Thursday, 9 February 2017

Week 5 - Weekly Art Challenge 2017

Week 5 of the #wac2017 saw a move to printed lines on our hand dyed hand printed fabrics.  I chose fabrics that responded to the colours of Uluru in the light - the strength of oranges and purple infused by sunsets. I used a mix of machine and hand stitching to create the outer cover of a journal. This week my research comprised a lot of video links and different articles that focused on aerial views of Uluru. So the inside of the journal cover comprised free motion quilting techniques that looked like hundred and hundred of Uluru's or bird's eye views of desert rocks. The blended colours where achieved by using two threads (orange and burgundy) through the top needle and an orange yellow in the bobbin. I try to go around each shape 3 times (sometimes two) and find this gives me a really great shape and texture. This combination of techniques is going into my three day workshop for Uluru in 2018 - you can register your interest with Caroline Sharkey so you don't miss out on any of the existing tutor and workshop information. Loving this yearly challenge thanks to Brenda Gael Smith!

Friday, 3 February 2017

WAC#4 - more lines

Week 4 of the challenge for 2017 - and further exploration of the Uluru theme through use of line. This time I use two different threads through the needle and another in the bobbin. This gives a rich textural feel to the work. By building layers and connections through the physical act of free motion work into a soluble base, the act of creating mimics the connections between people and places. I got to thinking about the spaces in between the threads - filled with that which we cannot see but know exists. Dreaming. Stories. As Ankie once taught me, making the invisible visible.

I am using the same bowl as the basis for this series of works - the common thread and using the same hoop as a limiter / constraint for the work. Looking forward to the following weeks.

10 months of Creative Strength Training with Jane Dunnewold

As some of you may know, I joined one of the original Creative Strength Training workshops offered by Jane Dunnewold and Zenna Duke and some of my writing / work is included in the book version published in 2016.  Jane and Zenna are now offering a 10 month extended version of CST and I've decided to revisit the program for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wouldn't lightly offer up the chance to work with Jane and the other CST participants - Jane and Zenna build communities of support and also opportunities for challenge at a personal level. Secondly, joining the 1 March program gives me ten months to explore more deeply the themes from the original CST in an expanded context and will give me a chance to put more concrete strategies in place for my creative future.  I found CST enriched my writing, what I write about and brought me into a more thoughtful and meaningful relationship with my art - as well as the spin offs for other relationships and life more generally. For those considering participation in the 10 month course, consider listening to Jane's recent talk at La Conner, WA (September 2016)  - Reflections on Creative Strength Training- another chance to listen to the quiet wisdom and encouragement of Jane Dunnewold. You can also catch Jane and Zenna talking specifically about the 10 month course and structure here.  I hope to share the next 10 months with you!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

WAC #3

Week 3 and line found yet another expression in this small collage (about 8 inches x 8.5 inches) (20cm  x 21 cm). From my colour study used for last week's bowl inspiration, I found lines (strips) of fabric and made a quick collage. Quick - in the sense that I didn't want to fluff about overthinking the project and stall progress which just kills the creative process for me.
Many lines - of fabric and within the patterns of the fabric - organic and structured. The two decorative stitches I used represent flora and fauna - footprints and flowers - and their tracks. The geometric lines that fill some of the available spaces represent an intervention in the environment - structures, buildings, infrastructure that co-exists with dreaming tracks, stories, culture and history. Curved and straight. Soft and rigid - but more than oppositional. The hand stitching brings a more personal touch to the piece in the sense that I really feel present in the work. 

Footprints and florals
 Fabric, printed paper and hand dyed thread
 Collage pieces fused to charcoal interfacing

Sunday, 8 January 2017


Second week of line inspired by Uluru as part of Brenda Gael Smith's #weeklyartproject2017.  This week I isolated the colours from an image of this sacred place and used strips of our hand-dyed fabrics to wrap the cord.  Very therapeutic to sit for a few hours and plan out a project. This week the lines flowed and coiled while strips of fabric behaved similarly. Looping the final piece back into the body of the bowl has given it a sense of continuum  - honouring and acknowledging a 40,000 year continuous history of our country's first people.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Weekly Art Challenge - 2017

Lines of thought
This year I'm working on a special, weekly arts project and my theme is Uluru. I am kept accountable by joining Brenda Gael Smith in her weekly art challenge for 2017. Last year I completed a 100 days project, working in my journal every day - and it's time to take the next step - translating journal and diary pages into tangible responses. I've broken the year into four blocks of thirteen weeks, each with a different focus. The first is LINE.

Each week I'll post progress - and if you'd like to join in for all or part of the project, you can! Pick a theme - a word - and somewhere to record further consideration. It might be digital - I prefer the physical act of drawing into a journal or visual diary.  I'll start this week by exploring the word Uluru and learning all I can about it - meaning, location, colour, history, spiritual  and see where these lead. I'll also think about  the subset of LINE and how research makes connections to LINE. Above all, it's about enjoying the year in the studio - with renewed focus, purpose and output!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Back to basics - food and stitch

Time to make cheese and prepare bread for tomorrow. Most of the work involves waiting - a perfectly good reason to create, stitch and sew. To make the cheese take a good quality, clean cloth and place in a bowl. Add 5500g to 1kg (1lb - 2.2lb) of natural, pot-set yoghurt and a little chilli salt. I use mineral rock salt and flakes of chilli made from drying our excess in the wood-fired oven last season. Once dried and crushed the flakes are added to the salt. This time I'm also adding dill (dried, about half a teaspoon). Mix gently then hang the cloth to drain over the bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. After about 4 hours or so I take the cloth down, cut the cheese mix through the centre to turn the dry sides inwards, and the wetter middle to the outer and re-hang. The whey can be used in cooking or (in my view at least) collected and frozen over several cheese making days then defrosted and used to dip cotton fabric in readiness for eco-dyeing. Simply dip, drain and hang to dry. Back to the cheese ...  it can be used like labna. We roll small balls in chopped herbs, drizzle with olive oil and store in the refrigerator. They are said to last up to two weeks like this ... but I wouldn't know about that.