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!


ECODYE adventures

I know this is probably a little old hat, but it’s fairly new for me! Last year, about a year ago, I did a workshop on Eco dyeing paper, using plant dye baths and a variety of domestic and native foliage, and the results were rather thrilling. But the process seemed quite involved, and one needs to be very well organised before one can even begin! Besides I don’t have much in my garden and the bush is miles away from where I live….. And so it all seemed a great deal of effort for a few small bits of paper – admittedly, very attractive paper, and fun to make, no mistakes about that part of it! See my efforts here, where you can read about it.

Today though, our group (Reddy Arts Textile Group) got together and attended another of these workshops, but I sneaked along some fabric to try out, and see how it would turn out!  Everyone agreed it was a great workshop, and we all learned from it.

First I concertina’d my strip of silk, and inserted a layer of silk between each piece of paper and the plant matter…. here is the result! The dye bath was Mexican tarragon with an alum and cream of tartar mordant….

Ecodyed silk 160202
Eco dye Silk, with brown onion skins and a variety of foliage.

Next, I followed the same process with a piece of cotton, and this time we were using onion skins and veges – beetroot, orange and purple carrot rings, celery, potato… the dye bath was red cabbage, the mordant aluminium potassium sulphate and copper sulphate… and here is the result of that. Softer colours overall on the cotton, and a mix of red and brown onion skins alternated on layers.

Eco dye on cotton160202
Top to bottom: Row 1: Eco dye with dry Eucalypt leaves, Row2: yellow carrot ring,  purple carrot ring, celery slice, beetroot wedge, Row 3: green elderberries and a mishmash! Row 4: beetroot wedge, purple carrot ring, potato (heart), yellow carrot semi circles.

Brenda Wood left out the paper with her experiments with the silk and cotton, and this resulted in deeper colours.  Keep an eye out for an article on Brenda’s blog Addicted to Fabric .

I think this is worth further exploration; I’m sure the rest of the group agree! It was such a fun day! Thanks, Judy Kennedy!!


2015 – how productive were you?

Do you reach the end of the year and wonder: whatever happened to it? Where did the time go? Did you spend it well? How do you assess it?

An interesting exercise was to take a look at how little or how much I achieved in 2015 in the textile art world. My feeling was that I maybe had not accomplished a great deal particularly in the area of actual textile ART, even though I seemed to be constantly busy, juggling part time work, home duties, designing and sewing.

To find out, I made up a Timeline.

There was some time out in November , and a holiday in January, apparently, but for the most part, it was a pretty steady year… on analysis, I found there was a very real relapse into traditional style quilt making, part of my designing and writing patterns , and some experimentation with the new movement of Modern quilting. I guess the alphabet  can be counted as art….  and true art work was completed (although commenced in 2014) for the two exhibitions, and there were little forays into thread sketching  and quilting… example: my quilt for the Queensland Quilt Show 2015

What next?  The timeline proved just how much I did accomplish, and encourages me to tackle the new year ahead with 12 whole months in which to draw,  paint,dye, stitch, applique, and quilt.  My aspiration for 2016 is to set aside traditional quilting, and to create a number of landscape and seascape textile artworks, with the intention to  exhibit in 2017. And a new timeline at the end!

Threads of Survival

 “Threads of Survival” is a tetratych in fabric, made as part of the Reddy Arts Textile Group’s exhibition “Nature’s Threads”held at Pine Rivers Art Gallery, Strathpine, Queensland, in April and May 2015. This is the culmination of all the work and progress photos shown in previous posts of the construction of the tree. It was also shown at Aspire Gallery, Paddington, Qld in September 2015

I have used mainly cotton, and utilised raw edge applique, dye, thread sketching and quilting.

I wrote this poem to accompany the work:


Tangled threads. Roots, twined together.

These life-giving fibres, stitched to the cliff…

Holding, but barely.

How long?

Dying limbs reaching. Sticks, interwoven.

This nest, of wood-woven threads…

Holding, but barely.

How long?

Ribbons of rain; and leaves, sunlight-threaded.

This tree surviving, is fledglings’ safe haven…

Holding, but barely.

How long?

RATG at the QQS

Had lots of fun at the QQS with my friends Brenda and Donna on Sunday and even spent some money! Our display (by Reddy Arts Textile Group) looked great in spite of one of the quilts having been stolen on Wednesday.