July 2017: Ballarat and the USA

August 4, 2017

This has been a very busy month teaching away from the studio firstly in Ballarat and then for MAFA in the USA.

At the Ballarat Fibre Arts Australia event, the title of the workshop was Play +1. Each of the students chose a different topic to explore – in other words, play. They could choose an aspect of double weave or mixed warps or a technique of their own choice. There was as a result total diversity. After exploring their topic for 3 ½ days they added an extra component in an extra shaft to achieve a more complex cloth.

But before we started the workshop, there was the matter of a decoration for the top table. I took the opportunity to produce this in the “meet the tutor” afternoon slot. This was a fun activity: a bit of stitching and needle weaving into gutter guard. Everyone got to do whatever they wanted and using whatever yarn they wanted. It was also a great opportunity to meet new and catch up with past students in a very relaxed manner.

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Elizabeth started with an unfinished scarf as her project. It was colour and weave on a 4 shaft twill. After finishing her scarf she explored colour and structure variations, including removing and replacing a few warp colours before adding in an extra shaft for a supplementary warp.

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Jeanette explored combining lace and summer and winter. This provided the opportunity to explore both structures and some creative approaches to a block of warp threads that didn’t weave. Her extra shaft was used to fix a threading mistake.

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Trudi explored double weave with Summer and Winter as one layer. There were lots of variables here.

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Jillian explored double weave and rotational blocks. (Colonial overshot) and then introduced an extra warp thread on her extra shaft- one that she moved around changing it from one position in the reed across the weft and to a second position.

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Di came with a sample of double weave that we then interpreted into a 12 shaft draft. The draft combines blocks of twill and plain weave.

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Michael arrived mid workshop and luckily there was a loom set up. It was destined to be rag mug rugs. However, this was used to explore variations of plain weave and then by adding in an extra shaft, it was possible to achieve a 3 end twill.

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At the end of the week, the class puts on a display of their work. This is what was achieved. Unfortunately I had to leave early but I was delighted and privileged to spend this time with them. I must also acknowledge the great team that organises the event: Noni, Glenys and the Golden Team. Check out Fibre Arts Australia for details of the next Ballarat event and others run by this organisation. http://www.fibrearts.jigsy.com/ event.

Jeanette table

Later in the month saw me at Millersville in the USA for the MAFA conference. The class was East Meets West where various back strap structures and techniques are interpreted for a western shaft loom. It was a great class of 11 students and everyone accomplished much in 2 ½ days. Here’s an overview of what was woven with each student choosing their favourite section.

 

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Apart from the workshop, there was such a lot to do: catching up with friends and the market place and various structured activities including a fashion parade. Those who were involved in the organisation put on a great conference.

After the conference I had the opportunity to visit with my friend Judith Krone in Atlanta. On one day we got to see these two exhibitions at Lyndon House Art Centre in Athens.

The first one was Time Warp….and Weft, an exhibition by 6 artists.

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This is the artist statement followed by an overview of the gallery and work by Geri Forkner that could be walked through.

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The second exhibition was Fold Unfold.

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About 50 weavers/ university faculties created coverlets. Each of these were folded and placed in a pile. They will be opened at an “unfolding” event. It would have been great to have seen at least one of them unfolded and displayed. Accompanying the exhibition is a movie of each individual work unfolded with a detailed view. This of course can’t replace seeing the actual work.

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The other very important activity at Judith’s was our dyeing day. Judith and I have established a tradition of weaving a joint project over a two year period. The first year we each wind our warps of 2 scarves each warp, dye and swap. The second year we weave two scarves with the grand unveiling of the project occurring where we exchange scarves. Each of us ends up with two scarves (one of each other’s dyeing and the other of each other’s weaving). You may have seen previous results of our collaboration. Anyway this is the start of our 5th project (10 years). This time we dyed the two warps together and have swapped. What colour? Well you will just have to wait and see when all will be revealed next year.

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Coming up- a 2 day workshop at Go Create (www.gocreatenewengland.com) on the 9-10 September and workshops in the studio.

21-25th August                 Special (2 places left)

18-22nd September         Doubleweave and Friends (2 places left)

16-20th October               Two extremes: Choose between weft faced rugs and warp faced textiles                                                    including rep or textiles inspired by SE Asia. (2 places for rep/warp faced                                         textiles only)

13-17th November          Woven shibori (2 places left)

4-8th December               Special


August 2016

August 31, 2016

This month celebrates all things weaving and the fellowship/friendship of weavers. It was the month for Convergence and travel to the USA and Canada.

I arrived at 1.00 in the small hours of Monday morning after a delayed stopover in Dallas. My friend Judith greets me and of course we have to celebrate.

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It was also time to do our biennial scarf exchange. This challenge started by dying a warp using a starting point of mid-blue. This warp was then separated into 2 lengths with one length being swapped. The warps were then combined. We could weave it however we wanted. I think this challenge was in some ways the most challenging yet as the two warps that were to be combined ended up being very different. Here’s what we ended up with.

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 Now we both have an additional 2 scarves to add to our Judith and Kay collection. Their first outing: the fashion parade at Convergence. And as always they’ll be worn together.

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I would have to give an award to the most dedicated class of weavers to this group. There was a fire evacuation in the convention centre. No problem: we’ll just do a bit of theory while we wait.

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I celebrate the class results of Ties: decorative, functional and unconventional.

And I celebrate the results of the East Meets West Class.

 And the Sotis class.

But Convergence also means getting to see exhibits: The fashion parade with the winner’s circle and details of cloth.

The yardage exhibit.

Convergence is also about shopping. All the loom makers were there and an interesting mix of other traders.

Y shopping Outside the convention centre, I came across this unexpected delight.

And then Convergence was over for another two years. I wonder where it will be next time.

Then on to more adventures and I was very fortunate as I got to go and visit Kati and of course get to see her studio. As we drive in their driveway this is what I am welcomed with.

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And from there onto Canada. This time I get to stay with Jette.

I also get to teach. And here we celebrate weaving East Meets West with the Huronia Guild: weekend 1

 And also celebrate the weaving of the weekend 2 group.

What does one do when two weavers get together? Well obviously have a grand time but sometimes it’s also a chance to play.

To all the weavers (and others) I spent time with and the friends I caught up with, it was a grand trip. Thank you!

 


April 2015

May 5, 2015

Unfortunately, I wasn’t home with enough time to continue the exploration of looms from Laos. It will have to wait till another time.

This month was a month for teaching away from the studio. Firstly there was Fibres Ballarat organised by Glenys Mann. The class was titled Ties: Decorative, Functional and Unconventional. There were four in the class. They worked extremely hard experimenting with the many aspects covered and ended up with a collection of well documented samples and designs. For those who chose to, there was also the opportunity to start a project on the end of their warp. The following are some images from the class.

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It was a great space with plenty of natural light and lots of space.

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The samples with tags. There’s lots of information here.

The following images show more detail of samples.

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The class of 2015: Wendy, Jeanette, Di and Denise. Five days and several late nights resulted in great results.

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Each day there were additions of wonderful installations. I was particularly taken with a grouping of altered books suspended in a tree. Deb McArdle was the artist responsible.

And another of her installations.

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For next year’s Fibre Arts at Ballarat’s offerings go to http://www.fibrearts.jigsy.com

Then it was immediately off to the USA and teaching at the Fiber Forum hosted by the South East Fiber Forum Association at Arrowmont. http://www.sefiberforum.org

It was a delightful destination.

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Around the garden some interesting sculptures could be found.

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The title of the course was East Meets West where students explored traditional backstrap techniques interpreted into shaft weaving. As there were twelve in the course, there was a great variety of work produced. The following shows some of the student’s work.

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At the end of three days, this was the result. Somehow, I am missing three students work above. My apologies to those whose work is missing. I am very proud of what all achieved.

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Each day I walked under these. It was only on the final day it registered how clever these were: a very appropriate entrance to the painting studios.

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Then it was off to visit my friend Judith. She’s currently studying printmaking at Georgia State, Atlanta. I was fortunate to be asked along as a visitor. I wonder what the motorists thought of this. Here we are on a traffic island with the traffic whizzing around while the sun worked to develop a solar screen. This is was the most convenient location where good sunlight was possible.

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When we get together, we usually have a play with some sort of technique. This time we took the opportunity to work with cyanotype. It was used in the creation of blueprints. Chemicals are mixed and applied, in this instance to paper. The moment it is exposed to light the chemicals start working. In the following cases we explored using stencils, plants and shadows. Once the sun has activated the imagery (time is critical), the paper is washed. The imagery turns blue; a process in some ways very reminiscent of indigo. The following shows the process.

The treated paper with images is exposed to sunlight. The places where the sun can’t reach will stay white.

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We hope enough time has elapsed. We timed it for 15 minutes. This is how the paper appears before washing.

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After washing off the chemicals. The paper was hosed. The images turn blue and it’s quite like magic.

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At some stage I’d like to return to this process and explore applications on textiles. It has potential.

Next month will have a focus on exhibitions. While I was in the USA, I was approached by Gatakers Artspace to hold an exhibition. The exhibition, Interlacement, opens in Maryborough next Friday and will be open for May.
311 Kent Street, Maryborough
Phone: (07) 4190 5723
Email: gatakersartspace@frasercoast.qld.gov.au

The following month, Pattern: A Universal Phenomenon will be hosted by Emerald Regional Art Gallery. 5th June – 17 July.

Plans continue for the opening of my school. Check out the details on either this blog or my website.

 


June 2014

July 10, 2014

The term ended with a flurry of activity with many projects being completed.P1040773Tuesday finishes a wrap woven in a loopy mohair and fine wool.

P1040774Pauline finishes another scarf. The ends still have to be twisted. The yarn used for the weft came from one ball of knitting wool. The ball of commercial wool had four different yarns knotted together. Pauline separated these as used them as separate stripes.

P1040777Isobel finishes a colour and structure sample.

P1040778Bev finishes a length of plain weave. She intends making placements with embroidered hand worked hems.

P1040775A new loom has been donated to Sturt. Currently the countermarche loom has only 4 shafts. There is space for twelve. A group project will be first woven commencing at the start of next term. Thanks go to the Moffett family for this very generous donation.

At the end of term, I had a few days at home. Some English relatives visited. We spent a stunning day at Stradbroke Island. You will just have to believe that we saw a very spectacular display by a pod of Humpback whales. I was so enthralled that I forgot to photograph.

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Then there was the highlight of the month: Complex Weavers Seminars. They are held every two years in various locations, usually in the USA. This year they were held in Tacoma in the Hotel Murano. The Hotel had displays of glass on every floor and in public spaces. This was located in the foyer.

P1040924Weavers come from all over the world to attend. The lectures were informative. I heard great discussion from weavers as they gathered after each session, no matter what seminar they had attended. The response across the board was very positive. The fashion parade and off the runway show provided opportunity for weavers to show their work in a very informal setting while the travelling exhibition  hosted by CW, Complexity was also on display. It will next be shown in conjunction with Convergence. There was opportunity to attend study group meetings. I presented two seminars: East Meets West and Ties: Functional, Decorative and Unconventional. I was delighted with the response.  For me, the real highlight was the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues and have great discussions on all manner of topics. This years seminars were fantastic. In two years time they will be on again. The word is that they will be somewhere in between Detroit and Chicago. I can hardly wait! I don’t have many images but here are a few. Over the next weeks I’m sure some will appear on the Complex Weavers web site and in the magazine. http://www.complex-weavers.org

P1040915An attempt was made to officially record the attendees. The official photographer stood at the bottom of the grand staircase while everyone crowded on the stairs. There were just too many to fit. I was at the top looking down and only caught a fraction of the crowd.

 

P1050022 (600 x 450)Judith Krone and I completed another challenge. The theme for this year was  set at the last Seminars, two years ago, and was “black and white stripes”. We each wound a warp of two scarves in 2/20 silk. Last year we exchanged the warps and then had a year to weave the challenge. We could do whatever we wanted. Judith chose to do some traditional shibori after she had woven the scarves. She gained a very unexpected but delightful effect caused by the separation of the black dye. The front and back of the scarf are totally different. I chose to weave mine in a plaited twill with woven shibori. Mine also provided an unexpected result. The dye used for the black stripe had an acid base while I also dyed it with a soda ash (alkaline) procion. When discharged the dyes were removed at different rates. I decided that I would leave in the pleats even though the dye pattern/effect is less noticeable. At the time I had great difficulty in deciding whether to iron them out or leave them in. They will drop out over time as silk will not hold permanent pleats. We had a bit of fun presenting the Challenge in the fashion parade.

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Mt Rainier was on show each day. This is the view from my room.

P1040933Post Seminars was the opportunity to go on a tour to see the work of Dr Bateman. Firstly there was the collection of some briads and woven textiles inspired by South American textiles. The Museum had brought out some of their collection. Then onto the Seattle Guild who have several binders of his work. It is amazing to consider how the quantity of sampling he did in his retirement.

P1040951The binders include drafts based on his records followed by the samples he wove.

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Following the Seminars, I had some time out driving through the Rockies with two friends. The discussion started at the Seminars continued in spectacular scenery.

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P1040962Hope, a town where we stayed, had  very interesting sculptures created by artists wielding chain saws.

P1040968An interesting sign? It made us smile.

P1040993Then in the terminal at Calgary I found this. It was the start of the Stampede. The sculpture is made from 500kg of pure chocolate!

Onto Vancouver:

P1050004I have followed the progress of Maiwa for many years. www.maiwa.com. Of course I would make the effort to go there: to look, to shop and to say I’ve been there.

P1050003A visit to Van Dusen Botanical Gardens where as well as seeing a beautiful garden, I found squid swimming in the tall grasses.P1050009The trip concluded with a workshop with the Richmond Guild with a workshop; Recycle! They brough along a very interesting collection of “stuff” to explore structure and design approaches.

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April 2014

May 5, 2014

This month’s blog covers an end of term at Sturt, Context Art in the Blue Mountains, the start of a new term and looms.P1040695

 

But first… Autumn has arrived. The colours are spectacular and the leaves are falling in great drifts.

The following is some Sturt student’s work at the end of term 1. For some there was a big effort to finish as they would not be returning in Term 2 or they use the end of term as a goal to finish work ready for a new project. For others a project will continue on.

 

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Virginia with her run of tablemats exploring treadling variations of Summer and Winter.

 

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Marcia examines her fabric length woven on just 4 shafts.

P1040602Maggie examines her fabric lenght woven from strips of recycled shirts.

P1040604Lou cuts of her run of linen tea towels.

P1040605Belinda examines her 8 shaft colour and weave twill scarf.

P1040608Isobel examines her rug.

The end of term also saw the launch in Sturt gallery of an interesting exhibition for the textile enthusiasts, Ordinary/Extraordinary by Dimity Kidston and Al Munro. Work includes tapestry, digital prints and crochet vessels. It runs till 1st June so there is still time to visit. Dimity teaches a weekly tapestry class at Sturt. In conjunction with their exhibition, her students put on a display of their work in the weaving studio. It was a great opportunity to show what the students have learnt and to promote tapestry weaving. Check out the backgrounds of some images that show how the studio currently looks.

CONTEXTART Forum in the Blue Mountains is a week of classes run by TAFTA: The Australian Forum for the Textile Arts. The venue is Korowal School. There were 17 tutors covering a broad range of textiles to carving and singing. I taught East meets West to a group of 15 students taking up 2 rooms. They rose to the challenge and did extraordinary work. Keep an eye on TAFTA’s web site for the CONTEXT Art 2015 www tafta@iinet.net.au

P1040637These are just a few of the diverse work that was produced. Everyone designed their own warps. Many chose to do only samples while others also worked on a final project.

By the way next year’s Fibre’s Ballarat program has also been launched where I will again be teaching next Easter. http://fibrearts.jigsy.com/ for information about Fibre Arts Australia events.

A new loom and associated weaving equipment has arrived though the generous donation of Marjorie Eve Ey. It is an eight shaft Meccia mechanical dobby. A student, Marcia and some of her friends who were visiting got roped into lending a hand to put it back together. Thank you helpers. It was so much easier with a few extra pairs of hands.

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A long warp has been put on; enough for each student to weave a tea towel. A design challenge has been issued. Each student has to create a design that will fit into an 8 x 8 square grid. The squares must not be coloured in nor left blank either vertically or horizontally for more than 3 squares. They will need to check that this is maintained when their pattern is repeated. As many of these students are either beginner weavers or have had little experience with design, this is a great nonthreatening way to become comfortable with design. At this stage there has been no reference to “labels” of weave structure. It is purely a colouring in exercise. It is going to be very interesting to see the diversity of results.

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A second loom has been delivered by Doug Rosemond who collaborated with me and developed a loom as part of the Diploma course at Sturt last year. The result appeared in the student’s end of year exhibition and has been trialled since then with great results. This is loom 1 of production, bought by Belinda to work on at Sturt. She just can’t wait to get started.

P1040705 (600 x 450)The persimmon tree outside my bedsit. The colours are glorious and the birds have discovered the fruit.


At the end of June 2013

July 7, 2013

The month stared with a conference run by the Contemporary Hand Weavers of Texas. This was a superbly run and enthusiastic small conference with the focus very much on hand weaving. In fact I have never seen so many hand woven favours in the conference bag and they just kept on coming… covered note books, lunch bag, napkins etc. I heard that every member guild wove something for each attendee. Even the president of CHT personally wove a thank you napkin. I was so impressed by the conference. And there was a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Conference bag with handwoven napkins, lunch bag, covered book.

I had an extra treat. I got to know Kate in my class. She was also one of the enthusiastic volunteers of the conference and contributed hugely to all that weaving. She is also head of the weaving design studio at Perennials. www.perennialsfabrics.com and I was very fortunate to be given a guided tour of the facility. Perennials donated fabric for the bags. This fabric is used for high end outdoor furniture. The company has total control from the design of the acrylic yarn through fabric construction to the end product.

A very pleasant place to pull up resist threads.

A delightful place to pull up resist.

Undoing the samples

Undoing the results.

On to an informal visit with a group of hand weavers in Northern Michigan and followed by a stroll around Norma’s magnificent Spring garden.

In Denver there was a visit to The Fine Line, a centre for creative arts. Of interest to me was the weaving studio, retail outlet and gallery. The gallery was hosting HGA’s Small Expressions. http://www.fineline.org

The Fine Line

Retail outlet.

The shop.

Weaving studio

The weaving studio

The Woodstock Guild hosted woven shibori. Some great results were obtained in just 2 days.

Applying dye.

Applying dye.

ANALYSING RESULTS.

Analysing results.

There were two other highlights of my stay with Su Butler. One was sitting out on their back patio watching the stars come out. The night sky here is of course totally different than back home. The other was a visit to Frank Lloyd Write’s first home and studio. I particularly enjoyed pattern evident in many surfaces. http://www.GoWright.org

The front entrance to his home.

The entrance to the family home.

The entrance to his offices.

Stained glass windows.

Stained glass window.

A light fittinhg over the dining room table.

Light fitting above the dining room table.

Denver. Sandy Hutton collected me from the airport and first stop off was Spun at the Denver Art Museum. The museum has several exhibitions with the focus on fabric either as fabric or at the very least in painting.

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I couldn’t help taking a photo of these hands of the people who had made donations. There’s a real echo in my current work.

Red, White and Bold was an exhibition focusing on Navaho weaving.

Red, White and Bold

Pattern Play: The contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag focused on printed textiles with preliminary drawings. I really enjoyed her designs.

Irresistible: Multicolored Textiles from Asia: wonderful and large scale velvet Ikats too.

Silk and cotton velvet. Uzbekistan about 1890

Silk and cotton velvet. Uzbekistan about 1890

Other textile exhibits include Material World, Western Duds: How Clothing Helped Create an Archetype. In addition there was a wonderful room that had a permanent (?) display exploring various aspects of textile production from spinning through to various forms of construction. Exhibition runs from 19 May – 22 September . http://www.denverartmuseum.org

Education room

Section of educational room. There was a lot of information hereand all accompanied by samples.

Sandy took me to lunch at The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan has “sister city” status with Boulder and this teahouse was given as a gift to the city. What a treat! I spent lunch craning my neck to make sure I got to see all the patterns.

And then there were the fires. What tragedy for those many people who lost homes. I had an adventure I wasn’t looking for and experienced minor disruption and a move while Sandy coped with the stress of pre-evacuation. The relief of having the fires under control on the last day of the workshop was felt by all.

Twenty attendees explored many and in the main unconventional aspects of tied weaves. Each developed their own designs.

And then I experienced snow and it was falling. Those who know me understand how rarely that has happened to me. Ginger and Tom took me for a drive up the top of Mt Evans and it is to be a never to be forgotten experience. Above the tree line is an extreme climate: snow, rain and freezing wind. This drive is the highest one in Nth America. At one stage there was an observatory from 1941 to 1979 when it was burnt down by a propane gas explosion.

To prove a point!

To prove a point!

The ruins of the observatory. And then lunch with this view on the way down.

Bellingham and another conference: ANWG. This was the largest conference, superbly well organised with a wide variety of weaving related topics.

I was very taken with this view of mixed technology…. Warping boards in amongst computers. There were many more that aren’t included.

At one stage there were many more warping boards in amoungst the computers.

I have chosen just 3 of the very diverse warps woven by the students. I could very easily have included the whole lot. Each was very different. Each successfully explored a number of techniques.

Frankie working on warp manipulation.

Sotis, wrapping and other things.

Sotis, wrapping and other things....

A drive down the coast: one of those superbly scenic drives.

Jan Paul provided me with essential some quiet down time and special time and an evening looking at velvet.

A jacquard cloth: satin ground with imagery and velvet. Exquisite!

Onto the Silverado Guild and a one day workshop exploring “Recycled”. There were a wide range of materials on hand.

A collection.

And another....

And many interesting results. Here are a few. Donna explores different ways to incorporate rope.

Gynne experiments with different methods of inserting fabric and ribbons. She even plays with combining buttons and buttonholes.

Gynne experiment with different ways of incorporating fabric and lace and joining buttons and button holes.

All manner of different ways of using fabrics and cords.

Kate explored many differnt ways of incorporating fabrics and cords.

Barb took me to see the Hess Collection at a winery. What a wonderful collection of contemporary art: a room of Andy Goldsworthy including his melted rocks. I also enjoyed his series of large scale works on paper: “Earth and Snow”. In these works seeds were boiled to extract pigment. The pigment was then used to colour snowballs which were then allowed to melt on the paper. Other artists whose work appealed were Markus Raetz with his work of 60 eucalyptus leaves pinned on the wall to create the illusion of 6 heads. It was amazing as an Australian to see eucalypts being used so far from home. But they are so very common here, so I guess I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Robilee Frederick was another artist whose work attracted my eye with in particular “Fields of Light” It is unfortunate that photography is not allowed. I acquired this postcard of a sculpture of this very thought provoking work by Leopoldo m. Maler.

Hommage 1974

Onto Berkley/ San Francisco.

A walk in the redwoods at Muir Woods with Penny Peters and Anne Rock.

I get to be in the photo with Penny.

Somehow I got on the other side of the camera….

A good reason for creating the park.

Tall trees

Some very tall trees.

An exhibition at Lacis Museum, a small privately owned museum attached to a retail outlet.

Detail of dress.

A couple of workshops and finally July 4th has arrived. The morning provided an interesting experience. Anne, Penny and I went to Albany Bulb(a sort of peninsula). It’s a space that used to be a city dump by the Bay and currently a place the homeless have claimed. We walked past outcrops of dumped concrete, scrappy scrub and paths leading to the homeless humpies. Finally we came to this, our destination: amazing sculptures made out of bits of flotsam constructed by both the homeless and I understand legitimate artists.

One walks over the top of the hill and is greeted. We each had our own interpretation on what she/he was “saying”.

Another sculpture grouping. Again all from discarded washed up “rubbish”.

The 4th July also marked my last day in the USA. This has been an amazing experience. Now to prepare for my solo exhibition: Pattern: A Universal Phenomenon, Redland Art Gallery, 25 August till 22 September.


At the end of May 2013

May 29, 2013

This month started with a flight out of Brisbane and an arrival in Toronto, Canada where spring had not quite arrived. I had never been to Jette and Harry’s place outside Barrie at this time of year and it was a totally different visual: bare trees and I could see their house from the road. And then the next day, a hint of what was to come: this patch of yellow in a sea of grey bare trees.

 Not a leaf!

 A splash of yellow

The weekend was spent at the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Conference teaching. I have very fond memories of OHS as I have had a connection with them since the mid 1990’s with their home study program. It was great to catch up with friends and it was by all accounts a successful conference. I know I certainly enjoyed it. Here is a snapshot of three of some of the very diverse work covered in my East Meets West class.

On the way back to Jette’s place we stopped off in Toronto. No visit to Ontario is complete without a visit to the Textile Museum. There were two exhibitions on. Marimekko, with love “is a retrospective look at Finnish design company’s role in shaping a new aesthetic through printed pattern and textile production.” It was founded in 1951 by Armi and Viljo Ratia. The exhibition has fabrics, swatches, fashion and archival material.

Marimeko retrospective exhibition

Shine, is an exhibition drawn from the Textile Museum’s collection and curated by Natalia Nekrassova and Sarah Quinton. “For centuries, the light and lustre of materials have captivated cultures, artisans and artists, attributing to even simple objects an allure of beauty, power and opulence”. A wonderful collection of ethnic textiles formed the core of the exhibition. www.textilemuseum.ca

Chinese textiles

And then there was green…and a week spent with Jette and Harry watching the amazing transformation.

A carpet of terrilium under a canopy of green.

Time out to visit McMichael and an exhibition Changing Hands: Art without Reservation 3. “contemporary and compelling, touring from New York- 130 mesmerising works ranging from intricate beadwork and video to sculpture and jewellery”. The work was all contemporary native North American art. My favourite piece was a large scale sculpture of fishing net hung in rows. It gave an interesting visual experience as you walked past. There were a number of pieces that really spoke. What a shame I can’t share any visuals. The exhibition is on till 2nd June.  www.mcmichael.com  But, I can share this amazing totem.  I just love the new age influences.

Totem in Foyer

Montreal and the Centre of Contemporary Textiles. www.textiles-mtl.com.   I spent the week working on some jacquard designs. I can’t speak highly enough of the help that was given to me during the week. Thank you Adrien and Lheila! It was a wonderful experience and I am absolutely delighted and excited with what I achieved.  This work will be shown as part of my solo exhibition in August. Here’s a hint of what I worked on.

 My first warp woven.

The Montreal experience wouldn’t be the same without charming streetscapes (I just have to walk back to the apartment in spite of the weather.) and the fresh food market round the corner. Here are some of my favourite things.

Early morning in the market

My favourite bread shop.

Montreal and it's staircases right on the footpath.

I was also fortunate to see an exhibition: Peru: Kingdom of the Sun and the Moon. It is on till 16 June at the Museum of Fine Arts www.mbam.qc.ca

Inca feather weaving

Inca gold

Inca pottery

New York; there’s much to see and do. I met up with my friend Judith for this adventure.  Here are the top three highlights.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was visited twice. (I’m counting this destination as one highlight.) The first was to see two exhibitions: Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity and PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The former had large scale paintings of, in the main women, accompanied by actual garments from the era. In fact in a couple of instances, the dresses were those worn by the models in the paintings. It was delightful to be able to see in detail the fabrics and construction details. The punk exhibition I found rather frustrating. This exhibition seemed to be focused on the experience… the lighting effects just made examining fabrics and detail just too difficult. Unfortunately neither of these exhibitions allowed photography.

The second visit allowed me to find treasures in the collection. I revisited the medieval velvets in the European galleries. Some of these I had seen before while there were some new pieces.

FFlorence second half C16. Cut,uncut and voided velvet with metallic thread.

This time I discovered velvets and other textiles from Turkey and the Middle East….and pattern. MET: metmuseum.org

Egypt C17-18. Silk doubleweave.

Turkey mid C16. silk, metallic wrapped thread, taquete.

Velvet, silk and metal wrapped thread Turkey C16

In Madison Square Park there was an installation by New York based artist Orly Genger. Red, Yellow and Blue has “1.4million feet of undulating, layered nautical rope covered in over 3,500 gallons of paint”. The rope had been collected from the Eastern seaboard and was knitted into long strips.

It seemed that I had come full circle when I came across the retail outlet for Marimekko. Here was the current work of the same designer whose retrospective work I saw in Toronto. www.marimekko.com

From New York to Atlanta and a visit with Judith at home. She took me to her delightful cabin in the woods. Some scenery:

Sunset across to the Appalachian Mts

White water rafting. This was the location used for the Atlanta Olympics.

And an afternoon making books.

Making books with Judith and Tricia.