Monday, August 31, 2009

Still fiddling

I have been playing with all the Maggie Grey bits today. This was one of the arrangements.

I am not happy with it so I will be fiddling some more. I auditioned some beads for use as possible embellishment. Love these semi precious stones, but the colour is too yellow.

These crystals might work. I picked them out of the cheap bin at Spotlight a couple of weeks ago. They are supposed to be Svarovski and have the most excessive packaging I have ever seen - stiff cardboard enclosing not one, but two, moulded clear plastic boxes shaped to fit the beads.

It was mammogram day today. Not quite as squishy as on previous occasions, but the edge of the plate cut the skin where my right boob joins my chest. Ouch!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still playing with Maggie Grey

I wrote about my experiments with various expandable paints and paper types a week or so ago.

I have finally painted the paper bits. Once they are painted, they all look alike, so it really doesn't matter about the base bits. You should use whatever you have to hand. I have also zapped the gesso painted felt and painted that.

Here are some progress pics. In the second one I have added metallic copper paint.

This is a possible future project. I found this outside Craft House on the day of Maggie's workshop. I think it may possibly become a killed catalogue.

Friday, August 28, 2009

An interesting exhibition

Juliet and I went to the Nyisztor Studio in Melville today. Our visit had two purposes: we are looking at this as a possible space for our 2010 exhibition and we were interested in the current exhibition. This is not textiles, though some of the pieces have a textile feeling.

It is called SouthWest Connections and will close on Sunday. I was going to do a critique, but when I looked at my notes I found I had inexcusable gaps - artist's names, names of particular pieces, etc, etc. If I manage to get back there I may blog about this again.

In the meantime, if you are in Perth and interested, the address is 391 Canning Highway. Entry to the gallery is off Stock Road.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Orange Cake

It was delicious, iced with lemon icing and garnished with orange zest. So as promised, here is the recipe.

1 large orange
185g butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups SR flour

Preheat oven to moderate. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Melt the butter.
Chop orange in a food processor. I used a handheld blender and chopped up the orange with a knife in the bowl before blending it.
Add other ingredients and blend each till combined before adding the next.
Pour into prepared tin and bake approx 45 mins.
Turn out onto cooling rack. Ice when cold.

We didn't eat it all, so I have frozen the leftover section. It is supposed to freeze well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fiddling - not Fibre

I went to Pam's monthly 4D software workshop today. My MacBook played up AGAIN. I think I need to investigate Bootcamp - Parallels is just not coping with this graphics intensive program.

However, I am becoming more and more competent with the software. It didn't take me more than 10 minutes after reboot to get back to where everyone else was - one hour into the workshop.

I really enjoyed this lesson. It mostly involved Stitch Editor, which we haven't used often. Great fun morphing a basic shape. I want to play more, but tomorrow I am hosting the fortnightly gathering of my sewing group, so it will have to wait.

I need to make sandwiches or scones tomorrow morning. Tonight I have made an orange cake. It smells divine - I hope it tastes as good. It was an incredibly easy recipe, so if it is any good I will post it on the blog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Progress Report - Maggie Grey piece

Some of the paper and both felt bits have been painted with a dark green acrylic (black + green oxide - Jo Sonya) and Lumiere Olive Green. Copper metallic paint will be the next addition, so it matches the pieces made earlier.

I have stitched four "fumfy bits" with metallic thread on water soluble. I seem to have run out of Romeo (though I am sure I still have some, somewhere) so I used a double layer of Vilene 541 for three of them. I have only dissolved two as yet.

I found a piece of copper shim that had been embossed with circles. This had been through a paper crimper that Carole Redlich had at a workshop probably 5 years ago now. I have daubed a bit of Starburst Stain on top to link it with the one I did at Maggie's workshop.

Almost ready to assemble the bits. Too late to take photos, though. Sorry.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Playing with Wire

I am not good with pliers and wire, probably due to lack of practice. However I did enjoy Margaret Perkins' workshop today at Innovative Stitches.

First we made a shape from a heavy aluminium wire which she supplied. Then we wrapped it with our own wire - I used copper. I originally made a boat shape, but now I am filling in the third side with gold wire. I intend to add a few beads as I go.

The next task was to make an enclosure for a small treasure. I decided to use one of my own handmade beads - made from red plastic shopping bag, UTEE (ultra thick embossing powder) and gold flakes). I struggled with the basic enclosure shape. The kindest thing you can say about it is that it looks organic.

Margaret demonstrated other techniques for wire which I plan to try out soon - definitely before next month's meeting. We now have a challenge each month to make a piece based on the previous month's workshop.

As for works in progress . . . . My paper bits are finally dry and ready to paint. From left to right: Kozo paper (3 pieces), Lokta paper. At the bottom, water soluble paper and washaway paper stabiliser for machine embroidery.

And here is some acrylic felt painted with gesso, ready to be heat gunned when it is dry.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vintage Pattern Library

I have just discovered a great site. Access is free until the 25th August, but will cost heaps thereafter. Thousands of vintage sewing patterns on a searchable data base. I have just spent a happy hour browsing. Nothing downloaded as yet, but give me time!

Thanks are due to Kathleen at Fashion Incubator for mentioning it on her blog. Great fun. Do go and have a look.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rain and paper casts

One of the techniques I learned at Maggie Grey's workshop was the use of soluble paper to make wonderfully textured bits. I have been experimenting with a range of soluble stabilisers and papers, stamping with expandaprint and puff paint.

It has been raining all week (we need the rain, the farmers are liking this, the dams need the top up, the garden is looking good, etc, etc) and as a result the humidity is much higher than usual. It took a whole day for the stamps to dry enough to be zapped with the heat gun. That happened on Tuesday and I then wet and distorted the base papers. They are still not dry.

I know, I should have laid them out in front of the heater. I tried the hairdryer today, but they just blew about.

I have used water soluble paper, Kozo paper, Lokta paper and a machine embroidery wash away stabiliser. I think the white expandaprint is the most successful resist. The black expandaprint did not puff up at all, while the Dala puff paint puffed almost too much. I don't like the results on the stabiliser, but the papers have possibilities. I will try to remember to take photos before I do anything else.

And I don't know how people who live in damp places get anything like this ever finished.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to Square One

I so hated the piece I made in Bev Tarling's workshop I was tempted to bin it. But I also really liked the sundyed background fabric. So I unpicked it. Not a task I really enjoy, but it's done and I have some ideas about how to use the result. Washing and ironing first I think, in hopes of removing the needle holes.

I have also decided to make some additional bits and pieces using the techniques I garnered from Maggie Grey's workshop. I arranged the original ones on some black felt, but felt the piece was too cramped. When I used a larger piece of felt it seemed too sparse.

I have a 40cm square artist canvas. This will be my new background. I got out all the bits I will need this morning and they are sitting there waiting for me to play. Tomorrow I hope.

Today we went to an afternoon tea to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of my uncle Boy (mother's brother) and aunt Pat. We took along a picture we took in Albany earlier in the week.
Kevin and I both enjoy wandering through cemeteries and reading gravestones. I chanced upon this one, but I was not sure if it was actually family, though I knew my mother's forebears came from Albany.

It turns out it is, and Pat was delighted. She is working on the family history, identified the couple (Boy's great grandparents, therefore my great great grandparents) but did not know that their gravesite was still extant. So serendipity does happen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

WAFTA Naturally again

The exhibition has had some good publicity. This is an article from The West Australian on Monday.

Juliet and I were invigilators today. We had to record visitors, which was really hard, since there are 3 entrances and a lot of people visiting the cafe just wandered in while waiting for their order. We recorded about 100 visitors, but think that only 65 or so were serious. Of these, some people spent an hour or more examining the pieces. We tried to speak to everyone, but found the serious ones generally appreciated our input more.

Photography was only permitted of your own piece. Here is the DW one.

Here is mine. Interestingly, I noticed that male visitors seemed to like it and often came back for another look. Good for the ego, that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We have just returned from a trip to Albany (see Kevin's blog for why we went and what we did)

Both he and I took lots of photos. Here are a few of mine. I hope I can translate some into textile pieces in the future.

Albany Woolly Bush. The bush looks dead, but these are real live flowers - fluffy tufts.

Barbed wire at the Princess Royal Fortress. It is almost organic, especially with the windblown leaves trapped underneath.

Amazing colours and shapes in the rocks bordering a path to a WW2 bunker, again at the Princess Royal Fortress.

Eroded bricks in a convict-built building at the port.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

WAFTA Naturally and Linda's Workshop

The opening of WAFTA Naturally on Friday night was well patronised. The committee did a great organisational job and the pieces all looked fabulous. Photos are not allowed, except of your own piece, but I might just take a gallery view when I am invigilating on Thursday morning.

Saturday was Designing Women and we had a workshop by Linda on disperse dyeing. It was really good, but I did not accomplish much.

I WAS a trifle distracted - I had volunteered to replace a member who was unable to do her catering stint. I am Treasurer and I was collecting money for the Retreat next month, plus no other member of the Executive was there. The Secretary and President were both ill, while the VP had a family involvement. This meant I needed to chair the meeting as well. It is a miracle I managed to do anything at all! I did, but I haven't taken any pics.

Thanks, Linda! I am in awe of the pieces you have done.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Maggie Grey workshop

This is what I accomplished yesterday. All my bits laid out on a meat tray.

I had been looking forward to this workshop for months and I was not disappointed. I managed to get all the samples done - which is probably a workshop first for me. I usually start well, but tail off dismally!

Maggie is a very good teacher and her samples were most inspirational. Some of them were immediately recognisable from her books (she was most generous in signing copies - I took 5 different ones, but unfortunately forgot to check the other bookcase and left 2 others behind). I took lots of photos, but can't reproduce them here.

She showed us a number of techniques. I didn't have time for copious note taking yesterday, but I wrote down headings and I have filled in what I remembered today.

1. Watersoluble paper stamped with puff paint or expandaprint.
We stitched straight lines first, stamped and then zapped with our heat guns. Then we wet the paper so it began to dissolve and pulled and shaped the pulp. The results went out into the sun to dry, which took most of the day. At the end of the day we painted them with acrylic paint. Note to self: a dry brush is essential!

2. Stitching on Romeo
We drew a rectangle on the Romeo and stitched a multitude of diagonal lines close together. After anchoring the lines with another rectangle and cutting away the excess we pinned the piece to a tray and washed out most of the watersoluble. The result was an organic piece which we manipulated into a 3D shape.
Maggie also had samples of beading, couching and stitching on the rectangle, but we didn't have time to try that.

3. Working with Metal
We heated copper shim to get colour, then used a ballpoint pen to draw a design on the back. For further colour we could spray with alcohol inks or paint with acrylic paint and rub most of it off before it dried. I tried the inks.

4. Felt and Gesso Lace
Here we used gesso as a resist on acrylic felt, then applied heat to melt away the areas where the gesso was absent. The felt was then painted.

We are now supposed to assemble all these bits into a piece of art, adding stitching, beading and other bits to complement the basics. I plan to try this tomorrow.

This is Jennie's piece. Love the extra bits - especially the rusty bottle top.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Craft Fair Day 3

This is the display of entries in the Connections competition which the Thread Studio ran at the beginning of the year. Every entry had to use the embellisher, though additional stitching, beading etc was allowed. There were some wonderful pieces.

I spent the day in the Textile Artist's section with Alcira. She had some of her fabulous paper creations on display, and was folding papers in preparation for another piece.

I played with the embellisher and found that many people were very interested. One of the FAQ was how often needles broke. I have had my embellisher for 5 years and used it lots and have only broken 3 needles in that time. I was feeling quite smug about it until I realised that that meant I probably needed to replace all of them. A machine needle needs replacement after a major project - the same must surely apply to felting needles. I had the feeling that the pieces I was working on were taking a long time to come together so I suspect that the barbs may now be worn. I will replace all of them this week and see if it makes a difference.

I was sure that I had taken photos of the Embroidery Guild's 40th Anniversary display, but I obviously didn't. Nor did I take any photos of the magnificent TACTile quilt exhibition: Collections. I did buy some postcards though.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Craft Fair Day 2

I was helping at a workshop this afternoon, so I spent the morning wandering, talking to people I met and taking photos. I really tried to avoid the sellers, but succumbed of course. I did not do a lot of damage to the credit card however.

This year's Art to Wear is the best I have seen. The student entries outnumber the adult ones probably 2 to 1, but the standard of work is excellent - far better than in previous years. Judging of the student entries took place this afternoon and I do not know who were the winners, but my vote was firmly for this entry: "We don't want your cake". Sorry, didn't note the name, but will do so tomorrow.

The concept is great and the execution excellent. This is really ART (but probably not to wear)

Two of my favourites in the adult section were Carole Redlich's Luna Park

and this moth piece.
Again, no attribution. I promise I will rectify this tomorrow.

Tomorrow I am in the Textile Artists at Work section, demonstrating. I am going to play with my embellisher. I have collected a heap of stuff in a couple of different colour ways and I plan to throw bits together and punch until something happens that I like. Hopefully there will be lots of stuff and plenty of photos tomorrow.