Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Inner City Vibes

I have forgotten how vibrant and busy an inner city is.  Not only the traffic and people but the streets:

Banksy in lane way in inner Melbourne

Lane ways in Brunswick East

Bicycles near a cafe

Surpise in a shop window

Art work by 23rd key outside Banksy exhibition

And the old and the new juxtaposed in the streetscape

After six weeks I will be glad to be home to the quiet of my country town.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hello 2017

Goodbye 2016. 

You were a ride! 

We moved house – not just across town but across the state.     

Sun set

Our house is up high and we have the most entrancing views across the town of bush covered hills and an ever changing ‘cloudscape’.  Some days it is difficult to actually move from the table – weather watching can be so absorbing.

We made some new friends and managed to stay in touch with old ones: and have even reconnected with people we haven’t seen for 10 years plus!

I have a new and, even better, established garden which I love.    And a dedicated space in which I can make.   But old habits die hard and there is a definite ebb and flow of all sorts of materials from my studio.

I have managed to keep making art – though that has been a bit sporadic of late.

And most wonderful of all my partner has a new kidney … thanks to his donor brother.   They both came out of hospital on Christmas eve and both are doing well J.   We are in Melbourne till the end of January and then home.    (So miss my bed – it will be about seven weeks away by the time we get there).

With a gift of a kidney comes a new freedom and we are no longer tied to a machine.   We will be able to take more than a night away and we plan to explore the country about us – free range road trips.   Expect to see some photos posted during the year of the world about me.  

 And I will keep making.   For Christmas I got a book on Scottish Folk tales.    Look out for more fey folk inspired by tales of brownies, bogles and selkies.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Filling the creative well

I have been back and forth to Melbourne several times in the past couple of months.  Add to that a trip to Sydney, a trip to Canberra and one to Swan Hill.  Travel has taken its toll on creative endeavours.    On the plus side, I have seen new or revisited familiar vistas which add to the well to be drawn on at some time in the future.

Entrance to a café in Seymour:

The Mangoplah Pub:

 Canola paddocks between Albury and Wagga Wagga ;

Public Art in South Bank:

Mural at Victoria Market;

Murray River at Swan Hill:

And amazing clouds  just about very trip:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Canberra Contemporary Craft Retreat - Laughing and Learning - Dolls

Well it’s been a whirl wind few weeks.  I am exhausted from learning and laughter.  Not to mention travel.

I went to the Contemporary Craft Retreat held in Canberra, ACT in late October and did  workshops with artists Susie McMahan and Janice Laurent. 

Susie is a doll maker from Tasmania.  I only had to travel 3 ½ hours to get to Canberra.   Susie had 3 times the distance to cover.   I am so glad she did.  As well as coming home with 2 completed projects I came home armed with heaps of new skills.

Susie showed us how to make and paint two dolls she has designed:  her Sukeshi Doll and Sorry Doll.  I really wanted to learn how to draw and paint on fabric to create faces.  And I did J .  Not to mention learning some practicalities of soft doll making which I hadn’t done before.     

my Sukeshi Doll

The Sukeshi doll was fun and I learnt how to confidently apply paint to cloth.  The little doll had a simple form so I didn’t get lost – just face and hands outlined then filled in and then other decoration added as desired.  It was fun and Susie is a generous teacher.  It wasn’t until I was on my way home I remembered I had done an online class several years ago with American mixed media artist Suzi Blu on drawing faces.   I had forgotten.   Back to my notes now to combine what I learnt with Susie and Suzi J.

Embroidered but faceless cloth babushka

Some Paint applied
The back - added a kerchief
 Anyway, I got home and painted up a couple of little babushka type dolls which I had embroidered.  I was interested to see what I could apply from Susie McMahon’s lessons.   This is the result.  They need some refinement – and also the ‘canvas’ was not large.  Interestingly, the one I was least happy with and kept overpainting ended up being the one I like the most.  I think the under layers of paint give more depth. 

And that was something Susie talked about and showed us in the Sorry Doll.

My Sorry Doll

The Sorry Doll took 2 days of full on work and concentration.  Susie supplied us with a head and pattern.  The body was sewn and cut out at home.  The fun began at the Retreat.   With the encouragement of new friends Monica and Kay I made hands with separated fingers.  I had opted for a simpler hand but Kay had cut and sewn a spare pair.  Monica and Kay chivied me along when I made mistakes, burst through seams and decided to revert to the original.  Thanks girls – so glad you did!  

On the last day I did a class with Janice Laurent making a relief face in Makins Clay.  I love working with this clay and it has been a while so it was a good fun refresher.   The face is still a work in progress and I hope to finish it before Christmas.  If life events permit (which are also taking lots of time at the mo)  I will finish the face before Christmas and post a photo J.

The weekend following I went to Wagga Wagga to see “Tryp(s)tych” - an embroidery exhibition.  It was put on by a group I belong to and the work the members of the group does is amazing.  I didn’t take any photos and am hoping I can get hold of some to show you.

This last weekend I went to Swan Hill and did a gold work techniques class at the CWA Craft retreat there.   Again I didn’t take any photos. I will write a separate post on this too.      But I did sleep over with these two vintage girls at Carols house :-)

Monday, October 3, 2016

More Fey Folk = Art Dolls

Feathers from a vintage duster and an old silk scarf

Gum leaves for wings

Paper bark wings and recycled fabric

I have found that I have been working in a series by default.    I have been making these little art dolls for a while and finding that by repeating I am learning and exploring.  All that I have read and heard has said this but when I have set out to do this on purpose in the past I have failed.  I was encouraged to make more (thank you Penny) and ended up with a number of little art dolls. :-)

I have been using odds and ends, buttons collected over time, vegetation collected from walks with the dog and from the garden.  I have recycled/repurposed/upcycled clothes and fabrics given to me.
Friends know I have an interest in repurposing and I get given great things,   I love the vintage feather duster I was given.   You can see I have used some feathers in one of my fey folk above.

I have made little faces from either polymer or air dried clay and then made molds with which to easily create more faces.  They distort a little when I pull them out of the mould do they have familial sort of resemblance but are not exactly the same.  There are some that have no relatives -  the fellow with the bottle brush twigs wings in the photo above is one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

More Repurposing

Well not really repurposing but redirection.

I have a grab bag collection of threads and button given to me or so irrestable that I had to buy them. Remember I have a penchant for op shops.

Sealable and celephane bags of lovelies end up in an enormous tangle. But I have learnt to live with the fact that I am inspired by the mass (should really write "mess") of tangled colour that calls out to and inspires me.

Recently I have been making brooches.  They will end up for sale at the Tryp(s)tich exhibtion by the Wagga Wagga group in October.

Flyer for Exhibtion

Woven Brooch

Dorset Button Brooch

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I have a number of small art quilts from a course I did several years back.  I was quite pleased with them.  But have moved on a bit since then. 

I came across them when I was fossicking around  for fabric to make a couple of small tote type bags for the pop up shop at an exhibition in late October of the Wagga Wagga Group of the Embroiderers’ Guild of NSW (yes a mouthful I know). 

I had put the little quilts carefully away as I couldn’t throw them but have new stuff on my walls.  I suppose I could keep them in a folder them as a record of technique etc but I have photos.
So the long and the short is that one little quilt has become a lovely big feature pocket for a bag.  I recall I had a heap of fun playing with potato printing using acrylic paint.

I also came across a bit of wrapped cord that I hadn’t been able to toss.  I loved the colours and made a fabric pendant out of it.  It was going to go into the pop up shop but I liked it so much I have kept it for myself and made another.  I used some commercial lace which I had thrown into a dye lot ages ago.  It came up a treat.

Not quite a self portrait

Not quite a self portrait
small 8' quiltlet with embroidered hair

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