Wednesday, February 29, 2012

France Here I Come!

This really is your last chance to hop on board my tour of France starting 11 April ( there is a land only price for those outside of Australia). It's going to be 19 fab days starting with a taste of Beaujolais and quilts and textiles in Lyon- then onto Paris and museums for 6 days and Versailles and it's gorgeous gardens the design of which i am reading about at the moment, shops, and some walking tours I am planning, based around themes and ideas, then onto Giverny and Monet's garden- where it will be springtime, then Lumiege Abbey, Rouen and the Catherdral, WW2 landing beaches, Bayeaux and the fabulous tapestry- Mont St Michel and the abbey, Chateau du Blois and Tours. So take a leap in this leap year and join me in France where i can show you some of my favourite things.I will have a few little surprises for you along the way to help you look and see perhaps a little differently when you travel.Let me know if you are interested.

It's been incredibly hot this past weekend and the weekend was the hottest of all- nothing to do but lie low and move little. I also am involved in a project called Voyageart with fellow textile artists form all parts of the world- the link is to our blog. We are working to themes to do with travel and the first subject was "where I am ". I found this theme hard to explore because even though I am beginning to enjoy aspects of Geelong it is not my preferred place to be living. I miss the  Otway bush, I miss Pic St Loup- I miss the countryside , I miss the inspiration it gives my work, but my daughter has to finish high school and she is enjoying her school and enjoying her schoolwork and we are close to many things, so here I have to stay.( any walking buddies would be wildly appreciated!)

I was trying to be literal in "where I am " but could come up with no visual clues- I made a mind map but I only came up with positives and negatives. In the end  I decided to think about my work and I am immersed and in the middle of my Sentinelle work. A couple of weeks ago I made a small Gocco screen of a small face drawing I had made as a sentinelle variation, as I wanted to create medallion shapes  to  link with middle age/byzantine pilgrimage. So the photos below are what i came up with. The first shows a section without the hand stitching-  I just love what stitching does to the surface of a piece and the second of the finished piece.I stitched it all by hand because it was too hot to sit at my sewing machine and sew. I really enjoyed making this piece in the end and found just the right coloured skerrick of tie dyed silk fabric that had the right colours- just as well I keep scraps sometimes :-).The blue background was just the right blue- and dare i say it - this piece makes me quite quite happy.....
If you look on the left of the photo- you can see there is no stitching- the stitching just adds so much texture and really interest. I used DMC perle 8  for the background.I think the starry background is being influenced by the fact that I am reading the letters of Vincent van Gogh and also the  most brilliant night skies of the Otways which are no longer in my orbit.
I still haven't decided for a name for this piece.

 And below one of my favourite madonnas from the Musee des Augustins in Toulouse- why is she looking away from her child with such sadness, does she know what the future will hold - do any of us? I made the decorated border for the image- she is living in my bedrooom at the moment- I really want to make her into a sanctuary piece.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Hand Stitched Sentinelle

I  have finished another hand stitched sentinelle and she measures 20 cm x 44 cm. I found this sentinelle difficult to work with simply because she is  blue, even though I use blue, is not one of my favourite colours, though I do collect ceramics with blue. I do love a deep indigo colour though. The sentinelle has been preprinted with a linocut and then hand stitched/embellished ( see my earlier pics of printed panels). The sentinelle hand printed panels are for sale for $15 AUS and the stitched sentinelle is for sale also for $160 AUS plus postage. Our postage charges have gone up yet again at the beginning of this month- this is about the 6th time in a matter of three years!

Last Chance!
There is still time to book and pay for the Tour of France starting 11 April- there are still some places left and you will get to travel and see  the things that i love about travel and that inspire me to create work influenced by travel.We are a small group so there will be plenty of time to experience and do, and enjoy the ambience of life in France and Paris.It really will be a fabulous trip- I am so looking forward to our stay in Paris and showing you fabulous museums and sharing  stories over a coffee or glass of wine and revisiting the  Bayeaux Tapestry, which to me is one of the Textile Wonders of the World! If you are interested it is best to contact Custodian Travel direct at this stage.We will get to enjoy Quilt Expo Beaujolais and the surrounding wine region- anyway it's up to you if you want to see a little of the world my way!

During the week I called into KraftKolour at their new premises in Thomastown- after their  devastating loss of everything in the bushfires of 2009. Bonnie and Graeme have had to rebuild their business from scratch, their home from scratch and their lives- they managed to save their dogs and somehow miraculously their horses survived. I always like to touch base with people- email is good and well, but there is nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and catching up with  what people are doing. The wonderful thing about Kraftkolour is that they are setting up a purpose built  surface design studio where classes will be given, so contact them for a class schedule. Hopefully I shall be giving a few classes there in the second half of the year. One of their first classes is with Jane Sassaman- Abstracting from Nature- from 19-21 April 2012. Check out the link if you are unfamiliar with Jane's work- and what a wonderful opportunity for Australians to take a three day class with such a wonderful textile artist as Jane.

I will hopefully be teaching at the Wrapt in Rocky 2012  from 24 June until 29 June- a five day program. I shall be teaching my Travellers Blanket class which will be a lot of fun and hopefully get  a lot of stitching done over the five days and share lots of stories.! Come and join us - as it promises to be a very inspiring week with  lots of fun things to enjoy.

And on another note I have been accepted into the NEIS scheme  as I hope to change  the direction of my business a little as i am struggling to survive in the tough economic climate and with our  ridiculously overvalued dollar.I have been unable to find a job despite applying for many  and have become a little dispirited as a result, as i actually have so many things to share and give. I will still print fabrics and make things that i hope to sell, but unfortunately I cannot live on air , so it will be good to revise my business, add new aspects to it, and get some mentoring so that I can survive and support my children.

Ohhh and a question; I want to revamp my workshop list-  what would you like to see me teach and what things should be included on a workshop list?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Home Again

Well it was a quick trip to Singapore which i thoroughly enjoyed.Thank you to the ladies form the British Club Craft group for inviting me and for your hospitality!

Came home to the news of cancelled workshops next week which throws my budget into a spin, because I do live on an extreme budget.I am going to have to ask workshop organisers to pay a deposit- most things seem to be paid up front now, like my daughters' piano lessons and I can't afford cancellations as I have set aside time and money to ensure I have the right workshop materials.Anyone want to come to my house to learn or be inspired and to create work? We could do a once a month  thing for a reasonable fee.

There is still time to book into the on-line Travellers Blanket Class. The class starts on 17 February. You can see some work in progress of  previous participants  on Glen's blog and Deb's Blog. Actually their work is making me think I need to start another blanket pronto- perhaps I could make a traveller sentinelle? Email me if you are interested.

Needless to say with the travelling little work has been done. One of the things that charmed me in Singapore was the little roadside shrines to various deities. In a city that is and wants to be fast and modern and that has more shopping malls selling  high end "designer" goods than just about anywhere else ( though with goods all the same the world over you begin to wonder about the designer aspect of the goods- wouldn't a beautifully hand made item be much more precious?) there is a little quirkiness here and there and some insight to the way life might have been once and a sense of  spirituality too- which seems hard to find amongst all the shops and shining new highrise and cars.
So here are some of the little shrines I encountered:

It makes me want to build a little shrine of sorts myself! And then there are colourful juxtapositions- some of the older houses with high rise in the background, encroaching and sometimes engulfing...

And finally - a shrine like little water  fountain, I loved the aqua almost emerald green in the background with the limier green of the plants and the charcoal colour of the fountain framed by the banded palm trunks.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In Singapore

The results of Breaking All the Rules Workshop with the ladies of the British Club Craft group in Singapore. We had a lot of fun and some lovely work was produced breaking quite a few of the rules of traditional piecing!

The collage is of some work produced in the  Tifaifai class- again the work is about creating contrast and taking the jump with free machining!

Flying into Singapore last Monday- terrific views from the sky looking onto the Straits.

This image is outside  Books Actually in Tiong Bahru- I loved the little display outside their window- they sell new and vintage books and indepenedently published Singaporean writers, even some hand made books.
On Friday ( which was my birthday) we walked around the Tiong Bahru area- admiring still standing art deco buildings and some little galleries and interesting shops which have opened in the area. They were planning an artist occupation of the area later in february, so well worth a visit if you are in Singapore!

And I loved this homage in a small Chinese temple on a street corner in Tjiong bahru- so colourful, the air redolent with the smell of incense ( to which I added my bit, though I did not burn the paper money, which I wanted to keep for inspiration but inadvertantly left with my chinese colander- that would have been so excellent for steaming vegies and coooking noodles and vegies in broth at the Cricket Club) Out for more exploring today  and head back to Oz tonight on a red eye special and then an 8 hour layover in Brisbane unless I can convince Virgin that they should fly me back to Melbourne sooner ( have no idea why there is an 8 hour gap in supposedly connecting flights.....)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Off to Singapore Tomorrow

I am off to Singapore to teach for a couple of days. It has been a fair while since I have been to Singapore and I am looking forward to having a few free days  there (it was too expensive to fly back on friday)  to explore Arab street,  and other parts.
I have been dyeing some fabric to take with me to Singapore- it really has been a while since I dyed fabric- and then of course it had to rain whilst I am trying to get the last of the fabric dried ( we don't have a dryer as they waste too much energy) I always love the colours that emerge when you iron the fabric- it looks so different to the unironed fabric.

I also needed a new bag- the one I have been using, had started to wear through on the corners and looked rather scruffy.I guess these are my little gypsy bags

I have also been stitching another sentinelle panel and will take it with me to stitch on - though I have just found a bit of fabric that would make a very nice travellers' blanket. And  I received the little doily doll and  brooch from Penny in the mail this week- I won her as a giveaway and really like her- it's so  lovely to get surprises in the post!

And good news- the tour to France is going ahead after all- we still would like a few extra people if anyone is interested! it really is a good tour and you are bound to find plenty of inspiration and hopefully I will be able to inspire you to put the inspiration to use! If you are interested  in coming on the tour please email me.

There is also still time to book into the On-line Travellers Blanket Class- it starts on 17 February and already there are people from  different parts of the world booked in! I can't show you my most recent travellers blanket which I completed at the end of January as it was selected in the Beneath the Southern Sky exhibition curated by Brenda Gael Smith. You can follow the exhibition on facebook. I am rather excited to be part of the exhibition as entering  exhibitions seemed to have fallen a bit by the way side  these last years. But here is a little detail photo!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

last Call for a Tour of France!

I was hoping the tour to France would go ahead but we have had someone drop out and now it's time to cancel or go ahead. So if you were thinking you would like to go at all now is the time to let me know, because in another two week sit will be too late ( please see the itinerary in the blog post before last- it really is a great trip with lots of interesting historical and textile things to encounter and inspire let alone a wonderful 6 days in Paris!)

I have been busy this last  5 days or so as a friend from New Zealand - Rahima Macdonald came to stay. I tried to show her many of my favourite places in Geelong- but we just could not go past the waterfront every morning- so we started the day off every day with a walk and then a latte and then some  bunting making at home.
Isn't the colour of this bark the most amazing colour? I have never seen bark that was bronze.

Little sculptures in the pavement- aren't they fun!

I wonder who made this image?

Camels was not something I was expecting to see at the waterfront, but there they were. 3 camels waiting patiently to be saddled up for beach rides.

Wonderful reflections of sail  boat masts in the water.

Don't forget there is still time to join the next Travellers' Blanket class starting  on 17 February