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 ....


  1. You've certainly seen lots of fantastic textile work - sometimes I just want to give up when I've seen such amazing things and look at my own, so I do hope you don't feel anything except truly inspired!! xx

  2. Wow that one of the archway by Jenny Bowker is amazing!

  3. Hi Julie..quick reply to comment before we set off on hols(in the rain)
    I will put a couple in my etsy shop after the draw..about brooch price..x