Wednesday 26 June 2013

Textile Art Academy 2013

The Textile Art Academy began this week at St Peters' Lutheran College, Indooroopilly. As the website states, "The  Academy is a visual and creative art school offering five, three, two, and one day workshops across an incredible array of specialties. It will be held from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th June, 2013. This week long event will include a comprehensive program with some of the tutors visiting Brisbane for the first time. Visitors are welcome to drop by any time during the week and especially on Open Day (Sunday 30th) when there will be lots to see and do."
One of the things to see is a display of my work in the Traders Hall, ranging from Fimbria Figura from the World of WearableArt 2011 to Siren of the Sea, to devore printed and dyed silk scarves.

Fimbria Figura

Siren of the Sea

I set up there on Monday, and returned today for a look around and an enjoyable session of sipping champagne in the sun with Ms Janet de Boer - a most enjoyable way to spend the day! When I arrived, I was happy to see some of my favourite felters in my gallery space, and took the opportunity to invite them to the Grand Opening of StudioSvenja. Yes, the date has been set, the 27th July. It's a Saturday afternoon, there'll be bubbles and nibbles, and an official ribbon cutting ceremony by the aforementioned Janet de Boer at 5pm. Note the date, peoples!!

StudioSvenja design for the door!
Amongst all of this activity, I have been enjoying some good creative time in my beautiful studio. Having sorted and tidied away all my lace treasures from Wendy Makin, I kept some scraps of silk out, and have been playing with some stitching, fraying and dyeing. It's such a joy to play with silk, and I love the way the taffetas and dupions fray....

Saturday 22 June 2013

Wendy Makin Workroom Sale!!

I'm reeling, I've overdosed on sparkly goodness, I have spent hours sorting through my treasures from my visit to Wendy Makin's workroom sale this morning. Lace trim, corded lace, sparkly lace, pearly lace, silk taffetta, silk satin and tulle were the treasures stuffed inside 3 huge bags!!

WOW!! I could have walked away totally happy with that, but bought several rolls as well at 10% OF, not OFF the price. So $89/m fabric was scored at $8.90/m!! OMG!! I even found a few dresses and skirts already cut out for me to complete! I feel rich, rich in fabric, and slightly mad!! Ideas, ideas are flying around....

I bought a roll of the stiffest, shiniest Italian silk organza I have ever seen, with my latest exhibition work in mind.

Bliss - I haz it!

Friday 21 June 2013

Exhibition Ideas, & Exploring Eco Printing

Since my recent abdication from my office role in the family business, I have been able to spend much more time in the studio, and having cleared all current deadlines there was, for a moment, almost a sense of 'what now'? My mind instantly turned towards ideas I have been having for several years now about an exhibition of stitched and dyed wall works that I would like to do (diverting from my wearable art roots and trying to get off the body and back onto the wall!!). I picked up my sketchbook on the subject, and enjoyed a wander through the pages, and instantly my mind was buzzing. I had actually done quite a lot of experimentation and documentation on this, starting in 2010, so it was extremely easy to dive back in. Within days there was another trip back to the historic Balmoral Cemetery for more photos, and some experimentation with silk cocoon strippings, machine embroidery on organza, and some dyeing.
Dyeing - well, I've never been really fussed on the eco-dyeing/printing with leaves thing, as I do love my bright colours. Yet suddenly it seemed to be the perfect solution to my desire to create subtle, layered-with-meaning textile pieces. Not only did I have this revelation, but I received Wendy Bailye's newsletter mentioning the opportunity to do a 4 day workshop in sculptural felt dress making and eco printing with guest tutor Pam de Groot, a felter and eco-dyer extraordinaire! Serendipity much?!!
Of course, unable to wait until then, I have brought out my copy of India Flint's book 'Eco Colour', which I really only bought for its' beautiful images, never imaging I would actually play with these techniques! I collected some leaves from the bushland around the cemetery, and rolled them up in some silk organza and steamed them for half an hour. Very subtle colouring on one, and some quite red leaf prints on the other - not too bad a start!

A bit more reading and I decided to throw some metal into the mix. Luckily, I live with the Metal Man, whose workshop used to be in my current felting studio. I simply looked down into the gravel floor to find wonderfully rusty pieces of metal, including hand forged 100 year old nails. Perfect!! I asked if he had any copper or steel pipes I could use, and of course he did, so I soaked my silk habutai in vinegar and wrapped the leaves and metals in it and tied the bundle around the copper pipe. I then steamed it for a couple of hours in my fabulous shibori steamer - an old oxy tank with the top cut off - perfect for holding pipes upright!

More reading has taught me that the longer you leave these things the better they will get - I could see results already, but managed to leave it overnight. Today I have noticed even more depth of colour, especially that of the copper verdigris-green - delicious!! How long can I wait before unwrapping this beauty?!! I'm just not sure - stay tuned.......!!
The photo does not do it justice - there is seriously gorgeous green happening in there!

Still on the eco theme - Matt mentioned this week that he had seen a cotton bush in flower in the median strip on the way to work. Knowing how much I liked the sample of cotton fibre he had dragged off a fence in Dalby for me, he offered to go and dig it up for me - and now we proudly host a cotton bush in the back yard! It's absolutely fascinating, and watching the buds open is really quite magical! Not quite sure what I'm going to do with the cotton fibre, but - who cares!!

Monday 10 June 2013

Studio Update

 A short update on recent activities - as you can see, I have finished decorating my mirror - a brilliant find in a builders skip - with moulded leather offcuts from my recent work. I am very pleased with the result!

 I've sprayed the dyed leather with 3 different colours of Moon Shadow Mist - some glorious inks I have had for ages and been wanting to use on something! What a shame I didn't use them on my WoW leather entry - they work beautifully! Might need to touch up the wall around the mirror now though........

Here are my latest devore printed, dyed, and elasticated silk velvet scarflettes! These were very popular at my exhibition and sold out, and this is the first time since then that I have made any.
2 in lime/yellow, 2 in blue/green and 3 in blue/purple. $85 each.

 And of course, what's working in the studio without your companion kitteh - Mishka here is enjoying sitting on some felt work.

Sunday 9 June 2013

The Long Weekend of June

The weekends' events started with the QUT Frock on the Block Market on Friday. After an amazing run through peak hour traffic, I arrived early, and unloaded my gear with greatly welcomed help from staffers.
 It was a really well organised market, great music, great friendly vibes and help from those involved - but no punters! Did somebody forget to advertise this?! Still, it was good to get myself organised into selling mode (despite no sales!), which has motivated me to get my Etsy shop back up and running - stay tuned! I made some of my very popular devore velvet scarflettes for this event, and currently have seven (very brightly coloured) of them up for grabs!!
Happy Birthday Big Kit!!
Actually though, the weeks' excitement really began with my sisters' 40th birthday on Thursday. For this very special milestone, I had made her a SvenjaCouture original; hand felted, dyed and stitched, in subtle slate grey and white tones. I think she liked it!

 I included some sequined fabrics I had garnered from op-shop finds, and created little stuffed balls in silk fabric, as well as textured crinkle chiffon and paj silks. After felting in the round with a resist, I created extra texture and shaping with hand stitching.

Having reached deadlines for other events all this year, I thought it might be nice to treat myself to one of my own pieces. Inspired by some lovely locks bought at the Qld Spinners & Weavers open day in fabulous bright pinks and oranges, I gathered together all my bits and pieces of silks, sari scraps and lace, and laid out a dress for myself. It's currently in progress, and I have high hopes for a lovely garment for myself! I so enjoyed laying out these fabulous colours - as so often there is, there was real pleasure involved in the process alone, and as yet I am still to see the result!
 I look forward to finishing this in the morning, and then continuing work on finishing StudioSvenja ready for the Grand Opening, currently planned for late July. This weekend I have dyed the leather pieces which will decorate the mirror, and have painted the frame, ready to attach them. Apart from this and painting the doors, there's not much more to be done.
Whilst rolling, rolling away in the wet studio this afternoon, I greatly enjoyed looking in at the sewing studio, whilst listening to the ABC's Top 100 of movie music on my new stereo - thanks Matt!!
This week I received word from the lovely Janice Mengerson of MSIT regarding my studies towards the Fashion Diploma at TAFE next semester. I simply await the official documents and I will be enrolled!
See you soon with pictures of the new frock!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Frock on the Block

This Friday you can find me here:
Spread the word, my good peoples!!

Monday 3 June 2013

Delicious Dyeing and Fabulous Felting in Buderim

Last Friday I packed up the kombi with all my gear to head off to Winter School at the Buderim Craft Cottage. This time, though, I was not a student, but the tutor! I set off in excellent time, but just over the Gateway Bridge, as I went through the class in my head, I realised I had FORGOTTEN MY DYES!!! I was not upset, but simply thrilled to have remembered in time!! 45 minutes later and it was on the road again! It was an enjoyable trip in the kombi, newly back on the road after some cancer operations!
After a few drive bys up and down the hill, I managed to access my B&B, 'Hove To'. I was welcomed by my very hospitable hosts, whom I never saw again due to my busy schedule! It was a lovely abode - very relaxing!

After a wee Nana nap, I set off for the Craft Cottage to set up my gear. It was so good to be able to do that ahead of time rather than in the morning, which turned out to be a busy start with selling supplies to those who needed them. With that out of the way, we set to dyeing our wool to be used on Sunday. After that, I demonstrated the nuno felt wrap layout, and we were all organised before morning tea!

The ladies were very industrious, and had their layout done by lunchtime! This left the afternoon for the felting process, and didn't we need that! It's a long, slow, process, and a couple of ladies nearly lost faith, but I've been through this before! With a bit of encouragement, we kept going, and  all ended up with good results!! It truly is amazing how different the results are across the class.
This difference was continued on the Sunday morning, when after a bit of a show and tell session from me, we started to dye the nuno felt wraps. Having never worked this way around before (felted and then dyed), I saw some surprising results! The silk took the dye extremely well, but the wool was quite different. On some, it remained just a pastel version of what was going on, but in others, it was a completely opposite colour to the silk, providing a striking contrast. It was truly thrilling, and I'm afraid I had no explanation for my puzzled and amazed students!

The scarf above was a silent achiever - when laid out, it was quite thick, and Di also included coloured and metallic threads. Once felted, it was a delicate, beautiful piece with subtle colouring, and so we decided to do some very specific, subtle dyeing so as not to overwhelm the effect. After wetting the scarf, we laid it over the table and poured some diluted dye on and squeezed it in before steaming, rather than putting it in a dyebath, in order to retain control.

Yet another surprise awaited us after this - some colour had leached out of the threads, adding yet another dimension!! Also, dye seemed to have traveled along the silk fibre embedded in the wool, creating yet another contrast. Very exciting!!

After this, I demonstrated the felted boa, and my students set to work with their dyed wool from the day before. After the hard work of Saturday, this was a much more relaxed session, and I enjoyed moving around the room and chatting with everyone as they laid out their 'warm fuzzies'!

Purples were popular, as were beautiful warm autumn/earth tones.
There was a sense of excitement in the air as the ladies made their warm fuzzies into beautiful cobweb edged pieces. My secret is out!! I do hope I get to see some finished boas from them in the future!
I really was impressed with how hard everyone worked, and how much was achieved. There was a great deal of dedication from all, as well as a wonderful sense of enjoyment. I truly enjoyed my time there, and indeed came back with more knowledge than I had before. Thank you for a lovely weekend, ladies, and I very much enjoyed the sophisticated finale of wine and cheese before the journey home!

Whilst all this was happening, my Nuno Felt Bridal Party was on the catwalk at the Campbelltown Show in Tasmania,  as well as another newly created piece with headdress.

Add caption
 The bride with lamb - crack up! All in all, it looked quite well done with some very lovely models, although sometimes I do despair of why simple instructions such as 'wear headpiece as garland, not headband', just don't seem to work!
Such is life.
I had a great time this weekend, met some lovely ladies, and learned a lot. Long may this continue!!