Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A pleasant surprise

A friend and I recently visited the Petite Miniature Textiles exhibition at the workshop space in Wangaratta. For some reason I did not quite connect how far Wangaratta was from home, but it required both a coffee and a lunch stop to get there. However the drive was definitely worth it. The exhibition was truly exciting and offered a large array of very inspired two and tree dimensional works. The most satisfying thing was to note the diversity of textile materials and varying media our textile artists are now using. Unfortunately I cannot upload any images of the works, but I do hope some of the exhibitors post images of their work as they are well worth viewing and purchasing! Yes these are the type of works that make gorgeous gifts or small personal mementos. I especially enjoyed a mixed media wall plaque by Mary McArdle "Fern Walk", Carole Thompson's set of tea cosies "the sisters three", Nancy Tingey's "birds nests" made out of shredded plastic bird wire, Mandy Gunn's "great expectations unfolds" made from cut and woven book pages, Jan Clements "tripod" incorporating copper wire, shim wood and basket weaving, and Margaret Pullen "shrouds- another time and place" hand dyed and hung cotton, Glennis Leary's "red landscape" a beautiful tapestry weaving incorporating some of my favorite textural sculptural effects in her stitches.... Yes a lot of delightful tastings, and I could go on. It was truly inspiring to see so much excellent and diverse work within the confines of a 30cm x 30cm parameter. I strongly recommend anyone who is close by or has the chance to pop over to Wangaratta to do so before this exhibition closes on 11th July.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

when life imitates art.

Sometimes we can have some very strange experiences. As part of my tapestry weaving classes I chose to weave a set depicting sheep. The main group were a bright pink fluffy bunch of sheep happily grazing, with one lone straggler in the background.

Imagine my surprise, when several months later a friend who was travelling in New Zealand reported spotting a real live flock of pink fluffy sheep grazing in the fields!

Isn't life just wonderful..... or is that art????

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Something old is new again

I had an outdoor table which was looking a bit shabby. As it has sentimental value, my younger daughter painted the tiles, I decided I would refresh it rather than replace. 1st steps were easy, remove tiles from old backing measure up the mount board, and have a new one cut.

If you have a local hardware store, they are usually more than happy to assist with awkward jobs such as cutting rather solid MDF board, as long as you purchase the whole sheet. Best part is you usually end up with extra pieces to use for other projects. I also needed a tube of glue for pasting the tiles, a small can of paint to freshen up the legs and some grout. Happily I discovered that grout now comes in small premixed tubes, and various shades of white, grey, black and multiple colours. Oh and joy of joys, they also have a wide variety of small spacers which one can use to make sure the tiles are evenly spaced. How easy is that?

The hardest part of this project was having to be patient in between the glue drying (recommended 48 hours) and applying the grout. It was so much fun, and the results so good, I will now have to encourage my daughter or someone to produce another set of tiles so I can make another one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a very awful smell

I have long been fascinated with natural dying. I remember reading about some of the ladies from the spinning group going to a conference in Europe where they spent a week foraging for mushrooms and other fungi and using these to dye.
On the weekend, I went for a walk along the river with a friend and we spotted some rather large interesting fungi, so I gathered up a bundle to bring home and play.

It was too hot on Monday to do anything so I left them sitting on the front porch, where they dried out very nicely. However, I forgot that my friend had also picked some, and she left them under her seat, my passenger seat of the car. Oh my goodness... by the time I went to use my car on Tuesday, they had had a few days of stewing in very hot weather (over C44). I could smell this smell from my front door almost. IT WAS DREADFUL. I have no idea what these fungi are, or were, but there is no way I could imagine cooking them up to dye anything. Much washing, spraying and adding of various essential oils has not removed the smell from my car, so I can only imagine what anything that was dyed with them would smell like. I can't seem to find many references for Australian fungi, and think these are some sort of toxic toadstool.I have included large images of the ones that dried out. Does anyone know what I may have collected?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wrapping up the house

Well a typical January in Melbourne. New Year was hot turning to thunder storm and torrential rain. Next few days were freezing cold and we had to turn out our winter woollies. Now, we are back to scorching C35+ days and it is too hot to do anything....
So in the cause of being environmentally friendly and reducing carbon emissions I decided that the best thing to do would be wrap the house up in a blanket of thermal protection. Just like Cristo, that amazing artist who wraps huge buildings, rivers, island and such, I proceeded to cover my little space with layers of insulation.
Off to Bunnings for some super efficient shade cloth, 90% block out and a few staples. The colour range now available is fabulous, everything from white, to sand to turquoise and light green as well as the original dark green and my choice grey. It comes in two widths, 180cm and 360cm , is light weight and very easy to cut and stitch. though the man did recommend I use a solar resistant cotton thread for the sewing if I wanted it to last. Not exactly sure where to find that on a regular Saturday morning trip to the hardware, but someone might know.
A few hours later, and hey presto, like magic, the shade cloth has transformed my little space into a cool, shady retreat. A yes, the temperature inside has remained quite comfortable regardless of the sun burning down all day.
It was really good fun and makes me think maybe adding some big outside pieces to my work this year might be just what the doctor orders for reigniting a flagging muse.
Just in case you want to see more fabulous works, check out Cristo's site.
Happy New Year.