Thursday, September 30, 2010

solomon's temple door

the latest art quilts around the world quilt challenge theme was 'doors'. after sitting out the last challenge to focus on southern lands and jealousy it was odd turning my mind back to the challenge with its boundaries around theme and size. the size this time was 12 inches square which is not a size i have done before.
i played around with a few ideas thinking of thresholds, littoral, hallucinogenics and such. and then came back to my first thought which was the door to solomon's temple. any realistic rendering of this would need a much bigger scale so it became a more impressionist feeling.
in terms of techniques and materials the purple central pattern is layered cotton, silk and a piece of netting from a potato bag hand stitched with silk and copper thread flooded with artists ink and fabric paint. i then went over the netting with copper and gold paint stick.

this was laid over black linen, wool felt, 2 pieces of gorgeous deep crimson silk brought back from vietnam by a colleague, 2 pieces of wired mesh ribbon teased open to give a slight baldacchino effect then fine black tulle.

i then machine stitched with a mix of rayon thread in gold, copper, purple, crimson and black and hove to with the heat gun to lightly toast.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the beneficial influence of spinsters, or, the path to donne

i had a post all mapped out in my head - crediting my sixth form eng lit teacher for sparking my love of poetry. i had thought of that magical first lesson back in february 1982 when miss dorothea cerutty introduced 12 earnest 17 year old school gels to the dark passion of the metaphysical poets.

not by telling us of the fretted difficulty of donne and marvell but by acting out donne's valediction forbidding mourning.

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

she stomped around the room pacing out 'dull sublunary lovers love' and then soared to the expansion of the true lovers' love. i can still feel the hush in the room as she whispered his elegiac Hymn to God, my God, in my sickness...

Since I am coming to that holy room,
Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before.

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die,

I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
For, though their currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me? As west and east
In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

We think that Paradise and Calvary,
Christ's cross, and Adam's tree, stood in one place;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in his purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord;
By these his thorns, give me his other crown;
And as to others' souls I preach'd thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
"Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down."

i had thought that Miss Cerutty had helped me to feel poetry - not just to stumble through, interpreting and recognising symbols in an eng lit audit.

but then i remembered another literary spinster - a much earlier influence. Miss Frances Kate Marguerite Dumaresq was the very elderly lady who lived next door to us when i was a small child and from whom my parents had bought their house. she had no opinion at all of men and could see through my father.

according to my Mother, Miss Dumaresq gave my younger brother a bottle of strychnine to play with saying what a pretty blue the glass was.... but i was her pet and she taught me the beauty of words and language and showed me what lay through the looking glass of reading - escape.

I remember her library which was crammed floor to ceiling with books - shelves and shelves of brightly coloured penguin paperbacks, and venerable dictionaries and bibles. the front room had stiff uncompromising horsehair sofas and a polished upright piano with sconces. she taught me the word 'sconce', gave me rather dusty jubes out of an ancient tin and introduced me to lewis carroll. i remember learning the walrus and the carpenter - hearing the cadences, tasting the new words and smelling the smell of that front room.

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

plane views

i know it's not the optimal place to take photos but i am always mesmerised by the view from the plane. flying to darwin last week there was a fair bit of haze and cloud but i had to capture these amazing bits of landscapeand then the turquoise azurity of darwin harbour. the intense turquoise is shot through with amber and please don't tell me that it's silt, or seaweed or effluent - i just want to enjoy the vibrancy and tuck it away for future projects - imagine it in silk!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

running to catch up

well, i'm not doing too well on the nablopomo thing, am i? just as well i didn't tell anyone or put the badge on the blog. but then, being in darwin for 4 days, one night at home and then a weekend at the beach didn't help.

yes folks, we drove down to lorne on the victorian west coast on friday and had a rather relaxing time at a colleague's beach house.

here's the amazing view from the bed
sunset at the beach

full moon reflection on the sea (from the balcony - so seen through trees)
a and w making tunnels
getting in a little stitching
and relaxing on the sofa
of course there was the requisite finding weird things in rockpools.we also visited the nearby erskine falls which involved descending down a vast number of steps all the while thinking of having to ascend again later... the falls themselves were pretty cool: there were amusing signs and lots and lots of dripping greeneryand incontrovertible evidence of the green man....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

back to the chill

oy it's chilly in melbourne... especially after having spent the last few days in darwin up up up in the tropics where the daily temperature year round is 34 degrees with enough humidity to send my hair into a continuous catawampus frenzy. i went up for a conference on Indigenous early childhood and the scrumpster joined me. the view from the hotel room was pretty cooland i did the traditional hotel room toe nail painting on arrivalwe had a fabulous dinner at hanuman although i carelessly slung back an entire cosmopolitan on an empty stomach and felt my ears slump to my shoulders for a time. luckily a wondrous black rice brulee set me to rights
more later....

Monday, September 20, 2010

i can seeee you....

i am now obsessed with the new widget - scroll down down down and you can see where all my visitors come from.this has long puzzled me as i seem to get waaay more visits than comments and from all over the place (hello latvia - you seem to be country of the month according to blogger stats). you're either very shy or lots of people land here by mistake and recoil immediately.
in breaking news, i have just joined chris daly's new art quilt blog - go over and have a look.... another prod from the universe - i hereby publicly vow to set up my website by the end of the year

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a sunday afternoon's noodling

the scrumpster gave me a dremel tool for cmas last year and i have been cirlcing it warily for some time. it is such a different type of tool and even the instructions are impenetrable and full of new words like mandrel, chuck and collet.

but this afternoon, attired in various safety masks and with hair and imagination akimbo, i grasped the nettle and dived into the world of dremelling.
dremelled, heated and inked cd

copper shim

and this was the coolest and sparkiest - rusted metal that i attacked with a cutting wheel - it made lots of very satisfactory neeee-ow noises

in a brief return to textiles i heated and painted this piece of silk previously randomly gathered, pleated and painted with xpanda painti'm also thinking of how to make wings out of copper wire and possibly silk - am still weighing up the pros and cons of knitting versus using unbound copper scourers - stay tuned....

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love.
One of the tortures of jealousy is that it can never turn its eyes away from the thing that pains it.
George Eliot

not something i would want to wear on a t shirt... but i did like this one

thank goodness for mercury

more wisdom from the entrails.... i'm must say that mr cainer makes exceedingly good predictions

Virgo Your Week Ahead: Each time you think you've solved a problem, you realise it has merely led you to another difficulty. But then, life's like that. Nothing is ever permanently perfect. Or rather it is... but only if you accept that ongoing challenge is a natural part of that perfection! You need, this week, to be a bit of a philosopher. Find wise ideas. Develop deep thoughts. Mercury remains in Virgo, putting you in an excellent position to improve your material situation and strengthen an emotional or romantic bond. But to do all this, you must allow yourself to be OK with things as they are, not keep wishing they could be some other way.

and as for the not so mystery object - vireya wins the prize for getting it right by sherlockian methods and i lose for being such a chump as to use a labelled photo. the other commenters get a small consideration for joining in so imaginatively - can you all email me your addresses please?

Friday, September 17, 2010

assiduous friday

the day's events began early when the internet man arrived to fix the internet while i was drying my hair. luckily i had assumed garments but, as i had been given an assurance that he would arrive sometime this morning, i hadn't expected him to be quite so betimes...

however the intertubes is now back among us and all is good. the rest of the day was spent blamelessly almost finishing the latest challenge quilt - supervised as usual by toby (who has no interest in handstitching) and the sewing machine guardian.
the theme this time is 'doors'.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sunday afternoon strolling

on sunday afternoon the scrumpster and i went for a walk down high street - we walked the 5 kilometre return trip from thornbury to westgarth.

although we drive up and down high street all the time things look very different in the gathering gloom of a late afternoon and you see all sorts of unhinted at wonders

and i leave you with a mystery object - a small prize for the successful guesser...