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!

Who knew?

That excellent satisfaction when a piece of art is almost complete, and all the stitching is done… suddenly there is time and reason to collect all the bits and tidy up, put things away, clear the tables and counters, and breathe! The last few weeks have seen me immersed in an exciting new commission, taking me in a new direction, the art itself directing where it wants to go… we think we’re done, now, though. Just the blocking and stretching to do.

So happy am I to have reached this milestone, I did tidy up, and then gave myself permission to have a wee play with my little Bernina Jubilae 125, which was given to me 50 years ago by my grandmother. Who knew it would be the catalyst for my lifelong love of sewing… and that I am still able to use it all these long years later…  and I can do most things I want to with it…

Parrots

These feathered folk will soon be out of the studio and on their way to new environs… with just one more to complete, the set of 12 will shortly be hanging on my client’s wall! I have had such fun making these 8” square textile works…  next up, some bigger works and barely a bird in sight! I say that because while I intend not to include any birds, you just never know when one might sneak in…..

Benefit Auctions

Being a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates, I decided this year I would submit a couple of small pieces for auction, to help in a small way to raise funds for the SAQA exhibition programmes, and I guess it is another platform where people will see my humble work….. These are the two pieces  – the first,   postcard sized, is an Eastern Yellow Robin  for the Spotlight Auction, and the second, Silver Gulls, is for the Benefit Auction. I had fun making them. The postcard is already on it’s way to America, if it hasn’t already arrived, and the other will be soon winging it’s way to Lisa Walton , vice president of SAQA who has kindly offered to take the Oceania Membership Group’s donated quilts to the USA.

The past 10 days have also seen me quilt and bind a charity quilt top  – one of the Linus quilts – made by another Queensland Quilters member, so I will be handing that back this coming Tuesday at the QQ Inc March gathering. Just a teeny contribution…. and it keeps my hand in just a bit with the machine quilting…

IMG_4494

Then there were a couple of tiny miniature pieces I did for fun, that were not birds for once!!! I have had these tiny frames in my stash for years so with a bit of the old crackle medium and acrylic paint I dressed them up a little and made these wee gifts…. 2″ x 2″ and 2″ x 2.5″ respectively!

I have a mind to have a go at the Coastal Threads Art Prize, “Coastal Fringe” if I can get my act together… I have yet to finalise my subject, but with a March 30 deadline I will be on to it this week! Next on the list following that is a commission! Exciting times.

 

 

Upcoming shows and exhibitions

A few months ago, I was invited by Spectrum Textile Arts  to participate in their exhibition, “Journeys”  to be held at Gallery 107 in Dalby through the summer, from mid November through to mid January. Since I was already working towards the next Reddy Arts Textile Group’s 2017 Exhibition to be held at Pine Rivers Art Gallery, initially planned for around July/August, that seemed feasible and I would have a body of work upon which to draw for Dalby.  However, Reddy Arts Exhibition “Talking Points” was then unfortunately rescheduled to coincide with the Dalby exhibition. Because of the earlier planning glitches with the Moreton Bay Regional Council and PRAG, when the Reddy Arts Group thinking they were not going to be exhibition in 2017 after all, had organised a second exhibition “From Raw Beginnings” in Redcliffe at the Cultural Centre in March 2018. Closely following that, another group of which I am a member, Textile Art Group, is also holding their next exhibition in the Cultural Centre in May 2018… Add to all of this, an invitation from Queensland Quilters to be their featured quilt artist at the 2017 Queensland Quilt Show 4th  – 8th October! It will be held in conjunction with the Craft and Quilt Fair .   I will be demonstrating two sessions daily 10.30 am – 12 pm and 1.30pm  within in the Quilt Show itself – please do drop by and say hello!

Somehow I think that I will be rather busy making all kinds of new work in order to not be repeat showing the same old hat!

But wait, here is a wee preview of my latest work – new pieces for Dalby: they are 8″ square, there will be six of them, and they will be for sale.