Thursday, October 14, 2021

Seeing another face

 I was browsing through my photos today, looking for some inspiration for the final piece for the Cas Holmes course I am doing. There is going to be an online book/exhibition of people's work. You don't have to participate but I would like to try. The format is landscape which I haven't been working on for most of the course. Hence the browsing photos to see some of the many photos I have taken over the last 8 weeks on my walks around the neighbourhood. 

I had made the photos large and was just using the arrow key to move along. I saw one I thought interesting and put it in the album for the course. Then I clicked to see more photos and this one then became small. That's when I saw the face!! 

I can't see it when the image is large, just when it is small. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Staggering on

 Today's date is 11/10/21. Thank goodness I have these dates to inspire me to post. 

We are nearing the end of our lockdown - hopefully. The case numbers are still high but the number of double vaccinated people is rising. 

I feel as if I am in a queue to get tickets to the Grand Final. Willing to wait hours till the tickets go on sale, then, the closer you get to the gate, the more the queue pushes up closer and closer, all anxious to get there before tickets are sold out - or, for other games, before the game begins. 

Anyway ... I have been doing the Cas Holmes workshop through Fibre Arts Take Two. We had a live presentation yesterday to mark the end of the official times but the course is still accessible for years, so it doesn't all have to stop. 

My sewing machine in refusing to do free motion work at the moment. I have found a mechanic who is able to meet me and take the machine away (given the travel restrictions in place, that is very pleasing) but I have to wait till he comes into our area. Then another wait till it is ready again and he will be back in the area. So I will have to either do some hand sewing and/or making more fabrics and papers to use as backgrounds. All doable, once I get the energy up. 

Here is one piece that I am experimenting on. I had put it away after making it because I wasn't sure what else to do with it yet. 

Now I have done some hand stitching. I don't think I like it much but it did make me do something, so that is a plus. And I can always experiment a bit more on it. Or I could try another piece I have made to a similar stage. Or I could try making some more backgrounds. Lots of options!
Hmm - now that I can see them both, I think the leaves need to be darker. But I will let that idea lie in the back of my head and hope it doesn't get lost. And the lighting was different, that affects how it looks too. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Three weeks since my last post!

 The date is 21/9/21, three weeks since my last post. Where does the time go??? 

Maybe it is a good thing that time seems to have lost meaning, given that we seem to be going to be in lockdown for another 5 weeks, at least. 

But I am tired!! 

However, I have been doing an online course with Cas Holmes, through Fibre Arts Take Two. It is set up in the same way as the Tara Axford one I did last year. And I seem to be having the same problem I had last year - moving from the initial modules where you look closely at something, to painting papers (and fabrics this time) to making collages. 

I have done daily drawings, using the continuous line technique, as a preparation for using the sewing machine to do continuous line drawing. I will have to admit that I do mostly daily drawings. I managed to make some collaged images last year, all using paper. I was moderately happy with some of them. But I didn't take the next few modules and move on to inks and water paints. 

This year, I have done the initial module of looking closely at my surrounds - which is mostly the backyard, given the 5km limit of movement (it is now a whole 10km!). Then I did a bit of fabric marking, mostly with the gelli plate and fabric paint. I didn't do much paper as I have so much left over from last year. 

Now I am stuck at the making a background stage. Other people doing the course have moved from the daily drawing to the collaged backgrounds to putting an image on the backgrounds. 

My backgrounds tend to be started with an image in mind, which influences how I put the fabrics and papers. Then I don't like them much, or the sewing doesn't work. 

These two were inspired by the fact that I had some bits and pieces that I collected when people doing a Bojagi workshop were throwing out. I had to rescue them. I had no idea what I would sew, which is fortunate, as it has turned out rather weird, a scene coupled with an in door scene with a tree growing inside. Ah well, it got me using the sewing machine again. 

I have managed a few that are ok, but my latest ones are not much chop. I have resorted to doing some hand sewing to see if I can make the lines of the collaged materials less obvious. 

All this might sound negative but it has been keeping my mind active (on occasion) and I have spent some time thinking, planning and doing. And the course doesn't have a particular time-line, so I can revisit or just abandon this part and move on. Or I could go back to last year's course, it is still available to me. Both courses should be available for years! 


looks like the pandemic is going to affect our lives for a few years yet, that could be very beneficial. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

I'll have to start thinking again.

 Well, the online course for tapestry weaving, through the Australian Tapestry Workshop, has finished. I am feeling a bit flat about that. The course was interesting, I learnt and relearnt things, it took concentration and time. 

We were given a task to do that required all the above but not much decision-making of a creative sort - except to think about how you might incorporate a certain technique into your work. 

The final task was to interpret a design that was provided. It was a black and white cartoon. But we were also provided with three interpretations of the piece, done by the three different teachers. 

I did mine, which turned out not to be all that much like the other interpretations, which I didn't really notice till we had our Zoom session and people were talking about how they had interpreted them, They were talking about some bits that I just had not seen. That's probably the fault of Covid fatigue and wanting to get it done in time. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

Seeing I am very unlikely to be weaving someone else's image, I didn't worry too much. And it was very difficult to do all the detail as we were weaving with a thick warp and weft - thicker than I usually use. And it was only 16cm square. Not much room for small detail. 

Anyway, I am happy enough with my piece. I wanted to get it done for the final Zoom session and did. 

I wasn't happy with the top right hand corner, so have now pulled out a bit and rewoven it. Of course, I was concentrating so hard on that that I started to pull in the sides - it is so easy to do that! I wasn't up to the task of pulling it out again - it will have to do. (I'm not what you would call a perfectionist!)

I had trouble with the warping up - as usual. I did a better job than usual but did notice that is was slightly tighter on the left-hand side - now I can see that there are ridges in the weaving on that side. Live and learn. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021


 I have been taking photos, for years, faces that I see in various places, usually trees. 

These two are from my most recent walk along the banks of the Yarra. The faces I see aren't always human. They make me think about the stories about beings living in forests, etc. No wonder these stories have evolved. 

But today I saw the easiest one ever to recognise. It was outside the Eaglemont Station where some people are making a garden in the shared council and railway land. The garden is developing beautifully and I really appreciated the whimsical elements. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Trying to stay positive

 21/8/21 - makes me post. Something needs to motivate me. 

We are back in lockdown. I know that I am not that burdened by it, compared to many other people, but I still feel exhausted. 

To help me keep interested in things, I am doing a Cas Holmes online workshop, through Fibre Arts Take Two. I attended a workshop, in person, a few years ago and really enjoyed it. So I thought I would give this one a go. 

So far, we have focussed on drawing, not a favourite thing of mine. But I have made a little sketchbook, using papers I have left over from Tara Axford's online course that I did last year (also Fibre Arts Take Two). Cas suggested that we use a variety of sketchbooks, some commercially made, some made by us. 

I have made a simple one so far, just some used photocopy paper that I did some gelli plate printing on, folded in half and sewn into a little book. It is to be my daily drawing sketchbook, along with some of the others that I have purchased. 

As we are not supposed to venture far from home, I have decided to start with very local sights - from the front and back yard. 

The first emphasis is on doing a continuous line drawing, probably because we will eventually move onto using the sewing machine for the drawing and it has to be continuous line, unless you are willing to be very picky. 

Shadows that can be inspiration for drawing shapes. 
Tried a white pen, based on some cockatoo feathers I found last year. Will almost be time to get them again soon, when the babies start growing their adult feathers.
Used a pencil on the left, a black pen on the painted surface as it was relatively dark.
Line drawing using the blank side of the paper and another piece that has paint on it. The paint felt good with the pencil 

Random pieces of paper. 

Soft paper bought from the Papermakers of Victoria. A ready-made sketchbook. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

August already!!

 Time is rushing by - in a slow sort of way. 

This lockdown life is weird, it seems to be going slowly and quickly at the same time. 

I have enrolled for an online tapestry weaving workshop at the Australian Tapestry Workshop (how appropriate) and that is giving me some mental peace, even though some of it is challenging me a lot. 

I learnt the things that we are doing, so far, in the workshop while I was at RMIT but that was a while ago. and we had a lot of new learning - very new for me at the time. I had never done any weaving. It is good to be going back over some basic principles to make the weaving work better. I think I understand better now how to work out what I am doing wrong and how to correct or adjust for that. I just have to be able to incorporate the principles into my work. 

We started with a circle - I had SO MUCH trouble with it. I did it twice (not counting the 2 or 3 times I pulled then out) and it still isn't quite right. I just decided to keep going and do the rest. I 'might' try another sampler of circles in the future but have two others to do in the next two weeks. Other techniques to remember or learn new. 

Lots of learning, lots of concentration.