Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September..Where did you go??

Teaching at CuciService , Oderzo this coming weekend 3-4 Ocotber. Entirely new classes especially designed for this weekend. Trees inspired by  the tree in  the the field outside Fiona’s house in India and the beautiful stylized trees at  Pallazo Davantzani in Florence- which I  drew and painted back on my earlier trip to Florence. Trees come with such a lot of meaning culturally and spiritually and each time you make one it feels so different. It is a workshop to help you draw your own tree and then embellish it with stitch. It is also a method that allows you to make a positive and negative image, and the two images depending on background fabric used can look completely different.

Another workshop we will be doing is embellishing the linoprinted images of the Queen of King from Chartres Cathedral- using the decorations from cathedrals to inspire the stitching.

My youngest daughter has been travelling with me these last  2 weeks or so. She also came to Ste Marie aux Mines where I was invited artist by Bernina France and I got to sew on a wonderful flightship of a machine. I took advantage by quilting up my new class samples and really putting the machine through its paces, so one of those machines is now on my wish/dream on list. The Mettler stand was directly opposite and they were very generous with threads for me to use in exchange for some freehand embroidery to brighten up one of their cloths. I was in a kind of quilting heaven really and as a consequence did not get to see any of the exhibitions, though I could have. I quilted instead. And in looking back it had been some time that I had sat and quilted for four da.ys in a row and got so much work done

 Technology seems to have been my Achilles heel this year and it still continues. The place we are staying at has no wifi, I should have checked more closely when booking but it is a tad unusual to have no wifi available for a holiday rental. The upside is we have found this great little café around the corner that does have free wifi and the coffee is good too and the cornettas con crema a bit wicked

My travels may seem exotic and exciting at times, but there are times when they are anything but. Last Friday after travelling to Milano and encountering the nightmare of Milano Centrale which seems to be even busier than normal because of the Expo we decided to keep going to Bologna. I think it was Robert Dessaix who said in Night Letters that the precinct around Bologna station was dead and boring (I seem to remember he was talking about Bologna station though it may have been some other station ) and he could not be more right. We arrived after 10.30 pm, all the hotels were 200 euros plus and our train to the next destination left at 6.00am. There was nothing to do but sit and wait it out in the waiting room which was filled with the flotsam of humanity who have to wait for trains at all the odd hours of the morning. I think I saw only one person in a suit. The waiting room was also cleared out every hour and half by police for a cleaning team to come through thereby making the Bologna Centrale  the cleanest waiting room I have encountered- it also meant you were exposed to the cold night air on a regular basis enabling you to brace yourself for a bit of nod eye sleep on the incredibly uncomfortable seats which people somehow found ways to stretch over in an attempt  to find themselves in a slightly horizontal position…It was the once occasion  when my activity as a quitter seemed entirely useful as  I had some larger quilts with me which not only provided warmth but a modicum of cushioning.

Upcoming events 
Toulouse from 8-11 October in Toulouse at Tendances Creatives. Part of the Sentinelle project will be shown ( I could not fit all the sentinelles into my suitcase and actual exhibition space was also a consideration as I was also invited to exhibit some of my own work) So I made a selection that tried to include as many pieces as possible

Exhibition in Paris from 13-29 Octoberat offices of Ethiea Gestion of my own work from  which will include much of the work in my book ( though I will have no books available at the exhibition as shipping by air  has become too expensive and we will be sea shipping in future)- and it will include some of my new banksia work. The vernissage will be on Thursday 15 October and if you are in Paris and would like to come please let me know. Also to my many french friends invitations will be sent soon but due to my  aforesaid wifi issues it may happen tomorrow or the day after.

Medieval Project update, (more updates to come in the next day) but on the weekend 7-11 October it will be shown at the  Quilt & Craft Fair in Brisbane. See many wonderful and inventive interpretations of the lino prints I created and which many people improved beautifully! It looks quite different to the Sentinelle project and if anything is even more creative and inventive- truly a tribute to the work of many hands creating something beautiful!

I will also be updating some information about woodblocks I will have available through the Stitching Project aka Fiona Wright and  indigo dyed shibori handloomed cloth in 2 metre lenghts- but more on that in my next post which I promise will be soon! We are also plotting some nudging and changing projects.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Open Studios at Appleton Street

It's Open Studios at 53 Appleton Street Richmond as part of the Yarra City open studios walk. I will be there today and tomorrow, printing some fabrics and stitching and you could buy a print or art work or two as I will have some of my things on display. All the other artists at the studio will also be showing off their work and workspaces! Hope you can come by and visit!

Then tomorrow night I head off to France and will be exhibiting next week at Aix-en-Provence at the Creatif Salon and also teaching a workshop next Wednesday. I am really looking forward to it as Aix-en-Provence is such a lovely little city and of course the home of Cezanne! There is a delightful museum that was once Cezanne's home.

 And then I head off to  and the 21st Carrefour European du Patchwork at Ste Mari aux Mines where I will be demonstrating on the Bernina stand.I will be working on some new things and demonstrating pique libre of course!

After that I shall be teaching a workshop in the Drome and then head off to Italy to teach a weekend of workshops at Cuciservice in Oderzo. The workshops will be entirely new and especially created for the weekend!

Then I will be exhibiting in Toulouse and finally  also exhibiting at some offices Ethiea in Paris, later in October ( near Printemps) so it's going to be a busy time. Hopefully I will sell some work!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mountains to Move

I arrived back from India on Friday night and taught a workshop yesterday at the Camberwell Sewing Centre so I finally have some time to blog properly. My apologies for not posting more frequently but my laptop conspired against me- it decided the top two rows of keys would only partly work.

India was a fabulous experience ,but apart from some time in Delhi and Bhuj and Mandvi I spent most of my time at the workshop of the Stitching Project near Pushkar. There is a reason for spending time in one place, actually more than one reason. It was great to spend time with Fiona Wright, we seem to be able to nudge each other along a little and for my part I can see things more clearly with a little nudging, and it is wonderful bouncing around ideas and exploring whether we are daydreaming or whether things can become a reality.We intend to keep the nudging going into the future and we hope we can nudge you along too! But more of this later.

 I also  came away very inspired after the Creative Camp in February earlier this year and there was some finishing I needed to do. I  kind of focused on my banksia journey whilst I did  the camp and its kept going so it was really great to finish a project I started in the workshop with Sanju in Sujani embroidery. To say a lot of stitching happened is an understatement.But without that little workshop my Babbling Banksia piece would not have happened in the way it did.

I love being in one place for a certain amount of time- learning to understand the minutae of the rhythm of a place. So I enjoyed watching Fiona and Praveen's Stitching Project unfold day by day. This is such a wonderful inspired project- yes it's a business and as a business they employ people ( many women who would otherwise not have work and men too) but it is structured on the philosophy of working ethically, paying fair wages and creating high quality product, and if these principles are adhered to it creates more opportunity for everyone involved.I sat and watched and stitched and sometimes was able to  help in a small way, but hats off Fiona and Praveen- its a wonderful project and business you have created from scratch...I think you have set the bones for a good ethical business that  can only be a win win for everyone involved and adds to your community and world.

So one of the things that really inspired me from the February camp was the woodblocks. I do lots of linocuts and love the effect, but woodblocks are subtly different and equally as mesmerising.I knew  i was going back to India so I sent some designs for the woodblock carver the Stitching Project uses to make me some more woodblocks.And as I seem to be on a banksia bent of course I sent a banksia drawing. So these were duly printed on hand painted and hand loomed fabric . Each panel measures 45 cm x 38 cm and they are for sale at $25 per panel inclusive of postage. There are four colour ways which you can see below.

Email me if you would like one of these hand painted and printed pieces to create your own Banksia world! Colours are as you see, as well as a grey/limey green which you can see Mahindra printing in one of the photos below.

No trip is complete without a visit to a museum- well for me anyway. So  before leaving India we went to the Indian Museum in Delhi. Absolutely wonderful things in there pertaining to the incredibly diverse and ancient Indian heritage. This is not a diaspora though no doubt there is influences of that- but it is a long and vitally interesting heritage. The images below were from an exhibition entitled Cosmology to Cartography  with this pilgrims map showing the pilgrim how to travel on their pilgrimage. And of course a tree from the Miniature art section- just love trees and this one was particularly beautiful.

My finished Babbling Banksia piece with a thousandfold of stitches and a Nudge project in the form of a hand bag. Using indigo scraps from the Stitching Project workshop and not wasting a thing - made into a travel bag with lots of zippers and just great for travel.

Printing with woodblocks on to hand painted handloom fabric and a little shrine in the backyard of a friend of Fiona and Praveen's who has started a bakery, making  bread inspired by his exposure to german breadmaking. The bread is delicious

Ladies inspecting my stitching on my Babbling Banksia piece and Fiona and Praveen instructing women on the stitching that is needed on some of the work  that has been created. The focus is on quality and making sure everyone understands the right way to do things. However there is still room for the individuality of the stitch to shine through the hands that make it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pcr lls 000 wrds

The keys on my laptop have spat the dummy .....s phs nly

Thursday, July 30, 2015

India and the Stitching Project

This is my year of self directed residencies and it  has been really good for getting a perspective on things and changing the way I was thinking about some things. It is good to get away from the usual ( though my usual has been a bit all over the place these last two years) and rethink, refocus and have a good look at what is and what can be  and just  discard what is detritus.

So earlier this year I joined the Creative Camp organised by Creative Arts Safaris ( aka Fiona Wright) near Pushkar in India. I loved the encounters and I also explored a little  how I might represent banksias with the aid of some Sujuni embroidery. I have always loved indigo but using my own wood stamp and mud printing before dyeing with indigo was like going to carnivale! I also had to buy an urgent and expensive visa as I had misread the instructions for getting an on-line visa which isn't so on-line. However it opened the door for returning to India, which I decided to do as I could not find any house sitting and it's too cold in Gellibrand to go and live in my shed ( plus it needs a few things done to it- would love some help come late October to get some things sorted out there so I can live there)

So back in India I am on a self directed residency and already Fiona and I ( we are both earlier risers) have generated a ton of ideas and also are hatching a collaboration that will  hopefully result in some of our ideas reaching fruition and which we have called "#Where Things Change". We both have a passion for stitch, cloth, indigo , woodblock and getting colour onto fabric, but our approaches are a little different, determined both by the lives around us and the means by which we sustain ourselves.We will both be blogging about it as time goes on , on a regular basis and we have a few other surprises in store.

I spent a few days in Delhi on the way here, and on the first day after I arrived we went to Bagru to see Mr Satnaryan, who had cut some woodblock designs I had sent Fiona earlier. I was really delighted with the results ( unfortunately it has been too humid to do any real printing apart from trying out the stamps as it is the monsoon season)

Mr Satnaryan with some of my wood blocks and some of the men working in his workshop. After the woodblcoks have been carved Fiona soaks them in oil for three days so that it toughens up the wood. We then went to the indigo dyer Mr Rambabuji who  works in another part of Bagru. Unfortunately we could not look at any mud printing as again the conditions were too humid but just getting a piece of muslin indigo dyed was exciting enough for day 1!  These were all things I encountered on the Creative Camp earlier this year so it was lovely to renew acquaintances and have more of a look.

The colour  indigo is just so wonderful, so rustic but also so rich. The town of Bagru is one of the areas where indigo dyeing is practised and there has been a bit of a revival as the world starts to engage again with natural dyes and natural handlooms. The hand loom fabrics like Khadi and dhoti are not  only  brilliant to stitch with ( and I will talk about that more in my next blog post) but the colour is rich and dense- just wonderful. If anyone wants me to dye them some  handloomed loosely shiboriedor folded  cloth email me and we can discuss as  we will be going back to Bagru before I leave in mid August.

So after the first days excitement I have been trying to fit into the busy and hectic schedule at the Stitching Project workshop whilst trying to get a bit of my own stitching done and trying to record our early morning sparks of ideas and collaborations.Fiona describes India as gentle anarchy, and I find this description to be pretty much like it is- it is also infectious and I love seeing things reduced down to  elements- which is what has to happen for the workshop to function.

I promise to be a little more diligent in my blogging- there are so many things to tell you about, not only from encounters but also things happening in my own work. I am so happy I made the decision to return on many levels! And last a few impressions- a little backyard shrine to one of the many gods worshipped in Hindu religion- I don't know how they keep a track of them all, but gentle anarchy describes the gods as well, and modes of transport. Now if I was the wife I would be hanging on for dear life, but this lady sits casually and lightly as her husband negotiates pot holes and road undulations caused by the recent rains.