Friday, March 29, 2013

Miles to go Before I Sleep

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

I remember when I was at uni my tutor in English lit nearly died laughing when I wanted to talk about a Robert Frost poem- Mending Wall as it happened- she did belong to the feminist  clique who were enamoured of Leda and the Swan- but  Frost was considered so gauche and pedestrian and well hick I guess- I think  it sealed my  fate  in English lit, that, and my attempt  to write an essay about misogyny in  DH Lawrence's book Sons and Lovers( for which I got a big "0"). Yet  as a kid from the country and  with a sometimes darker insight than might be necessary, his poems always spoke of a deeper and  soulful meaning than the words  slipping across the page might suggest. And indeed Robert Frost himself was a complex man and not always easy or nice, but he touched at the core of insight much in the way that Rilke does- yet these two poets write so differently , one familiar and colloquial, the other dense and difficult- but at the core I think they both  touch on the same subject- what is within , deep within, and the questions it raises. I don't know how often I  say to myself "And I have miles to go before I sleep" not  to dwell on what has to be done, but to know that it must be gone through and on- it's a sort of incantation that both soothes and makes ready. And once I start thinking about "the woods lovely, dark and deep", it's usually at the end of intensely working and so new work arises that was not intended or even planned but comes nonetheless as if bursting from the rhythm of working.

And so what has this to do with quilting... I don't know except work is bursting and I have 6 days before I leave and there is a long way to go still, miles in fact. I became so intrigued by the elongated figures of ChartresCathedral in what are said to be  kings and queens of the old testament, that well they have  taken over, in particular the  image of the queen without hands ( why are her hands missing and what is that brooch on her breast ?)- the draping of her clothing is very fine compared to the male figures- so fine as to suggest a very finely woven fabric. The edges of the sleeves of her over gown appear decorated ( this is when I wish I had taken a better photo...had paid more attention to the detail)

The background cloth was a drip cloth/back cloth laid on the table when I was breakdown printing and trying out printing the  sort of toile design I made with thickened dye- it created a rather dense and rich cloth which was too good to discard and in the end good for balancing the digitally printed image ( cloth painted with Inkaid gives wonderful prints, though the fabric does change hand, but which I will use to create a puffiness to suggest  the roundness of the original sculpture). The background cloth started to look a little like a stained glass window, which then altered the way  I was thinking about the four leafed  motif- now I will have to print off some more.But she emerged when I was in fact planning other things.

 And here are more faces inspired by the Bayeaux Madonna- these will  balance the Norman knights I finished last week.The pieces are 120cm wide and one metre long. They will form a sort of gallery at  my exhibition space at Quilts en Beaujolais. In the end I won't finish the book I had intended to make about "France" - though it will get done, once I get back and keep working with other work I had intended to make,  and it will showcase many of the techniques I have used in creating the work  as well as telling the story  of my enamourment of France.

And then there are the dollies- that all have to be kitted up- first printed and then the thread kitted up. When I first started stitching  these I was not very clever and just went for a colour that appealed- however I  needed to be  organised and simply  stick to  a few colour ways so that they will kit up more easily.They are hand printed on khadi cloth and then hand stitched. If you are interested in a kit email me.

 And last but not least after  more than 3 years without a vegie garden a friend and her family gave me a small above ground garden  which arrived late January- it was a bit late to put in many summer vegies, but I did manage to get some tomatoes and basil and  chillies and broccoli- this is some of my harvest!

Online Linocutting Class- 13 May 2013
Oh and I will be  starting another on-line linocutting class once I am back from overseas. The class will start on Monday 13 may  2013.
Here is a precis of what we will do:

I deliver 4 pdf lessons every fortnight outlining  principles and exercises with which to hone your skills. The first few lessons look at the possibilities of the mark making qualities of your tools, and the blocks you will make for this can be used for background printing. We will look at how to print on fabric though you can print on paper if you would prefer. Then we look at design aspects of making blocks, positive negative balance and using marks to create texture. We will explore making a monogram,using lines to create movement, simple landscapes. The exercises do increase in complexity ( however it is possible to keep it simple to make smaller stamps for example). We look at using photos to create linocuts, at three colour printing and registration and other fun things to do with lino.
I also set up a yahoo group for discussion. It is hoped you will share any photos of work made and will also ask questions and use the forum to troubleshoot.
Cost of course $60 AUS and you can email me me if you would like to join.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trying to Work Like Crazy

It always gets to this stage- I don't give myself enough  time to do the things I plan to do. I leave Australia on the 4th of April so still have a little time to still do things ,but...... and then a workshop in the Netherlands with Bernina cancelled- of course that happened the day after I booked my airfare so I could have come home earlier ...It is such a nuisance because I  plan all the travel  with a budget in mind and  there is little leeway these days for  things  to not go according to plan- plus it takes a bit of work getting all the information together and send images- even with email so it's wasted time when things do not go ahead.

I went up to my mothers this week to paint her lounge room- it was quite a job and frankly I felt a bit exhausted afterwards- though the room looked much improved with a fresh coat of paint!

We ( my eldest daughter and I ) are also in the process of making kits for sale  of the knights and ladies dolls- but more on that early next week- it takes quite a lot of time to design , write up , get it together, and deciding thread colours.

Last week whilst writing an article for Dowunder Textiles on breakdown printing another Chartres quilt sort of fell out of the sky- so much so that I had to rush an order for sme more Inkaid as I have thought of another way i would like to work with these images form Chartres ( it takes time to get working and then  ideas jump and it's hard to keep on track :-) )

And the Normandy Knights quilt is finished and I am now working on the Madonnas.Still soem way to go!

And I shall be teaching at the following places in April 2013:

 7 April 2013 in the Veneto   with Cuciservice
13 April 2013 in Bolgna with Cucilandia Bologna
18-21 April 2013 Quilts en Beaujolais- where I will be exhibiting new work made especially ( I had hoped to launch my book but time ran out unfortunately but we will be launching our kits!)
23 April 2013 - Best of Quilting at Marcoussis -Working with Solufix and embroidery
24 April 2013  at Draveil

If you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact me  or contact the businesses through their websites.
I had booked another workshop in Italy but unfortunately it got cancelled very early on- so it has given me the opportunity to actually do a woodblock printmaking workshop in Florence for 4 days- I am so looking forward to this- I have not done a workshop for years and years and I really ummed and ahhed whether I could afford to, but they gave me a discount because I could not do 5 days, and well it will give a whole new slant to wandering around Florence where I have not been since 1990- doing a printmaking workshop has been on my wish list for a very long time.

Oh and there is a $10 off coupon for my Blurb book  Creation and Inspiration in France, which I made whilst in France in 2010- simply use this code SHARE10, or use the side bar button for the book.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Million Thank You's

Firstly I want to thank everyone who supported the sale of my work so i could raise funds to exhibit and teach in Europe in April/May given that my tour was cancelled. I can't thank you enough, and was so pleased to see so much work going to  people whom I knew or who had crossed my path in my teachings and exhibitions- it made me feel that I had not parted with much at all but had instead strengthened ties- an unexpected upside to it all and a gift in its own right.

We have been enduring the longest heat wave in the history of Victoria for March- 10 days  above 32 degrees celsius and I am supposed to be working on a biggish quilt for my exhibition at Quilts en Beaujolais- but  the afternoon suns shines on the window in the room where I work and it simply gets too hot. I am also supposed to be writing an article on breakdown printing/polychromatic printing and that too is affected by the heat as i work out in the sunroom , but as it is not insulated it is a bit like working in an oven- who would have thought the heat would go on for this long?

Have still been walking with my neightbour and  on Monday we walked along the Geelong foreshore- where the  clouds  just after dawn, gave promise of  maybe a cooler day only to disappear and herald another hot hot day.I love the reflection of the clouds in the still mirror like water.

 This is the biggish quilt I am working on-  it is kind of inspired by Norman soldiers and the Bayeaux tapestry- however on further reading ( after I  had pinned the quilt and started quilting ) I read that it was common practice for  the Norman soldiers to be clean shaven in the "english" style , and indeed when you look at images of the Bayeaux tapestry they are all clean shaven except for Edward the Confessor  and  a baker- so  I am too far along now to correct this inaccuracy, besides I liked how the  beard looked in the breakdown printing process.And though I took the Bayeaux tapestry as my inspiration my eyes obviously were not looking very well, and my imagination took over.
And another breakdown print- it's so hot in the sunroom that the manutex print paste  almost runs off the screen when I put it on the screen ( I tend not to work with really thick gloopy manutex partly because I don't want to  print more that 3-4 screens at a time as my screen is quite large)- this one is just a rough doodle.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Two Day Sale


I think I mentioned that  my tours of France and Italy  have been cancelled, and that has created a bit of a problem in that i was hoping to have my airfare paid for to get to Europe to exhibit at Quilts en Beaujolais in April and to do some teaching, but because of the cancellation  I now have to find the money for my own airfare. Airfares from Australia are never cheap because we are so far away from everywhere and they also need to be paid up front.So I have been pondering how to get the money together for the airfare.

Then the other day i was searching for a quilt and realized I really do have a stack of work here and  if I go overseas more next year, after my daughter goes to university, what am I going to do with all this work as it will need to be stored somewhere safe ...soo I thought I would have a two day sale at seriously cheap prices- the prices aren't much more than the material cost, many of the pieces have hours and hours of work and some have hand stitching as well. These pieces will not be offered at this price again apart from these next two days.All postage has been set at $25.00 regardless of weight or where it gets sent to.

So here we go and in no particular order:

  • In the Garden of the Hesperides, 2001,  from my book Tifaifai  Rnaissance which is now out of print 86 cm x 86 cm  ( 33 inches square). Hand dyed fabrics, machine stitched $175 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  River- or as I think of it Giraffe leg, 2002, 51 cm x 91 cm (20 inches x 35 inches) Hand dyed fabric machine stitched

  •  Magnolia's , 2002 from my book Tifaifai Renaissance and a "rare" pink piece which I was asked to do by the publisher as pink and green on book covers sell books apparently..., 71 cms x 71 cms ( 28 inches square) hand dyed fabrics , machine stitched 

  • Gypsy Blanket ( 2010), hand dyed and printed fabrics , machine stitched 85cm x 91cm ( 33 inches x 35 inches) $300AUD plus $25.00 postage  SOLD

  • Southern Ocean Rockpools, 2006, hand painted cotton, dyed scrim entirely hand stitched with colonial knots and straight stitch 50 cms x 60 cms ( 19 inches 23 inches)

  • Night of The Iguana,2001  hand dyed cotton and silk, hand printed with lotus pods, machine stitched ( 38 inches square) $150AUD plus $25 Postage SOLD

  • Apple Tifaifai,2005  hand dyed  fabric ( positive cut out) , machine stitched   57 cms x 103 cms ( 40 inches x 20 inches)

  • Apple Tifaifai, 2005 (negative cutout) hand dyed fabric and machine stitched postage, 57 cmsx 103 cms ( 40 inches x 20 inches)

  • Magnolia  from my book Tifaifai Renaissance and a "rare" pink piece which I was asked to do by the publisher as pink and green on book covers sell books apparently... 2002, 75 cms x 75 cms ( 29 inches square) hand dyed fabrics , machine stitched $100 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  • Billabong Creek- Childhood Memories, 2010, hand dyed silk, heavily machine stitched and the edges are meant to be wavy to give an organic feel and rippling water, 52 cms x 122 cms ( 20 inches x  48 inches ) $200AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  • The Blues, hand painted and hand dyed fabrics including fabric purchase din a market at Kano , Nigeria, machine and hand stitched ,2006, 102 cm x 159 cm ( 40 inches x 62 inches ) $300AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Banksias, hand dyed  and hand printed fabric , machine embroidered and stitched, 2006, 65 cm x 142 cms ( 25 inches x 56 inches) $ 250 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  • Pierre 2008, hand tie dyed silk, machine stitched  82 cms x 141 cms (  32 inches x 55 inches) $ 200 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •   Forest 2004, hand dyed fabric and machine stitched  84 cms x 72 cms (33 inches x 28 inches) $100 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Tracks Across the Land, transfer printed lutradur, machien stitched and hand stitched , hand dyed fabric, 73 cms x 122 cms ( 28 inches x 48 inches) $200 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Gum leaves, 2005. discharged velveteen, transfer printed and foiled lutradur, machine stitched  83 cms x 140 cms ( 32 inches x  55 inches) $ 175 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •   Floodplain 2002, hand dyed fabric , machine and hand stitched ,  90 cms x 95 cms ( 35 inches x 37 inches) $150 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Night of the Iguana II, 2001, hand dyed and hand printed fabric, machine stitched  91 cms x 99 cms ( 35 inches x 39 inches ) $ 125 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Hellfire XVII, 2002, hand dyed and burnt fabric , machine stitched  60 cms x 112 cms ( 23 inches x 44 inches ) $ 125 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Immigration. made especially for an exhibition about immigration and for which  it was not selected-in disgust it sat in the back of my cupboard  where I shoved it for quite soem time, and yes it has come on my moves, it threatens to become a cushion or a dog blanket.... Hand dyed cotton, machine stitched  102 cms 122 cms ( 40 icnhes x 48 inches ) 

  •  La Bella Siena from my book Tifaifai renaissance 2002, hand dyed cotton and machine stitched 112 cms x 109 cms ( 44 inches x 45 inches ) $175 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  •  Pomegranate Tifaifai , 2009, hand dyed and hand printed fabric, machine stitched ,  115 cms x 115 cms ( 45 inches square)

  •  Seashore- and early piece from some time in the 1990's- around 1997, hand dyed fabrics , machine and hand stitched 57 cms x 66 cms ( 22 inches x 25 inches)

  • In Neptune's Garden, 2002 from my book Tifaifai Renaissance, hand dyed fabric , machine stitched 105 cm x 105 cms ( 41 inches square)

  •  "X" Marks The Place,2007, transfer printed lutradur, hand dyed cotton, hand stitched with hand dyed thread  28 cms x 115 cms ( 11 inches x 25 inches )  $125 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD

  • Jungle 2004, Hand dyed and hand printed fabric, burnt fabric , machine stitched  56 cms x 64 cms ( 22 inches x 25 inches ) $50 AUD plus $25 postage SOLD
If you are interested in buying  any of the above pieces please email me. I cna be paid with Paypal ( and sorry I tried to make buttons but  I cannot get them to work) or by internet banking if you are in Australia.