At the end of week 5

June 20, 2009

There’s no view from the studio this week as I wasn’t there.

It’s been a week with a difference! It started on Sunday with the opening of Australia Naturally exhibition. I had such a great time catching up with everyone that I didn’t think to take any photos even though I had the camera there. Sheila Virgo and Marg Barnett had hung the exhibition. They had done a great job. This was the exhibition that was shown in Paris in conjunction with the International Shibori Symposium and comprised of work that fitted in a 30 x 30 cm box by Australian shibori practitioners. I thought that the works looked better in this space than they did there. They had space and were well lit. It was great party!

I did finish off the scarves. As the washing machine at Sturt was a bit problematical being inclined to wash everything on a hot cycle, I elected to take it home to a guaranteed wash cycle. Probably the machine was fixed but I didn’t really want to run the risk. I’d rather do a test wash on my clothes not on these scarves and didn’t have time to do so before I left. I am pleased with the results. All I have left to do is some stitching on one. These will be up on next weeks post.

On Wednesday, I took the train to Rockhampton. It has been a very long time since I’d done that…30+ years. I was very impressed. It’s fast (quicker than I could drive) and very comfortable and as well gives a totally different perspective on that regularly travelled trip. I was going up for Mum’s 80th birthday and she didn’t know I was coming! Wasn’t she surprised as I’d previously told her that it was just too far for me to come. We celebrated in appropriate style. My brother, sisters and I took her for a drive “up the beach”. As kids we’d spent most weekends driving “up the beach” to go fishing. “The beach” is a 16km stretch of untouched and uninterrupted beach north of Yeppoon. We’d drive up it in an “old beach bomb” and go sand worming, fishing and crabbing. Well, Dad would while we helped, swam or walked for miles collecting stuff. If we were really lucky we’d find an old bit of plastic or lump of ply and go sliding down the sand dunes. Then we’d have lunch of savaloys cooked over a fire and wrapped up in bread with tomato sauce. It had been a very long time since Mum had been “up the beach” so this was a very special surprise. It was great being on that untouched expanse. There was the odd 4 wheel drive but we were basically on our own…. doing lots of reminiscing. And what did we have for our picnic? Well savaloys in bread of course! (and other yummy stuff) It was a grand occasion!

Our picnic spot.

This is our picnic, kilometers from anywhere and looking towards Great Keppel Islands

Ron and Lyn

Reminescent of another time: my sister Lyn, “worming” and brother Ron, fishing.

Mum getting her feet wet

A rogue wave came and Mum got her feet wet. Her grand daughter, Naomi, offered help; the rest who saw, watched on with laughter.


Cutting the cake

Mum cutting her cake with Beth, Lyn, Ron, Naomi and Kyle looking on.

Friday saw me make the return journey. I was very fortunate flying into Sydney airport as I saw a pod of 5 whales and one was breaching.

 It was great to be back and just in time for our Friday night wine too. Now for some more play…

At the end of week 4

June 20, 2009

From the studio on week 4

This week has seen progress. I have been a jewellery model, finished a warp and done some dyeing.

On a cold and very windy afternoon, I became a jewellery model! I am always the person on the other side of the camera so it was a very interesting experience. It was freezing in my light black long sleeved top… just the thing to show off the pieces but I certainly wasn’t dressed for the afternoon. Sina Emrich, the resident jeweller, was requiring a model photographing her very interesting wooden jewellery. We stood out in the howling gale, me positioned against a large gum tree, selected because it reflected the nature of her pieces. Check out her work at


After completing the samples, I had made informed decisions about what elements I wanted in the remaining warp for a series of scarves. The number was dependent on the amount of warp left but I judged it to be about 3. In each scarf I wanted to combine several different elements. All of them were to have sections of loom controlled shibori. I will include all details later with the images when they are finally finished.

Once I had finished the fringes and pulling up the shibori threads, I organised the dye bath. I do not often dye with natural dyes, but this is play time. It seems to be appropriate to use the eucalypts around Sturt to respond to where I am. So for this series, I took a walk up the hill behind the galleries, and collected leaves from a Eucalypt. They were growing on Frensham grounds, and came from tree stumps under power lines that had reshot after being cut down. I didn’t feel guilty about carrying out another heavy prune. I have obtained a glorious golden brown from the brew.

eucalypts for dyeing

One of the scarves after dyeing

Emily, a Tuesday student, has nearly finished putting a very wide warp on a loom for a series of floor rugs. We have ensured an even tension by using a system of plastic milk bottle weights. The warp went on very smoothly. This loom is one of the two oldest looms at Sturt. She is undertaking a huge project.

Emily preparing her warp ready to wind on.

In addition to actual work, I have moved the looms around. I am going to have another gas heater installed in the studio. It is going to be very welcome, but I don’t think the fire is going to be made redundant. In fact we had a delightful afternoon on Thursday. Two people chose to brave awful weather to take advantage of the open studio day. I had 2 students come along and we had fun! Open fire = toasted marshmallows! YUM!

Lois toasting marshmallow. She had the most amazing implement designed for the purpose.

On Friday, I took a drive to Goulburn. I had been told that there was a good sewing machine repairer there and as my machine and overlocker needed a bit of TLC, I have taken them there. In addition, I have been chasing silver dollar gum leaves. There are 3 trees over the cottage but they are very high and also don’t have a huge quantity of leaves, so I was after an alternative to these. I had been told that there was a stand of them in one of the lay by’s along the road to Goulburn. So on the way, I drove into every one… finally finding some in the last one before the turn off. I have noted that there are 2 types of trees with the basic round leaf. One has the circular leaves all the way to the top, the other has round leaves lower on but change to the usual elongated eucalypt leaf as the trees grow older. I collected the latter but the resulting dye bath was tan and not the exciting red brown that I have seen from “silver dollar”. I will collect the other version when I go back to collect the sewing machines and overdye the commercial fabric test piece.

On Saturday after the morning class, I set off on a different adventure, starting with a trip home to Brisbane.