Week 16

September 4, 2009

 The last view from the studio

This is the final week of the residency. You may have noticed that I haven’t put “at the end of week 16”. I finished up on Tuesday. That tree still has leaves hanging on. I did take a walk down and take a closer look. Yes, there are new shoots appearing, so obviously at no stage will it be completely bare.

Old leaves and new shoots

There was the last bit of dyeing to do. What could be more appropriate to finish with the last of the bookmark blanks? I dunked them in the last of the indigo. Some were undyed previously, while others had come from the cineraria dye bath. It was a most appropriate way to finish off the residency as these bookmarks were the very first project woven at Sturt. And yes they will pass through the rite of passge with fire…. sometime.

More bookmarks: The last hurrah!

It was a very busy few days with the final labelling of the art work which I’m leaving for the “50 years of weaving at Sturt” exhibition starting in October. There was also lots of packing and tidying up. I did somehow manage to fit everything in the car!

Monday night we had a celebration dinner in the cottage. Of course it was going to be a great night and it was! The celebrations continued onto the next day with the Tuesday group providing champagne and cake and they even lit the fire for one last time. Mind you the doors were also open as it was not a cold day by any stretch of the imagination! They launched me on my way in grand style.

Most of the Tuesday class

Cakes to go with champagne.

It has been an amazing experience! Four months has certainly flown!

This week has also been a time for reflection. At the farewell dinner, I carefully selected some symbols of my time here and arranged them above the fireplace.

 Some of the essence of Sturt

 I used these items (the log of wood, the sprig of Eucalyptus Cineraria and the glass with the wood shaving steeped vodka) to describe what the Sturt experience has meant for me.

It has provided a creative thinking place and space.

It has provided fireplaces and fire to think about, do stuff with and be warmed by.

It has provided woodpiles to experiment with.

It has provided trees with leaves and bark to experiment with and to be inspired by.

It has provided looms to be challenged by.

I have played, experimented and created. And as the result of all this, I have achieved some work that I am excited by and that will lead onto other new works.

And lastly it has been the means of discovering wonderful friends and working with great people in a truly unique and special place.

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At the end of week 15

September 4, 2009

From the studio week 15There are still some leaves hanging on! 

Outside the studio

This tree is just outside the studio. It is magnificent.

I heard from Museum and Galleries services during the week that my work “Which way” which was acquired by the Redland City Council will be part of the Twelve Degrees of Latitude Exhibition, opening at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville and touring. I am absolutely delighted to be part of this exhibition!

On Tuesday night, 3 “Sturties” (Dale, Slavica and I) went on a wombat hunt. It was on dusk as that’s when you are likely to see them and we saw: 4 dead wombats, 3 feral cats, a hundred roos and…. 1 live wombat!  And we had a very nice country drive followed by a lovely dinner.

The week continued to be a very social one. On Wednesday night, H and David hosted a wonderful dinner in Ainsworth with Megan, John and Dale and me. Thursday night saw a gathering at a Thai restaurant in Bowral: great company fantastic food. Friday was a student exhibition opening with pre event drinks instead of our usual Friday night get together. Saturday I went wombat spotting at Carol’s farm. It was a dark, blowy, showery night and there trotting around the paddock with 3 humans in tow was a wombat. We followed it across the paddock, under the road (through a pipe), across to the dam and back again. It was a very obliging fellow and we got very close. Eventually we decided to leave him to it. I’m sorry that I wasn’t smart enough to take the camera as I could have got up close and got a beauty.

Work progressed steadily. The circles were discharged and redyed. The eucalyptus bath seems to make the discharge process slower. I also did a quick sample to check whether eucalyptus oil would achieve the same semi resist effect that can be got using the leaves to dye with. I immersed one edge of a previously dyed fabric in some oil then applied the fibre reactive dye. It was a very patterned piece, but I am reasonably sure that there was a slight difference in the take up of dyes even using this commercial preparation.

The following 2 images are details of “Meeting Place V” . The full view can be seen in the “Weaving at Sturt” page. I did have quite a bit of difficulty deciding which was the front as the back view had some very beautiful dye patterns.

Meeting place 5: front

Meeting place 5: view of back

The following 2 images are of the sister piece of the pervious one: “Meeting Place VI” There was no trouble with this piece deciding front or back as this was decided by the image.

Meeting Place VI: front

meeting Place VI: Back

Emily completed the weaving of her first 2 rag rugs. She had woven them side by side on the big loom. Now she is getting ready to weave full width.

Emily and her 2 rag rugs just off the loom.

Anne brought along her scarf that she’d finished. She is delighted with the result.

Anne wearing her beautiful scarf

I completed the series of scarves that I’d been weaving the previous week. This series involved double weave with the layers attached at one edge in the same grid. After weaving I stitched circles and bound these before dying one in the Eucalyptus Cineraria (Argyle Apple) dyebath. This time as it was wool, I finally got the red brown that I knew was possible.

Scarf tied before dyeing

Integration VI

I also finally got to try the wood shavings which had been soaking in alcohol. Remember this was started in week 6. I used one of the wool scarves. It was a spectacular non event! No colour at all, but it certainly has been fun to do and a talking point of course. The scarf went into the Cineraria dyebath after it’s mate. It isn’t quite as dark as the previous one.

Integration V

A second series of scarves was completed on the same theme.This one uses cotton and acrylic for both the warp and weft with a panel of double weave grid. I drew circles in a devore chemical and removed the cotton component.

Integration III

The Saturday class proved a hive of activity. The morning was spent weaving and evaluating what had been covered. But the afternoon was strictly play. We experimented with a potato dextrin resist, playing with deb potato. We scrapped it out and then scratched back into it, even with fingers. It would be a great activity for kids: they could even lick their fingers! It took a long time to dry in front of the heater but finally we applied some procion dyes. The fabric was then wrapped up for batching. Some of the fibre reactive dyes were also used for shibori pieces, some on commercial fabric, others on hand woven.

Playtime with spud!

Dye applied to one of the student's work.

In addition we had a special dye activity. I put on an indigo bath. It was a lot of fun! I got to work on a previously naturally dyed fabric and folded it before dunking. And because I had one bit of white fabric left, I quickly tied it up with rubber bands. I just couldn’t resist that indigo!  Others had stitched, and tied fabrics with one even having grains of rice tied in. It was a great way to finish of the Saturday classes.

indigo fishing (Image from Lois)

 indigo "bat" (Image from Lois). The fabric is hanging while oxidizaion takes place.

Indigo squares

This fabric had been previously dyed the week before in bark with alum mordant .