Sunday, January 29, 2012

Putting music to my animation

As I have posted earlier, I made a little animation of my Artland work, based on Pattern Blocks.  At the time, it was suggested that I put music to it but I couldn't be bothered finding out about copyright, etc.
Lo and behold, someone I know has offered to compose a piece to go with it.  How exciting!
The music suggested that I slow down the animation and then I decided that the order of things needed to change a bit.  More learning of technology - not very sophisticated technology but still a challenge for me.
 So here it is. Our very first collaboration.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Well, that didn't work!

I have had a fairly unsuccessful attempt at doing the Maggie Grey-inspired work.  I made the (not so) simple image using displacement mapping.
I printed one image onto cotton.

I made my lacy cotton fabric using machine sewing and soluble fabric.

After rinsing the soluble fabric away, I stretched it out to close to the proportions I wanted - the first sign that things might not work out how I planned. (You can see it under the printed cotton.)

I reversed my image and printed it out onto t-shirt transfer stuff (note: I didn't really think about the fact that it was a plastic sheet!).

I ironed my t-shirt image onto the lacy fabric.  It was a complete image on plastic, with my lacy fabric on the back. Definitely not what I had envisaged.

The instructions said to use Glad Bake, which I confused with baking paper.  Once again, I have ironed paper onto my work and it didn't want to come off.

I eventually pulled the lacy cotton away and have some slightly dirty cotton - NOT the effect I was after.

I also have a piece of paper with a distressed image on it.  Not sure what to do with that, I don't think I will throw it away just yet.  Maybe I can use it with the embellishing machine - if the plastic won't be too bothered by that.  That idea is for another day.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.  I will have to think about what I can do with the image that DID work, the one that is printed onto the cotton.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Missing My Teachers

Well, it's time to try something new.  I got out my book from Image to Stitch, by Maggie Grey and she had this simple-sounding thing to try.
It is using a photo-imaging program to produce an interesting layered textile work.  The description sounded ok, so I found a couple of images to play around with and set out to give it a go.
Path along the Yarra at Warburton

Lights reflecting on the Yarra in the city.

Well ...
It isn't as easy as she says!  You have to actually know something about what you are doing.  This is when I realised that I am going to have to read the books, the online tutorials, etc and not be able to take it to class and ask the teacher for help.
Out came the book I bought years ago (Photoshop for Right-Brainers by Al Ward), thinking I would be able to use it.  It is for people with some knowledge of Photoshop.  I had some knowledge, I thought when I bought it.  Not enough though.  It got put on the shelf and browsed through rather wistfully on occasion. But today I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could actually do one of the examples in Chapter 1 (well, I think I have done it properly).  I didn't use the provided disk, I wanted to use my own photos.  This complicated things.  I wasn't sure what I was doing but I persevered.

So now I have several images.

Tomorrow seems soon enough to think about how to get one onto fabric and then what to do with it. I am feeling good about having made some progress and the images are interesting, I think.
There are several ideas in from Image to Stitch that I can try.  That's for another day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I just have to blog today, I can't let 21/1/12 go by.  Luckily, I have something to post about.
Some of us who went on the tapestry tour last year got together for lunch today.  We looked through photos and had a lovely day reminiscing.
I have several posts about the trip: here is one.  They start in July 2011, if you are interested.

Another reason to celebrate was that Jennifer was cutting a tapestry off her loom.  It is gorgeous.

She showed us around her studio which she shares with her partner who does stained glass windows.
In fact, they have a rug that Jennifer wove that is based on a stained glass border design (I think I've got that right).  I couldn't believe that it was just on the floor and we were walking on it.  So much beautiful work.  But Jennifer says it is a rug and meant for the floor.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bobbin Winder

Some people are very clever! I visited a friend today and she showed me the bobbin winder that her partner had devised for her.  We had been discussing how to keep the weaving smooth and flat in our tapestries and she told me that it helps if you wind the threads on carefully.  Then she showed me her wonderful bobbin winder.

How good is this!!  It is an old drill clamped onto a piece of wood with a piece of metal in the bit grip.  I am told it works wonderfully well.

You might notice the old ironing board there too -  the small loom is clamped to it and then you can raise the weaving to the required height by lowering and raising the ironing board.  Very ingenious.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just going for it

Just going for it ... the good and the bad.
I have been 'planning' to work on a banner quilt for a while.  I would never usually do a banner but it is the size asked for in an exhibition coming up.  A friend and I have decided to try for a few different exhibitions so that we will actually have some deadlines, and themes, to work towards.
A few days ago I decided that I had to stop planning and just go for it.  I laid out the fabrics I wanted to use, cut the background to the approximate size I wanted and then started sewing.  It wasn't looking as good as I had hoped, so I did some free motion work to give it some texture.  It had been a good idea to just start sewing, it got me going.
Today I came across the drawback of just going for it.  I have to work out how I am actually going to finish it off, how I am going to edge it.  Hmm, I may not have made it wide enough.  Luckily I was with my friend on our regular day of working together and she had some good advice. Let's hope it works.

Before I do the actual work to see if I can finish it off properly, I decided I should try recommended techniques and actually baste it so that the back doesn't move around.  I have been just doing the top and middle layers up until now but it is time to finish it off properly.  So back to tried and true methods in the hopes that they will  help me finish it off properly.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The 12th Day of Christmas

Well, according tradition, today is the 12th day of Christmas and it's time to take down the decorations.
I bought this quite a few years ago, before I decided that I should be designing my own work.  I then went out and bought a few pieces of Christmas fabrics but have never used them (except in a quilt that needed over 40 different reds.  For the background, I chose an Australian print that had black and white circles on it, it was very challenging to make the blocks work in a flowing way.).
Each star is made of a different fabric, a couple are Christmas fabrics.
The Christmas tree has some lovely little embellishments that apply to Christmas also, and I have a small collection of things I thought I might use, buttons, etc.  No such luck, I never did get around to making anything Christmassy. So I still use this one at Christmas time.  But it is now off the wall and in the cupboard.

It has always seemed a lot of effort to make Christmas decorations that will only be used for a very short time.  It might be especially short for us because we rarely put the decorations up until just before Christmas Day, we are always behind time with getting ready for Christmas. I have never felt particularly motivated to make any Christmas items. I think it is a busy time, coming to the end of the school year, the weather heating up, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and I usually don't have a lot of energy for Christmas frivolity.

I also think I have heard that the gifts of the 12 Days of Christmas make up a present for every day of the year (not leap year) but I can only ever get it to add up to 364, so, unless Christmas Day doesn't count, there is one day missing.
It works like this - 1 for the first day, 1+2 for the second day, 1+2+3 for the third day, etc.  This adds up to 364 for me.  If you know how to make it 365, please let me know!!

Spider webs

As I mentioned previously, we have been advised not to put our hands where we can't see our fingertips (as you might be noticing, I really like this expression).  This is due to the large numbers of spiders that are around this year, as a result of the rain we have had.
As the drought seems to have broken, I thought I would put on our water feature, something we have not been supposed to do in the last few years as it wastes water through evaporation.  I opened the little box that has the power switch and decided not to put my hand in, even though I could see my fingertips.

This is one scary-looking spiderweb.

Then I looked around and saw some of the other webs in the garden.  Let's hope the spiders are catching lots of pesky insects.

I disturbed a few spiders as I was moving things around in the glasshouse (I do my dyeing there) and the garden.  Some of them were pretty and not too scary, some looked like I should definitely leave them alone!  Maybe I will have to wear gloves all the time when doing my dyeing at the moment, just so I am safe from spider and insect bites, not for the other safety considerations you usually think of when dyeing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Backyard Creatures

It was much cooler today so I ventured out to do some silk dyeing.  As I was putting my hand in the passionfruit vine to find the water tank tap, I remember some advice I read lately - don't put your hand where you can't see your fingertips.  As I couldn't see them, I looked more carefully.  At first I was taken aback by the many little creatures I could see - but it turned out they were only harmless - to humans.  But there were A LOT of them.  I was not sure what they were so have done some brief research.  This link has what looks like them - they are called Passion-vine Hoppers, a bit of a clue that I could be on the right track seeing they were on the passionfruit vine and they flew away when I moved the vine.

Now we will have to see what preys on them and hope there are plenty of them about. Maybe it will be some of the creatures that are eating our fruit and they will leave the fruit alone.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Upside Down River

All through my life I have heard the Yarra River being referred to, usually in a derogatory manner, as the upside down river.  Never have I seen it so clearly as this last week, after the heavy rain on Christmas Day.
We wandered along the river bank at Yarra Bend park a few days after the storms and the river was brown, very brown. It almost doesn't look like a river.

It was good for seeing the shadows of the trees though.

I often wonder where all the silt comes from, if some farmers are missing their soil.  I know they hate the dust storms that occasionally sweep through and then dump lots of soil elsewhere, so I presume the floods aren't good either, although the silt is good for the areas where it is left I suppose.
You can see the silt built up along the bank.
Quite a lot of the silt got to the beaches though and there were reports that swimming was being advised against in quite a few of the bayside beaches.

I have often thought if using my photos of the area for a tapestry but am put off by the colour of the water. I haven't wanted to try weaving brown water. However, today there were interesting reflections of the sky and surrounds, made more interesting by the ripples caused by dogs cooling off.

The middle picture in the above group reminds me greatly of one I saw on My Life is but a Tapestry.  It is gorgeous. (Another link here.)  Maybe I can take inspiration from it - one day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cute Birds and Dangerous Birds

I was walking along near the Preston Library the other day and noticed lots of cute images of birds - the council logo, it is everywhere in that vicinity.
The logo from the internet site for the council.

Information about services in this council building.

Small medallion on the footpath.

Street information sign.

Rubbish bin.
As I headed towards the library I was very entertained, looking at all these images.  Then ...

This was right in line with my vision and it was quite startling - as I suppose it is meant to be. 
The above sign is very obvious and gives a clear warning about the dangers of magpie swooping.  However, I have been lucky and not been seriously swooped by magpies, despite us having some problems with them in our school grounds some years.  The birds generally stayed out of the way of children rampaging around at various times of the day.

Over the last few days we have been walking at Yarra Bend, early in the morning in an attempt to beat the heat, and we have been swooped - but not by magpies.  The birds really don't like Penny, our dog, and usually only swoop her but I was attacked also late last week.  It quite startling actually.

I couldn't get a good picture of the bird, but here is a very zoomed image of one watching us walking under its territory.
After a bit of searching online at various sites, I think it is a Noisy Miner.  It looks a lot like the pictures on this site. There is a site that talks about the bad behaviour of the birds but it is really only in relation to other birds, not humans.  However, I can see when I am in their territory and when we leave it - it is very clear which trees are the edge of their 'property'.  They seem to slap their wings just as they reach you and it is quite loud.
I just can't resist putting in the date too - 2/1/12

Sunday, January 1, 2012

More pics of our exhibition.

Happy New Year everyone!
One of my fellow exhibitors has sent a link to her Facebook photos, they are of Gathering, our group exhibition last month - last year!