Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Now!

Recently a fellow machine embroiderer told me about Paverpol, a liquid you can use to harden natural fabrics, including wood and paper. She uses it for her gorgeous bowls.
I have made a couple of tree trunk cylinders that would not stand up by themselves. I had tried using textile medium (on samples, not the final products), PVA and leaving in the soluble fabric as stiffener. Nothing had worked.
Then I heard about Paverpol. I looked it up on the internet, as the container didn't have much information and said to find out more at the website. (I'm not sure how people who don't use the internet much get on theses days.) The notes suggested that it might not work on my sewing as it is recommended for use with natural fabrics and I had used rayon and polyester. I decided to give it a go anyway.

As the Paverpol is not supposed to stick to plastic, I used a sheet of acetate to make a cylinder to support the sewing. Then I painted it all over. The notes say it is non-toxic and you don't need a mask but I would recommend using one anyway, the smell is quite strong. My sinuses are unhappy today and I am unsure if it is a result of the product, the weather or both.
I didn't dilute it at all, even though you can, because the initial structure is quite fragile and I decided it needed all the strength I could give it.

Because the sewing was now wet, it started to slide down the cylinder so I pegged it up, hoping that the non-attachment to plastic was true.

I put it out in the sun to dry.
See!!  It can stand without the supporting plastic cylinder. 

I was HAPPY that now it stands alone!  I am not sure how much more it will harden, some of the notes say it can take a couple of weeks to fully harden. There being so little 'fabric' for it to be working on, I really don't know how it will go.  But it stands alone already, so that's pleasing.
Now to work on the other couple of trees I have made. One is much more loosely sewn and I am still a bit doubtful about how it will go. I will try that this afternoon. I made it in 2011 and have not been happy with having to have the acetate supporting it in the middle. That's why I was so excited to hear about this product.
Old photo of piece with plastic cylinder supporting it. Lots more loose sewing in this one.

Apparently, you can put sculptures you have made using Paverpol in the garden although it is recommended that you seal it with varnish. I saw somewhere that you can get varnishes with UV protection too. I won't be putting my lightweight pieces out in the garden though, they would just blow away.
Ta da!  Free-standing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Applique Quilt exhibition.

While I was up Kyneton way on the weekend, I ventured further to Castlemaine, to a quilt exhibition that a friend was going to. It was put on by the Castlemaine Applique Quilt group.

We had a lovely time together.  The exhibition was of quilts that had some appliqué on them. Many of them had a LOT of intricate appliqué but there were others that were a combination of piecing and appliqué.
You could go in a raffle to win this one - it was amazing!
Most were hand done, a very few sewn by machine. Quite a few were professionally machine quilted - well worth the money too.
Merryn Menjivar

Sue Jones
These two made me keen to get back to my doodling, to see if I could come up with some good free motion patterns.

Very few of the quilts were small - quite a few were HUGE.

Vanda Bowers

One made me laugh, the maker commented that she started off making a small quilt  and then she would add to it, trying out new patterns and ideas. It was suitable for a big double (if not king-size) bed. (I don't have a photo of that one but it wasn't small!)

Sue Jones - I think!

There was some interesting use of patterned fabric too, including Broderie  Perse techniques. 
I loved the look of them all.  It is great to be able to enjoy a skill that you have absolutely no patience for doing yourself, so you don't spend all your time working out how it was done, how you would do it, etc. It is sooo not my thing to do. But they were beautiful.

Joanne Lawrence

This one included some kaleidoscope fussy cutting too. 

I was also inspired by some that had quite dark backgrounds, or relatively busy backgrounds, but worked well.

Meghan Leslie

Deb King

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lost Arts

I had a busy weekend - visiting a friend in Kyneton, viewing some edible gardens and an exhibition of 'lost trades'.
Our focus for the edible gardens was on the wicking beds.
Produce for us to try

How to make a wicking bed.
It was very enjoyable and educational.  We also had some rain!!!  We weren't allowed to complain about getting wet, it is too long since we had much rain.

There was a good turn-out for the exhibition. Among other things, we saw a fletcher,
You can see the rain in the background. 
a cooper, a cobbler, spinners, chair makers,
a musical instrument maker,
This one was made out of a biscuit tin and there was another made from a big metal barrel.
a bell maker,
a blacksmith. There were other 'lost trades' there too, too many to list. All in all, a very enjoyable day.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tea cosy exhibition at Bundoora Homestead

The biennial tea cosy exhibition is on at the moment at Bundoora Homestead. It raises funds for the Australian Animal Protection Society.
Some friends and I visited today. We were greeted by 'yarn bombing' on the way in, with two ladies sitting in the shade and knitting (it was one of those 'summer isn't over' days).

Inside there was a good collection of tea cosies, over 200.  Most were knitted or crocheted but there were a few that used different techniques, for instance, felted, quilted, machine sewn.

It is a lovely house and always a pleasure to visit.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Using plants as inspiration

When we visited the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens, we saw lots of native Australian plants.
One thing that struck me was how some of the trees reminded me of the Grug books.  I have never been so forcibly struck by the imagery of the books and the actual trees.  I'll have to go and find some of the books and have another look. I always loved reading them to my classes, they were cute and quirky stories.
Apparently, the character is based on a burrawang tree

but I have always associated him with these sorts of trees (I don't know what they are, I will have to do some homework).  These are the ones that brought the books to mind so strongly.

Anyway, it was a good reminder that a creative person can use anything as inspiration for some great ideas.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quilt exhibition at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

I have been wanting to visit the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens for quite a while now but have never had the oomph to travel that far. (It's not really that far, it is just that you have to put aside a good part of the day to get there, enjoy the visit and then come home again.)
Today was the day. I had heard that there was a quilt exhibition, using some of the Australian quilting fabrics designed by Leesa Chandler.

The pictures below are of a painted parrot, by Helen Goddard, that was then free motion machine embroidered. It made me keen to keep doing my doodling! If only I could paint like that too.

There was a great variety of quilt techniques and I felt quite inspired to try some of them - at some stage. I am currently looking for some inspiration to get me going again. 

The gardens are wonderful too - and it was a nice cool day that made wandering around a pleasure. I took scads of photos of flowers and leaves in the hopes that I will be able to use them to come up with some designs.