About Sue Duffy Designs

A Textile Artist who works in all things stitched, appliqued, embellished and quilted. With a background in traditional quilting, I produce textile wall art, 3D works, and "Artyfacts". I am also known to still do the occasional traditional quilt.

One hundred hands

Days 44 to 60…

 

Days 35 to 43: progress! Keeping up, dare I say it, even a little ahead of myself, I am so enjoying this process!

days 25 to 34….. started to add some watercolour paint, tricky….

The next batch – days 17 through to 24….  almost a quarter done!

So I signed up for the 100 days project – drawing 100 hands bravely… well, if I find the courage to move on to coloured pencils, paint, ink…. eventually stitch and fabric. Aiming to improve my seeing and drawing skills….. we will find out!

Starting with my most recent drawings, here they will appear, a few days at a time… or you can see my work daily, here, at the 100 days project website..

 

 

Wetlands of Queensland

Today, as the big wet (compliments of ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie) drenches the southeast, I recieved notification that my latest artwork didn’t make the grade for the Moreton Bay Regional Art Awards – no matter! It was the very first time I have entered this competition. I’m not much given to entering competitions, but sometimes they pay off and often in the most splendid and unexpected ways! Just not this time, alas. I ought to have approached this piece with 4 intact sides perhaps, and no empty – literally!  – spaces…. but no, not me, who likes to make it complicated.

I made this to be

1) part of a series I am working on at the moment (Anfractuous Continuance)

2) as a possible entry in the Australasian Quilt Convention Challenge – Fauna and Flora of Australia –  but it transpired that by it’s very nature, it would not fold well, therefore would not travel well, and as a consequence I opted not to enter – clearly I didn’t think that one through…

3) it being not entered in AQC decided to give MBRAA a shot…. never mind, I think it looks good on my wall!!!

I have named it “Cooloola Flight”. Because it’s an aerial view of the Cooloola wetlands and it features a wonderful bird we saw there – a Black necked Stork. An Aussie would call it a Jabiru. We spotted it out in our canoe on Lake Cootharaba, and was the biggest thrill of all of our canoeing excursions. He was just sitting on a little island, minding his own business, then as we drifted closer, he casually got up and strolled away for a drink, and eventually flew off to feed around the corner.

In  this piece the lake and river systems of Cooloola Wetlands are depicted by the empty spaces….. it will be exhibited as one of my pieces at Pine Rivers Art Gallery along with the Reddy Arts Textile Group’s work in December and January…. until then here is a wee sneak peak because I’m too excited about it to save it for a few more months! But you will be able to see it in the cloth there.

Lots of you have seen my first piece in the series – see “Cudgera Creek”  and my previous post for photos. This quilt is now in Melbourne and can be seen at the Bernina   Best of Australia Awards at AQC 20-23rd April 2017.

I am currently working on my third piece, which is based around the Tinchi tamba wetlands, on the Pine River. Now I really must go and sew!!!

Art as a full time occupation

 

October 2016 was a heady month. That was when I won the Best of Show at Queensland Quilters Inc.s annual Quilt Show, with my art quilt Cudgera Creek.

cudgera-creek-montage-finished

I had spent the previous few months, and much of October and November, trying to perfect my ruler quilting ( a whole different thing altogether) because I pretty much suck at traditional quilting, both by hand and machine. Oh, I can do it, just not very well, and there are some amazing amazing quilters out there who make it look easy. (It isn’t). But after pulling off the big event with my art quilt, well, that’s clearly the direction I really ought to head in!

Besides, I LOVE making my art quilts. Thus, it’s been head down and tail up for the past 4 weeks (already!) since the holidays ended, and we all headed back to town and commitments….and I’ve so far loved every minute! This year, I said to myself, will be a year of ART. The thing is,  if I want to be an artist, then art has to be my new full time occupation.

Recent work:  a selection of drawings – I have a long way to go.

Textile pieces below: I have more, but I can’t reveal them yet… soon though! I have so far completed 3 textile pieces this year. The main one is this work in progress below, (35″ x 35″) which I intend to enter in an upcoming local art competition…. the Rosella in “Good Morning” is my donation piece for the planned Queensland Quilters Silent Auction – keep an eye on their website for further details. QQ website Dimensions are 8″ x 10″ and it is ready to hang, mounted on an art canvas.

There are more in my head! Also, I intend to take some classes…. I need more skills with composition, water colours, and landscape painting…what to put in, what to leave out, what to move  where, etc! Not to mention getting the bird shapes right.  If I can master these, I think they will be invaluable assets to have when designing my textile art pieces. I plan to immerse myself in art practice.

 

2016 wrapped – Happy New Year

 

The last few months have passed in a blur. After doing about 3/4 of the 100 day challenge, which for me isn’t too bad an effort, and completing three lap quilts in about as many months, the art quilting has taken a bit of a back seat lately. Maybe it’s the time of year, after all, it is now the final week of 2016… Christmas celebrations take up a fair bit of time, much as we love getting together, exchanging gifts and eating well!  It seems to me though that time is of the essence when there are deadlines to meet. Creativity works best for me when it is spontaneous, but I do like to have a plan as well…………. sometimes the plan doesn’t always work, and outside pressures tend to inhibit spontaneity….. maybe it’s time for a little R&R, some physical workouts  (read cycling, swimming and canoeing, long walks on the beach, playing with the dogs, even gardening). We are officially on holiday, not a sewing machine in sight. I do have my cameras with me though.

I did manage to make a few little Christmas gifts – (secretly, I have been wanting to make mug rugs for ages! Hahaha! (Binding by machine practise….) Then I saw these great  little fabric stars, which I couldn’t resist making.

 

My last wee completed piece for the year is this wee seahorse which I had much fun making!

Wishing you all a wonderful, creative, prosperous, healthy and happy 2017!

Sue

 

 

Melbourne interlude: art, architecture and nature.. plus some artist links

Inspirational weekend – three of the Reddy Arts Textile Group got together and embarked on a trip to Melbourne for the specific purpose of seeing some of the amazing work of renowned Australian textile art pioneer Annemeike Mein at an afternoon tea on Saturday. Annemeike was born in Holland but moved to Australia as a child with her family, to Sale, Victoria. She was influenced by the Australian wildlife and her work depicts many Australian species: birds, butterflies, dragonflies, fish, frogs, flora…. you can learn about her and see her work here.

After checking into our hotel on Friday, we set out to find Chloe, and explored the city a bit – visited the famous Hosier Lane of course! and saw cathedrals, and an eclectic mix of old facades contrasting with concrete and glass skyscrapers, dodged taxis and cars to catch trams – and the people – everywhere…  buskers and street vendors of sweets and nut… tourists and locals… We visited the chocolatiers and over the duration of the weekend, tried a few different cuisines – Italian, French, Greek, British…. we discovered a random Japanese style art exhibition by local artists, and some button supply stores, one in downtown Melbourne and the other out in Malvern…

On Saturday we were fortunate to enjoy afternoon tea with Annemeike and to view not only her exhibition “Habitat” (at the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre  at Brighton Vic. – click here for the address. this exhibition runs until Nov 6th 2016.  ) but also several videos on her work process. We also were able to speak with her which was a great privilege. This was the highlight of the weekend! with-annemeike-mein

Prior to the afternoon tea, we were able to fill the morning with art! We visited an exhibition of David Hinchliffe’s work at Manyung Gallery in Malvern – amazing inspirational work. Mainly cityscapes, with rain and night views, truly awe inspiring!

Following the Manyung Gallery we took a tram to the Malvern Town Hall viewed another exhibition which was only on over that weekend. There are four of these exhibitions each year. Visit Kevin Hill’s Top Ten Australian Artists for more information. I could not resist purchasing a painting but which one? In the end I settled for a small James Hough, as it was an easily transportable size (we had more trains and trams to catch and I was already toting my camera gear! just in case! Mad really, didn’t use it much that day! ) but mainly because I loved the subject, an Eastern Yellow Robin. (my photo doesn’t do it justice though!) I bought a 2017 calendar from Werner Filipich and a book by Paul Margocsy which also needed to be carried but that was OK! Spent too much time here, talking to the artists, and could have stayed longer, but we had an afternoon tea to get to….

Sunday was down time, and whilst the other two went shopping, I (having spent my spending money on the painting!) immersed myself in nature for a few hours at Fitzroy Gardens – walked past St Peters Cathedral and visited the fountains – the river god and the dolphins- communed with the birds – ducks with ducklings, blackbirds and the old sulphur crested cockatoo up in his tree… very pleasant and the rain held off – I visited the so called Cook’s Cottage reputed to have been owned by James Cook’s parents although he never lived in it. It was a cute little stone cottage and had a great garden out the back full of butterflies and bugs… I visited the model Tudor village and the fairy tree…. and the conservatorium.

Amazing day

This was a day right up there with those pinnacle of your life days – you know the ones, high school and University graduations, Wedding day, Births of the babies days…. today was the day I won the Bernina Best of Show award at the Queensland Quilt Show!!  still on a high, can’t stop smiling!!

Thank you to the judges, Glad Howard, Lyn Hewitt, and Rachelle Denneny;  to  QQ President Judie Bellingham and the management committee of Queensland Quilters Inc; Bernina Australia; all the other many Queensland Quilt Show Sponsors, and Expertise Events –  wow what a day! Thanks to all my lovely friends and acquaintances and fellow quilters and all the ladies(and men!)  for your fabulous support and kind words and admiration today, it was a fantastic experience and you all contributed so much to my brilliant day!

Completely excited that my textile art piece won, and now we are off to Melbourne for AQC and Best of Australia awards early next year, so exciting to be a part of that!! Will be celebrating all week.

Many thanks to Bernina Australia for their wonderful and continuing support of the craft of patchwork and quilting, to Queensland Quilters Inc who organise the quilt show, (see the rest of the fantastic and beautiful winning quilts at the link) and their dedicated members who do the most amazing behind the scenes work for many months in the lead up to the show, and to Quilt and Craft Fair (Expertise Events) for hosting the show. It all takes a great deal of planning and plain hard work to bring it all together every year so that the rest of us can not only enjoy making our art but also sometimes reap the rewards, such as I have been blessed to do so, today. I am so happy, so grateful and just plain astounded. Thank you all.

 

Cyclic Tetrahedron aka Tetraspinner, and other pieces

We have lift off! The Panel Kit Instructions are now available from 2Sew Textiles – we have made up a kit and you can order up to 4 colour panels and/or a black and white panel for your own colouring . The direct link to our etsy shop is here. Choose from four colourways: Grape Soda (the original), Blueberry Pie, Lime Juice, and Tangerine Fling. Or of course, Black and White. There is more information on Brenda Wood’s Blog Addicted to Fabric.

My tetraspinners are currently being shown until October 8th 2016 at the Hub Gallery in Caboolture Qld Australia along with works by Textile Art Group members Cynthia Morgan, Di Flint, Brenda Wood, Tricia Smout, Alwyn Bowyer, Elaine Campbell, Rebecca Dundon, Jean Hill, Bernardine Hine and Fran Robinson.

tag-nature-as-designer-3-in-png

 

For my other pieces, suffice to say, I have been BUSY. Making modern quilt tops and pursuing my latest enthusiasm , ruler quilting! My first to be finished is this table topper (hiding my large cutting mat!)

p1000770

I have almost completed another quilt-as-you-go lap quilt, which will be dispatched soon to it’s recipient, but first I might show it off to the ladies at Queensland Quilters along with a couple of the others…

By the way, Queensland Quilters annual Quilt Show commences on Wednesday 5th October at the Convention Centre at South Bank, Brisbane, for any of you in the vicinity who don’t already know about it. It is bound to be excellent as usual, and I am really looking forward to seeing all the quilts. It is part of the Quilt and Craft Fair, and there is more information here.  I hope you can make it as I have a pictorial quilt “Cudgera Creek” (Hastings Point, NSW) on display, which I would love everyone to see. I will be there on Wed 5th October. Brenda Wood also has two art quilts on display there, and they are a treat indeed, lots of talent on display!

Here is a preview of some “in progress” detail shots of “Cudgera Creek”:

That about wraps it up for this week. It’s back to the sewing machine for me!

 

 

Tetraspinner instructions…

ARE COMING!!! Meanwhile, today, I have made another one, to check the latest fabrics – I now have panels in not only the original colourway (as seen in the video!)  but 3 others plus black and white outlines for the colourists in our midst. This tetraspinner  below  is a finished size of 8.5″ across (as are all the fabric panels). I have decided not to include individual triangles for printing in the pattern as the fabric prints make life so much easier, much of the construction work is already done, and the time needed to make one up is halved- the more you make of course, the faster you will become. Suffice to say, it’s far easier than having to print and cut out many individual triangles and then sew them all together….. This has been an enormously educational journey for me, learning how to make a large tetraspinner initially was challenging and fun, working it out as I went along. My original large one consisted of all individually traced, painted, embellished and quilted triangles, and was weeks in the making…. My first pattern and instructions were all written, drawn up, and photographed with numerous steps, and pages and pages of printed matter! The patterns all in two sizes… large and smaller…. Once I thought about designing and printing the triangles on to fabric yardage, to save time, it became increasingly more logical to do this whole thing as a panel, sticking with the smaller size only, which keeps the costs down for one thing and to make handling the finished item much easier – making life so much simpler for purchaser.

Hop across to flickr to see a few more photos of the new fabrics I have designed   – four different colourways and a black and white version for those of you who would like to colour it in your favourite colour schemes…. here is a taster or two: how one of the new panels will look made up!

The fabric and instructions with photos and diagrams will soon be available from 2SewTextiles  in our Etsy shop,  just some final tweaking to be done,  the listing to sort out, and a bit of streamlining for purchase of the fabric panels.  Definitely before the end of September. Deadlines are good.

 

Project overload – or when you can’t find your scissors

Lately I’ve been engaged in several textile projects concurrently….  Somehow I seemed to keep adding more to the pile…not quite sure how it happens but I think it is because sometimes you are waiting for something to arrive, so in the meantime you start something else…. and so it goes.  The consequence of course is that eventually I become engulfed in a deluge of fabrics, battings, off cuts, threads, papers, rulers, and quilt sandwiches….. It was difficult once again to find even one pair of scissors,  and I have several….they are always under something, but which something is it?  What to do, what to do? Trying to find stuff slows up the creativity, and the pressure to complete things was building, building, building…

All this despite a post  I wrote last year,  in which I concluded that tidying  up after myself was the solution to avoiding being snowed in yet again by textile flotsam and jetsam – at least in theory. Actually, I still believe it’s a sound strategy, although I have in reality been less than successful. How can this be made to work, I asked myself? My conclusion was, that every project (currently I have 6 upon which I am working, and several more that could be added to the list)  needed its own box, into which it can be tidied, before I tackle the next bit of the next project, and so on! The short way would be to rush out and buy 6 new boxes. Easy you think? Sure. But wait. Where will the boxes be stored? Every inch of space in the tiny sewing studio is taken… And it overflows into the bedroom….. And the art studio is also full of things…. The store room is chockers, and the spare bedroom is overwhelmed by artefacts and equipment and books and boxes of things – all belonging to various offspring…

I sent out an SOS to a very good and patient friend…

Who said, “no, you don’t need new boxes.” Who said, “throw out some stuff.” Who said, “donating is good”. Who said, “throw away 20 things”. Who said, “start with the plastic bags” ….. “what plastic bags?” I cried. They have important stuff in them. They have useful stuff in them. There are only two…. Or three…

“I have to make a list,” said I. “No lists, ” said she. But I did have to have a list. It calms my mind, to make a list. So I made a list. Of my current projects. Then I knew I definitely needed at least 6 boxes.

“No” said she. “Just start!!”

It took me two days.

The payoff is – I can find all of my scissors, see my ironing surface and cutting mat…. and I have repurposed 6 boxes into project containers!

ps: to my lovely friend – here are the photos you requested (see comments in the post referred to above) !!! there is even room for Bailey.

pps: Oh and did you notice the tetraspinner fabrics have arrived? that is a fat quarter which will make one tetraspinner ) Not long now! That is project priority number one.

 

 

 

Deviant (quilt) art

Lately I have been doing a bit of machine quilting…. In daily doses. But when you work for a while in those bland neutral fabrics, beige and white and taupe, a craving for colour develops, especially on dull and cloudy days such as today… One deviates from the task at hand (mastering  rulers ) and springs into temporary insanity… There is a new quilt in the pipeline, and the top is almost finished… But I have to be a secret squirrel on this one for a little while as I don’t want to show it off until the recipient to be has had first look! decisions needed to be made as to the back of this quilt. I needed to use up some of the “stash” and the front didn’t consume even half of the designated fabrics…. the remainder, I thought, could provide the back…. For a week now, I have been toying with ideas – I have a vast number of trial designs (now mostly deleted – there were more than 90…)  in my EQ program…. But nothing was satisfying…. And ok I could just throw the leftover rectangles and squares together – big blocks of leftover fabric, to keep it simple and quick, after all no one really looks at the back unless they are the quilt police! That was the logical, practical and sensible person’s solution. But I’m dealing with myself here, nothing too simple … Today I cut out and pieced  24, 9″ 9 patch blocks, black and white and coloured….

Tomorrow I am going to join them up with 24 9″ squares, (this actually looks fairly horrible)image

Then I am going to cut them all up again into 16, 12 inch blocks, and sew them back together….. This will be the back of the quilt…..

If in the end I don’t like it, or decide it’s actually too awesome to be the back of a quilt, I will simply turn it into a second quilt, and go out and buy a few yards of wide backing and be done in no time at all!!