Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Taking Shape


Sometimes things take time to take shape. I spent all day doing what appears to be very little- and yet I am onto the next stage which is to pin the quilt top ready for some stitching. I am intending to do quite a lot of hand stitching on this one, and it is meant to be a companion for All the Sweet Perfumes of Arabia. The funny thing was ,I isolated one of the shapes in the silk brocade fabric I had ,with the intent of telescoping/enlarging- I was thinking silk road and Palmyra. The shape also reminded me of one of the shapes I photographed when in Palmyra- funny thing is whilst on the silk brocade it looked like a delicate flower once I enlarged it and fiddled a little it looks distinctly palm like- unintentional but yet so appropriate for what I was trying to express- the richness of the silk route- the colour and mystique of caravans.
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Monday, July 30, 2007

The Monday After



I am sorry I have not posted for a week or so but I have been in Melbourne at the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Fair with the Across Australia quilts which were much appreciated. I took some more of my dolls to handstitch as the quilt I had intended to take to hand stitch did not eventuate. I did manage to transfer print some lutradur last Tuesday- but that was as far as I got. Anyway I stitched about another 6-7 dolls and even sold one- though I really don't know what to charge for these as they are rather time consuming with all the hand stitching and in the back of my mind I am thinking installation of some sort- to go with work inspired by Syria- they have a kind of middle eastern feel to them.I was surpised by how many people picked them up - and felt they had soem kind of story to tell- funny as that was how I was thinking of them - storytellers. ( and I will add another story I swapped for a doll in a day or so)

I will be away later this week at a Craft Quilt and Stitch Show in Perth, Western Australia-Across Australia will be shown there as well as some of my own work. So the work I had intended to put together to stitch for the last show will have to be put together for this week. I hate sitting and having nothing to do with my hands. So I have been auditioning the lutradur with some back ground fabrics- and then remembered I had been sent some 10 cm strips of traditional Damascene silk- which I had not quite worked out how to use- I think I can incorporate them into this piece - and perhaps add some foiling picking up on the silk accents and perhaps even some motif printing over the top- I am still thinking but do like the colour play.
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Friday, July 20, 2007



I have been sewing like the blazers trying to get a coloured version of Seventy Two Ways done for Vic Quilters Showcase next week. I had entered my black & white one, but after making the smaller coloured one for the book I decided I like the coloured one much better so decided to enter it instead. It is exactly the same size as the black and white one, and I must have added in another motif somewhere, because when I got to the last square I still had one square from the original which isn't in this one.Not sure how that happened.Then I discovered that the quilts were supposed to have been delivered by Sunday 22 July- I thought 22 July was Monday- so some quick phone calls- and phew it is ok( thank goodness otherwise all that sewing would have been a waste). I also had to unpick one of the motifs at the eleventh hour as it was upside down- and it stuck out like a sore thumb.

It has been a bit of a rocky couple weeks so I decided I needed to tell myself some things I love instead of pondering negativity so here are seven loves to fill the week:

I love summer ( bad luck it is winter here)- but I can look forward to summer!
I love pumpkin soup on a cold winters day made from our own pumpkins and sprinkled with fresh parsley and a swirl of sour cream.We have pumpkins in the shed so this one I can do tomorrow!
I love books in all shapes and sizes- novels, art books, textile books, cook books,journals, hand made books.
I love the colour orange and I need to remember that as I contemplate the making of some new work.
I love fires- unfortunately we don't have a woodfire in the house, but we often have a fire outside ( unfortunately at the moment it is too wet for outside fires)
I love the movie Blue with Juliette Bincohe - it is so inutterably sad and I cry rivers watching it and yet the ending is full of possibility and even joy.
I love my digital camera, it allows me to share my world, my passions, my work and allows me to revisit all the special places I have been.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

From a Wintry Gellibrand

A collage of things in my garden at the moment. We planted proteas and banksias for winter colour and they have the added effect of attracting many birds. I came across a delightful google video on the Athananius Kircher Society website about a lyrebird- it is worth watching if you have some spare time as the lyrebird is a fascinating bird. They are seldom seen but often heard. Their tail is beautiful- lyre shaped. I love the sound of kookaburras and we have two resident ones here- who seem to spend a lot of time laughing- at us probably.Sometimes when people phone me up they will ask "what on earth the sound in the background is" often it is the kookaburras laughing.They are really noise but it is such a happy sound that I always smile inwardly when they start up. The heather has a little story attached to it. The native heather of Australia is actually quite scrubby and a lovely pink colour but this white heather , which we have quite a lot of in our village apparently was sewn by a homesick Scotsman around the turn of the century when this whole valley was logged and Gellibrand was a bustling saw milling town. In fact the towns' tavern stood on our block ( how appropriate I hear some of my friends say) and in our various gardening excavations we came across a whole cache of old bottles and ceramic remains- many were broken but a few were still intact, including one lovely long necked blue bottle( must find them and I can show you a photo).

Did a lot of sewing today- and had to give up as my back was getting sore.

And on another note- when I go to Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork it looks as if I shall be flying home via England. I want to spend a few days going to the Brit Musuem and the V&A but if anyone is interested in me teaching a workshop at all please let me know. We are tentatively planning having a workshop in a small village hall not too far from Cambridge- have to put my organising hat on.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Damascene tea Carrier


Thank you one and all for your thoughtful replies. As Kristin pointed out she did try to do the "forest" dyeing and it was difficult to replicate- from memory I did show people what I did in the class Kristin took- but a successful outcome is dependent on many factors and I don't get it right all the time either!

I also wish that you were the judges of my quilts LOL! The tree trunks weren't actually inspired by Durer- I have often in the past ,done tree trunks in this way- and I have a Demeter quilt in my lounge dating from 1995 where I did this type of thing- though I have gotten far more skillful over the last 12 years- and my machine is better as well.The kind of lines Durer does in his engravings is not possible with the machien- well it is it you want to go crazy cutting threads. I Have been working on a coloured ( another ) version of 72 Ways- because after I did the smaller coloured version for the book I decided it needed a full sized quilt as well.

I love this photos of a Damascene tea carrier- can you imagine that once upon a time there would have been many of these men floating around the city dispensing hot sweet minty tea for almost next to nothing? I wonder whether any young men will take on the job or these timeless treasures will disappear like so many other timeless treasures ?
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Monday, July 16, 2007

View From My studio

It's finished! it took a lot of sewing and I think Imay still add some more to the top.

Beverley asked a question about the dyeing and I must admit she is not the first to have asked. However without seeming coy or indeed churlish to share ,the question does raise a real dilemna for me for a number of reasons.Firstly I sell the fabric I dye- and that is how I earn my living but that is not the most important reason for my dilemna.
There is actually a lot of emotion invested in that bit of dyeing- sounds silly- but for 10 years I have looked out my work room window at a certain view of trees ( it is on a recent blog entry) - it is where I dream, where I lose myself where I feel sad and lonely and even depressed and then up again- it is where I wait for the summer to come and cast its coppery light with the setting sun- it is where I sew it is where I create,its where I think about my children ,it is where I plan my travels-all of that emotion is in that dyeing because that was the feeling I was trying to capture- my mood determines the colours and my state of mind the tightness of the pleating.Ultimately it took me a long time to arrive at this point of dyeing- to get that feeling- which a number of people have also commented on. I kind of believe that the whole "feeling" is part of the my whole emotional involvement in the dyeing- the thinking. I rarely make bigger work just for the heck- there is always a reason- that is how I am.I don't have a problem writing artists statements because my work is always about something- though often the work stands alone without aything else. I believe some of this may come from the emotion I invest in the making of any work. And it is an investment- my whole life is based around my arts practice- i rarely take a holiday from it.

The sellling side does raise a dilemna too- a few years ago someone who had purchased my fabric won a first prize in a quilt show. It was a whole cloth quilt substantially as I make it and the fabric was unmistakable indeed it was a major part of the quilt ( or from what I could see on the internet)- nowhere was there any acknowledgement that I had dyed the fabric. I didn't worry too much at the time- though I did notice- I reasoned I had sold the fabric and whomever bought it could use it however. But the reason I noticed was - the person won a prize with it, yet I have never won a prize with pieces made from this fabric- it seemed a kind of hard irony at the time.Anyway that's life I guess.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Forest views


About a month ago I showed some photos of green forest fabric I had dyed. Nothing much happened to them and I sold some as well. I put them aside and forgot about them untilt he other day. I am on a forest roll at the moment- and decided I may as well quilt this one, as I had nothing better to do and am still scrabbling around for ideas to develop.I can kind of feel it in my finger tips- but it hasn't quite come out yet- so I have found it's better to be doing something than to sit and wait. And as the last two days have been sunny, suddenly my mood is a bit lighter as well and I can actually think of doing something.

And I notice Susan Iacone left a mesage to my previous post- yes the beach is quite different to Castlemaine- but I remember years ago in a talk you gave - when I was still a novice you said "If in doubt quilt it to death!" I certainly took that lesson on board LOL! Actually I think that the difference between quilting and embroidery is decidedly starting to blur- which is for the better I think.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

A Day of Drawing



I have been a bit down in the doldrums lately- I think part of the problem is sitting and sewing for long lengths of time- you mull over things and if you are not in a great state of mind to start with ,things can quickly slide into a murky pool. Plus I am not a winter person at the best of times- and the rain ,rain, and rain is starting to get to me. It is much needed, but the ground is too soggy to go walking at the moment, which is always something that blows the cobwebs out.

I purchased a book recently entitled Raphael, Durer, and Marcantonio Raimondi; Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print by Lisa Pon, ISBN 0-3000-09680-I, and have been enjoying the detailed descriptions of the process of engraving and copying, largely because I have really had to look and study the prints in the book to really see the differences. I must admit to being a lover of prints , after many years ago seeing a room full of William Blake prints in the Victorian National Gallery- not that William Blake is my favourite, but I was really amazed at the quantity and the quality of the work. I absolutely adore the work of Albrecht Durer so spent a little time today working out why he appeals to me so- I did a little drawn study inspired by a small detail from the background in the Betrayal of Christ from his Small Woodcut Passion series.The detail of his original print is simply amazing and my drawing can go nowhere near capture even an iota of his detail- however I was interested in the difference of the tree with the blank space as compared with the drawn in space- and much prefer the latter. The tree with the space filled in seems so much richer- I guess that is why I stitch so heavily.... sigh.....
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Thursday, July 12, 2007



When I was in Damascus I spent a lot of time in the thread souq- I puchased these skeins of rayon thread for hand quilting with big stitches. These skeins weigh 200 gms and the colours are luscious. I wished I could have brought home more, but my suitcase was seriously weight challenged as it was with workshop materials and quilts.I have a serious thread collection for both machine and hand stitching. These skeins of rayon are usually used for making tassels.

I also love kitchen gadgets- and the gadget placed on the thread is a falafel maker with a hole in the middle.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Winter's Walk


Thank you for alll the psoitive comments about my forest quilt- I really appreciate it.And Shirley- ik weet nog hoe je stond te kijken naar de stof- welke te kiezen??? I tried to do some sewing today, but had other things to catch up as well, so got very little done.

I have been incommunicado for a few days as I had to take my kids to Blairgowrie to keep my mother-in-law company for a few days. She has just been released from hospital after two months there, and my sister-in-law was busy with children school holiday activity.

I got very little sewing done-in fact none at all despite taking some dollies to sew.My eldest daughter and I went for a walk on the back beach on Monday afternoon- it was a beautiful clear winters day- the colours simply magic.And look at that lone surfer- we wathced him for awhile and he did put on a two wetsuits to keep out the cold. His faithful blue heeler dog sat bedside his bag whilst he went out to catch a wave.

And my blog counter with the flags seemed to come to a screaming halt at 120 countries- and nothing changed for 6 weeks- and then in a matter of a week 3 new countries! Wow!! And really really seriously- I would love to know how you got here- through textiles or other means? And then there are the faithful viewers- I don''t know who you are but I do know where you are from.
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Nearly Finished


At the expense of you getting bored with photos of this quilt- I wanted to show how the stitching enriches the whole texture of the quilt- on the bottom left hand corner of the quilt is an unstitched part- compare that to the pebbles quilted to the right of that. I had intended to enter this quilt in the Garden Theme for Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork- but arggh it's too big. I usually make the forest quilts about 1 metre square but because I dyed an old damask table cloth for this one, it is about 120 cm square- and after all that stitching I am not chopping anything off!

It was freezing today and wet- we need the rain badly- but I had to dye some fabric as well- I managed to find an hour and a half when it wasn't raining. I dye outside- my hands were freezing. There was some discussion on one of the lists I belong to about mixing colours and what colours people bought. Here is what I use- and I dye everything you have ever seen on my blog from these colours ( and I prefer using the formulaic names because then I can work out whether the mix I make is going to tend to brown sludge)- colour descriptions are so subjective to each person that they are next to useless:

Yellow MX3RA ( golden/affron yellow- used three times as much as any other
dye at my house)
Yellow MX8G ( lemon yellow- great for birght greens)
Red Mx8 B ( poke in the eye fuschia- great for getting good bright purples
and good brilliant oranges and fire colours- you need to be a bit careful
using this one- it is so reactive that it always tends to grab the fabric
Red MX5B ( still bright but better for getting nicer pinks, maroons, wine
red colours and soft peachey colours and duller purples)
Turquiose MX
Blue MXG- mid blue (- great for bright purples- mid greens)
Blue MX4GD ( an almost indigo blue with greenish tinge- I use this one
because I dye to sell and I use it as the overdye in some of my greens-
really gives nice deep hues to greens - is very nice over terracotta
coloured browns)
Brown Mx3RA- brown is the hardest colur to mix- so I buy the mix ready made-
on its own this is a bit of a nothing brown- so I always jazz it up with
Yellow MX3RA and red MX8B- the amounts depending if I want a yellowish brown
or a reddish brown- I then use black to overdye to get really dark browns
Black MXG ( It is also possible to get a black MX2R- which is a reddish
black and on its own gives a deep sort of aubergine colour)- the MXG has a
greenish tinge on its own- but gives a more blackish black over the browns-
if you get my drift.

These are the only colours I use to mix all the colours I make. I have
tried a few of the so-called other mixed colours- but find my own mixes are more
reliable and often more vibrant- unfortunately I haven't written down most of my recipes and judge by eye.I am afraid I subscribe to the serendipity method of dyeing .I have colour mood days as well- but orange always brightens me up, and a lot of orange gets dyed at this house ! You can see some of my recent dyeing on Annabel Rainbow's blog.

I always use salt- quite hot water and electric soda- I dye in cold weather
outside where in winter the ambient temperature is quite cold- and it still
works- though I do make sure I rinse my cloth in quite hot water before
dyeing- so that everything is at a similar temperature. I have found
turquoise to be a little unstable in cold weather- you can tell when its
going to misbehave because the dye in solution goes all kind of strange and
when it first hits the fabric it's very pale and slowly darkens up after
that. I don't batch for 24 hours- one hour is enough for the dye to take- I
am too impatient for batching.
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Friday, July 06, 2007

Forest Quilt Taking Shape




The bottom photo is the view I see daily form my workroom. It is a bit deceptive because immediately behind the trees is the road we live on, which is dirt and creates billows of dust when its dry, and which invades every corner of the house. However from my room I can't see the road- and when I get lost I just stare out into the space. I think I must have stared out into this space for about 7 years before I actually found a way that I could somehow visually/materially produce the feeling that the view engenders in me.It is particularly lovely on a sunny day as the sun sets just a little to the right and the trees and foliage becomes all golden- it is as if you are far away from anywhere with not another soul in sight.I wanted to produce that feeling of distance and getting lost and actually found dyeing was the best way to do it. I had always thought of dyeing as a way to colour , and don't especially enjoy "painting" the cloth as such, though I have done it from time to time ( I do like printing but that is a different thing to me)- I like the randomness of the dye taking and the surprises it produces- though there is a little bit of control in the process.

I did a lot of stitching today- about 16 bobbins worth- and there is still a lot to go. The foliage at the top is very heavily stitched.
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Joei's Story

The first photo is the dawn over our vegie patch this morning- it was pretty spectacular! I was just a wee bit late- but it took me a bit of time to tie my shoe laces. The second photos is of progress being made on the forest quilt- it is finally starting to take shape!
Doll for a Story- first story

Ok and now for Joei Basset's story " Lost in the Jungle" - that she sent in exchange for one of my dolls. Joei doens't have a website or blog, does felting. I really enjoyed her story- and as I read lots of visual images jumped out at me.I have made bold those little phrases words that immediately said image to me. It also reminded me of my travels through Africa- which inspired my first solo exhibition due to the wonderful things we encountered . You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page

Ok here is Joei's story- enjoy!
In 1994 a friend called me from Alaska, where she lived, and said it had been raining for 3 weeks straight and she had cabin fever. It was April and she swore she would go crazy if she didn’t get some sun. She proposed to meet me on an airplane in San Jose, California headed for San Jose, Costa Rica. We could spend some time catching up on our latest adventures and see the flora and fauna of Central America. I had vacation time, March was still the rainy season in California, I said yes.

The trip started out pleasant enough. We knew each other from college, had lived together for a short time in Bethel, Alaska. We both spoke a small amount of Spanish and were accustomed to traveling ‘on the cheap’. She had an acquaintance in Costa Rica that was a photographer and we met him at a hotel in the capital. San Jose was a lovely city with beautiful tile work, lovely gardens, gracious people and delicious food.

We bought some maps in English/Spanish and bus tickets to Monteverde Cloud Forest via the scenic route near Arenal Volcano. The forest was lush and thick and birds were everywhere. Toucans, yellow-naped Amazons and hummingbirds of all colors and sizes were in the small village where we stayed. The Volcano was active and produced clouds of smoke during the day and a visual feast of fireworks at night.

Arriving at Monteverde I stepped off the bus and sprained my ankle, not bad but tender and swollen. I limped for about 2 days and was unable to do any hiking. My friend and her aquaintance decided to hike the cloud forest and I took a horse back tour of the higher, drier section. We met that evening and exchanged stories. They were somewhat disappointed as they had been seeking the Quetzal, a tropical bird with a splendid red breast and long twin iridescent tail feathers but did not see one. I on the other hand had seen a sloth hanging from a tree, leaf cutter ants marching like a river of green, several types of monkeys and learned a Costa Rican cowboy song from my guide.

My friend decided she would hike with me the next day in the cloud forest again to seek the elusive Quetzal, while her friend went horse back riding to photograph other high forest mammals. After breakfast we waited at the entrance to the preserve. They only allowed 150 people in the forest at one time and as we waited for someone to exit allowing us to enter, I rented a pair of waterproof boots that would support my ankle and keep my feet dry. My friend declined. I left my shoes in a small cubby to exchange on my way out of the park.

We were in luck, soon 4 people exited stating they had seen a Quetzal at the first branch off the trail near a waterfall. People were still there watching. We walked to the fork and found the waterfall. It began to rain. Not hard mind you, but more like real rain than just dampness in the clouds. We spotted the Quetzal and my friend began to complain about the weather. She had come all the way to Costa Rica to get out of the rain. I, on the other hand, wanted to see some of the birds and forest and insects. The trail around Monteverde’s peak was only a little over three miles. I had hiked and camped all over the Sierra Nevada by myself and felt I could manage on my own. She was somewhat concerned. No guide, no hiking partner and with a tender albeit less swollen ankle I was not at my finest. No problem, I said, it’s only three miles, I have a map and it’s only a circle. It’s a wide trail and there are 149 other people in the park. We made arrangements to meet for dinner at 6pm at a small restaurant outside the park. What will I do if you are not there, she queried. Call the National Guard was my flippant response and off I set with a banana, a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, my watch, an umbrella and two books (Costa Rican Birds and Flowers of Monteverde). I was set.

I traveled slowly, looking at the leaf structure, listening to the unfamiliar sounds, taking in the verdant smells and searching for the parrots and monkeys that screamed and called in the jungle. I never ventured off the path, the vegetation was so thick I could not see more than a foot or two into the green wall on either side of the trail. I met a few people and exchanged pleasantries in English and Spanish and discussed bird sightings and insect groups found at the trailside. I came to a fork in the road.

The map showed a fork that went to the right and upward to the high and dry section, a longer steeper hike. It also showed the fork to the left continuing the trail around the mountain. I saw some people coming from the left and greeted them asking first in Spanish then in English if this was the main road. They smiled, nodded and obviously spoke neither language. They headed from where I had come from and I headed toward the left.

I poked along, looking at leaves, insects, birds and tracks. Mostly bird tracks until I came upon a small wet area crossing the trail. The map had described a boggy area about half way around. I stopped to look at the new tacks in the mud. They were cat tracks, large cat tracks. It started to rain as I stood up and realized it had been way over an hour since the last time I saw anyone. I heard a low rumbling sound. Not like a growl not like thunder not like anything I could remember hearing. I started to run. Why? I suppose, no I confess, all I could think of were Jaguars. This was not a zoo and the trail was considerably narrower than at the beginning. Two could barely walk abreast now, the jungle was deep on either side and suddenly there were no bird or monkey sounds.

I ran until I was out of breath. My imagination got the best of me. I remembered reading in the news a woman had been torn apart by a mountain lion just before I’d left for vacation. There was no way this out-of-shape grandmother could outrun a Jaguar. I stopped running and listened. The jungle noises seemed ominous now and I walked briskly along the trail.

Suddenly I saw what looked like roof tops, or at least a single roof top. Not to appear too anxious I continued to walk (instead of run) until I came to the clearing. It was not the Park’s entrance as I had guessed, but simply a single room building with a verandah beside a lovely stream in a small clearing. The trail continued to my left. I looked at my watch. I had less than an hour before sunset.

I realized there was no sense in going forward as the map showed no building in it’s simple curve around the mountain and it would be dark quickly, very quickly as there is no real twilight near the equator or in the dense jungle. I did not think I could reach the park entrance if I returned the way I’d come before dark either. I walked to the building and found a heavy metal padlock at the front door. However the back door was barred by some type of loose sliding mechanism. I couldn’t quite reach through the crack with my hand to grasp it. But I could feel rebar. I started slamming my shoulder against the door until I was sweaty, out of breath and I could just wiggle my hand in to grab the bar. Inch by inch I moved it until the door squeaked open.

It was an obvious hikers’ refuge. There were about ten single bunk beds, a rough hewn table and chairs, a small foot locker and a sink with running water from the stream outside. I took off my soaking wet clothes and hung them on the porch. I opened the foot locker and found some oatmeal with weevils included, a map that was more detailed than the one I had and a stub of a candle with old matches. It was now dark. I ate my bruised banana for dinner. I piled up all the thin little mattresses and climbed between them on a top bunk wondering about snakes, rats and other things in the night in the jungle.

It was quiet until the candle went out. Then all the rustling began. I don’t think I slept much though I was certainly exhausted. But fall asleep I eventually did. I know I did sleep because I awakened with crashing and banging on the metal roof as a group of monkeys hurried from one side of the clearing to the other and disappeared into the jungle. I’d lived through the night! The sun was shinning, my clothes were dry and the new map said I was at the Refugio el Valle in Monteverde Preserve. This trail was not on my map. I had turned too soon and was headed away from the park entrance.

I decided to retrace my steps. That would be the easiest course and I had never left the trail. Nor had I seen any other branches that I could have taken. I got dressed and headed out. The birds were singing, monkeys were hooting and it was almost 7am. I could make it back for breakfast. I walked quickly but quietly listening to the sounds around me and feeling like I was a survivor. As I came around a blind corner I looked up and further down the trail and there he stood. A golden brown spotted Jaguar who turned his head to look at me then walked into the dense leaves and disappeared. My heart raced and my imagination again went wild. Do Jaguars circle their kill? Do they follow their kill? Was he as hungry as I? My feet said ‘run’ but my brain said ‘keep walking’. I was too far from the Refugio to make it back and too far from the populated entrance to run all the way. Bravado got the best of me. I would go forward!

When we had entered the Preserve they advised us to walk quietly to see more. I took out my umbrella, put my finger on the button that would snap it open and began to sing, loudly as I literally marched forward. I sang for what seemed like forever. My throat was dry and my voice was hoarse. My finger was still on the button and I swung the umbrella like it would save me from marauding killers of any type. I came around another blind corner and screamed as I saw movement. Two men stood on the path. “Su llama Joei?” they asked. “Yes, yes! Me llama Joei” I answered.

They told me my friend was looking for me and I had only to continue on the same path to return to the park entrance. They would continue on to the Refugio to lock it up. They had no radios or walkie talkies, no snacks or drinks but smiled and waved as they left me advising I had less than 30 minutes to walk. I was standing at the turn off from the main trail. I recognized the English/Spanish plaque that described the trees by the stream and the wood bench.

I was almost back. My friend would be waiting for me. Why hadn’t she sent out the National Guard at 6pm the evening before. As I had listened to the scurrying during the night and I had consoled myself many times by thinking Rangers or National Guardsmen would come to lead me out by flashlight. By 10pm I’d realized they weren’t coming, not in the dark, not in the rain.

As I reached the turn off for the waterfall where we had looked for the Quetzal I heard her scream my name. She came running up and wrapped her arms around me and said “You’re alive! I thought at first you didn’t come to dinner because I’d left you to hike alone and you were mad. Then I thought you must have met someone interesting and decided not to have dinner with us. But when I woke up and it was 2am and you weren’t there, I knew something had happened.”

“Two AM? Two AM? Who did you think I was going to meet hiking in the jungle? Tarzan?”

Post script

The Park officials gave me a batiked T-shirt with a Jaguar on the front. They told me a party of over 10 Germans got lost the prior month on the same path. They had not revised the map yet, they would soon. To see a copy of the map go to http://www.cct.or.cr/pdf/mapa.jpg . Monteverde is truly spectacular I would do it again.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dyed Fabric



I have dyed a few pieces of fabric this week in an effort to find some inspiration. I really need to be thinking about new work- but still have to finish the forest piece. I am making slow progress on the forest piece-too many distractions with school holidays and then there is administrative tasks which always take so much longer than I think they will and my work room is too cold to sit in for long.

I had planned to do some lino cutting today but that did not happen either.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pattern and Decoration





I meant to post these photos earlier. They are all photos taken in Damascus and showcase the patterning and decoration that adorn many of the older buildings. The first photo is of Khan Assad al Pasha ( where Across Australia hung last year)- it is an old carvanserai and has been kept in good condition. We went there one night to see some whirling dervishes who performed on the opening of an exhibition of photographs of them dancing. As far as I know it is the biggest khan in Damascus and it it is near Straight Street. The second is of a quite dilapidated khan off the textiles souq- it was used as a kind of storeroom- however the ceiling was rather charming. And the third photo is of some of the decorations around the doors in Beit Jabri- our favourite restaurant in Damascus this time around.

I would love to do a quilt about Khan assad al Pasha one day- it is such a wonderful building- and when you stand in the middle and and slowly turn around you can imagine the sounds and rumblings of yesteryear- the little shops , the little food stalls....
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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Texture and line

I need some help in regard to the first photo. It is a painting of I thinkof a Madonna in the Louvre- but as I did not have a notebook with me I did not record who painted this painting.I have looked at the Louvre website and cannot find any reference to this Madonna. I photographed it because I thought the colour beautiful and the cloth so rich and lush ( I don't often photograph in Museums) I would like to know who painted this Madonna? It was in the Renaissance room- either at the beginning of the Italian room or otherwise in the Flemish section. From the clothing it looks as if it may be sixteenth century.

And thank you for your comments about horizontal v vertical- I ended up opting for the horizontal. I decided what bothered me was the lack of definition of the lines suggesting trees.In other forest quilts I have done those lines in the middle ground were much more defined in the dyeing process. But that thought did not strike me until last night as I sat looking and trying to emulate in my journal a drawing by Vincent van Gogh of Haystacks 1888 out of
"The Unknown Matisse; A LIfe of Henri Matisse: The Early Years, 1869-1908 " by Hilary Spurling p139. There is so much visual texture in Van Gogh's drawing created by mark making- sometimes you forget these things when you are working with textile. Textile is so much more two dimensional and whilst texture is the one thing that textile has over other two dimensional mediums the texture is quite different to that created by mark making on paper.I sometimes forget that not only can you create dimensional texture but also visual/mark making texture. Hence the heavily stitched tree trunks picking up on the lines already there but giving them more definition.