Thursday, June 21, 2012

Travellers' Blanket On-line Class

Yes I am running another on-line course starting on 1 July. I will also be teaching the travellers' Blanket in the flesh at Wrapt in Rocky next week. I had hoped to have gotten my khadi cloth circle blanket finished- but that hasn't happened. I have got all the silk circles sewn on- now the embroidery and then  what to stitch in the background?

One of my students from a previous class sent me some photos of her completed travellers blanket- I love seeing projects that have been completed- but I love even more when I think...oh  my goodness I wish I had done that. So I wanted to share Petra Kooij's travellers blanket( she does not have a blog unfortunately) I love the glowing jewel like quality of the patched/stitched circles on the background and  I really like the way she has played around with shadow and light - i just love it! Thank you for sharing Petra!

So the hand dyed background with tie dyes:
  Placing darker toning fabrics to create shadow and light;
Adding another design element which works really well

  The finished piece- I think the framing in the slightly darker yellow works really well.
 A close up image of the piece.

 Other  past students work can be seen Glensbirdonawire blog, Saltbushstitch blog,Annette Sibson's blog, and Cramzy's Flickr.

And here is my blanket with all the circles sewn on- now for embroidering. If you are interested please email me. Cost for the course is $60AUS and it takes place over a four month period- though you work entirely at your own pace.

And I am teaching my Gypsy Blanket workshop in Sydney on  17 & 18 August for the NSW Quilters Guild- I shall also be giving a talk at their AGM

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another Pomegranate Tifaifai

Once upon a time I wrote a book- called Tifaifai Renaissance. It seems like eons ago but it is actually 10 years ago. After writing the book I thought I would never make another tifaifai quilt as i was completely over it! Then a few years ago I made some more as it suited  a Roman mosaic I had seen in the  museum in Allepo, which was of a pomegranate tree.  Anyway if you cut out the positive carefully you end up with the negative as well so  you really get two quilts out of one design/piece of fabric ( well almost- you need two pieces of fabric for the backing). One of the quilts was bought by a couple, and as  they are now going through a divorce and both parties liked the quilt they have asked if I would make another in  similar colours and with the same theme.So I am making  another tifaifai- I did procrastinate a little in ordering fabric and dye. Of course the quilt will not be exactly the same as I draw the design freehand each time so that they are always a little different. I love the technique, as it seems it's symmetrical but it isn't quite and it's very forgiving.

The process, that is the cutting out is quite laborious but oh what a reward you get for the patience and perseverance. This piece measures just over 90 cm square so you can imagine there is quite a bit of cutting!

I love that you go from  a crumpled unrecognisable mess of cutout paper and fabric:

To this- laying out the design which is also quite a process with  all those fine bits:

To this tada! You never quite know how the design will work when you draw it freehand- but it always seems to work. it will change more as borders and stitching go in- but all in all a satisfying process!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another Sentinelle Finished

I have been watching people work with the sentinelles around the world now and am intrigued how people embroider them and work with them. Valerie from Best of Quilting- worked with four for the four seasons and made them  for people in her life- it is lovely to know that the  values I  hoped for  by creating the sentinelles  are  appreciated and interpreted by other people! So here are Valerie's four Seasons- I love them!:
And meanwhile I have been sewing another one myself- to try and get  myself going again and also to prepare for a little exhibition I am having starting in July  at Caroline Springs in Melton of my sentinelle work.I just have to neaten off the edges and she will be finished. Don't forget that you can buy a printed sentinelle panel from me if you are interested in embroidering your own- just name your colour. On bright colours I print with black and on darker colours I print with gold ink. Cost of each panel is $15 plus postage ( which is approximately $3 outside of Australia)

There is still time to enroll in the On-line Travellers Blanket class. Simply email me and I will send you an information sheet- the cost is $60AUS. I have been working on my own blanket and have finally put on all the silk circles- now to embroider them all. You can see what one of my on-line students did here.

I shall also be teaching this class at Wrapt in Rocky in Queensland at the end of June- there are still some places left in the class. I am really looking forward to the class as it is very relaxing and really does lend itself to telling stories.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I have been doing a lot of hand stitching this week. I am trying to finish the travellers blanket with circles and also doing some stitching on the cat linocut.I am really trying to use lino prints as a means for holding stitches. I can see this cat would look interesting in offbeat colours too- like i can see a blue cat or a red cat. Here are the results:

Elizabeth from Berry Patchwork asked me to spread the word about a Textiles Art Prize to be held in conjunction with the Berry Retreat this year.. Berry is a small community approximately
2 hours south of Sydney & she decided it might be fun for the community to take part in a textiles competition.
Perhaps you could help spread the word for me please?
She has  managed to gather sponsorship; first prize is $300, second prize $200, third prize $100, with a highly commended prize of $100.
Monies have been donated by local businesses.

Monday, June 04, 2012


I am totally chuffed- linocutting is a passion and I have long  looked with admiration at some of the incredibly detailed linocuts that people have made but never thought that i could do such detail. So I wanted to make a cat linocut as people have been asking me if I have any animal panels- I used to do them once in the  Otway past. So I took some photos of my friend Christine's cat- she has lovely patterning- so here is Bali:

Then I made a linocut which I tested on paper first- the details comes out great on paper even with textile printing ink.I did not reverse the image and i widened the eyes a little. But how will it print on fabric where you do lose some of that fine detail.

The one on the plainer green fabric came out with more details- but a lot of the fine detail of the paper print is lost- should I cut away more or rely on embroidery to bring it out again? I will try the embroidery first before i cut away more. The detail seems almost entirely lost on the more patterned hand dyed fabric, though it too may come out more with embroidery and stitching.

 And I have found a few more titbits about Hortense Hazard which I will share next post.

I am also starting a Travellers' Blanket on-line  class on 1 July so still plenty of time to enroll! Contact me if you are interested and I will send you details. I am also thinking of running another linocutting  on-line class - again contact me if you are interested.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

A Mystery

Where has that week gone?? I have become besotted by a mystery in the Geelong Gallery. Last Monday I attended a meeting for guides and one of the guides gave a small lecture about a marble statue entitled I am Alone attributed to Hortense Heuze Hazard 1871. The sculpture is rather lovely and the marble has a silvery sheen to it, and the work seems to be in the style of Canova, which was popular in the latter half of the nineteenth century.The inscription on the statue in Italian says:
Piancete al cante mio
voi che intendete amore
piancete al mio dolore
che sola aime son io.

However I can find little information on Hortense Heuze Hazard . And the historian in me loves nothing so much as a little mystery. The following is from a West Australian gossip columnist on 20 October 1887:

I hear on good authority that Madame Hortense Hazard, the American sculptress,painter and linguist, who lived in East Mel-bourne quite alone, and left her collection ofcuriosities to James Snare, a grocers assist-ant, was a French Countess in her own right.She married an American millionaire, andtook to champagne. They were divorced,and Madame Hazard came to Australia andlived on £500 a year sent her by her hus-band. Here is a case for the Temperancesocieties. Female drunkards are seldom in-teresting. I never met one who at all re-  sembled the delightful "Janet" of GeorgeEliot.  

Don't you love that- "took to champagne"- my kind of woman!

Next is an auction notice as follows:

Of the
Wonderful Collection
Which Critiques from the Roman, French, English,
and American Papers will be Published.
Relics from Memphis, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and
Catacombs at Rome.
By the
Old Masters.
GRAND OLD LINE ENGRAVINGS (Very Rare) An invaluable Lot of
Collection of Years.
Formerly Belonging to NAPOLEON.
Exquisite Venetian Mirrors.
SPLENDID DIAMONDS, Roman Pearls, &c.
GEMMELL, TUCKETT, and Co have received in-  
structions from Mr Snare, the executor of the  late Madame Hortense Hazard to DISPOSE of byAUCTION, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 25th and26th October, at 11 o'clock each day, at the
ATHENAEUM, COLLINS-STREET EAST,The whole of her splendid
As above  
Catalogues at rooms», price one shilling.
Some of the extracts from the Roman, French, andother papers will be given with the catalogue, andthe remainder, which are too voluminous to publish,
can be seen at the auctioneers' rooms.
The collection will be on view on and after Monday,    17th inst, at Madame H's late residence, 25 Hotham  street, East Melbourne, from 10 till 4. _

Notice what is in her collection of collectibles; Suites of china glass and china belonging to Napoleon, paintings by grand old masters, bed furniture belonging to Marie Antointette. How does a divorced Amercan sculptress get such belongings and then bring them to Australia in the 1880's??

Another mention appears in Around the World by Lydia Leavitt:
I have mentioned the aristocracy of birth, and will now mention the aristocracy
of brains. Charles Dickens has two sons residing in Melbourne. Ellen Terry
has a brother in Sydney. Miss Braddon's brother resides in Launceston. Last
night's Herald records the death of a remarkable woman, who had lived in
Melbourne about five years. A sketch of her life is worth recording, for is it not
true that the aristocracy of brains is much rarer than that of birth? In 1882
there arrived in Melbourne a most remarkable woman, who, though a celebrity in
Europe and America, lived quietly in Melbourne without attracting the smallest
public attention. Her name was Hortense Heuze Hazard, and it is safe to say
that a more brilliantly accomplished woman never visited the colonies. A
sculptress, held by many European authorities, when in Rome, to be the greatest
living ; an authoress, having written much, both in prose and verse; and a linguist
whose knowledge of languages extended to French, German, Italian, English and
Russian, all of which she spoke fluently, and with the literature of which she had
an intimate acquaintance. The lady left, among other works from her own chisel,
three beautiful pieces of statuary, which have been exhibited in Rome, England
and America, and pronounced by the critics to be beyond all praise. One of them
is emblematical of " Peace." Another work, which has been pronounced one of
the finest pieces of modern sculpture, is " I am Left Alone." A bereaved mother
is depicted with her two little children ; the elder is gazing up at her grief-stricken
countenance, as if to ask the cause of her woe, while the little brother, too young
to be anything but selfish, is regardless of his mother's emotion, playing with a
bird he has caught. The posturing of the figures is almost life-like. The marble
from which this was wrought was obtained from a quarry which has been
exhausted, and has the peculiarity of giving a silvery, metallic ring. Among her
rare and valuable possessions were some magnificent paintings, some veritable

I can find nothing further in Australian Archives nor indeed the Herald archives and it does not appear that the catalogue prepared by Gemmett ,Tuckett and Co auction house has survived in any way. I could not access the website of the Victorian Records Office to see who had arrived  by shipping in 1882.

So she is supposed to be an American Sculptress, writer and linguist- and it does appear she is mentioned in Pater Hastings Falks 1999 three volume Who Was Who in American Art- but I can find nothing on-line. Does anyone have access to this book?

I can find no further reference to Hortense Hazard except in a brief note in the holdings of the Rhode Island Historical Society to say that a Hortense de Huys  ( names are often spelled in different ways and I am making the presumption that the  Heuze in the inscription at the Geelong Gallery is probably the same as de Huys)was the first wife of one John N Hazard a member of a prominent New England family and that they had two children- but not the names of the children.

I can find no provenance for the statue and most of my google searches bring me back to Hortense  Beauharnais - the daughter of Empress Josphine or her cousin Emilie Beauharnais.

I can also find no information on James Snare and how he came to inherit Madame Hortense Hazard's collection ( and she is noted to be Madame suggesting she is french). I have been searching for 2 days and am thoroughly intrigued. Why did she divorce Hazard- or why did he divorce her, which is more likely as the children appear to have stayed in the United States? Did she use a nom-de-plume for her writing? How did she  have  items belonging to Marie Antoinette and Bonaparte in her collection? It is known that Canova was commissioned by Josephine to make statutory for her. And why come to Australia? If there was a Beauharnais connection it could have been Josephines's  commission of a book of her Australian plants in her garden at Malmaison executed by Redoute that aroused that interest.

Anyway it is like a good mystery novel but I really would like to find some answers!It has taken two days to find out this little  and  I am too intrigued to let it go!