Friday, November 20, 2015


I think this has been about the longest time I haven't blogged . There are a number of reasons, amongst which, in this day and age my wifi access has been less than I would have liked, but also this last week has also been filled with horror at the unfolding events in Paris and Syria, both places I  view with a special fondness and a kind of love really. My friend Christine on the outskirts of Paris, described  their feeling about the  events as a  numbness- no one is talking,they are walking but in some kind of automaton fashion. And though I am horrified, I am at a remove  and  then there are many other horrendous bomb attacks and acts of terrorism elsewhere in Beirut and Iraq.

Turn off if you don't like any discussion of these issues surrounding these horrific events- and my thoughts are first and foremost  with the victims, their families and friends,and my sincerest condolences to them. My views are coloured by pacifism.

Of course the discussion about the consequences into the future have taken on many angles from extreme racism and anti refugee sentiments to a more tolerant view. For my part I don't understand the existence of this supposed nation, which I won't name because it is a terrorist organisation not a nation,  and which  the press perpetuates the myth of existing as a nation. I must say I was in Syria when  the "war" first started- just a few days prior to this war starting I happened to be in a room with a southern Christian, an Alowite and a sunny muslim,all three men were deeply concerned about their country , all three men included me in the discussion  as they knew I was deeply interested , but they all expressed the same sentiment , which was not knowing what was happening in their country, there wasn't any animosity amongst them, despite their different factions , just concern. We discussed the Al Jazeera reporting and all felt it was slanted and not true of what we were experiencing, and were certain that the reporting of everything everywhere else in the west, was quite different to what they/we were experiencing. For example a reported riot in Hama on a night I was there in fact was not a riot but football fans celebrating a win for their Hama soccer team and it certainly did not go on all night as reported.There were mobile phone shots of young men on the street with flags, which there were, but it was not a riot. And since when has mobile phone shots/video been reporting? At that time ( 2011) the concern was the Kurdish refugees on Syrias northern borders and many Iraqi refugees - some almost 2 million Khurdish  and Iraqi refugees, and of course on southern borders many Palestinian refugees. Syria, a country of maybe 21 million people housed some 3 million refugees the last time I visited, which i considered a remarkably humanitarian response to the many difficult issues on their borders. I am trying not to make judgements because the many issues are so complex and I am not an expert though certainly my view is pacifist and liberal, but as I listened to talk back radio today one  listener suggested that the real issue we were not addressing was "arms", arming militants and other extremists, and even  using arms in any way at all- the radio host whom I thought would have been  more liberal in his response, recoiled from this suggestion and responded with well they are there... the arms I mean and they ( who is they?) buy them- but the issue is ( surely?) someone sells them don't they? I think ultimately it is at the bottom of many of the issues - what better way to promote arms than the need to bomb someone who you might have armed in the first place....and who makes money out of the sale of arms because ultimately at the bottom of every war, despite the propaganda of what  is or isn't morally right  ( and most faiths have remarkably similar ethics) the war machine which makes money for a certain elite who profit from these events just keeps churning on and in its churning grinds innocent human lives.. Yes my view of the world is cynical because  I have studied history and read a lot of George Orwell, and I would have to say that most wars have been fueled by money and we haven't learnt a single thing from history. Sometimes I think they, those that war monger should just  inhabit a sinking atoll and let the war mongering idiots at it against each other- and not innocents who just want to raise a family and live quietly and be human.

And I have had time to ponder as I have moved down to my shed and have  little wifi access and have time to think and read. There has been lots of grass mowing and trying to make space in a shed which  was cluttered with the stuff of other people.

This is the view  towards the back of
my block. it's lovely but the grape vines need tending and the blackberries have gotten a bit out of control. I should have done more work over these last few years but I had really hoped it would sell. I have made a reading corner  on my verandah of the shed, and with no internet distractions I have been reading a lot, but I also have no power and water.It's also been  lightening and thunderstorm weather with quite a lot of rain. I must say since my visit to India I have remembered to be frugal with water (we certainly were when I was a child and we had tank water only) and well a lot can be managed with a gas stove and candle light , and then you can always sleep with the falling  dark and wake with the dawning morning- as if the birds would let you sleep through the morning! And it is almost summer and the days are long. I had forgotten the riotous sounds of a myriad  birds in the morning!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Medieval Project in Melbourne

I thought I would provide an update on the project. It was shown  in Brisbane last weekend and now travels down to Melbourne to be shown at the Stitches and Craft Show at Caulfield racecourse.

There will be some Italian pieces joining the collection! I will be there selling my books ( I hope) and also will have hand printed panels for sale. Sp hope to see you there to enjoy the project. It is quite different to the Sentinelle project and really is a tribute to the imagination of the makers- so much variety and creativity!

On another note- there is still some people who have not paid their fee to join the project. The project will travel widely ( after Melbourne  there will be Adelaide and Sydney) and I am presently negotiating something in France for later next year. Obviously there are costs involved in moving a project around, from getting a suitcase, arranging signage, pins and other needed hardware to mount the exhibition in different places, and just the moving around plus the return of the pieces when they return from touring. So those of you who have not paid the $20 fee to join I would really appreciate it if you would.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Exhibition Vernissage Tomorrow

 If you happen to be in Paris around  Bvd Haussmann you are most welcome to come to the vernissage of my exhibition at the offices of Ethiea Gestion.

It's been a very hectic two weeks and today I finally have some time to catch up with my blog. I have caught more trains than I want to for some time, and today was the first morning I did not have to be up at 6 am to get somewhere.I also feel remiss at not having blogged much these last weeks. Sometimes it just seems too easy to just use Instagram or Facebook, but then I like the journal aspect of my blog which is not only for you the readers but also to some extent for myself- it helps my creative habit, it helps me keep on track and allows me to muse in a little more detail then brief ephemeral snips here and there.

So I have managed to stitch a few of the panels which I had printed, but not been able to get to, to make samples. In a way i think of my linoblock prints as the background for which to indulge in some creativity. This thought struck me as I was stitching at the Salon Tendances Creatif in Toulouse last weekend. Normally you don't get to add to prints that are made on paper (and prints on paper are usually quite a lot more expensive as well) so you never get to add any of your own creative touches. I have used the lino block printed fabrics as a background on which to stitch and quilt, much as you might colour in an adult colouring book. So I also think of them as a kind of adult stitching project , one in which you can be as imaginative as you would like anything is possible  and its soothing as well, as I find  stitching a very meditative rhythmical process.

So the first  embroidery is the banksia panel which is roughly 20 cm x 18 cm and of course  inspired by  banksias.... the story of these is starting to grow in terms creating a whole insight into banksias not only as flora but as receptacles of myth and story and babblings- maybe just my mad babblings

This banksia has a combination of machine and hand stitching
The banksia is available as a linocut print on cloth ( without the stitching)- on earth colours and greens for $15 inclusive of postage

The second print i have worked on is the tree linocut which was inspired by a visit earlier this year to the Palazzo Davantzani in Florence. I loved what simple stitching did to this print- just back stitch and chain stitch- nothing complicated but somehow adding that medieval/early renaissance richness I was looking for. The background stitching still has to be finished. This print measures about 22 cm x 19 cm. This print is also available for sale  at $15 per print inclusive of postage. Simply email me if you are interested.

I have been so busy and on the hop and also challenged with access to wifi that  some ideas I cooked up with Fiona from the Stitching Project on my recent trip to India went on the back burner. My income in order to survive is entirely fuelled by my textile practice and teaching and as a single parent for the last 8 years that has not been an easy road and of course with tightening economies has become less easy from year to year. But I also hugely admire what Fiona and Praveen are doing with the Stitching Project- its ethic and mission and their matter of factness that this is a business  but one in which the aim is to employ as many people as possible with a living wage and in particular to provide women with work which can help sustain them. It is not a charity but one based on business principles and also  sustaining crafts practices at as high a quality as possible- to make something that is worth having. 

So as some people had expressed interest in some of the actual linocuts I had created in the past, I decided that I would dip my toe in the water as to making woodblocks and offering them for sale. They are carved by a craftsman in India, sourced by the Stitching Project ( they use the same wood block carver) and then cured in mustard oil before being ready to print with. The prices reflect my intellectual property in the original designs, so you can use them as you will, and the craft  and skill of the woodcarver. If the woodblocks are properly cared for they will print many many prints on fabric or paper and are a lovely object to behold in their own right. So below are the woodblocks that are available:

This is the wonder tree woodblock after it has been immersed in the mustard oil for curing. The block measures approximately 20 cm square and cost $75 AUS plus postage ( which will be from India) The block will take several weeks to arrive as the  woodblock carver has to make them in the first place. I envisaged this block being printed on fabric and then having all kinds of embroidery extending out from the branches.I will get to doing this some time soon I hope!

The babbling banksia block. I can't believe what a wonderful job Mr Satnaryan did on this woodblock given that he has never seen a banksia. I actually think this block is beautiful in its own right. it measures about  20 cm long by 10 cm wide and also costs $75AUS plus postage.

Pomegranates have long been a favourite motif, and when was I was at Fiona and Praveen's house in August we would often have the seed and juice with our breakfast, so of course I had to draw them and well one thing led to another. This block is about 12 cm round ( maybe a bit smaller) and costs $55AUS plus postage.

This leaf block has been designed to go with the pomegranate block and measures about 12 cm long by 3 cm wide it costs $30AUS plus postage.

If you would like to order any of these block please email me . They would make a great Christmas gifts, and yes I know it's way too early to mention  Christmas but it takes time for Mr Satnaryan to carve the blocks and it also takes time for the post.

Then there is also hand loomed indigo dyed cotton cloth  which I have been working on . These pieces measure 210 metres and are  90 cm wide as they are hand loomed by an artisan weaver. The cloth is also known as khadi cloth or Bihar cloth ( the province where it is woven). The designs of shibori have been made with the idea that they might be used  for travellers blankets or some such thing. Hand loomed cloth is wonderful to hand stitch with and it softens as you handle it. Or you might simply use it for something else. It has been indigo dyed  with Mr Rambabuji and has been dipped three times. The hand loomed cloth does not get  quite the same depth of hue of indigo  than commercial cloth (which has been bleached and chemically process. each piece ) The cost is $65.00 AUS per piece ( 2.1 metre long) plus postage form India. Again there is a little wait time as the fabric has to be delivered to the indigo dyer and dyed there.

There are three types available ( i will post the image of the third next blog post)

Pleated- and this one can have a more white background if desired.

Square pleated shibori drying on Fiona's washing line at her house. Remember these are all artisan products and so there will be variations for each dyed piece and the cloth itself has lovely little variations in the weaving.

Anyway it was something we thought we would try and see if there was interest in this sort of thing. All the things have been made in accordance with the mission of the Stitching Project.If you are interested please email me 

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