Thursday, July 30, 2015

India and the Stitching Project

This is my year of self directed residencies and it  has been really good for getting a perspective on things and changing the way I was thinking about some things. It is good to get away from the usual ( though my usual has been a bit all over the place these last two years) and rethink, refocus and have a good look at what is and what can be  and just  discard what is detritus.

So earlier this year I joined the Creative Camp organised by Creative Arts Safaris ( aka Fiona Wright) near Pushkar in India. I loved the encounters and I also explored a little  how I might represent banksias with the aid of some Sujuni embroidery. I have always loved indigo but using my own wood stamp and mud printing before dyeing with indigo was like going to carnivale! I also had to buy an urgent and expensive visa as I had misread the instructions for getting an on-line visa which isn't so on-line. However it opened the door for returning to India, which I decided to do as I could not find any house sitting and it's too cold in Gellibrand to go and live in my shed ( plus it needs a few things done to it- would love some help come late October to get some things sorted out there so I can live there)

So back in India I am on a self directed residency and already Fiona and I ( we are both earlier risers) have generated a ton of ideas and also are hatching a collaboration that will  hopefully result in some of our ideas reaching fruition and which we have called "#Where Things Change". We both have a passion for stitch, cloth, indigo , woodblock and getting colour onto fabric, but our approaches are a little different, determined both by the lives around us and the means by which we sustain ourselves.We will both be blogging about it as time goes on , on a regular basis and we have a few other surprises in store.

I spent a few days in Delhi on the way here, and on the first day after I arrived we went to Bagru to see Mr Satnaryan, who had cut some woodblock designs I had sent Fiona earlier. I was really delighted with the results ( unfortunately it has been too humid to do any real printing apart from trying out the stamps as it is the monsoon season)

Mr Satnaryan with some of my wood blocks and some of the men working in his workshop. After the woodblcoks have been carved Fiona soaks them in oil for three days so that it toughens up the wood. We then went to the indigo dyer Mr Rambabuji who  works in another part of Bagru. Unfortunately we could not look at any mud printing as again the conditions were too humid but just getting a piece of muslin indigo dyed was exciting enough for day 1!  These were all things I encountered on the Creative Camp earlier this year so it was lovely to renew acquaintances and have more of a look.

The colour  indigo is just so wonderful, so rustic but also so rich. The town of Bagru is one of the areas where indigo dyeing is practised and there has been a bit of a revival as the world starts to engage again with natural dyes and natural handlooms. The hand loom fabrics like Khadi and dhoti are not  only  brilliant to stitch with ( and I will talk about that more in my next blog post) but the colour is rich and dense- just wonderful. If anyone wants me to dye them some  handloomed loosely shiboriedor folded  cloth email me and we can discuss as  we will be going back to Bagru before I leave in mid August.

So after the first days excitement I have been trying to fit into the busy and hectic schedule at the Stitching Project workshop whilst trying to get a bit of my own stitching done and trying to record our early morning sparks of ideas and collaborations.Fiona describes India as gentle anarchy, and I find this description to be pretty much like it is- it is also infectious and I love seeing things reduced down to  elements- which is what has to happen for the workshop to function.

I promise to be a little more diligent in my blogging- there are so many things to tell you about, not only from encounters but also things happening in my own work. I am so happy I made the decision to return on many levels! And last a few impressions- a little backyard shrine to one of the many gods worshipped in Hindu religion- I don't know how they keep a track of them all, but gentle anarchy describes the gods as well, and modes of transport. Now if I was the wife I would be hanging on for dear life, but this lady sits casually and lightly as her husband negotiates pot holes and road undulations caused by the recent rains.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Linocutting and Banksias

Just a quick post as I have been quiet for the last while because my mother has been ill and I have been back and forth trying to gather all my things. Then I am going to India at the end of next week to do some more indigo exploration and block printing - I am having some wood blocks being made.

I  am holding a linocutting workshop at the studio at Appleton Street, Richmond on Saturday 11 July. You will learn to design and make a linocut and lino will be provided. Cost of the course is $70 and byo lunch and fabrics on which to print. Printing ink will also be provided. Please email me if you are interested in joining the workshop .Below is the latest linocut I have made finally printed- and I must say I am just a little bit pleased- really looking forward to stitching this. If you would like a panel they can be purchased for $15 plus postage by emailing me. The linocut measures about  12 inches  x 10 inches

Other than that I have been doing more stitching on the banksia  in the sujuni style which consists of  chain stitch, back stitch and running stitch- each one is slightly different.Channeling banksias!

I love how quirky each babbling mouth is and will continue stitching this, though there is also much else to do!

Also if anyone is interested in sharing my studio it would be wonderful. I am away a lot of the time in any case and the  the studio is quite spacious so we could set up two distinct areas with a print table that can be dismounted. It would save me having to move everything. Email me if you are interested and I can give you details etc.