Thursday, January 24, 2013

Les Matelles- Stitchery

I have been working on a small stitched piece ( A4 size) of a scene in the small medieval village Les Matelles which was the next village  to Le Triadou where I lived in 2010( I miss the south of France...) It's a lovely village with stone houses and stone stairways and with loads of shades of grey. I had toyed around with the image previously, trying to draw it in the hope of making a linocut but in the end the nuances of shade/light and grey were too varied to reduce it to a  drawing suitable for a linocut. Then last year when I worked with Solufix, I thought yep that is the solution- I will stitch the image with solufix and see what happens. I did not print off the original photos as I knew I  did not have the silvery green/grey threads for the olive tree- so  I used a bit of poetic licence in the interpretation of that tree. I am also amazed at how many shades of grey thread I used- thank you Mettler for your silk finish cottons they are just perfect for this kind of job!
 The top photo is the original photo which I cropped a little as the top left corner was a bit over exposed and below is my stitched interpretation made with the aid of Solufix. I am  preparing classes to work with this material and will be teaching  with it at best of Quilting at Marcoussis ( France) late in April.
And I have been walking again- one of my neighbours whom I met at the bus stop and who  is also an artist and sometime quilter and I go for a big long walk once a week ( although I walk other mornings as well)- this morning we walked along the foreshore where they were gearing up for the Festival of Sails- I love the textures of the ropes to tie up the boats.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bayeaux Madonna

I have been working this week but  feel as if I have achieved very little. I have manage to catch up with a few people , I had barely seen since being back and I managed to do a few walks, I still haven't caught up with everything. We have also had some incredibly hot weather and have watched aghast at all the bushfires in Tasmania, in NSW  and  in Victoria, it is so early in the year and the fires are moving at such speed.

I belong to a small group called Voyageart and our brief last year was to make a piece every 2 months ( a total of 6 pieces) to do with the theme of where we are going, where we are. I finally managed to get myself up to date for 2012 and made a piece which in the end was a reflection of some of the things I encountered last year on my travels but also with a firm eye on the future.As some of you know I am very enamoured of the Madonna in the Bayeaux cathedral and I really do wonder at her provenance as I have since found out she may have been moved and so is probably form a different period than the cathedral. I guess some of my travel is a quest for madonnas- seeing how they gaze- whether it's the child or the world. I like the ones that look out into the world.So I have been toying how to incorporate her into a piece. So my last piece for the group evolved a little like a page in a journal.

So in the end I made a bit of a collage of different things. I worked with polyester non-woven onto a bright blue fabric and then used black and aqua thread. The coffee cup you will recognise from a linocut I made in 2012.

And I have been stitching on  my tangerine travellers' piece piece- progress is slow as it is all hand stitched , and whilst i do sit and sew there are  many other things to do during the day including  making work for my book and planning the book and just getting ideas down.It was starting to look a little boring with just the circles and I am much happier now the connecting lines are going in and then I have to think about the spaces in between.

 And I shall be starting a new on-line Travellers' Blanket class on February the 11 th. Email me if you are interested and I can send you more information and details of how to make payment. For those of  you who live in the Geelong area I shall be conducting a class from home- this involves a dyeing session and then  sit and stitch sessions. I have 2 places available for a class starting on this coming Tuesday at 7pm.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coffee Pot Linocut

In  November last year whilst staying with my friend Christine at Soissy-sur-Seine we went to Chartres for the day to see the progress on  the renovation of the cathedral. Christine told me there was a very nice restaurant across from the cathedral and that she would shout me lunch there. It was indeed a very nice restaurant- the food was excellent as was the wine, but one of the nice things about the place was it's ambience.Some very nice panelling from wine crates adorned the wall- some wineries have such lovely logos.
The windows had large sills and each  sill had been decorated with porcelain and enamel ware coffee pots- they looked so inviting!
 I thought they would make a great linocut and did some preliminary drawing but got no further. I always feel that I can't draw thins kind of thing and put it off- and  as usual the first coffee pot looks blegh but once you start filling in with the other coffee pots and other detail it starts to assume another life- see the drawings below.
 Then comes the cutting- it took quite some time as the linocut as it measures  11 inches by 15 inches- and I did forget to reverse the image but decided not to worry about it.I was quite happy with the way it came out and can see all sorts of fun things I can do with stitching on this.

Thank you  so much to everyone who visited my Recent Works for Sale page and who purchased work from me. It's been a life saver I can assure you!

I have also created another new page  with highlights from the tour  I took to France in  April of 2012. I will be taking the same tour to France in 2013 hopefully. One of the highlights will be visiting Quilts en Beaujolais where I will also be  exhibiting my french inspired work. If you would like any information or the itinerary of this tour or the tour of Italy in May 2013 please do not hesitate to contact me.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A Plea

I know everyone is affected by the financial crisis and I have mentioned it before, but I wasn't expecting my father to be as ill as he was or to spend as much time as I did in  getting him better ( and to  have his partner looked after as well and spend time with her and taking her out for necessities etc) and then to spend as much time as I have done getting him and his partner settled into independent living. I did tell people I was a single mum and that  I worked full time- but everyone just seemed to turn a blind eye to this and just merrily ignored the fact  so that I have fallen way behind with my work and projected targets, because no one else was going to step up to the plate. This has meant that the book I am writing has been stalled ( you need  clear headspace to write and work things through in logical order) My business income has also been affected by the ridiculously high Australian dollar value as I earn some of my income teaching overseas and also generate some sales overseas.I am still actively looking for a job but as I have not been able to get an interview in 2 years , it seems like a hopeless task though I continue to try. I would move somewhere cheaper to live but my daughter goes into her final year of high school next month, and as she has her aims set high I want this year to have as little disruption as possible, and there isn't much housing that's cheaper available in Geelong in any case.

I also understand that some people don't enjoy reading about the "difficult" side of making a living from art, but as I can't find a job I have to continue down this route because there isn't any other way to earn a living.And I will be trying everything to  somehow turn things around! But the reality is  working in an arts practice isn't all sunny , a lot of it orients around finding product/goods/services that are saleable to sustain the bigger and more  individual work.

Anyway the long and the short of it is, I wasn't able to make as much small work to sell as I normally do- and that has meant a substantial reduction in sales I  might ordinarily have expected around Christmas time.
So my plea is this

  1.  If you see any older work you might like to buy please contact me- I will be prepared to negotiate.I have added a new page here, or simply click on the tab with Most recent work at the top of the blog.
  2. I will be starting another Travellers' Blanket on-line class on February the 11th. Email me if you are interested in joining the class and i can send you an information sheet.
  3. I am writing a new course called Form and Variation ( for want of a better name), if you are interested please drop me an email and I will send you information when I have put it together.The results have always been interesting when I teach this course in real life.
  4. I have 5 new Teapot and Rosewater jug pieces for sale. These pieces measure 8"x 8" ( 20cm x20cm) and are designed to fit into Ikea shadow box frames- they are hand printed polyester non-woven  and machine stitched.( Images below) The cost is $45AUS inclusive of postage.
  5. Also I am thinking of running small workshops from home ( Geelong)- if you are interested in learning anything from me at all  and don't mind that I do not live in a castle please drop me an email and we  will work something out



Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Paris Homage to Dufy

Up way too early... worries I guess. I  painted the image I showed in my previous blog post and it all looked good .... except..... I forgot to reverse the image didn't I and yet  remembered to reverse the writing- elementary my dear, but darn it - what to do?? The Eiffel tower on the right bank simply does not look right.If I use a polyester non woven that is transparent enough the colour will go through to the back. I am used to working with the paper I use in my printer but for this large piece I used a paper tablecloth. The paper from my printer normally sticks to the polyester non-woven,in the heat transferring process- so that you can re-iron areas without movement. Not so with the table cloth paper- it moved all over the place.

and I ended up with a blurred unusable image ( i am also auditioning some fabrics behind the polyester non-woven)- very disappointing and a sign of my worries.Do I start all over again- it took  me quite some  time to draw and paint an image this large- is it good enough, will it work- all those self doubting moments turned into a flop.

It is also very very hot at the moment, and extreme fire danger and already there have been some quite devastating bushfires in Tasmania and other parts of Australia.

So some desultory stitching on what I am calling tangerine dupioni travelling blanket for the moment. It did start out as a yellowish dupioni, but once I washed the silk it turned into the most beautiful tangerine colour- a colour for the soul and the heat of summer.The design  for the moment just involves attaching black woollen circles but will have interconnecting lines between the circles and is actually inspired by a 1780's french fabric which  looks very modern and very much like an Australian indigenous design
 The image is from a book entitled Les  Arts decoratifs Francais by Stafford Cliff and published by Thames and Hudson. In particular  i was looking at the fabric sample second left. Anyway the reason I was looking at fabrics from this period was that a French explorer by the name of La Perouse landed at Botany Bay within weeks of Captain Arthur Phillip having claimed Australia for England in 1788. The Atlas book and engravings of La Perouse's entire journey can be seen  here, which was published posthumously as la Perouse disappeared with two ships somewhere  off the Solomon Islands in 1788.

However Antoine Bruny d’Entrecasteaux  went in search of La Perouse  and explored Tasmania which now has a peninsula named after him and took back to France many botanical samples which were almost lost 
due to the foment of the French Revolution, but for the interception of Sir Joseph Banks. Indeed sometime subsequent Napoleon built Josephine a garden which included many banksia's  as there was a great interest in Australian flora and fauna.

So how is this connected to tangerine  travellers blanket you might ask and why am I babbling about France and french discoveries and french gardens? There is a connection- it will form part of my France book- establishing connections, because the textile motif is all about connections, and then the fact that we could almost have been french, and well the  fabric looks  as if it could have been designed by an indigenous Australian and yet wasn't- and then the fact that indigenous Australians had so many stories which were almost totally ignored by the early explorers and settlers. I suppose I could have just stuck with the design of the fabric as the inspiration, but La Perouse's story has always fascinated me and I  wanted to reflect his story by using a contemporaneous  textile design- and reflecting on his journey.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

First Day of 2013

A very happy, creative and healthy 2013 to all my readers and followers- thank you for continuing to stop by
and indulging my babble.

I am actually glad to see 2013 as  the end of 2012 was not a time where I achieved much or got much work done as most of my time was consumed by my father and his partner. However they have now signed a lease on a independent living apartment closer to where I live, and hopefully their health will improve with daily catered for meals, because the other alternative is residential care.My fathers' health has stabilised though he still has pulmonary embolisms in his lungs and a tbt in his leg.

Lots of things to look forward to this next year!
Tours of France and Italy in April/May 2013
I will be doing two tours this year- one to France ( the same as the one we did last year though we will spend more time in Lyon) and a tour of northern Italy. If you are at all interested please email me and I will send you an itinerary.

The next few months need to be filled in making work for my exhibition at Quilt en Beaujolais in April where I will be showing work inspired by travels in France- not quite sure what title to give the exhibition , but there will be various aspects to the exhibition including a section that is a homage to favourite french artist.So my word for the year will be France-I will be exploring many aspects of France and the french experience and hopefully in the future will spend more time there ( if I ever sell my block of land- I really need it to sell, because it has become a lodestone, and I need to think of it as a pathway to a dream and selling it is part of that dream). So I spent today making a drawing about 1 metre square- the local Chinese restaurant graciously allowed me to take away a clean  paper tablecloth which was just the right size and I spent all of today making the preliminary drawing of a view of Paris inspired by several works done by Raoul Dufy. How could I  make an exhibition without including French icons? I don't think I have ever made a drawing this large and I have taken poetic license with some of the elements and other elements need to be improved upon. Now I have to paint it with transfer paints and see if I can't get it on to polyester non-woven( lutradur)

I also made a set of some of the work I completed in 2012 with Flickr- i was surprised that I did so much hand stitching.As I look back on last year I did manage to complete quite a lot of work, I made a number of new and quite large linocuts, and I did do a tour of France which was a lot of fun.

I am working on a new on-line course called Form and Variation, to help extend your design skills and to take a new look at  objects and subject matter and look at ways to  abstract and play around with details and variations. If you are interested please email me to register your interest. I will also conduct another Travellers Blanket on-line workshop starting on 11 February 2013 when hopefully all the holiday madness has died down a little.Again contact me if you are interested the cost is $60AUS.