Saturday 26 October 2013

Old Friends

Does anyone else think Simon and Garfunkel when they see that title? "Sat on their park bench like bookends"..... 
I start with that because this week I did catch up with a friend, after far too long. It was so nice to visit with Beatrice, to talk textiles, and to meet her current houseguest, Min. What a beautiful girl!
Min the gawdjuss!
Over the years since we first met at an ATASDA meeting, Beatrice, a weaver and dyer, has been a wonderful friend, and has always given me treasures from her 'LoomRoom' such as beautiful silk, tencel and wool fibre offcuts to use in my felt work. This week I picked up some lovely merino wool threads, plus a roll of silk habutai, as well as a variety of beautiful polyester organzas.  Beatrice has often used these for shibori work, making such fabulous creations as these bubble shibori pieces.
Shibori Organza
Beatrice is an inspiration to me, as she continues to make fabulous works, and exhibit in group and solo exhibitions, not to mention living life with a gusto I can only aspire to.
Of course, as many of you know, Matt and became engaged in New Zealand this September, and this week, my beautiful ring arrived from England! 2 tiers of 10 opals (we've been together 10 years) plus a central stone, with opal being my birthstone as well. I luvz it!!
The ring!!

We decided to do the official presentation at my mothers house, which happens to be the house I grew up in, and where I last saw my dear Dad, so it seemed very appropriate.

Georgia O'Keefe design board
Sketching in the studio

Fabric test pieces

It's a short term at TAFE, so with only a few weeks to go, it's full steam ahead! I was fortunate enough to have four or five hours in the studio on Thursday, working on my design assignment. I was able to finish off my inspiration board for my Georgia O'Keefe based assignment, and then start playing with sketching. Now I search for the elusive title for this design collection!!
Today I worked more on this, as well as my Textile assignment, which involves burning, bleaching, stitching, tearing and rubbing fabrics to test their components and durability. I'm enjoying this technical aspect to my studies!
Sunday now looms, full of creative potential.....

Monday 21 October 2013

Princess Week

Last week was another busy week, with the highlight on Thursday being Princess Day (my birthday!) Beginning in the morning with a beautiful gift of his and hers Venetian fretwork masks from Matt, my mother presented me with this giant box of goodies before we went to lunch together. After a lovely afternoon, I had to reassemble myself for dinner with ‘da udder Bunnehs’ at Stokehouse, Southbank.. It was a truly lovely evening.

The next day, I enjoyed a birthday  visit from my sister, before heading into the Convention Centre to attend the ATASDA stall at the Craft Fair,where I enjoyed an afternoon with Sharyn Hall, also planning our trip on behalf of ATASDA to Toowoomba in the morning. Picking up Lyn Baxter on the way, the Trio of Trouble was reunited! We enjoyed meeting new people and talking textiles at the Masonic Hall in Toowoomba, which had a beautiful pressed metal ceiling.
I was delighted to meet Helen Stumkat, felter extraordinaire, as well as many other textile enthusiasts.  On the way home, we stopped off at DanishFlower Art, where there was an abundance of beads, crystals and all sorts of shiny goodness!
They also had a collection of animals, including this funky looking rooster, guinea fowls, peacocks and geese, as well as a large collection of gourds to purchase. Not to mention this amazing book on gourd art – Oh Bunneh!!!!!

I also took a photo of my shadow – this is something my mother has been doing for quite some time, and I was inspired to take a shot of my elongated shadow, enhanced by my fabulous platform boots!

A quick word on Sunday – we went on a car run with the East Coast Muscle Car Club to the Grandview Hotel at Cleveland. The highlight of this trip was the petting zoo, which had a crazy baby piglet, a duck with hair like Elvis, a shit-stirring poddy calf and countless cute goats which I wanted to take home with me!
Back to work today, working on my design assignment, this blog (updating to include workshop outlines, after quite a bit of interest on the weekend, as well as now including buttons on how to follow posts - check them out!) and designing new business cards. It's never quiet around here! But how much do I love working in my studio? Let me count the ways....

Tuesday 8 October 2013

A day in the felting studio

I just couldn't make it out into the world today, and decided to put all errands on hold whilst I spent yet another day in the studio. After a frustrating few days working on my sketching (a long way to go!!) with no nice end results to admire, I decided to work on some ideas for future felt workshops. I started with a multicoloured layout, using up bits and pieces, which I fully felted, ironed, then wrapped around a pvc pipe. I poured dye over it and hoped to just steam it to shape, but the dye just ran out of it, so I had to  immerse it in a dyebath. Even though I have a metal tube for this purpose, it still required a lot of water, so did not turn out to be the dramatic jet black that I had hoped. Still, I am happy with the result, and am sure this will lead to an interesting workshop project.
Shibori felt
The messy felting table!

I have long been inspired by butterflies and other insects, and have  also been inspired by the beautiful butterfly works felted by Jean Guager of SugarPlum Originals. I've played around with felted wing designs before, but this time really channelled Jean! I really wanted to get the lovely cracquelure effect that she achieves. I really enjoyed the time at the table, selecting pieces of silk fabric, yarns, silk fibre and wool to lay out. I made quite a mess!
Wing layout

 Again just using leftover wool, I didn't get the really dramatic effect as with using black wool (I had some, couldn't find it, remembered where it was afterwards!) But, I am again very happy with the results. Felting is so rewarding!
Back to college tomorrow - looking forward to the new semester!
Felted wing

Sunday 6 October 2013

WoW 2013 Part Two

Meh. Coming back to the real world is a bit underwhelming, isn't it?! Although I was in a way ready to come home, it was a bit of a struggle, which had a distinctly 'post Christmas' aura to it. I'm through it now though, and ready to throw myself into college again this week. I have spent the last few days trying to improve my drawing skills, ready for my design assignment. As nice as that has been, it is also quite hard work, but I believe I am making some progress. It just takes practice.
So, back to New Zealand! Our frequent desire to get on the intermanet led us to spending a few afternoons on the couches at the FoxGlove, a beautiful bar and restaurant on the wharf. (Our hotel wanted to charge us ridiculous rates - for the price of a drink at the FoxGlove, we had all the time we needed). On our last time there, the weather was pretty good, and we even ventured out onto the deck, which has some lovely lounges - perfect for a sunny day!
A student design at Te Papa

Foxglove verandah
I had no idea Matt was pulling this face!!

As usual, it was wonderful to have these and all the displays in the shop windows to see as we walked around. To back track even further, here a few shots of us at the pre-show designer function.

 I wish I had one of me on stage with the girls in Hakaturi! If any one has one, please let me know!

The day after the big event we went to Te Papa to see the WOW designs on display there, and caught up with Lyn Christiansen, whom we persuaded to come and while away the afternoon with us at Mac's Brewery.
The two peacocks!
Lyn Christiansen, myself, and Jonathon Wood
On the way there we picked up a fellow WOW regular, Jonathon Wood, and spent a pleasant afternoon drinking fabulous beer and chatting. Aaaah, the perfect way to recover from WOW!

The most beautiful asparagus!
The talented and entertaining fishermen

We kept crossing paths with my fellow peacock Chris Davis and companion, but sadly didn't enveigle them into the bar! However, here is our annual photo together! I enjoyed the food markets at the wharf on Sunday, although sadly I had no room for any fabulous cheese in my belly! The produce looked so wonderful, colourful and fresh, and we spent a good half hour watching the fisherman sell and fillet fish from the back of their boat. Their talent with knives is truly captivating!
So, that's it for another year. I have every intention of entering again next year, but am not really trying to design anything yet - I'll just wait for inspiration to hit me. Which it needs to do before Christmas.