Saturday, July 22, 2017

Travelling tapestry exhibition 2017

The online group challenge has come to Melbourne! We put it up today, at the Handspinners and Weavers gallery, in Carlton North.

Every time I looked at it, I saw a new tapestry to exclaim over.
The interpretations are so varied and there are 53 small tapestries, so there is plenty to look at.

My piece probably would have benefited from a written explanation, but that is not part of this challenge. I noticed that the corner that had curled, due to the exposure to the elements, had a pin in it. But it is not supposed to be pinned. Luckily, I was there for the hanging, so I could make my point, so to speak.

It is not as dark now, I did wash it thoroughly as it was going to travel with other people's precious pieces. But the curled corner is still there.

Our local group also took the opportunity to hang our Leaves challenge. One piece is missing as the maker is overseas at the moment. But she will be back soon and will come in and complete the image.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Next artist to inspire us

I missed the last machine embroidery group meeting, so didn't do the next challenge. It was Andy Warhol. I looked at some of the images online and thought that maybe I could do some screen printing. But that seemed a lot of trouble just to get an A5 image that I am not particularly interested in.

I let it go and did a couple of other things. Then I looked online again.
I even went back to search for free online photo changing sites. Nothing appealed to me, mainly because I didn't have an inspirational image to begin with.

I don't usually put my image online, in fact, I don't have that many photos of me, I usually take photos of scenes and other people.

I chose to do a face rather than some of the other types of images he did.

I eventually found a picture of me from (ahem) years ago. That will do, I thought to myself.


Then I looked around online again, for a tutorial on how to use Photoshop to do my image in the genre. I found a couple but they didn't seem to be using the same edition of Photoshop that I have.
I then decided to play around with what I know how to do and came up with some samples.


They are not great but they have given me some practice on Photoshop (much needed).  As you can see, the shadow under my chin gave me some problems and I eventually cropped the image quite a bit too.
I'll have to see if I can meld the best aspects of the various images and come up with something. Or not.

I can now think about how I might go about doing this in textile. So the challenge, although not immediately interesting to me, has given me some creative thinking and problem solving, something I enjoy.

It may go no further than this, but it has been useful to this point.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Finished - sort of.

I am preparing this in advance, so I don't forget the next interesting date - 17/7/17.
I also have to post to one of my online groups on Saturday. The piece is almost finished, not mounted as I can't decide how I want to do that yet. But it is finished enough for me to post my picture.
I have made a textile art piece, rather than a quilted piece. It is all sewing straight onto a piece of linen/cotton, with interfacing on the back. No hoop was used, it is strong enough to go under the machine as is.

Then I can put it up here, on another site. After the big 'reveal'.
I am looking forward to seeing what the others have done.

This is it on the floor, loosely attached to the mount board. I need to decide if I want the rough edges to show or if I am going to put a frame around it and hide them. Decisions, decisions. 

We are working on being inspired by an artist - any artist, any medium. At first, I though I would be inspired by Van Gogh, again.
As I was working on it, I realised that I am also being inspired by Kathryn Harmer Fox and her technique.
Soon I will have to decide if I am going to continue with both, or just with one. But I have a few months till the next 'reveal', so I can take my time, fortunately.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Then and Now

I took the dog to the local park today. I haven't been there is ages, partly due to too many snakes in summer and her being injured. She has had to have shortish walks, which means driving to a suitable park and then walking. Our local park is just too far to get there and then be in the park - much too close to drive to!

But it was such a beautiful day today that I just had to go out. I didn't want to face the increasingly busy roads, so a local walk it was. And she is a lot better.

I took my camera as I am feeling mildly inspired to try another Van Gogh type piece. I tend to take pictures of parks, trees, flowers, etc. So I will have to do some research into Van Gogh's images.

However, I walking into the park from the direction where I took the photo I have just used as my inspiration. So I took another today. No convenient people stand in just the right spot but it was good to be there anyway.


Penny was a bit surprised that I was the one taking a long time to move on, that is usually her forte.

As usual, I went a bit later in the day, so there are some beautiful long shadows.

I couldn't resist taking this one. The dog had been looking around for his person and this is them, just after reuniting.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Making some progress

I spent several hours on my piece today. I have discovered that I need to move away from my work from time to time. Actually, Kathryn Harmer Fox noted it when I did a workshop with her earlier in the year. It was quite helpful to have my process actually clarified like that. It is not necessarily a good or bad thing, just something to be aware of. And to take note of, so that I CAN move away when the need arises.

I did some sewing yesterday and then put the work sitting in another room so I could see it in passing - which gives me the opportunity to see it in another context.


It turned out to be a much fiddlier exercise that I had planned. I am doing collage but some of the pieces are tiny. And ... I didn't use any pins - at all. I am rather amazed at myself about that. But there would have been a forest of pins to work with. Actually, I did use a few at first but I could tell that that was going to be unworkable. So I just laid it out and sewed. Some pieces moved a bit but not enough to worry about. 



Today I sewed some more. I am gradually embedding the fabric - as Kathryn described the process. As I haven't really done much since that workshop, I am relearning things as I go. So the process that I began with has morphed a bit as I remember more, and as the piece develops.

I have played with the image online, without a lot of thought about how I would lay it out and sew it.
It is coming along. I had to stop yesterday because I was thinking 'How do I know when to stop?"
Today I realised that I still had a lot more to do and that stopping was not on the agenda yet.

But now I am at a stage where stopping is within sight - I think. So I have decided to leave it for today, put it back where I will see it randomly, not in the studio, and will have to time to work on it a bit more tomorrow.
I suspect I am still not really going to know when to stop. I just will.

I am not sure if I am glad that I did the more abstract image, with its rather strange colours, or not. But it is what it is - as I seemed to hear people say a lot last year (mainly about football teams, of all things).

Friday, July 7, 2017

Plodding along

I just had to post today, the date is 7/7/17.

I am struggling with my 'inspired by Van Gogh' piece. I decided to try to use the photo that had been turned rather orange and blue - not sure if they are Van Gogh colours or not but it does make it good and abstract.

Anyway, I am not doing a very big size, about A3 (approx 12"x16"). I am finding that I have to lay out the pieces rather small. And it is very hard to tell the trees from the background, especially with the strange colours.

I will persevere for another day, see how it goes. I may end up trying to revert to more realistic colours, just so I can see the image.

I am also trying to work in the style I learnt with Kathryn Harmer Fox and I may not be doing it correctly. I am trying to put in the image and maybe I should just be breaking it up into colours and sections and then try to do the image. Not sure yet.

I needed a rest, so took the dog for a walk and found some lovely squiggly trees that might also make an interesting Van Gogh type of image.

OK! This one is rather abstract also.



But, I have just gone back to the site and found that there are choices for the Van Gogh style. So I put the above pic and got this! The colours are the same, and the image is not recognisable, well, not much. 
Now I will have to go back and try yesterday's image with the Starry Night choice - just because I can. 
I still like the look of this one, I was lucky with being there with my camera, at the right time.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Trying to settle on an idea

I am in several online groups as well as some guild groups. Each one has some sort of challenge going, or something that is meant to get us going.
I have mentioned the challenge to be inspired by an artist, for my machine embroidery group, at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria.
One of my online groups was looking for some inspiration and I mentioned that as an idea. So now we are doing 4 art quilts in a year, inspired by an artist, any artist, any technique, any size. Rather a large choice really.

We have had quite a while to get it ready but I have left it a bit late, it is due within two weeks.

I have been looking around at several artists, mainly Hundertwasser and Kandinsky. I have even done some collages that relate to them - remotely. This is yet another thing I am trying for inspiration, working with a couple of friends to try to get ideas flowing.

I think I may have too many ideas to be working on at one time!

Then, last Saturday, I was given a free ticket to the Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery, Victoria. As it was the second last weekend, there were LOTS of people there. Fortunately, I was with a family group and one of the boys, about 8 years old, was very enthusiastic. His enthusiasm has rubbed off on me, so now I am looking at Van Gogh as my inspiration.

The machine embroidery group has a couple of members who have been using their own photos to develop in the style of the artist of the month. I have decided, because of their inspiration, to use a photo of my own and try to do it in a Van Gogh style.


That's it, so far. I have just had the idea.

Oh, an extra thing, I found a site online that changes your pictures to a Van Gogh style image, among other ideas. It changed the colours greatly. I love it but I am not sure I am going to try for this image this time. Maybe my series could all be of the one image, in different techniques. I do rather like this one.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friends' advice

I met with a couple of friends this week and asked their advice on how to put in my fish images for my swap card piece.

I had planned to use the swap cards I found in my album as the focus of the piece. Initially, I intended to recreate the actual cards. I was pleased that they were in a colour-way that I don't usually use - cool colours.
Then I decided that I needed more than three. I remembered that you often used to get packs of cards with the same image, just in different colour-ways. So I intended to make a couple of pieces that used the image in different colour ways.

With this in mind, I played around in Photoshop - not wanting to draw.

You can see the adjusted images. I hadn't thought to use exactly the colours of the copies, just to get an idea.

I had also thought to use the images at actual size. Then I realised that that was going to be very fiddly!

I decided to enlarge the images and hope that they would work.
Then I remembered that I have some old fabric that has fish on it. They were the perfect size for my new, enlarged images!!


I cut out some of the fabric (fussy cutting, which I don't like because it wastes so much fabric).

I laid out several designs and photographed them so I could get a distant perspective. But I couldn't decide on what worked.

Just a couple of the try-outs. 

I left it till the next day - which happened to be a day I was meeting with a couple of friends whose opinions I respect. I asked them what they thought of my choices. Their instant, independent but simultaneous, responses were to not put in the fish images.

So now I have sewn what was going to be the background, and may still be. It is not hugely inspiring in itself but I have been happy with the learning process.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not much time

I recently joined an online group which has only been going for a short while.
We have a challenge for the month of June. I only joined in the last 3 or 4 days. So not much time to be making and doing.

However, I have found that the theme proposed and the timeframe have come together reasonably well - so far.

The theme is Collections (or Collections, I can't actually remember at the moment). Being in a hurry, I just thought, what have I collected in the past? The first thing that came to mind was - swap cards.

So, being a person who hasn't thrown out a lot along the way, I found a small collection that I have kept. I do remember getting rid of some, many years ago, but had some that I just couldn't bear to part with.

I went through the ones I had, keeping in mind that I need a fairly simple image to work with in a short period of time.  I came up with some fish cards. I decided to use them as they also are a collection of fish.




Not being person who chooses to draw, I decided to play around with them in Photoshop.

I had thought to use them at actual size and make the images. Then I realised that that might be a bit fiddly, so I enlarged the images and printed them out in black and white. I have some cards that have the same image but in different colours, so I thought I could play around with different fabrics and see if I could come up with something along those lines.

The background was going to be a bit of a problem, especially if I used the cards in an upright way, it was going to look rather regular and any mistakes would stand out. And I am sure I would make mistakes.

Bright idea - use the backs. The cards are often from playing card sets and have the usual playing card images on them. I photographed some and played around with them in Photoshop too.

That is as far as I have got, so far. I am hoping to use the above cards as the background, then lay the fish cards over the top.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Collage without concentration

We had our tapestry group meeting today. We have been talking, in a desultory way, about using collage as a design tool.
After the bulk of our meeting, and after a few members had to leave, three of us spent some time discussing the benefits of collage and actually working on the idea.
One of our members had come prepared - with notes, papers, glue-stick and scissors.

We drew three 10cm squares each and randomly (very randomly, in my case) found a magazine with an interesting image(s) that we then proceeded to cut or tear up.
The idea was to have the 10cm squares not near the edge of the paper so we wouldn't be constrained by the need to fit the image into the edges, something that I had read previously. (I haven't cut mine to be square yet, may do so, may not bother.)

I wasn't really concentrating, was NOT going to continue my theme for my month of collages (it has to be revealed to the other group first) and so just picked an image from a skateboarding magazine (of all things).

I put glue on the square, ripped some paper up and came up with three pieces.





I probably won't use them in a tapestry, or a machine embroidery, but it did show me a little bit about my design process - a bit random really. I was just using one photo, trusting that the photographer is an artist and that the magazine designer is one too. So I felt that I could count on the colour co-ordination, the overall artistic base that I was using.

One of them speaks to me in terms of being chaotic - in an interesting way. So ... maybe it will inspire me to something.

Whether it does or not, it was a very enjoyable process, much more than just doing it by myself. There is benefit from doing it alone but there is also benefit from just doing it in a less concentrated way - because we were chatting about various things (mostly to do with the design process, colour choices, etc), watching what the others were doing and being creative together.

In fact, it was so enjoyable that we took a bit long and stayed till closing time! (Maybe a little bit past closing time - sorry ladies.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Discovering the automatic stitches on the sewing machine

I missed the date yesterday: 11/6/17. Oh well.

Today I (finally) got to do some sewing. I have been thinking about the new challenge for the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria's challenge - Take a Shell.
I took a shell.
Then I put it away.
Absolutely no inspiration.

I have been browsing Pinterest. And I have seen a couple of works there, and in person, that have used the built in stitches on the machine.

I bought my machine about a year and a bit ago - nice exact information there.

I usually only use the straight stitch. When I did the workshop with Kathryn Harmer Fox I used the zigzag stitch too. But that is all I have used on my machine.

Today was learning day!
I had Taken a Shell - today I actually looked at it.

Here is my take on the shell. It might not win any prizes in the challenge but I have finally started sewing again.


First, I attached a piece of wadding to the fabric. I am thinking of mounting it on a preprepared canvas, so it has to be the right size, with enough leftover fabric to wrap around the side. I am not particularly good at mounting works, so it will be interesting to see if this preparation is good enough. 

Then I drew a rough pattern, based on the shell. I hope the so-called water-erasable pen actually does erase! I have left it in the sun on previous occasions and the sun seems to have set it. It is winter and I  didn't get going till twilight, so it should erase. 

The rater large selection of stitches on my Husqvarna. I haven't used them before, it was a learning experience to simple choose the stitches, let alone the size and width. 



Work in progress. I had a bit of fun choosing the various stitches and turning them to fit the pattern. No free motion sewing here, I had to let the feed dogs be up, set the tension and actually fiddle with the width of the stitches. 


Here it is, rinsed out to get rid of the marker. It is still damp, so will be lighter when I work out how to attach the actual shell - if I do. I thought about ironing it dry but don't want to interfere with the stitching and the texture, so will let it dry naturally. 
I may put the shell the other way, if it looks ok with the sewing - it doesn't seem to mimic the arc all that well. 
Oh well, at least I experimented and learnt about the various stitch choices on the machine. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gorgeous apple tree autumn leaves

I am probably inspired, partly, by the tapestry challenge our small group did recently. It was based on some autumn leaves (I assume they were autumnal).

Our apple tree is gradually losing its leaves at present and I couldn't resist taking some pictures.





I also had a wonderful view of our very old camellia bush as I was working in the last few days.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Next artist to inspire us ... Hundertwasser.

As I have already mentioned, our machine embroidery group at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria, is working on a small A5 piece each month, inspired by a different artist.
I thought I would love this month, it being Hundertwasser but I have actually found it a bit difficult.

He has the most amazing colours, brush strokes, hidden faces, immediately-identifiable trees, etc. But I was just replicating his work, which I had promised myself I would try not to do.

So I waited a couple of weeks. In the midst of other things, I have been playing around with trying to do some collages. I found a visual diary that I had used before, for a tapestry based on the theme of My Place.

I realised that I might be able to adapt it to this challenge. So I got out my tiny pieces of scraps of fabric and fiddled around with them.  Eventually I laid them out according to a map of the local area.
I have used images of Darebin Parklands before (a lot, actually).

 
Here is the piece in its infant stage. It wasn't particularly reminding me of Hundertwasser. Then I came across a tiny scrap of fabric with some circles that reminded me of his trees. After much searching (thank goodness I did some sorting a little while ago) I found a larger scrap and could cut out some little pieces that I thought would do the trick.

Now I have finished, it is not something that you will say "Oh, that looks like it is inspired by Hundertwasser" but I know that it is. And now you do too, because you have read this!


You  can see the little trees cut out and put in the park area. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Nine Pieces

Our tapestry weaving group got together today to put all nine pieces of the image together.

We had been given an image, a blown up copy in black and white and then a section of the image. We each wove our piece, with no definitive information about what colours to use, etc. The colour image was the source of our colour decisions and we all used wools from the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

It is interesting to see the interpretations put together. The colours all matched rather well.
Some of the pieces were slightly bigger than others and it is strange that the whole bottom row turned out to be this way.

Mine is the bottom left-hand corner and part of the image is the correct size, the other end bulged out a bit. Unfortunately, that is the bit that meets the other pieces, so it is rather obvious.
Not to worry, it was a great exercise and very enjoyable. And we have taken our pieces home again. We will see if an opportunity to show them together turns up.



You might notice that we laid out the small photos incorrectly. But the larger pieces were correct and worked quite well.

We were very pleased with the outcome!
Now we are thinking about what else we might do as a group to make us weave, to collaborate and to have fun.