Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weaving demonstration day at the Handspinners and Weavers Guild

Our small group of tapestry weavers was invited to be part of the weaving demonstration day at the guild rooms in Carlton today.
Congratulations to Amber and the 0809 weaving group for this wonderful day. Not only was there a lovely exhibition of various woven items, there were all sorts of looms set up, ready for people to have a go.

Joy Smith kindly warped up a tapestry loom with various thicknesses of warp and had various yarns available to use with them. It was great to have her there, she is a fount of information and has great technical expertise.

There were a lot of visitors to the demonstration and the happy buzz was most energising. Lots of people who had no connection to the guild turned up, lots of demonstrations were taking place.

It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Plenty of interesting questions too.
I had a go with an inkle loom and have decided that tapestry is definitely my go - and not any other sort of weaving. Tapestry weaving may be slow but it didn't look as fiddly as some of the other setting up of warps, working to intricate patterns, etc. To each his (or her) own.

Good news or not?

Last Wednesday, one of my regular fabric haunts opened after moving MUCH closer to my home! I'm not sure yet if this is good or bad news.

It is only a 5 minute drive - I could actually walk it if I really wanted to, and had a few hours to spare.

The old building is being pulled down to build yet more apartments in Brunswick. Brunswick's loss, Fairfield's gain.
The space is huge and pristine with walls of wonderfully arranged fabric.  It is mostly a dance and quilting fabric shop, so each side has its own rainbow.

As I am trying to downsize my stash, I enjoyed the view but didn't buy any fabric - yet. I can see some quilting popping up in my near future.

On the way in, I met a lady from the North of the Yarra Quilters' Guild. She was also excited about the relocation.

The shop, GJs Fabric shop, is set amongst a whole lot of factories and doesn't seem that likely a setting for a fabric shop. But it is close to home and has plenty of parking, what more could you want.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Layers and text homework

As I have previously said, we have been asked to work with layers and text for our design class.

Finally (!!) I have come up with some text that didn't have too much personal meaning. One part of the assignment was to do a layered piece, preferably using collage, that would uncover some text.  After much thought, and some inspiration from a friend who is into paper and artist books, I came up with an idea.

I used words related to being hidden, buried, etc, leading to discovery and clarity.

First, I played around with the idea using an A4 piece of paper. Then I wrote the words onto a piece of soluble fabric, laid it over some hand dyed silk (that I did quite a long time ago) and sewed the words onto various parts of the fabric. As usual, I forgot to leave enough fabric around the piece I was working on to allow it to sit comfortably in the hoop. Fortunately, this didn't matter as much as it could have as I was working on fabric and I could hold the edges relatively firmly without using the hoop on the outside sections.

I sewed the words, then covered or surrounded them with some free motion machine embroidery, using various shades of grey.

The use of fabric meant that the machine embroidery didn't shrink when I rinsed out the soluble fabric, a definite plus.

When I came to put the 'artist's book' together, I found that I had written some of the words the wrong way around! Not to worry, I just cut that section off and sewed it back on. Thank goodness it is only a homework piece, something to be playing around with and learning from.

I am not sure I will do much more with this technique, I will have to see what develops. But the homework is done - after many hours of thinking, planning and doing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two More Exhibitions - sort of

I called in at the NGV in Federation Square on Monday - the main exhibition space is closed on a Monday.
But …
there were two small exhibitions in the foyer.

One was of bats flying overhead. Link here.

The other was a paper one, by Kurdish artist Rushdi Anwar.

I hadn't expected to see either exhibition, I was just filling in time because I accidentally caught the early train to the city.  Both were wonderful.

I do like the atrium at the Ian Potter Centre.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Imagining Ned

Last week I also got to see Imagining Ned, a wonderful exhibition at the Bendigo gallery.
The gallery's website has a good e-catalogue that you can view or download as a PDF.

The main reason my friend and I attended was to see the two tapestries.  They dominated the room. I was amazed at how large they were, and how beautifully they were presented. The use of black, especially in the woollen medium, was striking.  It gave a feeling of dominance and strength.  I especially liked the depiction of Ned Kelly on the horse, looking like a medieaval knight with his lance.

These two are part of a series of five of Sidney Nolan's works that were woven at the Portalegre Tapestry Workshop in Portugal.
The weaving was very fine, the technique is different from the traditional European style and looks ever so slightly different.

There was not a lot of information about the technique but you can read about it on their website.

There were quite a lot of Sidney Nolan's paintings and drawings, as well as works by Albert Tucker.  There were also works by more contemporary artists.

It was interesting to see some of the artefacts from Ned Kelly's life.  I felt sad when I read the newspaper article about his youth and the waste of a young life. The petition to not implement the death penalty was also moving, especially in light of recent events relating to the execution of two young Australians in Indonesia. It feels as though the more life changes the more it stays the same.

On a lighter note, there was a silent movie running that had the saved film from what is recognised by UNESCO as the first feature film in the world. Of course, it is based on the story of the Kelly Gang (otherwise it would not have been in the exhibition!).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Two exhibitions in a week!

I had to post today, the date is 15/5/15, not to be missed.

So …

This week has been relatively busy in terms of exhibitions. I visited Unfolding: New Indian Textiles  at the RMIT gallery in the city.
Although it was a relatively small exhibition, it was well worth the trip.  There was a room full of beautiful (bright!) saris of seemingly enormous lengths.  The information mentioned the use of colour, pattern and texture in Indian textiles and how these elements are still strong in textile production.

Pieces that I loved were done by a nomadic tribe. It makes me wonder how they manage, having to carry the equipment, and how they get sufficient lighting.

My favourites were the screen printed and then hand embroidered and beaded pieces. The colour was so intense - and evenly printed.  And the embroidery was amazing.

There were a multitude of interesting pieces.  I just took a few photos as sometimes taking photos stops you from looking.

There were other works too, I especially liked the dresses which had various techniques incorporated into their construction.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Returning to skyscape pictures

I have been working on some free motion machine embroidery, using my photos of the sunset over the city.

I did not include the city buildings, I just wanted to use the clouds and the colours.
I have interpreted them rather freely and have also been influenced by my recent workshop with Meredith Woolnogh (not that she will necessarily see the connection) and my zentange doodling.

Both pieces were based on photos I took.
The first one looks better at a different angle, so it is no longer a sunset piece.

The second one is better as a landscape piece but is in the opposite orientation of the photo with the darkness of the evening being at the bottom. Not to worry, it is BASED ON my photos.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making myself do collage

As my last few efforts at collage have not been at all successful, I decided to just DO some today.  It didn't take long.
I got out the 6 pieces I had done recently, cut them randomly and then pasted them back together.

I decided to just cut and paste.  At first I omitted two pieces of cut-up bits and it was ok. I actually thought I had only left out one piece and didn't worry about it. But, as I was cleaning up, I found that there were two pieces. So I added them to the bottom.

Not a fabulous piece of art but something to think about. And I have learnt a method that could well come in useful when designing in the future.

And it was enjoyable to just do it for its own sake, not thinking that I would have any particular outcome.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Learning about colour

I did some play with collage tonight, due to being unexpectedly asked to babysit a 4 year old girl.

I had some connector pens and she had a wonderful time clicking them together, matching colours, making a castle with the pens, etc.  We had lots of talk about colour. There are quite a few greens in the pack but only one red, one orange and one black. Lots of talk about colour, dark, light, bright, dull, yellowish, etc.

I also had some coloured tissue paper which became the roof of the castle but eventually was used to make a little collage - she is learning to use scissors (it is quite difficult to cut flimsy tissue paper in mid-air).
The castle, with roof, is at the far end of the table.  Most of the mess is mine!
To demonstrate and encourage her to just play (and to entertain myself while the castle was being made, and the colours paired) I did my own little collages. I had an exercise to do for our design class. I'm not sure I read the instructions properly, and I only had paper instead of fabric, but I took the time to just do something.  It wasn't totally mindless (heaven forbid) but it certainly didn't take a lot of deep thought.

As the two of us were talking about colours, I stayed with the primary colours (also influenced by that being the sort of paper I had easily available).

So now I have 6 little pieces - I have to work out what I could possibly do to develop them into a unit, as is the task.