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!