Posts filed under ‘Painted fabric’


The 2020 Biblio Art Prize at Blarney Books & Art is now open for viewing, both in Port Fairy and online.

The Biblio Art Prize began in 2009 and has become very popular, attracting entries from around Australia and overseas.  It was instigated by and continues to be run through Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy, a quirky bookshop plus art gallery that is an institution in Victoria for locals and travellers alike. A book title is chosen from a hat and the entrant is expected to read and respond to the book in some way or form.

This year Blarney Books and Art chose to select books written by Australian authors for the art prompt. I was emailed The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey and promptly supported my local bookstore by buying the book. As one of the finalists my piece is included in both the online and physical exhibitions.

Title: Perfect Imperfection

Book Title: The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey

Medium: Textile Art: Goldwork, Free Machine Embroidery, Hand Embroidery.

Brief Statement:

This book brought to mind the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, its complexity and imperfectness, which is reflected in all our lives. The book explores the elements of strength/resilience and kindness/softness.

The Labyrinth speaks to:

            How we care for others,

            How we respond to adversity,

            How we accept the imperfection of human nature.

The artwork started with a base of natural silk, strong yet soft. I painted the colours of sea and sky and used frottage to simulate the grey gravel of the zen garden. The soft cotton, repeated stitching is a meditation on the labyrinth, the metal of goldwork the strength that holds us all together. The twisted tree, reminiscent of my beach walks, represents the complexity of family relationships and the chairs the warmth and belonging of community.

A labyrinth is the opportunity to meditate on the perfect imperfection of life and living.


The piece is framed by Mulbury Framers in Highett who use beautiful reclaimed and recycled timber.

January 10, 2021 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

FME with KHF

We were extremely lucky to have Kathryn Harmer Fox visit for a three day workshop called ‘Using your sewing machine as a creative tool’.

Kathryn was a great tutor for an experienced group as she didn’t waste time with too much instruction but just let us get on with it. Her teaching philosophy was very open ended in that she would make suggestions occasionally but generally would question us to make us justify our choices.

The photos show how my piece progressed from a photo of a very cute penguin taken at the Melbourne aquarium many years ago, not very clear as it was taken through glass. Firstly the piece was sketched onto the canvas and the bottom of the penguin coloured in Inktense pencils. Small pieces of fabric were added, the background painted and then more fabric added.

Some people used glue to keep the fabric in place while stitching but I hate how it makes the needle sticky so I simply slid the piece under the needle on the machine and held the pieces in place with a chopstick while stitching.

I will be hopefully finishing this off in the next school holidays. Currently sewing 70 small ‘Mirka Mora’ softie sculptures for stuffing and finishing by my Visual Art classes.

August 30, 2019 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

Much Arty Fun

This post will be a catch up on how much fun I have been having over this month with making my faces quiltie for the ATASDA Travelling Suitcase Exhibition, Sketchbook Revival- a free crazy full on arts extravaganza, making my Challenge piece for Stitching & Beyond (Tasmania) travelling exhibition, making a postcard to post off to the Solihull embroiderer’s Group for a swap, attending a wonderful workshop-After Mirka Mora with Deb Brearley and another workshop with Carolyn Hawkins at the Bluebird Foundation.

Basket making with Carolyn, a drawing and watercolour from the session with Carla Sonheim and postcard in process:

After Mirka Mora:

After Mirka Mora

And the two travelling pieces in process: some hand stitching needed on the Faces piece to knock back the colour before I back and bind it to send off this week and the base level for Ancient Strata .

In progress

May 26, 2019 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

A trip to Sydney

During the summer break I had a short trip to Sydney to catch up with the committee of ATASDA for some strategic planning. There is a new Travelling suitcase exhibition planned for this year tentatively named “Frida and Flowers” which should be very exciting. I stayed with the very hospitable Miriam (Airbnb) in a beautiful terrace home in the very hip suburb of Newtown, lots of great restaurants to choose from. There was also a quite amazing exhibition on at Carriageworks by Katharina Grosse where huge amounts of canvas had been draped and painted.


Luckily this trip coincided with the Embroiderers’ Guild NSW Summer School and there was a weekend workshop available with Mirjam Agner called ‘A splash and a dash’ which was great fun. The Sydney Guild had just celebrated the opening of their newly renovated building and had a wonderful array of works exhibited. The Sydney Guild were very welcoming to an inter-stater, one of the things I love about being a member of the Guild.

Mirjam is a qualified teacher as well as a textile artist and she had lots of great design techniques to teach us. My favourite piece from the week was the dropcloth! I have started to stitch this piece in which I thought I saw a fisherman! I will take some photos of the other pieces I painted and printed and put them in another post.


While wandering around Sydney I ate some delicious food, took photos of the architecture and viewed a great exhibition at the S.H Ervin Gallery (National Trust building) called Intrepid women , which has inspired some pages in the book of women’s art I am constructing for our GeeTAG exhibition in March.




February 18, 2018 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Studio update

I managed to finish my ATC  and Fabric swaps on time and all have now been posted . I won’t blog about the fabric yet as it will take at least a week to arrive at destinations in USA and England. The ATCs should have arrived as they were local.

The theme for the EGV December ATC swap was green. I started with vliesofixed strips and scraps of sari silk, dyed silk rods and other fabric onto a cotton sheeting that had paint overspray from an Angie Hughes project. This was overlaid with green organza and then fine black netting. I have used FME and Flower stitcher over the layers and then burnt back sections using the heat gun. The whole piece was vliesofixed onto pelmet vilene before being cut to size and then zigzag edged. They are named ‘Eucalyptus Forest’.





Now I need to do some cleaning up in the shed so that I can start on the wedding dresses.

I have also finished off the tiling above the sink in the studio. I sourced tiles from Restorers Barn, Mill Markets, Bunnings and some beautiful handmade tiles from Gillian’s gorgeous shop, Leaf & Stone, at Wintergarden. I am really happy with how they turned out given it is my first wall tiling attempt and I chose a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses of the tiles. Kind of reminds of Mexican adobe style.

I also used some vanilla coloured grout out of the garage so a good, cheap, recycling effort all round.


Tiling 2

Close up showing the different thicknesses-lots of fun grouting!

Tiling c-up

January 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm 2 comments

Playing with Gelli

We had a fabulously fun play day with a friend who has a Gelli Plate (note to self: must buy one).

We started with prints on paper using various mark making and masks and then got really excited by working on fabric.

The fabric we used was sheeting I picked up at a local Op Shop (thrift store).

Why I love Op Shop fabrics:

1. They have been well washed (no sizing and take colour really well)

2. You don’t have to be too precious and can experiment freely

3. the white sheeting is usually a really good quality of cotton

4. It is really easy to rip to whatever size you wish.

Firstly experiments with colour on paper:

smooshing the paint

smooshing the paint

Beryl 2

Gelli print 2

Gelli print paper 1

Gelli print3

And seeing some influence from the Monet exhibition currently on at the National  Gallery of Victoria:

gelli print 1


And my prints using a limited colour palette on fabric:

Gelli Prints


Now need to maybe add some stamping/stitch and see what we can make.

I’m thinking bags, bookcovers and maybe some 3d shapes.


May 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm 2 comments

Birthday Giveaway

Sewjourn is having a birthday giveaway, be quick it ends at 5pm tonight.

I have just downloaded my September copy of WOW, great inspiration there and well worth the miserly subscription. I am about to incorporate Julie Smith’s wonderful article on making a mermaid’s purse (or cuff actually) into my sea angels. I have just about finished all the machine stitching and will spend the next two weeks with the hand stitching.

Here is another taster.

 The first is the twin needle stitching on the neck of one dupion silk gown:gown pintucksThis is the other gown painted with a mixture of acrylic, opulence ink and dyn na flow then sprinkled with salt:

pink gown:saltI painted some pearl cotton with the leftovers but they are a bit stiff, even after being in the dryer. They might be okay in a twisted cord or couched on. This is in the wet stage, it actually dried much lighter and will be toned down with overlays.

The last photo is another of the wing pieces. On the corners I have stitched using the Maggie’s technique from the Perth workshop. I’m hoping these will look like fragments of fishing net once dissolved.

wingsSorry about the flash off the glass cooktop.


September 6, 2009 at 11:35 am 1 comment

Progress on WIP

Firstly some beautiful post received, from Britt in Perth

atcs-britteClaudia was mega excited when she opened the envelope and saw all the cute extras Britt had included. Britt offered a huge range of ATC’s on her blog for swap, each featuring her beautiful, fine tatting lace.

Also received were these amazing ATC embroideries from Anne in France and Emmy in Netherlands. I do not have the patience for such fine embroidery so I’m in awe of both of these super talented ladies. If you want to get a surprise for the return ATC’s don’t look any further girls!



It is a great feeling to actually finish something. I have had a number of projects on the go at the same time which sometimes makes it difficult to feel you are progressing. Having a long weekend this weekend and staying home instead of gadding about has made a huge difference. I have managed to finish or make obvious progress on a number of fronts. The biggest task was finishing off the ethics application for my research project. Emailing that away on Sunday was a huge lift off the shoulders. It meant that on Monday I could relax and enjoy some arting with Claudia. Firstly here are the ATC’s we finished for our swaps.

atcs-to-sendeClaudia decided she would like to draw some pictures to stitch on to hers, so they have been scanned and printed onto ready to print cotton sheet. For the base fabric she layered some silk fibres under the green chiffon fabric (left over from my Mum’s cardi) and FME. I gave her my sample from a machine embroidery workshop and she chose to do a star pattern. The hearts are the ones Britt sent to Claudia.

fmeeMy ATC’s were made as a strip of seven and are based on one of my favourite paintings by Grace Cossington Smith called Landscape at Pentecost . I used some techniques from Angie Hughes new book Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint. Bits of curtain fabric, scrunched tissue paper, silk threads and muslin were adhered to pelmet vilene with vlieofix. Then all the bits were secured with FME zigzag with white polyester cotton thread. The details were added with some cable stitch using no. 8 perle cotton in the bobbin. A coat of gesso was added all over and left to dry overnight. This morning I painted over using koh-i-noor watercolours mixed with white pearl lumiere. A tiny bit of handstitching finished them off.


Claudia also wanted to paint so she painted some cotton sheeting with nice, bright stripes to use as the backing for her ATC’s.painted-fabric The Stitch Explorer stitch for February is the Trellis Stitch, a great stitch for 3D effects. I have tried out a couple of motifs on my sampler based on the links Sharon gave us. The circular motif is in perle 8 and includes a few beads threaded on by hand. The diamond is stitched on a base of reverse chain stitch and I worked each side separately decreasing to form a triangle shape on each.

trellis-stitch-1eThis weekend progress has also been made on trying out a few techniques for the ‘sea angels’. While painting fabric I tried out a few different colours and paints on some dupion silk and will use this as a sampler to try out stitches for the sea angels gowns. It scanned really badly so I won’t bother loading that picture.

This week is the new stitches and craft show at Melbourne Showgrounds. As I have to go up to uni on Thursday I might try to pop in for a few hours and check it out. If you’re free check out the web-site, it looks like a mega show with something for everyone.


March 9, 2009 at 9:29 pm 4 comments

While the mice are away…..

…that means Claudia and I are the cats!

The essay I’m writing is so tedious (but important) I have to take breaks every now and then, and since most of my children and the husband are away (hardly any housework for two of us and we eat when and what we like) I have all this time to do more interesting things. I have sprayed the muslin and a sheet of Sheer heaven paper with my new radiant mists (from the Thread Studio) and they are lovely (and some moonshadow mist). I would like to put the sheer heaven through the printer , I’m hoping the paint won’t be a problem, to print some words upon. It’s going to be used on a box like this, which our textile group are making for the Embroiderer’s Guild exhibition. This is Pauline’s box in progress, hope you don’t mind me putting it on here Pauline? I also sprayed the muslin at the same time and it will be part of the layering on my box (I have lots of bits for this that I’ve been making that hopefully will look okay when put together). Looks a bit pale here from the flash, it’s much richer in colour. Also this afternoon, I decided to cover some boxes that started like this: and after a bit of spray adhesive and fabric, looked like this: Did this outside of course. I’ve promised Claudia we’ll try some sun printing if it’s sunny tomorrow, this spring weather is very unpredictable. Cheers

September 23, 2008 at 7:47 pm 1 comment

Playing Around

Having spent most of the day on uni work I decided I was justified in giving myself a treat. I spent a very relaxing, enjoyable couple of hours stitching Susan’s postcard to send off. I won’t post a picture this week as it will spoil the surprise. Thanks for swapping with me Susan.
Claudia has been continuing her ATC’s. She has made one for her cousin who has just jetted off to The US to work at Camp America. At this stage she is getting acclimatised at her Uncle’s house north of Detroit. The second ATC was for a swap with Annica in Sweden. Claudia spotted the ATC’s Annica had for swap while I was reading her blog.

Claudia has just asked me if she can have her own blog to post her stuff on! I have told her she can when she is a little older. She is off to her first monthly Young Embroiderer’s class at the Embroidery Guild on Friday, so we’ll see if she enjoys that.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a little ‘arting’, I just haven’t had time to blog. I was reading on a blog about somebody’s fun with painting an old stained cloth so I decided to also try some. I dug out an old cotton sheet that has been used as a tablecloth for trestle tables on large family gatherings. I started with wetting the cotton then ironing until just damp. I used a mixture of permaset, lumiere, and koh-i-nor colours and a wide brush with lots of water. I painted wide bands of colour and then splotches of colour on top. I then scrunched them up and left in a tub to dry.

The resultant fabric, the splotches on the autumn tonings are a little obvious but this fabric is destined to be used as a background for a pentagonal box so it will be layered upon. (I will use the silk paper I showed last post.) The pastel shades are not quite as pale as they appear.

The last play around was with the xpandaprint. I sewed a grid onto water soluble paper and then began stencilling with the xpandaprint and sprinkling on the embossing powder. In the end I just painted on the xpandaprint. As I have not yet purchased a heat gun I had to heat set with the iron. This is the photo after heat setting. You can see where the colour has just come off a little.

I have dissolved the paper in water and these will be applied to my Research Journal cover which I intend to stitch tomorrow (we have a long weekend here for the Queen’s Birthday).
Cheers till next week

June 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm 4 comments


October 2021

Notebook Project