Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tapestry group meets again

Our tapestry group met again yesterday at the Handspinners and Weavers Guild rooms.  Only one person brought her loom but we had plenty of show and tell.  Three of us have pieces that have been accepted into the Petite:Miniature Textiles Exhibition at Wangaratta, later in the year. (All feeling chuffed!)
You can see in the background the lovely exhibition of tapestry rugs by Anne Churches.
There will be a new exhibition put up next week. 
We had a new member come. He is also doing the distance education tapestry course through SWTAFE.  He had samples to show us. It was great to be able to discuss what was happening with all our works, problems that had arisen with the weaving and how to get around them.  Many minds working together - well, a few minds. It is definitely good to have the group discussions, exchange ideas and have a social couple of hours as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Next Step in the Design Process

Back to the week at Ballarat.  After we had come up with some drawings of our floral inspiration, we then had to try to draw elements in various shapes that distorted them.  We started with one leaf and tried it in various geometric configurations - circle, square, triangle.  We could also do it with several leaves and then the flowers.  This made us abstract the design but also see the elements that were important to that flower or leaf.

Jane has a book about the design process.  One thing she emphasised was to exaggerate the image.  She told us to enlarge and reduce (I never remember these sayings correctly, it was something like that).  It means to enhance any special features about the shapes you have observed (e.g., spiky leaves) and then to reduce the number of elements (not as many spikes as the actual leaf has, for instance).  I am going to have to practise this a lot more.

Then we drew elements of the flower in less distorted ways but still abstracted or stylised.

I really enjoyed this process.  We were not designing a quilt top yet, just observing and drawing out the elements of the image.
Jane took us through everyone's designs and pointed out different aspects of what was working, how they could be developed further, etc.  It was really valuable to see how others were working and what was going well and what needed changing, and how that could be done. Jane set up a relaxed and trusting environment so that we didn't feel too anxious about having our work looked at by the whole group, it was really wonderful.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Textile Exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art

On one of our excursions taking our overseas visitor around, we called in to Heide Museum of Modern Art. Most fortuitously, there was a textile exhibition on  It was Louise Saxton's Sanctuary. She had made some very interesting pieces using old fabrics, embroideries, laces, tablecloths, doilies, etc.  She had cut the up into very small pieces and then reassembled them to make new images.  They were pinned to tulle, no sewing that I could see.
Actually, now that I think about it, I saw some of her work a few years ago, in the Tamworth Biennial exhibition. (This link is actually teaching notes for schools, quite interesting.)
She used old embroideries such as we still have in the cupboard.  I really must get them out one day and see what sort of condition they are in.  I definitely recognised some old tablecloths in her work.
Once again, no photos were allowed.  There are some nice images here.

We wandered around outside in the sculpture garden, enjoying the wonderful autumn weather.  There were quite a few students there, drawing, using their laptops and generally looking as if it was an ideal class to be in.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Australasian Quilt Convention again

Not only did I have work in Beneath the Southern Sky, I also had four small pieces in another display, put on by the online group: Aus_NZartquilters.  The organisers of the group have a challenge each year and last year I decided to have a go, it makes me try new techniques and do some designing.  I have posted about it during the year, as I have played around with ideas.

I am constantly amazed by the generosity of people who organise online groups, challenges and then the actual collections and display of the works. I am very grateful to them for providing opportunities like this.

It was very exciting to see the work up.  There seemed to be two responses to the challenge, which was to design 12" square quilts that were inspired by any country other than Australia.

One response was to produce works that were clearly part of a theme and had similar designs.
The other response was to try various ideas and have a less visually cohesive, but still interesting, group of works. This is the approach I took.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Australasian Quilt Convention

On the way home from our wonderful week at Ballarat, we called in to the AQC.  (I can't link to it anymore, it is over.)
I was very keen to go to see my work in the Beneath the Southern Sky exhibition.  Brenda Gael Smith, the curator of the exhibition, did floor talks every day at 12.30.  It was very interesting to hear her talk about why she chose the ones she did and how she decided to hang them.  I am sure this will stand me in good stead if I try for any more exhibitions.
It might also make me feel a bit better when I am not accepted as she made it clear that there were good works sent that she did not use as she only had a certain number she could show and she was trying for a particular look.  She was trying to show different techniques so had to reject some fine work because she wanted a greater variety of techniques.

It was very exciting to see my work amongst so many fine pieces.  And people were photographing it!!  Very pleasing.
I can't believe I forgot to photograph my own work in the venue - I was too busy watching everyone looking at them all.  Anyway, you can see an image of it here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Taking a visitor around Melbourne

My friend had a visitor from Chicago staying for a few days and I went along on some of the excursions.  One day we went for a walk along Gertude St, Brunswick St and Smith St in Fitzroy.  Our visitor had dome some homework and we limited some of the places she had on her list to one area.
I did a little bit of research and came up with an interesting blog to visit.
Then we moved on to the State Library and saw the Love and Devotion exhibition.  There was some seriously fine work there - they must have painted with a single hair!  It was an exhibition of Persian works from the 11th century on.  There were some European books that were based on the Persian stories too.
Then, on another day, we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens.  What a lovely place.  It was a beautiful autumn day and we just wandered.  Some of the trees are enormous!!

This one looks a lot like the trees that were planted in our street about 10 years ago.  I hope they don't get this big!

There was some amazing texture to see on tree trunks too.

All in all, it is a good thing to have visitors, it makes you think about what is around the city that they might enjoy (and that you will also enjoy).  I am feeling inspired to go out a bit more, see more of my own city.  There is plenty to see and do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Annamieke Mein exhibition at Brighton.

Annemieke's work has inspired me for so many years and today we got to see some of it.  Even though I knew, theoretically, that it was quite big, it was great to see the actual size of the works.
She also did lots of samples before making one and they were also on display.  She actually sewed her notes, rather than handwriting them.  The notes are sewn right on the background fabric, in there with the thread swatches, the drawing and painting and the fabric and stitching sampling.  It was wonderful to see.
She did lots of drawing with her sewing machine too, apart from machine sewing that gave the birds feathers, the water ripples, etc.
The current exhibition is in Brighton, at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, but there will be another in Ararat in May.  I think I am inspired to make the effort to get there to see it.  Hmm, maybe I will do some research and check that it will not be the same as the one we saw today.
We weren't allowed to take any photos, so no images today.

Coming up with the design for the quilt

As I said in my last post, I had thrown in some pictures of eucalyptus blossom that I have taken over the last year or so.  They were in a visual diary that I took along at the last moment.

These aren't the exact photos I used, I had printouts of some of the pictures I deleted last year (still anguishing over that - occasionally).  I am finding the occasional lost picture in various places but still am missing a lot.

We had to observe the flowers in their various stages - buds, flowers, seed pods.  We also had to look closely to see how the petals and leaves were arranged - did they grow in threes, fives, etc?  Do the leaves grow opposite each other or are they placed alternately on the branches?  What shapes are the leaves, do they have any distinguishing characteristics? What colours are the branches, the leaves, the stamens and pistils, etc?  What are the proportions of the various plant parts in relation to each other?  Then we had a go at drawing what we could see. I quite enjoyed this part of the process, it is rather relaxing as you are concentrating on that so much that nothing else much impinges on your consciousness.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I've been busy!

I have been to the Ballarat Fibre Forum for 2012.  It goes for a week, doing the one workshop, giving plenty of time to learn techniques and practise them.  I was lucky enough to go to Jane Sassaman's class.  I chose it because the first few days were devoted to designing using flowers as your inspiration.
It was advertised for the 'drawing impaired and tragically literal'.  Not that I am totally those things but I can always do with some help with drawing and design.
We did a few exercises where we really looked at the flower we had chosen as our inspiration and worked out what shapes we could see, what pattern is in the design of the petal placements, etc.
I took lots of lovely pictures of canna lilies and poppies.  I had spent ages going through my pictures. I even went to the Garden and Flower show.  Then I put in fabrics that I thought would be useful.  Oranges, yellows and reds. Greens for the leaves.  Maybe some browns would be necessary.

These are the images I planned to use.

I also threw in some contrasting colours in case I decided to go abstract.  Thank goodness I did!  The pictures I chose were totally different and I only had them because they were in a visual diary I threw in at the last minute.
I'll post more about the drawing and designs next.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Stained Glass Windows

As I said previously, I have been playing around with ideas based on stained glass windows.  A couple of years ago I walked around the neighbourhood, taking photos of people's windows and doors.  Yes, I did get a few suspicious looks. That's why the photos aren't that good - I was feeling intrusive, taking photos of people's windows and doors.

But, here are a few that inspired me.

We also have an old round window from our childhood home that I would like to use one day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stained Glass Window Effect

I have been playing around with some ideas for a design based on stained glass windows.

As I wanted it to be translucent, like stained glass windows, I used polyester organza.  I layered the pieces and pinned them to a piece of dissolvable fabric on which I had drawn the design.

I then free motion sewed the outline and cut away the layers.  That wasn't quite as easy as it sounded, the layers were hard to see at times and I did nick a couple of layers that I had not meant to cut through.  I also decided to do some lines on one part but forgot to do the cutting away before I sewed, so there is a colour in there that doesn't see the light of day.  Oh well, that is the advantage of doing a small test piece.

I didn't do it in a hoop and I found that it shrank by about a centimetre.
Here it is, in front of a window so you can see how translucent it is.
The plan had been for it to be 15cm x 15cm, so I left the area around the sewing to make it closer to the size I had wanted. It is not very obvious in this image but there are a lot of fibres waving around, the fraying of the polyester.  I quite like the effect so am not going to do anything about it at the moment, especially as it is just a sample.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Essendon Quilters exhibition

A good friend of mine, who is not into textiles at all, discovered that the Essendon Quilters were having an exhibition at the Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds this weekend.  Then her husband saw an article in the Moreland Leader, so he encouraged her to remind me about it. We went along to have a look.  It was quite a large exhibition, taking up several rooms.
There were quilts that were the results of workshops, challenges and just because the makers were interested in particular techniques.  One of the themes was Flights of Fancy and these works were 3D.

Some of the quilts were huge, some were limited in size due to the parameters of the challenges.  It was fascinating to see the variety and the very precise work that was on show.
We agreed that we both prefer the geometric designs but that the hand turned appliqué, and machine appliqué, quilts were lovely also.
It has almost inspired me to design a cot quilt for a great-niece - she was born a while ago, so I had better get a wriggle on.