Wednesday, 30 May 2012

My father's shed

Today was so strange - surreal. WMBM and I left home in the dark to arrive at "509" in Brisbane just after dawn - only just ahead of the removalist's trucks.  Traumatic. Sad. Ecstatic. Numbing. Exciting. Relief. Overwhelming grief and some things that may be family legend in about a week.  Mum and Dad finally moving after nearly 40 years in our "family home". So today I "rubbed" my father's shed. Not the big shed, but the little shed within the mighty shed that held his bits and pieces for more than half his life - the two of us stood in the sacred place together for the last time. Just us. Holding hands. Neither of us really knowing what to do with his precious things. The dumpster skip waiting just down the paddock a little bit.  I found his old saw, then  packet of something so old it probably didn't keep things as dry as it said on the tin. Found a file I used to clean the horses hooves with - that nearly sent him into orbit back in the 70s because we blunted them and left them out and never put his "stuff" away - even when he locked it we found the key and used his precious chisels anyway.I rubbed the top of the rusted tool box, and one or two things still in use from his 21st birthday ..... the rusted squares, bibs and bobs. Then the deck from the top house, the tree trunks from Mum's plantings four decades ago, pipes, vines and old tiles. Tonight, at home, it is time to smile - looking at the folds of shiva'd fabric and know that I will always have a piece of my father's shed.
 This is the place where in 1959, someone (and definitely not my parent's!) bought a clothesline and scribbled into the wet concrete "Happy Mother's Day". No one in our family would have survived such a thing. The words are now worn away ... but the place where the Hills Hoist once stood is forever "gold".
Star pickets and galv pipes will always remind me of "509".  Rubbed the concrete steps at the "top house" and timbers from the deck. Then a sleeper bench he made in the garden ....

Monday, 28 May 2012

Closer to home ...

We had the pleasure of friends for lunch on Sunday. Perhaps better described as "Broadstrokes plus or minus a few" - and it was a timely reminder about looking with fresh eyes at the places we inhabit every day.  Old gates, aviary wire, doors and fence posts had a little rub with the shiva sticks - thanks to an impromptu layering lesson from Sue Dennis. Texture, texture, texture ....  and pizzas of course! Thanks everyone for a fantastic day  ...

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Visit Alison Laurence's Studio (Auckland, New Zealand)

There are a few advantages of being an “empty nester” and one is that you can take over the space formerly held by the children. I now have the entire rumpus room to call “my studio”. The room is about 10m x 5m but with a sloping roof, so that wall is used for storage.

This particular room is upstairs and because we have street access both to the front and back of our house, I have level access when carrying sewing machines and such paraphernalia to my car.

I use a table tennis table for sewing and cutting – just because it has always been there! – and I love the space it offers

I only have a few drawers for fabric and all the accessories that are collected over the years – I have been quilting for just four or five years so haven’t amassed the quantities - yet. And, I only buy for the project I am working on at the time.

I have a small design wall which I can move around but when working on a larger project I have a portable frame that I can bring out. I also have a table for drawing or designing, a radio and TV (and the piano that never gets played now the children have gone, but where else can you house it!).

But often for me the best place for auditioning is on the floor!
And I use an old courier bag as my rubbish bin - I never empty it until I have completed a project just in case I want to dive back in there for a pattern piece or bit of fabric!
The room is large enough for a seating area when people come to “visit” – my husband might bring a glass of wine at the end of the day One wall is entirely windows with a bi fold door at the end which looks out towards the city.

2QAQ Guest this Saturday is Annamaria Mays Vermeer

(c) Annamaria Mays Vermeer
 This Saturday we are in for a real treat at 2QAQ - our guest speaker will be Annamaria Mays Vermeer - and fabulous textile artist from south-east Queensland. Annamaria's work is exquisite - all the more from the way in which Annamaria repurposes and reuses found objects. If you are anywhere near 44 Esher Street, Wellers Hill on Saturday afternoon please feel free to join us. We're also demonstrating some rusting and resist techniques - so start arriving around 12.30pm with our demonstrations kicking off at 1pm. If you've never been to a 2QAQ meeting - come along for free for your first meeting and try us out. We're a great bunch ... with lots to share.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The more we give ...

The WMBM walked our beautiful daughter down the red carpet to her gorgeous groom in front of four generations of family and friends yesterday. A fantastic wedding - and not a dry eye in the place. Vows were exchanged in between so many joyful tears. We feel very blessed.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

SAQA Studio Blog Hop

Well at last the blog hop has made its way to Tarome, population about 73, which starts at the top of the Great Dividing Range at Cunningham's Gap and flows north east across to the edge of Aratula in south east Queensland. We are nestled in amongst the mountains and the room I use as my studio used to be our neighbour Myrtle's bedroom. I find it hard to believe that seven children were raised in this home and some of them are still in the neighbourhood.   My studio space is only calm and ordered about once a year - so this is a more truthful representation of the space in which I dream and create. When I walk into the space I call "the studio" it is akin to my own version of the TARDIS - I love the sense of enormous space that is the same size as a small bedroom - which it is.  I have tried to make the best use of the available space - including the walls - for threads, hoops, rulers and anything else that can be hung. Everything is almost within easy reach - it is probably a good thing that I have to get out of the chair at regular intervals to get whatever I need!
The table was made by our friend Graham (our builder fixer renovator man), who after building about four houses for his own family kept forgetting to make a room big enough to house the table. It is long enough to have a sewing space, creating space, and cutting space - and sometimes more! I have three large cutting mats butted against each other for about 2/3rds of the length.  I installed some small cup hooks on the underside to hold electrical cords and keep them out of harm's way.

The cupboard behind the door was also built by Graham - and keeps my folders of "stuff" - papers, foils, samples, things that worked, things that didn't, roles of vliesofix and baking paper, glues, lino cuts, stamps, paints, and some of the "upstairs dyes". Tissue papers, machine quilting samplers, stitching ideas, flame throwers, soldering thingys, yoghurt containers, paintbrushes and cut-up-but-not-sewn-into-blocks shoe boxes all reside here. Way down below I keep a couple of plastic boxes - in the style of the Playschool useful box - with all sorts of gorgeous stuff I never remember is there but love to rummage through on an irregular basis - tulle's, goop, sequined numbers from the op shop, scarves and burnable fusible stuff is there.  My UFOs are kept in the trays above the cupboard ... and in recent times I've stopped getting frustrated with my lack of finishing progress and cut them into "postcards"  -  I've found it to be a great "resolution".  My work samples and journals are a constant source of inspiration - although I the "what if I tried that" moment frequently misses being explored as a new process ... there's a lifetime of ideas  and "what ifs" on those pages.
In one corner I have a study and computer area where I keep some of my reference and resource books. I surround myself with the precious things that make my soul do a little dance - photos, pieces and works by my sister and niece, inchies from Ankie, leaf designs from Maxine, a postcard from Ros, another by Sue and (now that I look more closely) the vacuum cleaner. This is the area where I tend to "draw up" and play with an idea, or doodle or write  ... I used to have the table over near the window and all I did was look out the window ... the cosy confines of the corner work best for me.
This corner unit is made from recycled timbers and is home to my fabric stash and a collection of Meakin china. I've given my entire stash away twice now and started anew - something I found quite liberating as I now create most of my own fabrics (I don't get to spend enough time with my wonderful friend and mentor Ankie King  - who has taught me just about everything I know about dyeing ...)  I keep wadding and stuffing up top and the closed doors hide larger metreage of pfds and backing fabrics. I have a curtain rod  which sits across the top of the cupboard and that's where I hang my design sheet - a miracle of static electricity which holds hundred of pieces in place - I love being able to close the door at the end of the evening, and come back the next day with fresh eyes - whatever isn't working with the piece almost always screams at me when the door reopens.  

The next studio stop is with Pam Holland - who we get to visit from the 19th (Saturday). Pam is an incredibly talented artist and one of SAQA's Professional Artist Members (PAMs). I hope you've enjoyed the tour so far - I've loved the diversity of spaces in which we all create.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Commuting can be fun

Driving to work in Ipswich I travel the Cunningham Highway and pass a paddock that, over the past year or so, has turned into a shallow lake. In recent years it has been a dry, barren place and now hosts black swans, pelicans and a multitude of water birds. Let's hope the water table stays high. Autumn is a time of clear skies and still mornings - perfect for picture taking.

Studio Blog Hop continues ... with Dale Rollerson

(c) Dale Rollerson
Dale Rollerson's studio is on view today, as part of the SAQA Oceania groups Studio Blog Hop. Dale will be well known to many of you through The Thread Studio. We're featuring a different studio space and artist every second day throughout May - tomorrow it will be time to join Averil Stuart-Head and I can't wait to see more of the Oceania group's creative spaces. Hoping that you too enjoy the ongoing tour.

Wooden printing blocks

 Found these in the bargain bin at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Beautiful hand carved printing blocks from India - which will be put to good use. The large peacock is about 13cm in length, while the three smaller pieces are 3-4cm across. So glad they made it home safely and can't wait to use them.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

More from the Ipswich Quilt Show

Jane Rundle's "Party Dress" (c) Jane Rundle
It truly is wall to pew to wall quilts at St Paul's church, Brisbane Street Ipswich this weekend. The Ipswich Quilt Show is underway and there is so much to see that one has the impression of being in the TARDIS. The Queensland Quilter's Challenge quilts are on show - June Rundle's quilt (left) was awarded third place and it really feels like there is a party going on. Jan McPike's dragon is also exquisite - beautifully created and stitched. It's worth the trip just to see the Challenge entries. The church is filled with a really impressive mix of traditional and contemporary quilts - and other attendees include the Spinners and Weavers group and demonstrations of traditional tatting and lace making. If that's not enough, there are local crafts for sale and refreshments available throughout the weekend. The show runs today until 3pm and again tomorrow from 12 noon to 3pm with entry to the Quilt Show a gold coin donation. Did I mention the beautiful raffle quilt .... just $2 a ticket.

Jane McPike's "Chinese New Year 2012 (c) Jan McPike

Studio Blog Hop Schedule for May - SAQA style

This is not a studio - at least not any more. It was the sole and soul place where I worked for most of the last seven months and the space worked perfectly - if accompanied by a disciplined approach to "tidy".  It really does not matter how big or small or where your place to be creative is located - so long as you have a space. This month the SAQA Oceania members are participating in a Studio Blog Hop - every other day in May. We've had two great "reveals" already this month - Mel Forrest and Sue Dennis with Lisa Walton's studio on view from today. The schedule is listed below - simply click on the artist. SAQA is an incredible organisation supporting artists who create art quilts - so if you would like to know more about SAQA please don't hesitate to get in contact with me or Lisa Walton - or anyone of our Oceania group. Enjoy the tour!
Mel  Forrest (1st  May)
Sue  Dennis (3rd  May)
Lisa  Walton (5th  May)
Linda  Robertus (7th  May)
Dale  Rollerson (9th  May)
Averil  Stuart-Head (11th  May) 
Beth Miller (13th  May) 
Sally  Westcott (15th  May)
Ali  George (17th  May)
Pam  Holland (19th  May)
Felicity  Clake (21st  May)
Brenda Gael Smith (23rd  May)
Alison  Lawrence (25th  May) 
Jenny  Bowker (27th  May)
Sue  Domeney (29th  May)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Ipswich Quilt Show ... a taster

Working in the heart of Ipswich means I am beside the beautiful St. Paul's Church which this weekend holds the Ipswich Quilt Show and the Queensland Quilters Challenge for 2012. Many beautiful quilts and congratulations to some of the 2QAQ members Jan McPike, Jane Rundle, Helen Kidd and Rosemary McCall for creating such beautiful challenge entries. So creative and such clever use of this year's challenge fabric.  How do I know? My fat quarter is sitting on the cutting table ... maybe next year....
The show runs Saturday 10am - 3pm and Sunday 12 noon - 3pm. St Paul's is located at the top of the Mall in Brisbane Street, Ipswich. Gold coin donation for entry.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Back on the air ... and the SAQA Benefit Auction

After outsmarting myself with rebuilding the website - which is now in disarray but thankfully not hacked ... I have got the blog back. It was really interesting to experience such a sense of grief about losing it and wanting to hang on to the remnants (even if they weren't functioning properly or satisfactorily). I found myself willing to cut my losses just to have a connection to the "old" blog. Grief and then relief. Just like not wanting to let go of other loved ones I guess. Anyway - the blog is back.   This is a small piece (12 x 12) I'm currently working on for the SAQA benefit auction  - which happens each year to raise funds for ... SAQA. I used hand dyed indigo fabric and have stitched leaf shapes originally stamped from a lino cut block then painted with red and gold acrylic paint, stitched in copper thread and then restitched onto the Indigo background. I'd already machine quilted the background piece - trying to create a sense of slow movement across the water, then the leaves almost floating over the top of the surface. It is very much a work in progress .....