Thursday, August 30, 2018

Intriguing websites ... like Alice I keep falling down rabbit holes

The Google Bar was so interesting looking this morning I had to follow the wiki link and find out more.  Who was Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky? Why is it worth noting he was born 155 years ago?

It transpires he was a Russian chemist  and a photographer who was a trail blazer in colour photography.  And he travelled the breadth of Russia as it was then and took photos.  Of course I had to look at images and came across this one which just floats my boat with all that colour, fabric and stitch.

There were several copies posted but this was the better photo.  It was posted in a site the TJS: The Juice Squeezer.   This link has more images of embroidered door mantles that frame the entrance door of the yurt.  Hard to tell whether the mantles are internal or external. There is definitely one at the rear in this photo.   

The rabbit hole bit is the fact that I started to look at other posts in TJS.  It is a really interesting collection of articles and images reflecting modern design. Hover your cursor over the logo on the top left and click to get a list of recent posts.   Enter something in the search engine to explore further.   I tried Mexico first.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Grandmother's Garden and return to stitching

I have had a burst of soft sculpting and created some grannies and aunties for my exhibition Grandmother's Garden.  It was fun but exhausting.

 Grandmother’s Garden included an installation of hanging pieced hexagons.  The installation is a play on the quilting pattern of the same name.  It is a tessellating pattern which builds upon itself.   I have used old embroidered table cloths, tray cloths and napkins.

The earliest hexagon template that quilt researchers have found was made in England in 1770. Hexagon became one of the most popular patterns in England by 1830.    The pattern at that stage was know as honeycomb or hexagon.
Hexagon patterns bloomed in the United States in the 1930s under the name Grandmother's Flower Garden.  Many pieced quilts used fabric remnants or repurposed cloth to create a very distinct pattern.

I ran a couple of workshops during the exhibition and we paper pieced small bowls - we used old table linen and it came up a treat!

Its been a while since I put a needle into cloth with a decorative purpose in mind.  But glad to say I managed to lay out a fabric collage of sorts and started stitching.   Thinking they may become small bags.   Or just a piece of embellished fabric.   But trying to stitch sustainably and looking to my stash rather than buy new fabric and threads.   More later.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Grandmother's Garden Exhibition and workshops

I've  been lost in time and space .. and an exhibition and workshops to run in conjunction with it  :-)

I have been working with vintage (and not so vintage) embroidered cloth to create a hanging installation.   It has been a time of  contemplation and memories of my own grandmother.  She always set a table with an embroidered cloth or a damask cloth overlaid by a lace cloth if it was more formal occasion.

The title of my exhibition  is a play of words.   Most of you will know "grandmothers garden" as a quilting pattern using hexagon blocks.   The hanging 'flowers' are paper pieced - either single or pieced blocks.  Where I have come across a beautiful large applique as in the above photo I have cut it to resemble the pieced block. 

It has been a great experience.  I enjoy hand piecing and the time it allows for rumination and thoughts about where I can go/what I can do with the fabric stash I have at hand.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A wrap of of 2017 dolls and stitching and tutor recommendations :-)

Well its 2018 and I am back in the saddle after 2 months of no posts.   But in the interim I have been busy travelling and stitching and doll making.  

In late October 2017 I went to the ContemporaryCraft Retreat at Canberra and did a workshop with Bobbi Oliver – a doll maker from the Central Coast NSW.   I highly recommend her – she is generous in her skill sharing.   After two days I came away with “Mago” – a fixed doll with wired, padded and wrapped armature and sculpted polymer clay head and hands.   I was chuffed.

I also did a class with Lex Sorrentino using Makins Clay.   Lex always  seems to comes up with techniques I want to try.    In Lex's  workshop  we made a  hollow fish form - the wire armature was covered with Makin's and partially covered- a bit zombie like.   

Zombie Fish WIP

November was a busy month.

I made the plunge and exhibited a selection of works at the  Albury Horicultural Show.  And was staggered to be awarded  Best of Show.   I entered a painting, a paverpol Llama, some stitchery and a cloth doll and a small mixed media doll.

I travelled to Swan Hill Vic and lead a Paverpol weekend with 9 ladies at a CWA craft retreat.   We made bandaged birds, a small person form and a larger lady.   It was bags of fun.  They were a great bunch of women to spend a weekend with πŸ˜Š

Circque de Soliel inspired girl - yet to be named

Pietro - my medieval inspired boy
At the end of November and early December I had a catch up with some girlfriends at the Gold Coast and we had a crafty few days with doll maker Susie McMahon.   We sculpted faces with Creative Paperclay and after three intense days had completed a cloth doll with a paperclay face mask and sculpted a full head with a shoulder plate. Susie's technique included covering the sculpted face with cloth.  As a textile junkie I really like this look.  Susie was generous in sharing her moulds and I also came home with a baby face mask and a child face mask.    

Lots of learning and lots of fun.  I am in love with the other worldliness of these two dolls and will make more in the format.  Susie will travel to conduct classes and I highly recommend her to you.   

Add to this mix a workshop with textile artist and tutor Sue Senewiratne (and sequin lady extraordinaire) where we sampled and sewed sequins in a Bollywood Bling style.    Sue loaded her car up and travelled 4 hours up the highway from Melbourne to Albury with an amazing selection of sequins, braids and beads.   Her workshop instructions included a number of Indian style motifs.   I was so enthused I did another two motifs and a sampler in the next few weeks.   Sue has a lovey easy teaching style and coped with my dive into the deep end approach!

Two of Sue's examples
My sampler

Last year was a great learning year.  The challenge is to incorporate what I learnt into my projects this year 😊.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Some more rabbits from Tempestuous Nature exhibtion

Harry  is possibly my favourite character.  He was also the most difficult to create and I had several attempts at his face.     I settled on air dry clay over cloth to make his face.  Then I painted him. Harry is a hirsute hare in the modern fashion with his bit more than 5.00 o'clock shadow and not quite a beard.                                                                                                              And he is a bit of a dandy.    Harry’s clothes are made from a discarded mens shirt.  (I loved the fabric in this shirt and have used it several times.  It’s just about all gone).   Harry’s lairy flared pants are made from an old tie.  I enjoyed adding the details to Harry's costume. The buttons on his pants come from the shirt used to make the shirt.  Small beads have been added to the front of his shirt to represent buttons.  Harry's ears have been stiffened so that they remain standing.    

Grace is a ballet student.  This bunny is heading off to her ballet school concert.  A temperamental prima donna in the making. She came into being because of her feet.   They looked like they wanted to dance on point. Grace’s leotards, tights and shoes are painted on.  Her skirt is an old scarf that a friend gave me.  The trims came from my collection.  Grace carries a wrap in case she gets cold in the wings.     Grace's muzzel was needle felted and her stage eyes painted on :-).


Houdini  is an excitable boy always getting out of trouble after getting into mischief. Pipe cleaners make him poseable and lend to his demeanour. His bright red pants reflect his nature.  They are made from a fabric scrap supplied by Leanne.    Houdini's eyes are embroidered on He is sitting on top of a gorgeous yellow and red dot felted bags made by Leanne.

These bunnies are looking for new homes  and are for sale.  Contact me via my web site for further details.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Rabbits on Exhibtion - Tempetuous Nature

Last night the exhibition Tempestuous Nature was officially opened at Creators Artspace, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga.  

I was invited to join the exhibition by fibre artists Cathy Upton and Leanne O'Toole.  Cathy has on display results of eco dying on silk, cotton and wool cotton mixes.  Leanne's works are in the form of bags - cloth, felted and both.  Also on display were two felted wearable art dresses on which Cathy and Leanne had collaborated. One of the dresses was a winner at the Wool Fashion Awards in 2014.  Their work is amazing and I was really chuffed to be asked to contribute work - but rabbits?   Well it worked. 

Henrietta is the bunny that started this journey.    Leanne had seen Henrietta and thought that rabbits would fit the eclectic mix of fibre the exhibition.

Henrietta is a true mixed media creation.  I wanted to try clay over cloth which is how her face came about.  Her ears are florists wire and papier-mΓ’chΓ© made from tissue that came with a new pair of shows. Henrietta’s little jacket was a failed felting experiment.  The felt came up a treat in its new guise.  Pants were made from a scrap left over from some long forgotten project.  

Bunnies in the buff posing with One of Leanne O'Toole's Cloth bags
and two of Cathy Upton's eco-dyed scarves
 Bunnies in the Buff

These little fellows are made from a test scrap of cotton fabric that Cathy eco dyed.    I just loved the colour and the bunnies have such an exuberant feel about them that I couldn’t clothe them.   

I just gave them simple  embroidered faces and lovely fluffy tails made from unspun sheep wool.

 The Border Mail gave us a nice write up.  You can find it here.

In making my bunnies I have tried to imbibe them with something of a tempestuous nature.  If you look you may find that they are have elements that are emotional, passionate, intense, impassioned, fiery, unrestrained, temperamental, volatile, excitable, mercurial or unpredictable.

I have endeavoured to stick to the principle of not buying anything in making the bunnies. Remembering where lots of the bits came from has added to the fun I have had in making bunnies for this exhibition.
As adults, we often eschew childhood toys and forget the joy they gave us.   These bunnies are toys for adults and can be hung on the wall or sit on a shelf.  I  will post more photos over the next couple of weeks.  I hope my bunnies give you as much pleasure as they do me.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cactus Country

A visit to Cactus Country -  friends' gardens hidden on a farming property at Strathmerton (on the Victorian side of the Murray River).

Click here for  a u tube for a bit of a look see as Jim talks about how he came to have acres of cactus.

The garden had more than enough flowers and lovely spiky plants to make our visit memorable. There is lots of inspiration for some textural embroidery and painting.    And an upcoming exhibition of art for the garden or comprising fibres from it in January 2018.  πŸ˜  

Also exciting - I will have an exhibition of garden art and some workshops in the garden in January 2018.

Here are some flower photos to wet your appetite:

Not quite a self portrait

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

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