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