Sunday, February 16, 2020

And Then the Rain Came

In the media it is being reported that the fires are now out and that some are still smouldering but no longer a threat. That is until things dry out again. The rain that has come seems to have come out of the weather conditions  created by the fires themselves, with smoke particles in the air and the balance of ions in the atmosphere. At the moment here at Morwellia things feel positively wintry!

I am trying to work hard at the moment- but some days it feels like I am not getting anywhere very fast. It is such a long time since I have done experimental dyeing (at the shed I did not have running water or power or a washing machine)- so I have created a few fails where I forgot an elemental steps in the process. I also now remember why I had a hair dryer and it was not for hair, and was useless at the shed because of a lack of power so I must have given it away. I also have a lack of table lamps and lights- again they weren't much use without power. Anyone have any table lamps they could spare?

I am still trying to organise my workroom-  emptying all the plastic tubs I had things stored in to keep the ants and bush rats at bay in the shed, not always entirely successful- I have found a few "nests", no wonder it sound like party time in the middle of the night at times! I feel guilty at the amount of plastic but there was really no other way of storing things unless I wanted to turn the shed into a bush rat breeding centre, and home to the odd possum and serpent! Plus I am doing some culling.  That said I am no Marie Kondo- what artists could ever be- you never know what you might need something, for????

And then there are books. I am afraid i love books almost as much as fabric- i love collecting books from independent publishers who often publish what the mainstream will not- there is all sorts of treasure to be found. I scour websites on sunday mornings- chosing very carefully as I allocate myself a small budget to choose wisely. I purchased a little book called "Path" by Louisa Thomson Brits last year when I was going through radiotherapy. It was such a delight, but I also found, instantly that it is a book you gift and I wish I had the resources to leave it in public places and watch people engage with it.  So after  enjoying it for some weeks I gave it to a friend only to discover that I actually wanted to live with this book so I purchased another copy. It's a very quiet book, but beautifully worded with many forgotten  words to do with walking and wayfaring. I love this little phrase- poetic lines:

"I am the pace and pause
of wayfarers,
drovers and dreamers,
dawdlers, soldiers
of ramblers and radicals,
poets and pilgrims."

The book is available from the Do Book Company and it beautifully bound and illustrated with photos and art work to illustrate the  morning path the author walks with lots of idea clouds.

And so the Heart  blanket is finished- actually on the day it was announced that the fires were now under control. I left all the threads raw on the front-  because in the end I think most Australians were  very affected  by the rawness of the experience- none of these things are ever neat or  controlled- in fact it is the complete opposite- there is no control whatsoever - just the bravery and willingness of  humans to help each other and be there for each other and if that  was not possible to send what we could to help.

And i have been sewing hundreds of gumleaves as I want to create a "bush" experience for my exhibitions in Russia and the Netherlands- this suddenly sprang to mind as something I needed to do at the beginning of last week. Now they all need to be cut out and somehow suspended in a "quilt" like way. A job whilst waiting for other things.

 But it also  started me thinking that I want to make a life size sentinelle again, but this time the bush sentinelle.  I used to have photoshop  on my laptop but since they  require a monthly payment and constant updates  ( which was difficult as I was only hot spotting from my mobile phone in Gellibrand ) and they no longer have elements available I did  not have a program to tile an image ( i don't have a printer any more either- the bush rats decided it made an excellent composting loo), until I found Rasterbator where I could tile an image of my linocut bush sentinelle- set the dimensions, paginate the resulting tile sheets and  create a pdf- voila a life size bush sentinelle!. I am now trying to decide whether I create background fabric as dark and moody as the fabric on the smaller hand printed one I have been stitching on. You can make a small donation to Rasterbator  for the use of the service as it is a free program unless you decided to donate the small donation which I did as I am sure I will use it again. I was able to take the resulting pdf into Officeworks and have it printed up in black and white.

And I am now stitching the background of the bush sentinelle. I am also keeping a diary of sorts with her which I will take to my exhibitions for people to write their own thoughts in. I feel like she has a message and  that voices need to be listened to to try and find the right direction- not dictated to but listened to! It's quite apparent that there is and was a failure somewhere along the line- so we have to find new ways to keep people engaged about what is the best way forward.

The cover for the diary made with free motion lace probably about twelve years ago.

I still have printed panels available for sale . they are $25AUS  inclusive of postage and $5 for every panel sold will be donated to Wildlife Victoria as it struggles with the immense destruction of habitat and rescuing and resettling of native animals. ( there is a paypal button on the post before last or send me an email) And if you are so inclined please do embroider the panels and send them to me to exhibit at the Berry Quilting Retreat in August 2020.

Some different colours I have printed up since my last post.