Friday 26 July 2013

StudioSvenja is ready!!

Tomorrow is the big day, and we have spent all week preparing, tidying up the house and garden, hanging fairy lights, making noms, and oh yes, deciding this morning to make a new dress to wear!! I'm looking forward to fully decorating tomorrow - I'm already facing Fimbria Figura in the lounge, and Siren of the Sea is languishing on the front verandah....
Oooh, did I mention the good news? I have made it through the next round of the World of WearableArt, and will definitely be on the catwalk - my fifth time! After an anxious day last week waiting for the news, I finally got the word at 3pm, and proceeded to book flights and hotel - yahooooo!! 2 months until that treat!
Stay tuned for all the news on the opening tomorrow, the World of Wearable Art, my studies at TAFE and the Pam de Groot workshop in felting and botanical dyeing next week. Happy Weekend all!

Sunday 7 July 2013

Wedding felt

Well, it was back to the studio this weekend after the Melbz adventures and debauchery. After painting the StudioSvenja logo on the door in shades of iridescent purple (come to the opening to see!) it was time to play with all those lovely scraps of lace from the Wendy Makin sale. I decided to lay out an experimental piece incorporating a few different kinds of lace scraps - some heavily beaded and pearled, some tulle with ribbon, some tulle with embroidery and beading.
I used the Vilte-Felt technique, as I call it, - working in reverse. This entails laying out the lace face down on the bubblewrap, then filling in  the gaps with silk and bamboo fibres or tulle roses and petals. 2 layers of superfine merino were laid out in opposite diagonals across this, then a layer of chiffon silk. It seemed to take a particularly long time this time! It was a reasonably large piece - most of the table - but still.....

I kept a record this time of what I did to it, and it was approximately 2000 rolls in bubblewrap, then some massage through bubblewrap, some light kneading, and another 100 rolls in bubblewrap without the pool noodle after shocking with some fresh hot soapy water.
When it came to throwing, to really make things happen, I had to take care of the beading and sequins, so wrapped the fabric up in a towel before thumping on the table around 50 times.
I was pleasantly surprised that it all pretty much worked. I guess paying attention, extra rolls, and extra perseverance are worth it in the end! I now have a successful experimental piece - either a very large wrap, or yardage for a sample... sounds good to me!! Stay tuned for new SvenjaCouture garments!

Thursday 4 July 2013

Melbz - you're Totez!!

Monday dawned meaning Melbz for me this week!! After a busy morning tidying things up, unpacking the kombi with all the gear from my display at TAA, packing my suitcase 

Foot included for scale!
(I just threw in everything, including this giant and heavy Studebaker supercharger airbox to deliver to Matts’ mate) I was ready to go when Jenelle showed up in the rain. And so began the spoiling of Svenja….
It all started with the valet check in at the airport, which smoothly transitioned into the Virgin Lounge experience. 
Having now spent 3 nights at the Hilton with Executive Lounge access and beds made of clouds, I’m not sure I can ever travel in my usual lowly style again! After enjoying the delightful drinks and nibbles at the lounge (AKA plenty of noms for Bunnehs), it was to bed in the clouds…..
With Jenelle off to work early, I enjoyed a run along the river in the fine winter weather, before making use of the Hilton’s fitness centre for a weights workout, then breakfast in the lounge of loveliness before setting off into the city. It was a reasonable walk from South Wharf, and it was interesting to come into the city from another angle. I checked out the NGV at Federation Square – and no, I did not go and see the Monet exhibition, nor the Hollywood Costume one. I’m afraid neither really appealed. I did see one about the 1980’s…..

 As always, the gallery shop provided lovely eye candy, with a fabulous glass art lighting display connected to Federation Squares' annual programme of The Light in Winter. I also really liked the alley opposite with the fabulous grafitti - the cobblestones nearly toppled me in my boots, but it was a bit fab.

Besides, I had a list of textile places of interest to visit! So I bought myself a MYKI (transport card) and jumped onto a tram to Collingwood to check out NSW Leather.  Nothing amazing there, after quite a walk too! On the way though, I found a good opshop and picked up a couple of silk scarves to use in felting. I also found the Tote Hotel, which made me chuckle as we do love to joke that Melbz is Totez!! 
 There was also some more great street art - Mraaaaooooww!!!
And some beautiful autumn leaves...

Knowing that Beautiful Silks was not far away, I got back on a tram and made my way there. And wasn’t I pleased I did! Marion was having quite the clearance sale, and had a table full of rolls of silk at $10/m!!  I couldn’t leave the metallic silk organzas behind, and bought the gold, purple and some pink for myself. I also stocked up on silk thread, and undyed silk lap and sari yarn, finishing off with a lovely remnant of devore velvet. Bliss!!
Silk devore, silk lap, silk thread and silk sari thread
Beautiful Silks wool and silk fibres
Jenelle enjoying the devore velvetas a bed cover, and the lights of Melbz!!
Having exhausted myself it was time for sustenance, and I recognised the Fitz from previous trips. It is a lovely setting, and looked particularly inviting in the sun! Not impressed with previous experiences here, I am pleased to report that I had a really good time, with great service and excellent food. Nom nom!!
On the way home I picked up a bottle of strawberry bubbles (why is your liquor twice the price, Melbz?!!) and was showered and relaxing with bubbles when I heard ‘Oh Hai Bunneh, I’m home!!’. Tired from our large days, we decided just to hang out in the Executive Lounge again, and I proceeded to down many, many glasses more of bubbles. Hilarity of the night – as nearby  man left the lounge he proceeded to congratulate me on my passionate language! Ooops!
Waking with a sore head Wednesday morning, it was up at 5am to work out in the gym – ugghhh. It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it! A norty breakfast at the lounge (recovery cheese pastry!!) and it was off in the Golf towards Clayton. Jenelle planned to drop me off at ‘shops in Toorak Rd’, but couldn’t see any – then we saw the sign for Camberwell (AKA Camberville, Camberview, Cambertown, Camberburg, Camberfield, Campbelldon – whatevs!!) . This was on my list because of Opendrawer, a shop that recently featured in Embellish Magazine. I had some time to fill before the 10am opening (Melbourne seems to be a late starter!) but was glad I hung around, as it was worth it. It’s a beautiful shop full of supplies and finished artworks and jewellery, as well as a gallery upstairs,. The exhibition was in changeover, but they let me have a look at it – the Hot Water Bottle Challenge!! Some great quirky works there! I bought some lovely dyed mother of pearl buttons, and a beautiful Cane Toad skin in shades of purple – I know, it sounds gross, but is really quite beautiful.

Cane Toad leather - it's hard to show the colour correctly!
I caught the tram back into town and then jumped on the wrong number 96, and very nearly succumbed to that fate of going to St Kilda. But I have been there before, and wanted to explore new ground, so reversed myself and set off for Brunswick. I wanted to visit Rathdowne Fabrics and Remnants, and after getting off at Brunswick St, not Brunswick, got back on the tram and made my way there, and was very pleased with myself for doing so! It was a good shop, with absolutely beautiful laces at great prices, but I had rather been spoilt by my recent Wendy Makin experience and did not purchase. I continued down Victoria St through the pretty Brunswick, and headed onto Sydney Street, where I had a list of fabric shops to find. And I did! It was a groovy street, and the fabric shops were different – one of them was full of Korean lace, another of $25/m sequin lace – very nice! But again, spoilt by Wendy Makin bargains! Another one I entered just reeked of stale smoke – whaaat?!!!
Having enjoyed the fabric shops but again not purchasing, I was now sorely in need of refreshment. I spotted ‘The Retreat’ across the road – tables in the sun – oh yeh - perfect! 

Liquid Lunch was a pint of Brunswick Bitter, and an enjoyable read through Mojo magazine about some of my favourite musicians – Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Jethro Tull. Relaxed and revived, it was back onto the tram to meet Miss J in town, and a crazy car trip back to the hotel. We got so close to the Hilton, but just couldn’t get there, and I could NOT work out which direction we were coming from on the iPhone map!! Although we were supposed to be going out for an early birthday dinner for Miss J, we were just exhausted, and slumped in the lounge through both the afternoon tea and the canapĂ© sessions!
It was a most successful trip, and I was sorry to see it end. Everything went so well, and I really enjoyed just hanging out by myself with no real purpose! Thank you Melbz for a lovely time – hope to see you and the Hilton Lounge in the near future. Totez!!