Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Nine Pieces

Our tapestry weaving group got together today to put all nine pieces of the image together.

We had been given an image, a blown up copy in black and white and then a section of the image. We each wove our piece, with no definitive information about what colours to use, etc. The colour image was the source of our colour decisions and we all used wools from the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

It is interesting to see the interpretations put together. The colours all matched rather well.
Some of the pieces were slightly bigger than others and it is strange that the whole bottom row turned out to be this way.

Mine is the bottom left-hand corner and part of the image is the correct size, the other end bulged out a bit. Unfortunately, that is the bit that meets the other pieces, so it is rather obvious.
Not to worry, it was a great exercise and very enjoyable. And we have taken our pieces home again. We will see if an opportunity to show them together turns up.

You might notice that we laid out the small photos incorrectly. But the larger pieces were correct and worked quite well.

We were very pleased with the outcome!
Now we are thinking about what else we might do as a group to make us weave, to collaborate and to have fun. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Setting up Holy Stitches

I have been helping to set up the Holy Stitches exhibition at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria.

It has taken a couple of days to do the physical set-up and many hours of work beforehand, choosing the items, making up the catalogue, etc. Fortunately, I have only really been involved in the physical set-up, enough work for me.

There were so many items to choose from. It is not my sort of embroidery but the fineness of the works is amazing, as is the impressive gold work. I don't have to be a practitioner of the techniques to be inspired by the work.

Here are some pictures of the days of setting up.

Lots to choose from!

Sorting it into colour areas.

Getting there
The next log of images are from today - it took all day again, hence the need to take pictures when it was darker.

I seem to have focussed on lots of red pieces, there are plenty of other ecclesiastical colours.

I  am looking forward to the actual exhibition and hope we have lots of visitors.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


May is a wonderful month here in Melbourne. The nights are getting cooler and you can tell winter is approaching but the days are usually magnificent.
The grass is green and things are looking lush! More like spring than the typical autumn images that come to mind. But I suppose we think of the autumn colours that are really more typical of the northern hemisphere and now I am seeing the wonderful greens of autumn in Melbourne.

You do tend to get the wonderful shadows in autumn that are not so obvious in summer, the sun being in a different part of the sky. (And summer doesn't have much green grass anyway, see the image below.)

I took Penny to Warrningal Park recently and was quite amazed to see a tree that looked to have been dying, covered in leaves.

Here it is in December 2014.

That bare white trunk and sawn up branches didn't look very hopeful. I did wonder why they hadn't just chopped it all down. 
Now I know why!

The grass is green and the bare trunk is covered in leaves! It seems that those council arborists do know what they are doing. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Just in Time

I think it is true, the closer an event is to home, the slower you are to go and see it.
I finally got to Hatch today to see Turbulence. It is by local artists, centred around the idea of water conservation and environmental awareness.

There was a LOT of plastic there. The message was clearly about all the plastic we use, the 'stuff' we buy and then just throw away, and the damage this does to the waterways.

It was great to see the two murals done at the KidsArtyFartyFest earlier this year. It seemed to be a very locally based exhibition.

One of the special bits was seeing some of the art works about the local animals and birds, and how they relate to the brochure you can get about the indigenous wildlife in Banyule.

It closes tomorrow, so I had to make a special effort to get there, well worth the effort though.

Congratulations to all the artists.

There were some interesting workshops around the exhibition also but, having left my visit till the second last day, I have missed out on them.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Inspired by ... Degas

This month we are supposed to be inspired by Degas.
Some of the comments about our works, at the meeting of the machine embroidery group, at the EGV, have been that we are being a bit too literal with our images.

Therefore, I decided to try something different. I noticed that Degas did quite a few sketches of ballerinas, some of them life drawings.
I remembered that we had done a life drawing semester in our Textile and Design course. After some rummaging, I found my folder (the benefit of never throwing anything out!).

As the piece is to be A5 and my drawings were A1, I took photos of a few that I thought might do.
Then I printed them out as A5 images and left them sitting, so I could let it sink into my subconscious and let it do the deciding for me - of which one to work on.

As one of them was blue, and as I thought that was the one I was going to do, I have been thinking about using my blue fabrics for a couple of weeks.

I got out my blue scraps, some of them very small. Perfect for an A5 piece, I thought. (I was right!)

I traced my drawing onto the fabric, using a water soluble (blue) pen. It turned out that I didn't use the blue one after all. I can't remember actually thinking much about it, I just started on another one. I think the lines were easier to see, rather than the blocks of colour in the blue drawing.

Then I laid out tiny pieces of blue fabric. I didn't cut much, just used the pieces that were there.

After that, I put the image beside the sewing machine and tried to draw over the areas I had intimated with my colour choices.
One of the things about Kathryn's class - she doesn't use any products along the lines of adhesives, you just pin your fabrics and then attach them with a meandering stitch, so as not to preempt the finished design.

It isn't fabulous (but maybe the original image isn't fabulous, that could influence the outcome) but it is done and I have tried a new(ish) method. And it is rather small.
I rinsed it to get the water soluble pen off. I rather like the fraying edges, think I will leave it like that. 

I tried the Kathryn Harmer Fox workshop method, that I did recently. I had a piece of the cotton and linen fabric, backed by interfacing, left over from the workshop. It was pretty close to the size I wanted, so I didn't even have to prepare that.

The idea is to trace the image straight onto the fabric, cover it with little bits of fabric and then sew over the top. Because it is quite a firm base, you don't need to use a hoop.

Once you use the small bits of fabric, it is hard, if not impossible, to see the drawing, so I had to rely on the printout of the image. Hence the loose interpretation of the original.