Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Year That Was

Have been back from Europe for a few days now and we spent Christmas at my brothers' in Melbourne and am now settling back in at home after having unpacked things ( I brought back some of the things I seemed to have needed when I lived in France for 2010) plus inevitably books plus  a wonderfully inspirational book on Calligraphy  by Denise Lach a gift from my friend Christine Moulin. However I need to get back to work- there  are many things to make and who knows what the new year will bring?

I hope everyone had a wonderful festive season however you celebrated it!

The first  photo is of a  cot quilt I made for a friend- the instructions were bright and with an elephant with the trunk up. I really  liked the colour combination of the poppy quilt I made earlier as a cot quilt so decided to use the same combination of fabric ( and yes I had dyed some extra pieces). The  hardest part was getting the grey for the elephant dyed  the right colour and not be too green for the background and to contrast nicely with the blue of the sky.

We really did enjoy our stay in Venice and I can share more images if you are interested, but I also want to propose and idea for my blog for the next year. I take many photos like so many people do these days, but how to translate these photos into textile or even how to assess whether it's a good photo for translation- whether it meets certain design criteria. Every photo I take is not a good photo - so i wanted to be critical about the photos I take whether they are any good for translation or simply stand alone, and i wanted to discuss a little my decision making process for choosing what I think works. And of course there are many reasons to take a photo- to remember something you saw and liked, to remember textures, to remember an idea, to remember colour combinations.
The photo above is a small boating quay in a walled village near Lazise on Lago di Garda- the day was grey and still and cold and the scene was quiet- it was still fairly early and only local people were out and about.

 When we were in Lyon checking out the Musee des Tissus  we travelled on a tram, and found this graffitti on the wall, walking to the tram stop- another sentinelle perhaps? Her face seemed very sweet somehow.The textile collection in the Musee was fabulous ( we did not get to the decorative arts side of it as we ran out of time) and I loved the exhibition Icone de Mode- the dresses and cloaks used to adorn parade madonnas. No photographs were allowed but some of the dresses and cloaks were wonderfully embroidered and the method of display was also very evocative- it definitely gave me some ideas for sentinelle adornment!Oh and what joy to find some printed fabrics designed by Raoul Dufy!
I have also been  travelling to places to  see whether they will be  good for the 2013 Creative Arts Safaris tour particularly in the south of France. We stayed in Aix-en-Provence and of course visited Cezanne's atelier which they said had been left exactly in the state he had left it in in 1906- the outside is rather charming and the light inside was really good with a very large north facing window and south facing windows. Unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph inside.The garden seems to have grown somewhat since 1906.

And last but not least of course I went to see my friends in le Triadou and went for a walk in the shadow of Pic St Loup- it just never seems to be the same and the grape vines had been pruned and were all bare with not a sign of life.
The rosehips on the wild roses added a lovely  accent of colour and  a pretty grey and cold landscape.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Venezia Picturesque

My first image of Venice is the random signs/images we have encountered on the  walls of the streets. Some of them have been stencilled al la Banksy style but others have been more seriously executed into full blown drawing sketches or even paintings of a kind. My favourite however was a tiny piece of paper pasted to the steps of The Rialto Bridge of 'another' earth creature. I doubt if I would have noticed it had it not been early in the morning before the crowd really got going.It is the image on the bottom  2nd on the left.

And Venice as always weaves it's magic- despite the hordes of tourists, the shops selling fake Murano glass and extra special prices for tourists- yes we know about those!But on the whole we have had a most enjoyable time- walking walking and walking and making a few purchases as Christmas gifts to take home ( we even have a little Christmas tree in the Bed and Breakfast we are staying in Al Saor- which we have found delightful and got at a very good rate through the internet- it's well placed, has delightful owners, and lovely rooms with even our own kitchenette- I highly recommend it)

After the debacle of Prague my large Sentinelles are for sale if anyone is interested- images can be found on my blog  and use the link for the Earth sentinelle. Please email me for the price and I will do you a very good deal if you email me before 17 December 2011. Also my Sentinelle catologue is for sale for 12 Euros plus postage and off course my hand printed ( from an original linocut printed on fabric) is also for sale for 12 euros plus postage.Monday we are in france- so postage is very reliable from France!

Friday, December 02, 2011

From Prague

We have been walking and walking around Prague these last three days and yesterday evening installed my quilts at ArteTextile Praha so that is where we will spend the next 3 days. The collaged photograph gives some idea of what we have been seeing. I must admit to being a little disappointed with local food- whilst I am not vegetarian I am also not a big meat eater and that seems to be a major part of the diet  and of course dumplings. There are many  little mini-markets which seem to sell a lot of cigarettes and alcohol but little real food and we have yet to find anything resembling a supermarket. Supermarket you might ask? But as I always travel on an extreme budget I  source most of the food i eat at a supermarket at the end of the day. The first day we did sample local fare at one of the Christmas markets in the many little squares around the city thinking it would be cheap, but not so- bratwurst/sausage and potato and cabbage and bacon- the potato tasted a little like rubber.

We have also searched for local artisans/artists but most of the tourist fare is the usual mass produced stuff that comes from China. We did find one artist (in the collage) doing inventive things with prints at Prague Castle ( many of the Prague scenery paintings are nothing more than  prints to a formula)- he took it a step further and added his own touch , and yesterday we found a little shop around the corner where a group of young people sold screen printed t-shirts, hand made brooches and baubles ( it is Christmas) and clothing and cards. I bought a booklet of cards by Lucie Capkova which had some quite captivating and quirky reproductions of her work. I hope I will see more work of artists at the Arte Textil.

All in all there are some wonderful buildings and the cobbled streets add to the atmosphere, and some interesting nooks and crannies- many of the buildings house inner courtyards- however everything has to be paid for including the bread with your lunch and apart from one or two exceptions people were not very friendly or helpful- yesterday was different and we met some lovely people keen to tell us about their city and things we should not miss.The Christmas decorations have been gorgeous with many very large live trees and yes Christmas does seem more Christmassy in a cold climate!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sentinelles Catalogue is Done

My catalogue is done, and whilst my inadequate scanning technique ( the pages are A4 size so i can scan only one page at a time) does not do it justice I am really happy with the way it turned out!I know it's a large size but I made a video of the way the book looks , however because I did not scan everything exactly the same some of the pages do not line up like they actually do in the catalogue. Please do respect my copyright in all aspects of this work.

It was strange finally holding the final printed version in my hand- it's a risk to take- firstly there is the work to make, and there have been moments of despair in the making- are they good enough, are they conveying what I want to say- are they interesting enough, is it too boring to use the same form , am i wasting my time and money in making them- then there is the photographing, then the layout which was a whole learning curve for me, and would putting the images in the background work in the final printing, would it convey the story and finally paying the money and committing to printing. There is not a publisher who has taken the risk, just me.

A lot of if's, but if you don't do the work nothing happens, and as I have not had a lot of luck in finding " real" work ( ie what those that tick little square boxes consider to be work), you just have to keep doing the work- so if nothing else this will have been my sentinelle year. The catalogue will be for sale- but at present I am so busy finalising things for Europe for whence I depart tomorrow it will have to wait until I get back.My Sentinelles will be exhibited in Prague from 2-4 December and next year in Beaujolais.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Sewed 6 Kilometres of Thread this Week!

Thank you for your positive comments regarding the earth sentinelle- it's much appreciated. I think she may be my favourite too-I love the colour and she seems to have a gentle aura.

It's been a bit of a marathon week- I am determined to try and  keep to my promises I made to myself- there have been a few steps forward and a few back but  this is what I managed to get done this week:
1xThe Earth Sentinelle- full size piece
2 x lutradur machine stitched Sentinelles
1 x  hand stitched sentinelle
3 x teapot and rosewater jugs series
1x article for Downunder Textiles- an Australian magazine I have been writing for lately
I attended school all week.
A few past midnight nights ( not common for me). So all in all I used 6  kilometres of thread this week on my domestic sewing machine- and my back is feeling it!

And I finished the catalogue- now I am waiting with bated breath what the cost of printing  of it will be. I hope I can afford it as this has been a challenging year.I do have my doubts whether a catalogue would be interesting enough- but I have so often though of a catalogue of some of my own work and have always fallen by the way side. Now I do actually have the skills ( with a bit of help from my teachers) to be able to do such a thing.  The catalogue will be 28 pages in full colour- explaining and highlighting my sentinelles.

Don't forget there is still time to enrol into the on-line Travellers' Blanket Class- if  you have a penchant for hand stitching and want to spend some time doing it over summer or winter ( depending on where you are ) this is the workshop for you! The class will start on 19 November .If you are interested just email me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Earth Sentinelle

Here she is! Earth  Sentinelle in earth colours (the Australian outback is always depicted in reddish colours) sporting  kangaroo paw as her decoration because the shape of the flower is so distinctive and kind of strange and very Australian ( it was discovered by  french Botanist Jacques-Julian Houton de Labillardiere in 1792  in South  Western Australia)

I wasn't expecting to make another sentinelle- but here she is ready to be photographed for the catalogue I am making- she is really the most Australian one together with the ochre one, and I am surprised she just kind of came from nowhere as if to remind me  what it was, I was trying to say when I embarked on this sentinelle journey.I was trying to make sense of the place where I find myself as well as  express my concerns about environment and  the world. Everything just came together as well-I used the last of my gold ink, the last of my iridescent blue ink,  in each case there was not a smidgen left over, the last of  my bobbin fill, the last of the thread for the quilting on the outside which did run out but serendipitously I had another cob of  thread in which one of the variegating colours was the same so you can barely see the difference, my machine behaved beautifully- I often run two machine embroidery threads through the top of my machine and it does create some tension problems- this time I forgot to put my feed dogs down and wonder whether that might be the reason for the better behaviour. I think of her as Lady Serendipity- doing the work and other happy accidents do happen.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Travel,Itinerancy and Sentinelles

First of all some exciting news for my eldest daughter- she has been  studying this year at Brighton Bay School of Art Design and Photography- their presentation night was last Friday and she won an Award for Excellence and the Ceramics Award- I was so proud of Celeste- she has worked very hard- a 2 hour journey every morning and every night with a transport system that has many failings- so four hours of travelling before she even got to school and then a very intense program which has seen her produce some wonderful pieces- it will put a fillip in her step and give her choices which were not possible before she started this course.Simply said, country high schools do not have the means or the access for students to create folios   to compete against more intensely taught students with greater access to short courses, galleries and other fine art options( this is also true for some city students)- so this  year 13 option really creates the opportunity for young people to develop their folios and to find their strengths and weaknesses. Who knew my daughter had "clay hands" as her teacher called it- and yet  her other skills I knew about but the year has helped her fine tune them.

I am trying to work like the fury- have set myself a schedule which part of me keeps saying "you can't do this" but which the other part of me says "It has to be done, you can do it, if you simply work like the fury". So I have been rewriting  my statement regarding the sentinelles ( I did rework it the week before last but as I was working on a school computer I forgot to save it) I have worked on creating and finishing a new ochre one and then a earth coloured one has fallen out of my hands in the past week and then a lace one is being conjured up out of the stencil which has acquired such an interesting patina from all the different printings I have done with it. They must be made and I only have two weeks to go until I go overseas.

My catalogue has to be done this week so I can  get it to the printer in time- which means Thursday is my deadline.I am trying to bridge the gap between mere descriptive material to a more lyrical rendition of what I am trying to do with these sentinelles- it's almost like I need to dream on words every night for new words in  the morning- but the mornings are starting to run out. And sometimes I look at the sentinelles and think do they work- are they really what I wanted to do- but when they hang together they are strong, and they do speak. The doing has been interesting to- how to reinvent a shape that is essentially the same into an individual and distinctive form.

And then I am thinking about the travel- various places in Europe- I do want to make a new travellers blanket for this journey- as it will be in the winter and  the light is so different in the North. The Sentinelles have already done some travel and they are destined for more- in some way they are quite static in appearance but their movement is anything but- they are the caravan for my idea about land and connectedness- about a mystical relationship with the earth- I have a need to always grow something- at the moment it is just herbs and some  tomatoes in pots but I can't imagine not growing something.Lots of food for procrastination but I have to make sense of it all by Thursday!Hmmm more thinking and I have to go-  a bobbin's worth of sewing before I  do anything else. I read this morning Rima's blog Into the Hermitage- as always interesting thought provoking writing- about the Romany/Gypsies and their travelling- well worth visiting- make sure you have a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy.

And as I seem to be on the theme of travelling/travels a collage I made of an old steam tractor that was in the  gardens of the cottages we stayed in in Bright- the weekend before last. I marvelled at how sturdily this machine had been built and even though rust encrusted it's body there it still stands sentinel to a time  gone forever- another connection with the earth.

I will be starting the new Travellers' Blanket  On-Line Class on 19 November. If you are interested there is some information on my previous blog post. I will be starting a new blanket to accompany me on my journey to the North.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Travellers' Blanket On-line Class

I have decided to run another on-line  Travellers' Blanket class over summer/northern winter- as a lot of people like to have something to stitch on over the Christmas period .The cost of the workshop will be $50AUS and will cover a 4 month period with access to a group for discussion and sharing work and stories!

This is the description:This class explores hand stitching and creating fragments of memory. It is inspired by the idea of the silk road and the great travellers ,like Marco Polo who travelled the road in order to source silk, eastern spices and other treasure. If you travelled that road and you could not write but wanted to keep memories of the  fabrics and silks you encountered, and wanted to remember the patterns and stitches and wanted to keep warm at the same time- what better way then to sew fragments onto a blanket- a visual aide de memoire. The texture is created with simple running stitch and the embroidery  on the fragments of fabric likewise employ simple stitches. This piece is about the rhythm of the stitching and to create decorative effects.
The layers have been created using hand dyed muslin and flannel- this gives the piece a lovely drape
We will spend the first session dyeing the muslin and flannel which is utilised in this piece. The muslin has been dyed ,using a shibori  technique in order to create the underlying grid . Then the stitching will begin!All other fabrics are scraps left over from  various projects.
If you are interested please email me.

I have finished another ochre sentinelle- - just need to finish the hand stitching.She replaces the ochre sentinelle I sold back in July in France. The catalogue is coming along, but a word document I worked on last week somehow did not get saved and today i felt so devoid of words that  I just about gave up thinking I can make this catalogue. It is not that it needs lots of words, but I had written some extra explanatory things and can't for the life of  me remember what i wrote- so I will have to try and dream it tonight! And yesterday i printed a terracotta sentinelle- and earth one was needed plus I intend to use the stencil I have been using to create a sort of lace sentinelle and after my last lot of stencilling she was the wrong colour, so the only solution was to print another so that the stencil would  end up the right colour.

I had promised myself to make 12 larger quilts this year ( by larger I mean more than a metre either in width or height)- and look like actually getting to that goal and perhaps one better - i didn't think i would get there since I decided to study this semester. But sometimes you simply just have to do it. The last years I don't seem to have made as much work as I used to- so I feel like I underachieved- so it feels good to have met a target finally.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Sentinelles

My goodness..... I meant to report in on the 23rd of October - my  seventh anniversary for my blog- but it didn't happen. However i do have a winner for the Teapot and Rosewater Jug give away to celebrate- Chris- Textile Traveller from Tasmania- can you please contact me?

I need to find extra time and energy to finish everything that has to be done- somehow last week disappeared without much getting done although I have started work in earnest on the catalogue- rewriting some of my explanation and rationale and working on the page layouts- I suppose that takes time too.

I did print some more linocut sentienlles.They are for sale for $15AUS inclusive of postage.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ideas are Jumping

Yesterday we shot photographs of my sentinelle work in a studio- they came out so good..... the only thing lacking is maybe the work itself and the fact that I did not finish the sixth sentinelle in time ( I sold the sixth ochre sentinelle in France earlier this year-I had not intended to sell  part of the series yet as they will be exhibited in Prague and in Beaujolais next year but  as sales have been way down these last two years economic necessity determined otherwise and so I have to make another- different but still referencing the desert). So I am working on a seventh and have to finish the quilting- she will be the lady of the bilbies- creatures who are endangered that live in the desert and are thought to be important in maintaining vegetation in desert regions) So thank you to my teacher Michael Brand for allowing me to shoot the photographs and helping me set it all up- and my other teacher Christine McMahon for letting me loose on InDesign and on making a catalogue! The photos came out  so well that it's got me sparking at all the edges thinking of interesting ways of  using them and then making  the catalogue have an edge of difference!

Then I have to think about how to get money together to get it printed so that it is affordable.

I just wanted to share lady of the Forest again with you- she exudes a sense of mystery to me that obviously derives from the hand dyed fabric:

And this little one is a printed panel that has been hand stitched- I sit and do these at night- the look is so different to the machine stitched pieces- I still have a few colonial knots to go but then she is done!Thank you so much for the feedback on this little panel-  those who have emailed me to buy them ( the printed panels are $15 each) tells me I am on the right track as well as your comments on my previous post.

This  icon/madonna/spirit/sentinelle/mother/earth thing has been floating around in the brain ether for a long time and has in fact made various appearances in journals over the years and even as a small linocut  quite some years ago ( though I can't find the linocut any longer)And when I travel and visit cathedrals I always seem to be drawn to the Magdalene/Madonna churches, but it isn't only about that- it is also the way they look out into the world that draws me and the message they send- and then being able to somehow encapsulate my cultural heritage and express love for the land- i love the spirituality with which many indigenous artists have connected to the land- but theirs is a sacred journey - my european connection is different yet I to feel that  the land is an essential part of my being. I also love how Fred Williams came up with such individual marks for creating his landscapes and his changes of perspective- he found a voice with which to express his connection to the land- it's very intimate and personal and I marvel every time I see his work. These sentinelles are expressing some of this feeling and yet of concern too- that's why i want them in all corners of the world and already they are  finding places in different parts of the world. The stories are important!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sentinelles- more

I have 34 days until I go to Prague and France and in that time I have set myself a schedule which I probably can't make- I always think I can do more than what I actually get done. It's been a bonus that the course work in part of my course is finished and they are happy for me to make a book/catalogue that I want to get ready before i go. I want it devoted entirely to my sentinelles- the different ones that have emerged and ideas associated with them and how I have made them- I am a bit stumped with number of pages at the moment- I am thinking about 28 or thereabouts.I also get to photograph my sentinelles in a proper studio with lighting as photography is part of my course as well- so I am doing this on  Thursday- so I am trying to get as many done as I can. Below you will see another printed panel- this time red ( the panels are for sale- handprinted on hand dyed cloth $15 per panel)

The bottom sentinelle has been printed onto lutradur and stitched- she is also for sale  but as she has been stitched  she is more expensive . She measures 18 cm x 47 cm and costs $100US inclusive of postage. I photographed her surrounded by some of the indian wood block stamps I have.

Don't forget I am teaching at Sew Bright next weekend 22/23 October- machine quilting in which you will make a machine quilting sampler of lots of different quilting ideas and Linocutting- where you will make your own texture linocut/stamp and one stamp with a design and you will print your own fabric. I will also bring some of my linocuts with which to play. And some of the work of the tutors  will be on display- maybe my  Sentinelles will make their Australian debut!I t will be the last teaching I do in Australia until next year unless you want to come to my house and learn something!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More teapot and Rosewater Jug

Another teapot and rosewater jug- I don't think I have made it in greenish colours before. It's hard to remember though I know I tend to stick to warmer colours.
Thank you for all your comments and feedback on my new sentinelle linocut. Sometimes when you are close to the work  it's hard to know if you have achieved what you set out to do.

Don't forget- leave a comment and you will be in the draw for a teapot and rosewater jug  little panel that will be drawn on 24 October- which is a give away to celebrate 7 years of blogging.

Also there is still time to enrol in the on-line linocutting class but you will need to hurry as it starts this weekend! Email me if you are interested.The cost is $55 US and the lessons take you through many steps  to help you master the tools and various ways of using images for linocutting and various  ways of printing and  colour printing.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Working on More Sentinelles

So much for school holidays- I barely know where the time has gone and I have a commission to do ( a cot quilt) but I like to think about the fabric when I make a quilt and I haven't quite decided what to use yet, though there is a few fabrics auditioning.

But I want to make more Sentinelles for Prague both small and  a few large ones ( for which I will make a new stencil). I had made a linocut previously for small sentinelles but somehow they did not seem quite right, so I cut a new linocut- she is such a mix of influences that she  is quite different to the others- she has a classical Greek feeling about her but I am sure that is only because of the way I made the headress.
Here she is printed on bamboo paper- I know the print is not  quite clean- but I prefer hand printing on paper and  live with the slight mistakes ( though I must admit a press is on the wish list and has been for some time- one day in better times...)

Here is the linocut beside the paper printed sentinelle.

printed on lutradur with  transfer dyes and placed over a aqua coloured piece of fabric.

Printed on cloth with gold ink.

Printed on lutradur with  transfer crayons- a much softer effect and perhaps not sufficient for what i want.Now If you are interested in buying a single sentinelle panel- you can buy one from me.Each panel measure 6 inches x 18 inches (15 cm x 45 cm).The cost is $15 AUS inclusive of postage.

 My aim is to get them to all corners of the earth ( I can't believe that I have visitors from 191 countries visit my blog....) one way or another- they have a message and it's for a better world. I have also written previously about their message and am still working on refining it- it takes time and I am slow- this idea has been with me such a long time when I look back through my journals that i can't rush.

And then after reading Lucallian Delights today ( one of my favourite food blogs and one I have read for many years now- I love the food and the photos) Ilva mentions she has been blogging for 6 years- which made me go check my own archives and blow me down on 23 October I will have been blogging for 7 years- can it be all that time?? You  my readers have been through so much with me- the travelling, the amazing places I have been, my personal up and downs, and my work- always my work ; you have left many comments, encouragements and I have made many friends, so I will have  the following small piece as a gift to thank a lucky reader- simply leave a message in the comments box and I will draw out the winning name  on October 23.( I will be making some more of these in the next few days so you dear  reader( and winner) will be able to choose which they would like)

And don't forget- there will be another on-line linocutting class running from 14 October- just email me if you are interested or want further information.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

1061- post 1061 that is.

Somehow that number struck me- not sure why- 1061- 1061 pages, don't know how many photos or how many words and how many just seems a lot.

Spent the last 4 days at Textile Fibre Forum in Geelong- it was cold, numbers were down, sales were down ( I was selling things for Pukka finds and Desirables) and all in all there were moments- actually hours where the only people around were the other traders. That makes for slow time- so quite some stitching was done on the travellers' blanket . I was next door to  Peter Radford and Barbara Schey who sell paper and Barbara's wonderful shibori  scarves. paper is almost as enticing to me as fabric- as I have a yearning to make books. I have made some in the past but I feel there are some waiting in the wings in the boiler room that is my brain.Peter was giving away strips of hand made paper with every purchase over $20 and if you made something with the strip of paper you were in with a chance for a $20 voucher. That occupied me for a day- and I was the only taker and therefore the winner of some lovely mulberry paper. The strips were very book like- so i made 4 altogether devoted to a couple of different entries in my journal.
Seed pods ( bought by Barbara), icon images, patterns and then my fountain pen ran out, and Jean Cocteau's cat which was bought by Inga Hunter- so that passed the time a little. Working on the strips was kind of fun- a scrolling kind of hierarchy- so they gave me a whole lot more on which to draw. The ink of my fountain pen runs into the paper a little and  though its doesn't quite run it does slightly blodge the line.

And it's official!!!

I shall be leading a tour to France next year in April- we will start with the Quilt Expo in Beaujolais, go onto Lyons, then have a wonderful 6 days in Paris- where I will show you the Paris i love and then onto Giverny and Monet's house, the ruined Abbey at Jumiege, landing beaches, Bayeuax and tapestry, Rouen, Tours and castles. If you are interested please email me and I can send you the full itinerary and costing. We have included plenty of things to interest men as well as women- for example whilst we are in Beaujolais there is also some kind of wine festival event happening

I shall also be teaching another online linocutting class starting 14 October so please email me if you are interested.

And I have not done a lot of hands on teaching in Victoria this year- not sure why, but I am available to teach. However I will be teaching at Bright on the weekend of 22/23 October for the Bright Spring Festival.I will be teaching one day of free machining and one day of linocutting- which will see you make 2 stamps to take home and to hopefully spark you to create your own unique fabrics. I will also bring my own linocuts to print with .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Textile Fibre Forum And Pukka Treasures

I will be attending the Textile Fibre Forum at Geelong the next four days selling  Fiona Wright's Pukka Finds & Stitching Project -clothing and sari silk scraps. Some of the stitched jackets are to die for- luscious colour all stitched and so wonderfully soft. I will share some photos next week!

I have also been working on my travellers' blanket again- I want to get it finished. I am on school holidays at present but  went up to my mothers for the weekend ( hence the flower photos) and by the time I got back and attended to some necessary administrative tasks it's Wednesday already.The cloth that I am working on for the travellers blanket was only partially tie dyed - and the tied areas leant themselves beautifully to being stitched. For the rest of the blanket I am using sari silk scraps and the effect is quite different- though I have been working on  blending them in with the stitched tied areas. See what you think...

I can't wait to see what the whole blanket will look like- there is so much stitching happening on this blanket and I haven't yet decided what I will do for the "quilting" stitching and what colour.

I have also decided to do one more online linocutting class for the year.It will commence on 14 October 2011- so you will be finished before the madness of December. Here is a description:
 The course is  3 lessons ( with various exercises) delivered fortnightly with the  intent of building your skills with the tools as well as your design skills, looking at how to use  your photos,three colour printing and various other things like simple repeats, alphabets etc. The cost of the course is $55US. Lessons are delivered as a pdf file and number approximately 100 or so  pages, with exercises and tips and  inspirations. I also organise a discussion group to troubleshoot problems or discuss discoveries and to share work.
If you are interested in enrolling and learning how to make your own linocut and stamps please contact me.

And last but not least some flowers for you from the garden of my mother:

And of course a great favourite- an uncurling tree fern frond- I am not sure why I love these so much, but  love the idea that the whole fern frond is contained within that spiral- and the shapes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poppy Quilt is Finished!

I don't know where the time is flying but I have managed to finish the Poppy Quilt finally- even the bindings are done!Thank you for all the positive comments on my last blog post about how it was looking- I really appreciate your feedback even if I don't get back to you individually. I think I need to make another one as I find the colour combo quite pleasing in the end.

I did toy with hand quilting the sky but decided against it as it did not show enough and I did not want to spend hours and hours making the stitching dense enough- so I opted for machine quilting the sky in skipping meander - sort of. I did however hand stitch/embroider some wheat in between the long stems to add contrast and just a bit of play with the lines. So it's done.You can click on the images to get a larger image.

The next thing I have to make is en elephant cot quilt.I haven't made cot quilts in such a long time and it really does not sit all that well with my other work or the series  which I am working on and developing to get  another kind of sentinelle shape happening- so part of my problem in getting these done is how to make the work mine and not make it look like some premade panel that could have been bought in Spotlight or some other cheap and nasty department store.

I also got the little list books from Margaret Cooter one of her books du jour- I do keep lists of things I have to do but I like the idea that a list book can both record things that need to be done and things that have been achieved without the crossings off. If you email Margaret she can send you a book or a pdf file for the booklet. You will need to scroll down her blog page to find the little books( i couldn't get the post to make a direct link so sorry about that). I will share an image of mine in my next post. I am writing this post before I have to go to school- which is keeping me out of lots of trouble I can tell you!!lol!

I have especially been enjoying the typography part of the course ( and other bits as well)  but typography is so much about pattern and shape that it suits my patterned heart. I love that we are making our own fonts for things and even though mine are far from polished I am enjoying the process immensely and can see all sorts of  uses for it. It has also opened up a whole new world of more books ( as if that was needed) and I could not resist getting Marian Bantjes I Wonder. I set aside a few hours on Sunday afternoon  to just absorb and  read and really study all the patterns and typography she uses. I love the section in her book  Notes on a Life- which were the lists her mother kept all through her life and which recorded the daily chores, interactions and little things of life as well as big ideas- her mother was  a political activist and early recycler- and so amongst lists for shopping or reminders to call friends you will find a note that says the Politics of Altruism. Marian and her siblings called the lists Mum's Brains and they were not allowed to tear a page from it though they inevitably wrote notes to each other on it. It looks scrappy when the rest of the book is so much about pattern but it is all about the pattern of life- the little things that we do every day, and years after her mothers death - she has a immediate link with the everyday of living with her mother- precious really, really precious. The book itself is a study in richness- there is gilt on the cover and the pages are gilt edged- something extremely rare these days but done originally to protect books form dust and moisture.... I am looking forward to next Sunday!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


One month ago I showed you some fabrics I was preparing for a poppy quilt which is for a little girl with that name. Then I did not get much further than the fabric, partly because I have been busy and partly I  am not sure why. I liked the colours , I knew what to do but  somehow nothing would come out of my hands. Last Sunday I decided enough is enough with all this procrastination- it's not getting the quilt made- it's simple really - "you have to make a poppy quilt". When I started to work I suddenly realised why the ennui- the poppies made me think of France- of missing France- of missing the summer there and the poppy strewn fields- I was feeling homesick for something that is not my home at present- how can you be homesick for not your home?

So the only way is forward with the quilt and  realising the dream- somehow by hook or crook. Maybe my block of land will finally sell so I can move on with my life and start something new!It's too much of a waiting game at the moment- if the block sells I can go do other things and maybe buy a house in france.

So here are some photos of the layers for applique- stitching and quilting has to be added- and I am still contemplating whether it needs a small pieced border or maybe not.Any thoughts?

I dyed the background fabric especially- it looked fabulous out of the dye bath but greened up a lot once it was washed ( sorry i forgot to take photos). I was trying to get the effect of the wheatfields in the background, looking up to the sky , like the photo below- though I did not quite want so much blue stunning though it is.I have a better photo of this but I can't find it at the moment.

I had to piece the transition between the blue of the sky and the blueish green of the dyed fabric as the  top of the fabric was too green and the blue too blue to  make a pleasing transition- eek I have not pieced in a long time!It starts to look better with more stems.

And last- I think that's as much as I am going to do in  layering pieces- I don't want it to be too busy, and more lines can go in with stitching in any case. the piece is finally starting to speak to me- it's calling me to another place.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Time is Flying and How!

My course is keeping me very busy, though I am enjoying it a lot and learning a lot. Last week it seemed like  some of the things had finally sunk in and I feel as if I may be able to get my head around illustrator after all. I am also doing photography as part of my course (will photograph something textile in the studio on Thursday and share it I hope) and am really enjoying that. I have found out things about my camera  that will make life easier photography wise. So I will share two of my "urban" photos we had to shoot this week. When you think of an urban environment  buildings come to mind, but I tried to focus on the multiplicity of signs- so many that it can be confusing as to what you are asked to read. Some businesses have so many signs it's difficult to know what they sell. We had to frame the photos with two frames and convert them to black and white. You can't see the white  frame too well because my blogger background is white.

I was quite pleased with the way these two photographs turned out and it will give you a little urban glimpse of Geelong.

Last Saturday I went to a artist talk by Mario Luccio and his new exhibition called New York Found 2  at Metropolis Gallery in Geelong. I have written about this artist before and found his talk very illuminating about his work- the layers and the metropolis,the pentimento below the surface and the cracks of civilisation.Below is a scan of an invite to an earlier exhibition of Marco's where his concern was the urban landscape and the representation of urban icons .

Today my eldest daughter and I went to see Reflections of the Soul- Contemporary Chinese Inkwash Painting.There was some beautiful work in this- soulful as you would expect and really large. It was well worth the visit!

And watch this space........
Next year in April 2012 I will be conducting a tour to France which will take in The Quilt Expo in Beaujolais, Lyon, Paris and major museums and some quirky and interesting ones that not all the tourists go to, and Giverny and Monet's garden and Normandy and the fabulous Bayeux Tapestry, the Landing beaches, chateaux and Le Mont Saint Michel. We are finalising the itinerary now, so when I have it to hand I will share it. if you think you may be interested or you may know someone who is interested please email me . The tour will include plenty of things to  interest husbands or partners- I can even write postcards for you a la Frances Mayes style ( Under the Tuscan Sun)... nah I just said that but hopefully you will get a wonderful taste of France!