Archive for July, 2009

Darling Harbour and The Rocks

After the Powerhouse Museum I walked across to Darling Harbour, which was buzzing, with people everywhere as it was school holidays in NSW.

Feeling the need for some centering and contemplation (and food) I went to the Chinese Friendship Garden first. This garden is just beautiful and a wonderful place of tranquility in the midst of such a busy city. I again took loads of photos which will be of interest to the Holey Moleys.

Lots of holey windows

Chinese garden window 1

Chinese garden window 2Some beautiful vistas including holes:

Chinese garden vista

Chinese garden bridgeAfter a lovely lunch in the tearooms I walked on to the Harbourside shopping centre. Nothing very exciting there (one shopping centre is pretty much the same as another) until I came across this wonderful Baboushka shop full of Russian Baboushka dolls of every size and variety.

Babushka shopThe old lady figure sitting in the doorway reminds me of Mags adventures in sculpture.

I then followed the foreshore walking path to The Rocks, passing some amazing buildings, some of which are literally built on the rocks.



Historic building 1

historic building 2Rather than walking all the way around to Sydney Harbour Bridge I took a ‘short cut’ up the rocks (about 150 steps) to Observatory Park, the site of the Historic Sydney Observatory. From this wonderful vantage point I took these photos (again lots of holes/apertures for the Holey Moleys.

View from Observatory HillThe lovely Moreton Bay fig:

Moreton Bay fig 1And of course the Sydney Harbour Bridge:

Sydney Harbour Bridge 2

Sydney harbour bridge 1In The Rocks itself there is of course plenty to see in terms of history and historical buildings, shopping, and galleries. I’ll just mention a couple. After a lovely moccha coffee and friand I came across a sensational button shop stocking all manner of vintage and new buttons. I just bought a few little green leaves and a gorgeous little pocket watch button.

buttons the rocks

My next wonderful stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art which had some amazing exhibitions currently showing. The first was documentary photographer, Ricky Maynard. Very much a thought provoking exhibition. I managed to get one photo of some wise words from Ricky Maynard painted on the wall of the gallery.

Ricky Maynard ExhibitionAs some of the photos were of indigenous people who have died, it is not appropriate for me to display them here on the blog.

The second exhibition was of the Moving Image art form, a series of rooms displaying moving images sometimes simultaneously on 5 or 6 large screens. This exhibition was a collaboration with the MCA, San Diego, California. I would love to show it to my youngest son who is very much into movie making.

I’ll be back to textile art next weekend.




July 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm 3 comments

Information Overload

Last night I returned from the International Drama Education Research Institute’s (IDIERI) triennial conference in Sydney (hmmm, the next one is in Limerick!!). The conference took place over the full week, but I flew up early Thursday morning for the last few days,which were just sensational. So many inspirational people from all over the world and Australia.

The Friday was a networking day, but with information overload, I decided to take a cultural break (shopping and exhibitions).

Firstly I went to the Powerhouse Museum.

On the walk from Glebe I walked along an archetypical Sydney street full of terrace houses:

Terrace housesAnd came across this wonderful street grate:

Fish grateWoops, upside down!

Unfortunately I was a bit early for the 13th International Design festival beginning on August 1st, but there was still plenty to enjoy. I firstly spent an hour and a half in the ‘Inspired Design Across Time’ exhibition where I took loads of photos. The exhibition covers all types of design from the early 1700’s to the present, and includes ceramics, wood, metal jewellery, fashion, furniture etc. There is a good representation of textiles, especially fashion, through the years, though not a great deal of embroidery. There was a good selection of various types of teapots and a retrospective of Florence Broadhurst designs. Also featured was an outfit made from the new release of her designs on fabric.

Florence Broadhurst displaySome glass teapot/goblets by Richard Marquis (1994)

Glass teapotsZandra Rhodes evening dress(1982). You can tell it’s 80’s by all the puff!

Zandra Rhodes dressThis ‘Oz Frock’ (EastonPearson, 2005) Newsprint dresswas interesting, commissioned by the Weekend Australian Magazine. It is fabric printed with actual copies of the newspaper overlaid with sprigs of wattle and embelliahed with swarvski crystals. Stunning!

I loved the quirkiness of this Peter Chang (2004) plastic bracelet:

Plastic fantasticI also loved this Tiwi Designs (Bathhurst Island Northern Territory, 1996) screenprinted cloth and ‘Forest Settle’ (Michael Gill, Christine Payne, 1980’s) with it’s design based on the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

Tiwi screenprint and bench

(Good examples of holes and circles here Holey Moley’s.)

While at the powerhouse I also had a look at the Contemporary Japanese Fashion Exhibition.

I loved the origami bags:

origami bagAnd the display of intricately carved Chinese toggles.

This ivory toggle represents a slice of a lotus root:
Chinese toggle

Toggle 2This one represents the ‘three friends of winter’, the bamboo, pine and prunus branches being courage, perseverence, longevity and integrity. (More holey Moleys)

I also called into the Lace Study group Centre and spoke with the very helpful guide about caring for my Grandmother’s lace wedding dress. She said they are in the process of setting up a register of important historical lace items, one of which could be this dress. This centre is situated in a quite small room, but provides a wonderful resource for those interested in all types of lace and their historical backgrounds.

Lace Study Centre


I have so many more photos, showing all the design phases throughout history. If you can get to Sydney do go and see this exhibition.

To be continued……

July 20, 2009 at 11:33 am 1 comment

Workshop fun and games

Firstly here are some exquisite embroidered ATC’s Claudia and I received from Anne in France. Anne must have extremely good eyes as the stitches are tiny!! Our return ATC’s have been posted to France but I won’t put them on the blog until they arrive.

Anne's Flower ATC'sThis week began with Claudia off the to National Wool Museum for a workshop called Raggety rugs, where she enjoyed weaving strips of fabric onto a loom. All the kids had great fun using all sorts of colour combinations. We might make a loom at home for Claudia, just some strips of wood screwed together with screws at each end to hold the warp. It would be a great winter activity she could come and go at and use up some of my fabric scraps.

Claudia's weavingThe next day I had a ring to say there was a vacancy for the ‘Buttons’ workshop. I was booked in for the one on the 18th July, but I’m off to Sydney for a conference that weekend. This workshop was based on Margaret Beal’s technique (which is probably in her book) but is also in the Dec08/Jan09 issue of Stitch magazine.

This workshop was great fun and doesn’t require much in the way of equipment. Just a 30 w soldering iron with a fine tip and various bits of synthetic materials. We began with a piece of synthetic felt and polyester fabric and traced around a 20 cent piece with the soldering iron to make our first button. Everything from then on was a variation of this: different layers, different metal shapes to trace around, adding acetate sheet, trapping sequins and beads. The soldering iron can also be used to make marks and different shaped holes in the buttons for variety, which I have yet to experiment with.

buttons:eThe last workshop for me this week was felting.

Leah came down from Euroa to teach a series of workshops (there is a felted jacket one on today and tomorrow) but the one I did was a cobweb scarf.

We began by making a felted square. As I was the last one there I ended up with the boring black wool, but I managed to find some little bits of colour to add. This was two layers of a wool silk mix layed on bubblewrap. We then put netting on top and wetted down and added soap. It was then rolled up in the bubblewrap and a towel and rolled 100 rolls in each direction until felted.

felting jul09:eAnd then using just one layer of wool, we layed out a scarf on bubblewrap: 30cm x 220cm. Once again I was using the black wool. I very rarely wear black near my face as it doesn’t suit my fair skin but Leah let me have some lime green to add, and then I swapped some of my black for the purpley blend. This one was just sprayed with tepid water with a bit of liquid soap added as it was layed out and rolled up. I gave this one 1000 rolls just rolling in the lengthwise direction, changing ends each 100 rolls.

cobweb scarfI’d like to try this again so I bought some nicer wool/silk from leah to make another one. Hopefully my technique and results will improve!!

Finally, this week I have been entertaining myself reading the Yahoo discussions of the Holey Moley clubbers. This group has been set up by Dale Rollerson as a workshop group, and if early indications are anything to go by it should be a fun conduit, riddled  and punctured with a honeycomb of burrowing fenestrations. (How’s that for getting as many puns as possible into one sentence?). The real fun begins this weekend so if you want to join in head to Dale’s blog (link above) for the info.


Until next week.

July 4, 2009 at 11:39 am 1 comment

Time Goes By (not slowly)

I don’t know how anyone can sing a song about time going by ….slowly, certainly not me, it seems to fly and another week is over. We are already  at the end of the first week of the mid year holidays and I don’t seem to have made much of a dent in the list of things to do.

Last weekend, however,  I zipped up to Melbourne on the train and managed to do everything intended. First stop was the Melbourne Museum for the teacher preview of the Pompeii exhibition. It was fascinating and the artwork from that period is truly inspiring. We have a shed at school that could do with a garden frescoe or two!!

museumThen it was onto the free city circle tram and a short walk to Craft Victoria. They had a couple of interesting exhibitions: ‘small things’, from which I bought this lovely beaded ipod case as a gift for a friend’s birthday and a really interesting knitted fibre exhibition.


ipod case

knittingThen it was on to a new fabric shop in Flinders Lane, just a little down from Craft Victoria, Tessuti. This is situated in the heart of the design district in a fabulous huge room up from street level. All the absolutely gorgeous fabrics are arranged by colour. If you are sewing something special or looking for fabric in a special colour this is the place to go. I resisted temptation very well and only bought some organza for the sea angels and some reduced fabric that was the perfect colour for some cushions. But I will be back.


Around the corner and down a block and I was at Federation Square. Cutting through to St Kilda Rd next stop was the Arts Centre where they had a display of the gorgeous costumes of Ballet Russes:

ballet russesFinal stop, just a hop, skip and jump to the National Gallery Victoria,where I had a look at all the free exhibitions, and there are lots of them: Persuasion fashions in the age of Jane Austen was an interesting look at the fashions of the late 18th century, unfortunately Mr Darcy wasn’t in his suit at the time!! ‘Light Years’ was another interesting exhibition of photos taken during space exploration in the 60’s & 70’s, which sparked off a few ideas for the Galaxy challenge/exhibition being held later this year by the Victorian Embroiderer’s Guild. I will have to go back another day for the special Salvador Dali exhibition and I’d also like to see the exhibition ‘Shared Sky’ at Federation Square, works by indigenous and non-indigenous artists based on the Southern night sky. Both these exhibitions include children’s activities so I may take Claudia up next week, she loves a trip to Melbourne on the train.

Stand by tomorrow night for installment two of holidays week 1, which includes some textile art fun. I’m off to bed


July 3, 2009 at 1:28 am 1 comment


July 2009

Notebook Project