Friday, 22 August 2014

Vital Signs @ QRAA

There are so many entries in this year's Queensland Regional Art Awards - and just as many interpretations of this year's theme "Vital Signs".  Watershed (left) interrogates the divide between those with access to water and sanitation and those who do not. The log cabin block represents the traditional concept of home, hearth, safety and protection. One half is comprised of hand dyed fabrics rubbed and printed in a modern, western style shower using the shower head, drain and mat. The other half of each block is comprised on mono-printed fabrics taken from scrubbed glass, representing the idea of cleaning the shower, removing those things that bring disease, infection and compromise good health.Watershed has been quilted with the shapes of germs and bacteria - from the perspective of under the microscope.

You can see all this year's entries, and vote for Viewers Choice here.

Monday, 11 August 2014

This is work?

It is hardly what I call work! A glorious end-of-winter weekend with the WMBM and Rebecca Staunton Coffey dyeing and hand printing fabrics. As the WMBM says "It's another stitch in the rich tapestry of our lives". And so it is ....

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A few of my favourite things ... from Perth

Back from Perth where Dad and I spent a few days doing all the things that really matter - being with our people as another friend would say - family, friends, friends who are as close as family, family who are also life long friends. Rebecca Staunton Coffey and I tested our range of art fabrics and sold out in a frenzied but orderly stampede on Day 1 of the WA Craft and Wood Show, we caught up with the effervescent Caroline Sharkey whose laughter filled our end of the show building for three days, the SAQA exhibition was a hit, our community cloth from Open Studio got a little closer to being finished and as always, some magical treasure to be found at The Thread Studio - thank you Dale and Ian for an inspirational time. A little top up of Wonderfil threads from the gorgeous Helen Rhodes - it was a wonderful trip and can't wait for next year!

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.