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.