Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hand Dyed Fabric

Hot Fire Strips #1 55cmx 3metres $60 US SOLD
Hot Fire Strips 55 cms x 2metres $40 US SOLD
Teapots #3 $60 US
Teapots #4 $60US

The day started awfully slowly, it's hard to find enthusiasm some days with all the background stuff going on. The guy who was going to lay the slab hasn't shown any sign of coming and doing it and meanwhile the weather has turned quite cold.I have also been working on the commission- I will show some pics soon- it took a lot of procrastinating today0 the intention had been to use one piece of the pebble dyed silk I have been making- but I ended up using three different ones- which surprised me but the colours worked really well- so now I need to think about stitching....

I dyed the stripey pieces of cloth today too- seems red likes the cold- because these are really rich and wonderful- I think they are amongst the best dyeing I have done. They are long pieces so that adds to the definition of the stripes. And I made two mor eteapot pieces- at least I kept to my plans for day 2! I also got a lovely parcel from Dale from Downunder Threads- some iridescent shiva sticks and valdani threads-I am running up some samples for her- so I can actually allow myself some play time. One of the students in my class in paris had an iridescent shiva stick and we did some fun things with it- so I am looking forward to having a play with them and trying out a few odds and pieces.

Oh and I forgot to mention when I posted pics of the pomegranate tree of life tifaiafai- I will be teachign Tifaifai at Braidwood ,NSW later this month- 2 x2 day workshops from 24-27 May. This really is a fun class and last year they made some wonderful pieces- you will be encouraged to make your own design , but I shall also have patterns for use.If you are interested let me know and I shall put you in touch with the organiser.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More teapots

Teapots SOLD
I have been sewing today- finally- after being disappointed with a piece of polewrapped silk I did for the commission piece I am doing- I am still undecided whether to use it or have another go. I did more teapots and these are ultimately destined for my exhibition later this year. One of the problems with creating work for a solo exhibition is that you need to make a lot of work, but you actually cannot sell anything as you go along because you need the work for the exhibition. This is a real downside as an artist because your clash flow crashes and yet you have expenditure and material costs. So in an attempt to have a bit of cash flow happening I am going to try and make two of these smaller pieces a day for the next 50-60 days with the idea that one is for sale , but which one is your choice. They are designed to fit into an Ikea shadow box and measure 8 1/4 ( approx 20 cm) square. The cost of each piece is $60 US inclusive of postage. They will only be for sale for one week. The pomegranate card is also for sale - it measures postcard size and costs $27US.

Someone in the comments to my previous post mentioned what if you the artist had failed in what it was you had stated was your intent? The audience always has that option-viewers always bring their own standpoints and influences to whatever they look at , so that is the risk you as artist take in exhibiting your work. It also helps you be self critical - does the piece work , did it meet my intentions and when you exhibit you can't just exhibit any old thing- it needs to work with all the other pieces and the space and the general ambience- sometimes something you might have set out to make will not fit the exhibition.

Had a bleak day yesterday with a bank- sometimes its the pits being an artist no matter how much your imagination soars- the nitty gritty is that mortar and bricks need to be paid for, and not eveyrone views your ability to do so from the standpoint of what you might do. So much of what I do is based in forward planning- even teaching is booked up a year or more ahead- and exhibitions too- I am preparing for another exhibition in 2010- sitting down and working out what I might make for it. I am also planning another book- maybe on the creative process- but there seem to be quite a few books out there covering that territory so I have to think about point of difference- what new thing can I bring to the that format. A lot of what ifs with little currency!
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Random Thoughts Sunday

The above piece "River" is inspired by the landscape above. I originally made it to be part of an exhibition entitled "Twisted- Interpretations of the Natural Environment" which I curated and which showcased the work of a number of other Australian artists. It also had a twin( which I no longer have)- and the idea was that both would visually make a kind of arch- a homage to the importance of water in the Australian landscape. I did not get this one finished in time for the exhibition and found it the other day whilst clearing out the shed. It measures approx 40 cm x 1oo cm and is for sale at $350 us.

I am still playing with the idea of how Queen Zenobia might have looked- there appear to be no conclusive images or statues of her so creating her form my imagination seems apt in trying to come to some figurative form.

I also started reading Octavia Paz's biography of Sor Juana or The Traps of Faith and came across this excerpt in his introduction on page 4:
I have stated that a work exists not in isolation but in relation to other
works, past and present, that are its models and its rivals.I must add there is
another,no less detyerminant,relationship: that of work to reader..."

Which set me to musing - often I hear people decry artist's statements or complain that they have to make one, that the work speaks for itself, that the author of the work or the artist should not have to tell the audience the intention of the work. I have never really said this publically but I actually think this is a denial of the audience as an active part of any exhibition you might create whether as curator or as artist.Why exhibit if you do not want to communicate your intent? I for one do not believe that any single work comes out of an artistic vacuum or an imaginative vacuum- there are many reasons why people create, many ways of working but , and some people never want to exhibit their work.Yet there are many who bemoan that our work is not exhibited enough, that the mainstream art world is in denial of textiles ( all of which I will agree with ) that strive to exhibtit their work whether in juried shows or group exhibitions or solo exhibitions. To not make an artists statement about your work that is exhibited seems to me ( and this is a very personal opinion) to be a snub to your possible audience- you leave them floundering to work it out for themselves and if they don't work it out what are they left with? It is often said that the visual sense has become the predominant sense of our time, that also underpins the thinking that the image must stand alone- but I feel an artists statement can add so much. As Cezanne said he wanted to feel Mont Sainte Vittoire , and every time he painted it he saw it differently, and each time getting closer to the feeling he was trying to communicate, it enlightens me to know this when I see his paintings of this Aix-en-Provence icon- it creates a dialogue in my mind.

I also like peopele to touch my work- I know an anathema for a quilter and white gloves etc- however what I make is textural- the whole process involves my hands and my mind but the final product is almost always determined by the texture I want to create- this does have a visual role to play but for me is also intrinsically as to why I work in textile. There are a number of philosophers who feel touch has become the forgotten sense and I think they may be right- that touch underpins much of our perception and much of our response to clues in the world.

I have just finished watching a program on ABC arts Sunday on Wim Delvoye a Belgian artist working in some really strange media. ( and you click on buildings that come up on the webpage) I would have been hugely dismissive of this guy as I find the use of human excrement as art to be well full of it, but he was remarkably erudite about his work and the thing that ran through most of what he was creating was a sense of turning things on its head which rather appealed to me. For example he has built a human excrement machine called cloaca that duplicates the human digestive system- so exactly that the end product certainly looks the goods ( and tests proved that indeed it was very much the goods) .The end product is sold in plastic boxed presentation items- and the art world in New York, Paris you name it are falling over themselves to buy each individual plastic box for thousands and thousands of dollars.So who is having the last laugh I am wondering? Another of his projects was an animal art farm in China ( think about that one given the current happenings in Tibet)) - the farm consists of pigs which are housed in very clean styes are fed the best of green produce and are handled like little babies - once a week they are aneathesised so that over a period of time they can be tattooed- mostly with very stylised Chinese patterning and symbols of twentieth century icons ( his replicas of gothic structures in the decoration of every days structures such as a cement mixer is a play on the Marcel Duchamp's art and claim of everyday objects as art) so after a certain period of time the pigs are slaughtered ( yep this had me gasp too) and the skins are tanned and the resulting tattooed skins are sold as art. The Belgian art establishment for example the director of the Museum of Beaux Arts in Brussels were keen to claim him as Utopian- though the presenter thought he was realist rather than utopian and suggested he may be distopian- . Strangely whilst a few things had me shaking my head I did actually appreciate the way the artist was questioning the art world and its follies and turning things around as a parody of things that turned art on its head in the first place in the first half of the twentieth century . It also made it quite obvious I shall never be an "artist" unless perhaps I use stitch or perhaps human gut to stitch together dehydrated human excrement to create shit cloaks to wear in wet weather to re fertilise the ancient and weathered soils of Australia so that I can be part of the process of refertilising our depleted soils.Oh and the program immediately before this one was on the largest medieval Cathedral built in Speyen, Germany in a mere 75 years - a world heritage site because it was o one of the first time that a structure of this size had been built in the romanesque style ( Delvoye makes miniature gothic structures as another play on the grandeur of those structures)

I need to take my mind of the house hunting- it's very disheartening- every time I go and look and think yes maybe this is the house the cost is inevitably more than I can afford- or when you sit down to talk the nitty-gritty there are always extra costs.And it will take until the end of the year even if I decide to go ahead ....
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Friday, April 25, 2008

One Blue Forest and Three Black Forests

Blue Forest
Black Forest #1 SOLD
Black Forest #2
Black Forest#3 SOLD

Going away overnight to my mothers- early mothers day and to have another look at a house we have been looking at at Alternate Dwellings ( does anyone out there have any experience with these builders/kithomes?) I have packed up most of my stuff that was stored in the shed- ready for the slab but now of course I haven't heard anything from the guy who was going to do it- and I am loathe to pack away the things I have been working with and my printing table. After all I need somewhere to work otherwise I can't earn a living- as it is I am working in a corner of the room that belongs to my youngest daughter, so only space for the sewing machine and little else, plus the natural light is not good which is hard when your work is all about colour and light- so no design wall, not even space to really gauge how things look- thank goodness for my digital camera which enables you to see so much. So I really need that slab laid so I can at least have a space to work!

Anyway my daughter and I are going via the Ian Potter Gallery- to find some inspiration and then picking up eldest daughter at Fed Square after the Anzac day Football match that she's gone to with her boyfriend.

Here are some more hand dyed forests- they are for sale at $40US each inclusive of postage and I can take Paypal.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pomegranate Trees of Life

I have been cutting out quite a large tifafai these last two days ( the width of the vliesofix which is 90 cm). These two will also form part of my exhibition- as I wanted to create an impression of a wonderful pomegranate mosaic dating from roman times which we saw museum staff restoring in the Museum in Alleppo.The size of the pomegranates were really large compared to the tree. You also find a lot of pomegranate imagery in early brocades which were often woven in the middle eastern world. And pomegranates are still very much a part of daily life in Syria- you find pomegranate juicing stands all over the souq dispensing the richly coloured juice from the piles of pomegranates adorning their mobile stands- something akin to pomegranate heaven! I also like the formal aspects of much of the islamic tiling work which you find everywhere and so the tifaifai actually lends itself really well to a very stylised all over pattern. Then by coincidence and one of those serendipitous moments- I initially cut away some of the red from the centre - then did not like the result and placed some of what I had cut out back on the piece and lo ( as my daughter noticed) it looks a bit like a crusader cross. Of course Syria is the home of the best crusader castle of them all - Crac des Chevaliers.

I will also be placing something in the centre of the blue piece- perhaps another cross inspired thing.

Deb from WA I have no way of contacting you- you left a message on my previous post- if you go to my profile there should be a contact link there.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Autumn Forests

Autumn Forest #1
Autumn Forest #2 SOLD
Autumn Forest #4 SOLD
Autumn Forest #4 SOLD

Gee thanks to you all for the positive support- it made me feel much better- I still have some writing of the classes to do- which I will do after this.And I delivered the taxes to the accountant- yay!! now it's in his hands.

I had to dye a reds and orange for an internet acquaintance of many years it the US, and as she has had a couple of bad falls and not been travelling so well, I wanted to make them my very best reds and oranges. I know I mentioned that I thought chlorine was really affecting the reds- so I dyed today with rain water- which I boiled to get the temperature right. The reds and oranges were much better and more vivid, but whilst I was at it I thought I would do some more forest pieces. I think I am going to have to get a big urn because the colours are good- really good! and the patterning on the top and bottom is beautiful- in fact they are pretty sensational and I made them myself! :-) They are for sale for $40 US inclusive of postage( they measure 100x 110 cms) and I can be paid via Paypal.

Someone did say it's good to try new things and that is true, it's always good to tread somewhere unknown, but I also think there is a lot of stuff out there which I don't think adds much to the work that I see. I guess it is also a matter of work being unresolved- a lot of techniques but somehow not complete as a work in itself- these pieces shouldn't be exhibited - they are in the nature of test pieces and should stay that way. I must admit though, I haven't got a lot of technique books on my shelves- a few, most of them are about textile or art.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Crisis of Confidence


I finally got those taxes done- then went to load it onto cd to take to the accountant- no blank cd's - arggggh. So had to drive into town to buy blank cd's and will have to go into town again tomorrow to finally deliver it. The kids tell me they don't have school tomorrow- which means fights for the computer....

I have been asked by Zijdelings to give some mini-workshops at their Textile weekend in October in the Netherlands. I am very keen to do this- but they want somehting I haven't taught before- and that is when the crisis of confidence hit me. What can I teach that is "colourful" new and innovative? Everything I do seems to be the same old stuff- I don't really play a lot with the latest stuff that's available to buy, one through lack of money but secondly my work is much more concerned with content than with incorporating the latest technique or fad. I suppose that makes me a little old hat. I find that I usually set out with a sort of "vision" of what I want to make, though I don't explicitly plan, trusting that the process will reveal what is needed to match my vision- sort of make it up as I go.As I also live a long way away from where I might buy anything that is needed and I am often too impatient to wait for internet orders to arrive I tend to use what I have on hand and and improvise with what I have on hand. Other things that are newish take time- so the actual process involves a couple of days- not suitabel for a 2.5 hour workshop. So what now......

I made some more pomegranate cards thinking one little workshop might be variations of the one form. These cards are for sale ( measure standard postcard size) at $27 US inclusive of postage.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008


I am still doing the books- I use a spreadsheet and mucked up one of the columns today in such a way that I had to start over- so frustrating. So no sewing done, nothing creative. Anyway I am getting there.

And it looks like the slab for my shed may be laid next week- at least I can move all my work things in there and set it up properly instead of forever seacrhing for things that I know I have stuck in one box or another. I may also get rid of some of my fabrics- the ones I bought before hand dyeing and even some of the early hand dyed pieces. I will have to work out how I go about doing that.Once the slab is in there it can be lined with insulation and it may become my abode until the house is built.

And this mushroom appeared under the birches at the front of our propert- they always look so delightful and are a real sigh that autumn is here.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the Garden

I am doing my taxes- I am late but there has been so many interruptions it was hard to get a clear space to get to them- plus I always hate doing them so put it off and put it off ( not a good thing to do and each year I say I will be better next year but it doesn't seem to happen). I don't mind all the other admin- but this one chore really gets to me.

I have been having breaks in the garden. The tomatoes are very late this year ( although I usually have tomatoes into May) but this time they did not start turning red until a couple of weeks ago.If this weather keeps up I shall still get a bumper crop- will have to make more slow roast tomatoes- these are really delicious and freeze reasonably well and are lovely to use in casseroles, and of course pasta sauce. The zucchinis are still going madly- though I have run out of a bit of enthusiasm for them. The eggplants and peppers weren't much chop this year but the chillies are good. The lemon tree is loaded- it was badly frost affected last winter and I really missed the lemons- now I will have so many that I won't know what to do with them all. The persimmons are turning orange and the leaves a lovely red coloured, though th efruit is small due the dry conditions.There is even a couple of kilos olives on the trees! And the king protea has put on a gorgeous display.
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Coral Variation #27 and Winter Forest

Winter Forest SOLD

I spent most of today colouring lutradur. I do it with the iron which takes forever. I do have a heat press but it doesn't get hot enough so I have to do it with an iron. As I was digging around I found some of the coral lino transfers I had done and put aside and remembered that I had intended to make 50 of these. Last count from memory was #26, so I made up another one today #27. It is for sale for $50 US ( my embroideries for my exhibition won't be quite this cheap) and they measure 8 3/4 inches square.

I also dyed some more fabric- the intention had been to make quite dark fabric for more cross stitched Syrian scenes, but I ran out of dye ( had to order more) so these softer colours emerged. The top piece is for sale for $40 US inclusive of postage.. The other narrower piece is also for sale- it is 55 cm wide .

I just had another lot of books "Seventy Two Ways not to Stipple or Meander" printed up. So if you are interested in purchasing one of these please contact me. I sold quite a few at the Ballarat quilt-in after I showed them both the black and white piece and the coloured piece that I made for the French book.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

I know I seem to be a spoil sport with most of the blog awards that do the rounds and I normally don't these awards- but I have been such an agony aunt of late and people still nominate me for these awards so the least i can join in for a change. I also got nominated 4 times so it would be rude of me not to acknowledge that your nominations did indeed make me feel a lot better, and will keep me trying to be creative and hopefully offer a little inspiration. So thank you to
Sandra from the Netherlands
Helen from Hebart Journal
Margaret from Wales
Elaine from Red Thread Studio/Slow Cloth

If I nominate you these are the rules:
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. To show these rules.

I nominate the following people as being delightful reads- each offering fresh ideas and ways of doing things:

Marianne from Heegeldab

for her wonderful crochet and inventive ideas for using it in jewelery
Belinda Schneider from Bel's Nook
For sheer fun in what she produces
Magic Cochin
For her passion for heritage vegetables, undergardeners and wonderful lino-cut prints
Kristin la Flamme
For whimsy and Fun and finding her creative voice!
Fiona Wright
For her wonderful work and travel reports

Ok so as Peter Cundell from Gardening Australia would say "that's your blooming lot" I would also add that I do visit many blogs- especially those in my links list- and many others besides- it's just I am slack at updating.I love the fact that blogging in the textile arts seems to have become such a worldwide community But I am dumfounded that visitors from 150 countries have visited my blog( the count for countries in the world is between 179- 197 depending how you look at it)- actually its 148, I don't think a satellite provider or the Oceania Pacific region count as a country.

The photos are of yet another pomegranate lino-cut- yes the pomegranate muse appeared again this morning- there has been a lot of rebirths in the last 18-24 months. However there is always something new to be said even about the same old thing and right now I am contemplating the possibility of pomegranate lace- it seems the right sort of thing for an iconology that represents dark and light- living and underworld.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I did lots of dyeing today. Unfornatelthe reds didn't want to co-operate as I wanted them to, but the greens came out lovely and intensely coloured.It's annoying that the chlorine content of the water has such an effect on the reds and purples and browns as well.

I tried dyeing my village scene and I think I may have ruined it- the colours are too dark so that you can't see the drawn textile ink image. I suppose I could bring it out again with a bright coloured thread- but I am a bit annoyed with myself for being so heavy handed with the dye.Otherwise I willhave to draw the image again.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Syrian Textiles and My Place

Forest Fire IV SOLD

Forest Fire V SOLD

Woven Goat hair band for Bedouin tent
Ornamental band from the Palmyra Region

Two more forest pieces for sale- they measure 100cms x 110cms and cost $40 US inclusive of postage.

The woven brown and white textile is woven goats hair. They are woven in bands and sewn together to make the walls of bedouin tents which you can see scattered throughout the Syrian desert. I bought this particular piece in the Souq in Aleppo. It is woven out of goat hair because goat hair is more water resistant, also the goat hair is readily available. I know there are many more outstanding pieces , particularly antique ones- but as I had seen these bands being woven, a small piece of bedoiuin tent had to come home with me.

The Ornamental Band is actually out of a book I have entitled Au Fil du Desert: Tentes et Tissages des Pasteurs Nomades de Meditrranee, which is actually a catalogue of the collection of nomadic textiles of Arnaud Maurieres and Eric Ossart ( does anyone know whether this is on permanent display anywhere- perhaps the Maison des Tisserands a Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn?). It wasn't an easy book to get! I am particularly drawn to this band because of the colouring and even more so because it comes form the Palmyra region. I am very very tempted to make a quilt with half square triangles ( which will send those who know me well into gales of laughter).It is so simple yet so beautiful.

MY PLACE- I am the Australian co-ordinator fo this travelling exhibition in conjunction with Anne Scott from New Zealand Quilter and Jeanette Botha from South Africa. I have now prepared entry forms for any interested Australians due to the fact that I have had a lot of expressions of interest. Accordingly the works will be selected. If you would like an entry form please contact me.
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Village scene

I have been forcing myself to do something in the hope of finding something ! I redid the village scene, and added in much more detailing which I had in the original drawing. I like this version much better than the version I showed previously. I haven't decided how I will colour it- dye painting would be one option, but then I like the randomness of just dyeing it in the ordinary way and seeing what happens- there is a bit of control possible of colour placement- and would add to the "feel" whereas to dye paint would make it much more orderly - and really like a colouring in picture.Just ruminating about this has helped me decide- now I have to wait for the textile printing ink to dry so I can set it. This piece measures 110cm x 135 cm. I am looking forward to quilting it- as I can see lots of possibilities for texture.

The second photo is some breakdown printing I did awhile ago- inspired by motifs I drew when visiting the Museum in Damascus- these were actually designs on the cloak of a sculpture of Ibbit Lim of Ebla dating back to 1900BC. The designs were quite free form- and very fresh. I must admit the original breakdown print I made did not have enough definition ( see the top of the photo)- but using the textile printing ink to trace around the edges of the design has given it the oomph that it needed- now I have to decide whether I like the colours- hmmm...
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