Thursday, April 18, 2024

Back from European Travels

 I have been back in Australia for about a week. It is always such a long journey home. Though there was not much time to recover as I had to visit Mum in Melbourne, and a quick dash into AQC to pick up some quilts from Reece Scannell, then wedding dress shopping on the Saturday for daughter eldest. What has happened to simple and elegant is all we want to know?? Over the tope froth and bead and balloon with plunging necklines seem to be all the go and as my daughter wryly remarked - for a white dress that is sometimes said to represent one's purity the necklines seem to say something completely different. We are still  looking....

Had a busy trip to Europe and the five weeks flew by. Taught in Milan for Roberta de Marchi in her shop, free motion stitching of both the quilting and applique kind. It was a busy two days with students from all over Italy, and my Italian very rusty indeed- but the language of stitching somehow makes up for that! I shall be teaching for Roberta in May 2025 and am looking forward to it!

Then onto Lyon for a few days. We crossed the Alps in a Flix bus, and as there had been fresh snow the Italian side of the Alps, they looked spectacular. Lyon is always such a lovely city- could have walked around a lot more, but sad to see so many little artisan shops had shut down since the last time I visited. The apartment we stayed in was in a building that had seen better days up three flights of stairs- a bit of a marathon with heavy luggage, but it was close to Perrache Station, so that it was easy to catch the Ouigo train to Marne la Vallee and then onward to Chartres where I exhibited for two weeks at Croisement des Arts.

The exhibition was varied and interesting , I love being part of this event as there are some wonderful artists who exhibit and I am chuffed to be a part of it. Plus it is always a delight to stay in Chartres. Caught up with old friends and even found another Australia resident who  I will catch up with next time around. I will be back next year to teach a Masterclass at Villa Fulbert prior to the exhibition the last two weeks of March 2025

 We did hire a car for a week to make a side trip to Chenonceau and then onto Bayeux to see the Bayeux Tapestry where we had the great good fortune to be only one of a few visitors early in the morning so the tapestry could be viewed at a leisurely pace and you could back track to examine interesting parts. Whomever drew the cartoons for the embroidery surely knew a horse back to front and back again- they are really marvellous. Loved that the threads used had been dyed with natural colours  of a limited palette and it is amazing that the colours from the 11th century have lasted as they have despite all the adventures the tapestry encountered.

The last week we spent in the United King  near Lancaster- a part of the UK I had not seen before. We did visit the Lakes District ( which was pretty busy because of the school holidays) and we made a trip to Farfield Mill in the Yorkshire Dales to visit the exhibition of work by Kay Leech and Gillian Cooper. The mill  buildings also house a number of artists studios as well as the Galleries which could be visited and was delighted to find the studio of Stuart Wilkie and his wonderful lino and wood engraving prints so evocative of the wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales and very reasonably priced , so a heron and hare made it back to Australia.

It has been hard to get back into work mode, but I have had to put the head down and develop a class for Textile Arts Org that will air in January of 2015. Can't reveal much yet but it is inspired by travels , especially my stay in Perugia last year. 

Little linocut print- there is a booboo in this one- can you spot it. Have done it again because once I noticed it really annoyed my that I had made such a simple error= been out of linocutting mode too long!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

 Happy New Year 2024

It is hard to believe  but 2024 marks the 20th year I have been blogging.  Are any other bloggers out there having a 20th birthday? We could have a party! There have been many changes online since I started and when I started my blog all those years ago it was with some trepidation about putting myself out there and thinking I had anything to say that anyone could possibly want to read. Since I started several computers have died including a back up drive where I had much material stored from 2004-2011. I had thought of making a book from my blog posts but there are too many pages. I seem to be on instagram more these days like many others and of course we are still doing more work on the Inkpot Alchemists website and will blog there. To be honest I have thought of closing this blog because I get so many spam comments on it- it takes more work to delete them than it does to make a blog post (almost)- yet something keeps me staying here. It is almost like, now that I have been here this long I would be sad to see it go. I know my posting has been more intermittent these last years though I have not been less busy apart from the pandemic years.

So 2024 is shaping up to be busy. I shall be travelling to Europe in March and April. Cheryl my inkpot Alchemist friend is coming along with me, as we want to trail some European plants for the inks and see how the water interacts with our recipes and what tweaking we need to do. This is all research for the book we are writing and will self publish. We also have a newsletter available, if you would like a copy send an email. We will write a newsletter quarterly with all sorts of information.

The grasses have been phenomenal this year- I don't ever remember seeing them so tall and such variety. They print so beautifully.

We are heading to Italy first and landing in Venice. Cheryl has not been to Europe before and you can't go to Italy and not see Venice. Then it is on to Milan to teach at Roberta de Marchi's  shop on the weekend of 9-10 March. If you are interested in coming along contact the shop. We leave Milan for a few days in Lyon and hopefully some botanical encounters there- any suggestions will be most welcome.

Then from 16-31 March I will be exhibiting at Croisement des Arts in Chartres. It is such a thrill to be invited to exhibit at this event in 2024. The last time I exhibited was in 2019. I am the only Australian to have ever been invited to exhibit at this multi-arts event which includes artists from France and Europe and sees a program of not only art, but music and lectures as well . It is such a thrill to be involved and Chartres holds a special place in my heart for its welcome that it has given me . I will be exhibiting much new work that I have not shown previously as well as some work from my book Tifaifai. I am really looking forward to being in Chartres again and Cheryl and I will also be doing some experimenting whilst we are there and a little bit of castle visiting.

On the 2nd of April we depart for the United Kingdom and a village near Lancaster to visit a friend of Cheryl's and hopefully get in a bit of a walk in the Lake District which I have not visited before- and then its home again. Could not be away too long as my vegetable garden needs my attention and hopefully there will be some things that  can still be harvested. It is always such a  balancing act- garden/travel/ work at home- and then there is my  feline friend who needs to be looked after whilst I am away.

I have not done much stitching of late, been too busy trialing printing inks and printing- there is so much fun wild foliage to work with including roadside weeds ( I did a whole series of work about roadside weeds from my morning walks in the shadow of Pic St Loup in France)

I would love to hear what you have enjoyed most from my 20 years of blogging. It has been such an incredibly supportive community for all this time and I am truly grateful to those who have followed this journey through its ups and downs and have purchased books and prints and quilts over the years. I doubt I could have achieved what I have without my blog and you its readers- so from the bottom of my heart thank you! And  I will send a special small gift to my favourite comment!