Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What you can do when you read all the choices on your machine.

Well, I needed some time to myself over the Christmas period and made it by trying to finish one of the vessels I am making.

I have finished one!!

I watched hours of television that I would normally not see because there were 4 or 5 hours of hand sewing involved. But it was worth it.

I have, once again, learnt things while making.  One important thing is to think about what settings your sewing machine might have!
I was sewing the cut up needlework tapestry, onto very thick felt, and the engine overheated - my wondrous new(ish) machine told me so. And would not work for a while.

And I bent the needle.

Undaunted, I got out the old one, that I rarely use but can't bear to get rid of yet, and did the sewing with it. It doesn't have pesky computer programs to tell me when it is getting overheated.

After successfully doing one little bit of the sewing, I had to do some more heavy duty sewing on another day. It occurred to me to choose another setting on my newer sewing machine. Lo and behold, there is one for leather and vinyl that has done the job magnificently. I did have to jam the pieces under the foot and push and pull by hand - the feeddogs didn't work at all - but no overheating.  What a relief.

Here is one side, balanced on an egg carton to keep it high enough for me to attach the sides by hand.

Finished article!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Here's hoping it works.

I have spent hours yesterday and today finishing off the sides, putting the binding on, making the bit that will hold it together and putting binding on that.

 Actually, I haven't finished putting the bindings on - I am waiting for Carols By Candlelight, on tv, tomorrow night so I can sit and sew them by hand.
I have done a couple and the felt is not as difficult to sew as I had anticipated. However, I haven't tried to put the vessel together yet!

I still have to put the binding on the tops. I am considering what fabric to use.
The yellow, for the actual repurposed piece, is done using the back of the fabric, it seems more muted. I am leaning towards to the bone colour of the other side for the top, I think it will be less intrusive on all sides.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Trying to work it out

I took a day off today, sort of, and did some sewing. A day off all the other things, sewing should have a bigger priority, I will try to give it that in the New Year. Maybe I will have to break my New Year's resolution from a couple of years ago - to never again have a New Year's resolution.

Anyway ... I have made a piece that could be one side of a vase-shaped vessel.

I used Kathryn Harmer Fox's method - to a degree.   I didn't want to make the piece too thick to sew onto the felt, so just did the flowers.

I found an online tutorial Kathryn has done, using a sunflower. I will have to have a closer look and do it with more care - in the near future. I am in a group that has a challenge to be inspired by an artist and I am being inspired by Van Gogh and Kathryn, I am also in a group that is growing sunflowers, so I am able to take photos of the development of the plant. I think I am meant to be working on a bigger sunflower piece soon.

For the time being, I used an image from 123RF as my inspiration.

It was just the inspiration, I traced the basic outline and then flipped it, then just cut up random pieces of tiny yellow pieces of fabric that I had. I think I must like yellow, I have plenty of tiny pieces!

Today I did the sewing. I had thought to cover the background with fabric but ended up not doing so.
Now I have the back of the vase, if I decide that it suits. I am not convinced, yet, that it will go with the front. 

I also have to work out what I will put on the piece that will keep the front and back, and bottom, joined. That is for another day. 

Then ... I will have to work out how to join it all together. I have an inkling of how to do it, I am just not sure I will have the hand strength to do the hand sewing. Time will tell. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Still thinking.

I have made two sides of the vase-shaped vessel. Now I am thinking it might be better to make two vessels. But I will wait a day or so till I have a clearer head.

In the meantime, I can make some little flowers to put on, just in case I decide to change it.

So far, I have made two sides of the vessel.
They did survive being cut up. Whew!\

One side is very much the sunflower side.
The other is the pansy side.

They are very different from each other, in terms of colour. So I may see if I can make two vessels, one for each flower.

Not having a lot of time at the moment (it is just before Christmas) I will see what I can manage to get done, then make some decisions.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Unfinished Business

As I posted quite a while ago, there was a call for people to donate unfinished pieces to a textile group in the locality (Textile Art Community).
I gave them some pieces and was glad to see a slight reduction in the stuff lying around, especially the tapestry.

I was invited to be videotaped about what I was giving away. The only day I could manage was the day the works were being collected by the artists. There was such a good response that other artists were invited to come along and take bits and pieces that interested them.

Of course I came home with other people's unfinished works!


I have taken some needle tapestry pieces on canvas. One was finished and the other was only just begun. I scored a whole container of all the threads, sorted and labelled.

Both stories are a little sad in that both of the people whose work is was cannot see well enough anymore to finish it properly. But I hope to give them some pleasure in seeing their donations in a totally different setting.

We had a show and tell and working bee last Saturday. I did have an inkling of an idea, so took along some bits and pieces that might help to explain it.

But the pressure is on now - some of the people have finished items already, others are well on the way.
So I came home and started - what a relief.
I am changing my idea as I go, making it up really. I am being inspired by a workshop I did a while ago with Kay Khan, one with Olga Walters and the book Exploring Dimension in Quilt Art. I am not copying any of the ideas directly, just trying to meld them together to make some sort of vessel.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas is Coming

It being 12/12/17, I thought I had better blog.
Gone are the days when I did at least one post a week!

Today a couple of friends and I went to the Ian Potter Centre, the Australian Art NGV, at Federation Square.
What a wonderful day it was, weatherwise.

Just had to take this photo of the lovely holiday atmosphere outside.
No snow in sight!

We went to several of the exhibitions, totally breaking my rule of only one exhibition per visit.

We saw Del Kathryn Barton's exhibition. That was amazing!! So much colour, so much work, so huge.

Then we went into the paper sculpture exhibition and plastic sculpture by Louise Paramor. Also huge works, colourful and amazing. 

Then we walked into yet another room, with Helen Maudsley's works. I was feeling rather overwhelmed by this stage and will have to go back and look again. But I did really like the statements/poems that accompanied the paintings. 

And the one on the floor.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Seeing Faces

As I have posted before, I often see faces in images - not always human faces.
I really like the Faces in Places site.

Today I took a photo of some rain in a puddle - yes, the heat has abated and we have LOTS of rain. Not as bad as forecast, here in Melbourne, but still very wet.
We were outside, trying to divert some of the water lying around and I loved the raindrops hitting the water.

I am participating in one of those strange Facebook things that gets lots of people to put up images in black and white. Not sure what it is about but am enjoying it, so have decided to put up the images but not call on others to participate.

Here it is in black and white.

I first saw a vague sort of face, which I can see in both the colour and black and white images.

Then I returned to the image and half glanced at it and saw another face.

Not sure if they are obvious to others, but they are to me.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


I am being reminded of that saying:
No matter the weather, we'll whether the weather, whatever the weather shall be.

No wethers included in that rhyme!

I have been unproductive lately, blaming the heat and humidity. I REALLY don't like humidity.

Today is approximately 20 degrees  cooler than recent days. And wet. Apparently it is going to get even wetter.

So we took the opportunity to take our dog out this morning. She didn't get out at all on Thursday due to the constant heat, it didn't cool down enough overnight to get up early and go out.

She had a short walk yesterday, between heavy showers.

This morning's walk was in light drizzle. 'Unprecedented' rainfall is being predicted for later today and tomorrow, so we decided that drizzle didn't matter.

I just had to take this picture as it showed the brownish water you get from eucalyptus leaves, even on a cool day.

We were drawn to a plant because of all the little red things on the ground, wondering what they were. (You may have to click on the photo to see them, near Penny's back leg.)

Then we saw.

We also saw a couple of rather bedraggled looking kookaburras.

All in all, a very pleasant outing. Despite the drizzle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The loom is warped.

Well, warped might sound strange, it is not actually bent. But the warp is on the loom.
Now the loom is looming in my mind!

Such fun with phrases that actually have textile connotations. Weaving a tapestry - can just mean making up a story.
Embellishing - adding to a story - or a piece of textile work - or lying (embellishing the truth).
There are many more expressions; I remember that there was a theme for work going around, based on textile expressions. It was fun to read them.

Anyway ...
I have put the warp on the loom. I even drew a cartoon for it today - but forgot to bring it home. Not to worry, this piece is going to develop without a proper cartoon anyway. It is going to grow organically. I hope.

The theme is Growth. I think my piece is just going to grow. But, there is no plan, no cartoon that I am intending to use closely.

I will be out all day tomorrow (going to the Edith Head exhibition at Bendigo), so the weekend is the time to actually start weaving. There may be a cartoon, there may not be. It is all in my head at the moment.

I am going to use yarns that I already have, not all ATW yarns, as it is going to grow, partly because I am going to use yarns of all different thicknesses. Well, that is the plan.

Or I may go with my original idea - No Bees, No Growth. But that will take some planning and designing, something I am not feeling like doing at the moment. I think I will just go with the flow. I have come to realise that I love texture, and that is what I am hoping to use in this piece.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Drawing - who knew?

As one of my many fans has reminded me, it is 17/11/17, so I need to blog.
Actually, it would be better if it were 17/11/71 (I like symmetry) but I don't see me living that long - thank goodness.
So ... what to think about.

Well, I have been throwing out some old stuff lately, trying to make room for new stuff, of course.
I have been going through old class notes from my course at RMIT. I started in 2006, which doesn't actually seem that long ago.
I came across the artist's statement for a piece I did in about 2011 and I am very glad I am not still in that headspace! My statement was about how people are putting on endless (seemingly endless) art shows about the environment and how we are (and still are, unfortunately) ruining it.

I was OVER IT. I felt like I should feel guilty for being alive, for using up precious resources.
Fortunately, I don't feel that bad about it now. Maybe it is closer to despair about what people are doing and not doing, about the amazing number of deniers who seem to get so much air space. But I am hopeful that it is more to do with the fact that I am doing what I can and so are others and that is all we can do. And there seem to be plenty of people who do care, despite the politicians.

Whatever the reason, I think I am in a better mental space now.

Now to my header: Drawing - who knew?
I often go to workshops and say that I don't draw. (I attended a workshop with Kathryn Harmer Fox earlier this year and she said that we shouldn't say we can't draw, just that we don't, hence the don't draw, not can't draw.)

Then I came across these old visual diaries and discovered that, when I am made to, I can draw. Who knew??

These were for a screen print assignment, base on insects. Once upon a time, I knew how to do repeat patterns.

I was quite surprised by some of the images I had come up with.
Maybe that person saying that we should draw every day had something going for him. But I don't see a revolution coming upon me - yet.

Trying to draw every day leads to rather mundane subjects.

These were from a trip to Turkey. I couldn't bring myself to draw in public (still can't) so I have quite a few drawings of my feet and fingers. And one of my roommate (which I actually recognise as her!)

It was fun going through old visual diaries and folders of notes. I threw out some techniques that I am definitely never going to do again. I discovered some that could be useful now, in a slightly different way. Then there were the ones that totally relate to what I am doing now.

But the drawings I did were a bit of an eye-opener.
Perhaps I will try to draw more often - one day.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Shadow of Itself

Two Random Photos

One is in the backyard, while I was out enjoying the wonderful Spring day.

(Just in case it is not obvious, the fly is on the other side of the leaf.)

The other has answered a question I often ask myself - where do they store the goalposts in the off season?

Right beside the batting practice nets of course.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mystery Pictures (almost) done

The Machine Embroidery group has had a challenge going, for quite a while actually.
It was of two photos that were cut up into mystery pieces and we were given the piece without having seen the original pictures. Each piece was supposed to be a stand alone but also fit into the larger picture.

It was amazing how some people were able to make the images stand alone and yet still clearly be important parts of the overall image.

Today we put up the ones we had. Unfortunately a couple of people were missing from the meeting and the picture was not complete. However, it is great to see how it is coming together. Hopefully the missing pieces will come in over the next week or so and we will see it in all its glory by the end of the month.