Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hmm …

That could have gone better.

I am referring to my attempt to make an A4 sized work of art. The call for entries ended yesterday (Contemporary Art Society), so I won't be sending this piece off.

I thought I would try some Alison Holt style sewing (and silk painting) using one of my many photos of eucalyptus blossom.

I blew my photo up to A4 size, traced the relevant parts, using a water soluble pen, and then put some gutta on the silk. The gutta dissolves the pen, taking away the necessity to worry about blue lines.

I haven't done silk painting for a while and the gutta is one that I have not used before. That's my excuse anyway. The lines are blobby and thicker than I had hoped.

Not to worry, the sewing should cover the white parts, I thought.

But my planning was a bit off, some of the background details needed to be painted without the white lines around them. I have to sew quite heavily to hide the whiteness, so they aren't really background anymore.

I hooped up the silk for my sewing.

I used a large hoop, maybe I should have used a smaller one. Or maybe my technique needs work. Or perhaps I should have used some sort of stabiliser under the silk. (But I find that soluble fabric causes the sewing to shrink when you wash it out - further experimentation needed there.)

The silk has ruched in spots and I can't seem to get rid of the wrinkles, despite stretching the silk over some cardboard and sewing it tightly.
Actually, it looks worse in the photo than reality, and the red is much darker in reality too. 
I have recently completed a 4 week CAE course in frame making, maybe I can do something to improve the piece. At the least, I can practise making a frame - and then hang it up high, above a door or somewhere similar - where the light doesn't shine directly on it and the wrinkles aren't so obvious.

If I were a true scientist, or a perfectionist, I would try the whole process again, changing only the size of the hoop (if that is the problem), and see what result I got. But I doubt that I have the patience to do that. Maybe - I will have to see how the mood strikes me.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Letter box art

Is this a new thing? Letter box art. I haven't seen it before but came across this in a street nearby.

Apparently, the owners are going to change the display soon.

And yes, the Alphington bus stop is still decorated. Some aspects have changed but it is still giving pleasure to passersby (me, at least).

Monday, February 15, 2016


I took the dog for a walk this morning. It wasn't all that early but neither was it hot. I am loving this summer, cool nights so you can sleep and only a few really hot days.

I noticed an interesting pattern on the ground. It was just sandy soil but there had been dew overnight and it made it look a bit like fungus.

We haven't had much rain recently so the sign of dew was welcome. The main bugbear about summer has been the lack of rain.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I Can't Resist

As I may have already said, the hollyhocks are gorgeous - and prolific. They keep flowering ...

and throwing beautiful spent flowers on the ground where I walk. I just can't let them go to waste!

Consequently, the freezer is getting more and more full of flowers. It's lucky we live near two supermarkets, there isn't all that much room in the freezer for food.

I keep picking the flowers up and photographing the beautiful patterns on them. I have also MANY photos of the flowers.
Can you see the cute little face in the white part? Or is it a monstrous face??

Now I have discovered the pretty little seed pods.

I even found some seeds lying on the ground today. 

I will have to start designing!

The shapes make me think of a workshop I did a few years ago with Jane Sassaman. I will have to go back to my notes and see what I can do with the ideas floating around in my head.

I also have quite a bit of fabric, dyed using the hollyhocks. They aren't all the correct colour for representing the flowers but that doesn't matter, one of the good things about Jane's class was the stylising of the images. I can use whatever colours I want, it doesn't actually have to look like hollyhocks, they are just my starting point.

If I ever get around to doing more than looking and thinking.

You can find a downloadable PDF, and video, at Quilting Arts, about this design process.