Thursday, December 29, 2011

People who influence us

I have just heard today that Erica Wilson has died.  It came about because I was showing a friend some of my old embroidery and sewing books and found my very old copy of Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book.  Mine was a reissue in 1977 and I think I bought it new. I used it this year when researching one of our assignments for experimental textiles.  It was wonderful to go back to read about the different stitches, see the very clear instructions and realise that I can still use them today.
It made me reflect on the impact people can have on our lives, even if we never meet them.
I have recently realised how much I like crewel embroidery and Jacobean patterns, things I tried with our pocket assignment in experimental textiles.
Of course, there are many people who have influenced me but it is interesting to reflect on one who has done it from afar, through trying to share her knowledge and enthusiasm.  I suppose this is done through the new technology of the internet now.  I am grateful for having had the book throughout all these years though and I am fairly sure I would not have visited websites and blogs as regularly as I have this book.  It doesn't seem to be so ephemeral, it just has to be there, on the shelf. Internet sites are arranged in a different way, one I have not grown up with, so perhaps the younger generations will be more attuned to online resources.  I hope they don't miss out on the joy of revisiting favourite books and images though.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

After the storms of Christmas Day, we went down to the local creek to see the damage. We couldn't get in our usual way, the bridge was under water and had a lot of debris caught on it.
 We walked along a bike track further along the creek and saw the walkway from in the park - quite a long way away from where it should be.
A snake used to live under this walkway, I wonder where it has gone.  Actually, we were a little nervous about walking down at the park as it has a lot of snakes and we were a little worried about where they would all be, assuming they were washed out by the floods.

The floods will hopefully have cleaned out the creek, there was a lot of silt deposited on the flood plain also, maybe the plants will benefit from this and the good soaking - those that are still rooted in the ground that is.  It was fascinating to see the different areas the flood had come to and how different things had accumulated in various areas.  I feel sorry for the park rangers who have put so much work into the planting and renovation in the park, there is a lot of cleaning up to do.

We were very fortunate at home, only a little bit of water go in.  Some of my friends were badly inundated.  Best wishes to all those who were affected by the deluge.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

It is nearly a week since I last blogged - I will miss my deadline if I'm not careful.
I haven't been doing much of great interest in the last week.  We finished our exhibition and then it was the post-study let-down.  I have tried to get interested in some sewing or weaving but just don't have the energy or focus.
We have had some pre-Christmas events and the planning for Christmas day and that has been enough.  It is also getting hotter, more summery, and that takes it out of you.  Even the nights are getting warmer which makes sleeping harder.
But the hot weather has one benefit (not that it feels like it at the time), you have to get up early to take the dog for a walk before the heat sets in.  This morning I went to Yarra Bend and got yet more photos of eucalyptus trunks.  Yes, I am still taking photos.  I am very impressed with my phone, it takes quite good pictures and I don't have to carry a camera with me.
I will have to come up with some new works to depict this sort of  trunk, it is very textured.

Here is a picture I took recently, it is a paperbark and the texture is amazing.  I am still thinking about how to try something with this.  Maybe felting would be the go.  I have yet to find a felting technique that I like to do - or that I can make pleasing products with.  So maybe something like this would be a challenge I could take up. Something for the new  year perhaps.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ivanhoe Makers Market

I called in to the Ivanhoe Makers Market Saturday morning, very briefly as I had to leave early for a family Christmas event.  It has moved to the corner of Waterdale Rd and Livingstone St.  I had seen a week or so ago that it was on but had let it go out of my mind because I didn't think I would have time to go.  However, as I was doing some last minute shopping for the day out, I saw some of the stalls out on the street side and decided I had time to go.  It was a bit hot for the poor stall-holders out in the sun but they had some lovely work.
All the stalls had beautiful things, it is all of a really high standard.  I didn't have much time but did manage to buy a few things.  Some gorgeous cards, some little knick-knacks, etc.
The stalls have all sorts of items on them.  I look at some of them and wonder how they do them, others I think I know and even think maybe I could make those things - but then I realise that I am not willing to put in the work necessary to make them to the standard that is presented, so I should just stop kidding myself about being able to make them and appreciate the wonderful work that is there.
One of my favourite stalls has wonderful chocolate fudge but I resisted buying it as I thought that I would have a surfeit of sweet things later in the day - I was right.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The launch itself.

The actual official opening of Gathering was on Thursday evening.  It was very well attended and there was an excited buzz all around.  As I said earlier, the gallery was wonderful, light and with enough space for all our works.
Thanks must go to Gina, Sieglindie, Brianna and Sia for the wonderful work they did in organising such a large group of artists and for the lovely catalogue.  Well done ladies!
I had sent out the invitation via email to a large group of people and it was very pleasing to see so many supportive friends.  I actually caught up with people I had not seen in a couple of years, so it was even more pleasant.

It was so crowded it was hard to get a good look at all the works, so I am glad we had to chance to be there earlier in the day.
The show is on till Sunday afternoon,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pre-launch lunch

Our exhibition, Gathering, at the Tinning St Gallery, opened last night.  We put on a lunch before-hand to thank the teachers from RMIT for their work in the years that we studied there.  They encouraged, pushed and generally helped us develop our artistic and technical skills. It was great that so many of our teachers were able to come for lunch, it was a pleasure to see them again.

The gallery was beautifully set up.  As you walked in the door, your eye was taken by the swath of red across the room.  An area of black, white and grey drew the eye, as did the areas with colour.  The gallery space was bright and the curating was wonderful.  Thanks to Phill Dogget-Williams for his work in this area.

There were 24 participants in the exhibition and quite a lot of their work was exhibited.  It was great to see such a high standard, in such a variety of mediums.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lumosity and birds

I just had to blog today because of the date - 13/12/11.  Lovely.
My excuse is to talk about Lumosity, the site where you keep your brain active by playing games.  A few of the games have birds in them and you have to identify them - I have never heard of some of them, they are obviously northern hemisphere, or USA, birds.  But it makes me think of the birdsong that is around at the moment here - many birds are singing, mating and generally visible.  Quite a few of them are making themselves heard at dawn! (which is early at this time of the year).
It also reminds me of my recent trip to France and all the birds that were around - especially the swallows - so many of them. We don't get swallows in those numbers here in Melbourne.
We met a lady there who had visited Australia and she commented that the Australian birdsong seemed harsher than European birdsong.  When I came home I listened more attentively and I have to agree with her, the birds here seem to have more raucous sounds.  Not that I don't like them, they are just not usually as melodious as the birds I heard in France, except for the magpies of course.

The Lumosity site is quite good fun but I am aware of the fact that I often don't go on the computer till the end of the day, when I am quite tired.  So some days I do well and others I don't do so well.  Not to worry, it is still an enjoyable site and I hope I am keeping my brain active in a positive way.

Of course, doing art activities is supposed to be good for the brain also.  I have to admit, some of my art activities are more relaxing than others.  I spent quite a bit of time doing some tapestry weaving today, only to realise that I had forgotten to hitch off the parts that are the shaped edge and I had to pull it out again.  Frustrating!!  This current work, based on the theme of Circles and Squares, has had more pulling out than I have ever done with a tapestry.

It is actually quite a challenge.  I am not that confident with circles but have decided to persevere and see how I go.  It is also going to be a shaped piece with some parts attached by sewing only, they are not woven in at all.  It will be interesting to see how I go when I get to those sections.
Fortunately, it is not a very big tapestry so I can give it the time I need to try to learn the different techniques without stressing that I am wasting my time with a big work. It is a bit like working on the 12 inch art quilts, you haven't wasted too much time and effort (and materials) with it, even if you don't much like it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trying to get going again

In the last couple of days I have tried to get back to the challenge from an online group.  It was to produce a 12 inch square art quilt, one every two months.  No problem, I thought.  Hah!  That was before the final year of my course kicked in.  I did the first 2, which took me till March (technically April) but then it all fell in a heap.
But I have made another one - number 3 of 6.  And there are only a couple of weeks left in the year. I will try to get at least one more done - we are allowed to put in the best 4 we have done this year in the Australian Quilt Convention - our group organiser has managed to get a group show accepted.  So that is my aim for the next two weeks - to make at least one more.
I am not that happy with this one, so there may need to be two more.  I hope that we have January to catch up and I will try to keep motivated.
Actually, I feel good at the moment. I may not be that happy with it but at least I have done it and now ideas are flowing.  Whether or not I do anything about these ideas is a different issue but I am happy that ideas are generating.

This one is based (loosely) on Charles Rennie Mackintosh's rose design.  I have been working on this idea for a while, in a desultory fashion, and managed to totally ruin my last attempt.  But that is the benefit of a 12" square piece, it isn't too devastating when you ruin it, you haven't done all that much work.  So I started again.  I would prefer my old design, if it had worked, but this is what I have ended up with.  

The top fabric has a square pattern, a recognition of the geometric elements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's many geometric designs - but I don't think it worked that well.  
The rose is done using the reverse applique, or cut-away, technique.  There are 5 layers for the rose and another layer for the leaves.  I am not used to doing couching, so I decided to put some in, that is the stems.  
Another challenge for me with this one was the PINK.  I am not a fan of pink and it has been difficult to work with some of the fabrics.  In fact, I threw out some of the ones I had purchased (yet more in my stash) and put in some less pink pieces.
This technique produces quite heavy pieces.  There are 7 layers of fabric and some pellon as I decided that I wanted some quilting to enhance the design.  I didn't do that much quilting in the end but I am still glad that I gave myself the option.  But the piece is heavy, I wouldn't use this for a quilt that was going to be used as bedding or a rug.  It is also raw edge and there is some fraying which would annoy me greatly in a bed quilt.
I have decided to try different techniques that I have read about but have not used that much, if at all.  This means that some of my 'art quilts' are rather quilty but that is because I am trying new for me techniques rather than new techniques.  I have decided not to worry too much about innovation, just to try innovation for me!

Here is the original piece - before I totally wrecked it.  It has squares quilted and then I used some of the iron-on fusible that I had painted. The design was too round for my liking so I decided to do some more quilting around it and then try painting dye on the back, allowing it to seep through. I made the dye too runny and it seeped further than I wanted.  But the original idea was ok and I might try it again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More bark pics

I have taken yet more pictures of bark peeling from the eucalyptus trees in my local areas.  Yesterday it was at Yarra Bend, today it was at Rosanna.
It is the time of year when the trees are losing their bark, a bit like skin peeling off after being in the sun too long.  The new trunks are emerging, quite different colours from the bark.

Beautiful colours, all mixed together.

I was amazed by the green trunk on this tree!
I had to hurry to post today, the day is nearly over and it is one of those dates - 11/12/11.  I missed 11/11/11 but this is nearly as good.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Invitations

I am posting two images of invitations.  One is for the annual RMIT student art work auction, New Collectables.  I have not attended it before but have had work in it.
Students of all courses at RMIT can submit work to the auction and are asked to keep prices low as there is no commission taken and it is a sale to promote student work.  Apparently many people attend and buy Christmas presents.  Not all work makes it to the auction and is sold separately in back room sales.  This event starts on Wednesday, for the backroom sales, with the auction on Thursday evening.  Backroom sales continue till Friday evening.

The other event is an exhibition of students who enrolled for the Studio Textiles and Design course and either graduated this year (its final year) or who did not graduate.  Many of the students were part-time and have not been able to finish the course before it has been discontinued.  There will be a range of techniques on show.
The exhibition will be at the Tinning St Gallery from Thursday December 15th till Sunday December 18th.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just in Time!

The Tutenkhamun exhibition has been on at the Melbourne Museum for MONTHS and I have been meaning to go.  I saw that it finishes on Sunday, so called in today.  It was very interesting, lots of beautiful artifacts to look at and drool over.  We were not allowed to have any electronic devices on, take photos or even sketch.  Parts of it were in quite dark rooms, I'm not sure if that was to protect them from the light or just for the atmosphere.
I can't imagine the excitement of the archaeologists who found it - there were some movies from the time as well as images.  It must have been so amazing.
I did enjoy just looking at the exhibition and not having to think about how it would fit into my teaching, what books or charts I could buy to help plan lessons, etc. I just enjoyed it for what it was. And I didn't buy any souvenirs.
I did examine a lot of the works with our online group challenge in mind - to make 12 in square art quilts based on countries other than Australia.  I am hoping to get back to that work, I have let it lapse since I have concentrated on finishing my Studio Textiles and Design course.