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!

Just for fun

Today I went back to persevering – for a couple of hours – with the watercolour experience! It’s all pretty horrible. Haha I don’t know, if I get hooked on it, I might improve…. giving it a bash with some free online lessons from Www.ArtTutor.com which I tell myself will help me in my art practice – and even if it doesn’t, I don’t suppose it’ll do any harm!

The main textile work I am currently busy with is a group challenge which was set by the members of our Textile Group (Reddy Arts). I have to run with it, and the criteria are: 60cm square, start with a white fabric, (e.g. a bed sheet) and all commercially purchased prints and hand dyes are forbidden. I am not convinced that challenges are a good thing.

For this I have opted to  use a very old painted and stencilled piece made several years ago and which has been languishing in the cupboard ever since… It started way back in the days of experimentation with new techniques… there were so many possibilities, so many to try, and thus we gave ourselves permission to play which resulted in giving everything a go! Until eventually we ran the risk of becoming technique junkies without a clue where to go from there… that is a trap, BEWARE! (I still get sucked in….. viz: the watercolour painting) So this piece of original painted and stencilled (with various texture media – eg glass beads and structure gel – mixed in with acrylic paints) now altered with cutting and reinvented with stitching, both hand and machine, is planned to feature a couple of birds… (Surprise!)  but is so far from my usual style of work, I believe it will not be recognisable as mine at all…..  but isn’t that what challenges are all about? Exploring new directions?

So onward, I need to go get stitching, painting and whatever!

 

Demonstrating at QQS and the Jesus Birds

Recently, I was demonstrating some of my textile art practise at the Queensland Quilt Show. I had a great time meeting many lovely and different women, all of whom were very kind and admiring of my work. I was blessed with an amazingly large area in which to display my quilts, and it felt wonderful to be able to work away surrounded by them. The quilted model of our holiday cottage, the bach, featured as well along with the panorama quilts of the view.

 

It was a great deal of fun and I really loved being able to show people how I go about making a small textile artwork. I have continued working on the pieces I was demonstrating, and here are a few of the progress photos, which may interest those of you who attended the Craft and Quilt Fair in Brisbane last week.

 

There is still some detail to add – perhaps to the lilypads, and a few flowers and buds to make and add:  the snowflake waterlilies that abound and upon which the Comb Crested Jacanas nest, feed and appear to walk on water! Hence the colloquial name!

Keep an eye on my blog, as I will post photos of the final work once it is completed!

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!