Sunday, September 29, 2013

Faces From the Past

I have been reading and drawing some of the figures from Chartres. I often keep redrawing the same figure or  shape because with each new drawing something changes even if just a little- the mood of the day or the slip of the pencil. So this is  one of the queens from the royal portal at Chartres... I had printed her onto background fabric with a gocco ( same as thermofax screen), but there were a few problems with the plastic actually lifting off  the silk.
I keep redrawing this figure because  I am trying to get the face right. The photo I took at Chartres is from below so it makes her chin look very large and weird and the resulting shadow is also strange. Then yesterday whilst poring over Emile Male's "The Gothic Image"- and it is dense reading and I must admit to enjoying having the footnotes at the bottom of the page rather than at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book, and it has lead me in the direction of a few medieval treasures, it's easy to get sidetracked.....Anyway  I needed a break and decide to paint this queen with transfer paints- and I am so glad I did. I had got a little stuck with how to take these figures further, but am brimming with ideas for them now. So here is the  finished stitched piece- it's A3 size as  it's a piece for Voyageart as well.

Shes is changing, she seems much more modern somehow.The original would have been coloured as the medieval sculptors did apply lots of colour to their sculptures.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Olive Tree and Coqueclicots

I am trying to research some of the history of the Cathedral in Chartres as part of my exhibition at Voix au Feminin will be the visualisation of some of the feminine forms at the Cathedral.There is remarkably little written about the feminine representations except of course those of Maria/Mary and in particular the stained glass window, but there are quite a number of other feminine forms within the cathedral. It is also reputed that there was a black Madonna, but that it was destroyed during the revolution, when so many  objects and relics were destroyed as indeed buildings.The modern day black madonna is of relatively recent making.Chartres Cathedral has no  entombments so the female figures do not reflect those that normally accompany  burial tombs, not is there a reflection on patronage. However most of all I wish I could go back before creating the work to better study and to better take photographs, but such a trip is not in my budget plans this year alas....just a week at the Cathedral would be  a dream...

I have worked up a little olive tree piece to see , how it would look stitched, and can see this developing  into some other work. The olive tree measures 10 inches by 14 inches ( 25 cm x 35 cm ) and is for sale for $60 AUS inclusive of postage.

I also collected my  Coqueclicot from Artis here in Geelong, and apparently it was admired but  sadly it did not sell. It is mounted on a 12 inch square ( 30 cm square) canvas. It is also for sale for $100 AUS inclusive of postage.

 I am part of the Through Our Hands group, which has some wonderful textile artists as part of the group. Laura Kemshall has made a video of all the quilts that were exhibited at  festival of Quilts which you can see on the Through Our Hands blog. There is a link on the blog to both the video and the magazine.

I will also be teaching the travellers' blanket from home here in Geelong  starting on 7 October. We will have 5 sessions, the first session will be dyeing the background fabrics and then other sessions of 2 hours each we sit and sew. The cost for the 5 sessions ( 10 hours of meeting ) is $110 inclusive of the dyes - all you need to bring is the fabric.

And for those that can't make the  real life version I shall be  starting another on-line Travellers' Blanket course starting 21 October. Stitching the travellers' blanket is an intensive process and takes quite some stitching .Below is my Travellers' Blanket with Circles which I recently got back from England after it was exhibited at  the Museum at Leamington Spa and  festival of Quilts in Birmingham. it is for sale. It is made of hand dyed khadi cloth and is embellished with recycled sari silk and is entirely hand embroidered and stitched to within a  cm of its life and it measures 145 cm x 85 cm. I am prepared to do a seriously good deal if anyone were interested.
If you are interested in any of the classes or the travellers' blanket, or the other new small pieces
 please email me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Olive Tree

The week has flown by and I don't seem to have much to show for it, or I thought I didn't until a realised my subconscious has been doing quite a  lot of work. Yes I am trying to write  for my France book, but in the back of my mind there I have been channeling Le Triadou. I wanted to make some work that reflected the 9 months I was there- the happy 9 months, the early morning walks, the vineyards and olive trees- that special feeling of the Languedoc and a sense of freedom which I haven't felt since being back here. And then it came tumbling- poppies of course, but just little stitched "bits of nothing" as Peter says so disarmingly in "Finding Neverland."

And more this afternoon- a linocut of an olive tree- now the dilemna is make it bigger or what , or make do as I like it as it is....

The background for the trees I monoprinted some years ago with Trapsuutjies textile paints. again trying to get that feel of southern France.Trapsuutjies really do have lovely colours- just wish I was a little richer and I would get some more sent over. The linocut is about 30 cms high.

And there is still time to enrol in the on-line linocutting class. Just email me if you are interested. Hopefully by the end of the course linocuts like the one above will be well within your skill level!

Monday, September 16, 2013

On-Line Linocutting Class

I have been making a linocut this weekend. My linocuts seem to be getting larger and larger. The one I worked on , on the weekend was inspired by "indienne " fabric produced by Steiner in 1880 or thereabouts. The image below  is cropped from a book I have entitled, Andrinople: Le Rouge Magnifique printed Editions de la Martiniere in 1995 ( and I am sure I did not pay what Abe books have listed it for). I think of all the  antique french fabrics, and I do love Toile de Jouy's, I love the Indienne fabrics for their decorative elements. This particular image really reminded my of a waratah and may have been inspired  by a waratah ( a native Australian flower) as the French people had an ongoing love affair with Australian flora since  samples first came back from the la Perouse voyage in the late 1700's.

There is incredible detail in this printed fabric and I have found that  printing with lino on fabric at best lends itself to two colours ( a paler background overprinted with a darker foreground) However I do know I can get in some of that colour detail with accent stitching.

So I made the linocut ( it measures 12 inches x 12 inches , 30 cms x 30 cms)... I have been  dreaming of some new linocutting tools- the Pfeil carving tools are wonderful. I bought one when I was in Florence as one was  all I could afford...the one in the image is a Lyons cutting tool, and the  knob ends sit in your palm beautifully making it easier to carve I find. I drew the image onto the lino- I drew the image free hand as I did not exactly want to copy the  indienne printed fabric.

  From the workshop I did in Florence earlier this year and in particular from Gianni Verna I learnt, to colour in what you want to leave- it allows you to see the graphic qualities in much better detail and also avoids carving accidents where lines are fine.I have started carving the lino and below is the first print, which I found disappointing because there was  not sufficient contrast between the various area of the design- so back to some more carving....

The resulting print after some more carving, I can already see this will be much more interesting than the first print once the stitching goes in especially around the central flower area and  also by defining the leaves further.

Anyway these are some of the things you can learn on my on-line course which starts 22 September 2013. There are 4 pdf files delivered over an 8 week period with all sorts of exercises to try and I am going to trial a FB group this time  as the contact is  much more immediate than with Yahoo.The cost of the course is $60AUS- simply email me if you are interested .

And last but not least...  I spend sunday mornings ( early) finding new  things on the internet and catching up on favourite blogs. I am really not sure how I stumbled on Maggie Salcedo , a French illustrator of children's and teenage books, but it was kind of love at first sight. I managed to find her La Mission du Biquet in the Netherlands of all places ( as other listings were quite expensive) at a really good price and it arrived last week.... well all I can say is more love. Her style is said to be Art Deco, though there are quite lovely  individual touches which  also take her a little outside that genre. Anyway there has been a bit of a revival in her work with some exhibitions in the early 2000's- I tried drawing the quite lovely stylised face from the cover of La Mission du Biquet , whilst our cat Mitsou, grumpily looks on. She loves it when I work in the sunroom, but most of all she would rather sit right on top of where I am drawing...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Berry Quilt Retreat

I have been away teaching for the weekend at the Berry Quilt Retreat and I did not take many photos unfortunately. Berry is a lovely little town about 2.5 hours from Sydney and gets a lot of weekend visitors for the weekend getaway. The retreat was organised by Elizabeth Dubbelde from the Berry Patchwork shop ( which is for sale in case you are interested). I stayed with Elizabeth in her lovely house just outside  Berry  with lovely views of the  gorgeous countryside. The photo on the right is some of the lovely views in the early morning.I had a wonderful group of participants- they were all so chatty that i thought they all knew each other, turns out they didn't. One of the participants was 16 year old Olivia- and I have to say it's  delightful to have younger people in the room, because  young people like Olivia are the future of textiles and textile design. Olivia who had never free motioned machined before took to it like a duck to water and created some  exciting work- she immediately leapt outside the boundaries and I could see her eyes light up with the possibilities.

 On the Sunday she brought in some of the work she had made previously at school and home- she is one very talented young  lady and a pleasure to spend time with , as were all the participants. So thank you everyone for a wonderful and sharing weekend.

Isn't this beautiful spring blossom on the right just gorgeous......

Fortunately my cold abated  before leaving for Berry though it was tenacious so I  did not have the energy to do very much except make some of these- guess what I am making????

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Older Things

The cold has not got any better, actually worse. I could not even go and see my father for Father's Day as i don't want to spread this nasty one to two elderly people with every ailment known to man or just about.

So I have  tried to just be quiet, but don't you know it , the weather is on the improve and when the sun is out, I want to be out in it or in the sunroom where it's sheltered from the wind, and after what has been months of feeling low, dare I say it depressed, when I have really had to set some new boundaries and learn to say no to my parents, I couldn't just be still and stay in bed.

So I pulled out my  Across Australia quilt- which I had been looking at for some time. For the  quilting in the central panel  I had free motioned zig zag stitch to create a kind of leafy effect. The effect was fine but it also had the consequence of pulling in that section of the quilt tighter than the bottom part so that it was never straight. It annoyed me. Why I persevered with the free motion zig zag when I  knew what it was doing I don't know, maybe it was the looming deadline?So here is a link to how it used to look  Anyway it has bugged me since I made it, and today was the day to pull out all that zigzagged free motion stitching. And because I wasn't feeling I should be doing something else it came out remarkably quickly, so quickly that  I could see that now the quilt was much straighter and so I wanted to see it quilted with another stitch. End result it's all done.

I am much much happier with it like this. It measures 100cm x  120 cm, consists of a hand painted background done the African painting style, transfer printed lutradur , tied dyed cotton and hand printed cotton.

The quilt below is entitled From One Flat Place to  Another, it was made for an exhibition about immigration but it was never selected- it has kind of languished in one spot after another. I know I was upset it was not selected- perhaps it was because the story was so close to my heart and I felt  it as if it were some kind of personal rejection- anyway it's a quilt that I have never exhibited anywhere else.It belongs to a period of my life that is no more. It measures 105 cm x 120 cm. The question is what to do with it? Should I just chop it up? Is anyone interested in buying it? ( I will sell it for $300AUS plus postage  if anyone wants it) or do I chop it up and use the flower as  small quilt lets?

The  flower above is a banksia,  a very Australian  bush/flower. I used to have many in the garden down in Gellibrand. I used to be besotted by banksias and now somehow they have become emblematic of a former life , another dream, and sadnesses  that I would rather not be confronted by. Of course the tulip is the symbol of my former homeland. I came from an area that lay just 1 kilometer away from a bulb growing area, and so  bulbs were part of the spring garden.. The text on the blue panel read " We went from one flat place to another flat place by crossing oceans. The language was strange, the people stared. We were outsiders, we were migrant. It took time to feel home. I am of two places, Australia and Europe. They are a part of me as much as I am a part of them"

And last but not least a new Sentinelle panel which I have stitched onto felt. I stitched most of it whilst in Europe in April and i used felt as I could not get any batting. I like that the stitching still created texture on the felt.It is still possible to buy sentinelle panels and be a part of the Sentinelle  Project. The panels cost $15 AUS plus postage ( $2.60AUS) and measure 20 cm x 45 cm. We hope there will be many panels to display! Email me if you would like one or two or three .I can do Paypal for overseas customers.

On-Line Linocutting Class
I shall also be running another on-line linocutting class commencing 22 Septemeber. You will learn how to make linocuts and the classes and exercises have been designed to hone your skills and build your  confidence. The lessons are delivered as pdf files and there will be a discussion group, which this time I shall set up as a closed group on Facebook as it is more immediate for discussion.The notes comprise about 90 pages of exercises and examples. Indienne  Inspired was made with linocut printed fabrics. If you are interested the cost  is $60 AUS- and email me ! if you want to join or would like more information.