Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I have been very quiet on the blogging front, but have actually produced something. I have been working on my pieces for the Designing Women exhibition which starts on November 12 at the Atwell Gallery on Canning Highway, Alfred Cove.

Each member has to have at least one item in the exhibition (it's in our constitution) and the maximum is five. So far I have my nuno felted scarf for the group display and two pieces that I made during the year for other exhibitions. In the past few days I have completed a 3D piece and have almost constructed a bag. Five pieces done!

I finally played Jane's Improvisational Screen Printing DVD which I bought from her at Bunbury and am newly inspired. Once I finish everything for the exhibition, I plan to get into it. There is a bag of soy wax waiting and Kevin bought a new electric frypan last weekend. The old one can now migrate to the wet studio (aka storeroom). I dug out a bunch of hand dyed fat quarters that beg to be overdyed and/or stencilled, discharged and printed. Time - I need more time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Fifteen years ago today I had an accident in which I was severely burned on the hands, face and chest. I spent two and a half weeks in hospital and had three skin grafts.

I was never likely to die from my injuries, but it made me realise that you need to grasp every moment because things can change radically in just a few moments.

I healed well and people never seem to notice the scars now. I also seem to have forgotten the lesson I learned then. Maybe I need another wake-up call.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Avoidance Tactics

I still have not printed my silkscreen (mentioned in the last post), nor have I done anything with my dyed and overdyed fabric pieces from the workshop. These are mostly silk, but there are a couple of bits of rayon. I like them so much I am hesitant to do anything to change them - I think they may be what Jane called "New Boyfriends"!

I have been carving more erasers and making more stencils. I have really enjoyed the "toolmaking" aspect of the course. I am embarrassed at how many other (purchased and unused) tools I was able to find when I went searching.

I need to bite the bullet and start production.

Here are a couple of the swatches I made that were in the display on the final afternoon.

This is black fabric that was stencilled (badly) with yellow opaque fabric paint. The back looked better than the front, so I used sequin waste and stencilled with bleach. After stabilising the bleach (NO vinegar! Lots of water and rinsing) I used the same leaf stencil with a greeny bronze (a colour I mixed) metallic paint. I am pretty happy with the result.

Here are some other pieces. All have been dyed and overdyed, then printed and stencilled. Not sure what has happened with the colour - they all have a distinct greenish cast on my monitor.

Kevin and I are baby sitting my brother in law (who has Parkinson's) for the next couple of days while my sister has surgery on her knee. I am not sure whether I will be able to post.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Following up on Complex Cloth

One of the techniques that Jane demonstrated was using a flour paste, both on fabric and on silk screens. Linda has printed her screen - I am still to do so. But I have a photo of the sample where we squeegeed the flour paste onto fabric, drew into it, let it dry and then painted it with a thin black paint. This is one of my samples - I love it!

I have carved some more erasers and today I printed all of them on a dyed piece of fabric that I loathed. I also did a positive/negative print of an earring that I bought at the $2 shop.

Maybe I'll be brave enough to screen print tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

FibresWest Forum Workshops

Friday afternoon we finished early so we could go and look at what other people had been producing. Here are a few of the photos I took. Unfortunately I missed out on taking photos for two workshops - Ken Smith's Embroidering in the Round and Nalda Searles' Expressing Personal Imagery.

This is from Liz Jeneid's printing and books workshop. If I had not got into Jane's workshop I think I would have liked to do this one. Liz is a lovely lady - I drove her down to Bunbury.

My friend Iris was in Christina Newberry's workshop on recycling clothing and had an absolute ball. This is a knitted top that has turned into a skirt.

Here is an example from Shirley's class. Love those emu feathers.

Jacinta Leishman's class was called Alchemy. They did all sorts of things with cloth and paper.

Two of the most interesting workshops were run by a group of Indians - Artisans of Kala Raksha - who produced the most fabulous scarves from their suitcases on the Bizarre Bazaar night and sold almost all of them. They ran two workshops. The top photo is of mud mirror work, the one below is of traditional tie dyeing. I admire the results, but don't think I am prepared to make so much effort.

Glen Skien's boxes are fabulous and his students produced some wonderful stuff.

The felting workshop by Liz Evans also produced wonderful pieces.

I am mortified that I didn't take any of the work that was done in Nalda Searles' workshop - they were next door and two of my friends - Jan and Jenny - were in the group. However, Shirley has some photos, so check out her blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And more on FibresWest Forum

One of the quirkier aspects was the installations around the ground. The ones produced by the members of the Stirling Arts Centre (a local arts group) were related to fish and the environment and they sneakily changed from day to day. I failed to photograph the piece in the dining hall, but I do remember the exhausted shark on the back of another shark wearing a broad grin . . . don't ask!

Outside the dining hall was an installation of seashore birds and a row of hanging fish.

And then there was the painted windsurfer with its textile sail.

Along the path that led to most of the workshops were schools of fish - they were not there on Day One, but appeared during the week.

The waterhole stayed all week, but I swear there were more cans and other junk around the edge on Friday than were there on Sunday.

Tanya Spencer's installations didn't move. Here is her description of the pieces.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More on the Forum

The venue for the Forum was Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School. It is about 10km south of Bunbury itself and the buildings are surrounded by bush, so you feel you are in the depths of the country.

Our workshop was in the Art building which is situated on the highest part of the campus and you could hear the traffic on the Bussell Highway and the almost continuous sound of trains taking mineral sands to the port. Once you went down the hill to the other parts of the school the noise faded and birdsong and female chatter were the loudest sounds.

We had lots of laughter. Here is Shirley and her always present camera.

I am glad to have met her - she was the tutor for one of the workshops, is a fabulous weaver and a fun person too. One day I may be able to afford one of her wraps, like the one Shireen is wearing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Complex Cloth

I haven't had time to go through all the photos I took at the Bunbury Forum - there are 141 of them - but I have edited a few that relate to the workshop I took.

Here are some of the final pieces of work that were put on display on Friday at the open studio session. Each one of these pieces of cloth has gone through at least four processes - dyeing, overdyeing, discharging, stamping, stencilling, screen printing, foiling - not necessarily in that order.

And here is Jane accepting the small gift the class presented her with.

I will post some photos soon of my own pieces. In the meantime, you can look at Linda's.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm Back!

I had a great time, made lots of new friends, didn't have to cook, discovered some fabulous textile tricks and techniques, took lots of photos which I will need to sift through . . . .

The Bunbury Forum was very well organised. I had never been to a residential one before - I certainly plan to go to the next one. There was so much happening that I missed a lot that I shouldn't have, but I found it difficult to stop working on the pieces Jane Dunnewold was helping us to develop to go to a talk. I certainly didn't miss the newspaper or TV. There was computer access - I never found the time to use it.

I have unpacked, done three loads of washing, flipped through the last week's papers (YUK! those headlines!) downloaded my photos and read some of my emails. Kevin cooked dinner - he deserves a medal.

More tomorrow.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How do you price your art work?

Today's meeting of Designing Women was dedicated to this question. All the items in our exhibition in November will be for sale, and it was thought that everyone, but especially new members, would benefit from a discussion on the factors to consider in setting a price on your work.

We all brought our exhibition pieces (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) and the group made suggestions, not only regarding price, but also presentation. It was a very valuable exercise.

One thing some of us learned was that professional framing may force you to price your work above what is perceived as reasonable (rule of thumb is at least three times cost of framing). Using ready made frames (eg from Ikea) may initially save money, but may require you to make repairs at a future date. Pricing your work too cheaply may result in a sale, but may also have prospective purchasers think they might as well buy a mass produced object from Asia. We did not even discuss what, if any, effect the current financial crisis might have on sales.

I think the exhibition will be very interesting. It's scary that it is only a month away

Friday, October 3, 2008

Countdown to Fibres West Textile Forum

I am really looking forward to this. It is the first one I have been to. The forum is in Bunbury (about 2 hours drive south) at a private school (the students are on holiday!). It lasts for a week and you do a five day workshop. I am doing Jane Dunnewold's Surface Design class.

I have been a fan of Jane's since I bought her book " Complex Cloth" back in 1997.

I have all the workshop requirements packed - I needed to use a shopping trolley, a rolling crate, a large shopping bag and a bucket. The list is 2 A4 pages long!

There is a blanket, quilt, towels and a pillow piled on one of the chairs in the family room, waiting to be stuffed in a bag.

I have STUFF to (hopefully) sell at the bazaar crammed in bags in my sewing room - I am amazed at how much I was able to find.

I have not started packing clothes etc - I suspect I will need a large suitcase. I am VERY thankful I am driving and not flying.

It is the DW meeting tomorrow, so there is another collection of stuff on the floor. I am taking one of the tutors down to Bunbury. I have to pick her up in the afternoon after the meeting, she will spend the night with us, and we will set off about 10 am Sunday morning.

There is internet access at the school. I suspect I am going to be too tired to write a blog, but I intend to take lots of photos.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Image Transfer

I did my second workshop on this topic for the Home Economics Institute today.

The first part of the day was on using low tech methods: packing tape, book cover plastic, glue and citrus solvent and it went well. We made a lot of mess rubbing off paper - I had made up a number of glued pieces yesterday because they need to mature to work properly.

I had also prepared some inkjet transparencies and we tried transferring the images using gel medium. Then we tried water alone. I had never done this myself, but mentioned it to the group as a hearsay possibility. Bingo! It works really well and I intend to follow up.

The second part of the workshop was about printing on fabric using a computer and inkjet printer. I demonstrated DIY fabric sheets using BubbleJetSet, then we began printing their own images on commercial sheets. I had taken my two laptops, each connected to a printer. The MacBook was brilliant, the PC decided to chuck a hissy fit. It worked OK yesterday - today it decided it didn't have enough memory to run PhotoShop or to complete any printing. EEEK!
We did manage to print an image for everyone though.

Kevin is now playing with a repair program. I hope it works.