Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What is it worth?

Community Cloth - work in progress
from Open Studios 2014
For the last few weeks I've been working with Jolanta Szymczyk   professional photographer and Queensland  President of ATASDA (Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association Inc). While I've learned a lot from fellow art quilters who are also gifted photographers, I simply don't have the equipment or expertise to take sufficiently high quality images of my work for submission to magazines and the like.  I have also come to appreciate that I don't need to acquire those skills in this lifetime.
Media outlets no longer have the resources where I can assume they will arrange for photography of my submission. That is where Jolanta gets involved. I followed up on her offer to photograph the Queensland Quilters Art Quilt Group quilts for this year's State of the Art Quilt exhibition. We spent a gentle morning together at her studio, chatting and sipping tea before it was time to let Jola and her camera get to work.  I cannot say I was comfortable with the process to start with - and that's where Jola works her professional magic. In the end the session  was thoroughly enjoyable. I now have a collection of fun, serious, and thoughtful images of me that can be used in a variety of settings, as well as having my art quilts appropriately and digitally documented.
This exercise is one of the best investments in my work I can make right now. Aside from the affordability, my decision came down to some enlightenment from 1996 (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells):  "sometimes honey, you just can't afford not to!". Thank you Jola.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

In full retreat ... at Boonah

Three days of magic time spent with friends at The Outlook in Boonah last weekend let me finish a quilt top (that has travelled with me to at least three retreats), share the SAQA 25th anniversary exhibition of art quilts, hand dye about 14 yards of fabric and collect enough scrim for a gorgeous bowl. Thank you ladies.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Design and Print your own fabric - with Jane Dunnewold

I recently had the opportunity to review Jane Dunnewold's latest DVD - Design and Print Your Own Fabric. I have to declare that I am a big fan of Jane's work and teaching, and recently completed her 10 week Artist Strength Training Course. As someone with an existing print on demand account (Spoonflower is just one entity providing this service), I wondered what value add I would get from the DVD – because I am already very comfortable using the Spoonflower site and digital images to create and design fabric.
Jane’s DVD is like having Jane sitting beside you in the studio chatting about what might seem a daunting topic – how to design and create, upload, manipulate and customise a personal range of fabrics.  The focus is on improvisational design, as much as the how to of embracing print on demand websites and all they offer the textile and mixed media artist.
It is the improvisational design aspects that got me interested – using readily accessed, easy to use products already available to most of us – a camera, computer, thumb drive (USB stick) and scanner.
The DVD covers the creative aspects and functional reality of using a print on demand service provider such as Spoonflower.
Jane’s tuition on improvisational design took me somewhere new – and a whole new design world has opened. That alone justifies for me, the investment in the DVD. The ability to better understand the link between what can be created on the computer, through the use of an image manipulating program was a huge plus. In addition, the technical advice about use of images, explanation of pixels and ratios for exporting photos or images to the Spoonflower site is provided in a way that everyone can manage – something I’d previously found challenging. I particularly liked that I can listen to a section a few times – such as the demystification of pixels – then work “live” on my images while listening to the DVD.
Jane’s presentation is friendly, helpful and her explanations are suited to both the first time and experienced user of print on demand services. If you can’t have Jane sitting with you in the studio, then I think this DVD is the next best alternative.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sunday morning collection

We went to collect firewood and harvest lichen this morning - a rare early morning when the setting moon hung over Mount Castle and the Main Range to the west and the sun simultaneously rose over the Teviot Range. What a delight to find the moss in flower! A charred log covered in electric green moss and the beginnings of one of my favourite lichen. While I can barely tell the difference between an Austroparmelina and a Xanthoparmelia, I am so looking forward to testing them as they convert to dyes over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Man from Aliquilts and marigolds

This is the man that grows the marigolds at Aliquilts - and this is how we spent yesterday afternoon, under the watchful eye of the Mighty Miss Midget. We used three different varieties of marigold, three different pots and different combinations of mordant. Lots of silk ... lots of lovely colours.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Piece by piece ... community cloth comes together

Piecing the community cloth from this year's Open Studio has been a both exciting and humbling - that so many people were prepared to contribute a little bit of themselves to the project makes me smile on the inside. It was interesting to watch - as with all groups, some were so keen they didn't worry about instructions and simply dived into the mark making experience. Others sought really specific guidance while some looked on from the sidelines - laying claim to not being possessed of a drop of creative juice. For some, we offered to do a print if they would simply like to put a name or initials on a square of cloth. We encouraged people to use stamps and prints made by those who had printed before, so there is repetition of some prints. Other stamps have been changed, added to or otherwise repurposed. Some people got carried away and made many, beautiful impressions - and these were shared with those who were not able to make a print. Some even asked to take their piece home with them - so we requested a second print - one for us to keep for the cloth.  In all the busy-ness and frantic moments, jostling around the table, rollers, brayers and spoonfuls of paint everywhere - it is fascinating to observe the sometimes  unobservable - everyone getting back to a state of playfulness and abandonment. It makes me smile on the inside.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Community cloth takes shape

What a fantastic response to our community cloth - with 116 printed squares created over the Open Studios weekend. Visitors were able to create a stamp, use found objects or foliage from the gardens - then printed onto 5 inch squares. These will form the basis of our 2014 community cloth
Weekend visitors ebbed and flowed with an occasional spurt around workshop times. Our last guests arrived around 4.30 pm on Sunday and departed into the evening  dusk after making their marks on a few more squares.  Thank you Mel, Rebecca, Chris, Sue, Judy and Dick and the WMBM  for making this year so special.