Monday, 28 February 2011

home again, home again

 First stop at Logan City Council and this beautiful rusty creature in amongst the fernery and buildings. Not quite as nasty as he looks.

 Then on to Brisbane and this piece of public art by John Elliott (Travelling North, 2004) when he travelled across the state border and into south east Queensland in the 1970s. I always feel good in this space. 

 Back out to Ipswich and finally home - the back way. Sometimes I leave the Cunningham Highway behind at Frazerview and take the slow roads through to home. There's never anyone else in the world for a short while....

 Home at last and up to the house, passing one of the little people who, perhaps hasn't emotionally renegotiated the recent pruning of the peach tree.

Experimenting with fire and thread

Bonded fused and daubed in gel ... three ways of trying to form a nest with the ball of thread still attached - I want it to look like it "made itself". Yesterday, WMBM went off to a rural fire brigade "thingy" (referred to as a community day and a look at the new fire engine). I got to play with my new toy, a gas fired flame thingy, after a breakfast of fresh fruit and yoghurt.  Some things didn't go so well today  ... I set fire to stitched layers of silk, organza, something unknown but now clearly flammable, metal flakes, emu feathers  .. more metallic stitches and Shiva oil in distressed synthetic velvet ... and ended up with a flaming mess. So much fun though even if it went the way of the Tassie tiger. Can still smell singed something. It was so worth the effort. I think WMBM is eyeing off my new flame thrower for himself. On quick reflection, his alert and alarmed look may have had something to do with having just returned from the rural fire brigade meeting.  Hmmm.  Used Mel's method of transferring photos to fabric - rubbed all the photo backing off and then could not remember how to do the rest so carefully placed the "photo" face up onto a new piece of fabric the folded and stitched the raw edges forward over the photo edges... and gelled it all again - this  has potential to be either a postcard, or wheelie bin filler. Jury still out. The Sunday afternoon studio clean and sort happened rather late this afternoon (also known as it's-just-too-hot-to-vacuum-the-house-now). The effort is classified as "housework" but it is a labour of love. One day I WILL use 43 x 500g empty yogurt containers with lids, 54 chocolate wrappers carefully collected by work colleagues, and 50+ hand dyed recycled tea bag papers ... and I'm not sure why I bought tissue paper last week when there's sufficient to put a decent epidermis across a footy field in one of the "useful boxes".  One of the best things today was playing with the newly acquired embellisher - second hand and like new - loads of directionless fun as it's a whole new world for me.   When I'd run out of fibre to whack, I made postcards out of one of the flood pieces from earlier in the month and now it's time to get ready for another week. When did we eat that much yoghurt?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

These are my people

Welcome to the first 2QAQ meeting of 2011 - that's two-quackers and there's not an Indian runner or mallard in sight. There is a wealth of friendship and talent and these are my people. Yesterday thirty of us gathered at the Wellers Hill Bowls Club for an afternoon of live art, show and tell and fun. One of our members was giving new life to old photos affected in the recent floods - and had remade a photo of young love into a postcard that she sent her husband on Valentine's Day. Others kicked off show and tell with the results of their recent challenge - and there was the return of the State of the Art Quilt 10 pieces - reminding us that there are now ... about 48   30   24 is just today   left to complete and enter quilts for SotAQ11.  New members are always made welcome and our March meeting will have guest speakers smartArts  - if you are in the area or interested in art quilts at any level - we would love to welcome you to the group. Our April meeting willl be hands on workshop making penants for the Quilts4London project - a pennant for every olympian and para-olympian (we don't have to make all 16,000 of them ...) All the details of our meetings are on the 2QAQ blog site - it's just $5 per meeting to contribute towards hire of the venue, and BYO lunch.

Paint + fibre

Between the 2QAQ group, Dale Rollerson and Playways have taken me and my machine to creative places I did not think I could imagine ... my only complaint is that the possibilities are endless and the WMBM is frequently a "studio widow". He will manage. His mantra is that I should follow my dreams, so long as that doesn't mean he has to leave his dreams to participate in mine. Art quilts and aviaries - it's a marriage made in compatibility. 
Painted some sheets of vliesofix over last weekend and  bonded them to felt perhaps to be rotary cut, re-purposed and start a new life as a journal cover. Played with Tyvek thanks to an envelope received from the US some months ago when playing tourist ... I'm getting into the painting and loving it.
Used all the copper thread offcuts from a different project with silk that I'd dyed at Ankie's some time ago to make another ....(you guessed it ) nest and played with wafer thin sections of silk fibres carefully bonded with a hint of Angelina fibre and now have a possibility for another nest or bowl .. albeit with  a fragility rating of "fairy floss".

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Mug Rugs in blue

Quilting Bloggers recently conducted a world-wide mug rug challenge - and these two arrived last week from Anett in Hanover, Germany. Thank you Anett - who made the second mug rug from selvage scraps. I love it!

Silk nest - Mark III

Mirror images
This nest is translucent now it has completely dried, and there are several places where the fibres are so thinly spaced it is possible so see through to the inner sanctum. The goal is to create 2-3 nests each week - different fibres, techniques ... and embellishment ...the embellishment is way down the artistic track ... for now the focus is on creating. Now what did I do with all those emu feathers ......

Friday, 25 February 2011

vliesofix + paint + felt

While in Beaudesert I found the fabric and patchwork shop (by sheer coincidence, directly opposite the Council offices and right beside breakfast ...) and I purchased felt - by the metre. Oh joy. Using cool red, cool yellow, raw umber and magenta a largish piece of vliesofix got the treatment, and when dry (aided by the hairdryer) was stamped with a lino cut block ... dried again then bonded to an equally large piece of felt. Stitching will commence sometime this weekend ... most likely Sunday after 2QAQ' first meeting for 2010. 1-4pm @ Wellers Hill Bowls Club (note the new premises for 2011). BYO lunch!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Beaudesert and Wyralong

Morning meetings  in Beaudesert led me to a beautiful cafe opposite the Council office ... for piping hot tea ... and potato rosti stacked with spinach, mushrooms and poached egg. Yum.
Then later in the day taking the "high road" across to Boonah and the first signs of Wyralong Dam .. it's filling and it's not even finished yet.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Line of sight

On my way to the office this morning ... I found hurdles for mice ...or therapeutic buttons for tired travelling feet ... or

A lesson in perspective ... and vanishing points

and when colour is all grey

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dyed thread quick fix

Salsa Jar blue
Start with one ball of fine cotton crochet thread - in this case DMC Cebelia 50g  842 #40 - which is a fawny beige colour and was on sale at a local embroidery / tapestry shop in Ipswich. Eat a jar of salsa - the glass jars with the metal screw top lids. Wash the jar before proceeding further. Make up some procion dye and do what you will with the fabric - just ensure there is sufficient left over to almost fill the salsa jar. Pour some of the dye into the salsa jar - about 1cm or 1/2" - and place the cotton into the jar. Gently pour sufficient dye into the jar to reach the top of the thread - read that is a hair's breath from the top - and screw on the lid. Put in a safe and forget about it for 24 hours. No peeking - but a gentle rock'n'roll shake is in order every few hours if you think of it. If left completely alone the variegations are stronger. That was the easy part.
The mission is to get the ball of thread out of the dye, and thoroughly rinsed and dried without turning it into the worlds prettiest knot of uselessness. Remove the lid and place your (gloved?) hand over the top of the opened salsa jar and tip out the ball of thread. Rinse the intact ball of thread thoroughly ... a combination of gentle running water over cupped hands holding the sacred ball, then placing the ball in an ice cream container of water and letting it sit then assist with gentle agitation. Hold the ball of thread so that the risk of tangles is reduced. Repeat as many times as necessary and at least once more than you think. Allow the rinsed ball of thread to dry ... the above took about a week. Voila. The variegations  are subtle and gorgeous, and this has been the main quilting thread used in "Journal to Quilt" for State of the Art Quilt 2011. Thank you again Ankie.

crochet thread meets salsa jar

Thread bowls and nests

Only two bowls survive from a set of four I acquired in my late teens from a local potter - they have been constants over the decades holding just enough nuts, or cereal and now, in my Year of Continuous Improvement, perfect for thread bowls or rather, nests as I prefer. After partially rinsing the soluble stabiliser the sticky mass was moulded over the bowl (which was already covered in cling film). Sometimes I wrap them tightly in kitchen string and that brings it's own texture to the finished product - this time I simply worked the shape onto the bowl with my hands ... and tinkered with pushing it this way and that in between stitching something else. Last evening I painted the inside with fabric stiffener and worked it across the base and about 2/3rds the way up the inside - then placed it over the cling wrapped pottery bowl again. The extra body helps reduce "wilting". Every time I look into the thread bags - sometimes three on the go at the same time - I see another nest.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Journal work and three minute sprints

holiday  musings ...
An entry a day ... or that's the good intention. Sometimes there is so much to say, and sometimes the merit is in the silence. Must practice that more often and I'm learning that, albeit slowly. Getting my travel journal completed before the memory and the accuracy of them fades is becoming a priority - another great way to relive the trip and utilise unexpected "free minutes". While we were trainbound on the Southwest Chief, the challenge was to draw madly in three minute bursts (which usually coincided with how long it took to de-train someone from the train or welcome new travelling companions. We had quite a break in Albuquerque until the heat drove us back to our compartment - this time the challenge was for five minutes of drawing.  As we travelled the sheer numbers, types, and heights (or lack of) the utilities poles were a source of constant wonder - I couldn't let go of the idea that each of these was once linked to providing an essential service like power, or communications and each had been a contributor to the place in which it was erected. In a much different way now, they still are important, if only as ghosts.We pulled into  Santa Fe and ejected a few more passengers and made room for the newly arrived. Then it was on to California and the end of the lines. 


The Poles

Santa Fe

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lines on lines

Whenever a "break in the traffic" occurs, an ongoing hand sewing project emerges. Lines. Lines of stitching. Lines of fabric. Lines of torn strips. Lines of lines. Lines on lines. These pieces are from the indigo dyed fabrics and threads with Ankie King. All the lovely lines.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Aubergine and leaves .. Round 2

I waited for the glass walled coffee shop to close beside our Ipswich Office and headed out with the fabric and shivas for "Round 2" of the leaf rubbings. The coffee shop has a "fish bowl" view of the leaf panels and it's a much easier process to pop out after 3pm. Round 3 will be to rub some individual leaves and look at bonding them  to the front ... very much a work and idea in progress.

Chocolate Earth

Chocolate earth @ Tarome

The paddocks have been reploughed for the first time since the recent flooding and planting is underway.  They are like dark chocolate for as far as the eye can see - still tastes like dirt. The black soil gets a crust on it  that prevents the new shoots coming through - so the irrigators are used to keep that top layer soft, even if it seems like we've had enough rain. That's Mount Fraser on the horizon, and Mt French reflected in the mirror. Gives new meaning to "point and shoot".
Coming home last evening and that's Mount French, a different angle, in the last of the sun before the storm came through.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Beyond the hype I hope that today, like everyday, you get to spend some time loving, being loved or thinking about those you hold dearest. This heart is from Jesus' (Hey - soos) shop on the outskirts of Taos, New Mexico. There were many hundreds of them - same shape, different sizes - and they were a favourite of Ruth Stoneley. So today, as I do on many days, I'll think of Ruth and send some love into the universe. Thank you to JBM, for gifting it to me.

Dear Little Sister

Isle of Man buttons rule my textile world!
 Dear little sister,
More of your beautiful buttons (left hand side of picture) - they are truly wonderful and the top left, with bubbles, is fenced off (should that be "ranched off"?) while the lower left button had flow marks that matched the indigo dyed fabric - this is the piece I scrunched and twisted around a piece of down pipe at Ankie's. Much fun!  I particularly love the multiple holed buttons, the ones with five holes for example, and the imprecise but perfectly imperfect square shapes.  Can't wait to see the next generation of IoM buttons ... what will we call them on your return to Oz? Much love, Ali

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Roasties ....

Last evening I was in charge of the oven. Me. In charge. Huge responsibility. For some context, I once offered to do some of the mowing (ride on style).WMBM said something like he didn't need help and he'd get on top of it soon. I insisted. Surely I could help and between us lessen the load. Long story short - the ride on was still near new, without a scratch and he'd hidden the keys. He didn't like that the push mower I use around the houseyard had acquired some white paint scuffs from close encounters with the front steps. Apparently it had been scuff free for nearly 10 years ... and then I started push mowing.  Hmmm. Why I would aspire to take on extra tasks around the place is something I didn't think about til much later. So the oven is something I don't really aspire to master, or mistress. However yesterday was my day. WMBM was out visiting and I was in charge of the oven.  Apart from us not eating until after 8pm it went rather well I thought.

Gifting away a subscription to TEXTILE magazine

I just adore TEXTILE magazine which is the publication of The Australian Forum for Textile Arts, Ltd (TAFTA) and is edited by Janet De Boer O.A.M.  Check out the website ... and read on.
TAFTA subscribers get a "subscriber-only" newsletter  with the magazine that is full of interesting stuff (should probably call it a supplement) about upcoming exhibitions, goings-on, news and events and details of workshops and forums ... and so it goes. TAFTA members are encouraged to "spread the word and the love" so I'm going to gift away a one-year subscription to TEXTILE magazine, including postage - to  anywhere in the world. To be eligible, you need to leave a comment on this post related to art quilts or textiles and textile art. Any comment will do! This is a bit of fun so "judges decision is final" and I'll publish the recipient's name when the winning comment is announced after entries close on 1 March. Good luck.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

State of the Art Quilt 2011 (SotAQ11) progress ...

The buttoned  'burbs join ploughed fields
Thanks to some very savvy friends and a few quick emails I got the message that the State of the Art Quilt 2011 submission deadline has been pushed back a month - for those affected by the recent floods. 1 March is fast approaching so, where has the year gone already? I've been spending a bit of time being quiet over the past couple of weeks and that meant some long blocks of time for hand-stitching and embellishing. When I started this piece I nearly undid it all after a few days - it wasn't "doing anything" for me. A wise colleague in art quilting suggested I just get on with it ... and let it flow ... so I did. Some of the buttons from the Isle of Man reminded me of the beautifully ploughed fields north of Nashville - all pale and golden and quite a contrast to the dark chocolate soils of Tarome. The final quilting is currently taking place and in keeping with the altitude theme, I'm looking at landscape and contours for some topographical inspiration.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Then and now ... after the flood

27 December 2010

11 February 2011

When the rain stopped ...
2m deeper ...


Many trees now gone

Our repaired bridge ..

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Spicers Gap

Spicers Gap from the back deck

Spicers Gap reappeared yesterday after WMBM spent the previous two afternoons pruning, trimming and finally chainsaw pruning the conifers that run between our and the neighbouring property. In the "early days" before access through neighbouring Cunninghams Gap, the oxen, drays, horses and humans were hoisted up the sheer face quite literally - definitely not an experience for the faint-hearted.
Some serious height reduction has occurred - and once again our early warning system is back in full view. 
The secret garden is in full bloom with a colourful competition between the spider lillies and crepe myrtles. The little people aren't complaining and the wild double-barred finch population has exploded this summer. Babies and nests everywhere ...

Crepe myrtles and spider lillies

Aubergine leaves and shivas

Aubergine is one of my favourite procion dye colours - along with Moroccan red - but yesterday aubergine prevailed. This is the piece I rubbed from the leafy public art in Ipswich which I did not heat set.  The shiva has provided an interesting resist for the dye - and when I'm in Ipswich next week I'll do more rubbings with the shivas and see how much depth can be achieved with the layering. I'll remember to heat set after the next rubbings!

Leaf rubbings in shiva

Monday, 7 February 2011

Dulany Lingo's polymer for the home

Cherries ... by Dulany
 Dulany has just started her polymer for the home, available through her new website.  In addition to being a fabulous photographer, master of  knitting, thread and glass, Dulany produces kitchen measuring cups and spoons - and I was fortunate enough to see Dulany making a set based on a Judith Baker Montano design. They are individually created by Dulany in her home studio at La Veta - which is the biggest studio I've ever seen - and doubles as Dulany's residence. Dulany's website has a description of the process she uses to transfer the images and how special, made-to-order sets can be created. All the best Dulany and thanks again for your kind comments, and for sharing your part of the world with us.
Dulany visits us @ JBM's studio

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Nature ... naturally

Bath time

WMBM planted many kinds of shrubs, bushes and trees - more than 800 of them in the past few years - and those in the secret garden harbour a multitude of small birds, including our version of a "spitfire pilot" - the yellow-faced honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops).  This immature seems to be a natural mutation on the usual olive grey-brown colour and enjoys a bath as much as its parents ... I do love the "little people".

And now I'm very wet