Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ginza & Neon

Above: Ginza, an exclusive shopping street in Tokyo. I didn't buy anything here - way too expensive!

Below: neon lights - night shopping in Osaka and Tokyo

You can click on any picture for a closer view.

Merry Christmas!
Seasons greetings to those who don't celebrate Christmas. Best wishes to everyone for a healthy, happy, and creative 2010.
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More Retail Therapy in Japan

Above: some more of my shopping experiences in Japan.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Morning tea in Roleystone

Saturday we often go to Genesis in the Hills vegetarian restaurant (near Araluen) for a loaf of bread and cake and coffee - the best cakes I've ever tasted! Baked fresh by Rivka every day, only using fresh in season ingredients, they are not too heavy and also suit people with some food allergies. I had the plum cake (front left) absolutely delicious! Great lunches too. They're closed from 23rd Dec until 17th Feb - we'll miss them.

Below: DH Wayne on the verandah, about to tuck in. He grows some of the fresh herbs for the restaurant.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009


We've just come back from a short break in Dongara - about 350 kms north of Perth. Although it's a bit late for wildflowers we saw some beautiful ones.
Above & below: masses of gorgeous Verticordias about an hours drive from Perth. I've never seen as many as this in one place - we usually go at a different time of year.
The main purpose of the trip was to see an exhibition in Geraldton: Momentum - 18th Tamworth fibre textile biennial which is an eastern states exhibition that is not coming to Perth. Well worth seeing if you get the chance. Christine Atkins is one of the WA artists included.

Above: some banksias - saw many of these along the road.
Below: old jetty at Dongara with cray (lobster) boats in the background.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Designing Women's Christmas Lunch

We had a lovely lunch at Jan's house in Swanbourne today. It's an old heritage listed wooden house on quite a large block of land with a lovely garden. Unfortunately she recently had a fire upstairs and was very lucky not to lose the whole house. Despite that, she decided to go ahead with hosting the lunch and a good time was had by all. I didn't take my camera so no pics of that but we always have a swap of a hand made Christmas decoration - the one I made is shown above - front & back. (Joan has some pics on her blog)

I've been asked how it was made:

I already had the machine embroidered, digitized lace motif & thought it wasn't very exciting so I cut out a larger shape from some hand printed gold fabric and some gold organza. They were bonded together with sinamay in between to stiffen. Then one side was covered with bonded angelina fibres & some leftover gold machine embroidery and free machine stitched over with gold thread. Cords made by zig-zagging over yarns were used for the edging and hanger. The lace motif was stitched on by machine and the heart shape applique was hand stitched onto the other side. I added some beads to the lace motif and used the trailing cord to tie on the bead at the base which was then painted with gold glitter varnish.

That's probably as clear as mud but hope it gives some idea of the process - it actually didn't take long to do - the hand stitching & beads took the longest time.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Autumn leaves & Chrysanthamums

My photos don't really do justice to the stunning Autumn leaves we saw in Japan although I took many. We also saw displays of Chrysanthamums everywhere - especially outside the temples. Many of the plants are trained to grow a certain way. The pine tree (bottom right photo) was trained to look like a boat and is all one tree.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yokahama International Quilt Week

Photos were not allowed of many of the quilts on display, I have a few more and I also bought a book which shows some of the others.
Below: a peek at some of the wearable art - not a huge section - also more practically wearable than the beautiful fantasy garments we often see at shows here. There were quite a lot of international quilts - I was very impressed by some from Korea, Taiwan, Russia and India. Also a display of Australian Down Under Quilts which was nice to see.

The shopping at the show was good too - many products we don't get at home and reasonable prices. I mostly bought small pieces and packs of fabrics as well as bag handles, buttons, zips, etc. Some in our group brought beautiful Kimonos to unpick and use for quilts but they had to post boxes home which I didn't want to do.
Above: cottons and silks and below: a selection of more traditional Japanese fabrics, including a few from the Blue & White shop in Tokyo which sells the traditionally made indigo fabrics - rather expensive but nice.
Putting them together, I think I have enough in several colour themes to make a series of bags and/or small wall pieces, which I have already started to do.
Fabric shopping generally in Japan is much better than here - the department stores still have good fabric/craft sections and we went to a great shop in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo called Okadaya. It has 7 floors - one each for buttons, yarns, craft books and magazines, fabrics, beads, etc. A paradise for us!

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Japanese Food

I enjoyed most of the food I tried in Japan but using chopsticks was a challenge!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm back

I had a fantastic trip to Japan - here's a collage of some of the temples we visited. The tour was very good - a small group of 14 lovely quilting ladies and we were kept very busy but some serious shopping happened along the way! Great food, scenery, and textiles too.
The Quilt show in Yokahama was excellent - I thought it might be mainly traditional but there were many contemporary quilts, bags, clothing and a fantastic display of Indian Kantha stitching both old and new - as well as the shopping stalls and demonstations of course.
I'll post more pics next time - busy catching up with people and things to do at home.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

New camera

I'm leaving for Japan on Thursday - so today I've been practising with DH's camera. It's a small one so will be easier to carry around.
The pics are from our garden. The dog, Sarge, belongs to daughter Kathleen - we're dog sitting while she's away. The bowls were made by my DH who enjoys wood turning and who's staying home while I'm away.
I won't post again until I return home - late November. Should have lots of pics then I hope.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This week ...

2 new covered journals - the top one is a collage of various hand printed cotton fabric pieces with a heat transfer printed ribbon and the flower motif is a digitised design which I've extended by using scrunched and frayed fabrics.
Below: polyester satin fabric - heat transfer dyed & stitched. The centre panel is a collage of metallic scraps with the flower free embroidered on dissolvable.

Saturday at the Designing Women meeting, Juliet showed us how to felt a vessel. (mine above) Unfortunately It's not thick enough so I'm not sure what I'll do with it - might have to cut it up and use the felt in other projects.

Before the felting we went for a walk around Piney Lakes - a lovely bush area where our meeting place is - to take photos and gain inspiration. Below: the bark of a cork tree which I 'd never seen before.

My DH has managed to tear the cartledge in his knee and is on crutches so I'm having to run around for him. I hope it comes good without further treatment. It's a busy week - I'm teaching another Painting & Printing with Procion Dyes workshop on Saturday and we've got friends coming for lunch on Sunday.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Using up paint piece

I often have some scrap fabric handy when printing to finish up paint or make full use of a paper stencil. This is the current one. It's done with roller, mono, block and screen printing. The 2 dark horizontal stripes made up of short lines were cut from drafting film and I used the cut out pieces to make a negative stencil (printed in grey and green)
These pieces sometimes end up being more interesting than the intentional design. I quite like this one and it's a good size too - 47 x 90cms.
I'll probably have to stop printing now. It's less than a month untill I leave for Japan and there's lots I need to do before that.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Finished fabrics

Some of these I've shown before, but now I think they're finished.

I think I'll add some stitch to the piece above - it may end up as a quilt. The one below is just a small experiment made to use up left over ink but I like the colours.

Below: a detail of the RR fabric from the previous post. Thanks for the comments everyone - I agree with Judy that the end use of the fabric makes a big difference but as that isn't my decision, I think I'll leave it to Judi - the fabric's owner to decide if she's happy with it as is.

I should probably explain that the fabric round robin was organised through the Complex Cloth Yahoo group. There were 5 people - each started with 1 yard of fabric of their choice - sending it on to the next participant after they had added their part to it. At the end the fabric is sent back to it's owner.

Hopefully each person ends up with a unique piece of fabric and has been challenged to apply their skills in surface design and techniques in a different way.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Is it finished?

Have just done my layer on the last RR fabric (Judi's) I used shiva sticks brushed off the scalloped edge of a plastic doyley with an old toothbrush. The colours are white, yellow ochre & a brown/gold . The aim was to try and pull together the design - I felt the green motifs looked a bit plonked on. I changed my mind a few times on this and I'm happy with it now - BUT - is it finished?

This one definitely isn't finished. I'm building up the surface by over printing the rectangular shapes. The stencil was made by spaying webbing spray onto a silk screen ( from a new book I have by Claire Benn & Lesley Morgan: Screen Printing, Layering textiles with colour,texture & imagery) This is permanent on the screen but as my screen was old & crappy, that wasn't a problem - also I think it's a very versatile texture design which I'll use again.

I've used a torn paper stencil for the shapes. The colours may look slightly off - I think it's the pale pink fabric. Might overdye but may not need to when I've finished printing.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

More printing

This afternoon I continued with my printing - did some more on the piece from the previous post (bottom) and the 2 top ones. I decided I needed to make a 'lines' printing block to add another layer to my fabric quickly. The vilene stencil worked well but was very hard to see through, making placement difficult. So I ended up with printed areas in block shapes.
To blend these areas together I used the same cardboard edge I used to make the stencil to print some darker lines but it was slow going and not very effective. The block (made by cutting strips of peel & stick fun foam and attaching it to foam core board) was much better. The design shows up well on the piece below.

The 2 top pieces are done using the lines block and over printing in different colours. This is a great way of making a print block - it's very quick, light, water-proof and lasts well.

Above: this was done a while ago - it's about 50cms square - was started with procion dyes, then some discharge and fabric paint. I've had it on my wall because I think it needs something but haven't decided what yet.

Also on my wall is the last fabric Round Robin piece. I think I've finally decided what to do with it and will get onto it tomorrow.

Above: this is a section of the same piece from the last post with more printing - it's almost there, but I think I'll introduce a horizontal element a third of the way from the top and then maybe some small dark squares scattered over. It reminds me of old weathered wood with cracks and peeling paint.

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