At the end of week 14

August 23, 2009

From the studio, weekn 14

That tree still has red leaves! And all around Spring is happening. There are wondeful clumps of daffodils and all manner of spring bulbs.Daffodils at Sturt

This has been a busy and productive week, in spite of the fact that it was shortened by my arriving back from Darwin on Monday.

The studio has had some wonderful alterations. There are now wide benched to use the table looms on. One of these provides the most beautiful place to work in as it is positioned in front of a huge window which looks out on a magnificent flowering pink tree. New storage shelving has also been installed in the back room. Everyone is very excited with the improvements.

Rennovations in the studio

Some of the Saturday class weaving with tables looms on the new benches under the window.

From the point of view of “work”, the circles have had their initial dyeing in argyle apple and are currently pulled up awaiting the next stage.

Shibori threads pulled up waiting for dyeing

I am also in the process of weaving on another warp which is following the same theme as the circles, but is much more loom controlled doubleweave. It is being woven at a much faster rate than the circles. Thank heavens for that!

The next project: more doubleweave

I have had more fun “playing”. The bark from the eucalyptus tree which had been boiled and left to sit while I went to Darwin, has been used for the second layer of dyeing on commercial fabric. This fabric had been dyed using argyle apple with the extended mordant process. This time around, I remordanted using the overnight process. I’m sure that there is little difference in the amount of dye that is taken up. It now waits for another process; mmmm I wonder what that’ll be. All I do know is that I want to do another layer of dye to add to the complexity of the piece and as well as that, as much as the dye pattern is currently interesting, I’m not all that keen on brown.

The second layer of natural dye

While I was dyeing this I also put a couple of bookmarks in the dyebath. I pole wrapped them around a broomstick. I had carefully selected the end that was pink and used it for wrapping. I hoped that the dye would transfer from the broom so that the fabric against the wood would take up that colour while the natural dye would colour the outside. It happened as planned with quite an interesting pattern. It is a little difficult to see the pattern as the colours are very similar in tone.

week 14 046

Saturday saw an informal gathering of where both groups, the Saturday and Tuesday groups, were invited to afternoon tea followed by a showing of the Peter Collingwood DVD. It was a lovely afternoon. Some of the ladies had brought along the most scrumptious food which we had on the veranda before going inside to watch the DVD. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

The gathering: Afternoon tea on the verandah

The gardens are so exceptionally beautiful. The magnolias are just starting to open. I am so fortunate that the weather is warmer than usual so I am getting the spring colour before I leave. I am still complaining though that I didn’t get snow!

And a postscript to the week: I was invited to the most scrumptious afternoon tea. The afternoon tea was an event, but what was really exciting was that I saw my first wombat in the wild as we were driving home at dusk!  

Magnolias are just starting to open.


At the end of week 13

August 18, 2009

There’s no picture of the tree that’s being so slow to lose its leaves this week as I have spent the week away from Sturt in the “Top End” experiencing the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Arts Festival in Darwin. Helen Barnard, Phillipa Rooke and I had a most extraordinary time visiting Estelle and Warren Virgen. We saw, we ate and we experienced! What a fabulous time they gave us. We visited the Aboriginal Arts Markets, Frame (the most amazing gallery), the Tiwi, Larakia and Maningrida Galleries (3 cooperative galleries run for the specific family groups), the Mindil and Parap Markets. We saw the works that were juried for the Awards and were there when the very controversial winner was announced while the sun went down as a backdrop to the whole occasion. At night, we sat under the most amazingly clear sky and enjoyed the heavens. Then after spending three very full days “doing culture”, we played “tourist” visiting Litchfield National Park and then to top off that final day we went to a concert by Tom E Lewis (vocals and guitar). Many of the songs included aboriginal singing by Roy and Daniel contrasting with electric guitar, and double bass. It was a great concert. We went from there to the airport to make the journey back to Mittagong. I have come away with wonderful memories, a great collection of images and inspiration that can be used for future work. Here are a few of the things we saw:

After lunch in front of Parliament House

Phillipa, Estelle and Helen in front of Parliament House after lunch. It was a fabulous lunch destination.

Inside Parliament House

 

Mindil Markets

Sunset at Mindil Beach

Another sunset. This time at the awards.

 

 

Estelle communicating with a termite nest

I heard the tail end of an interview on the radio this morning that really brought home some of the experience that was Darwin. The sky was so clear up there and there were an unbelievable number of stars. The interview was on the night sky with some discussion on renaming the constellations. The person being interviewed made a statement along these lines: The white man named the constellations by connecting dots, the aboriginal looked at the empty space and named those. He gave the example of the black spot that can be seen in the Southern Cross when viewed away from city lights as being the head of the emu. If the negative space is followed it becomes the neck and then the body. Darwin is such a contrast to other capital cities.

In Litchfield National Park

I heard the tail end of an interview on the radio this morning that really brought home some of the experience that was Darwin. The sky was so clear up there and there were an unbelievable number of stars. The interview was on the night sky with some discussion on renaming the constellations. The person being interviewed made a statement along these lines: The white man named the constellations by connecting dots, the aboriginal looked at the empty space and named those. He gave the example of the black spot that can be seen in the Southern Cross when viewed away from city lights as being the head of the emu. If the negative space is followed it becomes the neck and then the body. Darwin is such a contrast to other capital cities. It has so many facets and the experience gave much food for thought.


At the end of week 12

August 9, 2009

At the start of week 12 from the studio.

Daffodils and the studio sign

Visitors welcome…. The studio sign in with the daffodils.

What a week it’s been! I have had a very concentrated week in the studio, working hard at the “circles” and I was determined to get it off this week. As a result I have been working in the studio very early and very late. In amongst that I have had interesting work come out of the weekly classes, done some more dyeing  and have also been out and about.

Flowers in the garden near the studio

Every so often, I come across yet another flower that I hadn’t seen. I am really enjoying the gardens.

By Wednesday, I had completed the 3 stages of the mordanting process that I began on Sunday. I then used one of my stashes of Argyle Apple leaves for the dye bath. At this stage I just stuffed the mordanted fabric into a stocking knowing that an actual pattern wasn’t important, and that any random pattern would suffice. All I was really interested in was whether the recipe would work and even whether the 3 stages would give a better result that the previous one stage that I’d already tried. Well I got colour, and I got a random pattern (not very exciting) and I have decided that the 4 days it took to complete the process was not worth the effort. The fabric can now wait till I decide what I want to experiment with next.

4 days of mordanting and dyeing

This week has also see the beginning of some research into different brands and recipes of acid dyes for dyeing wool. This will continue over the next few weeks.

I have instituted a “show and tell” wall. Libby, one of the Tuesday ladies, organised the return of a community project tapestry that had been completed a number of years ago and which she heard was rolled up on top of a cupboard at the preschool. It had been woven as a community project from one of the drawings by a grade 3? student. That girl graduated last year. Some “stripes” were also woven at the same time. We and our visitors have been enjoying having them. In addition, I have encouraged the students who complete work to display them. April has finished a series of scarves. Consensus was that the class liked the bendy rod instead of a straight one. This is a temporary measure till an improved system can be implemented. I am very pleased to have weaving on the walls especially as we are having a lot of visitors in the studio.

The sudio with the community tapestries

April with her scarves

Camelias from a Tuesday Lady's garden

I have had these camelias as a table centre decoration for the week. They came from Judy, one of the Tuesday lady’s garden.

We had a visit from the year 6 on Thursday. I gave a talk on being a “real live artist” with the class sitting on the lawn in front of the studio. After which they all trouped inside to look at the looms. They enjoyed it as did the ladies who’d come along to weave. And they also enjoyed the tapestry as some of them had seen it in preschool.

I have had two excursions. One was with Megan who is in charge of Sturt, and the contingent from the wood school to a furniture exhibition in Sydney. It was a juried exhibition and very well presented. There was space around the individual pieces and they were of course of exquisite craftsmanship. The second excursion was to Canberra to talk to their students about my arts practice. It was well received. Most importantly I made it back for our Friday night wind down.

But the best part of the week is this afternoon. I have finished the circles. I timed myself today and no wonder it has taken so long. On a relatively “simple” section I could weave 3 cm in 1 hour. Now for the fun bit: all the dyeing.

The length of "circles"

Eventually these will be two separate works.

This next week is going to be interesting. I have a trip to Darwin for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Arts Festival. As I won’t be back till Tuesday week, the next blog will be a few days late.


At the end of week 11

August 2, 2009

From the studio, week 11

Those red leaves are still hanging on! The gardens are lovely.

Also from the front of the studio

A view to the otherside of the front of the studio. It was early morning and the light was beautiful. There’s a wonderful clump of jonquils there.

Down the garden path at the back of the studio

Each morning I walk down this path at the back of the studio. There is a lovely combination of spring flowers here.

Most of my week has been spent doing doubleweave. I have finished the circles and am now onto the next image on this warp. It is just slow.The next doubleweave design beginning

This is the last loom I intend to “fix”. I started with getting some woodworking done in repairs to the shafts and then replaced all the cords before balancing. It is functioning beautifully.

The last loom fixed.

This is the studio with all looms functioning beautifully: All 14 of them in this photo.

The looms in the studio

 

There’s another mordant recipe been put on the recipe page. I am in the middle of the process. I hope that it’s worth the effort as it is a 3 day process. I’m looking for stunning results! (I hope)