Wednesday, March 31, 2010

jasmine's giveaway

go here for a chance to win one of jasmine's amazing quilts. i can vouch for their extreme cosiness and outstanding needlewomanship, having slept under one of quilts one easter 3 years ago. as a direct result of that house-sitting visit we went and bought 3 chooks, 2 of whom are still resident chez seahorse and still laying :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

next challenge quilt

here are a couples of glimpses of the next art quilts around the world challenge quilt, due for release on thursday. the theme this time is 'flora' and i noodled around with lots of ideas before running out of creative steam.

southern lands has been consuming my creative life with little room to develop other ideas - it is my priority at the moment so i hope i will be excused a double up - this piece is destined for southern lands but it picks up a different theme. in july 2007 i went for the first time to alice springs - as you should know by now i was and remain mesmerised by the country and took lots of photos - mostly of rocks and escarpments in various tones of ochre and deep sienna.

i also took this - the pond in the hotel where i was stayingi saw other waterholes and soaks but the contrast in colours and textures between this man-made oasis and the desert has stayed with me

Saturday, March 27, 2010

all you ever wanted to know about my muse but were too shy to ask

for all those who have wanted to examine my creative entrailspop over here to read an interview with me by neroli henderson.
neroli is a very talented art quilter and graphic designer who is currently running a series of interviews with art quilters on her blog. have a look at her work while you're there - she uses all sorts of interesting techniques and materials and like many bloggers she is generous in sharing her knowledge

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Watching :: not much on tv but always iron chef and rockwiz
Reading :: just finished 'queen victoria demon hunter' which was a hoot
Making :: progress
Eating :: rizogalo
Feeling :: optimistic
Thinking :: about my new job (starting next week)
Hoping :: i won't be a complete failure at it
Wondering :: how many pieces i will get finished for southern lands batch 2
Hearing :: the dishwasher saving me effort
Liking :: autumn weekends
Wanting :: just a bit more time - maybe another 2 hours in the day or better a secret extra day all to myself that would neatly and invisibly fold into the seam of the week

Saturday, March 20, 2010

posts may be a little text heavy for a bit as the main computer has slipped a giblet and is refusing to cooperate. so blogging will be happening from the creaky old kids' computer for a while.

i have much to tell you including a frivolous 22 hour trip to canberra to see a band at the ANU bar and a visit to the Musee d'Orsay exhibition at the National Gallery


Monday, March 15, 2010

a small small ting

i bought myself these as a small reward for getting my new job. i applied for a job that i thought i had no hope of getting and then had an interview and was then offered the job - great enchuffment ensued.

i found the cloudburst earrings at a lovely new shop in high street, thornbury - the curious oyster shoppe full of intriguing things like bags and wallets made of old inner tubes, vintage clothes and quirky jewelry

Sunday, March 14, 2010

one more thing

i was sorting through the most recent photos for the previous post when i found some from a couple of weeks ago when we had dinner with most of my family had dinner to au revoir my sister and her husband. they are now in deepest darkest south america, having a wonderful time but 2 weeks ago they were with us at pizza farro. a proper review post is on our food blog eat our way up high street.

there is a 12 year age difference between me and my little sister - sometimes it shows but mostly it doesn't. we're very close and chat, usually by email, most days. we share a love of grammar and etymology, a profound zero tolerance for ignorance and a passion for all things yarny and textiley, although penny is more yarny than i am and makes the world's best socks. she's also faster and a neater knitter.

here we are chatting
and her lovely husband kent and our Mother paying due attention to the conversation.
pizza farro has very cool decor
and excellent gelato
and i'll be very glad when they're home...

sur le weekend

this has been a quiet weekend as i spent the second half of last week nursing a sore throat/headache variety of virus. m. le docteur prescribed rest and no talking so i spent a trappist few days until full voice capacity was restored yesterday.

i have done most of the quilting on my second big piece for southern lands batch #2 so i should be able to finish it next weekend. here is the first stage of layering eucalyptus dyed blanket over silk satin and linen. i then did the usual array of chopped up synthetics and organza. this one is much harder to quilt though as there are multiple layers of organza which keep shifting - prompting much tooth-grinding on my part.

i did get to stock up on some lovely japanese rayon thread at embroidery source which is just down the road in fairfield. it is a small aladdin's cave - aisles of shelving towering up to the roof, laden with cones of sheeny rayon in every imaginable colour. i was fairly restrained and limited myself to immediate needs. the lovely man said if i changed my mind about the colours or ended up not liking them i could bring them back for a full refund even 3 or 4 years hence.and i forgot to show these treasures from the grampians. part of the textile festival was a traders' hall and i restricted myself to some treats from spiral dyed. the cockatoo feathers were a gift that i found on my walk to the shops. there were dozens and dozens of cockatoos all shedding feathers lavishly so i didn't think they would mind if i took a few
once the southern lands quilts are despatched (by the 18th of april - eek!) i am going to play...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


i started writing a post about the cloque workshop i did a couple of weeks ago but seem to have run out of steam.

i have a sore throat and feel rather ill - after dropping w at school this morning i came home and went straight back to bed. i slept all morning but still feel sookily yuck so might hie myself off to me le docteur tomorrow.

that's all - hopefully back with a more vivacious, if not viviparous post shortly

(the photo is a random tree photo - am thinking of turning it into a quilt)

cloque workshop

a couple of weeks ago i went to grampians textile at hall's gap and did philomena hali's 2 day workshop in cloque - a technique that permanently changes the structure of cloth using a caustic soda solution. the emphasis was on safety and we all had respirators, a face mask and thick rubber gloves. i did get some minor caustic soda burns on my arms from residue on the rim of the bucket and it's not fun. but the results were amazing - this is one of philomena's samples
philomena is an artist from alice springs, whom i met last year and who makes amazing things. here are some of the samples she brought with herapart from cloque, she taught us a number of shibori, smocking and other fabric manipulation techniques and dyeing with procion dyes
this was the view from my cabin
and this was the welcoming committee i haven't taken any photos of the bits i made but will over the next few days

Sunday, March 07, 2010

how to

make a burnt quilt. to celebrate my 400th post here is a quick run through with a bonus video of me glamorously burning a quilt at the end :)

step one a fire proof backing - i usually use wool - either felted jumpers or jackets or in this case, wool blanketing. this has been dyed with eucalytus leaves using india flint's methodthen strew the surface of the base with chopped up bits of synthetic - i use a mixture of polyester organza and tulle. i also mix in some small bits of silk, lame, sequin waste, wool and silk fibre and other bits and pieces that won't necessarily melt but will add depth and texture to the finished product.
when you have a thick enough layer then carefully cover the lot with tulle and or organza and pin like mad. if you don't pin enough, especially around the edges, your bits of synthetic will shift and fall out, which is a Bad Thing.

carefully transfer the quilt over tot he sewing machine and free motion quilt your heart out, making sure that you cover the entire surface of the quilt and don't leave large gaps, unless that's part of the design. if there are large expanses of unquiltedness then the synthetic layer will just drop off when you melt it.
take the quilted piece OUTSIDE and use a respirator as the burning process can be quite fumey and it's not worth risking your health to make art. at bets you'll get a headache and at worst, who knows but those fumes are likely to be carcinogenic. so it's worth investing in a good respirator that's designed to fend off chemical fumes.

so appropriately garbed and ventilated, work over the surface of the quilt with a heat gun (you can also use a soldering iron but i find the heat gun much quicker). don't use the sort of thing that takes paint off walls - that will melt your entire piece and possibly set everything on fire - which we don't want. take it slowly and melt things down as much as you want.

and here is the finished product - it measures 149 x 43 cmand here's the film of me in action (note i am in a well ventilated outside laundry, well supervised by the CWA)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


ok folks the southern lands exhibition is launched. the first showing opened in germany and the website is live.

go here to see work from dijanne cevaal (the curator), me (natch), sarah louise ricketts, clare smith, robina summers, olga walters and fiona wright.