Monday, 23 December 2013

Where it all started

This book, by Jan Beaney, made its way into my life in the very early 1990s. Initially purchased as a resource for hand stitching (of which I knew absolutely nothing) it revealed to me the possibilities of textile art. I can pinpoint the moment when the world of visual diaries, drawn thoughts, experimental design, pattern, scale, context, texture and colour escaped from its pages. It is a text re-read many times over the last 25 years, and its contents still bring a level of excitement with the turn of each page. If there had only ever been one book to coax me into the world of textile art and embroidery, I think this would have been "it".

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Quiet reflection

A piece of rusted fabric, overprinted with a number of beautifully textured weeds is undergoing an embroidery transformation. In the first quiet hour of the day more colonial, bullion and French knots, pistol and chain stitch variations build across the surface of the cloth. Silk ribbon foliage adds another layer of texture. Peace-filled. Rhythmical. Unexpected. The pleasure of stitch.

Celebrating creativity and design

Ritzenhoff champagne glasses, a gift for my fortieth birthday, come out at this time of year - just like memories and good friends. Thank you Benedikt Sauerland who designed my favourite from the year 2000 collection.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Corn + Silk

Another one hour challenge. WMBM picked corn for dinner and commented how the husks must have a use - they were so paper-like, almost indestructible, had such texture and destined for the compost heap? The semi dried (but still flexible) husks were carefully ironed between two sheets of baking paper. They  were then stitched together, alternating thick and thin ends, to create a ground approximately A4 size. Some of the husks had begun to brown - the sweet smell of corn filling the room.
Left over hand dyed / printed silk scraps [already fused to vliesofix (fusible webbing) from a previous project] were cut into random shapes or torn apart and fused over the corn husk base. More vliesofix was applied to the back of the stitched husks and this was then gently fused to black tissue paper. Much greater stability achieved! When cooled, the silk shapes were outline stitched before strips of tulle (already fused and left over from a previous project) were applied across the silk covered top. An exploration of line. Lovely textures. Fun to play. A new version of corn silk!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Leaf and silk weaving

In the 45 minute window between waving off the WMBM and me heading to Brisbane for that other job, I took some hand dyed silk printed with an ezy-carve block (silky oak leaf) and bonded it onto vliesofix. Did the same with another shade of hand dyed silk then proceeded to cut and weave them before fusing onto a tissue paper background. I was surprised at the translucence of the woven sheet - even where the printed leaf is underneath a top strip, its presence is retained. A fabulous way to create a new ground for stitching, drawing or both!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Jacobs Ladder for T&K

Spent today putting together a quilt top using Jacobs Ladder block. For me it is a perfect block for a wedding quilt - many steps and challenges along the way, the balance of light and dark, many pathways. Each of the fabrics has a special meaning - for the soon-to-be bride and groom. Sixteen blocks down ... oh sew many to go!

Sunday morning inspiration

What is it about multiples? Patterns, rhythm, lines. A visit to the vegie patch.  A brief walk at the creek to see the bank restoration and plantings - the WMBM has been very busy and the re- vegetation is being undertaken by a small team of merry men, led by Rob. Love the rows of poles and lines of plants.  Back to the sewing room ...

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A bridge (not) too far ...

The cranes have arrived, the featherless variety, and are working on our new bridge. It is strange and exciting - everything is crossed that the works are completed without another flood over the summer ... for now I'm enjoying the "detour" and checking out the many thousands of plants that have been planted along the banks of Warrill Creek The old well from the pumpkin paddock stands alone in what is now the "new", significantly wider creek bed. One day we'll forget all the adventurous inconvenience; I just hope we never take the new bridge for granted. Ever.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Quilt, teabags and exploring domesticity

Kim Schoenberger's works using recycled tea bags are amazing. Several tea bag inspired pieces are part of the Teasing the Domestic exhibition currently at the The Centre, Beaudesert. Quilt is the standout - with the tea bags retaining their used leaves. This is a delightful exhibition that includes the World Tea Cosy competition  coordinated by Miles Regional Council. Sponsored by Artslink Queensland, The Centre is located at 82 Brisbane Street, Beaudesert. (Teasing the Domestic runs until 18 December 2013; Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4pm; Saturdays 10am - 2pm).

[Images by permission The Centre, (c) Kim Schoenberger]

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Playing with layers

While visiting Adelaide for the Festival of Quilts I picked up a small pack of  fabrics which are proving useful for learning the skills of hand appliqué and playing with layers. All it took was some inspiration from Cath B, expert tuition and advice from Jane Madly Quilting and a beautiful (now empty) tin of Bassett's Licorice Allsorts for storage - just about perfect!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Adelaide's Festival of Quilts and SAQA

The Festival of Quilts is over for another year - the standard of quilts in all categories was amazing - possibly the best I've seen all year and it was a real treat to be able to meet many SAQA members and welcome new members to our group. What a surprise to receive two felted name tags from Judy George - made life a lot easier for everyone! Many thanks to Bron, Jenny, Prue  and the rest of the South Australian guild for their warm welcome and looking after us for the duration of the show. The SAQA exhibition had its final outing in Adelaide before returning to the US. As with other venues throughout 2013, the exhibition was well received and the four days talking, living and breathing art quilts was an absolute joy. Can't wait to return in 2014.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stanthorpe Arts Festival 2014

Detail image
Perhaps finishing the binding on a quilt and watching Whitechapel (ABC1) should be kept as separate exercises. Lucky there's no blood spatter on the quilt top this morning. WMBM and I nearly jumped out of our collective skins! The binding finishes my entry for the biennial Stanthorpe Arts Festival 2014,  with entries closing soon. Looking forward to attending the opening next February.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Print making in the studio

A rare and beautiful thing to have a couple of days at home to simply play in the studio. The conversations of onion pickers drift across the paddocks and the trees sing of spring as the breeze plays through their leaves. Added some more "colour" using a silky oak leaf from last week - well preserved with layers of textile paint it then disintegrated (as it should) while donating itself to a last layer of print on my clean up cloth. 

Adelaide's Festival of Quilts ... five more sleeps

Adelaide's Festival of Quilts kicks off next week and runs from Thursday 7 November through to Sunday 10 November at the show grounds in Wayville (Adelaide). This year, instead of spending money on direct advertising the guild collected blocks from members and they became this quilted car cover -SAQA's "This is a Quilt" travelling trunk show will have its final outing at the Festival of Quilts before returning to the US. I'll be at the show each day giving floor talks on the SAQA exhibition and giving demonstrations of different processes and techniques used in art quiltmaking. Hope to see you at the show.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wagtail one, Kookaburra none ...

The wagtail babies have left the nest and are safely ensconced nearby. However a kookaburra is always a threat and fair game for both parent wagtails. They dive bombed and otherwise harassed one of our resident kookaburras until it moved on.

Threads not-so-bare

One of my favourite things - a spool holder spotted at a garage sale by my DS and BIL.  Is beautifully crafted in that made-to-last way. Now a much loved addition to the sewing room. Thank you Sue and Ian.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Mop it, stamp it, love it!

Clean up after a day of printmaking can be an exciting time. Gently squeeze the foam roller through a piece of textured poplin to create the blue and gold patterns. There was still a lot of white space, so leaves and other objects were rolled over and over until the roller was empty and the starkness of the white spaces mitigated. This process  also results in using less water for the "wash up". When dried, the fabric was over-stamped with leftover textile paint used for some gradation practise.  After all the trays and brushes were cleaned off in a plastic champagne bucket of water, another piece of fabric was squished into the now diluted wash and left to take up whatever it will. That's two new pieces of fabric from the humble clean up. Love it!

Colour wheels and weeds

Finding the next layer can be tricky - and these pieces of delicately dyed silk give a beautiful depth to the new piece of fabric. The cats claw (declared pest and noxious weed in Queensland) leaves beautiful seed pods for printing and they litter the ground after the wretched vine has flowered. Like the weed, the seed pods get lost in layers of detritus until they are forgotten. Road testing the next step can take days ... too close a colour match and the layer gets lost, too much contrast and there is a risk of layering for layers sake.  For now, time to watch and wait for the moment of knowing.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Indigo play day @ Aliquilts

Indigo dyeing was the play day event for 26 October - and the day was spent pegging,  twisting, turning, wrapping, pulling, pushing, tying, folding, clamping, stitching and dipping into the "vats" of indigo. It may be spring but the weather is definitely summer like and we had plenty of flies trying to join in the fun - veils are most useful at this time of year! Many thanks to Kate, Merody, Kathryn and Rebecca for such a fun day - and plenty of ideas for the next dyeing adventure. The replacement bridge for Niebling Road is due to be completed by the end of February (further flooding notwithstanding) and it will be great to have a full program of workshops available during 2014.