Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wagtail one, Kookaburra none ...

The wagtail babies have left the nest and are safely ensconced nearby. However a kookaburra is always a threat and fair game for both parent wagtails. They dive bombed and otherwise harassed one of our resident kookaburras until it moved on.

Threads not-so-bare

One of my favourite things - a spool holder spotted at a garage sale by my DS and BIL.  Is beautifully crafted in that made-to-last way. Now a much loved addition to the sewing room. Thank you Sue and Ian.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Mop it, stamp it, love it!

Clean up after a day of printmaking can be an exciting time. Gently squeeze the foam roller through a piece of textured poplin to create the blue and gold patterns. There was still a lot of white space, so leaves and other objects were rolled over and over until the roller was empty and the starkness of the white spaces mitigated. This process  also results in using less water for the "wash up". When dried, the fabric was over-stamped with leftover textile paint used for some gradation practise.  After all the trays and brushes were cleaned off in a plastic champagne bucket of water, another piece of fabric was squished into the now diluted wash and left to take up whatever it will. That's two new pieces of fabric from the humble clean up. Love it!

Colour wheels and weeds

Finding the next layer can be tricky - and these pieces of delicately dyed silk give a beautiful depth to the new piece of fabric. The cats claw (declared pest and noxious weed in Queensland) leaves beautiful seed pods for printing and they litter the ground after the wretched vine has flowered. Like the weed, the seed pods get lost in layers of detritus until they are forgotten. Road testing the next step can take days ... too close a colour match and the layer gets lost, too much contrast and there is a risk of layering for layers sake.  For now, time to watch and wait for the moment of knowing.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Indigo play day @ Aliquilts

Indigo dyeing was the play day event for 26 October - and the day was spent pegging,  twisting, turning, wrapping, pulling, pushing, tying, folding, clamping, stitching and dipping into the "vats" of indigo. It may be spring but the weather is definitely summer like and we had plenty of flies trying to join in the fun - veils are most useful at this time of year! Many thanks to Kate, Merody, Kathryn and Rebecca for such a fun day - and plenty of ideas for the next dyeing adventure. The replacement bridge for Niebling Road is due to be completed by the end of February (further flooding notwithstanding) and it will be great to have a full program of workshops available during 2014.

Monday, 21 October 2013


Having spent the best part of this week at the Stitches and Craft Fair and Queensland Quilters Quilt Show in Brisbane this week, there were a few hours devoted to the rhythm of running stitch while in the company of fellow 2QAQ and SAQA artists.
The portability of a small project made it perfect to take up or put down in between sharing our love of art quilts with passers-by.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Indigo play day on 26 October

Decided to do some traditional indigo dyeing today after spending most of this week at the Quilt Show in Brisbane. Nice to have some quiet time with the blue crystals. This is the tee shirt rolled around a length of string then pulled together into a knot. Looking forward to wearing it this summer ...
And some other fun things to do included knotting a 40" x 40" piece of pfd - small stones inserted around the edges - I'll leave this to "mature" during the week.  We're having an indigo play day at the studio next Saturday 26 October - get in touch if you'd like to play along too - we have room for a maximum of six participants. BYO fabric to dye and make a small contribution for dyes and related materials.

Learning to paint with Judy Coates Perez

At the Queensland Quilt Show this week I got to spend a few hours in a Judy Coates Perez workshop - playing with gorgeous textile paints. Next time Judy visits our side of the world I'll be investing in a two day event - so much fun matched by a very generous soul. Thank you Judy.

B[re]aking bread

Sunday morning and the bread is in the oven - beautiful Lauke grains as the call of the loaf wafts down the corridor. It's even managed to pull the WMBM indoors. I don't bake with anything else - Lauke is the only Australian, family owned mill left in the country.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Blue sky days

Last weekend was not quite Colorado, but close enough - clear blue skies stretching from horizon to mountain range and a most glorious Spring day. Over near the studio is a bougainvillea which hosts several wren nests - gorgeously spun with spider web and silk threads which I happily share. They evidence exceptional taste ....  once the newly hatched little people are out and about I'll post a few pics of home decorating al la Fairy Wren. Meanwhile, the vegie patch has been offering up plenty of spinach, zucchini and other fresh greens - perfect for pizzas and roasted vegetables.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Laine's quilt

Laine is finally getting a special quilt - for a special sister-in-law. Each of the 25 blocks comprises 64 squares, and these are framed with sashing in coordinating civil war fabrics. I do love traditional quiltmaking and how the practice continues to inform my parallel art quilt journey. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A selfie in the shower? How ordinary ...

Seriously - there's a call for entry from SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) challenging us to create an art quilt through the process of rethinking the known and ordinary. So where better than the shower ...on retreat? I got to thinking about the ordinariness of taking a shower (if you are a privileged western and probably white person) - the un-thought assumption that a tap turned means pressurised water will fall from the shower head  - I remain struck by the ordinariness of "taking a shower".  Door mats, drain and shower heads make for a rather interesting and not-so-ordinary fabric.

One white tee

Take one white Tee (shirt) and make sure it has been properly washed or scoured. Cut a length of string that is wider than the widest part of the shirt (sleeve to sleeve) and lay it one the tee near the top of the neckline. Fold the top of the tee over the string and roll the tee until a fairly tight roll has been formed.  Carefully pull the two ends of the string together and pull as tight as possible and knot. Place another couple of ties around the roll to secure. Ready to take an indigo bath!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Natures Face Art squares ...the quilt top emerges

Gerhard Hillman creates beautiful pieces of fabric manipulating digital images of the natural world in and around far north Queensland. Natures Face Art is Gerhard's business - from where I acquired a number of patches in 2012. I've often pulled them out of my stash and wondered how they could be incorporated into a quilt without being overwhelmed or swamped by the additional fabrics. Our October retreat was where they were combined with my hand dyed, printed and rubbed fabrics using a log cabin block - and we left the blocks on the design wall overnight while the final configuration was "ummed" and "aghhed". Do I mention having to reverse sew it twice ..... as I unpicked the first line of wrongly placed sashing, a dear friend was heard to say something like "don't you hate it when you re-sew something and you put it back wrong .. again!". Well ... the second time I unpicked it no one said anything. At last there was a last column of sashing to attach ... and now to contemplate how to quilt ... many thanks Gerhard for your beautiful fabrics and photographs.

Room with a view ...

Sometimes all that is required is a room with a view, ready to dye fabric, a bottle of pebbles and a length of strong thread. An meditative afternoon spent in the rhythm of knotting and pinching, twisting and pulling ...  this 44 inch length of fabric has been reduced to about 14 inches square - and now waits for an indigo bath.