New directions

Lately I have been exploring handmade recycled paper construction – that is, deconstructing old papers ( we seem to have so much these days) by shredding them and then converting them to pulp in my dedicated blender (purpose bought for $35 from Coles – I see they are now on special for $25!! so one wonders how long it will last!) This all began when my husband, in clearing out some space in his shed, found and presented me with some old screens we found that had been used to make papers with the offspring when they were in primary school – not very taut, and not very big, and no deckle! haha. I decided to try it out again from that hazy long ago memory of doing this once before… clearly not very successfully because a) the adult children have no memory of it and b) I didn’t make any more…. I made a few papers with one of these screens, and well, the edges were super thin, and the middles were thick, fairly horrible…. I thought at this stage it would be worth finding out how to actually do this properly…. so I invested in a book. This was a revelation! I enlisted the help of my husband to make me a mould and deckle, and then a plywood press. I have two sizes of mould and deckle: one 5″ x 7″ (made from a couple of old stretched 8″ x 10″ canvases) and the other is A4 size.

Once I have made the papers, they spend some time in the press to remove the water, and are then laid out to dry….. follow that with sizing, allow to dry again, press again to flatten; a quick iron will make the papers nice and crisp, and the outcome should be some lovely textured and mottled papers ready for watercolour or gouache. Some of the sheets are rather more cardboard-like, and some so thin they are super fragile in the drying process (that creates interesting wrinkles and gaps….). It’s all about getting the solution the correct balance in the vat, and that I am afraid is impossible for me to do in any kind of precise scientific way…. but maybe I will get better at judging what it feels like to be the correct weight for what I want…. Such a process! There may be quicker ways, but then I am a novice.

Following on from the paper making, what to do with the papers? The first batch of papers made on the original deckle-less mould were not to be wasted (invested a bit of time already in this process) and I wanted to experiment with painting on them. So this little series of kingfishers was born. What if I add some stitch? and some batting, and sandwich them, and then how to put them together? Found some inspiration on Pinterest, and here is the result…. I think this is not yet finished….

Watch this space, I plan to make more! Maybe some monoprinting, more stitch, and other elements! So looking forward to exploring this ….. and guess what, I am awaiting the arrival of another book which will tell me how to convert my weeds to paper… oh and garden plants too…. Not that I have many actual plants… just weeds……….

‘Til next time, happy creating!

Art adventures…catchup

It’s been pretty quiet on my blog lately…. well for months really. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Poor excuse you say, and of course you’re right. Last year is too long ago to remember properly. Just briefly, I started a new challenge with Reddy Arts, joined some drawing classes on how to draw birds, taught by Natalia Balo http://www.bfineart.com.au/ and spent loads of time drawing portraits from photos on Sktchy. I taught a textile workshop (Life Amongst the Lilies) to some of the QQ ladies mid year, tweaked some quilt designs/patterns; made some baby quilts…… worked at my real job, did some reading………… and started a diary (essential if you suspect you have a failing memory…) The difficulty is remembering to write in it.

In the gallery are a few things from 2019.

Now I am looking forward to continuing to improve my drawing and painting skills, as well as keeping some textile art coming. I would like to explore mixed media, and have recently joined a suburban sketchers group, which gets me out with like minded people and helps to overcome that self consciousness of drawing in public.

Until my next post, I wish you all many happy and creative hours pursuing your art endeavours!

The end of year rush

Last ditch sewing projects before the holidays arrive! Madly trying to get a challenge out of the way…I  have promised myself a few weeks of relaxing and drawing…. camping, canoeing, and minding the dogs…. Bailey my little shadow

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and Charli my patient orthopaedic hardware buddy…. she is coming along well, now managing a couple of 600m walks daily, with a few short bursts around the yard in between…. hates being cooped up, loves sitting outside except when the sun is blazing and there is no shade, or if there is thunder about….. we are 5 weeks down, 7 to go…  then she should be able to tackle the stairs and rejoin the family upstairs… IMG_3439

in the meantime, there is this stitching to do….. currently tackling a small square piece for an exhibition in 2020….. I have a few months to get it finished, but it’s been in the pipeline for a little while, so it’s good to get it done and move on to other things. Red mangroves….

I also have finished my Reddy Arts 2018 challenge, which is destined for another 2020 exhibition… just making the decision about how to finish it…. as an art quilt, or mounted on a canvas….. I am inclined to lean toward the latter….  here it is still in the raw state…. but I think the stitching is finished…. unless I decide I need to add a little more to the rock…

If I manage to do all of these things, I might have some time to consider the 2QAQ exhibition…. or the AQC…. but those deadlines are coming up fast!  Something really magical will have to happen to get something into the AQC…. on the other hand, my weed patch needs some attention, but if we continue to get heatwaves….. that might have to wait until the winter!

Life Amongst the Lilies – textile workshop with Sue Duffy

What a great 3 days. What a great bunch of women! Fantastic workers, having fun creating with their sewing machines. We had a fabulous time, and it was full on. No time to tarry!

The morning teas were exceptional, wow! If you ever have the good fortune to have Brenda Wood as your convenor, you are in for an absolute treat! With her at the organisational helm, this workshop was a breeze and needs met. I believe everyone learned something new, including the tutor!

There was the first day, learning how to lay down a background and getting in some free motion practise, which was needful for some of the beginners in the group who did a fantastic job. Day two was focused on learning how to paint the wee birds and waterlily flowers with inktense or watercolour pencils, and then some thread sketching using stabiliser and embroidery hoops to build and enhance. A bit of applique thrown in, more thread sketching and then this was followed on day three with trapunto by machine, how to make little snowflake flowers and stitch the lilypads, and finally sorting out the layout and composition of the piece.

It was an absolute pleasure to teach such friendly and generous women, who readily shared bits of fabrics and threads when needed, who paid attention and then took what they saw in the demos back to their machines and got on with their stitching. A great group indeed.

Here are a few photos from the three days, with the almost completed work…. lots of happy faces!  it will be great to see some finished projects down the track.