Some Odds and Sods

A few bits and bobs, odds and sods for you today.

I was procrastinating about the second square for my sister’s grandson’s quilt. I got some excellent ideas from many of you. Thank you for your helpful suggestions and ideas; in the end I went with a stylised car.

Can you tell that I had a little trouble appliquéing smooth curves? I wouldn’t want to travel too far with those wheels!


If you read my fortnightly newsletter (and the next one is due this weekend, sign up here if you would like to know more about my art) you will know that I have two collages accepted into an exhibition at our council gallery. It is a community based exhibition, designed to celebrate the opening of the gallery.

My two works are abstract representations of the wetlands that I have become fascinated with over the last few months. You may remember my post about it.

Both are so different to the fine, detailed realistic work of my previous botanic art. However, I have been moving in this direction over the last few years.

The paper for the reeds was created by smearing acrylic paint around on photocopy paper, mainly using an old credit card. Then I cut around the shapes that look to me like reeds. The papers for the sky and water were printed with my gelli plate.

If, by chance, you are around Moonee Ponds at any time soon, drop in. The exhibition opens next Tuesday, 23rd June at:

The Incinerator Gallery

Holmes Rd

Moonee Ponds

You may wonder about why it is called the Incinerator Gallery. Check out their website to find out more, including opening hours and social distancing measures.


The other news is that we sold out caravan the other day. If you have been reading my blog for a few years you might remember some of the trips the Fella and I did in our little Avan. The last big trip was the dash over the Nullabor Plain to Western Australia. Unfortunately it is a few years since we went travelling, and when we did it was obvious that it was becoming more and more difficult for the Fella.

We had tossed around the idea of selling it. However, whenever we thought about it, the problems associated with getting it ready were too much. The big issue was that it is difficult to park it in our suburban street and we have no off-street parking. To get it ready for sale would mean having outside our place for an indefinite period, irritating the neighbours, the school over the road and the parking inspectors. It was easier to leave it out the back of our friend’s large country block.

Then we got a phone call out of the blue. The buyer, John, is a friend of the friend in the country. He had seen the van, understood that maybe it needed a new battery, regassing of the air-conditioning, new seals etc, but offered to buy it without even going inside. An offer too good to refuse! It got better when he was happy to do all the paperwork and clean it out.

So now our little van is off on different adventures.

Will I miss it? I miss the idea of being able to take off. There were still lots of places left to explore, and I never did get to travel up to the Kimberleys. However, I know that currently it is not realistic. So I am glad there is one less thing to sort out, one less little niggle to be dealt with.

What will I miss? I will miss the chance to immerse myself in different habitats, being able to wander; but you don’t need a van to be able to do that. I will miss the quiet and stillness, especially in the evenings. The Fella always goes to bed way before I do, so evenings in the van were a time to read, sketch, journal, catch-up with myself, to listen to the night sounds.

Camped at Moody Bluff Rest Area, Nullarbor Plain, New Year’s Eve, 2016 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

And lastly, a photo of the framed collage I dropped to the Incinerator Gallery. It is being guarded by a snake, created by my talented brother. His iso-art has been to create mosaic snakes!

SAL ~ the Forest Regenerates (or maybe not….)

It is always lovely to have read the comments that you lovely people leave about this work. Last time they enthused me to get going to finish this work. Unfortunately…..I still didn’t get to put any threads through the material.

So this is where I was last time

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and this is where I am now

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Still the same!

However, I have been creating. In this post you may have seen a couple of the things I have been making. Lots of other creations made with paper have appeared….little accordion books, bigger collage paintings, folding, printing…… just not sewing.

Well, not quite no sewing. My sister is making a quilt for her little grandson. She has asked Mum and me to embroider two squares each to go into the corners. I helped Mum work out a couple of ideas for her blocks, which left me with no ideas for mine! A star has emerged on one of my squares

but I am out of ideas for the second. I had thought of a big capital C. Mum is working on an A as his first name is Archie. The C would be for his surname, so it doesn’t have quite the same ring. Mum’s other block is a train. Any ideas? I know you are all very creative and supportive, so I would love your input.

There is a world of talented stitchers for you to discover. Click on the links to see their beautiful work. Thanks to Avis for reminding us every three weeks!

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayley,MeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLaura,CathieLindaSherrieHelen

Concertina artist books ~ or are they maps?

I have been really busy creating; too busy, it seems, to be writing here. So I am just popping in to show you two things I have listed in my Etsy shop.

Remember my post about how the wetlands were inspiring me? They have continued to be an inspiration, and these artist books are some of the things I have been working on. [I have been writing in more detail in my newsletter, so if you would like to get the letter from my studio, you can sign up here.]

I am not sure what to call them. They are not really concertina books (and I have been making lots of those), and they are not really books at all. Maybe they are folded maps? Any thoughts?

Anyway, the fold is called the Turkish map fold. I am enjoying it as it allows the inside to be a surprise, almost a secret. Does it bring back childhood memories of treasure maps and secret compartments? It does for me, which is probably why I am finding them so satisfying to make. It’s a lovely mix of childhood feelings and adult art work.

One of the ‘books’ has the watercolour map on the outside and a crazy abstract painting of the reeds inside.

The other has the abstract painting on the outside and the map on the inside. This one has a couple of glass beads that sort of closes it.

I like that these are taking me in a new direction, while keeping the old of the watercolour and feathers. And what’s not to love about folding paper?!

Hopefully soon I will post more about my work. In the meantime, if you would like to see these books/maps in more detail……

Click here to see the first one.

Click here to see the second.

SAL ~ The forest regenerates ~ update

Running a little late with this post, but I do have progress to report 😇

Last time I was here, musing about how to finish off the work.

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Now that section is finished! Yay!

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And a close up…..

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So, that last little section to go, and a bit to tidy up around the top. Almost there.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley,Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny,Laura, Cathie, Linda, Sherrie, Helen

These talented embroiderers are all working on their personal sewing projects. Do go and have a look at what they have been sewing. (Welcome back Helen!)

I hope you are still well. Restrictions are being lifted in many countries but remember that the virus spreads very quickly and it is important that we maintain our good hygiene habits and social distancing. Stay safe everyone.

Interpreting the Wetlands

Down the end of my street is an oval. When I moved into my house decades ago it was enclosed on three sides by a large, old industrial site. The site was owned by ICI, and aside from the far corner there was little activity. For many years I walked the fenced perimeter peering in at the old buildings, musing about what might have gone there.

The oval was only used by the cricketers and footy teams, and the occasional dog walker. A creek meandered through the site, sometimes buried, sometimes encased in a drain, eventually making its way to the nearby Maribyrnong River.

Of course the site was prime inner suburban land, and after remediation, it was sold to developers. The development wasn’t too bad. The best part though was that the creek was freed from the drain and turned into a wetland. The fences were removed from around the oval, and the space was opened up.

Now I can walk down the end of my street, across the oval and into the wetlands, where there is always something going on.

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Now  that the fences are down the oval is an integral part of complex and is well used.

I am very fortunate to be able to walk here as my daily exercise. The Fella walks around the oval while I go further around the wetlands and often join up with him on the way home. It is a safe place for kids and scooters and bikes and dogs, there is room for us all.

For me though, it is more than just a place to exercise. I am intrigued by the textures, the reflections, the light.

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My fascination never went further than many photos and a thought in the back of my head to translate what I am seeing into art. Then, by wonderful serendipitous luck I enrolled in a course with Tara Axford, whose art I have loved ever since I came across her on Instagram.  She takes the different elements of the bush around her home and makes artistic sense of them. The course is designed to help us see past the clutter and messiness of nature to interpret our special places.

I am loving this course, loving it so much that I am taking it slowly, absorbing, learning, allowing my mind to play with the ideas Tara gives.

What’s not to love when the first module encourages me to beachcomb though the wetlands on my walk, picking up treasures as I go. Tara calls these ‘pocket finds’, a term that is perfect! I was so inspired after watching the first video that I went down to the wetlands in the wind and rain to see how different it would be. Of course I came back with many pocket treasures.

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Over the last few days I have been creating vignettes with my treasures. Rather compelling and very satisfying.

 

I wonder how the next modules will help me further interpret the wetlands.

 

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SAL ~ The forest regenerates #3

Only a little bit of progress in my sewing this time. However, each stitch takes it one stitch closer to being finished! This is where I was last time:

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This is where I am now:

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It’s almost like one of those old fashioned “Spot the Difference” cartoons! (Remember them…two almost identical drawings, and you had to find a certain number of things that had been changed or left out of one.)

I have been sewing though. I finished three little works that I have called the Jewelled-Sea series. I will post more about them at a later date.

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After sewing these I felt I needed to look after my hands a little, and give them a break from sewing. That’s one of the reasons why progress on the purple one has been slower.

There is a group of us who join in this Stitch-A-Long, organised by Avis. They do wonderful stitching, so do go and have a look at what they are doing. A couple have finished a work, so celebrate with them! Welcome back to Linda, and a warm welcome to Laura and Cathie, two new members of the group.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny,Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ,Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda

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SAL ~ The forest regenerates #2

Many apologies for this late Stitch-A-Long post…I think I must have inadvertently deleted Avis’s reminder email…..which also had the current links to others who are joining in. So, I will link back to my SAL post from last time. Your other option is to go to Avis’ post. As well as getting an up-to-date list, you can look at the lovely highlands landscape she is sewing. Do go and see what delightful personal stitching the other group members are doing.

And more apologies…there is not really a lot of progress in my work. The weather here has been very humid, which doesn’t make for easy sewing. And life has been busy.

And I was a bit stuck with how to deal with the bottom of the work, which meant I wasn’t sure how far down to take the couching, and what shape to make it. More of that in a moment.

Last time…

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This time….

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I think I know how I am going to deal with the bottom of the work. I knew this texture couldn’t continue to the bottom. Firstly because I want to create some idea of trees in a forest, and secondly because the work needed variety of stitch and colour.

I played around with some thoughts in my sketchbook, and will do an approximation of this idea. Tree trunks, probably in white/cream against a mottled darkish background to simulate undergrowth. It will trail off to the bottom right to provide another diagonal. Well, that’s the idea! I haven’t investigated the thread stash to see what I have that will work. Maybe next time…..

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Apologies again for not having the list of other members to link to. Again, here’s Avis’ blog.

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SAL ~ The Forest Regenerates #1

This SAL post is a couple of days late. Time seemed to slip away from me. This stitch-a-long is hosted by Avis, and should have been up on Sunday. At least now you will be able to check out everyone else’s posts (check the list at the end of this) and see wonderful stitching from around the world.

I have been working on free-form stitching of late. I enjoyed couching the threads on the last works, and have been carried away with couching on this current one. It is based on my love of trees. Many of you will know of my love of trees ~ not only individual trees but also the shapes and rhythms of them as a canopy. (If you would like to read more of where my tree obsession comes from, this post might help.) As I am stitching I am thinking of all the trees that have been lost in the fires over the Summer.

I am calling it “The Forest Regenerates”, but I may change forest to bush, to give it a more Australian flavour.

Its size is 25 x 30 cm, because that is the dimensions of a canvas I found to use when I am ‘framing’ it. I started without really thinking much about where it was going, only to find I was having problems with the tones. I couldn’t see which trees may be behind and which in front. Fortunately couching is very easy to pull out. (This photo doesn’t give you the true colour of the cloth, which is actually a vibrant purple.)

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So I began again. (The cloth colour is better, but it is still a more royal purple than shown here.)

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I was merrily couching along, until it dawned on me that it was becoming rather repetitive.

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Inspiration came from Patricia Brown who stitches over her paint cloths. I love her work. My work demanded some overstitching to help to make it zing.

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This is where I am up to…

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And a close up

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Lots of lovely SAL projects at these links

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley,Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ

And a quick follow up on my reorganisation of my studio/playroom. I had some great suggestions in the comments about getting my table to fit so that I could face the window. It is all sorted ~ thank you!

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And again, while I have got you, a reminder about my Letter from my Studio, which comes out each fortnight (although lately it has been more erratic than I would like). In it I chat about my art and direct you to places where you can buy it. Jump to this link if you would like to sign up.

 

SAL

Yes, it’s that time again, to report in my sewing progress. However I am rather distracted at the moment. As you know there are devastating bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales. It seems like the country has been aflame for many months. Add this to extreme drought and record high temperatures. I want to blog some about that soon, as there are ramifications for all of us; in the mean time Ardez’s words, “Loving a sunburnt country” are very powerful.

I am also distracted by another dash to Emergency, with my Fella and his cracked ribs. He is on the mend, but you know the time that caring takes.

Anyway, back to my work. You can catch up with the beginnings of the work here. I was able to make good headway and finished it.

Most of the stitching is couched threads. When I got close finishing those lines I realised that the work needed more variety. You can see the French knots, but may not be able to pick up some of the running stitches that are there too. It gave just a little more texture.

abstract textile work

I was pleased with it, and offered it for a group exhibition at the Old Auction House at Kyneton. Then I thought that one was a bit lonely, so I did another! Both were accepted and are currently hanging in the gallery.

The Old Auction House is a lovely place, and has kept my creative practice going over the past year. (There’s another post about that too.) Kyneton is a regional town about an hour out of Melbourne. As well as the gallery there are other things to do, and lots of cafes for yummy lunches and coffee. So, if you live in or close to Melbourne, head out there for a lovely drive and exhibition visit. It’s on until January 20th.

The dilemma to exhibit these works was how to mount them, until I had a flash of inspiration one night while I was unable to sleep ~ to mount them onto shop bought canvases. Unfortunately the only canvases I could get were bigger than the works, which lead to the blank edge. It needed the line of sewing to give it some edge, to give it a frame. I even considered some form of quilting on that blank space. That might make some of you, especially Kate, smile ~ am I gradually inching towards being a quilter?!

Last night I set up another  work, this time based on my on going love affair with the texture and rhythms of trees. More on that one next SAL

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These SALs are organised by Avis. There is lots of lovely stitching to see on the following blogs, so do visit. And a warm welcome to our new member AJ.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi,Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn,Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ

 

SAL ~ starting on the next cliff

Welcome to this Stitch-A-Long, hosted by Avis. At the end of this post there are links to wonderful stitchers, who all do such amazing work. Do have a look.

You may remember that I had almost finished my work on the cliff at Portsea. I say almost, because the trunk was annoying me ~ it wasn’t quite right. I got lots of good advice, which would solve the problem. Unfortunately, I haven’t done anything about it, except think “I must finish that off”! Once something is finished it is hard to go back to. I think it is the process I love rather than the finished product. Do you find that?

So, in case you missed it, here is the cliff, almost finished.

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Now, let’s move onto the next one.

But first, some background for newcomers. In June I was lucky enough to have a month as an artist-in-residence at Portsea, a small holiday town right down on the tip of Port Phillip Bay. You can read about my first week, and see some of the art ideas I played with. 

I came across the most wonderful cliffs that glowed in the afternoon light. They inspired me down there, and now, through the tapestry and embroidery work, are my way back into a creative practice. These are some of the little studies I did while I was at Portsea.

I have always been fascinated, if not slightly obsessed with rocks and cliffs, and it is good to be finally creating works based on them. This time I am using material, poplin, as background, rather than tapestry canvas.

The first step was to mark out the 20 x 20 cm square, and roughly stitch where the main crevices are going to go.

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Then the fun begins! I have couched along the yarns, following the direction of the marks, but also adding in random waves to create the look of the crevices. The colour of this material is awfully difficult to photograph correctly. The first photo shows the true colour.

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A close up. The colours of the threads are rather washed out too. They are more vivid in real life.

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I hope you can tell that the effect I am after is to show the dark and light striations with the different coloured yarns.

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I must give a shout out to Margaret. She has so many delightful stitching projects on the go that she blogged about how she organises her materials for each creation. She inspired me to put all my threads and bibs and bobs for this piece in a box! How sensible! You can also see that I have added quite a few more layers, and the colours are more accurate.

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Thanks for dropping by. I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with the next instalment.

Lots of lovely work to see at these blogs. Be inspired!

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnneConnie