The GeeTAG group I belong to meets on the second Saturday of the month to share ideas, inspire each other and learn/have a go at new techniques. A small group of us organise the details including a yearly program, update the blog and forward interesting items via an email list. Each year we propose a program at our February meeting for discussion, based on an online survey we email out at the end of each year. The group often has a flow in and out of members, some move on to pursue their own work and new members are always joining when they see the fun we have with fabric and thread.
For 2016 we decided to scale back on the ‘workshops’ as we found the same people were doing all the work to run workshops which we run over and over again for the new members. Instead of full scale workshops requiring lots of materials we run mini tutorials where we demo a technique quickly and email out a technique sheet for people to try at home. We are also running a ’15 minutes of fame’ session bi-monthly as many of our members are very accomplished textilers and it is great to see all the different ways they produce some beautiful works.
Our program this year has been to propose a theme and a technique each month for which members are encouraged to produce a postcard piece of textile art. Of course some of our members are taking this further by producing book pages, or a number of postcards each month. One of our members, who has a stash beyond life expectancy, generously makes up little packages for us each year for our xmas meeting. This is designed to be used for a ‘starter’ for the next year’s program. This year we all received a bonbon of goodies, mine included lots of interesting images on paper, stamps, little tiles, embroidery threads, ribbons etc all in a subtle vintage pastel colour range. The idea was to create a decorated box in which to place our postcards. Mine is a layered collage on calico to which I am adding the TAST stitches each week, eventually becoming a very heavily embroidered cover for my tetley tea bag box.
I have all my postcards in various levels of completeness, hopefully I will catch up in the upcoming mid year break. This is the one for May, theme Flotsam and Jetsom, technique recycled . First step was some fabric manipulation using hand stitch of some re-gifted, well washed calico onto a backing of curtain sample. Each day when I walk the dogs at the beach it is interesting to see the different patterns left as the tide flows out. One day there was a distinct smocked appearance to the beach with all the items embedded into the sand so I have attempted that look here.
It has been coloured with inktense sticks and ironed flat. It will be embellished with stitch and found objects to create the beach after the tidal flow.
I am also hoping to enter an item in the upcoming local exhibition at Studio 54 for the Bellarine Arts Trail on Melbourne Cup Week so that will also keep me busy over the holidays. Perhaps next year I will be organised enough to be a host venue.
I have just returned from an extended weekend stay in Sydney, exhausting but inspiring and a perfect way to recharge for the end of Term 2.
The initial stimulus for the trip was the entering of an Art Book into the ATASDA bi-annual exhibition Facade at Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
I was able to volunteer at the diverse and very high standard ATASDA exhibition on the Sunday and met the several ATASDA members including Rory:
Not only is it the 200 year anniversary of the RBG but the last weekend of the exhibition also coincided with the first weekend of Vivid Sydney, a festival of light and sound.
Sydney is an arts mecca and I was able to experience much of it during the weekend. I was very fortunate in being invited to stay with artist husband and wife team, the effervescent textile artist Denise Lithgow and abstract artist and thinker Peter Griffen at their amazing studio/home in a converted warehouse in Leichardt. Denise had the opening of her solo exhibition at Arts EST Art School on the weekend where she demonstrated her felting techniques and will also run a felting workshop. Denise has won numerous prizes and awards for her artworks including the Hornsby Sculpture prize for her felted vessel.
The weekend was full of highlights including meeting the gracious Professor Di Yerbury, one of Sydney’s greatest patrons of the arts and previous Vice Chancellor of Macquarie University.
I was able to see arts in all its forms including the Isabella Flow and Collette Dinnigan exhibitions at Powerhouse Museum.
One of several Brett Whiteley’s viewed at the NSW Art Gallery:
Before picking up my Art book to return on the plane, I popped in to the Jet Bar Caffe, QVB for a delicious lunch of grilled halloumi and roast vegie salad and a very good almond milk mocha.
Our dog loves a walk on the beach and lately there has been a lot of seaweed washing up.
I decided to have a go at some eco dyeing following a suggestion by India Flint to try using seawater as a mordant.
I took some pieces of silk and linen down with me to dunk in the sea and collected a little of the many varieties of seaweed that had washed up on the beach. I found the best imprint were from the less fleshy types. I also bundled up some of the cards I had received from India from her latest project.
I decided to try steaming the bundles for an hour or two first (just using boiled water in the bottom of the pot) and then left the bundles (but not the paper one) sitting in the dye water overnight. I also used an old bolt tied into one of the bundles which may have helped to strengthen the result.
The effects were some great prints and textures, and a distinctly sea smell. Some of these will be finding their way into a book I am making for the ATASDA annual exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney in May.
I am finally getting around to posting the first four stitches of TAST 2016.
Stitch number 1 for 2016 (but 24 on the total list) is interlaced cable chain. It sounds complicated but was easy to get the hang of and is a great filler stitch. I preferred the effect of lacing every stitch in one direction rather than every second stitch and then reversing to go back through again. My sampler fabric is some ‘mop up’ cotton over calico and the thread used is a variety of perle and crochet cottons.
Stitch number 25 is twisted chain and makes up the edging of the next leaf. I have stitched close together (rope stitch) and I love the texture of this using Perle 5. In the centre I have used stitch number 26, Arrow stitch, using perle 8, perle 5 and a lovely metallic cord.
I am used to sweeping the little offerings left on the deck outside my studio by our current lawnmower lambs, Denis and Michael. We are also accustomed to the occasional blue tongue lizard, rabbit, snake, cow, horse and the odd glimpse of the resident echidna. I was, however, quite surprised by the visitor who dropped by today, I might need to advertise on Facebook for its owner who might be worried!
Our last holiday saw us travel south once again to our beautiful island state, Tasmania. This time we were planning to travel in some of the more remote areas of North West Tasmania, so decided to take the car across on the ferry. The day sail on a balmy Sunday was very relaxing until we berthed at Devonport. Unfortunately the very poor disembarkation process meant we could not drive the 5 minutes to our accommodation for 2 hours (6-8pm), a truly dreadful case of disorganisation and chaos. Luckily there was a late night supermarket still open to buy breakfast provisions and also a late night bakery for dinner.
The next morning I had planned an early drive to see the sunrise at Narawntapu National Park and hopefully see the wombats. Unfortunately the Park website had not been updated with the news that all the wombats had succumbed to mange several weeks previously (we found this out several days later). However we did have an amazing early morning walk around the spectacular Springlawn lagoon (2 hours) where we saw lots of wildlife at close quarters including kangaroos, wallabies, and pademelon. The bird hide, accessed by a boardwalk through the mangroves was a great experience.
Our itinerary for the first day was to drive the coastal north coast west to Stanley for a 2 night stay. This was a fantastic drive with wonderful towns all the way along including lunch and arts at Burnie, car museum at Wynyard and magnificent scenery such as the ‘three sisters’ and the view along the coast from Table Cape.
From Stanley we explored the North west corner of Tasmania, enjoyed the amazingly well preserved historical buildings, tackled the steep climb up the Nut and saw one penguin come ashore at the harbour.
Our next stop was the much anticipated, world renowned Cradle Mountain. We limited ourselves to the 2.5 hour walk around Dove Lake and a few shorter walks from the visitors centre. The Park is very well serviced with a range of accommodation options (we chose a cabin at the caravan park) and a great shuttle bus service. We were informed that September is the wettest month at Cradle Mountain, usually only five days of the month that it doesn’t rain and luckily we scored a beautiful clear day.
The drive south from Cradle Mountain to Strahan was a beautiful forest route to one of the most beautiful little towns in Tassie. We drove straight through to the ocean side of the town for our accommodation in a very rustic, but charming fisherman’s hut on an inlet. We will definitely return to this lovely town with its proximity to the Gordon River, history and working sawmill. We bought a few small offcuts of the distinctive, salvaged huon pine to make shelves on our return home. Unfortunately we couldn’t fit in the piece I wanted for my kitchen bench-we will have to get that freighted over (or maybe go back again).
From Strahan we travelled the long way to Mole Creek- lots of winding roads which degenerated into a long spell of dirt road, but it was well worth the drive for the amazing scenery and the opportunity to be driving in the clouds at the highest point. The trip to Trowunna Wildlife Park fulfilled the promise of being able to cuddle a wombat (lots of wombats here) and also to pat a Tassie devil.
. The weather closed in on our final full day at the end of our tour around the Tamar Valley wineries.
And the recipients should have received their ATCs for August. The theme was ‘chair’. I took my inspiration from a sketch of a peacock chair. The background is colour washed inktense sticks and the chair was FME using two colours of metallic thread, charcoal and a silver on top. I love the illuminations black jewel metallics which I bought from the Thread studio, they have great depth of colour.