Monday, December 29, 2014

The Year That Was

We are fast approaching 2015, and it's a time for reflection and review of the year and then looking forward to 2015. In some ways I feel as if 2014 has been a year I would rather forget but when I look closely that is not strictly true. It's a year of  almost two halves- my personal life and my professional life as an artist.

My personal life has made me sad indeed with losing a beloved  cat and a favourite aunt and friend- we had so many plans of what we would do together- she had been my support  the times I have come to Europe- she made teaching in Europe possible in the beginning and we laughed and made merry. When my uncle was still alive and Parkinsons was starting to  debilitate him we all went to Italy for a holiday, driving, and then after he died she was dreadfully lonely and went through a very  heavy abdominal operation for an infected intestine which should have been picked up way earlier by the doctors but wasn't . She survived, and recovered remarkably well, and we had a little holiday in Normandy earlier in 2014 and then cancer struck her down, and I wasn't able to get to Europe in time to see her one more time- we did talk on Skype, but it all went so fast that I feel like I am only now coming to grips with it. I feel a bit cast adrift as her home was the home  I do not have at present- and it was familiar and the door was always open.

 Yes I could rent a home but there is not much point as I will be returning to Europe in March for 3 months so I have been trying the house sitting gig. I do get the distinct impression from the  housesitting organisation I have joined that most  house sits would prefer couples- there seems to be some impression that a woman alone can't manage it somehow- little do they know ! So so far I have only done housesitting by the word of mouth route and have  looked after a menagerie of animals and gardens. So if you  know anyone who needs a house sitter in Melbourne- I am your person!And then there is the bureaucratic  shenanigans  going on with my block of land- but I am leaving that alone until January after the latest round of ridiculously long bureaucratic replies, saying absolutely nothing.

However my artists life seems to be going well. I had a successful solo exhibition at Palaiseau MJC in conjunction with the wonderful Sentinelles ( and I will leave you a glimpse of them in my next post). The sentinelles were shown in many of Australia's capital cities to much acclaim.
The sentinelles will be shown one last time at Copacc in Colac from 10 January until the first week in  February 2015. It will be your last opportunity to see this entrancing collection of work by many together- then they will all go back to their makers.

I also exhibited at Quilts en Beaujolais, and at Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe and in October at OEQC at
Eindhoven. My work was published in  many magazines, especially french ones and last but not least- many of my readers made a dream come true with your incredible support of our Pozible campaign, which saw us achieve our goal of self publishing a book. I also rented a studio at Appleton Street Studios in Richmond.

I also started the medieval project. There is still time for you to buy a panel to join this project ( there is more information under the Medieval project tag at the top of the tool bar of the blog)

And yet despite all these good things I felt as if I had fallen in a hole. You feel as if everything should be looking up and somehow it doesn't seem to. Though I have promised myself that it all begins again with the way I always  come through these things- small steps , little things, just be busy working on something, the doing leads to other things even though no idea is really wanting to jump forward, and the doing also seems to somehow trump this feeling- so that is what I have been doing this week , small things.

I said there would be five panels in the medieval project- at present there are four- I have been working on the final one inspired by the Books of Hours of Anne of Bretagne- a dragon, but in the medieval style- also a bestiary of sorts.

The page in the book you can see is form the Book of Hours of Anne de Bretagne with miniatures by Jean Bourdichon published by Editions de Cremille in Geneva in 1989. I tried to draw the  dragon in a way that could lead to lots os stitching- and there will be some more changes made as I cut the lino later today.Is it too close to the original though?

And then there are these lovely pages from the book- as always the pomegranate calls to me, and is also a timely reminder of the cycle of things- things will move on...

These images from the pages of the book are just beautiful and make you wish you could actually sit with one of these books for an hour or two. But in all reality they are so precious that we can only really ever see these  through facsimiles or through the dedicated study through  a university or medieval centre. And also notice the caterpillar which may burst into a beautiful butterfly one day.
And then as I have been tidying the studio and trying to find a place for things I came across a started linocut , which I had not finished, and as I finish things I decided to finish it. More Cocteau's cat- but a smaller shaped version. I shall try printing it today.

 Then there is a new project to look forward to , apart form having to create new work for  exhibitions with Through Our Hands and some other commitments- I made 2014 the year I would say yes to everything. I have now created a rough guide for Form and Variation- an online course which I will run throughout 2015 and which will start in early February 2015. The rough guide sets out  what I have in mind and some of the things we will explore. If you would like a copy simply email me or message me. The  course will cost $100 AUS- and I hope will inspire you to develop a body of work.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Musing in Textile: France

After all the racing around of the last month I have a new expected delivery date for the books to me on 19 January 2015- all things going well. This means books ordered through the Pozible campaign will be posted after this date, and those in Europe will be a bit later still as we have to ship books to Europe as one big lot with international air shipping as the Australia Post costs are simply prohibitive. In fact posting with Australia post is more expensive than the book itself and  Australia Post does not offer a book shipping rate. We have decided to ship them by air to Europe and post from Europe to meet our Pozible campaign commitments . After our commitments have been met we will be using sea shipping( in bulk to one destination and posting from that destination in Europe)

In Australia you can pre-order the book and if you do so prior to 19 January 2015- a small gift will also be yours. The price of the book is $49.95 plus $15.00 p&p  so a total of $64.95AUS (the books will be posted in an Express Post satchel) Likewise the book can be ordered for Europe prior to  19 January 2015 and a small gift will be yours, however postage will be in the order of $35 if you want to be part of the air shipping - I have to work out the cost exactly- making a total of $84.95 ( 57 euros). It will be cheaper if you wait 2-3 months for the sea shipping. There were only a few pledges from the US and those books will be sent by airmail despite the prohibitive cost of postage so that we do meet our  commitments.

I want to thank you all for your patience, next time we will make our time line a little longer and yes we are talking of doing another book... maybe Italy. Which means I had better get working like a whirlwind and planning and thinking and well just doing!

I have been housesitting and am doing some more for the next fortnight within walking distance of my studio at the Appleton Street Studios in Richmond- so  will be there regularly and you are most welcome to  drop by- just email me if you would like to !

I have been doing a little stitching- by hand, on a series of work for Through Our Hands called Banksia variations.I thought it was time to get back to something Australian despite Italy  sifting through the brain. I love banksia pods- love the flowers too, but the pods have my attention at the moment. I did make a lovely gocco screen of a banksia pod at one stage but I cannot find it so I have been stitching it by hand. The pods and their knobs remind me so much of chattering people, and indeed May Gibbs immortalised banksias as bad banksia men in  Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, a much loved Australian children's book.

 The real banksia is on the left- don't they just look like so many mouths having a conversation?

And I have had a number of expressions of interest for the Form and Variation class I  mentioned in my previous post. This is a new course and I plan to run it over a year- each of you would choose a form or forms with which to  make variations with . For example it could be a grouping of bottles, or doorways or interesting  bowls or jugs or a combination of flowers and jugs ( these are just a few ideas)- and we would translate them in various ways looking at the shapes/forms, positive negative space considerations, decorative possibilities, line and colour, abstraction and focussing even some research if you were so inclined. I will  write to all those who contacted me  but  if you think this might be for you the cost of the course is $100 and we will start in February and  keep going all year  with a view to coming up with some final pieces. I will deliver some ideas on a monthly basis as a basis for exploration, and we would also discuss in a closed FB group and of course I would look at all your work so that we can explore different pathways and tangents. Email me if you would be interested in joining.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Musing in textile: France Disappointed...but...

Excruciating is all i can say but thank goodness we picked it up before shipping, as our printer is in Singapore ( which is why the shipping takes 3 weeks or so):
Update 4 - Delayed Delivery Date
I can now confirm delivery will be delayed until the end of January, and we are really sorry about this. I previously indicated that we were still hopeful of delivery before Christmas and everything was on track for that to happen,as books were ready to be shipped last week. However when we held an actual advance copy of the book in our hands, that was couriered to us before shipping, we discovered that some of the plates had misaligned on one of the signatures- so the long and the short of it is, thankfully not all books were affected , the printer checked every book manually ( and it is not abnormal for the misalignment to happen in a print run, and in this case it was caused by a vibration in the machinery, but because we are doing a relatively small print run it becomes a problem) and the ones affected will be printed again. 
There is no one really to blame as this event does happen from time to time, it is a mechanical thing and short of the printer checking every printed book as it comes off the press,unavoidable to some extent, and obviously the books that our printer had checked were ok, and I guess fortunately the books that were affected were sent to us so we were able to pick up the problem. So the books that were affected have to be reprinted  and rather than go through two lots of customs clearance it is  easier and less expensive to go through one.
All this is most unfortunate and we apologise profusely, but as the printer has been good to work with this far and the problem is one that does occasionally occur we don't want to sour our relationship with the printer by being too harsh and forcing a multitude of extra costs onto their plate especially ( and who knows we may do another book?) as the rest of the book looks good, and the few people who have seen it really liked it. We hope you will forgive the wait.
So we are happy with the book....the images have come out very well and the pacing is lovely- so thank you Celeste! We are happy that this looks different to what is normally expected of a book about quilts. The whole exercise has been a huge learning curve but a good one and has given us lots of food for thought and new ideas. See what you think in this sneak peek!

Would love to hear what you think? I know it's only a few pages but the design aesthetic is the same throughout the book. Books can be pre-ordered- and if you pre-order prior to Christmas a surprise will come your way as well! The retail price of the book is $49.95 and has 240 pages plus a dvd insert with explanations of techniques used in the book.Weight of the book is over 1kg( 2 pounds) and this will affect the shipping cost.
I have just about finished setting up my Studio space at Appleton Street Studios in Richmond. The opening of the gallery space is tonight, you are welcome to drop in and i would love to hear from anyone who would like to do workshops , as it is possible to conduct small workshops at the studio.
I am also devising a new internet workshop which  I am calling Form and Variation and hope to have it up and running  in early February 2015. The idea is that  participants will choose a form/shape/or a collection of forms/shapes and play around with different ideas on developing a body of work inspired by the original shape- we will explore elements of design in the process, and in particular design geared towards textile creation, and  some of the wonderful things one can do with textile in extending ideas and giving depth to work. The workshop will take some commitment from the participant as I intend to run it over a year and encourage you to develop a body of work around your  forms/shapes.The cost of the year long workshop will be $100 AUS, and will involve the delivery of 10 plans of attack  with different ideas of how to deal with some of the elements you will encounter in working on your pieces. You will be encouraged to keep a journal but  this is not a journalling class, merely a keeper for ideas and explorations, to record your story as you work, because stories change as you progress. There will also be a FB group and as we work together I hope we will develop rapport with one another . If you are interested in joining email me and I can provide you with further information.