Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two exhibitions

Yesterday we put up the Winter Delights for the Alcove, at the Box Hill Community Arts Centre. There was so much work, it took us hours. But I think we did a good job and it looks great.

The opening was last night. We had a good attendance and it was great to meet so many of the makers. We hear about each other, read each others' names on the rosters but rarely get to meet. So it is a lovely social event as well as a pleasure to see all the works.
The works are all for sale, so some things disappeared almost before they had a chance to be seen. Luckily, as I helped to set it up, I had seen most of it.

I also belong to an online tapestry group that has a yearly challenge that is collated and sent around the country and to New Zealand. It is our turn to have them all. I had other commitments on Saturday but other members of the group set it up in the gallery at the Handweavers and Spinners guild. I was sent some pics of the workers but now I have to make the effort and go and see them myself. It is always so much better to see tapestries (and other art) 'in the flesh'.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Still playing with free motion patterns

I have continued with my small pieces of free motion sewing. They are not very big and I am using some patterns similar to my black and white pen doodling.
As you can see, they are not very big, that is the lid of a pen at the top of the photo.
One major difference is that I need to use a continuous motion pattern. And I am including colour, which makes quite a bit of difference.

And I am still learning to sew with my new Husqvarna - I like lots about it but it is different from what I am used to. One of the things that is causing some 'design decisions' is that I am having trouble sourcing bobbins for my particular machine. I only have 9 and about 4 of them have quite a lot of thread on them, in colours I am not currently using.  So I am trying not to waste that thread and am using a very small number of bobbins. Therefore I am blending colours because I don't want to waste what is on the bobbin, I don't want to cover what is there with another colour (it won't be enough and/or will be in the way if I need the inside colour).

So the 'design decisions' are to use what is on the bobbins. It is not totally random but it does change what I might have done. I am actually finding it rather useful, it is making the colour changes less noticeable as I am either changing the bobbin or the top thread but rarely do I change both at the same time. I seem to remember learning about this in several of my recent workshops - now I am applying the idea and finding that is works!
I am also using a smaller range of colours, it is too much trouble to start with a new colour, change the bobbin thread (and probably have to throw it away), so I am staying with a limited colour range. One of the threads is variegated, so that helps.

And (this seems to be my favourite word tonight) I am finding that the sewing looks very different when I have dissolved the soluble fabric, which is not a surprise really, it is just disappointing when things don't quite turn out how you had hoped.

Another thing that has happened is that I was having trouble seeing some of the paler colours and have missed some of the connecting lines that are necessary for the piece to hold together. This is another difference from drawing doodles, all the areas need to definitely connect to each other or your piece falls apart when the support fabric dissolves.

Not to worry, I will pin the broken pieces to the other squares and they will not be obvious.
I still need a few more squares to make the piece work better, and in case I decide to omit one or two of the current pieces. More work to be done soon.

I am basing my idea on a concertina book, using thread rather than paper. I found the pattern on a blog by Liz Plummer, about bookmaking.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Doing relief work (not for charity!)

It was the second last class for our course today. We have moved on to more 3D things and today's focus was on relief work.

I had done the homework for the previous class, taking an object (in my case, a mandarin) and developing a small series of images that move from one stage to another.
I focussed on the leaf coming out of the top of the mandarin.
We were supposed to change the size, orientation, etc. and see what we could come up with. 

I worked on  the images from a cut in half mandarin (from our garden) and focussed in on smaller and smaller aspects of it.

Then it came to me - I could use the technique from the Meredith Woolnough workshop I did earlier in the year, and try to develop one of the images.

I enlarged one of the above images and traced it onto soluble fabric, then sewed it. As it was an image of a mandarin, I decided to stick to the colour range of a mandarin, no great thought needed.

Today I took it to class and played around with using that sewing as the relief work.

It is still a work in progress but at least there is some progress. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Should be doing something - but I'm not

As the header says, I'm not in a creative mood at the moment. Maybe I'll get inspired soon.
In the meantime, I have been out walking with the dog and have taken the camera in case of inspiring sights.

Not sure if these will inspire me later or not but I had to take them now as that is when they are around. Also not sure if they are poisonous or not, so just left them there.

I do know that red is usually a colour that shouts DANGER. So we definitely left them!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sailor or Shepherd? I can't remember

Red sky at night, someone's delight,
Red sky in the morning, someone's warning.

We were getting solar panels put on the roof today, of course the warning is appropriate.

I went to the bottom of the street, at dawn, not that early at this time of the year, for the view to the mountains, because it looked as if it could be interesting.

Then I realised I had been too early. Even stronger warnings!

But it turned out to be an ok day, no rain despite clouding over. It is forecast to rain tomorrow, of course! Solar panels will have to wait to be functional.

One of these days I'll have a go at trying to use these images as Alison Holt inspires us.

I saw a link later in the day, that was about the dawn.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cutting up the Collage

We have our class tomorrow so I thought I had better get on and finish the homework idea.
I had made a paper and fabric collage, today I made another fabric one, using the same design and the same stitch patterns.
Two almost the same.

I just wanted to see what it might look like cut up but didn't want to cut up my original in case it didn't work, like the one I did previously.

It has turned out ok, I just cut it into 4 relatively equal parts - the circle wasn't exact so I couldn't manage a symmetrical cut.

It's pretty obvious, to me, that the semi-circles are not the same size, I will have to think about how to deal with that. 

I had 4 little canvas thingies and have stuck the cut pieces to them so that I can rearrange the design  to get the layout I like best - maybe I'll ask for advice tomorrow. The sewn parts are only attached using double-sided tape at the moment, while I think of what I could possibly do with it all. Members of the class have lots of good ideas, some I would never have thought of, some I will never use, but often some that resonate with me too. They may be able to suggest ways to disguise the imperfect circle.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Going through old visual diaries.

In my last post, I was thinking about old visual diaries and how they differ from this blog which I tend to think of as a visual diary of sorts.

I have been working on using geometric shapes in design and came across some images that I had forgotten about.  I have used circles in the past!

The top image is of a design I painted and then Photoshopped to make a repeat pattern for screen printing.
Then I realised that I have actually used this blog to ponder repeat patterns and have used circles in that design too.

So my thinking that I am doing something new, for me, is not actually correct. Not to worry, I am doing it in a different context now. And it shows me the value of visual diaries and writing down how I have done it.

I have actually been using circles in my zen doodling too - some of it because of the course, some because I just wanted to.
I found one I did last year and one that is the current work in progress - I only do 10 - 15 minutes in bed, before I go to sleep.  The beauty of it is that I don't care if there are mistakes or inconsistencies in design, I just do them to help me sleep well.

Homework based on geometric shapes

As the header says, we have to come up with a design that is based on a geometric shape. I remembered doing something similar in my Studio Textiles and Design course at RMIT and went back to some of my visual diaries. I had never kept a visual diary before doing the course, and only seem to do them when I am actually required to do so. But going through past ones is always interesting, makes me think I 'should' keep visual diaries, and then I do nothing.

(Actually, I treat this blog as my visual diary but, having looked through the relevant year and not finding anything to do with the topic, I have realised that I have quite different things in both formats.)

Back to the topic. Because I found some designs that I had done, using tissue paper for collage, that were based on rectangles, I decided to use circles this time.

I did a paper collage, using the papers I had. I found that, once again, I went for the autumn tones. I rarely use cool colours.

I had been to an exhibition recently at which I saw some work by Ro Bruhn, and was inspired by a piece that she had done, using circles and then cutting the basic piece up into four pieces and mounting them slightly separated.  I decided to try this but, to save time and effort, I did it using Photoshop.

Then I made the fabric piece, based on the original design. So far, that is all I have done. My aim to to make another and cut it up, to see if it will work as a design in actuality, rather than in images.
Here is the fabric laid out as close to the paper collage as I could.
I had used some painted Vleisofix for the transparent layer but it wasn't very visible when ironed on.  I then used some yellow Angelina fibre that I had and laid that over the unsuccessful Vliesofix layer.  It is a bit more sparkly than I had intended but it is ok. 
Here is a rather dark photo of the piece after I have done some free motion sewing on it,  to anchor it down very securely. It is all on the circular shape at this stage, no other background.
My plan is to make another fabric one, as above, and cut it up to see how it works in that format.

I also aim to make some circular shapes using machine embroidery and layer them, to see if a similar design can be successful.  That is going to happen when someone gives me 'a round toit'.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mindfulness - really?

I have noticed that there have been quite a lot of colouring for mindfulness publications lately. I even bought one for someone, thinking they would enjoy it - the feedback has been good.

I often have lunch with a friend at a bookstore in the city and noticed that they are having a mindfulness competition!  Isn't that a contradiction in terms???

There are already some entries up on the wall - they are quite lovely.

To add to the mindfulness theme, here is a link that I LOVED. You must see this. I especially liked the way the images fade in (but not out) in time with the words and music.