Sunday, March 18, 2012

new challenge

there is a new challenge for the international quilt challenge group - time....
and for once i have an idea that i'm going to stick with, AND i have started - bonus points and elephant stamp please.
 in conversation with Kind Dog on the subject,  i was struck by an idea that is about process rather than form or about trying to capture a feeling or abstract idea. this one is extremely practical.
so far i have machine sewn strips of old cloth - fragments of old linens and clothing (cottons, silks, linens) onto a base ripped from an old cotton sheet. and i am hand stitching now with the most delicious thread that arrived this week from nancy at long ridge farm

nancy provided the best customer service i have come across - i had tried to buy some of her silk/cotton thread a few times a couple of weeks ago and kept getting an error message on the website. i emailed nancy and found she was here in melbourne to do the talisman dress workshop with india flint at beautiful silks. she kindly fixed the website problem straight away and i thought i would get my parcel after she returned home to the States. but she had some skeins of thread with her and very generously sent them straight to me so i got to play with them within the week. thanks nancy - they are just gorgeous!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

weekend 2/3

we're two thirds of the way through a long weekend here - tomorrow is labour day which usually means everyone is as lazy and slothful as possible. i have a bad case of the aches and tireds - as though a virus was trying to break through but couldn't quite be bothered.

others in the household have been quite vigorous however and have moved the office downstairs into the former bedroom recently vacated by kind dog's youngest (who unaccountably abandoned us for student accommodation). this had the kick-on effect of transforming my studio into a more workable space with my new smaller table -
hopefully less likely to get covered by the tide of useful crap that i can't seem to work without. my ancestral bird must be a mallee fowl, i think.

there has also been some gentle creativity.  after the as yet unresolved lachrymae piece*, i started a small experiment using ink dyed cotton, sheet music, tissue paper and silk
and the kids and i had a play with inks and monoprinting this afternoon
  that yielded some interesting pieces.
 and we have a murine interloper - with three cats in the house!! all resting on their laurels, apparently

* i do have some bondaweb drying at the moment having been sprayed and painted with black, purple and turquoise . so we shall see what we shall see.....

Thursday, March 08, 2012

an unfinished piece for iwd

i started making this piece this morning after i found a lots of fake pearls and organza bags at the $2 shop. my first thought sequence was pearls-tears-the tempest- these are the pearls that were his eyes - an idea i've had for a long time....
and then i started to assemble it. i found a great diagram of "the lachrymal apparatus" or the tear gland etc in grey's anatomy (the book not the show). and i printed it onto silk and fine vellum.
as i assembled, pinned and started to stitch
i thought about international women's day and my experience that women's policy in australia tend to be focused on very middle class issues such as work/family balance etc important in a very first world way, especially when you think about the oppression of omwen and girls in most parts of the world.

and then i thought about a report by debbie kirkwood i read earlier in the week about people who kill their children as part of a relationship breakdown. and mostly it's revenge by men against their former female partners: it's another aspect of domestic or family violence. and it can happen to anyone - nice middle class people as well as people caught in the despair in poverty or marginalisation.

so i thought about my own experience of having an abusive father and how that has left me with a deep, pervasive, mostly irrational fear of men - all men, with the notable exception of Kind Dog. and i wished that as part of international women's day we could talk about such things more openly and that women and girls might not have to live in fear. because they stay caught, trapped in that fear by the usual formula of silence, denial, minimalisation that is characteristic of abuse.

that's all.
and this piece is not there - it's still too pretty.

Sunday, March 04, 2012


here is my piece for the international quilt challenge. the theme was 'architexture' ....
lumen is a three dimensional hand stitched textile piece with layers of sari silk, hand dyed machine stitched cotton and sinemay. it was stitched with cotton and silk thread using sorbello stitch, running stitch and french knots. inside the piece are 'sticks' i made of cotton string soaked in black gesso and paverpol.
i had lots of ideas for this challenge mostly to do with cathedrals, skylines and gargoyles. but none of them fired my imagination until last week when i was surfing around the internet and got into a cross referencing spiral around the theme of liminal space and thresholds (which was another image i was toying with). there was a link to the word 'lumen' which of course, Alice-like, I followed and found the anatomical meaning of the word.

A lumen (Lat. lūmen, an opening or light) (pl. lumina) in biology is the inside space of a tubular structure, such as an artery or intestine.
which made me think of Kind Dog's 'heart event' as the hospital people called it, which happened nearly six months ago. of the inside of his arteries and how they were stitched back together lined with mesh. and how this has certainly saved and extended his life.
so while this is not an orthodox interpretation of the architexture theme it is certainly of a structure, a space, a construction.

it is lumen