Monday, October 24, 2016

Trying to use the workshop lessons

I am in an online group that is currently making and sending postcards of our textile works. We have to do 14, which seems a lot. But I am working through them.
So far, I have done 6 using some of the ideas from the workshop with Michelle Mishkulnig.
I used silk hankies to make a background, then put some little bits of threads from other projects, a very small amount of Angelina fibre, then another layer of silk hankie. Then I did some free motion sewing on the background.

A couple of the pieces are based on a picture I have from my trip to Uluru a couple of years ago. The colours just seemed to suggest the Australian landscape.

When I went to put the interfacing on the back, so I could put the address of the recipient, I realised that you could see straight through it. So now I have put card not the back. This means that I now have a sewing machine needle that is for paper sewing, in a special container. I just need to remember that that is what it is for.

The others were done using a silhouette of the Melbourne skyline that I have used in the past.
So far I have made 6 of these.

I won't post pics of the finished pieces till the recipients have got the works, just so I don't spoil the surprise. They don't have to be posted till the 29th of October and I still have 5 or 6 to make, so I had better get a wriggle-on, as they say. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Workshop completed.

We had our second day today of the Michelle Mischkulnig workshop. My friend and I travelled together and we were a slightly worried that we might be a bit early but we wanted to catch up with the people who had started sewing yesterday. I think we may have been the last to arrive! Obviously, everyone was keen to get going, having enjoyed the previous day so much. Fortunately, Lee had everything organised and ready to go.

Today we sewed the background. Mine was a bit too textural and did cause trouble with the foot of the machine. Michelle helped me to flatten it some more and it behaved much better. I was able to do the sewing without having to put yet another layer of Vliesofix on top, to anchor it down more smoothly. Some of the other participants did this and it worked well, and looked good too. But I wanted to have as much texture as I could and still sew.

We sewed around our butterflies from yesterday. The black thread really lifted the colours. We cut them out, ready to attach to the piece, once we had worked out how to place everything.
Luckily, I had photographed my progress because I had thought I had done 5 butterflies and couldn't find the last one. The photo proved that I had only done 4 and should get a good night's sleep tonight.
We also sewed some flat leaves onto the background, as appliqué.

Then we put some of our leaf fabric onto felt and sewed leaf shapes.  I did it the wrong way around, not having read the notes properly. It didn't work well at all. I tried to sew around the edges but the points of the leaves kept disappearing into the works of the machine. Fortunately, Michelle had given us plenty of fabric, so I had enough to sew some more leaves - and then cut them out. That worked much better.

We attached the 3D leaves to felt and sewed around the shape. Once it was sewn, we then pulled it about a bit to make it twist and bend, giving it a much more sculptural texture.

Once we had the leaves, butterflies, a twisted 'vine' (which is a branch on my piece) and a flower, we fiddled around trying for the best arrangement. As I had not done a great job with my flower, I decided not to include it.

Here is the finished piece. All I have to do now is think about how I want to mount and frame it. I will put is aside for a few days while I think about it.

I treated this workshop as a learning experience rather than one to produce an outcome. Therefore, I have used colours that I would not normally use (not a bad thing, really). I probably would do a bit more research about actual butterfly patterns and colours if I do it again. But I am not unhappy with the result.

I must try to use some of the techniques again soon, to make sure that I embed them in my repertoire and don't have to think "How did I do that again?" So I might experiment a bit this week, maybe on a smaller scale.

Here are the pieces done by others.  We put them on the floor for better photos. You will see better images here, on Facebook.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Halfway through a workshop

As the title says, I am halfway through a workshop - with Michelle Mischkulnig of Chelle Textiles.
I have long admired her work, having seen it mostly through the Stonehouse Gallery in Warrandyte.
I have also posted about her work previously.

The workshop was at Lee Vause's (Threads and Tangles) studio. I have previously done a Zentangle workshop with her and it was through her Facebook page that I saw the class advertised. Funny how things work out.

Here is the work that Michelle brought along to show us how it might turn out.

Today we painted some butterfly shapes onto silk, front and back (not that the back was all that carefully done as it should not be very visible).  We used Inktense pencils and a variety of fabric pens, experimenting with damp and dry fabric, putting water on after drawing, etc.

That is all we did with them today, we needed to get them done and dry so we can sew on them tomorrow.

Then we made some backing fabric.
This was made with a layer of calico, Vliesofix, silk hankies teased out, more Vliesofix, cut up bits of threads and velvet and various tiny bits of dyed silks, then more silk hankies teased out (a different colour this time). Then it was all ironed together.

I didn't get it all to sit quite flat, so tomorrow's workshop may be frustrating if the silk hanky decides to get caught around the foot of the sewing machine. Time will tell about how well I can handle this.

I think this process will need a few practices to get it right. Something to look forward to. I haven't done much playing around with different techniques and bits and pieces for a while. I seem to have some of the stuff hanging around, I was going to throw it away because I hadn't used it but now I am glad that I didn't.

We also prepared some fabric for making leaves. All we did was use some oil pastels and/or crayons to rub over a texture plate then iron it to set the colours. We will be using this fabric tomorrow also.

All of the materials were provided in packs, all labelled so that we knew exactly what to use when. It was easy!

I am looking forward to tomorrow and may even end up with a finished piece. I was treating the workshop as a sample making event, a technique learning event, but I may actually have a finished work. That will be a bonus.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Busy, busy again.

Well, I missed the interesting date of 6/10/16 but that was because I have been busy!

This week I have helped to set up an exhibition and gone to three openings.

The first opening was at The Johnson Collection, on Tuesday evening. I have a small piece of work in it.
A group of eight tapestry weavers, from our regular Saturday group, got together and worked towards the brief. It was either to focus on Christmas or Mr Johnson.
We decided on Mr Johnson and his collection of Indian paintings and some images of the man himself.
You can see the edges of some of the Indian images on the right. Then there are two tapestries, the elephant and Mr Johnson behind a privacy screen.
There are many artists involved in the exhibition and each room is completely different from the other.

There was quite a large crowd and I will be going back on another day to see it all in a less crowded and more leisurely way.  But it was very exciting to be there, despite the crowd, or is that because of the crowd?

Then on Wednesday I went along to the opening of an exhibition, Triple Stitch at Bolin Bolin Gallery at Bulleen Art and Garden. As it is part of a nursery, there was a botanical feel but it was not all botanical. As I knew all three participants, I had a lovely time catching up as well as admiring all the lovely works.

Friday evening was the opening of A Secret Garden at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria. I have been involved in setting this one up.  I was extremely pleased to be part of such a wonderful event. The quality of the work was amazing and inspiring.

Just before the official opening of the doors.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Eco Dyeing when you don't really know what you are doing

I have a couple of friends who went away for what sounds like a fabulous time with India Flint last year. I think it was last year, it may have been this year. Time seems to be losing its meaning. No, I'm pretty sure it was about a year ago.

They came home with some stunning dresses, wraps and pieces of fabric. So we got together and made some dresses - well, I may never wear mine, it just doesn't look dress-shaped. But we cut and sewed and had a lovely time.
They got their act together and dyed theirs and have been wearing them - gorgeous.
I put mine in a plastic bag to protect it from the moths. After quite a few months, I took it to our get-together last week and actually wrapped it up into an eco-dyeing bundle.

I am not altogether sure what was in the bundle. I took some stuff that I had collected years ago for eco-dyeing. I even took some very old (withered) avocado pips, some very desiccated hollyhock flowers from at least a year ago and some dried up eucalyptus leaves.
I bundled it all up and, on the insistence of my friends and with their help, put in some old pieces of iron, then wrapped it around a copper pipe.

Into the water it went and it boiled for an hour or two, while we had a very good lunch, chat and generally pleasant time.

Then I brought it home and put it in the glasshouse, to keep doing whatever is it that is does. One of the ladies had also done a dress and sent us a pic of hers today. So I thought I had better look at mine. Lo and behold, there were mouldy bits! It could be lucky that I actually rinsed it out today.

It is presently drying in the high winds we are having  - gotta love spring.

It is remarkably square! I am still not convinced I will ever wear it but it does look very interesting. There are some purple spots in it, I think they are from the old hollyhock flowers rather than the avocado pits. Those hollyhocks are well worth the effort.

There will no NO pictures of me wearing the dress. But it is lovely fabric. Merino-silk.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Making the Australian Quilt

This week a friend and I visited the NGV exhibition, Making the Australian Quilt, 1800-1950.
I am very happy that we got to this exhibition. I tend to leave ones that are on for a long time till the last minute and then have to rush. But we have been and seen it in plenty of time.

There were some amazing quilts there. Some were sent back to England, some were sent to the person for whom they were made. It is amazing that descendants have kept them and then been able to see the value and donate them to relevant museums.

It was also very liberating to see some that have been treasured over generations and realise that perfection in making the quilt is not essential. Quite a few were obviously made for practical reasons and the makers didn't stress over exact measurements, etc. They were wonderful to see.

This was an appliqué cut from fabric. 

An amazing hexagonal quilt, made of tiny hexagons.

Some of the quilts were worn away, showing the back fabric, with no batting in between. 

Log cabin, using some rather gorgeous silks. 

This was shown as a bag! Gorgeous. 

Wagga, using all sorts of fabrics. Very utilitarian,
I have 'almost' been inspired to get out some unfinished quilts and see about actually getting them done. There were some examples of unfinished quilts, not finished for various reasons. But it was great to see that they had still been treasured by the families.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Still Learning

This will probably be ho hum for many, many people. But I have finally mounted one of my embroideries onto a canvas board thingy.

I did the embroidery a while ago, experimenting with hand sewn fabric collage. It was based on a picture I took while visiting some friends last year, in early autumn in Saugerties, upstate New York. Not quite a year ago, how time flies.

It has been on my pinboard, looking at me, telling me I should do something with it.

Finally I realised that I could buy a frame covered with canvas and maybe sew the piece onto it. It is about the right size.

So now it is painted with acrylic to mute the background, I have sewn it on and put on the D-hooks.
I am chuffed.

I keep making these little embroideries which are odd sizes, partly because they shrink and I never know how to get them exactly the size I want, partly because I don't think about that at all when I start, I am just having fun playing around. So I am going to have to learn to do some creative framing. Or start making traditional-frame-sized embroideries.

But this is a start.