Sunday, July 18, 2021

Workshops On-line

I have been teaching on-line classes  since 2009 and  have chosen not to use a dedicated platform to do this- mainly because I want to keep the groups smallish  and also friendly . In the on-line sphere the feel of a class is very different to teaching in the flesh. When you teach in the flesh you can read a room, you can tell who needs a little help, you can tell when you need to take a stop to explain s0mething a bit bettter than you might have, you need to make everyone feel included as much as possible, you can  relate stories and people can respond with their own stories and ideas- it's an interactive space, where everyone's voice makes a contribution. It is the give and take of a teaching space or as a good friend of mine , Fiona Wright from the Stitching Project calls it the bump and nudge of sparking ideas. And this is exactly what happened over the last couple of months- as we have kept checking in with each other  and nudged and bumped each other with ideas as we try and negotiate this new kind of world we are in and try and see how we can create something into the future that actually embraces more connectivity of the bump and nudge kind. Sometimes we are like giddy school girls running with an idea which may or may not come off but it's the fizz of excitement of running with an idea which sparks other ideas. So with that thought in mind we have decide to create a website called the Connecting Stitch with a blog as well- it is still very much a work in progress and will continue to be so in the spirit of sparking ideas, but we intend to share all sort of interesting tidbits and ideas, making ideas and thinking with our hands we also intend to include others into the choir. Will let you know as soon as you can join in to the fun. We have both worked on a blog post- where you will find  instructions on how to embellish a jacket and how to make tie on pockets. We also have an instagram page called connecting_stitch ( which you can look at already)- we will be adding things so follow us if you are interested to see what we are up to.

Pods, Pods, Pods
I have had quite a few requests for the pod workshop. I must admit I have kind of struggled with how to put it together exactly. I don't enjoy zoom for actual teaching but do like it for question and answer. I myself learn from notes with lots of images but that said also watch videos on how to do things. So on that note I have decided to launch the workshop anyway and combine all three things. So Pods Pods and Pods Workshop notes and video will be available on the 1st of August and then we will do a zoom Question and Answer the following week- at two different times on Sunday 8 August ( to accommodate US and European time zones). The cost of the workshop will be $25AUS. You will see in the photos I have branched out the pods into pomegranate shapes and urchin shapes ( how could I resist?) and the notes will have instructions on how to make these. I have attached a Paypal button and once payment is made I will send you an email with a materials list and further instructions.

 The button on the left if for the Pods, Pods, Pods On-line Workshop.

And just when Victoria thought it might have dodged  some of the Covid crisis here we are in lockdown again. I live alone and am unpartnered so these lockdowns are becoming difficult. I am allowed to see my mother for care reasons but that is arduous in its own right ( I do her cooking , some of which I freeze and her shopping)- but frankly I could do with a hug myself and also I need to be vigilant about my own self care which at present is getting subsumed into my mothers' care. And I also need to be super careful in what I might pass on to her. We have been lucky in the Latrobe valley with a few cases early in 2020 but none since, but as the current situation shows it requires extreme vigilance for things to remain this way.I realise covid numbers are on the rise worldwide and we must all take care of each other and there are people in difficult situations everywhere- but if you are partnered or sharing a house please reach out to those that are not. The world has been far from easy for many people and not all of us can at the end of the day receive a warm hug from someone in your immediate vicinity- a kind caring word goes a long way!

And last but not least. I am starting another Traveller's Blanket on-line class on the 8th of August. There is still plenty of time to sign up and create your own Traveller's blanket- they are wraps to remind you of journeys and wanderings on this planet whether it be your back yard, your local forest or beach or the wider world which at present lives in our imaginations. To me there is nothing quite like stitching- it passes time to be sure, but also makes my hands wander, create textures , and fills space with such feeling that it is tangible. I am certain that our hands offer another way of reading.

 The traveller's Blanket on-lien class starts on the 8th of August and includes extensive pdf notes delivered fortnightly for a period of 8 weeks, a little video and  four  question and answer zoom sessions for your questions and getting to know each other a little. I also set up a private Facebook group for sharing prgress and for discussion.

Meanwhile keep  well!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

More Lockdown

 Since I last wrote I have been in a very grand funk a lot to do with the fact that Victoria was again in a hard lockdown and it is a very cold winter. Whilst I am regional and am not as hard locked down as Melburnians the simple fact of the matter is that all of my family is in the Melbourne zone so it feels like I am locked down in the same way. I did manage to get my first Covid vaccine shot in the time but have been struggling to get one for my mother who is a category 1 as I need to drive to her place an hour and a half away to take her as she can no longer drive and the availability of appointments was limited . All I can say is that her medical clinic where she has attended for many years and which is the only one around where she lives is not well organised.

I was supposed to be teaching at Fibres West next week but due to the Victorian lockdown and the closure of the border by West Australia they had to cancel me to give them a bit of time to make other arrangements for students who were in my fully booked class. I understand the necessity of course, but I miss out on the camaraderie with like minded people  and also a big loss of income for me and as a lot of my income has been Covid affected I am struggling. I doubt I will ever see a reimbursement of my airfare I paid to Aeroflot last year for what was to be my first trip to exhibit in Russia. So if you feel inclined to support an artist please visit my shop page and see if there is anything you would like to buy or you could also commission me to make work. I will be running another on-line Traveller's Blanket class starting on the 8th of August (which is a Sunday).

And then Gaelle Beech from The Anjelms Project in Perth has very kindly offered for me to exhibit some work in their Community studio in Fremantle and I will also send over some printed fabric for her to sell on my behalf plus I will be developing a few things to introduce you to my work and we may even develop a short workshop to follow via zoom- I am trying to nut it out at present exploring how to use the scrap packs and Khadi from The Stitching Project ( and they have just had delivery of another shipment of khadi for khadi enthusiasts) and that also complements the fabulous clothing that the Anjelms Project do in collaboration with the Stitching Project. I must admit to being a little enthused by the idea of tie-on pockets, inspired by The Pocket ( A Hidden History of Women's Lives) by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux. Beside it is a tie on pocket I made from a scrap pack of fabric from The Stitching Project.

But despite all the kindnesses and some exciting things I am finding it difficult to get enthused- I feel like I am dragging my self kicking and screaming to everything, especially since Fibres West got cancelled- it feels like creative block, it feels like complete adrenalin drain and it feels like I will never have another creative idea in a million years let alone the next 6 months, and I am really sick of my computer screen. I am tired of deleting the spam comments on my blog! I don't feel like writing and I don't feel like walking, both things I have to do and  which I force myself to do and my garden needs loads of work (that is another story- I can't operate my whipper snipper at present because I am having some rotator cuff issues- nothing major but the doctor thought it was probably not a good idea to get all macho with a whipper snipper). I have been trying to make my hands dig small amounts of dirt every day ( this often works to get me out of a funk) and if it all comes off I will have enough lettuce to supply all of Morwell, and as it is my lemon tree which is growing through a bucket but is now too big to take out of said bucket ( and has been too big for quite some time) is producing  bucket loads of lemons. I would put them out to share but the hooning seems to have escalated to new levels with this lockdown and I would rather not see them used as projectile objects.

I do know I have to keep doing work as work often ignites other things and I am trying- who knows maybe tomorrow I will feel more enthused. I did manage to finish my Traveller's Blanket on madder dyed khadi cloth- One World which ended up with 87 worlds. When I started this project late 2018 I had no plan no idea how big it would end up and about half way through the temptation to make it much smaller was very strong but I decided to stick to my guns to make it begger. The background stitching seemed to take forever, even though I worked on this piece steadily. it measures  1 metre by 140 cms (in the past I have made traveller's Blankets this big and I swear they did not take as long as this one) Anyway it is done!Not sure what hand stitching I will start next.

So If you would like to make your own Traveller's Blanket, there is plenty of time to enroll. I will be starting the next class on 8 August 2021. I deliver pdf lessons over an 8 week period ( one per fortnight) and i set up a private Facebook group for discussion and question and answer. I also do a fortnightly zoom session for Question and answer. There is some video content but it is a slow process and I use simple stitches to create the effects that I do. The cost of the class is $75.00 AUS

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Tifaifai- A New Book

 The working title at present, but I am just in the process of signing a contract with Editions de Saxe to create a book about all the new Tifaifa's I created for the new on-line course which I first ran earlier this year. Of course this means it will be published in french like most of my books. This will be my sixth book and one of these days I intend to write fiction which was my dream as a young woman. I decided to add one more project to the book which of course now has to be made yesterday rather than tomorrow and I am totally bereft of any ideas and it is too cold and wet to dye fabric today which is usually something that triggers creativity.

My morning walks have dwindled a bit as well, thoough I have recommenced as it is both good for body and soul. The little bushland reserve where I walk has a dazzling variety of fungi springing up out of the undergrowth and I am besotted by fungi and have been since childhood, I could spend hours there but it is a bit chilly at the moment , and a cold climate is not one of my favourite things.

I wish I knew more about fungi, and I am sure I have spotted some edible mushrooms- but I am not 100% sure so better to leave it. But they are really otherworldly with their delicate pleats on their undersides.

I have also become the Gallery Co-ordinator at ARC Yinnar- a pretty township about 10 minutes from Morwell where they have converted an old butter factory into an artists co-op with studios and  a dedicated large gallery space, a small gallery and retail space for members to sell their creations. The co-op encompasses a wide range of artistic practices including ceramics, printmaking, scultpure, painting and drawing, some textiles, and music. It is only a part time position- very part time- but I am excited to be involved in this long standing co-op. My first exhibition to oversee is an Open Call for Entry with the Theme Close to Home. Anyone can enter an art piece- the entry fee is $12.50 for a non member or $10 for a member. The deadline is 12 June. Email me if you would like an entry form. The exhibition runs for a month and of course your work can be for sale. The gallery opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The main gallery is booked out for the rest of the year but I do have the thinking cap on for a dedicated group textile event for 2022.

I will be having an exhibition in the small gallery in October this year- it is a cosy space not without possibilities and I will be making work inspired by my morning walks and also creating a chap book ( I hope)- I have been playing with ideas for this, but for now I have to concentrate on the tifaifai book.

In thinking about creating a chap book I did a workshop with Amy Bodossian last weekend as part of the Latrobe Literary Festival. There were only four of us in the workshop- lucky us- it was so much fun. I highly recommend her workshop ( she is doing a workshop in Melbourne- Brunswick running  from June 10 on Thursday evenings there is a link on her website). I also came out with quite a lot of writing given it was a one day workshop and what a delight she is when delivering her own work. Lots of food for thought , it was the first time I had ever done a poetry workshop, and some new poets to explore to boot.

On Sunday we did a water colour workshop out at ARC Yinnar as part of the family health exhibition that is on there at present, with PolyannaR. We had a lot of fun with that as well, lots of laughter and a few water colour images made. Polyanna's background is large scale black and white photographs and she has made one of the longest photographs around. Polyanna is also opening a small gallery in Morwell in Commercial Road and the opening will be in June with an exhibition of her works.

Been doing lots of reading about walking and writing by all new writers to me but who seem to be touching on writing and ideas i have been engaged in for the longest time . The first book ,"Wanderers" by Kerri Andrews ( reviewed here ) which is about women walkers over the centuries who wrote about walking. It is fascinating reading and I am in awe of the miles that these women covered on a daily basis and one wonders what foot wear they had available to them and what shape their feet were in  after some of their longer walking tours. I am enjoying it immensely and must admit  I also obtained a book by Nan Sheperd "The Living Mountain" ( written about here) which i also enjoyed a lot and was awed by her ability to walk so much at altitude and to write about it in such a compelling way. She walked the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland all her life.

And then completely by accident I stumbled across the work of  Kate Zambreno and I am completely absorbed. I am reading "Heroines"- loosely the lives of Vivienne Eliot, Zelda Fitzgerald, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf and other literary women who were considered minor (( except Virginia Woolf of course)  in comparison to their more famous husbands/lovers ,who discarded them either to mental asylums or poverty where they died at relatively young ages. Entwined in these stories is her own quest to write and to find her way into a writing career. She expresses what I have felt for so many years ( I adore the writing of Jean Rhys and have read all of her books) that the patriarchy continues to control  and did control the canon of writing in such a heavy booted way that it is almost criminal. I know in my uni years I felt that DH Lawrence was a mysoginist ( I read most of what he had to write and also biographies  etc) and tried to prove it in an essay I wrote in English lit- it was not well received and I went on to study Australian History instead. It also loosely ties into the women writers who walked- whose writing about walking was not received in the same way as the writing about walking by men- and their writing is so different. I can't wait to read "Drifts" her most recent book. In fact I am having to wrest myself away from reading to do some of my own writing...but but...I love a well written book.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Time seems to be Bent

 A few months ago, one day seemed to just morph into another day without much distinction between the days. But the last month or so has gone crazy busy- or to be exact a bit more like it used to be, it just seems crazy busy. End of March I taught up at Ulladulla at a Slow Stitch Retreat and then last weekend at Amitie in Torquay. It was really strange getting together all the things for a workshop again and I had to write myself a check list. I realise we are incredibly fortunate to be able to do this in Australia at the moment as we anxiously watch what is happening in the rest of the world . Last weekend I taught at Mildura, about an eight hour drive from where I live.

Of course when busyness happens your head also seems full of ideas- I have to write them down, otherwise I forget. I am planning a small exhibition for later in the year and am still mulling exactly what I will do- although I know i want it to be more than things to be hung on the wall. I am wondering if anyone would be interested in coming to Gippsland to do some workshops with me- for example  2-3 day classes? I can access/rent some space to teach at ARC Yinnar which is an artists co-operative which has been refurbished this last year and now also boasts heaters to ward of the winter chill. I would need four participants to make it viable- preferably six. The range of things I teach are on my blog under workshops- but I can put things together to suit you. We can combine linocutting and stitch- or work on a traveller's blanket project  or tifaifai, anything is possible!

I said I had other colours of the coffee pot prints and here is another. It is for sale for $25 inclusive of postage.

I have also been stitching pods and seem to have branched out into pomegranates. I  can see more of these happening ad because a lot of people requested it , I am working on a class to make pods and other  poddie kind of things.

I am surprised how the seed shapes pop so much with just simple stitching through one layer of cloth. I am in the process of creating an on-line class for creating these pods and am playing around with variations.

Last weekend I went to Mildura to teach at Lesley May's Patchwork. I taught linocutting, but unfortunately did not take photos of some fo the great efforts made as my phone was low on power. I am kicking myself I did not spend longer up there, but with a cat it is hard to get away for any length of time, as it was I had to get my daughter to housesit. Next time I go up to Mildura I will spend longer- I love river country- it reminds me a lot of my childhood on a farm near Jerilderie- though Mildura is a thriving lively city. I did make a few quick stops on the way home at lake Tyrrelll , Australia's largest inland salt lake and also to look at some of the silo art.

How weird and wonderful are these little succulents amongst the saltbush?

There is still time to enroll in the Traveller's Blanket on-line class starting on 14 May. Email me for the information sheet or simply enroll. It is a class that lasts eight weeks with fortnightly pdf lessons delivered and with zoom sessions for question and answer. I also create a private Facebook group for discussion. there have been soem wonderful traveller's blankets made in the past!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Traveller's Blanket On-Line Class

 I have had quite a number of requests for information about the Traveller's Blanket class and whether I am running the on-line class again. So I have decided to run the course starting 14 May. You work at your own pace as it is a labour intensive process  but a rewarding one and it will keep your hand busy. if you are interested in joining the class I have an information sheet available. I have also added zoom sessions for Question and Answer- which we do on a fortnightly basis. Just email me for the information sheet which also has payment details.

Life has gotten busy, the da Vinci exhibition is on at the Latrobe Regional Gallery and as I am a volunteer at the gallery there have been quite a lot of school groups through and school holiday activities. I have to say most of the children have been very well behaved and have been interested by the exhibition and the inventiveness of the da Vinci mind. It  has been lovely seeing so many visitors to the gallery- which is a great space for a town this size.

My garden needs a massive amount of work- no sooner have I done one bit than another bit needs doing- I am afraid weeds are winning the battle at present. I have promised myself to get in some radishes, broad beans and lettuce tomorrow and some sweet peas- just wish the couch grass was not so invasive. I made no dig beds- but the couch grass has invaded some of that and all the trees have grown a heap so need good pruning. I wish my budget ran to getting some gardening help as I would really like to make my front garden more productive. I would also like to redo the guttering on the shed and put in a rain water of these days.

I have also been printing some fabric and found a linocut I made some years ago but had never really printed. it is inspired by the window display at Cafe Serpente in Chartres- it is a cafe immediately opposite the Cathedral and has the best collection of enamel coffee pots. It is a seriously lovely window display! I have printed some of them up and they are for sale for $25 inclusive of postage.

I have a number of different colours available- the image above is just one example.

I have not embroidered this one yet- just have not had the time as I have become a bit obsessed with making pods. Still not sure what I shall do with them but at the moment I am feeling the more the merrier. I have also branched out the pods into pomegranates. Each pods takes  about 3 hoursof non stop stitching so it's very labour intensive but the shape is so lovely I can't stop myself! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Re-Invention Part II

 I am still working on reinventing things- it takes time to weigh up the pros and cons of many elements. I am trying to nut out one or two big goals in a more precise but in a step by step manner

I have in the flesh teaching coming up in Mildura at Lesley Mays Patchwork & Craft which will be Creating your own Linocuts & Printing and Stitching on the 1st & 2nd of May.

I will also be teaching  Creating Linocuts and Printing on Fabric at Amitie Textiles in Torquay on 8 May.

Also there is still the possibility to join my on-line Linocut Creation and Printing on fabric class which starts 4 April. This class takes you through many exercises to  build your linocutting skills and also to print on fabric. You work at your own pace and develop skills in areas that interest you. The pdf notes are also extensive. You will find details here just scroll down the page. Below are some examples of some of the possibilities of linocut printing on fabric.

Last weekend I taught at the Slow Stitch Gathgering at Ulladulla- the first time I have taught in the flesh for over a year. Initially it felt strange to be in a room full of other people , but I quickly adjusted- and what a delight it was to be in a wonderful creative space with 5 different tutors without the whirrr of machines. It was lovely to see so easily what everyone else was creating. It was all very gentle and calming and we were well cared for by Marilyn's Patchwork Corner- which has a great selection of hand stitching threads if you find yourself in that part of the world.

It was a long drive back as I did it all in one go, I am simply not used to such a long drive anymore after a year of driving very little except to gop back and forth to my mothers. I broke the drive up there into two as I did not want to arrive too tired so I stayed at Eden right on the beachfront which was delightful and ever so enjoyable. I find a super big urchin ( which whilst dead is still decomposing) and the banksias grew right up to the beach.

Babbling Banksia's meeting the sea at Eden. There had just been a wild storm and there was loads of kelp on the beach-  almost like a whole forest. After watching My Ocotpus Teacher I have a whole new respect for kelp- whole forests of it exist on the East coast of Australia all the way down past Tasmania but as the ocean currents are warming they are depleting- with it's concomitant effect on other creatures and our climate. Tread gently upon the earth for we are part of it not in control of it.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Re-Invention Part II

Part of re-inventing is not only creating on-line classes but also thinking about how I see my micro business for the next few years- what are my hopes and aspirations. How do I see my arts practice over that period of time, how do I sustain my practice and thereby myself for that time. This has also meant examining where I am at. I have been listening to lots of podcasts- among them Laura Boswell and Peter Keegan's Ask an Artist,  and Starving Artist with Honor Eastly and have then stumbled on a whole plethora of podcasts  to do with art creation. The podcasts are interesting to listen too because there is always something to learn but it is also interesting to hear of the struggles and obstacles and successes of other artists. One overwhelming take away from listening to different artists is that it takes a long time to develop an art career and it requires patience, dedication, hard work and diligence. One point Laura Boswell made ( and I admire her print making a lot) was that trying, experimenting and testing for consistent outcomes ( for your audience and market) is a big part of being an artist. She pointed to the example of a student who asked her what happens if I use this type of paper instead of that type of paper- rather than give a ready answer she replied to the student why don't you try the different papers and experiment ? Because that is what she does as an artist- there are no ready answers to everything but a lot of trial and error and experimentation to get the effect you want.

The other aspects of being an artist they pointed to was the acquiring of a good grounding of skill and then lots of practice and even then the outcome will not always be certain but will have its serendipitous moments through the accrual of practice and will have its disasters. Another point that was raised was research and development- learning about other artists, art history but also learning about  the different materials and techniques for using those materials which then go on to inform how you make things.

 I consider myself to be a textile artist rather than a quilt maker because I do many textile related things not only quilts- for example I dye fabric, I print fabrics , I use a number of techniques to get imagery onto fabric including breakdown printing and transfer printing and I stitch by hand and machine not only to quilt but to embellish, but I definitely have art in mind as my end result.  I also write and have written many industry relevant articles and books  but also a book that included some creative travel writing, I am a curator having travelled many exhibitions overseas, and I teach. Oh and I am a traveller. In the textile world I am considered well and truly mid career if not further along but in the art world I am on the beginning curve of mid career. I am also a creative entrepeneaur- I have made something out of nothing and I have done this for quite a few years now. And yes I put that in bold text- I have never thought to describe myself in this way but that is indeed what I am.  

I am in the process of rewriting my bio ( what do you think is interesting that I do? feedback would be appreciated) because bio writing has really changed with the popularity of social media and I am in the process of mapping my goals- both business and personal as an interlaced map.

There are lots of ideas floating around , out there and in my head and I am also looking at how I value my hours of work. The pay/hours of work equation has been woefully low, yet artists consistently undervalue their worth and are expected to undervalue their worth and are expected to do many things for free because the work of an artist is undervalued in society as a whole.

Anyway I am still working through many of the ideas I have encountered in this week of  research and re-visioning my arts practice. What I would really like to achieve in the next few years is an exhibitiion in an established gallery! Plus another book about something closer to home- inspired by morning walks. And I would consistenly likje to make artists books.

My on-line Linocutting and Printing on Fabric course starts on 4 April- so there is plenty of time to enroll. In it I  share my many years of experience of printing on fabric with lino ( see my previous post for details and Paypal button) and there are many exercises to build your skills. You could also print on paper if so inclined.

And whilst I am on the subject of podcasts I have this last week been making pods. I mostly make these at night at present, as it is a slow process. I was intrigued that I wrote in my journal  about this time last year that I wanted to make pods- pods of kindness or tenderness pods- the holders of fragile and tender ideas .

These pods sit in the palm of your hand- part of me wants to make the walls more stiff but another part of me likes that the walls are soft and change shape. They are sitting on top of a hand dyed Sudanese cotton bought at a flea market in Trieste and printed with linocuts.

I have also created a page on my blog of prints for sale. I have listed all the types of prints I have ( there are a few more to add, but I have to print them first). I have not listed all the colours as there are many possibilities with hand dyed fabrics and basically you can request a colour family you would like. If you scroll down the page you will find images of stitched pieces and some instructions and ideas of how I stitch the printed pieces. I use very simple stitching.

Monday, March 01, 2021


 I am in the process of reinventing myself sort of. I had my 65th birthday recently and in days gone by that meant retirement of sorts but in this day and age in Australia I have to continue working for at least another 18-24 months until I can receive a pension, and I have no plan to retire in any case  ( i believe it's the same in other parts of the world as well). I also started work in a time when initially no super was paid and then after I did start paying it in my late twenties it was possible to liquidate part of your super to purchase your residential home- which I did with my ex husband.  I did accrue some more super , but then had children, and the super stayed the same miniscule amount that it started out as, and increased in value by less than 5%- which was abyssmal when you consider the time frame in which it was supposedly invested ( for a period of 25 years I might add). I was told this was because it was only a small amount and of course i was unable to add to it as I was self employed earning a very low income. I then got divorced ( divided assets equally  in an effort to be fair) whilst my children were still young teens and joined the countless women who struggle financially as a single parent and could not find mainstream work, despite spending quite some years trying. So no super to speak of and very few savings as I live on an extreme budget and have done for many years. I also live on my own and have done since my divorce.

I have started an on-line Marketing course with Arts Action which is for regional Victorians- and though I know a lot of the stuff it never hurts to revisit things or tweek things. Plus I am not good at marketing- it's my least favourite bit of running an arts practice ( that and the book keeping)

I am now at another turning point- much of my work last year and even this year was cancelled  due to Covid19 and travel seems unlikely to resume until 2022 as much of my work is overseas. This has created significant hardships. I was fortunate to receive a Supporting Creatives Victoria Regional grant which was used to have professional videos made and creating more on-line courses. But I have a confession to make I have struggled with zoom , not because it is unwieldy (though trying to accommodate time zones across the world is a juggling act in its own right) or new but simply as something that somehow does not sit right. The other day I stumbled across an article in the Guardian that might explain my struggles as other people apparently also have the same issue. It boils down to the fact that it is actually unsettling and unnerving to see so much of yourself- and as a teacher I see myself a lot ( normally you don't see yourself in the class room situation). This has the unnerving effect of making you feel uncomfortable and hence struggle with attending zoom sessions let alone organising them. There are ways of dealing with this, as suggested by the article- which would work fine if I was not the teacher . So I have decided that  I cannot run too many courses concurrently- so that I can properly prepare myself for zoom sessions when they are only once a week. I also find it difficult to "read" my students with zoom and it actually does take a lot of time to prepare and be there in the zoom setting. Normally with in the flesh teaching I move around the room and keep an eye on things- to help those struggling a little, to  encourage here and there, to suggest and to discuss , to judge the pace- some people work slowly, others work fast- with zoom this is a completely different experience. I like the interaction of a classroom space as then you all learn from each other and it is much more inclusive. Ahh the vagaries of zooming!

Meanwhile I still have Musing in Textile: France books for sale ( though the numbers are down to the last 50 books) and I also have many printed fabrics available. I will be creating a page with the type of prints I have available ( it  is not possible to show all the colours available simply because it is a huge exercise photographing everything, though I can dye the colours you would like) and I will be creating a worksheet of sorts with stitching suggestions that can be permanently accessed for working on the linocut printed fabric. Also my quilts are for sale if anyone is interested.

 I will also be running more on-line classes but in a much more staggered fashion. I will run the linocutting class Starting Friday 2 April.  I will run another Traveller's Blanket Class starting  Friday 7 May and I will provide details in due course. I have  slighly increased the price of each workshop in line with other professional teaching on-line.

The class description can be found under the On-line workshops tag or below ( there are images of the linocuts I make on the on-line workshops page or throughout my blog)

Linocutting On-line Class

Beginner- Advanced

This  on-line class has been designed for those interested in printing on fabric or creating unique one-off printed fabrics for use in textile work. I will share with you how I have adopted linocutting into my textile practice. The class will focus on creating designs for linocuts, carving the linocuts and printing on the fabric using a number of different printing ideas. I will take you through a workbook I recently created to  develop designs for multi block printing.

Creating linocuts is undergoing exciting new developments at present , due to the fact that it is so accessible, relatively low cost, can be done at your kitchen table or desk, and the outcomes are always unique.  The materials needed are available from art shops and some textile suppliers. No one print is exactly the same. However it is possible to create repeat prints- keeping in mind  that printing with lino will give slight variations.

We will look at the tools,  creating the design, transferring the design, carving and practicising strokes, carving your linocut, printing on fabric, multi blocks to create vignettes and repeat block printing.

The class will consist of:
  • videos taking you through the process
  • extensive pdf notes ( a condensation of 25 years of printing experience) 
  • a private facebook group for discussion and sharing 
  • weekly zoom sessions for questions and answers and getting to know each other a little.
I will encourage you to make your own designs, inspired by observation or photos you have taken.

The class will run for a period of four weeks, but I will keep the facebook group open for longer as you will work at your own pace. It is always good to see how others create their designs and to trouble shoot less successful prints and to discuss design.

 The cost of the course is $100AUS. ( depending on currency exchange rates , approximately $77 USD, 64  Euro, 55 British pounds)
To register for the course simply pay via the Paypal button and I will be in touch with further information.
This class will commence on  2 April 2021

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Summer, but it Does Not Feel Like Summer

 Summer is decidedly cool and wet this year- a relief after the bushfire summer in the east of  Australia last year but not very friendly for growing some vegetables that like the hot weather. Everything seems late this year, although usually things are a bit more advanced in the city, and well the zucchinis are only pushing out one or two a week and eggplants are only now flowering. Hope it warms up a bit for the rest of this month and March. It is however wonderful to have fresh tomatoes every day, I am in tomato heaven but whether I will get a zillion to process I am not so sure. I tried a few different varieties this year but the romas are like cocktail size- I am sure I sowed full  sized roma's, and the Rouge de Marmande is far from early, but setting lots of decent sized tomatoes.

Anyway I am glad I am not feeding a whole family, but on the other hand there is plenty of fresh vegies ofr one person and the green climbing beans have gone completely mad and I am getting a few sunflowers even though the snails feasted on the  seedlings when they first popped up.

My on-line classes have been going well and I will schedule some more for early to mid  March . There are Paypal buttons on my on-line class button which you can find here On-Line Classes. There is descriptions of the classes and prices on that page. I will run both the Tifaifai Class and the Linocutting Class. Will provide exact dates in the near future. Some wonderful designs have been made in the Tifaifai class that is currently running. By enrolling know that you are supporting an artist and hopefully you will learn some wonderful new techniques!

It looks like I may have some in the flesh teaching at Torquay late in April. Very disappointed  that Grampians Textures in March  was cancelled but do understand the dilemna the organisers faced in the face of Covid restrictions and the logistics of on again off again border closures. Hopefully the Slow Stitch gathering in NSW  in late March will go ahead- I won't know myself travelling more than 200 kms.

Still walking most mornings in the little bush reserve near my home, I feel very fortunate to have something so lovely very close by- it is like losing yourself in another world for a part of each day.

I love how the Nardoo looks in the dappled light and how the reflections play amongst the leaves. Have not spotted any tortoises recently, one of the other walkers told me the kids come and get them and who knows what happens to them then- such a pity.

Printed up some of this linocut  on hand dyed fabric and it is for sale for $25 inclusive of postage. I only have one red one at present but need to dye some more fabric later this week. If you are interested in buying one let me know by emailing me and I can send you details.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Tifaifai and Linocut


I want to wish everyone the very best for 2021 and keep safe and healthy. I suspect that 2021 is going to be a lot like 2020- pandemics don't just disappear despite vaccines which will be an interesting logistic exercise . I certainly don't anticipate doing any travel until 2022 so in the meantime I hope I sell a few works and people join my on-line classes.

I have been busy fine tuning and editing my notes for  the Tifaifai on-line Class starting on 14 January ( there is still time to join) and the Linocutting and Printing on Fabric  On-line Class starting on 21 January. It is a long process and you need to distance yourself from it from time to time , because your eye does not see little typos where words can have more than one spelling or where words look very similar but are in fact an entirely different word. You can find descriptions and  Paypal buttons for the classes on the On-Line Workshops page. There is stilll plenty of time to join. The linocutting class has been devised  for designing linocuts for fabric printing and the considerations are a little bit different to working with linocuts on paper. You will be able to make plenty of unique fabric for your  projects and quilts.

When I take a break from editing and fine tuning I have been working in some sketchbooks that I started in an on-line class I did with Laura Kemshall called the sketchbook Challenge in November. She shared lots of ideas and techniques to use in a sketchbook. Mine has been rather slow going because I have been busy with many things ( including my mothers fall and her recovery from that) but it is a welcome distraction  from editing. I actually started two sketchbooks as I was impatient waiting for paint or glue to dry. I chose to do totally different subject matters.  I am far from finished but the blank pages are disappearing  even if they are only covered by a coat of paint. I have had fun doing it and I have discovered I have a lot of water colour pencils which I have bought over the years but never really used until now. In fact the activity has taken over the spare room for the time being.

I had already started the sketch book when I thought- i should base it on the little Bushland reserve where I walk most mornings and have taken lots of photos and then banksias had to creep in , because well I love banksias. I am gearing up to do a more in depth sketch book on the Bushland Reserve- seeing it will be my distration this coming year. It has been lovely  seeing all the small changes form day to day and encountering all the creatures that live there

This is part of the Kookaburra track and as you can see summer is drying off the grasses. I think this is my favourite track in the whole reserve ( it might have to do with the fact that it is mostly downhill) Anyway back to editing!