Saturday, December 15, 2018


Beetleman - mixed media sculpture

Like many of us I follow a few artists blogs.

This morning I got around to reading something Linda Matthews posted  a bit over a week ago.  It really resonated with me.  The gist of her post was that, rather than making resolutions each new year, she chose a word to guide and focus herself for the coming year.  You can read her post here. 

At this moment in time I have an exciting 2019 coming up with several projects on the go for group exhibitions and a solo exhibition in August.    With these commitments comes the worry of overcommitment and fear of actually producing a work which meets the scope of the exhibition themes.

And, in the past month I have had some serious discussions with artist friends about these worries and fears and how I produce a work.   The conversations have all circled around process.  

So what is process in art making?  
  • Revisit the same themes over and over again but also keep experimenting.
  • Allow yourself to explore your theme and play with your chosen mediums. 
  • Flow with and explore your ideas – but with a bit of discipline.  Don’t jump to wanting to achieve an end result.

So how does this tie in with Linda’s suggestion to chose a word to guide and focus herself?    I have chosen PROCESS as my word for 2019.   I will work on my art making with a focus on process rather than product.

I  will continue to work on my themes of bugs, beetles and bees throughout 2019.   I now see that I can draw, work up in pastel, paint charcoal, contemporary clays, fabric, stitch and whatever else takes my fancy.    The challenge is to  push my boundaries, select, isolate, enlarge and grow as an artist.

Monday, December 3, 2018

more inspiration - more rabbit holes

Well I have been absent for a bit.  But that was because I have been down my own personal rabbit hole.  I have been on a long holiday in Italy and had a serious dose of medieval history and architecture, seen new sights and learnt a bit about myself :-).   I have not been to Europe before and it was an eye opener for me.

I have always been attracted to medieval imagery and colours be they bright or faded, drawn,  painted or woven.  I was in seventh heaven to see it for real. 

I really wanted to see embroidery and found that (other than clerical vestments) paintings were generally the best way to get an idea of costume which was highly embellished with gold and silk and amazing laces.  Here are a couple of images from the Civic Museum in Padua.   

I was really taken with the painting of a boy (above).  I have plans to try and make an art doll which reflects this image.

 And I was staggered by the detail in the woven tapestries.    The following are a couple of deails from the huge tapestry in the same museum.  Check out what the horses got to wear in the second image below.

And for imagery that borders on the bizzare .. Giotto's version of the devil and hell in the Scrovegni Chapel.

I am still processing all that we saw.  No doubt a seed of an idea (or two or more) is bubbling away.  I posted back a lot of tourist information and am yet to start working through it. I have great plans to draw on that material and my photos as a jumping off point for some new works. Padua is a town of arches/arcaded buildings ... ideas for some linio prints perhaps?

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 😊

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 😊.

Not quite a self portrait

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

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