Tuesday, October 30, 2007






When I thought..... all the last drawings and amendments to text for the book have gone off to France and I could breathe a sigh of whatever, I find out this morning that Editions de Saxe have been bought by another company. The General Manager has gone ( he was the one I dealt with) and there is a new one. The contract is signed but I only sent it on the day I left Europe- so it should be there- they had already signed. We had amended the contract as I wanted to keep the English rights until such time as they published the book in English. So now what?? I was hoping the advance would pay for my trip to Europe in January. Hopefully I might find out more tonight- but it just shows how precarious things can be and if the thing is scrapped I will have to cancel my trip :-(

So I decided to make some more of my griot dolls and sone of the cats (one as a thank you gift to some acquaintances in Austria who kindly sent soem Halloween things for the kids). I sold a couple of the dolls when I was overseas- people seem to genuinely like them . So I decided to sell them through the blog as well.! They are $55 US inclusive of postage (airmail). I carved a new figure as I want a variety of faces and patterning as well.
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Things left Behind



I haven't created anything new since being back because I have had to sit and do all the working drawings for my book Seventy Two Ways which will be published in French in January. Serves me right- I thought I would get away with drawing by simply sewing- but not so- they also wanted drawings as well as drawings indicating sewing directions. So I have had to sit and draw these very neatly ( and you know my drawing with the sewing machine is much better than by hand!) it is done- I also had to be more instructional in the descritpions accompanying each square- in the english version I sort of presumed that the people who would be buying the book would already know some of the things, however Editions de Saxe caters to a much wider market than I might reach, so I have had to be much more didactic than I might ordinarily have been. But it is all done- all I have to do is load some images of some of my machine quilted pieces onto a cd and it is ready to send off tomorrow!.

I leave a lot of my things in Europe at my aunts- I get snagged by way too many books- you know how it is- fishing line with attractive book at the end and when I was in Syria I was given a number of artists books as well. I brought one of them home this time. The book was released to accompany the exhibition of the work of Abdullah Murad and is wonderful. I share two images here. The blue one was entrancing- it was quite big and had I had the money I would have bought it. It is composed of so many layers, so many drifts of ideas, a langauge beyond langaue and yet it also captures the presence of Syria/of a Syrian artist working with layers of story and history- I loved it. The other thing I much admired in Murad's work was his masterly use of yellow- it reminded me so of Bonnard whose use of yellow is wonderful.

One of the things I noticed when I visited Artisan Bookshop in Melbourne just before I left, was how miserly the books on quilting are. By this I mean they were all soft back slim volumes on one technique yet many of the other books in the shop also relating to areas of art and craft were substantial weighty beautiful books. I think we are selling ourselves short- by allowing publishers to dictate the quick and speedy way of publishing. I don't mind if it relates to one technique but when the book contains substantial work it desreves better than a slim soft cover volume. So this thought has been ruminating in my mind- as I have been trying to think of ways I can make a catalogue to accompany my exhibition in Munch next year- and I am leaning to hand made books- I know it is a kind of expensive exercise- but if the content is good and the work even goes vaguely halfway to capturing what I have been imagining then it is worthy of something more than a mere invite. Anyway I have still got the thinking cap on , and maybe it is too big an ask. I am thinking limited edition catalogue. Ok off for a glass of champers!
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Some things from my Trip

The first photo is of a piece of Kuba cloth which scomes from the Congo. I bought it at Val d'Argent.It is a technique peculiar to the Kuna people , and I have not heard of any other people working with this particular technique. The ground fabric is woven from raffia and then embroidered with raffia- the embroidery is then cut to create the chenille effect. I love the slight irregularity of the shapes which gives it a certain motion. I was very happy to get a piece of Kuba as slowly I am building up a small collection of all sorts of indigenous textiles.

the se=cond piece is some fabric I dyed the day I met with Laura and Annette Jeukens. I couldn't take it with me at the time as it was still wet but Laura kindly sent it to me. It is painted with Trapsuutjies opaque textile paints and fabric liners( copper is the colour I used) I really like this piece of cloth but have not decided what i shall do with it. Oh and btw Trapsuutjies website is now also in English ( and hopefully soon in French as well)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back in Australia





The photos above are from a small textile museum in Hard near the Boden See in Austria.This particular area developed as a textile printing area after a person moved to this area from the great Mulhouse printing factories sometime in the 1700's. The area was chosen for it's pure water which was also ultimately to cause its demise in the 1860's with local town councillors voting to close the industry due to the polluting of the water system. The museum is small but well worth a look if you are in the area- they had a very good video showing the carving of the blocks and transfer of designs and showing the actual printing process and mordanting process for silks ( and much of the mordanting of natural dyes uses urine- for example woad uses bovine urine, and workers associated with the industry often had derogatory names assigned to them because of the odour of urine) as well as a very nice collection of printing blocks and fabrics printed in the region.Wood block carving was a much sought after profession in that it paid three times the money than ordinary work in the textile industry and was done in well lit warm and dry environments. One did a three year apprenticeship upon which one was given or bought ( I am not sure which as my German is a bit rusty)a box of tools as seen in the photo. This enabled woodblock carvers to travel with their tools to various areas and of course resulted in a cross fertilisation of patterns and designs.

I am back after a long journey home not helped by a train strike in France ( my intended way of getting to the airport which had to be changed to hire car as I did not want to miss my plane as it had been incredibly difficult to get a fare home in the first place), to being told the plane was too full and that I would have to fly with a partner airline( which was fine by me) to being told at the last minute they did have a seat for me, arriving in Doha late and having to scuttle to catch the next leg of my flight to find my luggage missing on arrival in Bangkok. I was a bit overwhelmed by Bangkok-the noise and dirt and its skyscrapers- giving an outward appearance of western affluence ( why is this so desired- I find modern western cities soulless) but concealing poverty- and the number of shops selling designer clothing ( how many of these outlets are there worldwide of these overpriced items- there are whole cities that exist on selling hotels and designer malls to tourists- Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Bangkok and no doubt many others).I had hoped to buy some silks but I didn't get to the markets . Then I flew home on Jetstar- and from my point of view never again! The plane was fine but having to pay for meals and drinks on a reasonably long haul flight when you are tired and just want to get home is not my cup of tea. Not only that I used my frequent flyers points for this leg- and my grumble is -- I earned those points on more expensive fully catered flights - yet I get to spend them on a lowcost flight with no services!Thanks Qantas!

So I am home- have to finish drawings for my Seventy Two Ways book to send to France- my book contract is signed for the French edition of the book! Also waiting upon my arrival home was lovely already coloured lutradur/polyester non-woven fabric purchased by one of my students from Paris ( Thank You Catherine!)in a Toto of all places ( though in a sense not surprising as Toto's seem to have all manner of things fabric). Catherine sent me yellow, orange and red- which saves me having to colour the first application before applying the next layer of colour/designs with transfer paints.

tagged me for a meme- but as i can't think of an unsual fact about myself and I haven't yet got around to thinking of any other facts.

And I will be going back to Europe in late December/January and giving more classes so if you are interested please contact me!
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