What a difference a day makes

On our walk yesterday the beach looked like this:


And this morning the floodwaters flowing from the river had turned the water a murky brown with lots of slush:



I am still adding TAST stitches to my postcard box, here is beaded looped cretan and buttonhole wheel cup:


And I am looking forward to a weekend of stitching with Hazel Blomkamp from South Africa, followed by some tambour beading over the next two weeks with Jan Timms from the UK.

September 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Spring is in the Air

Despite the recent flooding rains in some areas, spring is definitely in the air as the temperatures rise and the winter layers are peeled off.

There has been much action in the sewing studio, all of it a mad flurry of stitching clothes that are modest enough for daughter2 to go on her school trip to Indonesia. We have stitched many pairs of long shorts and pants, 3 or 4 dresses and lots of t-shirts and tops so that she is culturally appropriate. It will be a great experience for her to visit this country which is such a close neighbour but a totally different way of life.

While she is away I will get back to my own stitching including an entry for the upcoming EGV exhibition themed “A secret Garden”.

There has been lots of activity at GeeTAG with a great sharing of work on Applique, Reverse Applique and Free Machine Embroidery yesterday at our monthly meeting.

I will finish off with a photo from our regular beach walk. The winter tides have been very high this year and deposited lots of sand on the beach creating this beach quilt of seaweed embedded in the sand.

Seaweed quilt

Seaweed quilt

Close up

Close up

I love the movement and curves caused by the ebb and flow of the tides.



September 11, 2016 at 4:50 am Leave a comment

GeeTAG and Postcards

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.

June 13, 2016 at 11:44 am 1 comment

Sydney: Art, music and lights (warning: long post with lots of eye candy)

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:




and Kay:

Garden Palace

Garden Palace

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.

Vivid 1

Vivid 2

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.

Denise and some of her wonderful felted works

Denise and some of her wonderful felted works

Fibre Art by Denise Lithgow Arts EST, Leichardt

Fibre Art by Denise Lithgow
Arts EST, Leichardt

Felting Demonstration

Felting Demonstration

Peter Griffen Abstract Artist

Peter Griffen Abstract Artist

Peter Griffen's artworks in his studio

Peter Griffen’s artworks in his studio

Peter at work

Peter at work

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.

Isabella Blow

Collette Dinnigan 2

Dinnigan sumptious lace and beading

Dinnigan sumptuous lace and beading

Dinnigan: inspiration board

Dinnigan: inspiration board

One of several Brett Whiteley’s viewed at the NSW Art Gallery:

Brett Whitely

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.

Lunch QVB



June 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Beachcombing for eco dyeing

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.

Wrapped sea parcels

Wrapped sea parcels

From the sea

From the sea



Bolt marks and the more subtle reverse

Bolt marks and the more subtle reverse


February 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm 1 comment

TAST 2016

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.

Interlaced cable chain

Interlaced cable chain

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.

rope-ArrowStitch number 27 is Bonnet stitch using perle 8. I found it difficult to get even stitching around the curves of the foot shape, hopefully this would improve with practice as I like the spiky effect.

Bonnet stitch

Bonnet stitch


February 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

A peacock called by…

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!

Peacock at the studio

Peacock at the studio

December 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm 2 comments

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