Monday, November 30, 2009

Reading Girl with Hat

As part of one of our assignments, for Experimental Textiles, we had to make some head pieces or hats. One had to be wearable and one not. As I experimented, I made a hat for a statue that is in our garden, the Reading Girl. She fits right in as we are a reading family.

I made that hat with Zart Paper Magiclay, a wonderful new product, for me at least, that you mould and let dry and it sets hard. It is very light too. I left it white and put
Angelina Fibre and a feather on it to decorate it.

I decided this week that she belonged in the garden, not the glasshouse, so I put her out.

Thunderstorms and a, wonderfully welcome, heavy downpour later, and she looks a little bedraggled. But I can call it ephemeral art and then I don't need to stress that it is falling apart.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gorgeous Silk clothing and art

Yesterday, while we were still wandering around Docklands, trying to find our way home, we came across a shop filled with fabulous paintings, silk art and silk clothing. Just gorgeous things!
Helen, the lady who makes it all, was very friendly and showed us lots of her work. She has a tiny space where she was working on some beautiful clothes. I will have to stop moaning about my work space, hers was tiny and she was making gorgeous clothing.
Helen told us that a lot of her work is based on the Mallee and Alice Springs, with a lot of aerial views. She makes her cloths and her art work in the same theme.
Here is a link to her shop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RMIT textile graduate student exhibition

My friend and I went to the RMIT Studio Textiles and Design graduate exhibition today - ASKEW. It was in Shed 4 at the Docklands. We caught the train and followed the directions that I had looked up on the online Journey Planner and it had mentioned Collins St, so we set off happily. After 45 minutes of walking around and asking people for assistance (none of whom could help us, despite good intentions), we stumbled upon the shed. We had gone in a big circle and had not needed to walk that far at all.
It was all worth it.
The students had done some fabulous work, using weave, tapestry, screen printing and knit. Some had mixed the different skills to produce experimental pieces also.
There were sculptures, furniture, shoes (the shoe making group, not part of the course I am studying), furniture, large pieces of fabric, drawings, clothes - I can't actually list all the things that they had made. Very high quality pieces.
I am starting second year next year, part time, and it is both inspiring and daunting to see the quality of work that we may be expected to live up to.
Congratulations to all the graduating students.
Unfortunately I do not have any images to show here but there was a really interesting catalogue of all the students and some of their work, so I can look at it at my leisure. (I'm alright Jack!)
It seems a shame that such a good exhibition, showcasing so much work, is only on for 3 days, but that's the way it is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Discussion Continues

The discussion about nudes in art, especially in textile art, continues with members of my group. There seems to be a range of thoughts on it but I must say that if it is art, then I don't think there should be any difference between painting, prints, sculpture or textiles. It all needs to be done respectfully - but that becomes an issue when people have different ideas about what is respectful and what is titillation and what is exploitation.
However, there were a couple of links I found interesting. This one, Bid-4-a-Cause, aims to raise money for women with breast cancer and I found that even here, there were a couple there that had nude female figures. Obviously, the aim is not to titillate but to celebrate the human figure.
The other link I came across was a bit more light-hearted. It has some images that some people have found offensive but I must say that I just found them amusing. It's called What Not to Crochet. There are some hilarious items and comments on it. Some of the items make me wonder why anyone would bother! It seems some people have too much time on their hands.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nudes in art quilts

Our group in the Aus/NZ Art quilt group as been discussing the use of nudes in art, it arose out of another post from one of the members that mentioned and article in The Age about the Melbourne Craft Cartel, a group that call themselves 'craftivists', crafters and activists. Somehow the discussion has moved on to art and nudes and their appropriateness in quilts. I followed links mentioned by some of the members and found these amazing works.
This link is to some works that are adaptations of famous paintings. Beautiful.
This link is to an interview of one of the members, related to her winning quilt in a Tasmanian quilt show. I wish I could come up with such amazing work after attending a workshop!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What do do?

I attended my last session for my course for the year today and am wondering what to do with myself (apart from doing paid work things). It is the first time in ages that I haven't had some textile work that is in the making, usually to a deadline. So I decided to have a look at all the things that I have had on the backburner - plenty of those!
I got out my visual diaries for my Aus/NZ ArtQuilters group and had a look at all the months that I have not done the journal quilt. They are only A4 size but I have got side-tracked from them and have not looked at them in months. I am hoping to play around with at least one month's theme soon. The last one I tried was Motion, so I had a look at some interesting optical illusion sites tonight.
Here are some links to a few.
link one
link two - this is the one of the spinning girl which is supposed to show if you are left or right brain dominant
link three - I specifically put the word movement into the search engine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Making a box frame

Yesterday I spent ages making a box frame for my textural tapestry. I handed it in today as part of my assessment for tapestry, first year. It could have been handed in in a plastic sleeve but it was getting squashed and that seemed to be ruining the textural effect.
I went to Bunnings to see if they sold picture frames but they only sell pre-prepared canvas mounts. So I wandered over to Lincraft and found a box frame for scrapbooking, at half price. But when I came home and tried the tapestry in it, it was not deep enough and was still getting a bit squashed, so then I had to devise a way of making a deeper box for the frame.
Fortunately my sister is into miniatures (doll's house stuff) and was able to show me some scene boxes she has made. I cut up some core board and made the box deeper, put in the work, closed the box up and then covered the outside with some sample wallpaper that she had (that sounds much simpler than it actually was). The advantage of making the box with core board is that it is quite stiff but is also light.

Now all I have to do is find a place suitable for such a deep box. Actually, I have two pieces to find spaces for, the final piece I did was a scene at Rye beach. I have posted about it before.

I find that I am learning all sorts of things in this course, not all of them what I expected. Firstly, I would never have expected to have chosen tapestry as a subject. I chose it because it was one of the optional electives in the course and students who had done it had recommended it. I have really enjoyed it, much to my surprise. That is one of the benefits of doing a course that offers skills that you thought you would not want to learn but that are mandatory.
Another thing that is happening is that you have to learn more than the skill of the technique, you also have to learn about mounting and presenting your work. That is often a big learning curve too, usually gone through at the last minute, as you get work ready to hand in.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Box Hill Diploma of Textile Arts graduate exhibition.

Today a friend and I visited the exhibition of the graduating students of the Diploma of Textile Arts from Box Hill Institute. It was at the Box Hill Town Hall. There were other student graduation exhibitions on in conjunction with this show but my friend and I went specially to see the textile part of the show. We had thought we would go to the other shows but spent so much time admiring the works of the textile students that we ran out of time for the others, although we did see some wonderful jewllery in passing.
The work was very inspiring, so many different techniques and so many different interpretations of their theme.
One of the students, Judy Smith, allowed me to photograph her work but the shots are not that good, the lighting was good for the textile show but not for photography.
However, I will post a couple of shots of her work. As she specifically gave me permission to show these pictures, I will only put up her work.

I was impressed by the variety of techniques the students used and the professional presentation of the work.

Monday, November 9, 2009


This is the result of washing a woolen cardigan that had a few small moth holes. Luckily I was experimenting with trying to felt it, using the washing machine, and was not just washing my, quite expensive, cardigan for future use.
I have been interested in felting for a while and have been looking at different instructions about how to do it. But I was not sure if this cardigan would felt, the washing instructions advised care, so I thought it would possibly felt. It did not felt much but the moth holes sure had an effect.
I have trouble with the idea of felting in the washing machine, possibly with all felting, as we are in a very long drought and water needs to be saved, not used for felting. Felting seems to use a lot of water. The washing machine is set up so that the water is going onto the garden, using specially devised, plant friendly washing liquid, but felting seems an extravagance, not like ordinary washing, which is necessary.
I am studying Textiles and Design at RMIT and one of my subjects is Dyeing and it also uses a lot of water - not good in our current situation. We are being encouraged to to use only 150 litres of water per household, per day, and these textile techniques make that difficult. So I may have to leave some of my experimenting till the drought breaks, if it ever does. It has been going for about 13 or 14 years now, so I won't hold my breath waiting for a lot of rain.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Almost finished

I worked on my tapestry for my final piece this weekend and have hitched off. I have not cut it off the warp as I will take it to our final class for the year to make sure that it is ok. It is based on a picture I took at the front beach at Rye a few years ago.

The colours in the tapestry picture have come out much more orange than it actually is but it gives an indication of the work. I had to take some poetic licence with the colours and with how I interpreted the boats and waves but I am pleased with it overall. There are things wrong with it but, for my first piece, I think it is quite successful.
Now I have to tidy it up, braid the ends and mount it. Then decide what to do with it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arthur Boyd Tapestries

Today I had the chance to visit the Arthur Boyd tapestries of St Francis of Assisi at the Newman College Chapel, Melbourne University. I saw an article about it in The Age this morning. There were 8 tapestries hanging in the chapel. It was a lovely setting, peaceful, and you were able to get very close to them.
The work was amazing, they managed to convey the lines and tones that were originally done in pastel.
Here is a link to the brochure.

They were woven in Portugal, before the Tapestry Workshop was set up in Victoria. These days, Australian artists can have their work woven into tapestries here in Victoria.
The colours were beautiful also, glowing in the chapel.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Textile art at a garden shop

Today I went to the Bulleen Art and Garden nursery, to see the art exhibition in their Bolin Bolin Gallery. The exhibition was Fibre & Clay and the artists were Teresa Bennett & Heather Wilson. I loved both lots of works.
The textiles were woven, using nylon line and other fibres. They were interesting and beautiful.
I also liked the clay works because I love images of dragons and there were some especially beautiful ones. I like the fact that the artist says that no-one can say she got the proportions wrong, eg, as no-one knows what a dragon should look like.