Friday, August 11, 2017

New from Old

The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria, is having a members' exhibition in October.
I thought I would try to come up with something for it. We are allowed to put in three pieces, plus another for the challenge.
The challenge theme is Take a Shell ...  I am not to sure about this one, might have a go, closer to the time. But, so far, it is not speaking to me. I did try something a while ago but am not that thrilled with it.

However, Ebb and Flow is the theme for the main exhibition.
I have looked at Pinterest (what a wonderful site!!) and seen all sorts of images that have inspired me. But I have come back to a piece that I started for the Living Colour theme, in 2014/15. I didn't finish it but didn't throw it out either.

I have resurrected it, in light of some of the ideas I have found online, and have spent quite a few hours refining the idea.
It started off as a simple patchwork piece, using the colour illusion idea that I tried before.

Now I have sewn it a lot! The idea is that the colour awareness ebbs and flows as we look at it. Or something like that.
I have added some random pieces of fabric, on top of the patchwork. Then I have heavily sewn it free motion.



I have finished the sewing, now I have to carefully measure and cut it, so I can put on some binding. That is for another day. Not far in the future though, I want to have it done and dusted.

I still have to decide which way up looks better. It is currently hanging on a bookshelf so I can see it as I pass by, then I will put it the other way up and see which appeals to me more.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Another day, another gallery opening

Last night the Hatch Gallery, in Banyule, had its opening of the exhibition, States of Being, the Elemental Importance of Water. 
It is a lovely space and has amazing exhibitions.
Last night's was very well attended with a lot of commitment to the problem of water in Australia - we are a very dry continent, liable to the largest extremes of weather of any continent.

Works were from various visual arts techniques and were inspiring.



Of course, my favourites were the tapestries.







Rosemary Crossthwaite had a selection of 6 tapestries, all depicting aspects of water in the centre of Australia, notably, Lake Eyre. They were wonderful.

Due to the large crowd, I will have to go again to see all the works properly. But, not to worry, the exhibition is on until September 9th.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kate Derum Award, 2017

I was fortunate to be able to attend the announcement of the Kate Derum Tapestry Weaving Award, and the Irene Davis Emerging Artist Award tonight, at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.
The exhibition was of a very high quality. It seems to get better every time!
Irene Davis Emerging Artist pieces.

It was great to catch up with some of my weaving friends who had pieces accepted (as well as my weaving friends who either didn't get accepted or didn't enter). We had a lovely night.
The atmosphere was of joy and excitement.




The range of tapestries was wonderful, as were the interpretations of the guidelines. Congratulations to anyone who did get their work in the exhibition, there were more applications than were shown.


It was also great to see some tapestries of people I have only come across online. It is soo much better to see the works 'in the flesh' than as images online.


The opening speeches were interesting. One thing I found quite fascinating was the idea that works from the USA, Europe and Australia/New Zealand have different features that identify where they were woven or where the weaver was taught. This was apparent to the judges, not to me!!



I didn't get great photos, it was too crowded! But I am sure the website and/or Facebook site will have wonderful images up soon.

The winning tapestry. 

We also got to see the tapestries on the loom in the main workroom, as well as many of the absolutely gorgeous samples.

The exhibition is on till September 29th and is well worth the visit. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Inspired by ... the date! And Mondrian

As the header says, the date got me going - 27/7/17.

This month's artist is Piet Mondrian, about whom I knew nothing. I still don't know much, have just done a very lightweight search.

I have seen his work, and similar artists, around the place without knowing who did it.

It was hard to come up with something that wasn't just a copy. I'm not sure I've succeeded, even though it is my own interpretation.

I decided to do reverse appliqué, seeing I was reminded recently of how often I have used it in the past.

I also just used pieces of fabric I already had. They are not totally flat colours but I have stuck to the three primary colours, and black and white.

I remembered that when I was doing the Design for Stitch course, a while back, we did a session on lines and shapes.  I got out my folder and came across an image that I quite liked.

But when I tried to make it on an A5 sized piece of paper, it wasn't going to work. And the black was not quite what I was looking for.

I used it to come up with a new design.  Then I realised that I was going to have to be cutting out some very small pieces if I put in all those shapes.

New design needed.

Here it is, all sewn and ready to be cut.


The fraying is always a bother with reverse appliqué, I'll have to see if I can get rid of all those little threads.

The finished item. I haven't put my initials on it yet because it is a bit hard to say which way up looks best. I'll have to give that some thought. 
I think I liked it better with the white border but too late now!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Inspired by ... Andy Warhol

Well, I dragged myself out of my sickbed today (not that ill, a cough and not feeling great) and finished off the small piece I cut out ages ago, inspired by Andy Warhol.

I decided to just sew the pieces down, not try to do any thread painting. The main reason for this was that the images I was inspired by are screen printed and don't have much depth or shading in them, they appear quite flat to me.

Having recently worked with Kathryn Harmer Fox and learning to embed the fabric with random stitching, I decided to just try that. There wasn't much embedding to do, the fabric really has the image, the stitching is holding it down and that is about all.

The pieces were traced onto Vliesofix and then ironed onto the fabric and cut out. It is all rather fiddly as the finished size is only A5 - that has been one of the main challenges of this series, the small size! It makes it achievable as it is small but it also makes the design choices different, to manage to get the effect in such a small piece.

I decided to cut out the hair under my chin, especially as it didn't seem right when I cropped the picture. Then the chin looked rather strange. I added some shadow but I think it is a bit straight.


Not to worry, I have done another of my machine embroidery group's challenges, despite not making the relevant meeting.

Now I just have to try to be inspired by Piet Mondrian. Not getting any great inspiration at this stage. Still, if I start looking, I may come up with some new idea to try.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Travelling tapestry exhibition 2017

The online group challenge has come to Melbourne! We put it up today, at the Handspinners and Weavers gallery, in Carlton North.

Every time I looked at it, I saw a new tapestry to exclaim over.
The interpretations are so varied and there are 53 small tapestries, so there is plenty to look at.

My piece probably would have benefited from a written explanation, but that is not part of this challenge. I noticed that the corner that had curled, due to the exposure to the elements, had a pin in it. But it is not supposed to be pinned. Luckily, I was there for the hanging, so I could make my point, so to speak.

It is not as dark now, I did wash it thoroughly as it was going to travel with other people's precious pieces. But the curled corner is still there.

Our local group also took the opportunity to hang our Leaves challenge. One piece is missing as the maker is overseas at the moment. But she will be back soon and will come in and complete the image.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Next artist to inspire us

I missed the last machine embroidery group meeting, so didn't do the next challenge. It was Andy Warhol. I looked at some of the images online and thought that maybe I could do some screen printing. But that seemed a lot of trouble just to get an A5 image that I am not particularly interested in.

I let it go and did a couple of other things. Then I looked online again.
I even went back to search for free online photo changing sites. Nothing appealed to me, mainly because I didn't have an inspirational image to begin with.

I don't usually put my image online, in fact, I don't have that many photos of me, I usually take photos of scenes and other people.

I chose to do a face rather than some of the other types of images he did.

I eventually found a picture of me from (ahem) years ago. That will do, I thought to myself.


Then I looked around online again, for a tutorial on how to use Photoshop to do my image in the genre. I found a couple but they didn't seem to be using the same edition of Photoshop that I have.
I then decided to play around with what I know how to do and came up with some samples.


They are not great but they have given me some practice on Photoshop (much needed).  As you can see, the shadow under my chin gave me some problems and I eventually cropped the image quite a bit too.
I'll have to see if I can meld the best aspects of the various images and come up with something. Or not.

I can now think about how I might go about doing this in textile. So the challenge, although not immediately interesting to me, has given me some creative thinking and problem solving, something I enjoy.

It may go no further than this, but it has been useful to this point.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Finished - sort of.

I am preparing this in advance, so I don't forget the next interesting date - 17/7/17.
I also have to post to one of my online groups on Saturday. The piece is almost finished, not mounted as I can't decide how I want to do that yet. But it is finished enough for me to post my picture.
I have made a textile art piece, rather than a quilted piece. It is all sewing straight onto a piece of linen/cotton, with interfacing on the back. No hoop was used, it is strong enough to go under the machine as is.

Then I can put it up here, on another site. After the big 'reveal'.
I am looking forward to seeing what the others have done.

This is it on the floor, loosely attached to the mount board. I need to decide if I want the rough edges to show or if I am going to put a frame around it and hide them. Decisions, decisions. 

We are working on being inspired by an artist - any artist, any medium. At first, I though I would be inspired by Van Gogh, again.
As I was working on it, I realised that I am also being inspired by Kathryn Harmer Fox and her technique.
Soon I will have to decide if I am going to continue with both, or just with one. But I have a few months till the next 'reveal', so I can take my time, fortunately.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Then and Now

I took the dog to the local park today. I haven't been there is ages, partly due to too many snakes in summer and her being injured. She has had to have shortish walks, which means driving to a suitable park and then walking. Our local park is just too far to get there and then be in the park - much too close to drive to!

But it was such a beautiful day today that I just had to go out. I didn't want to face the increasingly busy roads, so a local walk it was. And she is a lot better.

I took my camera as I am feeling mildly inspired to try another Van Gogh type piece. I tend to take pictures of parks, trees, flowers, etc. So I will have to do some research into Van Gogh's images.

However, I walking into the park from the direction where I took the photo I have just used as my inspiration. So I took another today. No convenient people stand in just the right spot but it was good to be there anyway.


Penny was a bit surprised that I was the one taking a long time to move on, that is usually her forte.

As usual, I went a bit later in the day, so there are some beautiful long shadows.

I couldn't resist taking this one. The dog had been looking around for his person and this is them, just after reuniting.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Making some progress

I spent several hours on my piece today. I have discovered that I need to move away from my work from time to time. Actually, Kathryn Harmer Fox noted it when I did a workshop with her earlier in the year. It was quite helpful to have my process actually clarified like that. It is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just something to be aware of. And to take note of, so that I CAN move away when the need arises.

I did some sewing yesterday and then put the work sitting in another room so I could see it in passing - which gives me the opportunity to see it in another context.


It turned out to be a much fiddlier exercise that I had planned. I am doing collage but some of the pieces are tiny. And ... I didn't use any pins - at all. I am rather amazed at myself about that. But there would have been a forest of pins to work with. Actually, I did use a few at first but I could tell that that was going to be unworkable. So I just laid it out and sewed. Some pieces moved a bit but not enough to worry about. 



Today I sewed some more. I am gradually embedding the fabric - as Kathryn described the process. As I haven't really done much since that workshop, I am relearning things as I go. So the process that I began with has morphed a bit as I remember more, and as the piece develops.

I have played with the image online, without a lot of thought about how I would lay it out and sew it.
It is coming along. I had to stop yesterday because I was thinking 'How do I know when to stop?"
Today I realised that I still had a lot more to do and that stopping was not on the agenda yet.

But now I am at a stage where stopping is within sight - I think. So I have decided to leave it for today, put it back where I will see it randomly, not in the studio, and will have to time to work on it a bit more tomorrow.
I suspect I am still not really going to know when to stop. I just will.

I am not sure if I am glad that I did the more abstract image, with its rather strange colours, or not. But it is what it is - as I seemed to hear people say a lot last year (mainly about football teams, of all things).

Friday, July 7, 2017

Plodding along

I just had to post today, the date is 7/7/17.

I am struggling with my 'inspired by Van Gogh' piece. I decided to try to use the photo that had been turned rather orange and blue - not sure if they are Van Gogh colours or not but it does make it good and abstract.

Anyway, I am not doing a very big size, about A3 (approx 12"x16"). I am finding that I have to lay out the pieces rather small. And it is very hard to tell the trees from the background, especially with the strange colours.

I will persevere for another day, see how it goes. I may end up trying to revert to more realistic colours, just so I can see the image.

I am also trying to work in the style I learnt with Kathryn Harmer Fox and I may not be doing it correctly. I am trying to put in the image and maybe I should just be breaking it up into colours and sections and then try to do the image. Not sure yet.

I needed a rest, so took the dog for a walk and found some lovely squiggly trees that might also make an interesting Van Gogh type of image.

OK! This one is rather abstract also.



But, I have just gone back to the site and found that there are choices for the Van Gogh style. So I put the above pic and got this! The colours are the same, and the image is not recognisable, well, not much. 
Now I will have to go back and try yesterday's image with the Starry Night choice - just because I can. 
I still like the look of this one, I was lucky with being there with my camera, at the right time.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Trying to settle on an idea

I am in several online groups as well as some guild groups. Each one has some sort of challenge going, or something that is meant to get us going.
I have mentioned the challenge to be inspired by an artist, for my machine embroidery group, at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria.
One of my online groups was looking for some inspiration and I mentioned that as an idea. So now we are doing 4 art quilts in a year, inspired by an artist, any artist, any technique, any size. Rather a large choice really.

We have had quite a while to get it ready but I have left it a bit late, it is due within two weeks.

I have been looking around at several artists, mainly Hundertwasser and Kandinsky. I have even done some collages that relate to them - remotely. This is yet another thing I am trying for inspiration, working with a couple of friends to try to get ideas flowing.

I think I may have too many ideas to be working on at one time!

Then, last Saturday, I was given a free ticket to the Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery, Victoria. As it was the second last weekend, there were LOTS of people there. Fortunately, I was with a family group and one of the boys, about 8 years old, was very enthusiastic. His enthusiasm has rubbed off on me, so now I am looking at Van Gogh as my inspiration.

The machine embroidery group has a couple of members who have been using their own photos to develop in the style of the artist of the month. I have decided, because of their inspiration, to use a photo of my own and try to do it in a Van Gogh style.


That's it, so far. I have just had the idea.

Oh, an extra thing, I found a site online that changes your pictures to a Van Gogh style image, among other ideas. It changed the colours greatly. I love it but I am not sure I am going to try for this image this time. Maybe my series could all be of the one image, in different techniques. I do rather like this one.