Saturday, July 31, 2010

WA Craft, Quilt & Stitch Show 2010

I have to take my hat off to True Blue Exhibitions and all the exhibitors at this years WA Craft, Quilt & Stitch show for giving us one of the best shows we've had for a long time.  Instead of going home jaded and disappointed from seeing the same old thing, yesterday I went home full of inspiration and a head full of information and ideas.
It was set out well so we could get around the stalls and view products, and the exhibitions and guests were wonderful.
This is the view from the top section of the show, looking down on the stalls.  If you enlarge the pic and look to the left you will see my favourite stall ... Dale and Ian's "Thread Studio" and all their wonderful, inviting goodies.

The first workshop I went to was Rusty Walkley of the Embroiderer's Guild of WA, who gave two talks.  One was about all the different styles of embroidery with many samples ... some styles I've never even heard of, and the second talk was caring for your heirloom embroideries, and laundering, which was really helpful as I have to cover that topic in Module 12.  I could've sat and listened to Rusty all day, she's a walking encyclopedia of information relating to embroideries and I'm only hoping I can read my scribbled shorthand as I was frantically trying to write down everything she was telling us.

The exhibitions this year were brilliant.  One of which was Jenny Bowker's "The Tentmakers of Old Cairo" which was beyond belief.  These quilts are hand appliqued by men in Cairo and are a visual feast.  Go to Jenny's website and blog to learn about them, it's fascinating.   Here's a few photographs to whet your appetite.
This quilt below was created by Jenny Bowker.
Another exhibition was of embroideries from Vietnam.  A lady stood next to me stating "yes, they're done by machine" and I had to gently inform her that they weren't, they were all hand stitched.  I walked away as she was picking her jaw up off the floor.
This of one of the more traditional Vietnamese embroideries.
and below is a resist dyed fabric.
The Embroiderer's Guilds of Diannella, Greenwood and Kallaroo put on a wonderful exhibition of their work.  I still love the traditional hand embroidery and it always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I see lovely pieces.  I think also, I can relate to the amount of hours many of them have put in to create some of these works of art.  It always peeves me when people think its "twee" to do needlework, and don't appreciate the talent and time it takes to create it.  I get amazed that you can enter a piece of digitally  enhanced photographic work into an art exhibition (all done by the push of buttons on a computer) but embroideries and textiles are classed as "craft" and not art, so can't be entered into the same artistic exhibitions, when there's a hell of a lot more skill put into embroidery and textile art, than digital photos.  HUMPHHH!!!!  Well ... that's got that off my chest!
And yet another exhibition was the "Art to Wear" by textile artists from around Australia, but unfortunately I didn't note the names of the artists who created these works, so I do apologise to them, and if they see my blog I  hope they contact me with their names, so I can amend this post and give them due credit for their work.  These following two photos were my favourites, I think because they were actually wearable.
These creations below were made from plastic bread bags, and although creative and imaginative, I can't see myself wearing one .... but then again, maybe that's where the saying "if that's your bag" comes from.
The main reason I went to this year's show was to see the textile artist Ken Smith.  I'd tried to see him in Brisbane at the Textile Fair but he was busy with classes, so I was determined not to miss out this time round.  Ken put on two talks, one about creating faces and figures in his textile art, and the other was an inspiration into creative machine embroidery "No rules, Only possibilities".  I found both talks interesting and inspirational, as I did his actual pieces of work.  They are exquisite, and I went home with my brain pounding with ideas and hope that I can achieve the same techniques if I try.  I've always been a bit afraid of free machining and have only just mastered particular techniques in order to get through the City and Guilds requirements.  I'm hoping when my course is finished I'll have the time to play about and experiment more without any time constraints.
Ken is a really friendly and helpful fella and open to helping you with all your questions.We chatted for quite a while, and I'm really sad that I don't have the time to be able to attend his workshops here in WA, and I know I'll regret it later.  I was really upset to learn from him that he had 5 of his workshop sample pieces stolen during a recent spate of workshops he conducted.  I think its awful that people can do that, and don't  understand how their consciences allow them to enjoy something thats not rightfully theres.  So if you're the BUGGER who knicked them ... RETURN THEM !!!!
Above is a waistcoat created by Ken and below is a close up of his machine embroidery work - you can see the amount of work that goes into his creations.  You should go to his website to read more about him and see his work ... there's a funny story on there about his fungus pieces, where a customs official wanted to quarantine them, they looked so realistic.  Here's the link to Ken's site
And last, but not least, here's a pic of the goodies I bought at the show.  Usually I go there on a shopping frenzy, and like a fat kid in a sweety shop I want to buy EVERYTHING, but this time it was more about the exhibitions and workshops, so I was a good girl and bought only a few items. 
I'm hoping to use the stencils for painting on fabric, and the Oliver Twist and chenille threads I'm hoping to use for my tassels in Module 10.
Now I've got to put all this new found knowledge into practice and get back to work ....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A busy fortnight past

What a busy few weeks we've had.  I've hardly had chance to read blogs, let alone make any posts.  Hubbie's been on 2 weeks holidays so we decided to redecorate the kitchen/dining/lounge area.  Being optimistic we thought we'd knock it off in a week and still have time for gardening and maybe a few days away down south ...HA! it took almost all the 2 weeks to finish the decorating. 
It was a good break though, after finishing Module 9, and gave me chance to clear my mind and do something different.  I was really pleased with my feedback too, so now I feel inspired for the next module.
On Tuesday we heard on the late evening news that 4 southern right whales had come into the Dawesville cut (between the ocean and the estuary).  This is something we've not experienced before, so yesterday I took my parents down there to view them, but they'd gone ... obviously travelling up north to warmer waters ready for calving.  Its a shame we hadn't known about it earlier the day before.
So instead of whale spotting we took a walk along the channel and watched the cormorants and pelicans.
I love the pelicans, I think they have such cheeky faces.  Then we got a surprise as 2 dolphins came past, side by side.  Its just such a lovely place to sit and enjoy the water, and how lucky are we to see nature at its most perfect.
Earlier I had said that doing the decorating was a good way to clear my mind ... but clearly, my mind packed up and went away on holiday.  Do you ever do things that are so totally stupid and then wonder why on earth you did it?!  I've started work on my Module 10, where I have to create my 3D piece. I've designed a noodle box made from machine lace based on fossils all linked together.
So ... Tuesday, being inspired and full of renewed energy I spent an hour tracing my fossil pattern onto soluble fabric, using a water soluble pen.  By the time I'd finished it was near tea time, so I put it aside for the next day.
Yesterday morning I woke up to find my soluble fabric blank .... the pen I'd used was a disappearing pen and all the pattern had vanished.  The pen comes in two colours, one either end, a purple and a blue.  I'd used the purple as I thought it was darker - but this was the disappearing ink, however, I'd also used the blue (water soluble ink) to mark the folds and eyelets.  Because the fabric was blank, apart from the blue ink, I thought, Oh I know, I'll get rid of the blue marks and start again, so .... what did I do?  I put a wet cloth over the blue marks to make them vanish and the fabric dissolved as well .... duurrrrr!!!! I'd forgotten it was water soluble fabric too ... like I say, my brains gone on holidays and I've no idea when its coming back!!!!!
So after another hour of retracing the pattern using the correct pen, and another piece of soluble fabric, I've now started making my machine lace.  I'm sure I'll still be at it next week, as I've hours and hours of it to do.  But, its a wet miserable cold day so there's nothing better to do than sit and stitch.
Bonnie's got the right the idea ... just stay in bed.  During the redecoration we ripped out our fire and have to wait 3 weeks for a new one ... only one more week to go, thank goodness.
And , another event in our lives this week was our 20th wedding anniversary yesterday.  Unfortunately hubby is back at work and away from home, but we celebrated with a big family BBQ on Sunday.  I wonder where the years have gone, I'm sure we've skipped some, they've gone so fast, but I wouldn't change any of them.  I love him today just as I did the day I married him, and am thankful to have him in my life. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Felted hat

I had my second attempt at making a felt hat on the weekend.  The first one was so awful I wouldn't dare subject you to it ... this one was a vast improvement, but I know I'm not there yet.  One of my items of accessories for Module 9 is a cloche hat, so I needed to see if I could make one before I submitted my design ideas.
After 2 months of hunting through libraries and the internet I found a few varying ways of doing it, and purchased a foam hat mould to help me.  I sat dry needle felting for about 3 hours one night until I could hardly move my arms, then wet felted it over a rubber ball the following day.  I used a hank of space dyed wool and had the great idea of enhancing the hat with some hand stitching, but I think I've made it look like a brain !!!!!  Like I said .... still room for improvement, but its enough to submit my ideas in my design plan.
We've had another storm come through Perth.  We used to get more rain than we've had in the past few years, but now we seem to have dry months with very cold temperatures and then WHAM - a storm.  As usual there were patios found in neighbouring properties, tree's down, and garden debris everywhere, but luckily we managed to escape the worst, except for another downfall of hail.
It wasn't as severe as the March hail storm, thankfully, but made the day very, very cold.  In fact I heard it was the coldest July day on record.  Good days for sitting and stitching.
That said, we've decided to redecorate the kitchen/dining/lounge, so I'm off to strip wallpaper.  The stitching will have to wait a week or two.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Out and about in Brisbane

During my weekend break in Brisbane, despite being bogged down with a winter cold, I did manage to get out and about quite a bit and have a good look around at all the things I wanted to see.  One of which was the Ron Mueck exhibition at the Brisbane Modern Art Gallery.
Ron creates amazing life like sculptures from fibreglass and resin, and places each hair into the sculptures one by one ... its hard to believe they're not real.
This man perched on a chair is enormous - you can see the size of the "real" person behind him.  Every wrinkle in his skin is lifelike, every hair looks real ...
if you look at the photo below you will see that Ron has even recreated the goosebumps on his flesh.  It was mind blowing.  If you get the chance to go and see any of his work, I would recommend it to anyone.
Hubby and I spent Sunday morning at the Eagle Street markets in town, and it was great to meet this lovely young man from Panama, selling his wears created from Mola's.  I used the Kunin Indians of Panama as my artists for the module on reverse applique, so it was wonderful to see the real thing and meet this fella.  He made all his goods himself, and was gracious enough to let me take his photo, although hubby declared later that the chap would have been happier if I'd bought something !
At Surfers Paradise was another talented artist, making sand sculptures on the beach.  He'd spent 3 hours getting his elephant to this stage.  Unfortunately we didn't stay around long enough to see the finished piece but I'm sure it would've been awesome.
We also went up the Q1 Tower, the 20th tallest building in the world.  77 floors and it only takes the elevator 43 seconds to get up there ... I think my stomach was still on the ground floor.  Its a brilliant view of Surfers ... this view is south, with Cooloongatta in the far distance on the left hand side and the border of NSW over the ranges in the distance.
Of course my first day in Brisbane was spent at the Textile Fair, getting idea's, buying supplies and just feeling warm and fuzzy amongst all the things that please me.  The dress below is knitted and looked amazing.  Unfortunately I didn't get the names of the artists who created these works, but credit to them all for doing a great job.
This was one of the "Art U Wear" pieces in vivid lime green felt,
and this was created like a blackwork piece.  There are some very talented people out there.
And then there were the funky and quirky tea cosies
 All in all, a good break away, and lots of things to see and do, now my minds whirling with ideas.  Since being home I've not done a great deal, thanks to the cold, but I've been slowly getting into the swing of it and spent Saturday doing another batch of felts.  Now I've cranked the fire up and will spend the rest of the afternoon designing my accessories with the plan of getting Module 9 in the post by next week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Something you don't see every day ...

I've just been over to Brisbane for 4 days, unfortunately the flu came along as an unwanted visitor which put a dampner on the weekend, but I did have a nice time and saw something really funny on the Pacific Highway, on our way to Surfers Paradise.
Legally you have to tie your dog to the back of your ute/truck so that they don't jump or fall off.  Most dogs love sitting in the back tray, watching the world go by with the breeze through their fur, but I have to think that this dog must enjoy riding in his ute much more than many others.

There have been times when I've been told that I go too far in pampering my own pooch, but even I don't do this!  I thought it was brilliant, and luckily I had my camera with me. 
Now that's what I call travelling in style. 
 What a way to put a smile on people's faces.