Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Circles and Squares miniature tapestry challenge exhibition.

I am part of an online group that has a yearly challenge to make a small (up to 20cm x 20cm) woven tapestry.  Some friends and I participated this year and have organised to have the travelling exhibition come to Melbourne.
The Handspinners and Weavers Guild of Victoria has kindly allowed us to put the nearly 50 tapestries up on display.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Doodling and Zen

I have been a bit slack about the black line drawing I wrote about a while ago.  Even though I really enjoyed it and had this (sort of) resolution to do some every week, I haven't done any recently, till the last few days.

I am still working on my bark images and trying to utilise them in my drawing - partly because I have plenty of images of tree trunks to use.

However, I have come across references to zen doodling, zen drawing and zentangles (which seems to be a trademark of the same idea as the other two). There is a whole lot of chatter on the internet about the meditative elements of this doodle drawing.  The recommended way to do it is more freeform than I have been doing but there is a definite similarity.

I also came across an article by Laura Wasilowski in Quilting Arts magazine about zen doodling for designing quilts. It has colour in it rather than the black and white of the zen doodling that I have seen online.  It takes the idea in a slightly different direction, one I don't want to follow at the moment.  But it is worth keeping in mind.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Optical Illusion

Here's another optical illusion that I reckon could be done in fibre - maybe not by me though.  I loved it.
One of these days I am going to have another try with optical illusion fibre art.  Maybe.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trying to meld different ideas

At the design workshop I attended last year, with Petra Meer, we discussed having two ideas on the go at the same time.  Petra said it can be good as it allows you to keep going even when you have a mental block with one idea.  I am not sure that is what I am doing, I think I am just all over the place at the moment, but I will hope that it is keeping my creativity going.

So ... I have been playing around with ideas incorporating blackwork embroidery.  Now I am trying to use the geometric designs of that technique with free motion embroidery.  I originally thought I would draw up some patterns and use the special stitches on the machine that I have played with a little but quickly realised that that was rather pointless, dropping the feed dogs takes away the control and the patterns do not appear.
So I just tried to make my own designs.  I did them freehand, using ribbons for the outlines and then just trying various grids and filling them in in ways that occurred to me after browsing blackwork embroidery books.  (Two I really like, here and here.)
I only used one layer of soluble fabric and an embroidery hoop.  I decided that as it was a sampler, just to see what I could come up with, that I wouldn't be too precious about being geometric.  I thought some of the patterns would fall apart when I dissolved the backing but I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of them worked.

With the backing still on.

After dissolving the backing. 
I think I might try drawing some of the more geometric patterns onto the backing before sewing next time and see how they come out.  I will just have to be careful to make the supporting grid. 

By trying to incorporate aspects of blackwork I have made it easier in one way, I don't have to worry about colour. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting Sidetracked

I was going along quite nicely, working on my blackwork, trying out various stitches, etc.

I am playing around with the very geometric designs in an organic shape.

Then I realised that I had said I would go in a postcard swap in my online group and some of the people had started saying thank you for their card!  I hadn't even started thinking about mine as it is not due to be finished till July 31st.
So I had a bit of a panic and decided I had better start.  I didn't even have a technique in mind, never mind an idea for the theme - Where We Live.
Then I thought about the stained glass window reverse appliqué piece I had made for the Buda exhibition and decided that I would try that technique again. (I got it back today - now to think about what to do with it.)

I have quite a few photos - those that were retrieved when I wiped out my iPhoto library - of some of the stained glass windows in houses in Ivanhoe.  So I tweaked a few of them in Photoshop and printed them out, traced them onto iron-on interfacing and made some 5" x 7" cards.  Who knows why we are using inches instead of centimetres?  We are an Australian/New Zealand group, we should really be using centimetres.

So far I have made two.  It is different with the interfacing, it is stiffer, obviously, but also not see-through.  But I quite like them.  I hope the recipients do too. I haven't sent them yet, I have to make the other two.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recording your progress - with music!

After talking about taking photos to record progress, I decided that I should use the images to make a small animation.  Then I sent it to my musical source and have some sound to go with it. Very impressive - it even matches the change of the images. Thanks so much, Cardells.
The work is titled Branch on a Hot Day and I think the music has that slow, taking it easy, feel.

It was a bit of a challenge to take the photos as I was working, I tried to make them as similar as possible but it is very difficult not to have different lighting, different angles for the camera, etc.  The weaving took weeks, so I didn't stress too much about continuity in the images.

If you look closely, you can see that some days had little progress while others were quite successful, or I had more time to actually do the weaving.  So it is not an even progression but I don't really care about that.  It is an interesting record of the work.

I played around with the images in Photoshop though as the cartoon hanging at the back moved around a lot (or I took the photos at different angles).  So there was some cropping as well as deleting of the background.  I have enjoyed doing it as it keeps my hand in with the Photoshop and the Movie Maker (which is a very easy to use program!).

I deleted the background so it wouldn't be quite so jumpy.  But I have to admit that I didn't put a whole lot of time into the deleting, I just used the magnetic lasso and let it do the work.
But it is a bit of fun.

I did the tapestry for the Petite: Miniature Textiles exhibition that opened today at the Wangaratta Art Gallery.  I was unable to go to the opening but hope some of my friends will let me know how it went.

The tapestry was woven on its side, so here it is the right way for viewing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Envigilating an exhibition

As I have already posted, I have a piece in the Textile Awards exhibition at Buda.  It was my turn to sit at the exhibition on today.
It was an interesting experience - I met quite a few people who are interested in textiles and who had come to Buda specifically to see the exhibition.  There were also people there who had come to see the house and didn't have a special interest in textiles. They all seemed to enjoy the show.  Most of them put in votes for the People's Choice prize too. The show finishes this weekend, so I expect that it will be announced soon.
I managed to get the names of the winners of the two categories: you can read about the winners here.
Teresa Poletti Glover won the Gold section as well as the overall prize. Chris Beehag won second prize in the Gold section.
Beverley Downie won the Inspired by Buda section and Raewyn Penrose won second prize in that section.  
I recognised Raewyn's style from the workshop I did a couple of years ago.  The coat was lovely.

Part of Raewyn's jacket.

I also met Cheryl Kennedy, a fellow workshop member from a few years ago at the Ballarat Fibre Forum - she has her own exhibition on at the moment, in Castlemaine, at the Falkner Gallery.
Then I met the person who ran a quilting class at a Northcote Community House, it was when I was on long service leave and trying to put together my folio to apply for the Studio Textiles and Design course and she was a big help, so it was great to catch up with her too.

I also caught up with a fellow student from the course who also graduated last year.  So it was well worth the trip and was a very interesting experience.  She took a photo of my work there - you can see the shine on the synthetic fabrics, something I did not get with my photos.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recording your work in progress

I was recently showing someone some photos I had and one person commented on how many photos I had of my unfinished work.  He asked if I always record my work that way.

I realised that I do tend to take pictures of my work quite frequently.  Part of the discussion was that tapestry weaving grows so slowly that sometimes you don't think you have done much and it is good to have a photo to validate the time you have spent on it.

Another reason I like to take photos is so I can see the work differently - a bit like using the security viewing thing you can put into your doors.  It puts the work into a different perspective and sometimes things just jump out at you, asking to be changed.  You can also rotate the photo image easily and get a better perspective too, especially if you are weaving from the side.
Of course, it is also good for blogging.

I also came across this at warpedart&design:
It helps to put what you have achieved on the loom into perspective by reminding you of the time frame involved and the technical choices made. It keeps a record of the process and design involved in the making of that particular piece, what worked well, what challenged you, what made the piece relevant to you and the rest of your work as a whole. 
 Actually, to do this, I think you need to write a bit too, especially the challenges and how you solved them (or tried to). I know I quickly forget what I have done, especially as I come across new issues to solve.

The design time is something we often leave out when we talk about how much time it has taken to make something but it is so important.  It is hard to qualify though, as often I find that I am thinking about designs as I am doing other things - sweeping the floor, travelling on the train, etc.  It just is there, in your mind, not something that you always sit down and work on in an on-the-clock way.

The door security thingy that quilters often use.  It makes your work look distant and gives quite a different perspective. 
Of course, I don't just take photos of my tapestry weaving, I also like to record the process in other techniques. I think I have increased my propensity to do this because of the requirement to have visual diaries in our course.  I like this recording of process and will continue to do it. Digital photos are so easy to take and store - as long as you don't accidentally wipe them all out!

I just can't resist putting the date - 12/6/12.  I had to post today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Births, Deaths and Marriages

I attended the opening of an exhibition at Tinning St Gallery tonight, titled Births, Deaths and Marriages.  All the works were done on paper, or using paper.
Brianna Read, a fellow student from the Studio Textiles and Design course,  knitted garments made from crepe paper that she had spun into yarn. They were both mourning dresses.

Dress for dancing on a grave.  Brianna Read

Colleen Burke had made two other wedding dresses, also made of paper.  One was a giant knit dress and the other had hand embroidered images in hoops, attached to the dress.  

Wedding dress knitted and woven.  Colleen Burke.

Wedding dress with individual embroideries. Colleen Burke

Dress ups.  Hand embroidery on paper.  Colleen Burke.

The hand embroidery was amazing, especially considering the unforgiving medium of paper.

Other works were etchings and drawings by Colleen Burke and Glory Books by Brianna Read.
Glory books.  Brianna Read
Brianna also has some interesting interviews she has done at the Creative Women's Circle blog.

Monday, June 4, 2012


There is an apron exhibition on at Buda.  You can go and see it and the Contemporary Textiles exhibition at the same time - maybe you should check the opening days, one is in the house and one is not and they may have different opening hours, I'm not sure.
Anyway, we had a wander around the house and reminisced about the aprons, table mats and tablecloths we remembered from our mothers' homes that were in the same styles as the ones on display. They were in several rooms, so we kept coming across new ones, prompting more memories.
We also discussed not wanting to wear such lovely items while cooking or cleaning!

The dark one in the middle is made of ties.

It made me want to get out some of the old embroidery I did so long ago.  I still have an apron that I learnt to do smocking on - in grade 4.  It is the only smocking I have ever done, I think.  And I remember getting a table cloth with a pattern stamped on it, from the Women's Weekly, if I remember correctly.  I just may have to rummage around and see if I can find them.  The embroiderers' guild is having a display in July of similar items, maybe I could put them in, if they are in good condition.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Winter or Deep Winter

As I said in my last post, it is supposedly the first few days of winter, according to the European calendar. But according to some researchers, it is really Deep Winter, using the Six Seasons Calendar.  I have heard of this a few times over recent times and it makes a lot of sense.
Quite a lot of the trees are flowering, the parrots are out eating them and it seems quite busy in the animal world.  I am not feeling very scientific about this at the moment, but if you are interested, here is another link that applies specifically to Melbourne.

Personally, I never feel as if it is the coldest, wettest time yet, that always seems to be late June to early August.  But the Six Seasons Calendar doesn't just go by temperature, it takes plant, insects and animal behaviour into account.

Now I'll throw in a photo I took yesterday at a friend's house, of some gum blossoms that have fallen off her tree - not that this tree is indigenous to Melbourne, just to confuse matters.  After all, as I have been saying lately, it is indigenous to Australia (actually, I have been commenting that some things are now indigenous to Earth rather than a region, they are so commonly found).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Opening of Buda Textile Award exhibition

A friend and I drove to Castlemaine today to attend the opening of the Buda Contemporary Textile Award.  It was a very pleasant drive there and back, sunny and warm in the car, despite it being the official beginning of winter.

We arrived just in time for the speeches and award presentations.  Congratulations to the winners.  I didn't note their names down and they are not on the website yet, so will have to let you know who they were later.  There was a very pleasant buzz from the crowd, all excited to be there to see the works and enjoy the enthusiasm.

The works were presented beautifully and the room had lovely lighting.
I can't believe it, I forgot to take a picture of my own work.  Oh well, that was because I met a lady who did the distance education course that I did last year through SWTAFE, the machine embroidery course.  We got chatting and comparing notes about the course and what we are doing now and I simply forgot.  But I did get a photo of her work.
I have included a photo from inside the house to show what I assume was the inspiration for the base of her lamp - it seemed like a good connection to me, anyway.

You can see the winning entry for the Inspired by Buda section in the background.

I also met a lady from the AusNZ tapestry online group. She had done a tapestry, of course!  It is good to meet people you know vaguely through the internet, in person.

It was actually a much brighter day than the last time I visited Buda and I got a couple of pictures of pieces I hadn't had a chance to photograph last time.  I especially liked this lamp.