Thursday, April 28, 2016

more practising

painting this time - and finding my shapes and textures in this new technique.
 And really pushing my 'not usually chosen colours' button by playing with neutrals - there's the first layer

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

more baskets

 I've been practising my twining - with iris leaves, feathers and eco-dyed silk string
dianella, feathers and eco-dyed silk string

feathers and indigo dyed hemp string

Monday, April 25, 2016

Seeds Through an Artist's Lens workshop

This weekend I was lucky enough to spend two days working with artist and seedonaut Sophie Munns
Sophie's Seeds Through an Artist's Lens workshop was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne. Sophie has been studying seeds for a long time and has had a number of residencies at seed and plantbanks in Australia and at Kew Gardens. As well as her studies and interpretations of seeds through her art in a range of media, Sophie's work with seeds and her workshops encourage discussion and knowledge-sharing about biodiversity, climate change and the stark choices we as the dominant species on this planet have to make if we really do want to avert disaster. 
While most of the weekend was spent focused on art, Senior Conservation Botanist Neville Walsh very kindly gave up his Saturday afternoon to come and talk to us about his work, especially the loss of grasslands in western Melbourne as the suburbs continue to sprawl, and the impact of climate change on alpine regions in Victoria, which have had unprecedented numbers of bush fires and habitat loss in the last few years.
I learned so much at Sophie's workshop (not least that Melbourne has a seedbank). We drew with sticks and ink

we did 4 sketches in 5 minutes of our chosen seed pod
and made concertina books. The first book had to be painted using colours we wouldn't usually choose - this was a challenge for all of us. I chose magenta, yellow and and acidy green, all of which set my teeth on edge as I squeezed them onto my palette.
For the second book we could go back to our comfort colours and that felt much better.
Then it was drawing with ink and folding into concertina books.
This rather Mallee fowl nest of papers is the work I produced over the weekend 
An excellent workshop - if you get the chance to work with Sophie grab it with both hands.

More information on Sophie Munns' work here

and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria seedbank here

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

learning to weave baskets

I have wanted to learn Aboriginal basket weaving for ages so I leapt at the chance to go to an afternoon workshop with Adrienne Kneebone at the Textile Arts Community. Adrienne and her partner Aaron, are excellent teachers - thorough and knowledgeable but really calm and laidback and encouraging. This is my first little piece of coiled basketweaving - very wonky and wobbly, but done.
Then last weekend I did another workshop with Adrienne at Ceres, this time learning to make twined baskets.
When we bought some gorgeous blue iris yesterday it seemed a pity to waste all those lovely long leaves...
And I found some hemp string that I dunked in the indigo vat a few weeks ago - perfect for the next coiling project.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

a walk along the Merri Creek

Now summer has declined into autumn, it is lovely weather for a Sunday afternoon walk along the Merri Creek.

There was lush green
and the obligatory dead gum trees.
 We sat down for a bit
and chatted to the ducks 

 and more ducks.
 It was all very calm and lovely.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


More than a month without posting.. sometimes I wonder if this blog is dying by inches, or if it has just entered a new rhythm, a different pattern, squeezed in between life, and Instagram and writing in an actual journal.

Anyway there has been painting happening - my studio rhythm has swung back into the wet and there are experiments with layers, and stitch, and text, and ink and paint.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

making sketchbooks

Using Jane Davies' instructions found here I spent this weekend making my first home-made sketchbook.
 It's a brilliant way to use up random pieces of paper and gets you over the hurdle of not wanting to ruin a beautiful new art-shop sketchbook.

I used cartridge paper as the basis for each signature, cut to roughly A4 size
and then had a lovely time digging out maps, glassine, overhead transparencies, lokta, onion skin and fabric in various shapes and sizes.
I used mat-board for the covers and a strip of heavy lokta for the spine. The lovely green and red on the covers is Japanese paper from the stash.
The signatures are stitched to the cover with waxed linen thread: one of the reasons I chose this method was not needing to glue the signatures. Jane's tutorial is very straightforward and easy to follow: I already have the papers cut for my next sketchbook.

If you decide to give it a go I would really encourage you to have a proper bone folder and an awl, and be really careful in measuring and double checking everything, before you cut, glue, or bore holes. And using paper clips to hold the signature folios together while you're stitching, especially if your folios are not a uniform size.