Last weekend I experienced a magical workshop with Suzanne McRae who travelled all the way from Ballarat each day to share her amazing talent. We were encouraged to use her techniques but develop our own characters and the most important thing I learnt was how the ‘less is more’ applies, particularly in this instance.
So this is Professor Priscilla Possum not quite finished yet:
She is a ringtail possum, which are quite common in our little neck of the woods.
I still have to sew the clothes, add some old buttons, do a little more on the face (a little detail trick Suzanne shared with us) and make a mini leather covered book to place under her arm.
You can see Kerrie’s characterful bird here. Thank you to the Art dolls ladies for sharing this workshop and in particular Jenny for her wonderful organisation.
While pottering around the shed finishing up some GeeTAG postcards, I decided to clean up and used some silk wedding offcuts I discovered for a spot of eco dyeing. I had a container of water that I had soaked some seaweed in to get rid of the sand so I added that to the pot with extra tap water- still waiting for the water tank to be installed- and some nuts and bolts. The first batch used prunus, sheoak, feijoa and melaleuca leaves and were tightly wrapped and tied with silk thread around some dried bamboo sticks foraged from the garden and a metal tine that had snapped off my garden fork. This was brought to a simmer for 1-2 hours then left to cool in the pot overnight. The metal tine was great on top to keep everything submerged.
Second from the left are some linen offcuts from an Op Shop dress I am refashioning before eco-dyeing. The experimentation is to check the effects before dyeing the whole dress. The dress I bought was many sizes too big so I removed the sleeves and used the top of the sleeves to make armhole facings, added darts as well as taking in the side seams and cutting 12 inches off the bottom.
Here are the results of the first cooking:
Silk around metal tine
More wedding silk offcuts
And the linen-more subtle with lines from the sheoak:
For the dress I think I will try a pre-mordant in soy, eucalyptus bath and adding some alum to brighten.
The second cook up resulted in darker colour out of the pot:
The wrapping was again with the bamboo sticks and metal tine but using red onion skins, rose and prunus leaves.
Much stronger patterning on the wedding silk:
The linen sleeve:
and a fine silk loom end:
For all these I have laid out the organic material on half the fabric then folded over, rolled and tied. You can see this side by side here but one is the right side and the other the wrong (not mirror image) so it gave great prints on both sides of this quite thin silk.The lime green is the rose leaves-fresh from the bush- this was from my large weeping crepuscule rose.
The darker areas were the outside of the rolls where you can see the imprint of the wrapping threads.
I quite often cut up these dyed scraps to use for lots of different projects. I have been searching for a thin woollen blanket at Op shops for a while to layer and hand stitch my pieces onto to create a warm throw.
I am hoping to dye the dress next week, 36C here tomorrow so not a good day to be steaming up the shed/studio. We will be watching the fire reports just in case.
I have been housebound with my only trips out being to the hospital for the last 3 weeks following surgery. Due to ongoing issues it is not looking like I will be out of the house for another week. Luckily I am able to do little tasks like sitting and stitching and using the computer so not totally dire. Also I can water and enjoy all the beautiful flowers that are out at the moment including this amazing fuschia:
The GeeTAG group held their Christmas party on December 10th which I wasn’t able to attend, but Marilyn very kindly picked up my little pudding parcel for our stitching KK and dropped a new parcel back to me. The idea was to prepare a parcel of textile goodies in a colour scheme that could be used to create our last postcard (or book page) of the year.
I received a huge parcel in return and did curse the sender a little as I sat and unravelled all the threads and ironed all the sari silk pieces. However it did give me time, as I sorted and bagged everything up, to think about the bits and pieces and what sort of postcard I would make from them. I think I have channelled the thoughts of the giver.
I used inktense sticks to colour the background, which was cut from the calico bag the parcel came in. There was an organza star embellished sleeve included which became the stars in the night sky. There was an interesting piece of natural dyed cotton which became the stable.
The Magi is in progress: I will hand embellish all the beautiful sari silk pieces and other little treasures onto the pelmet vilene before hand stitching in place.
Also trying to get a few christmas gifts made in between naps.
My Medieval dragon from Dianne Cevaal’s Medieval touring exhibition arrived safely home this morning.
It is always fun when apiece of textile art returns to you. While heavily involved in developing and working on a piece of art is difficult to be objective. However when if comes back after a prolonged journey appraisal is so much easier with that distance.
Overall I am very happy with the embellishment of Dijanne’s linoprint and my binding is improving. I do find sometimes I do not allow enough time for the finishing details when working to a deadline. It is like finishing knitting a jumper and then underestimating the time it will take to sew in all those ends and hand sew together.
I used a variety of stitches and techniques including beading, foiling, gold leather and I’m pretty happy with the overall effect. Some of the beading has come a little loose so next time I will double stitch all the beads and back stitch each one, especially for a travelling situation.
Dijanne is sending out linoprints at the moment for her next touring exhibition: Aussie Bush Project. It is a great way to practice colour and stitching design skills while producing something that will tour for a year-very satisfying and meditative.
There are many reasons for making art of any kind, but there are some wonderful benefits to being a textile artist. It is the amazing tactile nature of textiles that makes it my favourite way to make art. There is something special about the connection you have to the cloth and the stitch.
The textile art scene is booming worldwide and it is because the items made are not just beautiful or contain thought provoking themes or stories. It is also because it lends itself to such a huge array of applications: it encompasses so many different techniques, is a type of creative therapy and can be a very social activity, among many other relevant reasons.
I received my subscriber copy of the very professionally edited Textile Fibre Forum magazine this morning and was very excited to see my article on my recently completed textile art book, created for the ATASDA exhibition in Sydney earlier this year included, and in such great company.
As an educationalist who has specialised in literacy I am very comfortable with using the book form in my textile art (I love children’s books and have an impressive collection spanning 40 years!).
The research on this specific book took more than six months, and I was happy with most aspects of the finished product, especially the side that specifically relates to the original owners of the land at Sydney Cove. I blogged a little about the processes used in making the book while I was working on it here and my fun trip to the exhibition in Sydney here.
This year in our GeeTAG group we decided to take advantage of the months which had 5 Saturdays and designate them as messy offsite days. Earlier in the year Kerrie mentored a group in a wonderful eco dyeing and printing day and on the 5th Saturday in October we offered a messy printing day at the Shearer’s Arms Gallery studio. This is a fabulous space to ‘get down and dirty’ with paints, something we cannot do in the pristine room we normally use for our monthly meetings.
Many of our group lugged numerous items along for a day of experimenting and playing with prints. It was great to have a day to print uninterrupted by the normal duties of family life and be inspired by my fellow printers, who shared and discussed all ideas freely. There is a write up and photos of many of our results n the GeeTAG blog.
I experimented with the Gelli plate and hot glue gun stencils, creating paper and fabric prints, experimented with circles of all types to create a ‘doodle cloth’ on a cotton cloth from the Op Shop (I may use this for embroidering TAST stitches), and trying out a few of the blocks from other participants.
Glue gun prints, a borrowed block print-printed twice to give the layered image, stencilled image using part of a plastic doily over a mop up cloth:
Backgrounds created from the gelli plate, various objects printed and stencilled, glue gun stencils used as resist with spray paints:
Overall a fun and successful day of printing.
Yesterday I made the train trek to Melbourne, ran into a fellow traveller Rhonda at Flinders St station, then continued onward along the Sandringham line to Middle Brighton. After a sustaining coffee and raw brownie/banana bread we continued on to the gallery at Brighton Town Hall for the Annemeike Mein exhibition, where we encountered Stella, who joined us to marvel at the amazing textile artworks. Like most textile art, you really do have to see these artworks ‘up close and personal’ to appreciate their texture, colour, artistry and skill.
Although there are a limited number of her artworks exhibited, it was interesting to see the development of Annemeike’s work over the years, both in theme and materials. It was also quite wonderful to see the trialling and the stages of development of the work also displayed.
We were just standing discussing the differences in the free machine embroidery of Annemeike in comparison to the intensive work of Alison Holt (who Stella and I both have worked with in workshops) when guess who we spied, Alison herself! We had a chat to the wonderful, artistic and very friendly Alison about the where, what and why of her latest trip to Australia and then, of course, couldn’t miss the photo opportunity!
After a lovely lunch in the beautiful sunshine, Stella left for the city and Rhonda and I went for a walk and a little op shopping in Church St, followed by a walk to the beach and the famous Brighton bath houses.
There were many locals and tourists taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather.
A beautiful day out, thank you for your wonderful company ladies!