Sunday, 28 April 2013

The wonder of weeds

This weekend has been a time for quiet reflection - and the opportunity to explore depth and texture on this panel. The rusted fabric was printed with weeds from our garden in different shades of green and brown. Various threads are now being embroidered over the surface to create a more textured appearance.  Being ambidextrous my French knots turn out differently, depending on which way the thread is twisted around the end of the needle. Long live the molly-dookers who stitch.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Creating depth

Creating the illusion of a three dimensional quality on a quilt top can be achieved in many ways. Here, dark brown and blue Shiva stick were crushed onto baking paper and worked together with a stippling brush. The bristles are short and very stiff - making it fairly easy to work the Shiva onto the quilt top. The bristles can be used to "stipple" or pinched between the fingers to create a well controlled line of paint.
First, some leaves on a remnant of the lime fabric were put onto vliesofix, then applied over the intersecting seams.

The Shiva was applied to create a "rolled edge" on the upper leaf and create a "shadow" over the darker, lower leaf. A few strokes were added to the "valleys" of some of the other leaves, giving them the appearance of floating over that part of the quilt.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pinking shears and pasta = perfect

We have a few shape-shifters for making ravioli but nothing compares to the lift the almost-antique pinking shears can bring to a little square of pasta.  Nothing to do with Marco - but the edges of each little parcel were tatty, and not befitting the produce of a goddess or the table of the WMBM. Solution = pinking shears. The trimmings made a delicious snack and the leftovers are coming to Gallery 159 later today for lunch.

Pasta dough: 200g of Italian OO flour, 2 large eggs, pinch of salt. Knead. Rest. Roll.

Tomato Sauce: Finely chopped onion, tinned chopped tomatoes, garlic, pinch of sugar. Cook, then simmer, lastly add dash of olive oil and torn basil leaves.

Stuffing: ricotta, finely chopped beef + smoked sausage, parsley,  mozzarella, mushrooms, egg - mix together and place on pasta sheet by the teaspoon. Cover. Cut. Cook 15 mins in boiling, salted water.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and rosemary flowers - serve. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Inspired by Rachel Carson

I had the privilege of visiting the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge on the coast of Maine last year. It was the 50th anniversary of the publication of "The Silent Spring". The sounds of the Atlantic ocean crashing onto the muddy marshland, the smell of pine underfoot and wandering through soft, dappled light are memories that will be with me forever. Friends, Tom and Susan from New Hampshire shared this wonderful place and helped out while I took a rubbing of a memorial plaque. The refuge covers approximately 50 miles of the Maine coastline. The vegetation, wetlands and forest are unique, especially for an Australian visitor.  As the transition from rubbing to quilt begins, I am playing with different fabrics, each printed with foliage from many places of refuge I've visited - and I hope to do the memory of this wonderful place justice. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Screenprint breakdown

My first experience of breaking down a screen print was during a "play day" with Ankie King a few years ago. I had been printing from a lino cut and Ankie invited me to load the lino cut with dyed print paste  and place it directly onto the silk screen. Once the screen had dried for several hours we "pulled" clean manutex over the dried  paint and created an abstract version of the lino print. As the clear manutex being pulled across the screen started to break down the dried dyes, it took up the blue dye and this added another  element to the subsequent prints. I really liked the unpredictable outcome and the way one lino cut could be used in so many different ways. Long after the prints had been set, I rubbed them with gold Shiva, using the original lino cut to pick highlights and add movement to the prints. I've started to stitch them ... and I'm still using that lino cut.

The latest edition of Down Under Textiles has a great article on Breakdown Printing by Dijanne Cevaal where Dijanne talks through the process and provides so many ideas there may not be enough fabric or life left in me to try them all ... 

Markmaking and handstitching

Sitting and stitching - there is something quite peace-filled about handwork. This is a mixed media piece  of fabric that comprises collaged cards, tissue papers and text on an open weave fabric, covered with a layer of more tissue paper tinted with watercolours. Stitched with silk thread from Judith Baker Montano's range of thread and ribbon from Treenway Silks.  It's good to be back with a needle in my hand.