrian King whose reign was well documented in the ruins of Niniveh ( now in Iraq) and who reigned in 7ooBC or there abouts. The Assyrians rode with only cloths covering the backs of their horses- why would the stone mason who carved the relief go into such incredible "quilterly" detail if the textile wasn't quilted?Isn't this exciting to think that so far back they were not only weaving cloth but also embroidering and quilting it?

So of course I set out to make the textile cloth- which I am calling rug for Gilgamesh- I am about halfway through- the silk is about 1.5 metres long by 60 cm wide. I am not sure there is sufficient contrast for much visual effect- in one way there is through texture but I have come so far that I will finish it, but my goodness it has taken soem sewing . The texture is really scrumptious. And Sheila I am using cotton batting- a bit too flat for my liking I would have liked more texture. I usually use Matilda's Own Wool batting ( and I am using their cotton batting too)- it's a great Australian product!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Working with Silk

I spent today dyeing some silk- I seem to have lost my touch dyeing silk, I think I need to thicken the dyes more so that they don't bleed all over and result in little variation.

I have been reading the story of Gilgamesh- the oldest written story, written in cuneiform on clay tablets.It is thought that the tablets date from about 2700BC . The text of Gilgamesh is available as a pdf or on the web.

I want to know more about the history of Syria before I go this time - and I really want to make time to look at the Museum in Damascus. Also I guess I am researching as I want to make some work that evokes someo of the things I encountered on my last visit for Sense of Place. So how does this tie in with silk dyeing? Syria was of course on the silk road from ancient times and was the place that saw much traversing between east and west and Africa. Gilgamesh went on a great journey to discover his own mortality. I am fascinated by the wonderful carved Sumerian reliefs- the patterning and the obviously richly decorated robes and garments worn by the Sumerians. In fact the last time I was at the British Museum I didn't get beyond the Near East rooms- they were stunning, and I couldn't get over the fineness of detail. So keeping in mind the neatness of the carving I set out to make a travel rug for Gilgamesh. It is turning out nothing like I imagined- for a start the colours are different- I thougt rich royal blue ( or lapis lazuli - a semi precious stone much used by the Sumerians and still much loved in Syria today) stitched with red- but the blue came out too purple and not wanting to waste the silk I did a slight mindshift to emerald green. I had also thought handstitching but it wasn't giving me the right texture so back to the machine. The texture that I have created so far is quite wonderful- it feels so readable under my hand.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Eye Idols of Tel Brak Finished

I have finished the eye idol quilt. The border with foiled circles I zigzagged quilted- normally this pulls the fabric in and I made allowance for it- however I forgot that I was sewing on poplin rather than the normal homespun weight I use and nope it didn't pull in like normal so I had to do some trimming- I hope hanging it for a day or two will also help it settle. I even put on the binding- one of those jobs I always leave until the 11th hour. Now I can get on with somethign new. And my Christmas present I had ordered myself - a book on Sumer and the Sumerians did not arrive in time for the tree :-(

I want to wish everyone who visits my blog a very very happy Christmas and a very happy and safe New Year. The countries visiting has crept up to 86- I would really love to know who the people are and what you do.

Next week I will spend reviewing what happened this year and setting goals for next year. What type of goals do you set yourself? I know I do want to enter a few more things in Australia than I have in the last few years- I always seem to be away for the deadlines and I am not sufficiently prepared before I leave to send in an early entry. And this last year and next I will need a lot of my quilts for exhibition commitments apart from what I sell. I think I would also really like to make a very big quilt ( well big for me- around the 180 cm mark- I used to make about one a year, but they have always sold quickly so I don't have any on hand)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

More Badges

Yesterday was a write off work wise. Family came over for an early Christmas dinner. I have been making more badges, trying different fabrics and combinations of things. You can also tie them to the belt straps of your jeans or to your bag.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Thanks for the comments on the previous post- it is good to know that there are people of like mind out there.

It is hot today and we are expecting more hot weather with northerly winds tomorrow- send a little thought for all those that are affected by the terrible bush fires and hope that they don't get worse with the weather conditions. We are also on level 3 water restrictions from midnight last night- thank goodness we reduced the size of our vegetable garden as we are only allowed to handwater between 8-10 in the morning and the evening on odd days. I have never seen it so dry. We run all our grey water out on the garden. Still the apple trees are dropping fruit and the birds are voracious at the moment- we did not get to see any of our red currants despite netting them.

I have been working on the eye idol quilt, but as it is getting later in the afternoon the hot summer sun comes into my work room and at this time of year it gets uncomfortably hot to work at this time of the day. I am intrigued by these little idols- when I first saw them they all sort of seemed the same- though I drew two different kinds in my journal. The person I was with thought of them as female figures with their heads cut off, but the one I drew in my journal definitely had a hat. Then I found another one that had the smaller image of an idol on its torso- suggestive of a mother and is like they represent little families and as I painted them they did take on quite individual characters. I have painted them using the African painting technique I learned some time ago.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I have updated my Picturetrail site with a new album entitled Works for Sale in an attempt to raise some funds for my forthcoming journeying.Whilst I did get a grant from Ozquilt for which I am very grateful it only goes part of the way to funding the travels of an exhibition. I think this will really be my last time that I do this as it impacts on my family quite heavily not only in terms of money ( because often I have to meet the difference out of my own pocket and in this case I had not quite budgeted how enormous the airline taxes would be or the cost of the forced stopover in Dubai) but also in time. I am away for weeks sometimes months at a time and it takes its toll and my family is still young and I feel has suffered as a result this year.There is also lace work for sale on my Seriously Textile blog .The funding has never run into covering a curating fee, and I don't think there are many quilt curators who actually get a fee, at least none I know of.I enjoy the work but there is a lot of things to do and things to follow up.

I do hope that any of you at a loss of what to do in January, and you are down south that you will join us in fun workshops at Samson Hill Winery which hopefully will raise a bit of funds after paying the teachers and materials. We had a meeting yesterday to brainstorming a few more ideas.All you have to do is pay the workshop fee, bring yourself and we do the rest.The workshops on 10 and 17 January 2007 will definitely go ahead.

I think part of a real problem in the quilting community is that many people think, things come for free. And there are many sharing and giving blogs and websites and groups in real life- however there is an awful lot of work that goes into these things ( just ask anyone who has been on an exhibition committee for a group), and ultimately if no money is forthcoming for bringing great quilts halfway across the world to share, or to share information in a class situation we will end up not having these things. Whilst the internet is great for showing lots of things , it is not the same as seeing some of the wonderful textile work in the flesh.We complain that we are not considered art, that we are at the bottom rung of the echelon , but in a way we are our own worst enemies- good things cost money- that is the way the world is. Friendship in groups is free, and that is why the quilting community is wonderful, but whilst many people are willing to pay out a lot of money for products and the latest gimmicks ,few are willing to support the endeavours of people who try and share the work of some of our exciting artists and add to the experience of viewing textiles. Why is it,that quilting artists always exhibit for no prizes apart from a number of big events ( because it supposedly adds to the stature of the exhibition not to have prizes) have to pay for lots of shipping but rarely receive a benefit of any kind unless they are lucky enough to sell a piece, and if you are really lucky you get to pay entry fees and don't get selected! . For example if you have a photo of your quilt used in a magazine other than a quilting magazine you get paid ( and covers of science magazines can commandd up to $500)- when was the last time a quilt artist got paid to be on the cover of a quilt magazine or indeed to be included in a quilt book? Yes you sometimes are sent the book or magazine ( not always) but you don't get paid. That is fine to a point, because it does promote your work but ultimately the magazine does make a living from its endeavour why should not the artist? Most other professionals get paid for these things as a matter of course. It is time that we do the same for our quilting arists.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Trying to Find the Festive Spirit

I seem to have toally mislaid the festive spirit- but have to find it as there are kids here anxiously awaiting what Santa will bring despite the fact that they have been snooping in the cupboard!

I made this journal cover for a journal to give to a friend who is going overseas tomorrow.I had forgotten how close Christmas is- and well journals are handy when travelling. Oh and when you click on the image nearly always a larger image will come up in a new window.

I will be updating my picturetrail site with new work soon ( or this years work all grouped in one place)- I will link it here when I have done it- it will have new work for sale. I am going through the almost obligatory agonising of raising enough funds to take the latest exhibition Sense of Place to Syria and France. I did get some funding but I still need to cover my hotel accommodation in a very modest hotel in Syria whilst I am there.I think what I need is a patron given funding is so difficult to get!

And I have really got to get into some quilt making! As i need a lot of work for my exhibtion I am having next year in France at La Bourboule from March until September 2007- all up I need about 30 pieces- that is a lot!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Taking Shape

These little eye idols are starting to take shape and take on a life of their own. I think I may have populated them too densely - but I will think on it another night. I sometimes just like things to sit and think about it for awhile- plus another panel will go in as well.

I thought I should update my teaching arrangements in Europe for next year. I have made links for all the contacts if you are interested in attending- you can email them or make contact visa a website.

19 February- 19 March I shall be in Syria installing Sense of Place and being in attendance to do demonstrations and other things.

Then from 20 March until 10 May I will be in France, the Netherlands and England as follows:

24 March until 9 April, I will be at Le Palaiseau atr the 6th Internationsl Patchwork Art Textile. I shall also be teaching there( I will check the dates) I will also be giving a lecture. The workshops is what Smaranda mentioned in her comments on my previous post. Be sure to go and check Smaranda's own work- she makes wonderful things!

April 10 I will be teaching a Patchwork group close to le Palaiseau- free machine quilting (doing smaples from my book Seventy Two Ways). My contact for both events is Christine Moulin.

April 16-19 I shall be teaching at the Stofmeid in Borger Drenthe as follows;
April 16 Tranfer Printing and stitching
April 17-18 Inspiration in Frabircation- making an original piece
April 19 Nature as Inspiation- Borger is a lovely atmospheric village so we will be using the environment as inspiration to make a small piece or several.

April 23 - 26 I will be teaching close to Le Mans
Day 1 Dyeing fabric
Day 2 Using various printing techniques to create your own fabric
Days 3-4 Using the fabrics made on the previous days, creating your own original art piece.

Sometime between 26 April- 4 May I will be teaching near Narbonne( Salleles d'Aude) at Centre Europeen du Patchwork.

5-6 May I will be in England teaching at Sew Creative at Wroxham Barns ( near Norwich)

If you are interested in any of these workshops you can email me by going to my profile- my address is there and I can give you the email address for my contacts.

I will return o home on 10 May. I shall be taking my youngest daughter with me so we hope to see a little of France and Spain.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's finished

I have been playing around with ideas for a quilt/s about my travels in the middle east earlier this year- things seemed to gell during the week in using images/ideas. I had put aside the pomegranate quilt as somehow something was bothering me about it. But on the other hand I tend to finish something and then move onto the next thing- so it had to be finished. I have very few ufo's - maybe 4 over the 17 years I have been quilting. So once I buckled down and started quilting I realised the problem was actually the fact that I hadn't quilted it- once that started happening and texture started appearing I started feeling happier about the whole quiilt, so all I have to do is put on the binding. I feel a bit better for having finished it- it means I can go onto the other things I have in mind- but I have to wait for some copper foil to arrive from The Thread Studio in Perth. Check our Dale's gallery - there is always things worth seeing in it.

I missed out on the Barcelona residency again!! I give up. I really do. Audiences seem to love quilts- everyone but arts administrators , museums and granting bodies seem to like quilts- so how do we tell them????

And it is hot and dry today -though we had a frost last night- unbelievable for this time of year. I am not sure our zucchinis will survive. Tomorrow it will be even hotter-sections of the eastern part of the state are burning and we have asked fire fighting crews from New Zealand to come and help as every region needs to keep their fire crews on standby just in case, and every firefighter that can be spared has been sent ( yes it is bushfire season- but more than a month early) and we are on tenterhooks for tomorrow-it all depends how bad the north wind will be

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Syrian Eye Idol

Apart from Taking Sense of Place to Syria in february of next year I have also been invited to bring more of my own work as well as that of Jenny Bowker. I have been playing around with things inspired by my visit to Syria earlier this year. The treasure in the Museum at Aleppo was marvelous ( and I did not get to the one in Damascus- it is on the to do list for next year!). One of the things I made drawings of was the so called "eye" idols- although some believe it is the body of a woman with the head cut off. However why have a hat then? Not all have hats. There has also been some other suggestions that the eye idols which have holes drilled into the head part may have been used for spinning yarn- now that sort of thinking is right up my alley and allows me to connect these idols with textile!And when I saw these little idols- and there were quite a number of them at first glance you think they are all the same- but really each one is different to the next- quite individual really which makes me wonder if they were individual votives.

The circular button with the eye idol image on the inside is actually a "brooch" made form a cd . This is a sample for the workshops we are having at the Samson Hill Winery in January for fundraising for Sense of Place - the idea is to make fun things that do not need a sewing machine and minimal hand sewing. I think I might make some more of these- however a cd brooch is quite big and makes quite a statement!

I am also fascinated by the cylinder stamps which were used to seal all sorts of containers by rolling the seal in a tablet of wet clay- pretty much like intaglio printing. I love it when I can connect a process of an ancient culture with a process I am using today- things really don't change that much! But if you do follow the link for the museum check out image #8- a stone envelope and letter no less- wonder how the mail man got that into the post box???

For all of you that responded to the image of the previous post- it is actually the sole part of my husbands flipflops ( we call them thongs in Australia)- who could imagine that the ordinary old flipflop could have such nice markings?

And I am chuffed because the countries counter is slowly but surely creeping up!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Three Guesses

Obviously I have been doing very little work. I have done some weeding in the vegetable patch ( it needed it and our season has been late in getting going as we had unheard of frosts in Novemeber) and I joined the Soul Food Cafe and then a virtual Grand Tour and the Lemurian Grand Tour- Sould Food Cafe is all about populating Lemuria a fictional place in order to stimulate writing and creating. As a result I seem to have set up some more blogs( I will go blogging mad) one which will be based in partial reality and incorporate some of my travel adventures and observations Travels Between Caravanserai, I will also show more photos of some of my travels and the other a bit more imaginary though with some elements of some of my experiences Tripping the Light Fantastic. I am hoping all of this will get me involved in creating again- because nothing much is happening except the odd sigh and groan. Anyway one way or another it will force me to do something or I might get lost!

However does anyone want to hazard a guess as to what the photo in this post might be of? Wish I could dye like that!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Lovely Surprise

This gorgeous necklace arrived in the post today-I wonder what once lived in the amulet shaped bead? Jenny Bowker sent it in payment of my book

And on another good note I have received the inaugural Ozquilt grant to help with travel expenses for Sense of Place to Syria and France. This is a great relief as I was seriously beginning to despair as to how I was going to pay for airfares and accommodation in Syria. So thank you Ozquilt for supporting some wonderful Australian work ! I will be posting more information on the Sense of Place blog later this week.Check out the Ozquilt Gallery as well as it contains work by many of Australia's leading contemporary quilt artists.

Had a wonderful time in Braidwood but forgot to take my memory card for my camera so did not take any photos. Met up with lots of people both known and new. I visited Fyregallery which was exhibiting a wonderful little exhibition of Picasso aquatints and drypoint etchings made mainly for Vollard. And next year I shall be teaching from 1-3 June at Braidwood Townstay, which is an old bank building with a workshop and also rooms for accommodation.If you would like to enrol for the workshops just contact Fiona Hammond via the website. Gill Burke came and showed me some of her wonderful printed silks- check them out!

Meanwhile I haven't done a scrap of work- tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow! But I am wearing my new necklace :-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Another sample

I did another sample with the tracks- like Stegart I think I like it better with the tracks it gives it more definition somehow.

I will be away for four days up in Braidwood,NSW, for the Airing of the Quilts- Across Australia will be shown there on Saturday and Sunday and I am opening the weekend tomorrow evening.Another chance fo Australians to see these terrific quilts. It will be a long drive but catching an aeroplane would almost have taken as long.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Sample

Here is another sample I made using the same motifs- and i think it was the colour of the previous one that was suggestive of aboriginal dot painting.

I will be making more of these- exploring the cross and circle as a means of expression- X marks the place , X is the signature of a person without writing, X is the cross stitch, X is the mark.Open circles have always meant family for me, i am not sure where that idea came from, perhaps I read something somewhere, it is also about cells and life, circles or noughts are about noughts and crosses, and about nought.

This sample is 13 3/4 " square- I meant to make it exactly the same size as the previous square. I intend tomake a lot of these so that they will form an installation. These two are for sale, if anyone is interested $75 US inclusive of postage.

Ohh and don't forget my book Seventy Two Ways not to Stipple or Meander is still available- I have had more printed up and getting very positive feedback about it :-). Here is the information again:
Seventy Two Ways Not to Stipple or Meander ( Ideas for Free Machine Quilting). You can see the stitching and the thread count of the fabric I quilted- so the detail is good..

Anyway if you are interested in the CD it will be a pdf document( so you will need Acrobat Reader or other pdf reading program) of the booklet( it's morte of a book with 81 pages and it is spiral bound) email me. In Australia I can be paid by cheque or postal order- for overseas orders I can be paid with Paypal.

So the costings are as follows

For Australia:

CD is $20AUD inclusive of postage.

Book is $25AUD inclusive of postage.

For all other places( Worldwide)

CD is $25 AUD ( $15USD, 12 Euro, 8.50 pounds sterling) inclusive of postage

Book is $30 AUD ( $23 USD, 18 Euro, 12 pounds sterling) including postage

Monday, November 20, 2006


It was lovely and warm yesterday, although it gets a little too hot in my shed especially as my sewing machine is directly under one of the skylights. I am still waiting on the concrete slab so I have had some interesting visitors.... a pair of scurrying blue tongue lizards, and yes it is mating season for reptiles at the moment- everyone asked me if I got a photos- but I wasn't going to get that close!

I made this 13"x13" sample yesterday, dh says it looks too much like aboriginal art, although that was really a long way from what I was thinking when I made it.I was thinking of another x stitch variation. Perhaps the colours add to the sense- but they are my favourites! I was thinking about mark making- crosses, strokes with a brush and then the cross for marking the place and of crossing pathways between different peoples, hence the two different lines of symbols. I suppose I can play around with it some more, but first I need to get some more white fabric from the suppliers, I have none left.

We have been having fresh lettuce out of the garden- it's just so much nicer that way! And it is artichoke season again. Vegetables are so expensive that I have been trying to be more inventive with the artichokes and use them as a vegetable rather than as a tasty appetiser. So last night I made Baked Artichokes with cherry tomatoes. They were yummy! You prepare the artichokes by pulling off the hard outer leaves and cut across the tip of the remaining leaves, quarter them and then pull out the chokes, and leave to sit in water with lemon juice. Meanwhile you heat up some olive oil and fry the artichokes with the lid on the pan for about five minutes and then add some sliced garlic and fresh herbs ( I used thyme and parsley from the garden, it's still a bit early for basil), fry only for a little bit longer. Then you place this mixture into a smallish baking dish with fresh cherry tomatoes and some more sliced garlic and I really put in a handful of herbs and some lemon juice ( or a wee bit of water) bake in a slow oven for about 40 minutes and presto! I think it would taste good tossed with pasta as well!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lorenzetti Madonna Variations

They have all come into blogger out of order. The bottom image is the line drawing I did- the tilt of the head isn't as demure.The darker image on the left is of a mono-print I did of the line drawing. The two images in the centre are a positive lino-cut and a negative lino-cut. I was amazed at how Egyptian the negative cut looked. The top two images are drypoint etching on perspex- one on rice paper( the darker one) where I had not removed enough ink off the plate and the other on arches water colour paper. I think I like the drypoint best- though I need to experiment more with getting the ink off the plate. I also enjoy lino-cutting. Now I can't wait to buy some more perspex. I did try drypoint etching on copperplate, but found it much harder to actually create the lines , i think my tool was not sufficiently sharp. I liked working with the one image because it really allowed me to see the variations and the nuances of the different techniques.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Printing Course I have been doing

I have been doing an on-line printing course with Kristi Schueler. My main reason for doing it was to have a real try at printing on paper rather than fabric. I decided to play with this image of the Madonna of the Milk by Ambrogio Lorenzetti from the old guidebook of Siena which I purchased in Annecy. I am interested by how "mother" is depicted in painting and I do especially like byzantine and early renaissance icon depictions. Obviously Lorenzetti was very much influenced by Giotto.

Anyway I made my own drawing of the painting to work with, reducing it to line drawing.Blogger is not letting me load anything for more than 12 hours now so I will try in another post.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


I have been away for two days helping a friend with some legal things, and so have not got much done. I have been working on the Rug for Persephone but not as much as I would like, as my shoulders have been really sore. I couldn't work out why until it dawned on me my normal sewing tabel is lowered by at least 15 cms , and the table I am working on in the shed is normal height. And thanks Susan for thinking of my work and remembering Persephone.

The stitching is really changing the appearance of the quilt top , hoepfully I will get it finished tomorrow. I have also been working on making small books- they are 7 "x7" ( about 20 cm square) I have still to bind them but I want to print on some of the pages beofre I bind the books.

My friend Robina Summers has finally got her Wild Scarves website up- there are still some pages to come but some of her woven and digitally printed scarves with embroidery are up.

There is an interesting discussion going on on Sharon Bogon's In a Mintute Ago blog, just scroll down the page a little- be sure to check out all her hyperlinks especially to Elisabet's blog. Some of the books referred to I read for my masters in order to contextualise the work i was creating , and found the area intriguing but difficult, because gender does play a major role, and not only that I had problems with art history's canonisation of white male western art. For me there is something so profoundly wonderful about all textiles, something profoundly wonderful about all forms of art- the aesthetic of each is governed by its own process and cultural placement that the possibilities are endless. And when I was in Syria and Palestine, the men seemed as interested in textiles( the quilts that I took there) as women, yet in Israel , geographically in the same region, but much more westernised and being the home of many immigrants from the west, textiles and quilts obviously did not have the same appeal to men.There was a noticeable difference in the way the work was received.

I was fascinated that the history of lace had more business women than most other commercial pursuits until industrialision took over lace making.Martine Bruggeman a Belgian authority on the history of lace in her book "Kant ( not the philospoher but the dutch/flemish word for lace) in Europe", makes this point .Lace at one time was only the second biggest commercial pursuit of Europe making cities rich and famous and lace was coveted by kings and queens and other people of high rank. What is the placement of lace now?

Monday, November 13, 2006

I am working on another Rug

Stitching really does make a difference! The pomegranates with the stitching around them are just so much nicer than the non-stitched ones- and that is why I like quilting/stitching- it really adds another dimension to what painting can't do!

I am working on this rug, not for the underworld this time, but for the upper world. I am still undecided about the green strip on the left hand side, but I will wait and see how it looks once a lot more stitching has gone in.

I will be updating the Sense of Place blog with workshop information at the winery in January in the next day.

And someone please enlighten me- last night literally more than a 100 German visitors visited the site- why did that happen? Anyone out there?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sense of Place

I have been getting my act together for the publicity materials for Sense of Place, the exhibition that I am curating which will open at Samson Hill Winery, Syria and France ( so far- I hope to add some more venues!) The banner above is the banner Robina Summers designed from details of images of the work of the 11 participating artists who are, Jenny Bowker, Sue Dennis, Dianne Firth, Helen Gray,Gloria Loughman,Beth Miller, Beth and Trevor Reid, Robina Summers, Olga Walters, Fiona Wirght and myself.The banner will also be printed on banner materials as part of the signage of the exhibition

As part of that publicity I have set up a Sense of Place Blog. I will update it regularly with all sorts of news including the exhibtions' travels. I will also providing profiles of the artists, and information regarding the fundraising workshops we will be conducting at Samson Hill.The workshops will be as follows:

10 January 2007 ( Wednesday) Brooches- create your own zany art brooches to liven up even the dullest t-shirt!

17January ( Wednesday)2007 Bags of Fun- to wear for fun

24 January (Wedensday)2007 Bandanas- fabric fun to make your hair curl

31 January ( Wednesday) 2007 Belts-hot colours, crazy ideas

There will be three tutors: Olga Walters, Robina Summers and myself taking groups of 10 participants to create fun things- one for you and one as a gift to people on the other side of the world- in the spirit of goodwill. It will be possible to swap around during the day. The cost will be $70 inclusive of morning tea, lunch, and materials- all you need do is bring yourself, a sense of goodwill and fun. A non-refundable payment of $20 is payable ( to cover material costs). Please contatc me for details.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Have to Climb Out of the Hole

I seem to have fallen into a great big hole and am having trouble climbing out. It is not that I have been idle- I have done some lino-cutting and printing on paper- but couldn't bring myself to work with fabric at all. I made the lino-cut of an unfurling fern frond as a metaphor- I am not entirely happy with the lino-cut and am not happy with the inking I am doing- it's a bit too heavy.

I have aso been playing with making books- but have been questioning my motivation- are they for me or for sale, and if they are for sale, who would be interested in hand made books? If anyone has some favourite book arts sites or book making sites I would love to find some.

And then this afternoon the thought hit me I ought to make something cheerful- I always seem to come back to Demeter and Persephone- I have been focussing on the dark side , I need to focus on the light side- the re-entry into the world of people, of growth and corn and perhaps a little invention. So these were the fabrics I auditioned for a more cheerful outlook. Not quite sure about it yet- it needs a bit of tweaking, but it's a start.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A small amount of Sewing

I feel guilty- I have achieved very little sewing this week- just this piece which will be a belt of sorts- just wanted to try the vcolour combinations- I have sewn it on water soluble and more sewing is still to go in- unfortunately it shrank so it won't be a belt for me :-( never mind , my eldest daughter liked it too.

I have also enrolled for an on-line course for printing with Kristi Schueller. I was intrigued as to what an on-line course would be like and have so far enjoyed it.Participants have shared so many interseting sites of printers- a whole other world! In a funny twist of sorts most of the other participants are doing it to print on fabric but I am doing it to print on paper- I would like to make more hand printed books and this is one way of forcing me to sit and do it.

Then I joined up for Nanowrimo again- novel writing for the month of November- almost forgot about it and then registered at the last moment- did not do any writing the first day ( I have found if you can really give it a big burl in the first week it sort of carries you through the other weeks) but this evening I sat down and loosely plotted something, so after this I am off to the laptop to make a serious start- cloth will be woven throughout the story- where it will lead me I have no idea, but that is part of the fun. I also put a new blog counter on the blog- it shows all the little flags that belong to the countries of visitors. My aim is to have all 194 ( some atlasess say there are 189, 191,192 or 193 countries) countries visit- it's a pretty far fetched aim, but 62 is not a bad start! Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

Admin instration urghh

I spent most of the weekend with Robina and Tony ( whose website will be functioning soon so I will link when it is) sorting out the photos, banner and letterhead for Sense of Place. All those things had to be sent out in proposals today- always at the eleventh hour of course.And it always takes forever to do and then dash into the post office to post it all. I always start to feel frustrated doing this for whilst it is a very real part of the work I do, I always feel guilty if I haven't sewn or done something creative for the day.

The collage is of the bush around Bend Of Islands where Robina and Tony live- it is a part of the Yarra river just outside of Melbourne where the residents themselves have agreed to an environmental code for their surroundings- this means no dogs or cats and only a small area of European or non-native garden and leaving the bush intact. I am always surprised by how messy the Australian bush is- the forest floor is littered with all sorts of leaf and twig litter. The picture bottom right is of scribbly gum where insects get between the bark of the tree and the wood and carve the squiggles.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thinking About the Binding

During the night the 75,000th visit happened and I think it must be Alison Schwabe from Uruguay- Alison is a friend- last time it was a friend too- how strange is that? At least I think it is Alison as I do sometimes have another visitor from Uruguay as well but have no idea who that is. Alison has just had a quilt accepted into Quilt National too! And her blog is worth checking out for life in Montevideo in Uruguay.

And I have finished the stitching on the Seriously Big Banksia ( in Australia we have "big" everythings as tourist attractions- from merinos to pineapples , crayfish, bananas etc)- only a couple of days late. The green thread looped the whole time , but as I am struggling with time I left the looping as the flower of itself is quite textured with loops. If you click on the image a larger version willl appear where you can see the stitching better. I need to think of a really good binding for this one- have been thinking about picking up the lime green of the threads or even orange ( I have some shiboried orange and black which might do the trick) but I want to think about it overnight. This quilt is made for the Sense of Place ( In the Spirit of Goodwill) exhibition I am curating. It will be shown at Samson Hill Winery just outside of Melbourne. It will be shown all of January and early February and there are some more exciting developments in the cooking pot fo which I will talk later. For a start we will be doing workshops every Wednesday for quilters and non-quilters alike during the whole month of January. The idea is that you just bring yourself - we provide everything else ( materials and lunch) for a fee - we teach you something new, that you might not ordinarily have done, that can be made into something small- but you will make two- one for you and one as a gift to people on the other side of the world- in the Spitirit of Goodwill and of course we will have fun!. Olga Walters, Robina Summers and myself will be doing the workshops. If you are interested let me know and I will put you on the list.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My work Table in the Shed

Thank you for all your good wishes- it is going to be a long journey but we are hopeful that the outcome will be good, but it will take time to know.
On another note , the blog is 472 visits away from the 75,000th visit! It is phenomenal to me that so many people have visited since I started, the camaraderie that has grown, which is different to the dynamics of a yahoogroup. I visit others blogs daily, don't always leave comments but I enjoy getting to know people and seeing how their creativity is spurred and getting a sense of who the people are, the shape of their lives.People's blogs have spurred me to buy books which I might have overlooked, sent me to websites I would not have found and generally added to my daily life. I tried Ilva's recipe from Luculian Delights for Rosti with Sun-dried Tomatoes yesterday , except I didn't have tomatoes so I did it with marinated roasted capsicums instead and made a green mayonanise to dip them in - and they were delicious. Yesterday I found an incredible resource for the latest writing on art and related philosophies- a 138 page pdf download listing all recent writing- the tomey stuff but still some that looked very interesting.So thank you one and all, and I am trying to think of a present for the 75,000th visitor!

I have set up two tables in the shed studio- hopefully we will pour the slab in the not too distant future- having the money and time at the same moment in time is the problem. Meanwhile I have set up some tables in there to work and I am slowly moving out of my old workroom which I shared with my eldest daughter ( most of my things have been packed away- and it is amazing what an art resource my room was for everyone- the number of times I have been asked do you have this or that? And I do, but it has been packed away) This table is set up for drawing and other things- the other table is for sewing- some people like neat clean spaces in which to work but looking at the photo I seem to make shrines of materials and leave myself little space in which to actually work.I tend to need all these things around me to help clear my mind and focus.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Week that Was

Ima y not be posting much over the next few weeks, as it has been impossible to do any work. I have just spent the worst week of my life- I cannot say what happened because that would invade the privacy of those around me, but I need your hugs and good thoughts. Meanwhile I send you a waratah- not as beautiful as other years or as large but pretty amazing nonetheless.Ok blogger is not letting me do this- but I am sending a waratah!

Blogger finally let me- thank you for all the hugs and prayers and good thoughts.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just a bit of fun

I was intending to sew all weekend but for one reason or another that did not happen- and I can't really put my mind to it. So I sat and drew these little chaps in my journal. My daughter thinks they are really cool and I should make them into a screen print and make bags with them. Maybe I will- I can make screens on my Print Gocco machine.I think i will need to redraw them and clean up the art work a bit.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Seriously Big Banksia

I have been working on making a seriously big banksia based on the studies I did last week. First trick was to get the fabrics just right.. The deep maroon isn't quite as dark as I would have liked but as I tried a few times it will have to do. I have also run out of white fabric to dye and have to get some more. Then the yellow- I didn't quite want the variations you get in hand dyed cloth and I wanted texture on the surface as well. How I visualised the texture to work in the appliqued pieces did not quite come off- so then I procrastinated and decided to continue on with it. I imagine this banksia to be stand alone as is- and that a lot of texture and detail will come from stitching which is yet to go in. It measures 74 cm bu 145 cm long .Hopefully I will get it pinned today and start the stitching. I hope to have it finished by Monday sometime .

Thursday, October 12, 2006


This photo came out of a French Travellers Guide Book for Sienne ( Siena) by Pierre du Colombier and published by B Arthaud of Paris in 1955 ( This publishing house still seems to exist). The photograph was actually taken by M.A.Trincano of Lyon.

Doesn't it capture a delightful moment? Two men and a donkey and age old brick walls. And really it is not all that long ago- the year before my birth- life has certainly changed. I wonder if it the photograph was taken on a Monday because all the washing is out.I bought the book in an antiquarian bookshop when I was in Annecy and it contains a delightful loose leaf map of Siena and many other rather good black and white photographs, many of paintings. There was also a guidebook on the Languedoc in the same shop- but I was worried about the weight of my luggage on the way home so I refrained and now I am regretting it.

I have mentioned Lucullian before in regards to food but have also found that Ilva has a photograph site- there are some wonderful photographs there, capturing small moments and there are also some links to other interesting sites with photographs. With spring well and truly on the way and a hot summer to come by the looks of it, I will be trwaling Ilva's Lucallian blog for recipes and inspiration for fresh produce.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The image is the invitation to the opening of an exhibition of the drawings of Hassan Harouni. Hassan had been working on a book called Hassan Everywhere but he unfortunately drowned before he finished. Hassan was a Palestinian artist and this card fell out of one of my diaries yesterday ,as I had attended the exhibition opening. It came at a moment when in a sense I was being overwhelmed by the world and it suddenly caught my breath as I remembered the feeling that the exhibition had engendered in my head and heart. You might think that the unfinished drawings for an unfinished book do not warrant an exhibition, but there was magic in that room the day I was there- it was palpable and it was special. The thought of magic and whimsy cheered me up immeasurably- it seems to appear so little in our busy lives.It also started me thinking about art- which has to be serious, weighty, intellectual and thought provoking and whatever else- but where is whimsy in all of this? Those little stolen moments of magic which I felt in the exhibition of Hassan's drawings.

We read stories to children full of whimsy and magic. My children built many fairy gardens in the hope of attracting a fairy ( and I still find the remains of some around my garden)- they were wonderful little collages of moss, twigs,mushrooms and flowers often placed in hollowed logs- every bit as whimsical as the delightful installations of Andy Goldsworthy - not "art" but on the other hand designed to transport into the world of the imagination and magic.

Just like piles of wood are installations of an almost bygone era- the image that it conjures of woodfire, leaping flames,crackling and skipping,glowing and glinting;imagine camping without a glowing fire to talk into the night.

Sometimes living is an art;I watch my children , nearly all teenagers pulled and tugged by peer pressure,tv and media and the internet; there are few moments of whimsy in a teenagers life. I know this is part of growing up but I do hope somewhere sometime they will seek to find a refuge from the madding crowd and indulge in moments of whimsy- of immersion in the world of magic. The power of imagination is strong- we need to indulge it now and then and fly on whisps of whimsy.