Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rain and more rain and textiles

This morning Juliet and I went to Martien's "Garage Sale with a Twist". Juliet bought quite a bit of fibre, including a bundle of carded wool. I bought some undyed wool and wool and angora tops, plus a couple of small bags of wool and silk scraps. I also bought a bag of bushland bits - mostly because it contained a dry Eucalytus Lehmanii flowerbud head. This is the one that features in the books on eucalytus and is quite different from the one on the bush at Bibra Lake. Obviously related though. Here are the two of them together.

Afterwards we went to the Old Bakery on 8th gallery in Maylands. We had thought there were some textiles in the current exhibition - we were too early by a week. But the shop had lots of lovely things including some great nuno felted pieces. Just as we were about to leave the skies opened. We waited a bit, then made a dash for the car. The drive home on the Freeway was horrendous with visibility down to a few metres. We drove very slowly in the left hand lane. Didn't stop some idiots roaring past at 100kph plus though.

We decided we needed some more of a fibre fix, so went to Textile Traders in Myaree. They still have some wonderful silks and it was a 25% off day. I bought some black devore silk georgette which I plan to make into a collarless shirt. We both bought a couple of metres of tiedyed rayon at a dollar a metre and some very wide cotton muslin/scrim which we are planning to dye and use as bases for the embellisher.

It was a great day despite the pressure of driving in the downpour - and the rain was very welcome too.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One thing after another

I have been so involved in all sorts of activities (and most of them related to textiles!) that I have been too slack to write in the blog. So this is a kind of catch up.

Following the SCQuilters Retreat I hung the Australia Wide art quilt exhibition at QuiltWest on Tuesday the 20th. I didn't do it alone (Margery Goodall was the artistic director and top row hanger) but it took us quite a long time.

The quilts looked fabulous and it was wonderful to be able to look at them at close quarters. It is impossible to see details on a web image. The range of techniques and materials used was mind blowing. I wish I could afford to buy some of them.

I visited the quilts on Wednesday and Friday, travelling to the Craft Fair by train. The new Mandurah line is so quick and easy - provided you have someone to drop you off at the station so you don't have to find parking. I also spent some time looking at the vendors' stalls. I didn't buy much at all, except for a book about photo imagery on fabric and some wool dyes. I did a hands on workshop on knitting socks with a circular needle and had to buy some sock yarn for that. I just love the way that yarn patterns itself. Otherwise I was very circumspect.

Saturday I went to the Innovative Stitches Group and helped to mount the group textile piece for the exhibition which opens next week. I don't have any pieces in the exhibition because I joined the group only this year, but the work that has been done is stunning.

Sunday I made a small effort to tidy the house after all the comings and goings, then went back to the Convention Centre to pull down the exhibition. This was a VERY much faster job than the hanging of them.

Monday I packed up the quilts and sent them back to NSW, then stitched out a cross stitch design that I had digitised. This one worked well.

Tuesday I did another 4D workshop with Pam. This one was on wildflowers and I am quite pleased with the result. I am thinking about using this technique to embellish some photo printed fabric . . .

Wednesday and today I did a breadmaking demonstration for Helen's kindy class. They also made butter from cream and they just loved eating the fresh bread and butter. They also had a visit from Farmer Mick - a wonderful experience for them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Scquilters' Retreat

Scquilters (Southern Cross Quilters) is an online quilting group that was formed in 1994. Its members are all Australians or New Zealanders or expats with strong connections to these countries. I have been a member since 1995.

The 2008 Scquilters' Retreat started today. There is one held every year, each time in a different state, sometimes even in a different country (there has been one in New Zealand). The first one was held in 1998, and some of the people present at this one have gone to all of them. This is my second - I went to the other one held in Perth in 2002.

It is being held at the Broadwater Pagoda Resort Hotel. I don't think the staff know what has hit them. There are 126 attendees - all women, and the noise level is pretty high. Most are staying in the hotel or at the associated apartments a couple of hundred metres down the road.

I am sharing with another woman. We had booked one of the cheapest rooms. Annabell registered last night, and because I wasn't coming till this afternoon, offered a bed to someone else whose plans had changed. Turned out that the room wasn't a double with twin beds as requested, but one with a double bed, so a rollout bed had to be brought in. Annabell complained about the messed up booking with the result that she was upgraded.

We now have an apartment with twin beds, a kitchenette, a laundry and a spa bath - all at the original price. It certainly pays to complain if you are dissatisfied!

A later addition:
Here is a picture taken on the Saturday night. The lady second from right and not wearing a tiara is Wendy Pang who founded the group.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Piney Lakes

Designing Women, the textile group I belong to, meet at Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre on the second Saturday of every month. The building is a wonderful venue, set in a bushland reserve, but we are usually so engrossed in textile stuff that we don't look at our surroundings.

This month was set aside as "Piney Lakes" day. We were to take our cameras and/or sketchbooks on a walk to explore the reserve. Of course it rained. However, there was a break and we ventured out. It was magical - everything was freshly washed so the colours were intense. We did the short walk along the board walk through the wetlands section, being a bit wary of further showers. These are paperbarks (melaleucas) which are the dominant vegetation in the swampy part.

There is a longer walk, called the Sculpture Walk because of the art works along its length, which actually passes the lake. I love this other walk and made myself a promise to do it again soon.

One of our members, Loraine, has done a course as a Piney Lakes guide and she spoke to us about the area while we waited for the rain to stop. I think we all found that this added to our appreciation of what we were seeing.

We are supposed to develop a textile piece based on our impressions. I took 40 photographs and will have a problem finding one to focus on. This is one possibility.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Contemporary Quilt Group

I enjoy this group. It is an offshoot of the Western Australian Quilters' Association (WAQA) and meets on the second Friday of every month. This month we had to bring in our A3 size Challenge quilts for display at QuiltWest which starts on the 21st May.

We have been supposed to do one challenge a month - I haven't done any since June last year. So I dug out a piece of fabric that I had shibori folded and discharged with bleach. Some quilting with invisible thread and I had a piece for display. Needed a title. I thought it looked a bit like photos I have seen of neural synapses so it became "Connections?"

Afterwards I went to visit my friend Jean as I try to do every month. There is no doubt that her neural network is still very efficient at the age of 96.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Nuno Felting

Textile Traders has had a huge range of printed silk chiffons over the last few months, so of course I have bought a bit (especially when they have had their "buy two, get one free" sales). My intention has been to use them as a basis for nuno felting. Yesterday I actually did some.

Juliet came round with a big bag of wool tops, one length of chiffon, swimming pool noodles, net and bubblewrap. I collected all my wool tops (a much smaller bag), the felting equipment I had, and the chiffon I had bought. We decided on splitting two lengths in half lengthwise and shared the tasks of laying out the fibres and wetting it out. Then we each had a bundle to roll.

This is my first piece. We laid the fibres in a diagonal pattern and as they felted they gathered up the chiffon.

After lunch, we did another one for me. Juliet's blue piece had had the fibres laid out thinly to cover all the fabric and I decided I wanted a piece like that as well. This time we borrowed Kevin's sander and it really speeded up the task. However, time ran out and Juliet decided she didn't have time to lay out the fibre for her second one before she had to go.

This is my second piece.

I really like them both and now I am thinking of how to finish them off. I think I will make a beaded fringe for the orange one. For the blue one I am thinking of using machine pattern stitches along the diagonals and making a fringe from patterned stitching as well . . .

Monday, May 5, 2008

A day out with fibre included

Trudi had a garage sale yesterday and Juliet and I journeyed up into the hills to attend it. We had a very pleasant morning.

It was not your usual garage sale - not a rusty bike or piece of chipped china in sight. At least not for sale - there are lots of rusty things and broken china that have been used to make installations all around the property. The studio where Trudi was selling is quite separate from the house. Both are nestled amongst trees and have a wonderful view of the Wungong Dam. the studio is built of rough hewn timber and it is almost a house itself, with a large entrance porch, even bigger workroom with a patio, kitchen and toilet and out the back a huge storage and wet area where Trudi does dyeing and screenprinting. I intended to take the camera, but of course forgot it, and while I had my phone the pictures it takes are dreadful. I really wanted closeups of some of the little arrangements that are everywhere.

Trudi was having a clear out. She has been a textile artist for more than 30 years and like most of us has stuff that she will never use. So she decided to sell it. We had a wonderful time and the prices Trudi had put on things were so cheap! So now I have a bit more stuff myself.

There was also some of Trudi's daughter's stuff for sale as well. Helena has gone to live in Singapore and left behind lots of things for her mother to sell. There were lots of clothes - nothing to fit me, of course, but I grabbed a rose coloured tiedyed embroidered dress. Surely I'll find a use for the fabric in this . .

After we left Trudi's we decided to try to find a gallery which we thought also was a cafe. We did a long trip through new residential developments and eventually found the gallery. No cafe though. Waterways is a wonderful space with lots of light and a mezzanine floor. The art on display was mediocre - a shame. Juliet thought it would be a wonderful place to hold a folk concert.

Friday, May 2, 2008


We have been a bit busy since Tuesday. Son Martin was admitted to Fremantle Hospital as an emergency patient Tuesday morning, and we have been tied up with hospital visiting and trying to keep him there until they found out what was wrong. The treatment they gave him relieved his symptoms very quickly. He decided that meant he was AOK and has been champing at the bit to get out of hospital, but the doctors wanted to know what caused the original condition. They still don't know - all the tests have come back clear. So today he was discharged and I picked him up and took him back to his unit. He has been told that if the symptoms reoccur he is to run, not walk to the nearest emergency ward.

Yesterday I got the letter from Stitched and Bound - my piece was not selected. Disappointed - I would really like more feedback - but at least I don't have to make a new piece for the Melville Art Awards. Here is a detail:

Today I went to Dale's and spent my $100 gift voucher - plus! I plan to play tomorrow with one of the Ezi-Carve blocks I bought. I think I will save the other for Jane Dunnewold's workshop at Bunbury in October.