Monday, November 18, 2013

Stitchers Plus Challenge Award - Say It With Words

Had our last Stitchers Plus meeting on Saturday.    A small meeting but a busy day.  There is a great exhibition of works by art quilter and embroiderer Caroline Sutherland.

After lunch we adjourned to the Five Dock Library where the winners of the annual challenge were announce.   Sheila Beer, a member of our group, came home with both first prize and Viewers Choice!   Here is her work :Hay Stack.    Sheila couched down straw to create her out of the box embroidery :-)

All of the works can be found here -  you might have to scroll down to find the images.

Monday, October 7, 2013

fabric garden statue and lace for indoors :-)

I had fun creating this little statue for my garden.  She is made with a wire armature and built up with fabric stiffened with a product called paverpol.   

Her components came from Paverpol in a kit form.  

There is sufficient space in her arms to put a small pot and I was thinking of doing this and filling it with babies tears which would grow/flow over the edges.   In the interim her arms are full of dried bouganvillea.

I have been framing the lace collages I have been working on and when I finally get a decent photo I will put them up. :-)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hello Hello

Working with the embroidered letter project inspired me to play with felt applique for a display at our local Library.  The Concord and Five Dock Libraries have regularly hosted an exhibition of works made by Embroiderers; Guild NSW members to a challenge.  This year the theme was "Say it with Words" and some interesting works were received.  Not many this year but it has been a busy year for many of the members what with the embroidered letter project, many group (and other  exhibitions and the Margaret Oppen Competition.

The original piece that I made for the challenge itself is the first collage I put up in my last post.  I am still exploring this sort of collage - a wonderful reason to play with laces and beads and buttons that I have been squirreling away for that special project.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

fabric & mixed media collages and more on embroidered letters

I have been playing with bits of laces and the like I have collected over time.   

Quite some time ago I visited a very tempting shop called Lucello's in the Nicholas Building in Melbourne.   It is the sort of shop you both want to tell every about and keep to yourself at the same time.   When I was there I bought some packets of lace scraps which have been - not quite languishing as I kept playing with them - perhaps waiting on the right project is the better phrase.  
I also had some bits of old lace bought from the Embroiderers' Guild which joined the packets.

Well - I have been pushing these bits of lace about on fabric grounds for  while now and they have finally found a place in some mixed media collages.   I have incorporated  Lucellos' business cards and other items I bought at the time.    

The collage above I made for an challenge put on by Stitchers Plus.  The title of the challenge is "Say it with Words" and the works will go on exhibition at Concord and Five Dock Libraries over October and November 2013.   I will see if I can get permission to post photos of other works made - some were very innovate. 

The collage below is still a work in progress - however - it is starting to talk to me now and is nearly done.

The embroidered letter project is moving along and members of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW have been so very busy - I haven't counted the letters once we got to 700 - we must be close to if not over 1000 at this stage.  The tree form will be up shortly and when it is up I will get some photos up for you to see.

The next major project is a community at large one - will write more on the next  post

Take care all

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

embroidered letters

I have really caught up in a community art project with the Embroiderers' Guild NSW.   A call was put out to members for embroidered letters to make a giant noticeboard on a conical shaped form.

Over 600 letters and numbers have come in from all over NSW  - they were all wonderful.

I have done some stitching  - practising stitches so I can work out how to explain how to do them in a leaflet.   This little bird (missing an eye) is the result.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

travels - Turner Exhibition

I had the pleasure of visiting the Turner Exhibition in Canberra with my friend Grace and her dog Bonnie  (Bonnie just got to visit the Capital - not the Gallery!).  Canberra turned on a beautiful winter day with sky and clouds in a Turneresque style with beautiful reflections in Lake Burly Griffin.  I went not knowing much of Turner - other than he was a Master - and I learnt a lot and have had my eyes upwards rather than down since.

 On the way home we stopped Mulwaree Arts at George Street, Marulan NSW.   They sell lots of hand crafted products from jam and jelllies,  artwork, quilts, glorious knitted items and some quirky  and brightly coloured pottery.  I couldn't resist this little vessel by Lisa Annis.   She was on duty when we came in and I loved her altered T shirt - as well as being covered by lots and lots of colourful marks it bore the words - There are many scary things - colour is not one of them!

I am planning to fill this vessel with lots of yellow bottlebrushes.

I have beem stitching letters and not much else at the moment.  Started a small cotton throw or baby blanket - what it turns into will depend on my enthusiasm

Friday, June 14, 2013


I had the pleasure of being invited to the official launch of a sculpture at Cabarita Park on Sunday  9 June last..

The three  whimsical works reflecting on climate were really intriguing ... and you get to sit on, stand in, look through and listen to them.

This photo is a close up of the storm case window.  It contains a salt solution which reacts to barometric pressure and was an old time way to see whether a storm was coming.    It is part of the storm glass hut in the photo below.

This launch was the final event in the Reclamation project.

Part of the project included some wonderful music.  You can see more here and hear the music too!   

The official script about the sculpture says:

The work is  titled “The Observatory”,  by Heidi Axelsen, which comprises of three pieces of art aimed at enabling visitors to experience the natural elements in a novel way. 

They are:
The Storm Glass Hut - This is a storm-glass barometer and weather vane to see the direction of the prevailing wind.
The Sundial Wind Flute - This is a listening device to hear the sound of the wind and also the tell the  ttime through the integrated sun dial.
The Chaise Lounge Observatory - This provides a comfortable place to rest and observe the area, incorporating a small wind turbine to show the speed of the prevailing wind.

The artworks, located in a group of three, are a triptych, that relate to one another and create a destination. The works are inspired by the local history of Corry’s Pleasure Garden, 18th century scientific devices for measuring the weather and a Victorian aesthetic.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

girly faces

In between doing letters for the Guild Fund Raising project I have been drawing girly faces.  I have a yen to do some more canvas work faces and these drawings may yet be the prototypes. Some are imagined, some copied and some composites:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yes yet another fund raiser :-)

I have been busy and involved in the following ... if you want to join  in your contributions would be welcome

Call to arms  … we need you  … 

Yes another fund raiser!  But this time we all get to help doing something we enjoy!  We get to stitch.   Fancy that, a fund raiser that actually involves stitching.   The Guild has been commissioned to create 4 installations at the Concord Library … with the commission comes the opportunity to raise a significant sum for the building fund.  We can say more once the documentation is finalised.

What are we doing?  Many, many embroidered letters and numbers.

Letters and numbers - embroidered and embellished fabric tiles.  The tiles will be used by the Concord Library staff to create messages on a 3D tree form that is over a metre tall.   

What is needed?
First, we need lower case letters.    

What letters will I do?

How about the letters in your name.  

What next?

Choose a wool, linen or felt fabric in any colour (but not fluorescent please)
Cut your fabric 15 cm square.   
A 10cm (4 inch hoop) is perfect for lower case letters.   ( The ‘e’ above was stitched in a 10 cm hoop).  

Lower case letters like ‘a’ ‘c’  ‘x’ should be about 8 cm high.   Letters with a tail like ‘g’, ‘j’ or those that stand tall like ‘f” and ‘t’  should be a little longer/taller.   We trust you to make the right decision.

What technique will I use?

Any stitch or technique that you choose.   As little or as much bling as you wish – beads, gold thread and small spangles are all great. 

Are you a patchworker?   No reason why you can’t create a tile and embellish it too.

Don’t crowd your work.  Remember though that we want the letters and numbers to “pop” and be readable at a distance.  Thread, colour and texture will all have a role to play.    Step back from work occasionally and check that your letter is clear.

I have other commitments.  How long will it take me?

The letter “e” above took three and a half hours whilst the stitcher watched (or half watched) television.

I have a question.  Who will I contact?

Ring Donna on 0407 820 416 
or send an email to her at
I’ve finished my letters .  Where do I send them?    

The Embroiderers’ Guild NSW Inc.
PO Box 109 
Concord West  NSW 2138.

Or drop them off at 76 Queen Street, Concord West,
spend a little money at the Threaded Needle and
check out the most recent exhibition.

Can I see what others have done?

Yes.   Jaci, our webmistress, will put photos of all your letters and numbers on a gallery page on the Guild website.

Let us know what you are doing.

So we can keep track on who is doing what please let us know what letters you have decided to and your technique of choice.  Ring Donna on 0407 820 416 or send an email to her at

We also need capital letters and punctuation as well.  A further call will go out for these shortly.

Whats in it for me?

  • A fun way to fund raise.   
  • A chance to sample that stitch or technique you’ve always wanted to try. 
  • An opportunity to share (exhibit) your work and be inspired by others.
  • A significant donation to the building fund for little effort.

Get stitching, experiment, play, tryout and most importantly enjoy.

There are over 1200 members of the Guild – if we each do 3-4 letters the library will have an a notice board like no other in the world!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

simple stitching

Tempted by a packet of iron on vintage patterns at a trash and treasure sale ...  I practiced my stem stitch and had a couple of pleasant evenings.   All things being equal the mushroom stitchery will end up as a tea cosy. 

The design has a lovely sweep to it.  In the end I wished I hadn't  stitched the beetle but it was part of the iron iron pattern and you could see it marked on the fabric.  

The apple also has a lovely roundness to it and I will make a table runner or wall hanging.   The apple is quite large and sits at one end of the fabric.

My poor photography doesn't do the fabric justice.  It has lovely red rust streaks through it after a day of play at bush dying using red gum bark.

Of course I had to stitch the pears - I will post a photo at some stage.  Not sure what I will do with them - maybe make a pot holder like in the one on the packet?

It was a pleasure to stitch these simple designs and gave me time to contemplate questions of composition and design, what works and what doesn't.   It reminded me that I really enjoyed circles, swirls and spirals and how stitch  them when I doodle with a needle.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cabarita Park

I love the colour palette from the beach - sand, black stones, white shells, rust streaks in the rocks, gull grey and moss greens on the rocks.   One day I  will remember to take my embroidery colours card down with me so I can match these colours to threads.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vale Shirley

I have been very quiet here this year - my mother was very ill  and passed away on 13/3/13.  Sad and glad all in the same breath.  Mum had a chronic illness and I am sure it was her iron will, strength of character and the especially loving care she received from my sister and her family that kept her going for so long.

I originally started this blog to show Mum what I was up to in my creative play. Mum lived 9 hours drive away.

Family and friends gave Mum a great send off and now it is time to get back to the real world of work and play.  That's not to say we will forget though - fond memories will remain.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

introduction to altered books

I have just done a wonderful workshop with Karma Bains at the Embroiderers' Guild NSW on altered books.  I went with a couple of books, fabric, threads, many buttons, same papers and drawing & painting paraphernalia.   I could have saved myself half a car load by not taking the sewing stuff - I didn't use it at all ... but now I know how I can.

The book I worked on was very slim volume on needlepoint.  Not much has survived.

This is the first page I did.  I kept the grids and text on the page but crossed out the text I didn't want and circled what I wanted to keep - it sort of worked.   Karma had an example where he had worked through a fictional novel and backed out anything she thought not relevant and created a bare bones story.

The following pages have less and less of the original book.  I stamped on the next page , crossed out text and covered the facing page with some Japanese text.

This page was painted with ink which gave it a shiny look - I really liked the brush marks.  The tea pot was cut out of another book and the droplets stenciled on using acrylic paint.  There is still a little bit of text vaguely visible.

This page has sheet music pasted on one side and slightly coloured with water colour crayon.  The facing page is a paper napkin (well a 1/4 of one) and a piece of text cut from a magazine and kindly given to me by a classmate.

I have to say I am hooked and look forward to working on the balance of the pages and the cover which currently looks like this:

Hopefully I will get to work on it on the coming weekend.

Cheers for now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bush Dyeing

Happy New Year :-)

Did you make any resolutions?  Mine was to do more art in any medium.  We have been away since 27/12/12 and I packed my threads, sketch pad etc and, true to form have not done a lot but sit and stare out the window!  2012 was a busy year.

Amongst my planned activities was some bush dyeing.(I have seen some beautiful pieces of cloth dyed and embroidered by the Wagga Wagga Group of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW).  I have been at my sisters in Central Victoria for the last week and natural resources are at my finger tips. This also the view from the deck!

It's no wonder I have been sitting looking.  The water attracts no end of bird life and it has been a joy to sit and watch them fly in early in the morning and in the evening:

The heat has been punishing and I haven't really ventured out to collect material - not to mention that I was going to conduct this activity outside and it has been way too hot to do so.  However,  I collected some back which had fallen at the base of a Red Gum and allowed it to steep in the sun for a day or so and put a bit of unbleached calico and some silks in to the solution and here is what I ended up with:

I also bundled a piece up like a sausage and got what I thought a better result:

I also threw in some Jap silk, something called craft silk and a couple of old place plats my mother had tucked away.

I also put some beetroot peelings in a pot and, after boiling it up for 30 mins, threw in a bit of unbleached calico.  I think I would have got a better result with bleached calico.  I ended up trying to over-dye it with some of the bark solution out of the dye pot.

I guess the challenge is now to do something with the pieces of fabric ...

Cheers for now...

Not quite a self portrait

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

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