Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keeping it Simple

This is one of my fire quilts which I had left stored at my aunts house- somehow I have never felt it was quite finished even though I had put the binding on and sleeve- but finally I fellt I knew what else it needed- hand stitching around the tie dye fire spots. I am already liking the difference the stitching is making- even though it is not so readily apparent from these photos- more later.

I have obviously been thinking of new directions, new life and making  do with less things, less  things with which to make my work-  my working equipment is reduced  to two shoe boxes- one for my threads and scissors etc and one for dye/ printing equipment- and one journal only! Obviously things need to be reasonably simple- not a bad thing as I am a believer in less is more and I find that  many things are overwrought with glitter,beads, thread, sequins and all manner of surface attached things including sometimes too much paint.

 So..... i would like to throw out a challenge- is anyone  out there willing to follow the KISS  principle?( KISS- Keep it Simple Stupid)- make a 50 cm square quilt using only two coloured fabrics ( or white for that matter) and threads ( as many colours as you would like) but using only straight stitch by hand or machine- no fancy stitches- of course straight stitching can be done in any form- and absolutely no embellishing- just fabric and stitch and your imagination!

Any takers? If so contact me and we will see where it takes us- we could maybe work it into an exhibition or use the KISS principle as a jumpoff for an exhibition? I am thinking a deadline  for the end of march 2010 - I will show  pieces on my blog or perhaps set up a special blog and if you do decide to do it would love to hear some of your thought process in the making....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not Quite a White Christmas- alas

The snow is melting- it was almost a white Christmas. It looked lovely whilst it lasted and sure beats worrying about bushfires and high fire risk days.

Coming away for a length of time has mean that I have had to leave behind many of the things which I normally work with including lino-cuts. I have bought more lino so I have been making new linocuts and this owl is one of the new linocuts. I have to think of some more designs and inspirations. And of course I will  be teaching an on-line linocutting course  in January next year. the price for the on-line course is 40 euros- I raised the price a little after many of the students provided feedback to say they felt I should charge a little more for the class as the content was good and wide ranging.

When i was in Paris I bought a book on the Werksstate- the Austrian  version of art nouveau- I like how they designed so many aspects of their surroundings ( much as the Rennie-Macintoshes did in Scotland) and how they repeated motifs in different objects.I think it is something I would like to develop  an enduring motif. I use pomegrantes a lot as a motif and love it and have used it since the middle nineties as a thread in my work, for which the classical and traditional symbolism associated with the pomegranate add meaning to the work itself- but i feel i want to develop another leit-motif in my work. I have also used fire as a motif. But a new dream needs a new motif- that is my motto for 2010!

I hope to post another blog post before Christmas- but in case I don't I hope however you celebrate it or not that you have a wonderful day !

Monday, December 21, 2009


We decided to leave France yesterday, for the Netherlands where we are spending Christmas before going to le Triadou in France. The forecasts for snow and verglas sounded quite scarey and proved right as it has snowed most of today. We are staying in the small city of Hulst in Zeeuws Vlaanderen.It looks delightful covered in snow. I am excited by the fact that after 44 years of hot Christmases in Australia, finally when I am back in the country of my birth for a Christmas it will be a white Christmas! I am looking forward to the oliebollen!

I have also been re-united with some of the things and quilts I had left behind in Europe last year- I had forgotten quite how much stuff I had left here! At least I will have some fabric to play with again and try the new linocuts I have made out. I cut them a couple of weeks ago especially for a class I was teaching near Paris, Marcoussis ( where I will be teaching again in March). I will also be starting another lino-cutting course over the internet sometime in January- if you are interested please email me. I am also working on developing the material into a pdf book if anyone is interested.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Goodbye venezia- and Paris is White

I could not say goodbye to Venezia and not show you a picture of masks- they are everywhere, many of them made in places other than Venice- yet they, and the glass are amongst  the main tourist objects for sale. One thing you notice when you travel how much the same everything is everywhere-  it is really difficult to point to any objects of difference in different places- it seems culture has become commodified into the  well known brands- and every city boasts brands form the highflying high profile ones to the more mundane ones for the budget conscious. Venice has masks and glass and many of the store keepers are anxious to point out that their objects are authenttic and  not produced in china like similar objects in other stores.

Even the graffiti on the  old house entry from a canal boasts a universality which suggests hiphop rather than Casanova, Byron and any other number of latin lovers who dashed around the canals of venezia in search of romance and  secret encounters.

Such was Venice- yes it was still lovely and cold. And then we came back to a white Paris- it is blanketed in snow with more forecast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More from Venezia

Yes I did see pomegranates too, with chestnuts, fresh walnuts and sundried tomatoes!

And yes it's also true I am a complete fool for printed things and blank books/journals. I always think I shall write in the journals and then somehow find it too daunting. Bought a delightful journal book from Scriba- blank pages interspered with 14 wonderful reproductions of the work of Rosario Morra whom Scriba represents in Venezia. Morra's etchings are marvellous- how will I ever write on the blank pages???Wish I had discovered this little gallery on day one- I would have happily gone without lunches etc for one of his small etchings!

And last but not least- one of those delightful scenes you encounter in walking around Venezia!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day Two from Venezia

The Opera last night was lovely- even if it was freezing to get there- we had to walk very briskly to beat the cold.It was delightful being so close to the stage ( the opera house is not very big) to be able to see the faces of the singers properly and to enjoy the singing music and acoustics.

Got up early this am as the teen I am travelling with  doesn't want to get up early- was looking for the Fortuny Musea, got lost, but even lost in Venezia is lovely. It looked like snowing for quite awhile- flakes fell but then it just decided to be cold-brrr. Found a lovely off-set printing shop that I could not walk past- really really want to go back, but Ryan Air lugagge allowances are so measly and so strictly controlled that many beautiful things have to stay in venice! Ohh but that print shop is so calling to me....

The images are of a persimmon tree with a church spire in the backgrouds- called kaki locally I love the way the orange fruit stays on the tree even after all the leaves have dropped, and a wonderfully ornate light on a street corner!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reporting in at Last

I am back!! Phew it's been a challenge trying to load photos as we managed to not pack the chords to connect the camera to the computer in the panic to get the house packed.I promise I will report in more often from now on as we have solved the camera problem.
From the photo you can probably guess we are in Venice, glorious sunny but very cold day today and then we decided to get tickets for the opera- so more braving the cold, but the chance to see la Traviata in Venice proved to be too tempting. Hopefully I will be reporting more textiley things in the next few days! Cioa!