My art practice has moved away from more botanic art influences, so I am rethinking my connection to those past works. At the same time I am wondering what I will be creating when I emerge from this strange time. This work in progress, and the others below, have come out of those thoughts.
I took a watercolour painting of a limpet shell and tore it up. Rather extreme, but I have also been thinking about the impermanence of things, how unfamiliar and unsettled our lives are. I selected some of the fragments and stitched them down. The couched threads go under and over the paper ~ emerging, disappearing. To create the texture I am using an open, quite random herringbone stitch.
These are the other two I have finished. One is a torn eggplant drawing. The other is another watercolour limpet shell, in blue tones. In this one I also added some material scraps ~ you can see them on the left, behind the paper fragments. They are small, so are quick to work on. At the moment it is important to not overwhelm myself.
I am part of a group of stitchers that share their personal stitching work every three weeks. Go and have a look at the wonderful work that is being done all around the world. Everyone is doing something very different, but always interesting.
Last time I wrote I was settling back into Stage 3 lockdown. Unfortunately case numbers in Melbourne are not flattening, and there is talk about going into Stage 4. That will be a new world, because things weren’t that strict last time around. However, we have to get the numbers down.
And really, for me, it doesn’t make a lot of difference. I am only making brief forays into shops for food and often a walk up the street for take away coffee. I can get food delivered, and can forgo the coffee 😩. I have a backyard that needs lots of work and plenty in the house to keep me out of mischief. My heart goes out to the others who are not in my position, and unfortunately there are so many of them at the moment.
Also I wrote about the public housing towers. Residents in eight of the nine towers are now at Stage 3 ~ able to go out for food, exercise, work and care. However one tower had to be kept in strict quarantine as it was deemed that residents were either positive or a close contact of those who were. They are, apparently well supported. I am not sure what level of care is being taken in other towers around Melbourne.
But enough of the virus!
The other day I received three delightful treats in my letter box. The first was a card from my Mum, who lives on the other side of town. We often write to each other. Then there were two lovely protea flowers. I must have a secret admirer, as I have no idea who they were from.
You can see the range of goodies ~ cards, notebooks, fabric squares, knitted delights, hand embroidered pieces, papers embellished and printed. How blessed am I? And blown away by her generosity, and talent.
It is a while since I have told you anything of my art, aside from my Stitch-A-Long sewing. I have been better at keeping my newsletter readers more up-to-date; if you want to be in the know you can sign up for my vaguely fortnightly newsletter. There will be a new one in the next day or two, where I will be writing in more detail about tearing paper.
While it took me a while to get going, lately I have been busy with arty things, especially any thing to do with paper:
It is good to have a place to escape into, isn’t it?
As you can tell from the fancy dropped capital letters and the little separating dots, I have been playing with the new WordPress editor. I only have one whinge. In the old system I could upload photos straight from Google photos. Now I have to download them into iPhotos and then upload them. Am I missing the magic button that will save me a few steps? Any ideas?
and now I have filled in the bottom left section, turning them into trees.
A close up of where I have been working
I am not sure that the trunks are right, but they are easy to take out and restitch. I’ll evaluate them later. Sometimes it helps to just let things sit, doesn’t it?
While I have finished the canopy it is not time to do the Happy Finished Dance just yet. There is still some touching up to do.
I started at the top and gathered confidence as I worked my way down. Some of the early work needs going over and I need to work out what I am doing right at the top. Some of those darker chain stitch areas may come out. It will depend on what looks right.
So, close to being finished, but not quite yet.
These Stitch-A-Long posts are hosted by Avis, and we do them for pleasurable stitching, stitching just for ourselves. Do go and have a look at the other fabulous stitchers from around the world ~ just follow the links below. I am sure you will be amazed by their creativity. (Their posts may not be up just yet due to time differences.)
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.
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
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.
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!
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……
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.
Welcome to this latest Stitch-A-Long, where a group of us post updates on our personal stitchery. It seems like the last SAL post was just the other day, but 3 weeks have flown past. (Do you find that your sense of time is warped at the moment?) I had done very little on my piece, as I didn’t know how I was going to finish the bottom part. So last night I mapped it out. There is not much to show as most of it is still in my head. At least now I know where I am going…..and I think it is going to work.
Those wiggly lines at the bottom are tree trunks. They may change, may become more defined and less random.
My other reason for not getting a lot done is that I am doing an online mixed media course, which I am loving. Read my earlier post if you would like to catch up with that.
The other members of the group are very talented embroiderers, and a very warm welcome to Sherrie. Use the links below to have a look at the stunning work that they are doing.
Well, there has been little progress in the last three weeks. Not surprising, as the whole world has turned upside down in those three weeks.
However, there has been some work, mainly in this area.
You must be aware of all the help there is to keep our hands active and our minds calmer. I have signed up for this challenge at TextileArtist.org. Each week a different textile artist is presenting a sewing exercise. There is a closed FB group, but no pressure to show, or even finish the work. It may be something that interests you too. The first week has almost gone, but I am sure you could still participate.
the first exercise was to divide a 15 x 15 cm square into four, choose a stitch and experiment with creating different effects in each square. My choice was chain stitch. Still a square to go, as you can see,
This Stitch-A-Long is organised by Avis. We are all working on different pieces and post updates every three weeks. Have a look at the other embroiderers on the list below; I am sure you will be amazed at the beauty you find.
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.
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…..
Apologies again for not having the list of other members to link to. Again, here’s Avis’ blog.
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.)
So I began again. (The cloth colour is better, but it is still a more royal purple than shown here.)
I was merrily couching along, until it dawned on me that it was becoming rather repetitive.
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.
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!
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.