Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yet another quilt exhibition.

The Patchworkers' and Quilters' Guild of Victoria exhibition 2013 is on this weekend, within walking distance.  How could I justify not going?
It had a large collection of quilts of varying styles.  Quite a few stuffed appliqué - I'm not sure how they were done but they were very effective.  There were traditional quilts, modern quilts and art quilts.  A group was demonstrating techniques.

I think this was called Art Deco Door

This is a close-up of part of a Jacobean appliqué  quilt

Sticky Beaks, by Jan Fraser
Unfortunately, I only took my phone and the photos didn't turn out well.  I took photos of the makers of these quilts but they are unreadable.  I have labelled them as I remember them.

Can Do Books even had a stall there. (Unexpected expense, they had a book I had been thinking about buying.) There was an exhibition of quilts by a group I had seen exhibited at the Community Arts Centre at Box Hill.
I am very glad I took the time to wander down there.
I have walked past the Masonic Hall where they meet before, while out walking the dog and have thought I should call in to see what goes on at the monthly meetings.  One of the ladies I spoke to today said that they often have over 100 people attend meetings.  And they have regular guest speakers and a different shop visit each month. Must make an effort to go next year.  They meet on a different day from my tapestry group, so, as long as the football fixture co-operates, I should be able to go to some meetings.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Visiting Heide Museum of Art

It was time for our yearly get-together at Heide today.  Lovely day, nice and cool indoors, a good escape from the summery weather.  Hope it doesn't get hot too quickly, our bodies need to adjust.
We started with the all important part of the day - lunch.  And a good talk.
We finished with lovely hot chocolate, with even lovelier images on top.  It reminds me of a post about our dog on an outing recently. Turns out it was the same cafe. I had forgotten that.

Then we wandered up to the house to see the exhibition of Erica McGilchrist's work. There were some very moody images and some very thickly embroidered pieces.  She worked in paint, pencil and some textiles.  We were impressed by the density of some of the lines, and sewing, and the amazing control and patience she had in producing these works.  Quite a bit of the work was about the degradation of the environment, seems we are still talking about this issue, long after it first became a topic of concern.

On the way we saw some interesting sculptures in the garden.

You can just see some of the metal frame inside the weaving.
The interesting weaving in the sculpture made me think of a brochure I have recently read, Stepping Stones.  It was from Indigenous Community Volunteers and one of the articles was about Hands on Weaving, a grassroots, community driven women's groups in the Wagga Wagga Community. We have been looking for donations to give as Christmas gifts and this seems like a good one to support. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting a little more done.

Our monthly tapestry group meeting happened yesterday. Six of us were there and five of us actually had work on the go.  Glennis showed us her lovely Shifu books.  They were gorgeous.

Two of us had been to Tarndie the weekend before and got some more done on those tapestries.  I even prepared for the day by untangling some of my thrums and organising them roughly into colours I thought I might want.

I did manage to get a little more done.
Amazingly, I have no blue thrums suitable for the sky (not that I am up to that yet).  I will have to use wool from cones but I had already bought some for my colour sampler (which is still on the loom), so no new purchases for this little tapestry.  I'm feeling very virtuous.

I had intended to do some today, no such luck. I think I need to leave the premises to actually do any weaving. 'Working' from home is a bit of a challenge for me, too many distractions.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tarndie tapestry weekend

As I mentioned earlier, I was at a tapestry workshop last weekend.
Part of the weekend was about designing. Cresside showed us some of her works and the original design she used as well as a current design in progress. She used collage, something that I have not done much of, except when we were required to as part of the Textiles and Design course and that was very little.
So I found some old magazines, not that easy as we don't buy many, especially not the ones you throw away or rip up.

After our discussion of collage and how it can be developed to produce an image, and after our walk around the property, we then had a look at some images we had brought along as inspiration.
The focus was on landscape.

I ended up using an image I had brought along rather than the immediate landscape.

Salt lake in Central Australia, from my trip to Uluru last year.

I tore up pieces of paper that I thought roughly matched the colours of the image - and added some colours from other images of the same site.

As you can see, aspects of both images crept in. 
It was impossible to find exactly the colours of the original image in the magazines, so the work immediately became based on the image, not a replica.  Just what I need to learn.

Cresside provided all the weaving supplies and she had anticipated us using the local landscape (in retrospect, I don't know why I didn't!). This meant that she didn't have the colours I needed, which has very little green. Fortunately, I had brought along some of my thrums from previous works.  Of course, this meant that I could only use the colours that I had.  Some of the thrums were very small and so repeating the colour selection became impossible.  Not to worry, I was trying to learn to produce an abstract design. It doesn't matter that there will be very little similarity between my original image and the final outcome - I hope.
The thrums were a big mess, it took ages to select the colours I wanted and then pull them out.

Of course we didn't get the weaving finished so now I have to decide whether to use my yarns and try to get a more accurate colour match or to stay with the thrums and make do. I think I will try to use only the thrums, making it impossible to try to replicate the image or the collage.  This might give me some discipline in the design.

Using the thrums, which were short, meant that I didn't need to use a bobbin, except for the beating down, not a bad thing as this design would have had quite a lot of bobbins in use if I had had longer yarns.
My thrums were much darker than the collage, another change from the original.

I haven't done any more weaving this week but hope to get some done this week.  It won't be a big piece, and I am changing the proportions as I go too (yet another abstraction), so it shouldn't take too long to do - when I get around to starting.

If  you are interested in some more images and info about the weekend, here are a some links.

Elwyn's Facebook page.

Pat Scholz' blog.

Instagram image where you can see that this person actually used the local landscape.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chronicle Fibres

I almost missed the Box Hill Textile Art 2013 Graduation Exhibition, it finishes tomorrow. I went to Eckersleys in the city today to see it and it was well worth the effort.  Each student had to produce at least 6 works for exhibition and most seemed to have done much more than that.  Each artist produced works that were very different from each other, it is obvious that the Box Hill course allows the students to develop their skills and ideas individually.
I was very interested in the various techniques and had a good talk with the artist on duty, Carol Dunstan.  She very generously explained her processes to me and even gave me a copy of some of her other works so I can look at them in more detail.

It was good to be able to see the visual diaries of the artists also, to see their ideas developing.
Carol Dunstan
Carol O'Loughlin
Allison Kingston
Donna Williams
Jennie-maree Tempest
Karen McDougall 
Yvonne Phillips

Yvonne Phillips
I am feeling quite inspired to have a go at some of the techniques the artists have used.  Once I get my studio cleaned up, I am still getting around to that. Then there are the works that I admire but could not even think of attempting. But I am still feeling inspired.
You can see more about the artists on their website, Chronicle Fibres.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tarndwarndcoort workshop

I have just been fortunate enough to have a 3 day workshop with Cresside Collette. We went to an historic farmhouse in Victoria, Tarndwarndcoort. It was a quirky house, built over several generations.  I reminded me very much of Le Manoir, in France, that I visited when I did a tapestry tour with Cresside, several years ago.

The original house was built in 1840, when Victoria didn't exist. It was part of New South Wales. Subsequent generations added to the house, in ways that have caused interesting ups and downs inside. We were taken on a tour of the site with Tom Dennis, one of the 6th generation that owns the property. He told us quite a lot of family tales about settling the property and its subsequent development. 

I was also interested to learn that the Polwarth breed of sheep was developed on this property.  Who knew that Australia had its own sheep breeds? Not me! (Yes, I know that my link is to Wikipedia, which has had bad press here lately.)

A flock of sheep has been bred that is coloured.  
We had a lovely walk around the property and the sheep kept a wary eye on the strange people wandering around.  There were lambs that needed protecting, so they kept away from us and kept an eye on us too.
The wool is usually sold to crafters.  The shop on the property had some lovely wool tops, dyed wool and spun wool.  I was very tempted to buy some wool for felting or knitting but restrained myself, I was there to do tapestry weaving. 

We did get some lovely photos of the surrounding vistas.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Alcove Christmas exhibition

Tonight was the opening of The Alcove's Christmas A'Fair.  It is an exhibition and sale of members' work.  Many items are specially made for the Christmas season. The exhibition is on till November 30th. Quite a few people were there, doing their Christmas shopping.

I have been a bit slack about it, I haven't made anything for the sale. I have been busy doing my machine embroidery work. I started tidying up the studio today but that wasn't interesting at all. Then I had to go to the opening, thank goodness.

Further signs of Christmas were around today.  I was in the city and decorations have been put up.  I especially liked the walk through the  Royal Arcade.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Two exhibitions that showcase 1920s clothes

I know, I should have posted yesterday because the date was interesting.  It was 12/11/13.  Would it have been 11/12/13 in the USA?  I can't remember how they do their dates.
Anyway, today is ok, it is 13/11/13.

I have recently been to two exhibitions showcasing art deco fashions.  One was at the NGV, the Edward Steichan and Art Deco Fashion exhibition. The photographs were black and white, with some gorgeous lighting effects.  I enjoyed the fashions and photography, my friend is more interested in movies than I am (not hard to be more interested than I am!), she loves the old movies too. So we both had a great time looking at the photos.  The clothes on display were spectacular - and we both loved them.  It took us much longer than we had expected, there is so much to look at.

No photographs allowed of course.

Then today I went to Rippon Lea Estate to see the exhibition of some of the costumes worn by Essie Davis, as Phryne Fisher, in the murder mystery series on ABC tv. 

The costumes and accessories are wonderful and you can get up really close to them, examine the detail. Quite a lot of the fabrics, accessories and costumes come from the costume designer's collection. Marion Boyce must have an amazing collection - and a fantastic cataloguing system, as well as a good memory to know what to look for in her collection.

The clothes are lovely but, as with the Grace Kelly exhibition, they look so much better on the body.  Some of the notes pointed out that the designs are made to swing with the movement of the body, which would explain why they look so much better in the show.  Not to say the exhibition is not wonderful, it is well worth visiting.  It has been extended but finishes on December 1st.

Another thing I noticed is that some of the costumes seem to have been designed for one scene, which might only last a minute or two. Such a lot of work for such little time in the production!

Once again, no photos were allowed.  We could have tried on some costumes at the entrance and photographed ourselves but that seemed a come-down after all the images of Essie Davis that were around.

The grounds of Rippon Lea are huge, with wonderful gardens.  We wandered around outside a bit before going in. It was drizzling but still worth it.  It was raining when we came out, so we didn't look at the rest of the gardens.  Was I complaining about the heat recently? It has gone, gone, gone.
It is such a lovely old house that it will be worth another visit in the future.
I did take some photos outside. I am thinking of designing a green tapestry and the gardens were so lush that there were lots of photo opportunities.

There are huge trees throughout the garden.

This is part of an apple orchard on the estate. I couldn't resist the windmill.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Second Parasol

I have almost finished the second parasol. If only I could find the 8th little knob to go on the end of the struts, I would be finished.
Fortunately, I was able to put it all together without needing that little bit.  I wasn't certain I would be able to as it holds the tension on the fabric and allows me to put the parasol together but the other 7 struts have done the job nicely.

I used very bright orange netting.  While researching symbols and their meaning, I came across quite a few to do with the sun and thought they would be suitable for a parasol - protection from the sun while enjoying being able to be in the sun! Maybe even some sun worshipping.

I used some novelty yarn for the top symbol. I did some thread drawing on synthetic organza for the leaves of the lotus flower. The actual lotus was thread drawn on some netting, cut out and then sewn onto the base.

I decided that, even though I am going for art rather than function, it would need something else. The fabric was so sheer that you could see the frame too clearly for my liking. Some of my research was about warding off the evil eye with mirrors, reflections and brightness.  Therefore, there is a layer of gold reflective fabric under the netting. I thought this more solid fabric would give some protection if the parasol is ever used for that purpose. The two layers are not connected except for the side seams and this gives some interesting movement.  I haven't decided what to do about the rim yet, I think it will just float around in the air.
Here it is, almost ready to be put on the frame - HOPING it will fit! (Me hoping, not it.)
I also sourced some real shisha mirrors, unlike the sequins on the other parasol, and sewed two onto each section.  They look like holes to me, maybe they will suck the evil spirits in rather than repelling them.

Another aspect of the symbolism is that there should be some asymmetry - I love that, no need to be exact.  There is lots of asymmetry in the parasol - very protective.

I sewed the circle inside the parasol once again, after I discovered that the whole thing just slides down the centre if you don't! Then the knobs fall off, very annoying.

I also sewed the struts to the seams in two places as they slipped sideways a bit more than I liked.  That has worked well too.

I put the spiral design onto a separate piece at the top that hides all the not quite matching seams.  It seemed to work well but when I put the parasol down it stood out sideways in a most unattractive manner.  So that got caught down in each section too.
Ta da! - The (almost) finished item (as soon as I find another knob to put on the end of the final strut).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Silky clouds

It is almost a week since I have posted, I have been working hard(ish) on another parasol.  More on that later.
We have been having some quite changeable weather, warm, cool, cold, wet, fine, windy, still, etc.
There have been some gorgeous clouds around.  They make me think of silk roving that you can lay out in felting, or you could sew it I suppose.  All gorgeously fluffy and dainty.
So here are some photos I took over a couple of days.

Can't you just see this as silk laid out ready to be felted?

Then, a few days later I was outside around sunset and noticed similar clouds but this time they were also changing colours.  It made me think of the time last year when I was waiting for the colours at Uluru to change. I was less patient this time and only took a few photos.  I was also influenced by the fact that they were changing shape as I watched, getting out of my viewfinder's range.