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