Monday, December 31, 2007

Some Western Australian Wildflowers
Top and bottom are 2 of the many types of Banksias. Below: the orange plants are a sharp spiny kind of grass growing on a granite rock outcrop. All the pics are taken near Esperance on our recent holiday.
Below: again might also be a Banksia, after looking it up in my wildflower book but I'm not sure. (I've been told its a Banksia Coccinea)

Happy New Year everyone!
Time to make some new year resolutions. 1. I'm going to really concentrate on what I like doing (dyeing, printing and embellishing whole cloth) and not be distracted by trying too many unrelated things. Which means I am probubly going to give up at least 1 of the groups I'm in and will have to be selective about what workshops I do. (I've enrolled for Fibres West in Oct. which should be great as it's a live in retreat and the workshop I'm doing is Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold).
2. Enter more competitions and exhibitions. The main one that's coming up soon is the Stitched and Bound WA contemporary quilt exhibition. Have to give it a try this year.
Do more and be more committed to my work.
They're the main work related resolutions, I'm sure I could improve myself in lots of other ways but I won't go into that here!

I've been busy lately doing my article for Issue 3 of Fibre&Stitch online zine. I've written it, although it'll need refining a bit and now I'm doing sample pieces and photographing them. Trouble is, it's so hot here now that I can't work in my studio in the afternoons. Boxing Day's temp was 43.6 and more very hot days are coming.
I've also got another exciting secret project happening soon which fits in with my goals for 2008. More later on that.
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Esperance Beaches
There are some beautiful beaches here, the blues of the water are amazing and the sand is so fine and white, it squeaks when walked on.
Hope everyone has a happy and safe Christmas.
I've been working on some fabrics, building up layers of colour, but nothing ready to photograph yet. I probubly won't do anymore until after Christmas. I did end up finishing and giftwrapping my shopping and organising what we're going to eat, so that's a good start.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Breakdown Printing

More breakdown printing
This is from the 2nd screen I did. I've used various objects to make impressions. The mesh on this screen was finer and I found the screen brokedown more quickly so I didn't get as many prints and also It was harder to clean. There were a few very stubborn little spots that I had to scrub and scrub. So probubly won't use this screen for breakdown printing again which means I'll have to get some more screens or clean off some of my photographic stencils. But I still like the results, this one is more interesting I think. I also printed a silk scarf with the same screen.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Some interesting textures
These are from our recent trip, top is the trunk of a huge, old Zamia palm and below, the base of a tree.

I spent most of today in a crowded shopping centre trying to finish my Christmas shopping. I think I'm getting old and cranky because I just wanted to go home. I did get most of the presents but still need a few more.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Breakdown Printing
Today I tried this for the first time. I bought the book by Claire Benn and Lesley Morgan last year. Now I think I'm addicted. The process uses thickened Procion Dyes painted thickly onto a silkscreen. I used a piece of fairly thick crochet-look fabric pressed into the wet dye. When it's dry the impressed material is removed and you print using clear manutex. This fabric is just the first stage, it can then be overdyed or printed or whatever.
Detail of printed fabric
I have another screen ready to go with different things used for impressions. The first screen did a lot more prints than I thought it would and I was totally exhausted when I'd finished. It does look better than the photo with some quite subtle detail. And, importantly, the dried dyes washed out of the screen easily.
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Monday, December 10, 2007

Take it Further Challenge
I've signed up for Sharon B's new challenge which starts next year. I liked this one because it's quite open to different aspects of textiles and ways of working. If anyone's interested you can still join, see the link.
Dyed Fabrics
I did these the week before we went to Esperance as well as a batch of my printed silk scarves which are all sent off now without being photographed because I was in a rush. They're mostly Procion dyes on cotton except the top right light red one which is Napthol. I intend to do more dyeing/printing. I'm working through the techniques in my dyeing books to find the right ones for me, I really like the low water ones.

What I bought in Esperance
We went to the fish leather factory which was very interesting. They had a video which explained the process of making the leather from fish and shark skins and the history of their business. It's very labour intensive but the leather is beautiful, very strong and uses fish that are caught for food. The blue piece in the pic below is barramundi skin with a soft suede like finish and the small pieces have a shiny smooth finish. I also bought a bag of leather scraps and a bag of dyed fish scales (lower right of pic). The lace doileys, I found in an op shop.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Western Australian Christmas Tree
So called because they flower around Christmas time, these trees were everywhere in Esperance (on the south coast of WA 720 kms from Perth). The botanical name is Nuytsia Florabunda and it is a parasite which feeds from other plants through root attachments, but aren't they gorgeous?

Close-up of the flowers

On the coast they tend to be a bit stunted as in the first and last photos. But those further inland can grow quite tall.

At the Cape Le Grande National Park. This area had bad bushfires last Summer but everything is starting to sprout again.
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This sunflower was growing outside our window. It was so huge that I took some photos which I just found again on my other memory card. We have today returned from a weeks holiday in Esperance, more photos to come soon.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Machine Embroidery
This is my part of a group project Innovative Stitches is doing as part of our Batavia exhibition next year. The spirals you may remember from a recent post on Cloque. They're appliqued onto a pale aqua silk and hemp fabric and I've added more texture by free machining wool nops, machined cords made from circles of dyed pantyhose and the big bobbles are also pantyhose stuffed with polyester wadding.
I had to get it finished today as our meeting is tomorrow, hope they like it.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Avondale Harvest Festival
Top: a sample printed from a block I made by glueing dowel craft sticks to a wood base. The fabric is a dyed cotton knit and I've used fabric printing ink and some metallic fabric paint.
I took the other 2 pics on Sunday at a country harvest festival at Beverley, about 1 hundred kilometres from Perth. We had a nice day with the family, beautiful weather, but I managed to get a bit sunburnt. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with the photos but I'm collecting images of weathered things, rust, peeling paint etc.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Open Garden
We went to see this lovely garden in Bickley last weekend. It was open as part of the Open Garden Programme. From the road it didn't look very big but on walking through it seemed to go on forever with so many little pathways and areas to sit in, lots and lots of roses!
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Back to Textiles Again
A better photo of the brooch this time except for the yukky background! It started with me trying out some new threads and eventually turned into a brooch.
The bookcover is made from silk paper and is my project from the last 84 Group meeting. The appliqued diamonds are also silk paper that was twin needled and I've added some beads. The current 84 group project is soldered copper tape frames and glass jewelery. I'm up to the soldering part.
Thanks to everyone who has left comments, they are appreciated.
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Monday, November 05, 2007

My watercolours
I've started doing local watercolour classes. These are my efforts of the first 3 weeks from the top. The apples were my first attempt, although I remember doing a little watercolour painting about 40 years ago. I did the Nastursiums at home, a pencil drawing first then the painting. In class we did white roses but mine were so bad I felt I needed to practise more. The fish is a mullet.
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Cloque Dangers and Broadband
Jacqueline asked if the caustic used in cloque is dangerous/toxic. Yes, it certainly can be if you don't take proper precautions such as protective gear - eye protection, respirator, long gloves etc. The main danger is from contact with skin, severe burns can result. I also always do it in a well ventillated area as the smell can cause headaches. You also need a safe place to store the caustic bath as it lasts until it's exhausted. I have a studio which is separate from the house & locked.
Cloque does give a similar effect to the hot water soluble technique and also nuno felting. I like it as it's great for clothing and accessories, soft and light, depending on the fabrics used. It's also a very quick process and a lot cheaper for larger pieces.

I've been offline for a while as we had a few hassels installing broadband but its sorted out now. Hurrah I'll be able to read more blogs!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cloque Pieces
These are some experimental bits I've cloqued. They're synthetic fabrics stitched onto a muslin backing then shrunk in a strong caustic bath causing the upper fabric (which
doesn't shrink) to crinkle up.
The top 2 samples have circular pieces which I intend to cut out and apply to a project I'm planning. The others are all transfer dyed, the middle one is a satin ribbon The lower left flower shape was cut out of the blue fabric with a soldering iron and I've bonded the pink fabric under it. The lower right sample is kunin felt which I wanted to try to see if it would work.

The bottom photo is a closeup of the flower piece. I also made a brooch yesterday that I was quite pleased with but the photo I took was no good.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Book Cover
Finished this today, although I already had the fabric made. As you can probubly see it's just lots of scrappy bits layered under organza. The circular design is machine embroidered onto silk paper and some free machining and beads added. There's also another design on the back.
Here in Perth, Artopia is on and there are lots of exhibitions happening. Yesterday spent the day in Melville where over 32 textile artists have set up their studios in the main hall. In the evening there was a wearable art parade, absolutely fabulous! This event finishes tommorrow, well worth a look if you're in Perth.
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