Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life and Things

I have had barely a moment to myself since being back due to my father being very ill. He had a bowel cancer op  about a week after I left  for Europe and seemed to be recovering well for the first few weeks but then things  started going down hill very rapidly.I went to see him the first full day back and wasn't too happy with what I saw and when I rang him early the next morning to check how he was ,he was dry retching on the phone- so rushed straight over there, took him to his doctor who immediately hospitalised him in the small country hospital where my fathers partner was also in respite and then they decided to do an emergency transfer to Geelong Hospital two days later. Things were definitely not looking good and matters are complicated by two  large arterial embolisms in his leg and behind his lung. His medical presentation is difficult  at the best of times and he has just turned 80, so taking into account all these factors I am not sure what the prognosis will be and the doctors are reluctant to say much, apart from telling me the actual physical things going on. He does seem to be improving, but on the other hand the embolisms are still there. Then there is my fathers partner- my father was her carer and she is high care and not able to look after herself- she has no close-by family so she is in respite, but she was in respite in another town about 50 km away so i moved her to Geelong where I can at least take her to the hospital to see dad- so all in all I have had little time to do anything else , but race around trying to organise things, seeing dad and getting  life after hospital organised because it is quite apparent they will not be able to return to the farm where they were living. My youngest daughter was also doing exams, and whilst she still has a year of high school to go it is important that she does well.

It a means I have not done much work, which impacts on my budget, and then I had a workshop for this week and one for next month, here in Geelong cancel as well.I am beginning to wonder whether  my workshops have any appeal at all?

Yesterday afternoon was the first time I had a moment to myself and printed an A3 thermofax my friend Margo from Teinture Textile had made for me when I visited her. I had made a drawing of all things french, from  my various encounters, and the drawing was a little inspired by toile de jouy. I printed it with thickened dye and did not have time to try printing ink.

The first print is done on calico and the  other print was about the fourth print on white cotton . I actually attached the thermofax screen to my breakdown printing screen as I did not have material to make a sturdy frame for the thermofax, so I was surprised it came out so well. This thermofax screen  was not quite perfect ( and Margo did make  me another, but I did not want to ruin it in case the dye did something to it)  which I will make a frame for.Anyway i quite liked the result and will play some more when I get some time.It will also go into my book Inspired by France.

Travellers' Blanket On-Line Class
There is still time to book into the On-line class to make your own memory inspired stitched piece. I call them blankets as a tongue in cheek to the  number of times people  have called my work, blankets at markets etc, and traveller because I often stitch on the pieces whilst I am travelling. The cost of the class is $60AUS and would be a terrific project for the holiday season as it is very transportable and you can stitch on it when you have a moment to spare or when the whim strikes.You can read more about the travellers Blanket in the December/January issue of Quilting Arts and another image can be seen here and here. Email me for an information sheet on the class.The class will commence on 3 December

Don't forget there are Sentinelle pieces for sale- although  the fourth in the image  in my previous post  is sold and will be watching the world from Whidbey Island. Or you can stitch your own sentinelle panel- as I sell the printed panels for $15AUS plus postage and I can print them onto any colour hand dyed fabric you like.( cats and owls are available too!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One More Post Before I Leave Europe

I have had a very quiet week. Some little bug inside my brain said why don't you buy your aunt a nice diary and write 7 hand written  fun ideas for each week, to do as she recovers from this  horrible year for her- that means 365 ideas but not only that the diary ran from the end of October instead of November as most do so I had started with 7 ideas on  26 November thinking it was December, so it became 365 ideas plus 35- it's taken me quite some time!

I forgot to put the Sentinelle image on my last blog post when I said they were for sale. They are all for sale and it is also possible to buy the printed fabric and stitch them yourself.I hope one of them speaks to you!

 And some autumn colours from France- don't you love the laneway? My dream is to head that way but a lot of things will need to happen for that dream to come true.

And last but not least; my Blue Travellers' Blanket is on the cover of  Quilting Arts for December/January.So the three traveller inspired pieces are in various parts of the world and living up to their name.I am so surprised but thrilled that the blanket made the cover of a magazine. It's the first cover I have ever had for a magazine, apart from a small thumbnail on a British magazine.So that is an exciting end to the year!

I shall also be running another Travellers Blanket On-line Workshop over the summer ( southern hemisphere) and winter months ( northern hemisphere). Email me for details. I intend to start the course on 3 December 2012 to see you happily stitching over the holidays, and myself as well as I will start on my silk travellers blanket. The cost for the course is $60AUS.

Some travellers blankets started or made in the on-line course in the past...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heading Home Soon

I have been staying in Hulst the small city where my aunt lives, but unfortunately my aunt has been in UZ Gent hospital. The good news is that the stoma she received when she was critically ill  in August has been removed, and now, it is wait and see as to how well the remainder of her small intestine will function, to see what kind of food supplement she will need in the future.All  small steps, but she is a fighter and has all kinds of plans for the future and looks remarkably well given the ordeal she has been through- and frankly after hearing from my cousin about the difficulties, it is a testament to my aunts' will to live that she is here at all.

I arrived here last week on Thursday- taught one day of workshops in Belgium, unfortunately the second day did not go ahead, and I had a workshop in France cancel as well- it seems to be the sign of the times and it is making it more and more difficult to  survive- I really don't know how the next year will pan out.

Last week I visited Barbizon, a town where artists lived or stayed at the inn from the 1830-1860's, and known for the Barbizon School of Painting. The inn was a drawcard for  artists, most of whom were poor, as the proprietor, a gentleman by the name of Ganne was known to accept paintings in lieu of payment for lodgings or food- and that drawing on the walls could see the delivery of another bottle of wine. It was also the beginning of the movement away from the French Academy with its highbrow and serious neo-classical subject matter, and that the likes of Millet and Corot, who eventually lived in Barbizon, glorified in wonderful landscapes which further down the line saw the development of  Impressionism and inspired such artist as Van Gogh and Cezanne ( who also visited the town). However it was these first artists who went to Barbizon that changed the face of painting. The town is still lovely but like so many places which poor and often starving artists have made famous it is now a pretty bourgeois place where artists can only dream of living given the house prices.
 The image above is from the "inn" where many of the artists stayed and where some of the drawings still adorn the plaster walls and where every cupboard surface has been covered with paintings. The inn has become a little museum well worth visiting and the letter in the left corner is one written by Millet.
How could I resist walking past this tray of beefsteak tomatoes in their blue casing- aren't they wonderful and textured and their colour so gorgeous with the blue- who knew vegetable farmers/packers had such an eye for colour?

 The hotel where Robert Louis Stevenson  wrote Forest Notes, is still a drawcard for visitors with it's collombage exterior walls.
And well... it's impossible to walk past a small crate of pomegranates bedded in straw- they saw me coming and it was so tempting to just buy one to draw it!

I head home on Sunday from Bruxelles- I did try and get home earlier but as I am on an award flight  there were no award seats available. Tomorrow I will teach a workshop in Amsterdam at the DIY Textile School on linocutting and printing and then I will come back to Hulst and visit my aunt who will hopefully be in the rehabilitation centre by then. My aunt has been so very kind to me over the years, allowing me to stay, and even store some of my things with her so i don't have to lug them back and forth.

And on another note I do have some works  for sale, and I need to sell things so I can pay bills- unfortunately my land lord would not take to kindly to me painting all over his walls, nor is he inclined to swap a bottle of wine for printed fabric or a small stitched piece ;-).

 There are some of the  Poppy series- A3 size, which measures 42 cm x 30 cm ( 16.5 inches by 11.7 inches) with its  variations. Each piece is for sale for $85 AUS which includes postage. There are  larger pieces which you can see here. The longer panesl vary in price from $130 - $160AUS depending on actual length. The large poppy piece on the hand dyed background which measures 90 cm wide and 105 cm long is $750 AUS.

I was also reunited with some of my hand stitched sentinelles when I was in France. I have collaged the panels, but each panel is for sale for $150AUS- they are entirely hand stitched/embroidered and measure 15/18 cm  by 45 cm long.

And last but not least a small post card piece that I stitched last week of the half face of a Roman young man...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

And The Winner Is....

Sorry I fell of the blogging cart..... but life has a habit of intervening even when travelling, and then there are things to be seen. But firstly my friend Christine's cat chose the winner for my blog's 8th birthday and the winner is The Idaho Beauty- so please contact me with your address details and something will be coming your way in the not too distant future.

Then I spent some time drawing images for a thermofax for my  friend Margo and we also did some indigo dyeing, but it also managed to snow which was quite exciting as I don't often get to experience snow!

The tie dyed piece is mine and I was really happy with the depth of colour of the indigo. It will be stitched, without being razzled or dazzled without being  zapped or burnt or torn or anything, just stitched by hand in the time honoured old way.

And then I have been teaching and enjoying a visit to Chartres. The  restoration of the cathedral is really moving along at a cracking space and what had previously been a dim grey and dark space, full of impending doom and the overwhelming presence of the church instead turns out to be a splendid  wonderful light space- quite the opposite of what it was previously.You can imagine celebration in the restores space and only the nave has been restored so far,it's positively luminous.So shadows on the restored pillar and looking from the unrestored spaces of the cathedral into the newly restored areas.

There is still time to join the workshop at Kalmthout in Belgium ( near the Dutch border) this Friday - we are working on Form and Variation- looking at ways to develop themes in your work.