Saturday, January 30, 2016

Workshop Program for Le Triadou

Workshop Program at Atelier Printemps Sacre- Le Triadou
I have been devising a program for workshops whilst I am at Atelier Printemps Sacre at Le Triadou. Le Triadou is approximately 20 km from Montpellier on the North side of Montpellier and is easily accessible.We have an atelier downstairs which can be utilised for working in and there is also a large undercover area where we can do wet work such as printing or dyeing.If you are coming from a long distance it may be possible to accommodate you for a small fee.

Commencement: All workshops are one day, commencing at 9.30 am until 16.00 in the afternoon and tea, infusions  and coffee will be provided . Workshops are limited to 5 participants so the space will be comfortable to work in. Workshops will proceed whether there are 1 or 5 participants. There will be a one hour lunch break. Bring some food to share.

Experience I have been teaching for more than 20 years and have a Masters in Visual Arts ( a higher degree). I believe in finding creativity within us all and I am well able to help you in overcoming creative blocks and stumbles. I like to encourage  participants to  follow their own ideas- but I am here to guide you and help you! I also teach skills and techniques to help you find your own voice. You can attend one  workshop  or follow the whole program to build your skills and creative voice.

12 February 2016 ( Friday) Dyeing fabric-

I teach you the basics of dyeing fabric with Procion dyes, plus some of the techniques i use in my own work. You will go home with a pallette of colours and some pieces with interesting shibori effects.We will also look at simple resist techniques to create interesting effects such as scrunching, tieing, and folding. We will discuss colour mixing, but there will not be any gradation dyeing.
The workshop can be adapted to dye specific colours for particular projects, e.g. sea colours,brights, and even lengths of cloth (though this may entail paying a little bit more for dye depending on the length of cloth). Participants can nominate specific colours they would like to dye.This workshop is suitable for all  interested in dyeing and you can dyed t-shirts or old sheets.

Cost 50€ plus 12€

You will need to bring:

6-8 metres of pure cotton fabric ( old cotton sheets can be utilised but will dye a bit differently)
rubber gloves
old clothes/and or apron
Synthetic wool for tie dye or elastics ( small)
plastic bags in which to take your fabric home in
6-10 containers  ( icecream containers are very good) to put your fabric in whilst dyeing
a wiping cloth

13 February 2016 ( Saturday) Printing Fabric

You can print the fabrics you dyed on Friday or bring some fabrics that are not too patterned and not too dark in colour.  This workshop is designed to show participants simple techniques to create individual fabric which can be made at home without great expense.
This is a good workshop in conjunction with the dyeing workshop as hand dyed fabrics lend themselves to being printed- however commercial fabrics can also be printed.
Methods include printing with foliage/leaves/seed pods, found objects or anything with a relief surface, linocuts, stamps, bubble wrap, doilies and stencils. I will demonstrate how to make , and a stencil with plastic contact paper.
I will have some of my linocuts available for you to use as well. We will build up layers of interesting shapes to add depth to the resulting printed cloth.We also  look at the African painting technique and create some cloth using the technique.
Cost is 50 € for a whole day plus a 15 €

You will need to bring

6-8 fat quarters of fabric ( you can bring larger pieces if wished or more)- fabric in  softer colours works best  and not patterned
paint brush ( medium size)
A dense foam roller- available from Bricolage  or larger Supermarkets
A plate ( plastic or meat tray from supermarket) for ink
plastic spoon(s)
foliage- not dried but with good structure
and any stamps or other objects with interesting surfaces
wiping cloth

20 February 2016 ( Saturday) Make your own Linocut and Print

I will take you through exercises to make your own linocuts. You will make a small sampler piece to try out the different gouges and the  lines and marks they make.This sampler can be used for background printing as well. You will then make a postcard sized ( or similar size) linocut for printing on fabric or  paper ( the techniques are slightly different and I will show you the difference).. You can even stitch your printed fabric! ( you willneed to bring some batting and fabric for the back)

A class designed to focus on the lino-cutting process and some experimenting with cuts and texture and the commencement of simple designs. It is not possible to cut complex designs in one day. We will discuss design balance and creating more complex designs, negative space  and how to use your computer in aiding design and refining We will make prints on cloth, different types of cloth, and look at how to use printed fabrics in projects.

Cost is 50€ plus 15€ material fee which included lino. I will also provide the tools

You will need to bring;
Images in black and white of designs you like- bring them in postcard size if possible. Bring several as some will be more suitable than others
pieces of fabric ( you can bring larger pieces if wished or more)- fabric in  softer colours works best  and not patterned
paper if you would like to print on paper
paint brush (medium size)
A dense foam roller- available from Bricolage  or larger Supermarkets
A plate ( plastic or meat tray from supermarket) for ink
plastic spoon(s)

wiping cloth

27 February 2016 ( Saturday) Transfer Printing and Stitching 

We will  explore transfer printing/sublimation dyeing for synthetic materials. We will be using Lutradur ( a polyester non-woven material) or you can bring some synthetic organza to also try. We will work with some motifs and even linocuts and then will explore the resulting prints by way of stitching in the afternoon.Transfer printing is a method of getting permanent colour  onto materials such as lutradur ( a polyester non-woven fibre), polyester fabrics such as polyester organza and satin. It is greta fun and you can be quite painterly or simply use linocuts to create backgrounds with prints. The process allows  you to get up to 3 prints, so that a series of work can be created. We also explore cutting back to reveal the material underneath and free machine stitching to embellish your printed fabric
Niveau débutant ou chevronné - 1 jour - broderie machine L’impression transfert est une méthode qui permet d’obtenir une couleur permanente et stable sur des matériaux comme le lutradur (un intissé en fibre de polyester), ou d’autres tissus en polyester (organza, satin). C’est une technique amusante, qui donne un effet pictural, sur lequel vous pouvez imprimer en linogravure, ou avec d’autres techniques d’impressions. Le procédé vous permet de réaliser jusqu’à 3 impressions, de sorte que vous pouvez créer des séries. Nous allons apprendre à utiliser les peintures à transfert, différentes techniques pour créer des effets et nous perfectionner en broderie libre à la machine. Nous explorerons aussi des techniques de coupe qui révèlent le matériau en dessous, et des techniques machine, pour embellir votre tissu imprimé. Pour cet atelier, prévoir un supplément de 15€/participant (à payer à l’animatrice), ce qui inclut le lutradur, l’utilisation des peintures, linogravures et des crayons à transfert.

 Cost 50 € plus 15 € Material cost ( including lutradur)

You will need to bring:

Paper ( that which you use for normal printing on your computer) at least 20 sheets
paint brushes- small medium, large
 4-6 small jars ( like yoghurt glass jars)
a wiping cloth
an apron Your sewing machine in good working order
Your darning foot( pique libre)
Different coloured threads
a selection of different coloured fabrics, and fabric for the backing
1-2 pieces the size of the paper you will be painting with
Fournitures :
  • rayon papier,
  • aiguilles machine taille 80/12
  • au

  • Machine  à coudre, pied piqué libre et mode d’emploi,
  • Papier sulfurisé (environ 25 x 40 cm),
  • matériel à coudre habituel + ciseaux pointus de broderie + fils machine,
  • c moins 20 feuilles de papier blanc (pour imprimante),
  • 2 pinceaux à peinture : 1 pinceau fin,  l’autre plus large,
  • 6 pots de yaourts en verre (plus stables) pour mixer les couleurs,
  • un fat quarter de tissu imprimé, que l’on découpe en deux parties formatA4,
  • 5/6 tissus en harmonie, mais contrastés avec le fat quarter (imprimé abstrait et batik possibles : à choisir sur place avec l’aide de Dijanne),
  • un tissu de dos en format A4,
  • fils machine pour broder qui contrastent avec les tissus,
  • molleton : 3 carrés de 25cm x25cm  pour rembourrer certains
  • endroits,

4 March 2016 ( Saturday) Trees,Trees, Trees

Using raw edge applique  you will design your own tree incorporating some of the ideas and stories about trees, such as Trees of Life.  You will also quilt your resulting applique. We will look at design considerations and colours to create your  very own tree piece! Tis is also a good exercise to practice your free motion skills whilst creating a unique piece. There are so many wonderful trees in this region- there is plenty of inspiration!
 Cost 50 € whole day

You will need to bring:
Your machine in good working order
Your darning foot( pique libre)
Machine stitching needles
a selection of different coloured threads for the embellishment
a selection of fat quarters in the colours you would like to work with
A piece of batting 50 cm x 50 cm
a piece of fabric for the back
a piece of Vliesofix 45 cm x 45 cm
a pencil and some drawing paper

if you would like to join a class please email me 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Chanelling Banksias

I have been  making banksia quilts  in one way or another  for  some years going back to before the year 2000. At that time I was interested in the flowers and trying to represent them, but lately it has been the actual seed pods that have become my obsession. And I have been searching for ways to capture their essence and their weirdness. For me they seem to be mouths talking or babbling, of secrets  whispered from the bush, so I am rather surprised that there are so few indigenous stories dealing with banksias. Yes they did occur in May Gibbs books as bad banksia men- but they don't seem bad to me- they seem intriguing, full of potential and full of stories- and I love a good story.
So over the years this is what I have been doing with banksias. The first two images are from before 2000 one drawn with the right hand and the other with the left hand.

And then follows many variations. I keep redrawing them , keep rephotographing them, keep restitching them, making them into prints, sawing them in half and printing with them. They have become my big, wirey, gnarly ,intriguing, absolutely unique,knobbly,mouths,weird geometry,otherwordly obsession. I will find a way... and there are stories brewing of history of connection of strange happenings. So here is  my obsession in no particular order.

And so now I am trying to create the babbling mouths- I am still prototyping,  but I am getting to the shape and kind of thing I had in my mind- I am interested in the mouths rather than the bulbous part of the mouths.

And there is still time to join the on-line linocutting class starting on January 26 ( Tuesday). The class will run for 8 weeks with lots of exercises to build skills and explore your obsession :-). You will work at your own pace, but the more exercises you do the better your skills will be. I deliver pdf notes with different exercises and ideas and we will have a private Facebook group for discussion. There are still a few places. Email me if you are interested, Cost is $60 AUS and you can pay me  via paypal- just contact me for details.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back in Le Triadou!

The last 10 days have flown by in a flurry. Firstly a workshop on linocutting at  Open Drawer in Camberwell went ahead ( I had thought it would not) which meant packing everything up in the shed and covering everything with dust cloths two days earlier than I had thought. Then I had to say goodbyes to family and some friends as I am going to be away for some time,then a dyeing session up at my mothers- though I did not end up taking the cloth as it would not fit into my suitcase as I had to bring the European sentinelles back to Europe so they can be returned to their makers and also whatever books I could fit . I can tell you my suitcase weighed exactly 30 kg, and i won't tell you what my hand luggage weighed but I got away with it ( just). My flight left at 3.30 am from Melbourne but was delayed for an hour- and  I flew into Barcelona at  8.30 at night (24 hours later but because of time zones still on the same day) where my friend Margo Bimler very kindly picked me up and drove me to le Triadou, a 3.5 hour drive- so that I could at least talk with my friend Liwanag before she departed for the Phillipines very early in the morning- so we had a lot of catching up to do and also things to sort for my  time here as housesitter, so not much sleep that night. Needless to say my body clock has been a little haywire since and I am only now starting to feel vaguely adjusted- apart from it being cold!

So little work has been done , but I am settling in, and have arranged my desk and workspace- now to get some textile inks and some cloth dyed so I can really get going!

The dog, Nesta, and I have been taking our daily walk- she remembers exactly the route we used to walk in 2010 and the first morning we walked she nearly pulled out my arm in her excitement to  get to  the vineyard within the shadow of Pic st Loup. How different it looks in winter and the Nesta doesn't run as far as she used to, I guess she is approaching middle age and is taking things a little more demurely. But it's been lovely reacquainting myself with the territory that I grew to love so well in 2010.

Pic st Loup is very distinctive and stands out as you approach from the east side of Montpellier. My walk takes me directly in its direction before looping around and returning to the village.
The little stone shed that we always walked past is still there though it's roof has become more dilapidated, But this time I have taken the time to see what is inside- I am surprised I never did previously because I am a curious person at the best of times. It does not look like its been used for quite some time and so the patina of age has added charm.

The patched wooden door only leads to the stone wall behind which makes you wonder why was it  there at all? Perhaps the stone wall was added later. I know  we are in Herault but this landscape always reminds me of that marvelous tele movie Jean de Florette which was a great favourite of ours.I also found some treasure  which is a canister with a siff bottom- all rusted and worn . And then there is the little stone house- last time someone was working on it, but it seems abandoned now-it would be quite lovely to have  as little house...

And finally today I  did some linocutting. Because my body clock has been so awry I seem to be awake for several hours in the middle of the night ( and I am not normally an insomniac) so I have been drawing banksias in my journal ( i did bring one or two banksias with me and now I am wishing I had brought more). I wanted to create something softer for background over which to print the banksias and had not thought about the wonderful shapes the leaves have  and the lovely negative space they create. So I made a banksia leaf linocut inspired by the leaf shapes in the  La Perouse journals/botanical  drawings.

Unfortunate;y I can't print it as I don't have  printing inks here- will have to order some, but it's a start and I can't wait to see what the print looks like.

Next post I will put up a page of workshops I will be teaching her in le Triadou- there is studio space in which to work and even the possibility to stay if you were interested.

And last but not least if you cannot get to le Triadou I am teaching an on-line linocutting class starting 26 January 2016. Of course you can use such other materials as easy cut or  speed cut. The class runs for  8 weeks and costs $60AUS. If you are interested please email me

If you are interested in my book and you are  in Europe, I have books with me which can be posted. The cost of the book is 45 euros and package postage is about 8 euros, making a total of 53 euros. IN France I can be paid by cheque, but otherwise  Paypal is the easiest way to pay me which incurs a small fee. The book contains a dvd  with explanations of the techniques I have used, in French and English and also videos of how I work.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Happy Vegemite and Banksias

Some of you may not know the term happy vegemite, but it means a very happy  person indeed and vegemite is an Australian savoury bread spread.

I am researching banksias and indeed in past years have made banksia quilts, but I wanted to establish a french connection as I am again on my banksia journey. Specimens of Australian flora were sent back to France after expeditions of exploration in the late 1700's and early 1800's .Many years ago when I stayed at Chateau de Chassy Madame Tison asked me about banksias , if there were any early images of the flower, because of  course the la Perouse Expidition arrived  at Botany bay within a few days of  Captain Phillip's arrival in 1788- that question has stayed in the back of my mind for quite some time!

La Perouse's expedition was published  and there were 42 image plates made to illustrate the book- Imagine my absolute vegemite delight on finding these images today in the digitalised version of the book

What treasure! 
d'Entrecasteaux also travelled to Australia to map the territory and bring back specimens. He died on the journey back  and  the ship was taken  in custody  by the British because  it was amidst the revolution and war. It's precious cargo might have been destroyed- there were many  floral specimens on board - except for the intervention of Sir Joseph Banks after whom of course the banksia is named. And of course Nicolas Baudin mapped  Australia before  Matthew Flinders- which is something I did not learn at school .  Baudin was commissioned by Napoleon to chart and bring back samples but Baudin died on the journey back and when the ship returned to France there were many  floral specimens on board as well as kangaroos and emus. It seems that many of the floral specimens ended up in Josephine's garden in Malmaison as well as the kangaroos and emus and there are two species of Australian tree planted on the island of Saint Helena where Napoleon was exiled, that still survive today . Of course now I am deeply desirous of acquiring this book:
Voyage to Australia and the Pacific, 1791-1793: Bruni d'Entrecasteaux

So now I can map another banksia story!

But wait there is more- there is also a woman in this story of discovery- that of Rose de Freycinet whose letters to her friend and mother of her journey were published well after her death. She dressed as a man in order to accompany her husband on his commissioned journey and  was one of the first women on such a journey of discovery. It is now also on the wish list!

A Woman of Courage: The Journal of Rose de Freycinet on Her Voyage Around ...

as no one seems to have it available.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Happy 2016

Happy 2016. After a scorcher on  the last day of December which had me in a quandary as to whether to stay or go, it was wonderful waking up to a much milder day on New Years day! and it has continued to cool down a little each day which makes thinking possible again!

I have spent the last few days putting things away as  just about all of my things are here now, and how nice it is to be reacquainted with things after nearly two years of having things everywhere.

I had been looking for this little piece for about two years it was meant to be a postcard for a friend- but somewhere along the way I lost it, so I was happy to find it again and perhaps now I can make that postcard!

My daughter bought me a Self journal for Christmas- which is a 13 week project to try and keep on track and set some goals- at first I thought maybe I would start later but after reading through the introduction and looking on the website decided to just begin on New Years Day. I am not sure I have got my head right around it yet- but I can see that it might work and  if anything it will keep me on track for  the large work I need to do. Just even setting a structure for the day had gone missing in the last 2 years of being in various places, and to be perfectly honest I had not journalled very much during that time- which is a habit I normally keep at. The journal is geared at setting goals and taking steps to reach those goals.

One of my goals is to blog more. I have decided that it is a much better way to keep in touch than the time drain of FB, and Instagram is nice and quick and isn't subject to the same amount of drivel that flows across the screen. I know you can change setttings or hide people, but then what is the point? I feel my blog is a better point of contact and when I look at the friends I have made through the years it has been my blog rather than FB that has been the meeting point. So I have promised myself to blog twice a week.

I have also decided to make an e- magazine- after looking through all my photos taken during the year, I started thinking that a thematic magazine sharing some of the things i encountered might be of interest.I am aiming to have the first issue ready in March 2016. You will need to subscribe- the magazine will cost $6 per download, and if you subscribe for 12 months ( 4 issues) the subscription will be $22. The magazine will not only contain textile travel stories, but also stories of other art inspirations and  each issue will contain a profile of another artists and/or artists business. I will create an article sharing  some of my techniques and may even do one or two projects not only techniques. I will also add a favourite recipe or two and will really try and show how I work and create and hopefully that will inspire you. It is meant to be an all round informative travel textile magazine. I will create a more in depth magazine profile, but my first issue will be based around travels in India- email me if you would like to receive further information- your name will go on a list but I will not share that list with anyone. I know I share quite a lot on my blog but I think the magazine format will allow me to develop more indepth content, that is more than just a flip through.

And some Gellibrand images. My blood plums are starting to colour, but unfortunately I will be leaving before they are ripe. Some of the trees are covered in interesting lichens, which make me want to try some natural dyeing- but I have to keep on track for the next 13 weeks so that might be a project in winter.

And there is still time to join the on-line linocutting class on 26 January 2016. And remember you can use Speedball or Easycut  pads rather than lino ( they are a bit easier to carve , the resulting prints are subtly different but they still work really well). Cost of the class is $60AUS- just email me if you would like to join. I will send you details of how payment can be made. And just to see how fabulous linocuts can be- check out  Carry Akroyd!