Friday, August 28, 2009

today's efforts

i can't recommend felting with emu feathers - they moult :( i might try adding them afterwards next time. the clumps of possum fur worked well though and this piece is ready for the nexct stage - a thin layer of synthetics, organza and stitching before a light toasting

painting on silk and canvas was much more successful - this will be a triptych i think

Thursday, August 27, 2009

i seem to be a very desultory blogger - but i only write when i have something to say which may be every day for a bit and then nothing. i am coming to the end of my 6 weeks of lovely holiday - i thought i would blog more often but i seem to have blogged less - too busy actually doing.

and thinking (here over breakfast in sydney - note the unsatisfactory toast bottom left - it was warm bread - not toast at all)btw sydney was great although it was a bit tricky being a tourist with no voice - some people assumed i couldn't speak English and spoke to me in big smiley 'you're an idiot' voices, other people whispered back and others just backed away nervously.

i had 3 ferry rides (my favourite form of public transport), trotted around The Rocks and Circular Quay, hopped on and off buses, found great bargamoniousness in Newtown and went to a favvoloso exhibition at the gallery of 8 senior Aboriginal artists. Judy Watson was one of the featured artists - i have admired her work for a long time - when we were in Canberra in the 90s i used to soothe my soul at lunchtime by walking over from my building to the national gallery and just sit in front of their stunning Rothko and then in front of Judy Watson's 'heartland'. this would revive the inner me so that i could face another session of working in the Dept of Finance.....

so over the last 6 weeks i have made a couple of burnt quilts

eaten extremely well
done some rust dyeing
painted fabric
planned more stuff
and slothed just enough

Monday, August 17, 2009

welcome to trappism

i toyed with the idea of calling this post "the silence of madame's" but for once bad punnery lost.

as is my voice - still absent after 3 days, officially awol so off to le docteur went i. and the verdict - i have A Virus resulting in broncho-laryngitis. impressive, hein?

and i am forbidden to utter even the merest whisper or my voice won't come back. so i am reduced to communicating in a very marcel marceau fashion - a mixture of raised eyeborws, gesticulation, skipping and the old fashioned writing on a note pad.
unfortunately my handwriting is notoriously difficult to read so i have to print carefully, with extra tongue protrusion

this is not good for witty repartee but i think will make me a more polite communicator - swearing looks much worse in print

Saturday, August 15, 2009


yes folks i have been silence-enabled. the sore throat referred to below mutated suddenly yesterday into something else - we descended quickly from rather fetching huskiness, to a dismal croak by last night (so that i was obliged to point at the menu and gesticulate when ordering thai takeaway which made the poor woman extremely nervous - she backed away into the kitchen and didn't reappear) and this morning there was only remnant croak and now - nothing, nada, nyetski.

w has been asking increasingly querulously 'is your voice back yet?' and about half an hour ago was driven to ask me to please stop whispering as he couldn't HEAR.

and i look like the Dowager Duchess of Crap-on-Toast.... thank goodness the scrumpster is back tomorrow having completed his odyssey driving back from darwin.

thank you for the comments - mel i used pebeo setacolour and jo sonja fabric paints on that piece: i usually use kraftkolour's sun dyes as well but the last time i was at zart art their stocks hadn't recovered from the bushfires

and yes miss molly's favourite sleeping spot is on my sewing table - usually on the current work in progress. for some reason both toby and molly seem to like sleeping on the burnt quilts although they are usually quite spiky from the melted synthetics - it must appeal to some feline inner luther.

and finally i thought you ought to see the result of my failed attempt at microwave eco dyeing in alice springs - i sadly overestimated the amount of time it should have cooked. the gumleaf btw was intact.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

my creative space

crowded is the only word - see more creative spaces here

sloth and a pouty muse

the scrumpster very kindly posted the camera cable so i can show a few more holiday photos

standley chasm looking up
and darwin

otherwise there has not been much activity chez seascrump - as soon as we landed at melbourne airport we all got sore throats and different levels of sneeziness and ear achiness. this was, i think, rather off putting for the muse who had had a lovely time in alice springs running around like a dog off the leash. but for the last couple of weeks she has been more and more pouty and disinclined to play.

one burnt quilt was the output until late yesterday (and i'm not sure whether or not to cut this one up - any thoughts?)
so yesterday i was stern and, instead of the desultory attempts at creativity of the past week and a half, we did some playing. i think the prospect of making 3 large (for me) quilts was a bit intimidating - i usually make small pieces that fit easily on the kitchen table and the idea of filling all that space was rather scary. so i got some pieces of op shop cotton from the stash and tore them into pieces of just over a metre square to see just how much space i had to deal with.

add some rough gathers and tucks (inspired by colette wolff's wonderful book 'fabric manipulation') and some fabric paint and it all started to flow. here is the piece wound up and wet with fabric paint
and here it is unfurled and dry - a bit too pink and needing more colour i think - some rustier, siennaish colours
and a smaller piece at the putting things together stage

Sunday, August 09, 2009

the creative primeval soup

i am happily swimming away in the lovely primeval soup of creating that goes on before i make something. dyeing fabric, experimenting with different techniques, chasing down references, catching ideas

i have just over 6 months to make 6 pieces for an exhibition - the theme is 'southern land' and my quilts will be about the country around alice springs.

colours - ochres, burnt siennas, umber, deep red, pinks shading into purple and the vibrant cobalt/turquoise of the sky
textures - gibber of the desert, swirls and rough escarpments of rock, spinifex circles, the wave ripples of an ancient sea
and so far the techniques i have been trying out - eco dying with gum leaves on silk and wool (using india flint's amazing book eco colour), fabric manipulation such as ruching, pleating and gathering, painting fabric and khadi paper with red ochre gesso

i would love to able to dye some fabric using this i saw some wonderful eco dyeing at centre craft in alice springs - i can't remember the name of the artist but she had an exhibition of wool quilts that had all been eco dyed including puffball. a fungus that literally pops up all around alice springs. i saw them at emily gap in the east macdonnell ranges and then one morning on my walk along the todd river.

i thought the family would baulk at bring puffballs home in their luggage and i wasn't sure which stage they could be harvested for dyeing purposes. maybe next time.....

Friday, August 07, 2009

ellery creek bighole

ellery creek bighole is one of my favourite places - roughly 100kms west of alice springs in the west macdonnell ranges - it was my first close up encounter with the colours and textures of central australia back in 2007 - the rocks look like they have just reared up out of the earth, energy pours out of the cliffs and the colours glow.

actually glow is too quiet a verb for the effect of these colours - the oranges and blacks just about knock you down, they are so strong. they centainly have a powerful effect on me - i want to run into the desert and lie down in the red dust and just be in the land.

the paintings from this area have a similar effect on me - painters such as evelyn pultara, marymorton and janelle stockman napaltjarri whose work we saw in alice springs.

if you would like to see more rock photos (and who wouldn't?) go over to flickr where i'm gradually loading up some of the mumblety hundred photos i took.

as i was going through the photos it did strike me that i took many more photos of rocks than of the family. further evidence of my bad motherhood - underlined yesterday by young w's joy as he rummaged through the washing basket "yay - i've got matching socks!"

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


at last i can upload some photos - the internet connection oop north was very uppity and would only allow facebook updates :(uluru at sunset
me and uluru a little earlier in the piece

the rock wall in walpa gorge at kata tjuta

more photos and words later