Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pattern and Decoration and the Heat

Tha catalogue for an exhibition entitled Pattern and Decoration arrived today after I finally tracked it down at the website of the Hudson River Museum. I talked about some of the thoughts expressed by Anne Schwartz in this post, and it is so much more edifying to see the images as well as the text. I am looking forward to giving it a closer reading, but feel that my way of work does rather fit in with the philosophy and working methods of the artists involved.
It also gives me food for thought as I contemplate work for the future- as I have been invited to possibly exhibit in Egypt with work inspired by my travels there, which would be a brilliant opportunity . I am not so much thinking Pharaonic as everyone seems to do that but the decoration aspect of many things Egyptian- so many surfaces are decorated, tiled, beautified. So many beautiful, quaint scenes- how to gell this into an interpretation worthy of exhibition and of interest to an audience who live with this every day??? I took literally dozens of photos of chairs when in Cairo ( and cats)- and I am thinking a chair may be a worthy vehicle for some of the ideas I want to express- the invitation to sit , to take tea is all about taking the time to share a small portion of the day.

The photo of the King Parrot is not clear- the poor creature was sitting atop one of the cupboards outside, very distressed- because of the extreme heat today ( over 100 degrees fahrenheit or 42 clesius). We did put some water near it- but it flew off a little way only to come back.I didn't want to distress it any more by getting closer to it- but aren't the colours stunning? I hope it realises the water was put there for its benefit. I would love to have a bird bath, but we have a cat ......
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Traveller's Blanket for Zenobia

I have been making slow but steady progress on the travellers' blanket for Zenobia.It is a completely different mindset to work on the blue fabric, particularly in chosing the colours of the threads. I do like the quilting stitches in red, though as I look at the image on my screen it does seem to have the effect of purpling the blue. I always love the way the colour of thread interacts with the fabric it is placed on.Anyway there is still a lot more stitching to do, and more squares to be appliqued.

I have been trying to think of ideas for the on-line lino-cut and printing course I want to devise. So much of lino-cutting is about thinking in reverse- and thinking about the textures that can be created with the carving tools, which of course become interesting when stitched- so it isn't simply about creating an image but also about how the textures of the image can be stitched to make them more interesting.

Today is Australia Day , and an indigenous Australian ,Professor Mick Dodson from the ANU, was named Australian of the year.Mick Dodson has been a tireless advocate for his people in a society that often has a very racist and patriarchal attitude to indigenous people and a nation that until one year ago refused to acknowledge that there was indeed stolen generations of indigenous people ( how they could deny it is beyond me as I went to school with several children who were exactly in that situation). Mick Dodson has suggested that Australia day should be held on a different day as his people view it as the day their nation was taken away. Initially i thought that it was not a good idea but as I have been sitting and stitching I think it is the only way to achieve reconciliation- to acknowledge that the creation of the Australian nation was at the cost of taking away anothers' right to their nationhood and shifting it to a more positive mode. That we have to go forward together goes without saying and I think that joint decision should be marked by a national celebration which includes all of our people embracing equal rights and freedom.I think Australia day should not embody the past, but instead should focus on the future- what we might achieve as a brilliantly diverse community. And what better time than now when there seems to be optimism of an uplifting kind with the inauguration of Barack Obama- when Martin Luther King's words have some meaning again, when the Inaugural Poet, Elizabeth Alexander points to the power of words. Not cliches but the beauty of words and language- love , liefde, amour,amore, love for our fellow human beings.
Tell me your words for love in your langauge- make it your daily mantra.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sari Silk

My friend Fiona Wright from Creative Arts Safaris sent me some lovely sari silks that she is recycling - aren't the colours luscious. I am not quite sure what I shall do with them yet, but they may well find themselves worked into some kind of traveller's blanket in the future. Maybe I shall call it my "wish" blanket as I would love to visit Fiona in India one day .

Ohh and on another note I will be visiting New Zealand in April with my kids for 11 days.We are really looking forward to it. My eldest daughter and I had some air points due to expire at the end of February so we thought we had better use them- we had enough to get to New Zealand easily. We had thought about Singapore but hotel rates seem to have sky rocketed there. So we shall be delivering the My Place quilts to Quilt Symposium in Wellington and wending our way back to Auckland.
The metallic medallions are tea lights cut and pressed with a biro- I quite like them but not quite sure what i shall do with them.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Photo courtesy of Celeste Galtry 2009

Photo courtesy of Celeste Galtry 2009

We have been away the last few days and nights camping at Skenes Creek near Apollo Bay. The weather was hot and whilst I am not a very keen beach person ( all that sand...) I do like walks along the beach and rockpools. My eldest daughter loves the beach so that was part of the reason for going as it is school holidays here. We had a lovely time clambering among the rockpools- they are like little worlds of their own , teeming with interesting texture and life.We are so very fortunate to have such a pristine sea so close to our home, though the black dirt in the camping ground was a bit diabolical!

I want you to guess what the top photo is?
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Zenobia's Travelling Blanket

I don't know where the past week has gone, but gone it has. It is summer school holiday time, and we have had a few very hot days, which always brings with it a certain laziness and we have been doing more house setting up- arranging books and furnishings and a little e-bay buying. The bottom image is of one of my purchases- a side table/hall table in solid oak which I got at a seriously good price and the piece of furniture is just stunning. And I love the way my masrahbija inspired quilt looks with it( though I am not so fond of the wood on the walls, but oh well)- it looks as if they were meant for each other. The small blue glass pieces all came from Egypt and the glass blowers enclave in the City of the Dead. the small ceramic jug from a pottery near Chateau de Chassy and the boxes are from Morocco and Syria.

I have also dyed the fabric for Zenobia's travelling blanket. I am still not entirely happy with the colours I am getting here when I dye, but this piece I will work with. The reds just don't seem to take in the same way. But I wanted a "royally" bluish colour for a queen, as blues/purples were much prized in ancient times. And one of my blog readers sent the piece of domette which I have dyed as the batting for this piece. I can see lots of orangey/terracotta colours with yellows and dark accents as the travellers squares on this piece.

The other piece of fabric - the yellowish one is for sale- it is 80 cm wide and 135 cm long and the price is $32 US including postage worldwide.It is the light weight muslin which is so lovely to hand stitch with.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Echidna Photo courtesy of Fraser Rourke
A Lozenge quiltlet
Garden sculpture made by Heinz Moritz

It is the time of year when the echidna's are active. They are monotremes which means they are only one of two mammals in the world which lay eggs but suckle their young in a pouch. They live on a diet of ants and other insects. It is hard to get a close-up of their faces as they are extremely shy and scurry away if you approach them. Fraser, my eldest daughters' boyfriend, managed to capture this photo of this echidnas' face yesterday afternoon when we dropped him off at his house.

The second photo is of a little lozenge quiilt I made to send to a friend- I wanted to make it quickly as she has quite a few sad things going on in her life- hence the size.It is very textural and fits into your hand.

The last photo is of a garden sculpture made by Heinz Moritz for his garden up at Berwick. Heinz and Gerda, who are friends of my mothers, have a gorgeous hand built house made largely from rocks- their first house burnt down in the Ash Wednesday fires back in 1983. There are wondrous sculptures throughout their garden and a vegetable garden to die for!

And today whilst I was trying to establish some order in my workroom and throw out a lot of paper stuff I have kept for years ( never mind there is still a shed half full!) I found the letter from the electricity authority stating that the electricty to be attached to my block of land is paid for! Hoorah- this was quite a relief as I had no idea where I had put it and was wondering where to start searching. It means my block is more valuable, as all that has to be paid for by anyone who buys it is the connection fee which is nowhere near as expensive as having power put onto a block.

I have also been researching places to live in France- I know I have quite a few French readers so any suggestions would be appreciated. At the moment I would like to rent just to see how things go, but I shall have a 14 year old daughter with me, so she needs to go to school.Her skills at present lie in Art, Music ( piano, guitar and drums) and English( oh and French!).
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Friday, January 09, 2009

Fabric and Water Lily

Hand dyed cotton fabric- 1 metre For Sale $40 Us inclusive of postage

Hand dyed muslin ( light weight pure cotton) 1 metre by 1.4 metres $40 Us inclusive of postage.

We have been away a few days visiting my mother. It always takes some time to settle back in at home after being away, so today we did a lot of setting up my new work room- which had been sadly lagging. I am afraid I am still searching for inspiration. But I need somewhere to work so I need a sewing table set up and a bit of organisation! It is starting to take shape and maybe the feeling that i can work will arrive at the same time!

I found some fabric I had previously dyed which is for sale if anyone is interested. I have one of my blog readers sending domette- I am so happy and I have some interesting things to share tomorrow- not my sewing but fun things anyway! But I did want to share this gorgeous water lily which was in a pond, in the garden of a friend of my mother's. I love the tiny teeny little purple flowers in the foreground- it just adds that little zing to the photo.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Forest Fabric and Other Things

Forest Fabric #1 for sale $40.00 US inclusive of postage
Forest Fabric #2 for sale $US 40.00 inclusive of postage
Forest Fabric #3 for sale $40 US inclusive of postage
Palms of Palmyra- stitching

I actually took the dive and did some dyeing the other day. I was a little apprehensive about dyeing as we are on tank rain water here as opposed to the town water I used to be on ( we can also pump from the creek- but I only do that for the vegetable garden). But i need not have worried- the results were good and these forest fabrics remind me of the early morning light shining through trees. I can see lots of light/misty coloured stitching on these.

I have been stitching on my Palms of Palmyra piece- it will take quite some time as it is a big piece.When the weather is good it is hard to sit still for that long- but my penchant for wandering outside may be a little curbed- sigh... Yesterday I went into the vegie patch to tie up one of the tomato plants . I was in my thongs ( flip flops for non-Aussies) and as I stepped I saw the tail of something shiny disappear into the foliage of the next garden bed. At first I thought it was a lizard but no it crossed the path and it was a sleek four foot long brown snake. I managed to scream and stand quaking in my thongs as it disappeared into the tree fern grove. I am absolutely petrified of snakes- fortunately browns are not as aggressive as tiger snakes ( which is the most commonly seen snake here) but they are more poisonous- and I almost stood on one. Needless to say I shall be buying a pair of gum boots today. However I did surprise myself in that I managed to scream- that might not seem to be the best response- but my worst nightmare ( and I do have these nightmares sometimes) is a snake encounter- and I always am mute, unable to scream. Anyway I have decided to use the sprinkler to water the vegies rather than the hose as the tap is not far from the house. The longish grass will also be coming down at a rate of knots!

Rebecca asked how much my Tears piece was- it is $225 US inclusive of postage- a lot of hand stitching in that one.

And Sue offered to get some domette or bump for me- many thanks! I shallof course pay you for it or send something in exchange. I am pretty certain it is called bump and I would love to have two metres of it if at all possible.
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Friday, January 02, 2009

Day 2 of the New Year

I was really pleased to receive a copy of the latest issue of Magic Patch in which they featured my View From the Studio quilt, plus I explained how to go about making a quilt like this. I like how they took the photograph and it is really not that easy to determine where the real foliage ends and where the quilt begins. We did lots of impromptu photographs when I was in St Marie aux Mines for some of the "how to" photos. I borrowed a new Designer machine from Husqvarna France, Magic Patch coralled in their photographer, and I did the sewing ( just as well I had fabric with me)- and people came from far and wide to watch.It was a lot of fun!

The other photo is of a poppy seed pod in my garden- they are so interesting and arresting- kind of a bit mishapen like pomegranates are.

I haven't any work to show as I have been stitching stitching and stitching on my Palmyra Palms piece- it needs a lot of stitching. As i have sat stitching I pondered on the fact that my ode to Syria- Carvanserai- really does contain a lot of hand stitched pieces and was further spurred on by Idaho Beauty's comments :
I am continually impressed by what appears to be your fearlessness regarding stitch. It is what sets your work apart and whether it is done by hand or by machine, it is always rich, fascinating and exquisite

Firstly thank you for that very kind comment, however a textile piece for me is usually not complete without the stitching - it is the "extra" dimension and allows me to add my own mark making personal touch. I think the reason why I have used so much hand stitch in the Carvanaserai work has to do with authenticity- so much of what i saw was made by hand in time honoured patterns and traditions, I wanted to relate to the process of the work , though mine is quite different- but I did want to be in tune with the process, with the feeling that went into creating the original pieces.

And lo the stitching has brought another thought racing into my head- Zenobia wants, needs and must have, a travellers blanket- you see she saw the travellers blanket at a banquet she held in his honour to recount his travels- she immediately saw how she could tell the world of her accomplishments and her tavels and battles- she has commanded colour and I am the slave set with the task :-)

However I do need something- I need that curtaining flannel for the batting( it has a special name which I have forgotten). The last lot I bought in England and it was such lovely thick flannel and sews like a dream and has such gorgeous drape. I dyed it but I have none left. If anyone out there prepared to send me some in exchange for something or I can pay...please please please???
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