Saturday, April 27, 2013

Starting a new tapestry

Our small tapestry weaving group met today.  We asked for a longer time to use the guild rooms and it was granted.  We now meet between 10.00 and 3.00.  It is a much better amount of time, it means that it is actually worth collecting together all your stuff and taking it there.  Previously, by the time we had caught up with each other and the lovely ladies on duty at the guild, it never seemed worth bothering setting up my loom.  Now there is time for chatting, eating the delicious food people make and bring to share - and weaving!
It is also wonderful to be able to ask advice about what you are doing, how to set about doing a design, how to fix up problems, etc.  I have missed that sharing of ideas and knowledge that you get in classes and groups that physically meet.  I like the ability you have to actually show someone, or see someone demonstrate for you.
There is also enough time to be able to chat to everyone, catch up on everyone's news, rather than have half conversations with people that get interrupted because you are trying to catch up with other people's conversations too.
Having the longer time put pressure on to have some weaving to take.  I have spent several hours this week finalising my design, warping up my loom and hitching on.  It made me keep to the task, not go and play patience games on the computer, as is my wont.  It was a bit like having a deadline, something that can be very helpful, even when it stresses you.

By the way, the guild is offering a certificate course in tapestry weaving.  It will be taught by Cresside Collette and Joy Smith.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Australian Quilt Convention 2013

I visited the AQC a couple of days ago.  It has several exhibitions of quilts.  One was the challenge for the convention, Free.

This one had metallic paint and metallic quilting - the photo doesn't do it justice, it glowed in the afternoon light.

You can see the lovely building in the background. I love the old Exhibition Building.
Then there was a 1m x 40cm banner quilt exhibition.  I really like that size and it looks good hung together. Salt: South Australian Living Artists presented The Fabric Trail.

There was a Something Borrowed Something Blue exhibition from the UK,
Korean quilts 

and a challenge for New Zealand quilters to use particular fabric and make a small quilt that was not allowed to be rectangular.  That had some interesting interpretations. 
South African quilts were also there, based on the theme of Dreams.

Australia Wide Three was a very interesting exhibition, showcasing how the artists responded to a  challenge from the Ozquilt Network Inc. It looked like it had been an enormous amount of work.
There was also the 12x12 group's exhibition of their last challenge, based on colour.

There was the Rajah Winner 2012 - Judy Hooworth.  
Best of the Best was an exhibition of quilts that had won exhibitions around the country, as was Best of Australia.
The Teach Me quilts were something to behold too!

I made sure to see all the quilts before I ventured out to the stalls.  I didn't want to be too exhausted before getting to the quilts.  I actually managed to spend very little money at the stalls, I was very pleased with myself.  All in all, a lovely day.

There was so much to look at that I hope I haven't left out any works.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Home exhibition in Banyule

Our local council has an exhibition on at the moment, titled Home: Reframing Craft and Domesticity.  It is at the Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.  It is on from April 4th till May 11th.
The gallery has been set up using entries from artists who made pieces specifically for the show and works from the permanent collection.  It was designed to represent different rooms in a house.
A friend and I visited recently and enjoyed the works.  We were not allowed to take pictures of specific works but could take them of the overall 'rooms'.
It is good to see more and more exhibitions that include textile and 'craft' practices.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Workshop exhibition at end of our week.

There was a variety of workshops available at the Ballarat Fibre Arts week.  As I have already posted, I did the resist dyeing with procion dyes.  I used only cotton but some of the other ladies used silk as well.
We attended tutor talks on several occasions, and got to see the amazing work all of the tutors do.  Quite a few of them don't just do what they teach at the workshops, they branch out into all sorts of interesting mediums.  Julie Ryder, our tutor, had a very wide ranging practice and must have a huge CV.
At the end of the week, there is an exhibition of all the classes' work.  I had a lovely time chatting and asking about how people had done things.  Consequently, I missed some people's work as they started taking their work down so they could travel home.  So I didn't take pictures in all the rooms as they would not have looked good with gaps in the displays. And I decided to look closely and enjoy the works rather than get lots of pictures.
So here are some that I got.

These are from Jade Pegler's class - The Paper Object

From Alison Wither's class - Painting with free motion machine embroidery 

These three are from Liz Clay's class.  Textile Translations.  Nuno Felting with Photography and Mixed Media 

Noriko Endo's class.  Impressionist of Japan-Confetti Naturescapes: Exploring Fabric Oil Painting

Anne Small's class. STACK, Stitch, Slash and Show 

John Garrett, USA: Experimental Fibre Constructions with Alternative and Recycled Materials 

Marjolein DALLINGA , CANADA: Sculptural felting; experiment and discovery

Kay  FAULKNER, AUSTRALIA: East meets West: Warp faced weaves
I did wonder if they had brought their own looms and, if not, what they did if they hadn't finished their final pieces.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I have been away.

It is over a week since I have posted!  I had planned to do some posts that could be put up on a scheduled timetable but got bogged down with trying to get my SWTAFE assignment ready to hand in before I went away to the 2013 Ballarat Fibre Forum week.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the SWTAFE work up to speed, so didn't do the extra posts.  And I have been busy - and out of touch in terms of the internet - during the workshop week.

I must say, one of the reasons I go to the Fibre Forum is that there is no radio, no tv (that I can actually hear) and there are no newspapers.  And no-one talks about the world outside.  So it is a wonderful retreat and I try not to sully it with the internet. (I did do a little, I have to admit. It allowed me to meet up with people from one of my online groups - I missed the official meeting because I lost track of what day it was but I knew they were there and could ask around.)

The classes are always interesting and I really enjoy the week away for reasons other than a retreat from the news of the world.  The workshops offer lots of learning and there are many people there from whom you can gain added inspiration.

I did a workshop with Julie Ryder on resist dyeing using Procion dyes.  We did some resist dyeing using clamping and shibori, to revise our knowledge of the dyeing process.  Another technique I was introduced to was paste resists.  Julie made up some starch based pastes and people experimented with them. There were potato, wheat and rice based mixtures. We also did some resist dyeing using Manutex, with and without dyes included, to add to the fabric we had dyed or to new fabric. We could use stencils, stamps or just brush on this mixture.
Clamping, tie dyeing, peg and fold resist.
A potato based resist was painted on and left overnight to dry.  It does not dry at an even pace and so it cracks.  In the morning we painted the dye over the paste and it seeped through the cracks. 

The base was a piece that I had clamped-dyed, then I put blue into the Manutex and stamped it. I put a clear dextrine paste over my original dyeing but forgot to put an extra colour over the top, so that just came straight out.  Live and learn.
We went on to chemical resist dyeing using two chemicals that interact with each other in such a way that you can put down a coloured background that won't influence the second colour you put on - provided you do it properly.  I did make a couple of mistakes but, as Julie said, we learn from our mistakes. This last technique was amazing - you can put yellow over a blue background and you will end up with a blue background and yellow design, no green in sight.
These pieces had the remazol base, waiting to dry. Notice that you can do an intense background and then paint over it.
If you look closely, you can see a halo around the pink lines, where the chemical has pushed the base colour away. And the yellow spots are much lighter than the background, which went on first.
The workshop was designed to learn techniques, not come up with finished products.  This is exactly the sort of workshop I like, I don't want the pressure of having to make something by the end of the week.  I much prefer to be able to come home and play around with what I have learnt, take my own time to get the information embedded. Then I can apply it to alternative uses that I have in mind, later.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Still learning.

As I have already said, I am doing second year of Machine Embroidery as an Art Form this year.
I came up with a new design and decided to try some of the techniques using the feet of the sewing machine.  I hadn't used most of them before, so it is all new learning.  All good.  Except for the result!

I stencilled my rose, did some textured stems with twin needles, stamped some buds.
The buds looked too small, so I added to them with some knitted yarn I had.

The stem was too dark, so I slit it between the twin needles to let the paler base fabric show through.

The rose was too dark, so I sewed over it with some of the patterned stitches.

Still too dark. Time to try the textured stitches on the rose.  I sewed over the shapes of the stencil, not in a particular direction.  This meant that it didn't pull in like the previous sample did.  But it also meant that the fabric was pulled in in a variety of directions, causing rippling.

I did use a hoop but that is all.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will try using a stabiliser on the back, see if that helps, or I could use batting. Because it pulled in less, it is much bigger than I anticipated.  I had drawn the design with quite a lot of allowance for the pulling in and it didn't do that.  Another lesson learnt.
Maybe I could do some quilting, see if I can stretch the fabric and sew it so that the distortion is less obvious.  Or I could just call it a sample and learn from it.

Even though I said there will be a next time, I think I will adapt the design a bit too, see if I can make it more pleasing. But I will definitely work the techniques with different backings.  Actually, Karen Richards, the teacher, also suggested that I try different weight fabrics.  I will give that a go too.