Friday, December 14, 2012

postcards from paradise

I have been working on a small series of postcards inspired by a holiday in the Cook Islands a couple of years ago.    They are to form part of a travelling exhibition with Stitchers Plus next year.

It is great to work on a small context but any thing that is not right really sits out to me.  I think I spent as much time ripping this little piece as I did stitching it.  

I am trying to use stitches that I saw in the embroidered quilts that are traditional to the Cook Island ladies who do such amazing work.    There is an earlier post on tivavae if you are interested in seeing them.


Friday, November 30, 2012

looking at lines in nature

Taking a walk is always an adventure.  Sometimes what I see can be overwhelming  in terms of pattern and line.   These photos are from a National Park near Shepparton, Victoria.  The sun was strong and the sky was very blue and clear.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

otherwise engaged in fund raising activities

Of late I have been really engaged in fund raising activities for the embroiderers Guild NSW Inc  and have been active in raising funds for an extensively refurbished building with like minded fellow embroiderers.  

My home group,Stitchers Plus,  are doing their bit and plan is a Devonshire Tea event on 18 April next year.

Readers based in Sydney - mark you diaries and come along for a fun event at Concord Community Centre... I will post more details in February.

Those readers who can't come - consider making a donation to the cause -  here is a link  on the Guild Website which talks about the building and links to a donation form.  Australian residents may be entitled to a tax deductible donation :-)  its got to be win win doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

sketch club

Sketch club was not a success this week - too tired to deal with the challenges this model gave me in  her poses and I left early.

I have been stitching though and Stitchers Plus, my home group at the Embroiderers' Guild, met last Saturday.  It was out last meeting for the year and we had usual show and tell and talk fest.  We also had our Christmas Party.  I came home exhausted but happy.  Jenny has put photos of some of our work on the Stitchers Plus blog - click here to have a look or visit the side bar link.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

back to sketch club ... finally

After a false start last week (arrived to discover that it had moved to new premises) I made it back to sketch club after 5 months absence.  I was a bit scared as I hadn't drawn a body in that time. Bernice was the model for the night and I seemed to get tortuous foreshortened views  and couldn't  fit her on the page.  But I came away with a couple of quick sketches  and a longer 20 minute study down that I like. Willow and A3 cartridge paper.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Golden leaves

 I have been playing with some stitches to try and broaden my repertoire but still come back to old favourites - may the were the ones I learnt first?

Blanket stitch and whipped running stitch feature in this sample.

I got the outline by making a  rubbing with blue crayon - the blue is hidden or rubbed off in most cases - or merges with the threads.

The fabric was remnant of hand dyed cotton I hadn't had the heart to discard.

No I just have a bit of embellished fabric ...

Must learn to toss some stuff soon.  Creativity is not encouraged by crowding.   A good friend has suggested that it helps to categorize things as friends, acquaintances and strangers.  I have a lot of strangers in terms of fabric but keep hanging on to them because I collected the fabric with a view to making a particular thing.  I am now convinced I should store my strangers fora year and if I haven't been to 'visit' they should be donated to a good home.  Only time will tell.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

play and inspriation - lino prints

Had a fun day yesterday and played with simple lino prints for half a day - its very addictive and had to stop or I would have run out of paper.  

I had been itching to play with lino printing for a some time.  A little while ago I bought some heavy rubber (sort of looks and feels like those white erasers by Stabilo) which is so easy to carve from Lyn Britten at Batik Eotoro and the tools to carve  it with.   You can carve on both sides of these blocks so I felt I got really good value  for my dollar.  And then I came home put them in a safe place and couldn't find them for a month!   I used student quality acrylic paint for coloured stamps and something called block printing colour for the black.  The latter was definitely a better quality to use but I like to effects that the acrylic gave.   Some of the paper I used was coloured with watercolour wash.

Quite some time ago Stitchers Plus had a design exercise where we made continuous patterns from a single drawing - the trick being to make sure that all the lines at the edge of the drawing would meet when you flipped the pattern around.   I used this technique and had such fun and came out with a couple of reasonable prints and a bit of inspiration for embroidery too :-

Looking for something else to stamp I then added the stamp to a collage I had been working on - I had painted, pasted and stamped onto a canvas tile which had remained unfinished and was waiting for that something else to bring it to completion.  I think the stamps do that.

Cheers all

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Revisiting photos

I was revisiting photos taken on a holiday in central  west NSW on our way to the Open Plains Zoo at Dubbo. On a not major road we came across a series of sculptures featuring animals and bicycles.  I took quite a few pics but one of my favourites was the pink elephant.   We just had to turn back so I could get this shot.  There were far too many to keep stopping but it made a very enjoyable diversion.  More photos can be found at Animals on Bikes - Public Art Scupltures

The zoo was interesting too - you can walk around it if you are feeling energetic - or drive and stop at points of interest.  our trip was a couple of years ago and we were lucky enough to see a baby white rhino and his mum.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Loop Stitch Landscape

Finally got a needle in some fabric and played with Loop Stitch using  a limited palette, different thickness of cotton  and a small amount of perle and rayon.

Loop stitch itself reminded me of a sort of blanket stitch - I had problems working it right to left as is the usual way to do it and found that if I turned the fabric and worked away from me I achieved the effect.  The diagram was a very even stitch with the up and up/down stitch very straight and the same length but I really like the uneven effect that an 'imperfect' stitch gives.
I haven't stitched as much as I would have liked to lately as I have been involved in a fundraising campaign for the Embroiderers' Guild NSW.  We have an exciting time ahead of us - once sufficient funds are raised we will have a 3 level centre of excellence for embroidery with a public gallery, research level housing the Guild collection of embroidery and embellished textiles and Library of over 5000 books and purpose build workshop and meeting rooms.  

Please support us in our endeavours - learn a little more about our capital campaign and donate now.   We hope to have started the building process by mid 2014.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

free motion machine embroidery

I have been playing off and on with some free motion machining.   My machine is still in charge but at some stage I know I will be able to still the beast!

I did an ATASDA class earlier in the year with Kirri Toose and she willing shared some tips including the drawing of the design on an iron or interfacing and working the design on from the back of the piece.  I did this and then flipped and added more machining.some additional gfavirc which I cut from an Indian trim I had in my box of precious things and a a few beads.   All this was done on a bit of organza with a gold check stripe which added a richness to the back ground.  After looking at the work in a  photo I wished I had worked more machine stitch into it.  I will remember to take it a step further next time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seasons Challenge

My home group Stitchers Plus  put up a challenge to Guild members to embroider their response to "Changing of the Seasons".

Here is mine  - my first attempt at any sort of crewel work. I didn't get past stem stitch really - even for the filling in the tomatoes and the horse.  However  I ventured out with laid stitches for the jockey's pants, boots and hat and a sort of trellis for his colours.  I found crewel wool very satisfying to use but I did over handle the piece a bit and it become a bit 'fluffy' in places.

Monday, September 10, 2012

what a difference a matte makes

I framed my chain stitch exercise in an eggshell coloured matte board and was pleased with the result - I have an A4 sized work to rotate on my desk with other works.


Monday, September 3, 2012

chain stitch exercise

I am doing a design course through city and guilds - this is one of the stitch exercises I have done.    I collaged a number of fabrics to create a back ground - some of them I dunked in my coffee pot leftovers to get a similar coloured ground.  The chain stitch is worked in 2 shades of grey and and black stranded cotton - sometimes mixed in the needle.

Rather chuffed with the outcome :-)

Monday, August 27, 2012

elephant in the corner

Watercolour pencil drawing - a fun experiment in mixing shapes and colour.

I have been been wanting to play with crewel work but have been hampered by my desire to do my own design,   I think I overwork things in my mind and get tied up in my own doubts and lack of knowledge.   This is a step in the right direction.

In the interim I have been working on small piece for a challenge by my Guild  home group Stitchers Plus where finally I pulled out some crewel wool and had a go.   I am nearly finished an will put a photo up at the end of the week after the entry date passes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meeting with like minds

Spent Saturday with Stitchers Plus and came home happy and inspired.  It is always great to catch up with friends and see what we have been up to stitch wise - click on the side bar link to see some of our show and tell.   It will reveal that I have actually put a needle into fabric since return from holidays - but I haven't been active on the Cloth Garden blog.

As well as working on a journal cover - which was really a stitch pay that got turned into something - I have been working on Stitchers Plus Members Challenge which is due in this week - we asked members of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW  what 'changing of the seasons' meant to them and asked them to stitch a response to it. Our local libraries (Concord and Five Dock) are going to display the works in October and November this year.  I will post some photos after closing date.

I have also been busy getting a web page together for my small framing business - hopefully it will be live at the end of the month!

In the interim, in between stitch the challenge pieces I have pulled out my watercolour pencils and had a play with colour and shape.    The colours are not as rich in the photo  as they are in the original but  I can see some play with overlaid organza, chiffon and stitch happening in the future:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stitch In at the Tops

I had a fantastic weekend in the company of members of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW at Stanwell Tops (near Helensburg).  I spent 2 days exploring stitches with Judith Langdon and came home happy and tired.

The facilities were in a beautiful  bush surrounds with tall gum tress - we could even  see the ocean from the balcony of the building we we in.

A  few of us were entertained by a lyrebird that seem to scurry past our window at regular intervals.  I did manage a couple of short walks but  really didn't really take full advantage of the grounds - we were stitching from 9 - 5!   

The Stitch In was organised by Judith (who is one of the fund raising team for the Embroiders Guild) as a fund raiser for the Guild's exciting refurbishment project. Members are working towards fund raising - the end result of our efforts will be a building with three levels; a public space and gallery on the ground floor, then a research level which will contain the library, the museum containing a significant collection of textiles) and a top floor containing rooms for workshops and meetings.

Judith and the other tutors - Wendy Fuller and Margret Stephens - donated their time free of charge.  Thank you.

I would show you my explorations but I couldn't find it when I got home -  I am hoping that I left it behind as the other alternative is that I lost in on my travels home on the train.  Keeping my fingers crossed it was picked up at the Tops in the final clean up.  I discovered and practised stitches not in my usual repertoire  - which was not hard as it consists largely of running and chain stitch!  I found that I really like what can be done with up and down button hole stitch - especially when it becomes irregular.

Friday, June 22, 2012

back in the real world

Only back home from holidays 1 day and find that I have hit the ground running - back to work, family and extracurricular activities and as yet no sewing.

Bought myself a few books whilst I was away which will keep me happy for some time to come :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I am on holidays ..

Medieval art at The Cloisters in New York has been a highlight. Got to see some remarkable and very old textiles including the unicorn tapestries. Here is a taste:

Friday, May 18, 2012

thinking about colour

I am still exploring Lesbia Harford's poetry.  She has a very evocative style.  

Her poem Green and Blue made me think about how I react and feel colour and how I use it.    I would like to try ans translate some her poems into stitch - sometimes- like this poem - an idea jumps right out and makes me want to rush off and try it.    

Green and blue                                               
First-named of colours believe these two        
They first of colours by men were seen              
This grass colour, tree colour,                   
Sky colour, sea colour,                                   
Magic-named, mystic-souled, blue and green. 
Later came                                                            
Small subtle colours like tongues of flame,      
Small jewel colours for treasure trove,            
Not fruit colour, flower colour,                       
Cloud colour, shower colour,                           
But purple, amethyst, violet and mauve.          
These remain,                                                  
Two broad fair colours for our larger gain       
Stretched underfoot or spreading wide on high, 
Green beech colour, vine colour,                       
Gum colour, pine colour,                                    
Blue of the noonday and the moonlit sky.      

Friday, May 11, 2012

This year I have seen autumn with new eyes

This year I have seen autumn with new eyes
Glimpsed hitherto undreamt of mysteries
In the slow ripening of the town-bred trees;
Horse-chestnut lifting wide hands to the skies;
And silver beech turned gold now winter's near;
And elm, whose leaves like little suns appear
Scattering light — all, all have made me wise
And writ me lectures in earth's loveliness,
Whether they laugh through the grey morning mist,
Or by the loving sun at noon are kissed
Or seek at night the high-swung lamp's caress.
Does autumn such a novel splendour wear
Simply because my love has yellow hair?
Lesbia Harford  1891 - 1927

I have just discovered this Australian poet - she seems to have been a pretty amazing woman and would be so even today.  She was among  the first women to study law, she was a social activist and unionist. Here is a link to learn a little more about Lesbia

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

converting squiggles

Playing with pastel in rounded forms led to this - then decided to add a rather simple face and got something a bit different. 

Similarly, playing with fabric crayons led to this embroidered piece -  A Bird in the Hand.  I have decided it is nt quite finished yet and will add some sparkle.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Public art

Phot taken from the car whilst driving to work.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Finally picked up a needle

I have been caught up in other things and haven't posted much lately .   However I picked up a canvas work that got put aside quite some time ago and started stitching on it again - its working title is Daintree Dreaming.  It started life as swirly sketch which I photocopied and painted and the colours and leaf forms reminded me of leaf litter when we explored the Cape Tribulation area.  It is a magic place.   I have some barramundi leather that I have been saving and will apply in a couple of spots to bring up the texture.

I think if I keep at it I have about 15 hours work left before it is done!   Not much in the scheme of things as I posted a photo of the sketch in 2008!

I haven't done much drawing lately either - no pears or life drawing! Managed to get out my charcoal and do a couple of fun squiggles though.   I am practising trying to get dimension and depth  - I will need to add some compressed charcoal to my supply - I only have willow and when I try to smudge it it lifts off - might alos be that the paper doesn't have enough tooth - I do my drawings in a A4 visual diary

Friday, April 20, 2012

tired of pears yet?

I'm not.  They have a lovely shape - very feminine in form I think.

After drawing yet another pear (not this one) an idea struck me for a challenge my group has set all members of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW.  Having been involved in the set up of the challenge. I was almost over the idea. The general theme is "Changing of the Seasons" and I really wanted to avoid doing something involving flowers - well I haven't but that's OK.  The piece is not due in until September so I have a little bit of time to change my mind.

Friday, April 6, 2012

a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

 Tiles on a house wall in Croydon NSW.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My camera gets borrowed and every so often I find a pleasant surprise on my camera card

baby Bristlenose feeding on cucumber

this gives an idea of actually how small the baby is - see the adult Bristlenose coming in on the right
Adult Bristlenose - aptly named

Not quite a self portrait

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

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