Thursday, June 30, 2011

Le Manoir

I am sitting under a tree in the countryside in France, doing my en plain air weaving. The birdsong is so different. There is a slight breeze keeping me cool and the sun is shining. What more could I want?
Have a look at the website for this place - it is magnificent.
We have these two days of uninterrupted weaving. Not that the interruptions have been hard to take - we are near the town of Aubusson. which is an historic tapestry weaving town and we have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful ateliers (I hope that is the correct term) who have been very generous with their time. We have visited the tapestry museum, the workshop at Pinton, a dyer's workshop and a cartoon restorer's workshop. And those are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. And that was just the last few days!
I haven't worked out how to upload pictures from the iPad, so just wait till I get home and can do that. I foresee weeks of posting about this trip.

Friday, June 24, 2011


We have reached Angers today and visited the cathedral to view the wonderful building, the stained glass windows and the tapestries. It is interesting to see the tapestries so high up and imagine them with less faded colours, they would have been fabulous. We are off to see the Apocalypse tapestries tomorrow - that should be yet another highlight.
We have seen so many tapestries lately, it is great to know that so many have survived all these years. The reds and blues have lasted better than the yellows and greens and it was good to have visited the tapestry workshop at West Dean because is gives us an idea of what the tapestries might have looked like when new, very colourful.
The techniques used in the old tapestries are interesting to see also. I am trying to de die what sort of design to use when we have our week of tapestry weaving next week, it has been so stimulating this past week and a bit that I haven't made up my mind yet.
Still no photos to share, will try to get on to that soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I have not had much time to post on this trip and I can't work out how to post photos using the iPad. Maybe I should have bought it in Australia and taken the time to get more familiar with it but too late now. I have taken lots of photos, so will try to put up some posts once I get home.
We have seen so many fabulous things, starting with visiting West Dean tapestry workshop where they are reproducing tapestries to hang in Stirling Castle. They have tried to use colours they think are true to what would have been used at the time and they are bright and cheery.

We have also visited the Cluny museum here in Paris and seen the magnificent Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. I have seen them in books, on cards, table mats, etc and had thought they would all be the same size. They are not and they are huge. If ever you come to Paris go and see them. They are beautiful, intricate, beautifully woven,beautifully presented and just gorgeous. There are so many areas to look at and marvel at the colours,the patterns, the weaving, it was just wonderful.
We have done so much I will have to do lots of posts when I come home.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hampton Court Palace

Even though I went there for the graduate exhibition, I had to visit Hampton Court Palace as I was there.  What a fabulous place to study - and they have one, two and five day courses there, something to think about in the future.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the palace - only a few, it is an ENORMOUS place.  I was very taken with the guard room and how it was decorated with weapons. Amazing.

Graduate exhibition at Hampton Court Palace

I have finally managed to post.  I am currently in London, awaiting a tour that is going to take us to see tapestry weaving in and around London and France.  But I arranged to come to London before the tour starts which has turned out to be fortunate as planes are not leaving Melbourne at present - at least Qantas flights are not.
When doing my homework before leaving, I discovered that the graduate exhibition for the Royal School of Needlework was going to be on the very weekend I arrived - at Hampton Court Palace, no less.  So I made my way there in great excitement.
The work was varied and inspiring.  There were 15 students exhibiting, some on whom will go on to do a 3rd year of study. 
I was extremely jealous when reading the visual diaries and saw that the students had been able to visit the Victoria and Albert museum, palaces, and other historic sites as part of their research.  It brings home how far away Australia is from the rest of the world, and how we lack the access to such wonderful treasures.  Jealous, jealous, jealous!

I was allowed to take photos, so here are a few.

I loved this one, it is rye knots, a technique similar to a tapestry knot.

Beautiful fabrics and colours.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June meeting for ATASDA

The meeting was held on Saturday and we got to see the travelling suitcase show of The Maharaja's Garden.  It was great to see the items in person, so to speak.  We had the chance to look closely and to handle a few of them, when wearing gloves.  The exhibition is divided into two parts and we got to see the Saffron suitcase.
There was a great variety of techniques on show and many different interpretations of the theme. Congratulations to all the people who contributed and thanks for the opportunity to see it.

We were allowed to take photos, so here are a few shots.  For more, and better, pictures, go to the link above.
Free motion embroidery made up a beautiful background.

Woven piece with varying warps and wefts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Craft as meditation

I am reading The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock.  It is about a woman born in 1700 who started doing paper collages, with some other media included, the first mixed media artist.  I found a good quote in it
Craft is engaging.  It results in a product.  The mind works in a state of meditation in craft, almost the way we half-meditate in heavy physical exercise.  There is a marvelously obsessive nature to craft that allows a person to dive down through the ocean of everyday life to a seafloor of meditative making.  It is an antidote to what ails you. ... One can lose oneself, even in paint-by-numbers, and the loss of the self within safe confines nurtures the imagination.  To ornament one's existence, even with six paint-by-numbers paintings, is a key to understanding one's personal wealth - and acknowledging that wealth in others too. (p298)
I refer to this as I have been using my game to make some mandalas.  My game is a bit like painting by numbers as the colours and shapes cannot be changed but I can still design different mandalas (or images) within the paramaters allowed by my pieces. I have found that I want to build more and more onto my original designs, as well as change them by turning pieces over to see what will happen.  It is amazingly restful.

I notice that this book was published in Melbourne, by Scribe Publications Pty Ltd.  It is a very heavy book to hold, the paper is all shiny and must be of some very dense paper.