Friday, October 11, 2019

Workspace But Lacking Mojo

After years of shed life it is exciting to have a workspace with electricity, so I can use my sewing machine and iron, and leave things out to offer inspiration. There is still a lot of organising to do but my creative mojo has deserted me. I thought I would be chomping at the bit to get stuck into something but instead I have to drag myself kicking and screaming to my worktable to even switch on my machine, and my brain seems empty of any creative ideas. So the only way to kick start any sort of flow is to just do anything- just do something other than unpacking and moving things around the house. I have been working on my traveller's blanket "One Earth" but after several years of hand stitching and nothing else I actually want to be doing some other things as well, and get into a work flow again.

So the blanket grows slowly. There is still time to enroll for the on-line course which starts next week on 17 October. Just email me if you would like more information.

So yesterday I decided enough is enough of this non-creative stasis- so after  several hours of distracting procrastination activities I sat myself down at my kitchen table and did something I have not done in a long time, which was to paint papers for transfer printing onto lutradur ( polyester non-woven). I  had, until my return to Australia, been thinking about things from the sea and I love sea urchins. Maybe it is because of all those little circles- it just seems somehow a perfect shape. So I painted some urchins. The beauty of transfer printing is that  you can often print up to three of the painted image. I used some different back ground colours and also put different coloured fabrics behind the printed lutradur. So it has me vaguely excited- I am wondering if I should paint a whole sea scene?

With a bit of stitching it will look quite different. But I still had not turned on my machine! So I dragged myself to my work desk and turned on the machine- whilst finding another lot of diversionary procrastination tactics- like fluffing around trying to find just the right fabric when any fabric would have done. The other day whilst tidying I had found a little olive tree I had stitched about nine years ago. Trees to me symbolise the need for us to be aware that the natural world is a finite resource- chop down a tree and often in the case of olive trees, you are chopping down hundreds of years of history. I know sometimes it is necessary but surely we can plant a tree elsewhere to make up for the loss. I look at the urban sprawl and notice that blocks of land are much smaller ( about half the size they used to be or smaller) to accommodate ever larger houses that leave little room for anything green let alone trees. In fact I am a little shocked by the size of some houses and how badly they are insulated- bigger is definitely not better. And then the energy they must use- water, electricity, heating , cooling.....

Anyway so I thought I would just stitch another olive tree, just to sit at the desk and sewing machine to actually do something!

The first photos is the tree I did about 9 years ago and it was done on hand woven khadi. This meant of course I had to stitch this new tree on khadi too and  I wanted it on dark blue but could not find  the fabric- so it ended up on this grey blue fabric with little sprinklings of terracotta all using 30 weight Aurifil Mako threads.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Travellers' Blanket On-line Class

I was not sure I would run another Traveller's Blanket on-line class this year, but a few people have expressed interest so I have decided to run another class starting 17 October.  The idea of a traveller's blanket is to tell a story by means of fabric, applique shapes and simple stitching. It is a meditative process as it takes time but the results from previous classes have all been stunning and very much expressive of the maker. When you give the piece a story it starts to take on a life of it's own and it starts to grow in its own way. It's a way of using precious scraps or mementos, of recording special interest or favourite things or favourite journeys. I have made more than a dozen over the years and each one is quite different yet the  idea is the same. I use simple stitches so that this type of stitching is accessible to everyone. I have this last week started another traveller's blanket- quite large- on hand dyed khadi with madder which I got from the Stitching Project in India, and whilst I had hoped that the colour would actually be a bit deeper- the cloth itself has already set out a challenge for me- the cloth demanded some kind of blue ( which had not been the intention)- and then because of all the climate change marches ( I went to the Melbourne one)- the blue fabric that jumped into my hand kind of reminded me of the way earth looks in photos from space. So this blanket will be "Earth Turning" Traveller's Blankets- containing many thoughts of how we can do better and do more and give children hoe for the future.

If you are interested in joining the class there is an information sheet I can send- just email me and I will send it. Cost of the class is $75AUS and the class  will run until close to Christmas time. I know it is a busy time of year, but not for everyone- so this might be a project to keep your hands busy! For some people this is  not the best time of year. I have added the Paypal button for ease  of payment but if in Oz  I can send bank details.

Progress in organising my things in the house  have been a bit slow. Did some house sitting for friends who live in the same town as my mother- who has been ill, so I was able to be with her during the day or some of it- but it meant very little work got done, and I was away from home. I am looking  to meet up with like minded textile people who live in the area, now that things are calming down a bit. I am still trying to decide  exactly where everything will live given I seem to have a lot of books which I can't part with- and also quite a lot of studio things. I will also be looking for a house sitter for next year ( from mid April until late June) so if you know anyone who would be interested please let me know. There is no animals at present and there won't be before I go away- hopefully there will be a bit of a vegie patch. Morwell does have its issues, but on the upside it has a very good and hourly rail service to Melbourne- and two excellent delicatessens because the town  has a large mid 1950/60's migrant population. They even sell dutch croquettes!

Whilst putting away things ( slowly) I can across a mini traveller's blanket I made whilst travelling on the train from Milan to Lyon  about four years ago ( I had been looking for this little piece ever since I got back to oz- it seemed to have disappeared out of my suitcase when I got back)

I stitched to a card from the Bologna Pinacoteca- it must have been the only sturdy paper I had on me.

It has almost been a year since treatment started for the cervical cancer I had. I saw my surgeon last week- he's a dedicated very nice man- and because I was in hospital longer than anticipated because of complications with my leg- I actually got to know the medical staff and nursing staff reasonably well and am very aware of what an awesome job they do at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne. I was apparently part of a trial ( i do remember signing something other than a surgery form, but perhaps I was a bit preoccupied) and the figures keep improving for early interventions. So listen to your body- if anything is strange at all go to your doctor, the sooner it's found the more hopeful the outcome. On the whole recovery has been as good as it can be- but every now and then I do feel weary- there has been so much that has happened since October last year. Radiotherapy, whilst trying to tidy up the block in Gellibrand as it sold, trip to East Timor,  my father died whilst i was in East Timor , trip to Europe, back to Oz for the Boneca de Atauro ladies to attend AQC, back to France for Pour l'Amour du Fil and some teaching , then back to Oz to find a house and then doing cosmetic stuff in fixing up the house, and now I am trying to build a bit of a vegie patch, clean up the ivy in the garden, and start on new work for Rijswijk ( Quilt Dagen) in the Netherlands  2020. So a lot to look forward to as well.

If anyone is interested in my teaching any classes in Europe from  late April until late June- I will be there and have some free weekends or week days to come and teach your group or in a shop.