Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making Lists

I have finally forwarded all the necessary information to the people who are going to the Designing Women Retreat at Dwellingup in a couple of weeks.

Now I need to collect all of the stuff; books, workshop requirements plus do some samples for the workshop I am running.

I keep getting ideas about bits I could do and use with the other workshops.

I have made a checklist. I plan to tick a few items off every day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Textile day out

Juliet, Pauline and I made a fibre excursion today.

First stop was Treetop Harmonies in Floreat Park. Nancy Ballesteros has fabulous dyed wool and silk. Juliet bought up big. Pauline and I drooled over the samples, but did not buy.

Then we went to Woolly Lattes in Wembley. I have heard of this yarn shop/cafe, but have never been there. No purchases apart from coffee, but we were sorely tempted. We also made a quick visit to Hot Possum next door. Again the purse strings remained closed.

Next stop was the Thread Studio. Dale has wonderful stuff and all of us bought something. Designing Women now have a new addition to their library and the Retreat group will have access to Wild Women charms at their workshop. I have some yummy stuff to use with the embellisher and some new metallic threads.

Our final stop was the Old Bakery on 8th Gallery. Pauline had never been there before and enjoyed browsing the gift shop. We all loved the exhibition of paintings in acrylic by Malindi Parker. She obviously uses lace in creating her work, and we all had great fun working out her techniques. It was great stuff.

It was a really enjoyable day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old Bones

I had a series of X-rays last week.

One was a bone density measurement. I have not had any indication of osteoporosis, but my doctor thought it might be a good idea to establish a benchmark for future reference. I had to pay for the procedure due to my lack of symptoms, but I need not ever worry about it again (unless I live past 100 - most unlikely). I have bones as strong as a normal 25 year old.

However, the news was not so good regarding my right thumb. I knew I had some osteoarthritis there because of a bone bump on the middle joint. The X-ray indicated this was not a problem, but that the bottom joint was not in good shape. Explains the pain when knitting or hand sewing, but the doctor says "use it or lose it".

I did some hand stitching today. I can manage an hour, then I have to stop. The doctor recommends topical inflammatory creams, so I will have to try them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Too much information

and too little ability to process it.

I admit I am a pack rat and I have WAY too many books and magazines related to the textile arts. Usually I can find the article/item I want in a few minutes (OK, less than an hour): it's in such and a book or in such and such a magazine published about whatever year (memory linked to another life event). I found the quilt design I wanted quickly because it was linked in my memory to the OS trip we took in 2000.

However, today I spent more than 3 hours looking for an article on a particular technique. I knew where it was published (Taunton Press' Threads), I thought I knew the approximate date (prior to issue 100) and I couldn't find it anywhere. I did find a number of unrelated articles that I want to revisit and I have pulled those issues from the boxes. But I didn't find what I am looking for.

I have more than 100 issues of Threads. I was a subscriber until a year or so ago. While Threads is available locally it is very expensive and it was a worthwhile investment for me. Then there were a series of issues that failed to engage my attention and I did not renew my subscription.

There is so much information and inspiration in the back issues I have that I will never manage to use it all. This also applies to all of the other magazines I buy. But it is so much fun just to flip through all those back copies and discover forgotten treasure.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Innovative Stitches

The meeting was held at a different venue today - a craft house in a park at Como. I had never been there before. The park has a lake and looks to be a great place to saunter and walk a dog. It was a beautiful day and we sat out in the sun to eat our lunch.

The group is to have an exhibition in 2010 with the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins. Today we were treated to a talk by a young artist, daughter of one of the members, who had produced a visual diary on this theme for her TEE exam in Art. She won an award for her diary and the final piece had been shown in the Perspectives exhibition and had travelled to Japan. She based her piece on Dante's Inferno and it was most interesting to see what had influenced her and how the piece had developed. It was most impressive.

We had a most interesting discussion on ideas for the installation that is planned to be the group piece for the exhibition. I am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

Our exercise for the day was to use a single stitch (blanket stitch) in innovative ways. I think I need to do a bit (a lot!) more on mine before I show it to anyone.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Art in Bloom

Dorothy and I went to see this at the Art Gallery today. I am sure every woman of a certain age in Perth who did not have to work or attend to other business did so as well. The place was packed.

While I really enjoyed it, I did not find very many of the installations made me stop in my tracks. I dug out an old notebook and found that I had sketched and commented on at least 10 on a visit in a previous year - this year I have only noted three that really grabbed me.

I was remiss in not noting either the maker of the artwork or the maker of the arrangement of the first one I loved. It was in a glass walled corridor leading to the Centenary Galleries. The artwork was a group of ceramic bowls/vases. On the outside of the glass was a mandala-like arrangement in concentric circles of skeleton leaves of different sizes and shapes. It was stunning, and I felt quite cross with the lady I overheard saying that it was no good because it didn't use flowers!! It complemented the ceramics beautifully in both colour and shape.

The second one I recorded was in response to a painting called Seven Sisters by Angilya Mitchell. The 7 sisters are the Pleiades constellation and are very important in Aboriginal lore. This installation used natural clusters of empty seed pods painted black, each pod with a LCD bulb inside. There were 7 groups of these pods suspended from the ceiling. This was made byYanya Lee and Jacqueline Ball who are Honours Art students.

My absolute favourite was made by Lucy Bromell (who is a well-known textile artist) and Monika Panizza to complement a dot painting of waterholes in golds, ochres and black by Peter Pijaju Skipper. The circles of the waterholes were represented by slices from a balga (grass tree) trunk and a basket stitched from dried grasses (glossy brown and black). In the basket were pieces of shibori dyed silk fabric in golds and ochres. Single yellow pompom flowers (can't remember their right name) were interspersed with puffy flowers made from the same silk. The whole arrangement was on red gravel and was a stunning reflection of the shapes and texture of the painting.

There were others I liked, but these were the standouts for me. I also enjoyed seeing some of my favourite pieces of artwork again.

On a sadder note, Jennifer's mother died this morning. She turned 96 last week. I think she had only been waiting till she saw all her surviving children. Having done this, there was no reason for her to stay. I am sad, but glad that she didn't have to endure life in a nursing home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another technique

to try. And I couldn't resist this book when Kevin and I visited Elizabeth's warehouse in Fremantle today.

The large metal bound Bible had gone (sold?) but the Bible and Concordance in the velvet lined wooden box is still there. It remains out of our price range.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sorting the Stash

Not fabric yet, though that looms in the future. I have been sorting through notes and printouts relating to textile techniques and projects. While I managed to dump some before they got there, I still have about 15 envelope files on various textile subjects. Each of them really needs sorting as well, but it was enough for me to reduce the "Pending" pile.

I have been thinking about trying to develop a spreadsheet/data base which might cross reference some of this stuff. Probably in my dreams.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Some of these trees have dominated my creative ideas for a while. My Fanning Creativity and My Place pieces both used images of the karri forest, and I am still in love with the specimen of Eucalyptus Lehmanii we found at Bibra Lake.

However I am not as obsessed as the father in this novel. I borrowed it from the library and am still reading it. Every chapter heading is the name of a different eucalyptus species and I am in awe of the research that has gone into writing it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Old Lace

Jennifer and her brothers have been sorting out her mother's house. She will never be able to return there and she had already designated who was to get what.

While they all felt it was a bit ghoulish, it had to be done before the house can be sold (which it will need to be under the laws governing residents of nursing homes) and it made sense to do it while both Jennifer and her eldest brother were in Perth.

There was a quantity of antique linen including lovely drawn thread work and hand crocheted lace. Jennifer gave me some of it to me "to do something with" and now I will have to.

Here are some of the treasures.

There is also a cotton nightdress with filet crochet and hemstitching. It is so worn it is past restoring, but still beautiful. There are some rust spots on it - maybe I should rust it further?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Exploring South Perth and a new bookstore

Jennifer and I went to have lunch with Helen today. I had left a message that we would be there about 11.45 am, so when we were a little early I took Jennifer to Como, to the Preston Street Art Space, a shop I had seen back in May. I was at the Scquilters Retreat at the Pagoda and went for a walk on the Saturday afternoon. I passed the shop (which was closed) and made a note to self that I needed to go back there. Today was the day and Jennifer and I both really enjoyed the visit. Lots of lovely stuff - textiles, paintings and jewellery. Thelma has heard of Designing Women and so I will take some invitations to our November Exhibition for her customers. I will also look out for their piece in the Art in Bloom exhibition at the Art Gallery next weekend.

Mends Street was buzzing - the weather was fabulous - and we ate at the Dome cafe. Then we strolled down to the jetty to look at the ferry timetable. I think if the ferry had been there I might have persuaded Helen and Jennifer to make a short trip across to the city, but it wasn't, and wasn't due for 20 minutes, so we went back to the car and drove on to explore the Angelo Street precinct. Nice mixture of boutiques, cafes and solidly commercial institutions like banks and supermarkets. Really liked the Secret Garden which is a garden centre, gift shop and cafe all in one. I found a cumquat tree there in full fruiting flush - Kevin wants one. However I don't think he wants to pay $250.

After we dropped Helen back at the unit we went to Fremantle to look at the new Elizabeth's Books Warehouse. It is quite different from the standard Elizabeth's shops: mostly new books imported from the UK and the US, but with some real antiquarian books. I saw an Illustrated Holy Bible with metal edges and lock and a Bible and Concordance in a blue velvet lined wooden box. I coveted the latter, but both were priced well out of my range. I did spend $5 on a book by Nick Bantock (author of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy) called The Venetian's Wife. It has much more text than others of his, but also his amazing illustrations. I look forward to reading it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gallery Crawl

I don't often get to do a gallery crawl these days, so it was great to do one this afternoon with my friend Jennifer from the US. I picked her up from her niece's house in Cottesloe and we went first to the Stafford Gallery to see the Leon Pericles exhibition. I have always liked his work and both of us enjoyed his quirky collages. I also really liked his latest paintings. Some of them have a textile quality to them.

There are some amusing sculptures outside the gallery too.

Then we went to Gallerie Dusseldorf in Mosman Park where Paula Gaunt has some very interesting work on display. We also called into Calico and Ivy, but managed to resist the yarns and the Liberty prints.

On to the Fremantle Arts Centre. We were going to have coffee but I took Jennifer to see the exhibition by Innovative Stitches and by the time we left the cafe was closed. Bummer. We didn't go to see whatever else was on, but headed home for a cuppa.

We both had a lovely afternoon. Jennifer is staying with us for a couple of days, so we may get to see some more galleries.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Haddon's Birthday

Yesterday, in between other things, I managed to edit the bottle we digitised in Pam's workshop on Tuesday and stitch it out twice to make a bottle bag as a gift for a friend's 70th birthday. NOTE: We did put a couple of bottles inside before we presented it.

It was a very pleasant afternoon sitting in the sun, talking , eating and drinking. Here is the birthday boy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bottle Bag (and bug)

Pam held another designing with 4D software workshop today. This was intended for people who don't have the full suite. I found it very valuable as a memory jogger and have plans to take the technique further.

We developed an applique of a wine bottle and used 4D Sketch to add a border to the labels and script on the label itself. The applique was buttonhole stitched (rather than using satin stitch). This was an extremely useful technique to learn. The bug was a whimsical extra.

The design was stitched on a black polypropylene bag which we unpicked. Good recycling.

I had trouble cutting away the applique fabric. The ball of my thumb gets very painful with prolonged use and it got a workout today with pen and tablet for 4D Sketch. It is being X-rayed on Thursday. Arthritis is the almost certain diagnosis, but which form? I already have some osteo in my hand, but it doesn't pain me. Kevin has rheumatoid and has a lot of pain. Getting old sucks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nothing Much Today

Very little fibre fiddling, though I did manage one seam on the pants I am trying to make.

Kevin was due at Murdoch SJOG Hospital by 12.30 for his colonoscopy. At 11.30 Martin rang up. He had left the headlights of his car on and the battery was flat. He had been unable to start it by pushing and wanted jumper leads. So that meant a trip to Orelia after dropping Kevin off - a full hour spent on this.

Then I went to do some chores and it was time to pick Kevin up. He was a bit woozy from the anaesthetic and has been napping since we got home. I need to make dinner now - chicken stirfry tonight. I will go and pull out a couple of the pak choy he has growing in a wheelbarrow out the back. Yum.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Clearing the decks

Most of the day has been spent tidying the sewing room. I couldn't see the worktable for all the stuff dumped on it, and I kept falling over plastic shopping bags from Spotlight and Textile Traders whenever I entered.

Some success. I can see the table surface again and the bags are no longer a pedestrian hazard.

I have collected together the fabric I have bought to make some new trousers (once I finish the prototype. I have changed shape recently and my beloved pattern is now too long in the crotch and too loose in the legs. I have been twiddling and the amended version is partly sewn).

I tested some black fabrics that I bought from Spotlight and elsewhere to use for discharge dyeing. A mixed bag here. A black fabric that I bought as rayon didn't discharge at all and when I did a burn test was obviously synthetic. The two fabrics labelled 100% cotton reacted quite differently to the bleach. One, labelled as cotton broadcloth, discharged really quickly to a very attractive red/orange. The other, labelled calico, took a long time to discharge, but the end result was a rather nice yellowish grey.

Kevin is having a colonoscopy tomorrow and can't eat solids or drink anything other than clear liquids. I am keeping out of the way.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

DW Does Scarves

We had a great day today at the monthly Designing Women meeting. The theme was scarves - very appropriate with the weather we have been having. Everyone was asked to bring at least one. They were to be hand made or, if commercial, to demonstrate some interesting technique.

I had rummaged in my cupboards and managed to unearth a bakers' dozen. This is one of them: silk organza with 3D flowers. I made this as a workshop sample at least a year ago.

The diversity (quality and quantity) of the items brought along was amazing. There were knitted scarves in lots of different patterns - some knitted on a few stitches for lots of rows, others on lots of stitches for a few rows; woven scarves - these were all commercial ones, but we had fun working out how they had been done; felted scarves - nuno, cobweb and standard felt; painted and dyed scarves - hand made and commercial, and including marbled, shibori-ed, salt and urea patterned examples in silk, cotton and synthetics; embroidered scarves and scarves made on water soluble. We even had a couple of interesting wraps - Tish's rectangle with holes got people measuring busily, and Jaslyn's (designer brand) scarf with sleeves fascinated everyone.

Then most of us set about making scarves on water soluble fabric. It has been decided that we will have a scarf display as our group activity for our exhibition in November.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Textile Friday

Had a very enjoyable day at Contemporary Quilt Group. Jocelynne spoke about some of the items of mixed media she uses in her work. I was reminded of some techniques that I had forgotten and made some memory jogger notes.

We also had a visit from Beth and Trevor Reid from Canberra. They have been in Perth looking after the TACTile group's exhibition - Eyeline - which was on display at the Craft Fair. Beth and Trevor brought along some of their own quilts and spoke about how they were made. It was extremely interesting to listen to them. Their work, especially the machine quilting, is amazing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ugh, computers - day 3

The problem I had loading the update wasn't entirely my fault, hooray! The sequence in which we were told the files were to be loaded was wrong, and when David realised this we had no problems. I have spent the afternoon printing updated sample guides - this update has made all the stitches from both the Pfaff Creative Vision and the Diamond Designer available as motif fills. I doubt I will ever use more than a handful.

I also did some playing with the silk paper and knitting. This time I used some cotton knit that I bought in a roll from an auto supplies place (sold as cleaning cloth) some years ago. I have previously dyed some and used it with the embellisher. I coloured it with some of the Opulence inks that Dale sells, plus a few dabs of Jo Sonya Rose Gold (which looks much better in real life than it does in the scan).

I have realised that I did not sufficiently shake the Moonshadow Mists the other day and that was why there was no colour, only the brown. Today I used some more of the Opulence inks on top and it is much better. Again, even better in real life than in the scan.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ugh, Computers - Day 2

I managed to purge the laptop sufficiently to defrag the hard drive, even though I only had 4% free space. Then I burnt 3 CDs as backups and dumped a bit more. I am obviously spoilt - the main computer we use (an iMac) has a 200G hard drive, and we have only used 86G.

The laptop is 5 years old and only has a 20G memory. I think I need a new PC, or else to stop thinking of the MacBook as a backup/toy and seriously put it to use. But there is still the need to update the 4D software. I am no longer getting the message that there is not enough space. Instead it seems that I am missing an essential part of the upgrade.

I went to the HV site to try and download the missing bit. More frustration - I am unable to get past the registration page.

Tomorrow I will take the laptop to Bestway and see if David can sort it out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ugh, computers

I didn't have a chance to play with silk today. I have spent hours wrestling with a computer.

I need to update my 4D Embroidery software, but I can't do it because there is not enough room on the laptop. So I thought I would defrag the hard drive. Can't do that either; there is not enough space. Needs 15% and it's only got 1% left. I can't understand where all the disk space has gone - I don't have many photos saved there. So now I am going to transfer all my photo files to CD and also back up all the embroidery designs, then restore the system. I hope it works! I have never done this on a PC. Macs are so easy to deal with in comparison.

I can upload photos today, so here are my silk bits. This is the one I made in the Sarah Lawrence class, using her paints and silk knitting she supplied.

Here is the piece I made yesterday. The Moonshadow Mists have not worked - I have no colour except the walnut ink. Maybe I can add some paint or dye, or just leave it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Take on Silk Paper

I went to Sarah Lawrence's hands-on workshop "Knitting with Natural Materials - no knitting involved" yesterday afternoon. I mean, who could resist that title?

We used silk cocoon strippings, industrial weight baking paper (from England - is there something similar available here from restaurant supply stores? Sarah says GladBake is too flimsy), spray colours from Sarah's supply (though Moonshadow Mists were also available) and a piece of a circular tube knitted with silk thread (the knitting bit).

Blogger won't let me upload any images at the moment though.

The process relies on the silk containing a large amount of sericin which can be activated by moisture and heat so that the fibres meld together. The knitting has to be in natural fibres - silk preferably, but cotton and bamboo also possible. Wool is apparently a no-no.

I made another sample this afternoon, using a hastily knitted-with-bamboo-yarn piece and Moonshadow Mist sprays. I probably also dampened it down too much, because it still isn't dry enough to scan. I may try another tomorrow with some cotton knit I already have.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday at the Craft Fair

I was rostered on to look after the Designing Women stall this morning so I spent the entire day there.

My friend Jennifer is visiting from the US and she decided to go to the Fair too. We met up a bit after 12.30 after she had had a look around and had coffee, a pie (of course) and a good chat. Then she had to go to visit her mother and meet up with her brother. I wandered about, went to a couple of workshops and took some photos. Forgot I needed to take one of the stall, though.

The photos I took were of the "Eyeline" exhibition by the TACTile group (Jenny Bowker, Dianne Firth, Helen Gray, Beth Miller and Beth and Tevor Reid) from Canberra. This is their third exhibition and again is absolutely stunning. My photos are not, though I have some detail shots that I hope will inspire me. I bought a book of postcards as well.

Then I took a few photos of the Art to Wear exhibition. This year the emphasis was on "The Next Generation" and more than half the garments on show were produced by secondary school students. There was some excellent work and it looks like this aspect of textile art is flourishing, but only in the private schools. There were no examples from any of the government schools, though perhaps this is understandable. The raw materials are expensive and the out of school time required, both of students and teachers, is considerable.

The theme for the Year 12 students from one school was "Bridal" and I particularly liked this one. I didn't note the name of the maker, though, which is remiss of me.

When the Show closed at 5pm I took down the display pieces from the stall, packed them up and dragged everything to the car. My feet were really hurting by then!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Exhibition website

Brenda Gael Smith is developing a website for the My Place exhibition. There is more to come but do take a look. It's going to be great.

And at the same time take a look at Brenda's own site. I read it often and need to get off my proverbial and set up a link to it from this blog.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Craft Fair

I had a lovely day today at the Craft Fair. I went with my sister Dorothy and met lots of people I knew. I had a shopping list and got everything I needed, but of course had to buy some things I didn't need - just wanted.

I fell in love with these cable needles. They are turned from dyed, laminated wood. There were also knitting needles of all sizes made the same way, but I resisted them.

Then I bought this yarn - not to knit socks, but to knit a scarf. I just happen to have a pattern for a cabled scarf - the needles will come in handy.

I am going back on Sunday. Designing Women have a display (which I helped set up yesterday) and I am rostered to look after it in the morning. I will wander and take some photos after that. The Art to Wear exhibit is great and so is the display of contemporary quilts by the Canberra group, Tactile.