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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A wet summer

It is a long time since I have posted on this blog. It was an exceptionally busy year last year and so much so that I have not seen or heard from my art muse in at least 6 months. As this is supposed to be an art blog that is the primary reason that I have not blogged.

This summer it has been very wet and I have posted a short video of the flooded Maranoa River at Mitchell here in Queensland. It is such a joy to see water around and the land is so green with grasses growing 4" tall . The Long Paddock is looking great but there are still cattle being driven along the stock route and recently I saw some very poor cattle which have obviously come from an area that has not been fortunate enough to receive the rain. I've been doing quite a lot of travelling due to work and the road to Mungindi, a border town on the NSW border there are wonderful wetlands on low lying land with significant numbers of bird life enjoying the water.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Important self reflective exercise...

It's been a long time since I have posted to my blog. The year has flown by. In this post I outlined a few goals that I wanted to work on this year and have listed them again below:

  • Complete two bags that I began earlier in the year. Machine embroidered, hand beaded.
  • Complete a pastel drawing of a scene from my time in Norway.
  • Carve and make lino cuts of the bottle tree design I created a while back.
  • Work this design into a major piece of textile art.
  • Begin work on a long planned wearable art outfit.

I am happy to say that although I have not posted to the blog I have been busy working on some of these goals. The list below will tell you where I have arrived:

  • Two bags completed and sent to their new owners
  • drawing still sitting on the easel :((
  • Lino cut carved and printed
  • Bottle tree textile art still in the think tank (my brain)
  • Wearable art - almost complete!

I cannot show photos of the wearable art as I have plans to exhibit it and once that has happened I will post photos. Making this piece has been a valuable learning experience.

What have I learned?

  1. That I can do it. I can design a major piece of art work, experiment until I find a way to produce it, document the process, make samples and (almost) complete it.
  2. I have learnt that an enormous amount of time is taken to undertake a project of this type. I thought I had allowed enough time to make it over my university holidays from December to the end of February. I didn't. Well, may be I did but I tended to procrastinate at vital times and this held things up.
  3. On reflection... why did I procrastinate? What held things up? What can I learn that will prevent this from happening again? I can answer the first question in one word - FEAR! Further reflection makes me discover what it was that I was fearing. It is both failure and success. I feared that I would fail by not completing the project and having it always sitting there and taunting me. I feared that I would complete it and think that it was good work and then later feeling that it wasn't. I feared that I would exhibit it and then be embarrassed about it - feeling that it wasn't good enough which has the spiralling effect of thinking that I wasn't good enough! I held things up by just not going into the studio or for only tiny amounts of time although I did try. I found that I was frozen by that fear and not able to sit at the machine. How to over come it? I hope that now that I have done it once I will be able to do it again. I have streamlined my planning and have made very careful notes on how long it took to make individual parts of the project and will keep those as a record for future pieces.
  4. I learnt that making art can be the most exhilirating and debilitating process that you can undertake!!!
  5. I rediscovered that I love to sew and love to sew clothing and to design outfits. There is now even a 'tickling' feeling inside me that tells me that maybe one day soon I would like to sew for myself again.
  6. I have found that I can make art and successfully continue my university study by careful use of my time and being focussed.
  7. Most importantly, I found out just how happy it makes me feel to create, design, make art and that I cannot be me without doing that.

I will continue to work on this project and will complete it very soon. Then - I can begin work on a new idea!


Sunday, January 21, 2007


Last night I tried drawing some fabric that I have hanging on my design wall. This is part of the wearable art I have begun working on and I would like to draw some 'good' pictures of my design for the documentation that is to accompany the project. Some parts of this drawing are fine but overall I don't think I have captured the fluidity or sheen of the silk so I am looking for some techniques on how I can improve this drawing. I look forward to your comments and advice.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Further progress on my goals for the year. I have finished this second bag.

This has been a joy to make right from making my own fabric firstly and then stitching it heavily with free motion machine embroidery and finally today completing the beading.

Here is a detail shot.

Now I can continue on with my other goals. Today I painted more fabric for the wearable art and I feel like I am making progress with it.

This fabric will be torn up and used as a base to make new fabric for the design.

Artwork and a tiny Bluey

In order to meet my goals as set in the list here, I have been working on the wearable art piece that I have been planning for at least 6 months. I've been experimenting with colours to see if the idea will work and here are two photos. I like the colours and they seem to work well together. I've also stitched 30 metres of cord on the machine which I thought would be a significant amount. Having completed this much and seeing it all together I now realise that I will need at least 100m so I have a long way to go.

I am not going to reveal too much of my idea at this stage. I will post small sections as it progresses. I have also set a goal that it is to be finished by 28 February so that it will not put me under too much pressure once university starts again as I plan to make uni a high priority once again this year. It is part of my long term goals and to meet those I will have to perform very well at uni.

And, finally today, we had a little visitor the other afternoon. Louis was going crazy about something. He has recognisable barks for people, cats, other dogs, kids, calling for attention, asking for food etc. This bark was different - it was his territorial bark which meant that something was invading and he couldn't get to it. My husband went to investigate and found that the invader was this little fellow. A baby blue tongue lizard. Had Louis been able to reach him he would have killed him easily - the bluey was only about 5 inches long so it was quite a young baby. We removed him and I took the opportunity to photograph him before we moved him into the neighbour's garden where Louis could not get to him. Even at this young age, you can see that he is quite aggressive.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

I love it when I feel like stitching...

And today I did. This has been sitting on the workroom table for about a year now and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Today I just sat down and stitched what seemed to come naturally.

Here is the front of the book cover.

And below is the back.

The machine embroidery is basic but effective. I really love the Aussie motifs and plan to use them again in further designs and in different ways than the few that are shown here. More fun coming soon.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Printing the bottle tree design

Shirley asked how I printed the block on to the fabric so here is a tutorial. It is a very simple and straightforward process.

Step 1

Here is the carved lino block. I drew the design on to the block with a biro and then carved it with lino carving tools.

Step 2

I use a small paint tray and a sponge roller to apply the paint to the block. For this print I have used Cadmium Red acrylic paint straight from the tube.

Step 3

The paint from the tube has a nice sticky consistency and that helps it to adhere to the lino block. I did find that the Cadmium Red didn't print as readily as the Australian Red Gold I used last time. This could be because of the consistency of the different colours of paint or it could be because it was cooler last time than it is today and the paint may just have dried too rapidly today. I will have to experiment further to determine the reason.

Step 4

Place the lino block face down on the fabric (or paper) and press firmly with your hands.

And here is the printed fabric all done! It really is that simple!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A lot of catching up to do...

I've been struggling for the past month. The university year was over and I was so looking forward to doing lots of art and being in a relaxed and carefree mood. And... nothing happened.

I planned to list some goals here on this blog but, I just couldn't find any enthusiasm for art of any sort and the frustration grew. Finally I got my results from uni, having been very concerned about them, and found that I got much better results than I expected. A great relief and it seemed to open the flood gates. It is strange how something can affect me so much that I was frozen completely where art was concerned.

Since then I have been enjoying the 'holidays' and have had some fun experimenting with some artwork. There are several goals I would like to achieve and they are:
  1. Complete two bags that I began earlier in the year. Machine embroidered, hand beaded.
  2. Complete a pastel drawing of a scene from my time in Norway.
  3. Carve and make lino cuts of the bottle tree design I created a while back.
  4. Work this design into a major piece of textile art.
  5. Begin work on a long planned wearable art outfit.
A while back I posted some drawings of a bottle tree that I abstracted. Yesterday I carved a lino mat ready to print and this morning I tried it out. Here is the paper test I made first of all:

I printed this in my journal to see how it would go and it turned out quite well. I love the texture that lino prints create.

Next, I tried it on fabric. The fabric is some hand dyed cotton I have had in the cupboard.
I first printed one copy and then wondered what would happen if a series were printed together and here is the result. There are some interesting patterns in the centre between each design. I will now work on it with stitch, but possibly not today as I stitched yesterday and it caused me a lot of shoulder pain so I need to take a break today.

And here is the other item I finished yesterday. I began making this bag almost a year ago and just didn't manage to complete it until now.
And here is a detailed shot. It doesn't photograph well, or should I say the photographer doesn't photograph well!