Some dyeing and stitching

Here we are in another school holidays with a little time to create. I am currently working on finishing a ‘treasure’ for the Challenge with ATASDA. When I finish my treasure I will post to my challenge partner who will make a receptacle to contain it. All the treasures will be part of an exhibition in various states of Australia. ATASDA is an Australia wide group that encourages experimentation with textile art and surface decoration through social days, workshops, various exhibitions and challenges. Due to Covid many of these have been forestalled but in the background much has been happening. The website committee are putting the final touches to a brand new contemporary website, hoping to launch in mid July.

I am also preparing an exhibit for the ATASDA Bi-ennial exhibition at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The exhibition, Interlude, has been postponed to the first week in November. For the theme I have been dyeing fine cottons and silks (fabrics and threads) to create a bojagi type cloth. The cloth will depict the regeneration of the earth between the five mass extinctions. It is designed to be both a warning to humanity and a source of hope.

Over the lockdown I enrolled in India Flint’s wonderful ISO class, In place :: sailing the armchair around the village well. It is/was a wonderful class that started as 23 days (continued well past that) and continues monthly at the moment. The meditative stitching/actions in this class are so very good for the spirit/soul in these very difficult times. Below is a journal cover I am continuing to stitch of an evening:

A tickle of feathers:

A silken biscornu

Just a little taste of where we sailed in our armchairs. Also in progress as slow cloths are a Wayfarer’s cloak and a cloth for a group exhibition in the new year.

July 5, 2020 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Eucalyptus and onion skins

It is school holidays in our neck of the woods so I have been busy brewing up a few different concoctions and natural dyeing and printing. At the moment I am participating in India Flint’s latest online stitch gathering which has been very grounding given the worldwide pandemic shutdowns.

An old teatowel was suggested to create a journal cover so I decided on one that has been used as a cleaning cloth. Mordanted for 24 hours with soy milk and bundled with eucalyptus prunings discovered on my walk and red onion skins. See the before and after below:

Eucalyptus and onion prints

The eucalyptus prunings were a happy find as I walked past just after the owner had pruned. I soaked them in an aluminum pot with a splash of vinegar for a couple of days. I cooked up some other old eucalyptus leaves and brown onion skins with a couple of bits of metal for the dye bath. I also popped in a few other bundles:

This one is a silk op shop shirt collar which was wrapped around a bit of copper pipe.
Wrapped around a flat piece of metal picked up on a walk.

And then these very subtle prints on some sheeting which had been soda ashed and stored.

Cotton oats bag and sheeting

Such a huge variety from the same pot. They were left overnight to cool in the pot and then I poured the liquid into a jar to save.

You might have noticed the lovely strips of silk under the collar above. I had a hank of sari silk ribbons I had picked up a year or so ago from the TAFTA Geelong Fibre Forum traders. I decided to give it a wash with the trusty eucalyptus wool and delicates liquid soap. OMG the first wash water was putrid, I think they were the dags of the sari silk industry. I washed again using the eucalyptus wash and then rinsed twice. Finally they all had to be ironed. At this stage I was wondering if they really were silk. However as I ironed them dry the silk sheen came back- only took me two hours all up! About 5% of the strips were still marked and stained but most were pretty clean. Below shows the process from a tangled mess to silky strips.

Sari silk ribbons

Now off to make some oak gall soup to do a proper mordant on a heap of cotton and some precious strips of hemp.

April 10, 2020 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

Shibori Indigo Dyeing

I have had a wonderful weekend in Sydney catching up with ATASDA textile buddies and participating in a shibori indigo dyeing workshop with the fabulously relaxed and knowledgeable Cathy Moon.

Cathy set up 4 different indigo vats and over the weekend taught us multiple processes. My aim for the weekend was to soak up all that info and try the techniques on a variety of different fabrics to compare the results. Some shibori processes work better on different types of fabric so there wasn’t a common fabric that was best for all. Some of the results are below, if you get a chance do go to a workshop with Cathy. I will be trying to attend one of her longer workshops in the near future to do more complex pieces with multiple techniques on the same piece.

Shibori Indigo dyeing 1

Top picture: Crochet and embroidered doilies (all cotton)-dipped in fructose vat, one stitched and some cotton string used for tying.

Bottom: Pole dyeing techniques on different fabrics: bamboo, fine silk, dupion silk and silk broadcloth

Clamping and scrunching

Top picture: clamping with a variety of perspex shapes-cotton and hemp

Bottom: An interesting and quick scrunching technique

Stitched shibori

Top picture: a variety of stitch techniques-left fine silk pre-dyed, right cotton sheeting

Bottom: Stitching- started on the weekend and now finished at home ready for dyeing

I have several other fine silk, linen and cotton wraps which I also used a variety of techniques on. Now just waiting for a free weekend to fire up my indigo vat and some cauldrons of natural dyes!

February 24, 2020 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

Flying fish

Reduction linoprinting takes focus and concentration to get a good result. Not only do you have to think counter intuitively and work backwards but one lapse and its all down the gurgler!

I have just had a great day with Pip of 135Gallery learning the intricacies of reduction linoprinting and it was a steep curve. Unfortunately some of my printing layers were not lined up, so not perfect, but the main outcome of learning the process was achieved. Pip has many wonderful prints on display in her gallery using her simple hand printing method- no press required.

First step the design, Japanese koinboro kites were the inspiration for the preliminary sketch:

First the parts to stay white are cut away, the first colour is printed, then the parts to stay the first colour are cut away. Mine ends up with some parts having all six colours printed giving great depth. Top cut away for white, second cut away to keep gold:

Top gold printed, bottom light grey printed:

Top fish being removed to keep it light grey
Next colour- dark grey printed , then second fish cut away

I forgot to take a photo of the red print so now we just have the final prints. After the red print the third fish was cut away to do the background. I first tried a blue background, then a charcoal grey and finally a blackish grey over the blue. All very different effects.

Charcoal grey background
Blackish grey – poor registration top and bottom
Blackish grey over blue-poor registration at top

I am looking forward to experimenting with this again now I know the process.

November 24, 2019 at 6:58 pm Leave a comment

Twining a dilly bag

I was fortunate to spend a day with Aunty Bronwyn Razem at the National Wool Museum last weekend. The workshop was using twining to create a dilly bag in raffia. Now I have the technique mastered I am hoping to make a few different variations. Aunty Bronwyn has some wonderful pieces of her fibre work on exhibit at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square Melbourne, well worth the visit to see both her works and the other artists on display as well. Below is the current progress. I am not happy with the attachment of the emu feathers so I will take them off and try a different technique-stay tuned.

Twined dilly bag

Also in progress is this woven basket, begun at our GeeTAG twining workshop and now being embellished with beads and woven rings.

Woven basket with woven rings

I visited a few open studios today in the Northern Bellarine Arts Trail including lovely printmaker Jennifer Niewenhof in Portarlington. At Dax Designs in Drysdale I found some gorgeous lampwork glass beads/shells made by Glenda MacNaughton all ready to attach to my basket!

Lampwork glass shells

The smallest is 12mm diameter, the largest 30mm long. I will try to finish these two this weekend, it is the Melbourne Cup weekend so an extra day off.

November 2, 2019 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Handmade paper

Top-spring bulbs; bottom-mulberry
Top-nettles; bottom-NZ flax
Left-parsely; right-scraped mulberry sticks

All from the Papermakers of Victoria workshop with Gail Stiffe today.

October 19, 2019 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

Making paper from plants

I travelled the long road to Bundoora and home of the Victorian Papermakers today to get some tips and tricks on making paper from plants with papermaker expert Gail Stiffe. Gail is also an amazing bookmaker and President of the Papermakers. The stables at Coopers Settlement, Bundoora Park is a wonderful place to visit and adjoins the Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery. I didn’t have time to check the gallery out today but will next time I am in the vicinity.

Gail had pre-prepared some plant pulp but also demonstrated the beating machines on NZ flax. We also prepared mulberry branch pulp from scratch. It was a fantastic learning experience, thank you Gail and the rest of the participants for a great day. The paper pulps we used were parsley, nettles, spring bulbs and the NZ flax and mulberry. I also came home with some leftover pulp which is in the freezer and will be used with the 4th year education students in December.

Steaming the mulberry branches
Hand beating the mulberry pulp
Couched paper in the press

Results in the next post as WordPress refuses to load any more pictures.

October 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment

Twining and stitching with GeeTAG

The September and October meetings of GeeTAG were devoted to twining recycled materials and stitching them into vessels of choice. I used several Op Shop silk shirts, cut into strips and twined before being stitched into a hanging nest and a free form style of basket. I will embellish these further. The nest has some beading added to the hanging cord. The basket is based on the idea of rock pools so there may be a lot more attachments to this one.

October 14, 2019 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Weekend at Blarney’s

It is school holiday time and though I am super busy still with uni work I snuck in a quick weekend away at Port Fairy to visit Peta Lloyd and Nanette Balchin’s wonderful exhibition at Blarney Books and Art. What an amazing place! If you haven’t visited this quite amazing venue plan a trip. The exhibition is on until Sunday 29th September so if you are down that way on the weekend pop in.

Port Fairy also has a great artist studio trail. I was lucky enough to be able to chat to and view some fantastic pieces by Jill Edwards at the Whalebone Gallery.

There also happened to be a creative art journaling workshop happening on the Saturday so that was fun too. Tamsien West was very generous with her tips and materials for many different styles of journaling and showed some great examples of her own.

September 26, 2019 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

Art Quilt Australia 2019 at the NWM

As a member of the National Wool Museum I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening and prize winners announcement on Thursday night. Openings at the NWM are always well run and have interesting speakers so Kerrie and I went along for the preview.

After a glass of Hill wine (one of my favourite cellar doors), a welcome to country, and a few speeches the winners of the Expressions: Wool Quilt Prize and OZQN Award of Excellence were announced. Here are a few of my favourites from the night. All the quilts were amazing and very different so do go along and see the exhibition.

The winner of the Award of Excellence was Neroli Henderson with her deceptively simple and very effective quilt Whitewash. Highly commended in the Wool Quilt prize was Alison Withers Change for Earth. Not only is Alison’s execution and skill incredible she also makes very pertinent statements about current issues.

Prize winners

Two other quilts that I loved were Susan Mathews and her use of print effects in Banksia Country 3 and the wonderful composition and texture of Jill Rumble’s Landlines

And another wonderful piece from the entries that appealed to me was Kerryn Taylor’s Flinders Ranges Panorama with a wonderful group of tapestry inserts. I absolutely loved the texture and colour of this art quilt.

This is a must see exhibition for all textile and art quilt lovers.

September 7, 2019 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

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Notebook Project