Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Optical Illusion attempt

As I have posted before, I love visiting the Mighty Optical Illusion site. I have been doing some research on colour and found these pages but then did a different search and came across this site also.  I thought I might be able to adapt one of the images using textiles.

It sort of works, one end of the solid dark pink fabric appears slightly darker than the other.  But it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.  This may be because I decided to also try the colourwash quilting effect, which I have not done before, and my colours are not as solid as in the original image.
My sewing was not all that good either, the squares didn't line up particularly evenly.  I'm not too bothered by that, I can use the quilt top anyway. It is not finished, I will have to make it wider and perhaps put in some more sashing. Then I will quilt it and see what effect that has on the illusion.
I may try again at a later date, perhaps I will use smaller squares.  I used 2" squares (quilting is the only time I use imperial measurements as most of the tools are designed for that). I also only used fabrics that I had as I decided not to buy any, except for the solid colour as I have very few solids. I decided to only use each piece of fabric once which was another limitation.  I did cheat a little and make some of the pieces 4"x2", mainly to carry a colour from one shade to another.
At the moment it is on my to-do pile, also known as the UFO (Unfinished Objects) pile.

I am currently attending a series of tapestry workshops.  We were discussing possible designs and I thought I might try this design as a tapestry.
We discussed how I might go about it, what size warp to use, how to move from one colour to another, etc.  It will be quite a challenge for me as I tend to put texture in my tapestries and there would be none in this - so far. If I do it as finely as we discussed, and have no texture, the weaving will have to be very even, every little mistake will show. I am not intending to do it very big, so I think I will challenge myself to do a lovely even piece of weaving.
I have tried an optical illusion tapestry before and had to learn how to do lots of wraps and sewing of slits.  I'm hoping to avoid that this time, I think I might do the rectangle without slits, using interlocking, yet another technique for me to practise. So lots of thinking is happening, now I just have to get to the doing!

I don't have the right colours in my wool collection and will have to go to buy some.  I was almost out the door today but then thought that I really should try to finish The Old House first.
However, it is school holidays as the moment and some of my regular commitments are not on, so I may go the the Australian Tapestry Workshop later in the week, just so I can have the colours there, ready to start.
If I go this week, I will be able to see the Kate Derum award exhibition again.  It finishes on Friday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Teaching wet felting to grade 3 and 4 students - finale

The wet part of the felting is all done!  I went to the class for the last time last week and helped some children finish off their work.  It was an end of term session where children could finish off any work they had.  Only a few wanted to thread the beads onto the cords.  It was quite hard to get the cord through the needle and into the balls, especially as the cords were of varying thicknesses.  But we managed. Wooden beads added to the effects.
As you can see, some of the children had planned well and had made a coloured balls that would make a pattern.  Others were happy with the randomness of what they had made.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weed or not weed?

Vera has just posted about, among other things, her beautiful bluebells. I saw some lovely ones on the weekend, at Warburton.
bluebells, purposely planted
Last week I saw some onion weed (I don't know if it has a nicer name, that is just how I know it.) Doesn't it look a lot like the bluebells?

onion weed, also spreading a lot
more onion weed

yellow oxalis - gorgeous but everywhere 

Many of the so-called weeds have survived the drought and helped to prevent major erosion in our local parks, so they have actually been wonderfully useful.
I am coming to the opinion that if it is indigenous to Earth, then maybe we should leave it alone.
Then I see some plants strangling others, making monocultures, causing rashes, giving us headaches and hayfever, etc.  Some of them are imported and some are indigenous.  It is getting harder and harder to believe that places can have fully indigenous flora - and maybe we shouldn't stress about it too much.

Ivy growing on a tree fern stump.

wattle -aaargh!!! (aka Acacia) - major allergy source, at least for me
It is all so confusing, what to plant, what to pull out.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A 'work in progress' back in work.

I had to actually go away for the weekend to see if I could get back into my tapestry.  I decided that I would have nothing else to do and would get right into it. I had planned to spend quite a few hours on it.
However ...
There were lots of twigs and bark lying around and it is that little window we get, between the wet weather and the summer.  We were allowed to burn off on Saturday, so we spent the day collecting the fire fuel and burning it off.  No tapestry weaving done then.  Too tired later.

Sunday, another beautiful day.  Time to take the dog for a walk.  Lots of photos of huge trees, towering tree ferns and various mosses and fungi.

As we walked along, we saw so much bark hanging from the trees - no wonder the fires run straight to the tops. Definitely not the place to be when bushfires are around.
On our return, it was time for lunch.  Then visit with the neighbours.

Then ... set up the loom.  Aha, it would have been good if I had kept good samples of how I mixed the colours when I was working out what to do on the tapestry.  I did keep a few but was making it up as I went along - so more time spent not weaving as I had to go through my cones of wool and try to match them to the back bits.  Lesson probably not learnt, I am not good at that sort of record keeping.

I eventually got started and remembered why I had stopped - it is a tricky bit getting the proportions right, especially as I am just using a roughly drawn outline from two photos.
But I have started again, now all I have to do is set it up again at home. If you look closely, you will see that there is another VERY tricky part to do on the side - I have been putting that off.  Hopefully it won't take me another couple of months to get going again.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Waiting, waiting

It is election day today and it feels as if everything is on hold till we hear the results.
To fill in some of the time, I walked at Yarra Bend again.  There is a tree near the carpark that has a big fungus near the ground.  It often looks a lot like an elephant's foot but today it had a beautiful bright green rim on it.

I tried for a few close-ups, they didn't turn out that well but they are still interesting.  I couldn't get a good image of the velvety texture of the brown part but these give an indication.

Further along, I was taking pictures of the different colours and patterns in the bark.  Then I noticed the face.  Well, I think it is a face, or someone wearing a mask. In fact, it is almost the whole head and looks 3D-ish. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Renovating our glasshouse

We are having our glasshouse repaired and there is some gorgeous lichen on the panes.
As you can see, the panes of glass have been stacked and so there is a lovely depth image.

I have made the images bigger than I usually do so that people can get a really good look by clicking on them. And yes, you may use them if you like.  (We have just done an assignment on copyright for my course).  Attribution would be nice though.

I thought I would look up dyeing with lichen and have come across some interesting sites.
This one made me think I need to know more - it talks about fermenting the lichen, something I haven't heard of before.  Not that I have done much research.
Another interesting blog but not the info I wanted.
More interesting info. A bit more for ideas on how to use the lichen, and that it can be stored for a while, while I make up my mind what to do with it.
Some information about dyeing with lichens in Australia.
This might be what is on the glass - but no, I think this is more like it. Or this? Or this? Oh dear, more research needed!!
I have looked up India Flint's Eco Colour but she only gives passing reference to lichen dyeing as it is not ecologically sound. The plants take too long to grow, may be rare and synthetic dyes will do the same job.
This could be the one I photographed at Rosanna recently, on the back of a seat. (By the way, that post was about the wintry weather we had - for a few, very few, days - it is very warm and springlike at the moment.  We had the warmest winter on record this year.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Teaching wet felting to grade 3 and 4 students - part 4

Well, it all went well, I think.  Some children still had to do the wet part of the felting as they had missed a couple of lessons.  But the rest were given a choice of sewing on their now-dry felt to enhance the image or to make some of the felt beads.  Most chose the ball-making but some worked with the art teacher to do the sewing.  It is so much easier with two adults!

The bead making went reasonably well, especially as it was the first go for them all.  Some made very precise, solid balls (beads) while others made multiple balls that were not as good but were still ok.
I demonstrated making the cord for threading the beads but we ran out of time, looks like I will have to go next week again.
It was interesting to see how different sorts of wool behaved differently.  It was really obvious, some of it had quite short staples and others were much longer.  Some was a bit curly and other wool was not.  It was a good chance to talk about different sheep breeds and how the wool can be used for different purposes.
One child had even gone home and tried felting her dog's fur!  She didn't bring it to show, maybe she can bring it next week.  She did say it was smelly.