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

 

 

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.

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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!)

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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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Life is for the birds

Back to bird art…. just a little playtime after the serious business of making tetraspinners

Squat little oystercatcher… trying out a new (to me) embroidery pellon/batting under the single layer cotton background…. not entirely happy with the result, the stitching has pulled in I think in spite of hooping it to stitch, maybe the cotton shrank when I washed out the watersoluble stabiliser… hard to know. Note to self: wash all new materials and fabrics to find out if they shrink, and how much, and to remember to preshrink them before adding stitch….  Actually this bird is on a slight 3/4 angle anyway, but still, he looks squished up more than the original drawing I did….

Watch for more to come! I have to do some fish as well, so there are busy days ahead for me. Keeps me out of mischief while I wait for the tetraspinner fabric to show up…

 

 

TETRASPINNER

Beginning to think it is easy to take leave of one’s senses and to become completely obsessive…  I have been exploring 3 dimensions as a mild diversion from the landscape art quilts, precipitated by a void as I had run out of the wide stiff bag wadding which I use as a base for that work. Since I had to wait about three weeks for it to come in to my local patchwork store, and the fact that it also coincided with the sudden and irrevocable demise of both of my vacuum cleaners (yes I had two!)  within days of each other, which then negated all possibility of my filling my time with housecleaning, AND of course I had to do SOMETHING. I am not a gardener. I wish I was sometimes, it would keep me fit and think of all that lovely fresh air in my lungs…. but the dog likes to ‘help’ and she is more of a hindrance.

Having been somewhat fascinated for some time by cyclic tetrahedrons, and as I always relish a challenge,  that is what I thought I would tackle next….  having enough stitch-n-shape on hand as an ideal stabiliser, I set to work figuring out how to do this. My other great love affair (the one with the computer) had me thinking I could do this and print all the 24 triangles I was going to need…. on fabric, just need to work out how the design would need to be…. but that was taking a long time, and eventually the upshot was, as I couldn’t at that point get my head around how to actually get my designs ready to print as a pattern on to fabric, (well I did my head in trying to master kaleidoscope patterns… which was a deviation from the tetrahedron idea…) I concluded it still might just be quicker and simpler to do it all by hand…. as you do. Sometimes I am quite old-fashioned. After all, I only wanted to make one….

Th process:

  1. draw the designs
  2.  trace and redraw them in Illustrator – just to get everything nicely symmetrical, (and it’s playing with magic)
  3. print out and trace them on to fabric
  4. back with stabiliser wadding
  5. quilt
  6. colour
  7. embellish
  8. stitch together

EASY! So I thought… 4 weeks later, I do have the finished article, and I did have a lot of fun on the way. It satisfied my desires to piece, to paint, to quilt! It’s really an art quilt form, this cyclic tetrahedron that I call a TETRASPINNER… This one is approximately 17 inches x 17 inches, and 8 inches high – really rather large but it seemed to me it might be easier to make at these proportions. I was actually wrong in this. It gets a bit tricky at the end…

You can see a VIDEO HERE of the finished item.

I have a fabric print in the pipeline for making a smaller version that would be much easier to handle, and will save anyone wishing to make one the hassle of designing and painting the triangles needed to make it up. While waiting for a proof swatch to arrive, I am working on a pattern that will be downloadable and printable on A4/letter size paper, and which will be available in at least two sizes; similar colours to those you see here, and also the black and white outlines so you can choose your own colours. Instructions for comstruction in fabric and on card will be included.

In the meantime, these are some progress photos…  (the last one is a fabric design I am experimenting with… )

Art Market adventures

Somehow, it didn’t occur to me to take photos… Not of the lead up, nor the setting up, nor the activity…. But Brenda did!  so there are a couple here:

We were at the Pine Rivers Community Centre (next door to the Pine Rivers Art Gallery) in Strathpine for the day with a bunch of other artists, surrounded by all the amazing and wonderful entries in the Moreton Bay Regional Council’s annual Art Award exhibition.  We met lots of lovely people who expressed interest in our work and it was lovely to chat to fellow artists and meet some of the other stall holders, as well as meeting the general public. Thanks to our customers too, it’s always such a buzz to sell our work! For those of you asking about the thread sketching technique, you can find a little information in my post of May 2015, here: Thread Sketching and a You tube video of the pelican stitching is here. The pelican pattern can be purchased as an instant download from our Etsy shop, 2SewTextiles. or you may like a hard copy through snail mail, also available via the Etsy store.

 

THIS BUSY LIFE : making plans

Lately I have been between projects, having completed the first in a series for the 2017 RATG exhibition next year, entitled TEXTile Translations. So I can’t actually show you yet just what I have been up to there…. maybe a little hint with a detail might be allowed…. 

The next piece in the series is planned out but not yet commenced. I am very excited about this series based on photos taken whilst out canoeing on the creeks, rivers and lakes in SE Queensland and Northern NSW…08_IMG_2297

And meantime I have been persevering with learning a few Illustrator and Photoshop skills…. I have signed up with Skillshare for 12 months, and have done some excellent classes so far with Helen Bradley. Here is a glimpse of what I have learned so far…. more to come! (I am a bit of a slow learner, but live in hope!) Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 3.33.26 pm

I have another little project in mind for using some of my designs… again I have to keep it under wraps for a little while! It’s quite different from my textile landscape and bird work! Suffice to say it promises to be a real adventure into 3D work for me! Then there is the possibility of fabric designs… dream on!

There are thoughts of one or two exhibitions into which it might be worthwhile submitting work  – we will see how that pans out in due course.

Not only that, another Cot/crib quilt pattern is in the pipeline! To purchase,  keep an eye out on facebook:  2SewTextiles , etsy and craftsy…..  The alpaca backing fabric is my own design…if there is enough interest I will consider making it available for purchase through Spoonflower.  I have simplified the quilt pattern from this original… fewer applique pieces… five clouds instead of seven, for example. Overall size is 36″ x 52″.