Friday, November 17, 2017

Drawing - who knew?

As one of my many fans has reminded me, it is 17/11/17, so I need to blog.
Actually, it would be better if it were 17/11/71 (I like symmetry) but I don't see me living that long - thank goodness.
So ... what to think about.

Well, I have been throwing out some old stuff lately, trying to make room for new stuff, of course.
I have been going through old class notes from my course at RMIT. I started in 2006, which doesn't actually seem that long ago.
I came across the artist's statement for a piece I did in about 2011 and I am very glad I am not still in that headspace! My statement was about how people are putting on endless (seemingly endless) art shows about the environment and how we are (and still are, unfortunately) ruining it.

I was OVER IT. I felt like I should feel guilty for being alive, for using up precious resources.
Fortunately, I don't feel that bad about it now. Maybe it is closer to despair about what people are doing and not doing, about the amazing number of deniers who seem to get so much air space. But I am hopeful that it is more to do with the fact that I am doing what I can and so are others and that is all we can do. And there seem to be plenty of people who do care, despite the politicians.

Whatever the reason, I think I am in a better mental space now.

Now to my header: Drawing - who knew?
I often go to workshops and say that I don't draw. (I attended a workshop with Kathryn Harmer Fox earlier this year and she said that we shouldn't say we can't draw, just that we don't, hence the don't draw, not can't draw.)

Then I came across these old visual diaries and discovered that, when I am made to, I can draw. Who knew??

These were for a screen print assignment, base on insects. Once upon a time, I knew how to do repeat patterns.

I was quite surprised by some of the images I had come up with.
Maybe that person saying that we should draw every day had something going for him. But I don't see a revolution coming upon me - yet.

Trying to draw every day leads to rather mundane subjects.

These were from a trip to Turkey. I couldn't bring myself to draw in public (still can't) so I have quite a few drawings of my feet and fingers. And one of my roommate (which I actually recognise as her!)

It was fun going through old visual diaries and folders of notes. I threw out some techniques that I am definitely never going to do again. I discovered some that could be useful now, in a slightly different way. Then there were the ones that totally relate to what I am doing now.

But the drawings I did were a bit of an eye-opener.
Perhaps I will try to draw more often - one day.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Shadow of Itself

Two Random Photos

One is in the backyard, while I was out enjoying the wonderful Spring day.

(Just in case it is not obvious, the fly is on the other side of the leaf.)

The other has answered a question I often ask myself - where do they store the goalposts in the off season?

Right beside the batting practice nets of course.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mystery Pictures (almost) done

The Machine Embroidery group has had a challenge going, for quite a while actually.
It was of two photos that were cut up into mystery pieces and we were given the piece without having seen the original pictures. Each piece was supposed to be a stand alone but also fit into the larger picture.

It was amazing how some people were able to make the images stand alone and yet still clearly be important parts of the overall image.

Today we put up the ones we had. Unfortunately a couple of people were missing from the meeting and the picture was not complete. However, it is great to see how it is coming together. Hopefully the missing pieces will come in over the next week or so and we will see it in all its glory by the end of the month.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Taking advice

Thanks to My Camera and Me: see comments on previous post.

I have used the automatic selection tool and it got most of the image. Then I used the 'Inverse' command and this is the result.  Is this what you meant??
Anyway, I like it.

But I will have to let it sit there a while before I decide how to use it.
I do have a challenge coming up, for a tapestry group. So I will have a think about how I would weave it - if I can weave it.

But thanks for the idea.

On another note:
The Machine Embroiderers Group met at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria today.
November is our month for displaying some of our work.
We have had the monthly challenge, Inspired by ... (various artists). Only a few of us have done all of them so far (one person has even done next month's one - overachiever that she is). So I was able to put my other group's Inspired by Van Gogh pieces in too.

Inspired by - Hundertwasser, Mondrian and Salvadore Dali

Inspired by - John Olsen and Degas

Inspired by - Van Gogh, Monet and Hans Heysen

Inspired by - Ainsley Roberts, Warhol, Miro and Matisse.
I have hung my small Matisse-inspired piece on a slant, due to my not knowing the best orientation. Twice, people tried to straighten it! So I expect it will be 'fixed up' by the time I see it again.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Continuing to be inspired by ...

This month, it is Matisse.
I have not had a lot of time to work on this piece. Our meeting is tomorrow morning and I thought I would like to be up to date. I did some minimal research and came across some floral-inspired paper cutouts by Matisse.

I had a photo of a grevillea, that I took years ago, for my Photography subject for my Studio Textiles and Design course. The photo is about 9 or 10 years old. Not that that matters, it is still a lovely image.
I played around in Photoshop. First, I made it black and white, to see the shapes more clearly.

Then I looked around, knowing there must be an 'inverse' command - I visit a blog (My Camera and Me) where I know I had seen it and wanted to try it myself. I came across it almost randomly (don't ask me what menu it was in, I don't actually remember).
I found that image to be very helpful.

I freehand drew my image - I rarely draw, so that was a plus. Seeing I am emulating paper cutting, there is little detail, something that actually made it easier.

I traced the design onto Vliesofix and ironed that onto my fabric. Once again, I resisted going out and buying fabric, I am determined to use what I have, as much as possible.

I have a wonderful, tiny, pair of very sharp scissors that do the cutting out wonderfully (with my help, of course).

I then drew the other parts of the flower and traced them onto Vliesofix also.  More cutting out.

After ironing them onto my background fabric, I had to sew them on. I rather liked the fabrics, so have tried to keep the sewing unobtrusive.

My quilterly soul wanted to put some detail in, some suggested leaves, for instance. But when I looked at the inspirational images, there was not much detail, if any. So I have just sewn it to some felt and left it as is.

You may have noticed that my images are not all in the same orientation. That is because I was having difficulty deciding how to orient the final piece. I have made it upright, for no particularly good reason. There were several orientations that would have worked.

All these exercises in being inspired by various artists has led me to experiment with different techniques, try different design techniques and play. I have learnt quite a bit, even though they are quite small pieces (A5). In fact, the small designs have been a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Inspired by ... Miro

It is almost a month late but I have finally done my A5 piece for the machine embroidery group.

I knew very little, if anything at all, about Miro. I now know a tiny bit more.
One of the things I discovered is that, although I quite like his art, I didn't feel at all inspired to try anything textile from it.

But, being the determined person I am (sometimes), I have come up with a little piece.

I found an image online called Personages in the Night.
I saw angels and stars and, it being within cooee of Christmas, I have made something.
I even used some glittery, metallic-looking thread. (I don't think it is metallic, I never seem to be able to cope with that and I have vague memories of buying this from the Embroidery Source and being assured I would manage with it - which seems to be the case.)

Miro Does Christmas.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

More ideas for Transformation

I have so many pictures, some of which will be useful for the theme and some of which are just amusing.
So here are a few more I have taken.
These next few were taken at Warringal Parklands in Heidelberg.
There are some magnificent oak trees there and I love walking under them.

 You can see LOTS of little babies under the tree. I suppose they won't be allowed to grow, either by the park keepers or the senior tree!

It is amazing to think that such huge trees start off as acorns.
There are some interesting textures and colours here for me to consider. And these images look easier to make abstract. The problem will be making them relate to the theme and still make sense to a viewer.

 Now for the amusing photos.
I go to this park because it is a lovely place for off-lead dog walking. There is also a spot that Penny loves to jump into the Yarra River.
Here she is, all happy after rolling in the leaves to dry off.

Fortunately, she managed to shake off most of the leaves before we got back to the car.

Friday, October 27, 2017


 I have been going through the, many, photos I have been taking recently with our theme of Transform (or is it Transformation? I can't remember!) in mind.

It is all too hard - there are so many pictures. And then I think that I won't be able to do them justice. The technique is tapestry and I a) do not want to do a realistic image and b) don't think I am capable of it anyway.

So I'll just put up some images and let my subconscious work on it.

It being spring, there are plenty of pictures of flowers that will transform into something we eat!

Then there is the idea that the bees are helping the transformation.
There is another group that is having a slightly different theme - Growth. I am considering No Bees, No Growth! But, once again, I am not sure that I can do this picture justice as a tapestry.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Making some progress

I have worked some more on my blossom piece. It is coming along.

Originally, I only sewed the flowers and the background was wrinkling.

I have now sewn the background more heavily and the wrinkling is more under control - which  may just mean that it is now all over, rather than in specific places.

 I have used some tiny pieces of white and grey tulle to dull down some of the areas and hope that they will look ok. You can see them up close but the image is meant to be viewed from a distance rather than up close when it is finished.

I have used straight stitches for the white petal parts and zigzag for the background.

Here is an image of the back, just so you can see the actual sewing, without the fabric pieces.

The piece is supposed to be inspired by Van Gogh, using his almond blossom painting as my inspiration. I realised, as I looked more closely at the background of my photos, that my image is the plum tree, not the almond tree that was planted about a year ago. Not to worry, it is still inspired by his almond blossom painting.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Demonstrating a technique

Our Ebb and Flow exhibition is still on and I was rostered to be a demonstrator tonight.
I made three pieces for the exhibition and didn't have anything on the go for tonight.

However, I am also in an online group that has a challenge going - to be inspired by an artist and to produce something from that inspiration. That is due next Sunday - panic stations!

I think I have already mentioned that I am currently being inspired by Van Gogh but am also wanting to continue trying the Kathryn Harmer Fox technique that I learnt earlier in the year.

So ... Van Gogh did an almond blossom piece. We have a very small almond tree in the back yard, it is spring and it was flowering recently. I took photos. I manipulated one photo to have a clearer idea of where the tones are. I had those two photos printed out A3 size, as well as a black and white version.
The background is a water tank and some balcony fencing, I might have to change that as I go. 

I traced the outlines onto a piece of linen, backed with interfacing.
I wanted to have, at least, started to put some fabric on before I took it for demonstration.

Then, after a lot of procrastination, I got to put a bit more on while I was demonstrating. There wasn't a lot of actual sewing done, it was more me trying to work out where to put the little bits of fabric (and some were most definitely little). I sewed the pieces on as I was going, didn't even use pins. Some of the cheeky pieces moved when I was taking it to the machine (how dare they??) but I just ploughed on and decided that any mistakes can be adapted or sewn over later.
Actually, seeing in this smaller, photographic form, I can almost see it starting to take shape. I couldn't really see it while I was working on it. 

I hope to do a bit more in the next couple of days so that I will be able to have a clearer image to work on when I demonstrate on Saturday. I am rostered on all day, so I had better have a clearer idea of what I am doing.

Demonstration table at the Guild rooms. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ebb and Flow exhibition

The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria's annual members's exhibition opened last night.
It was a great success! Lots of people having a wonderful time, good speeches, lots of amazing works to see!

I have been helping with the preparation of the exhibition and it was very exciting to see the culmination last night.

There are so many talented artists around!

The exhibition is on for two weeks. If you have the chance, call in and see the amazing variety of works.

Not being an expert, I didn't really notice that there was not as much traditional embroidery as in past years. There are over 150 entries, with a large range of techniques.

I had thought that there would be a lot of seascapes, and there are a few, but there are also many interesting interpretations of the theme.
Getting ready to set up, some sorting done, lots more to do.

One of the good things about the exhibition is that you are encouraged to work to the theme but you may also put in pieces that are not related, as long as they have been made in the last two years.  It is a great chance for members to be part of a wonderful exhibition.

I helped out in the Gift Boutique today. There are lots of items for sale. They have been made during the year specially for this exhibition. I was, almost, inspired to try some hand sewing after seeing all the gorgeous pieces. Then I realised that I really prefer to use the machine and play around with idea for that sort of embroidery. Whew!