Sunday 24 January 2016

One twelfth of the way through 2016!

Storm and Sheepa!
It's true - well, very nearly! Much of this hot month has been spent either working at home in the blissful air-conditioning, or getting sweaty and dirty down at the shed working on Storm, my kombi. The more I do on that beast, the more I see to do!! Last week I took the doors off, as once I find rust I can't ignore it. There's no point spending all this time making a lovely looking beast that may crumble before me, although I do have to draw the line somewhere. My mother recently returned from NZ and brought me back this adorable sheep for my collection - having come straight from Mum's, Sheba (or is that Sheepa?) got to hang out with me and Storm the next day as surgery progressed...
Corriedale and Alpaca over Merino
But, this is a blog predominantly about textiles, so back to it, although quite often I can't always share everything I'm working on. This is a detail of a sculptural piece I've been working on. Underneath is a wire armature covered in padding, then merino pre-felt, which has been wet felted, then needle-felted with corriedale and alpaca.  I have not used either corriedale or alpaca before, nor needle-felted, so it has been an interesting process - both fibres are so much rougher! There have been a few late nights as I got carried away with stabbing, a little bit of blood, quite a few screams, and one bent felting needle from stabbing the wire! This piece has been giving me plenty of ideas, one of them being making a replacement lamp shade for the generic paper one I decimated a few weeks ago - I'm still not quite sure how that happened! However, I have the framework, some ideas, and hopefully, some time soon.
I've just spent a contemplative hour or so on the back deck, enjoying the breeze flowing over my skin and the ideas running through my head. It's a funny feeling, the one of ideas and images brewing. It's almost as though you can see half-formed ghost images, suggestions of something to be. I think I'm very lucky to have that going on, and I would like to give more time to that. Perhaps if I do, they will stop hunting me down at night when I'm trying to sleep?
Ahhhh, Etsy, I once thought you were the answer to my problems, but now, not so much. Shops take so much commission, I thought Etsy would be the answer, as there are only small listing fees and PayPal transaction fees. However, here I have this rack of wonderful hand-dyed, hand-felted items....
 and in order to put them on Etsy, I have to take around 5 photos of each, upload the photos, write the descriptions, enter as many 'tag' words as I can think of that people might search for, and unfortunately, tell people to contact me for International postage costs as there seems to be no way of guestimating this with any kind of accuracy, and it can be nasty!! (I'm also aware that this need for contact before sale is unappealing to many, who, like myself, are more than happy to click their way through to final purchase without the burden of awaiting contact.) And I have to do this for every camisole, tank top, pair of leggings, skirt, wrap.... see why it hasn't got done yet?! I'm thinking of looking for some special markets to go to a couple of times a year instead - I'd rather travel than spend a month uploading all this stuff!!
Speaking of travel, I'm starting to get excited about our trip to the Grampians in March, just over a month away now!! Squeeee! We will be felting with the wonderful Pam Hovel, after a little trip along the Great Ocean Road (or what's left of it after the fires!!) I believe we will also be catching up with Janet de Boer and the fabulous Martien van Zuilen down there too!!  Of course, I am very much looking forward to travelling with Platinum Bunneh and the Virgin Lounge good life that attends that fabulous relationship, as well as spending a week being absolutely ridiculous and talking our very special language for the duration!! Oh, how hard it will be to come back!!
Back to uploading, I will soon have some unloading to do, as I have discovered that my crate of goodies that toured around Australia with me at the Craft and Quilt Fairs is back in town - now I'm going to have to find room for it all here!! Actually, it's probably more the garments themselves that are the issue... anyone need an exhibition to fill a space?!!

Sunday 3 January 2016

Welcome, 2016

At this busy time of year, my online ramblings have slowed - but that's only because everything else sped up! Since my last post, we have hosted several pizza parties here, with Matts' new and improved pizza oven starring once again, impressing all with the organ-like stacks billowing smoke. Firstly, it was his work party - around 20 people. The next day was an intimate gathering of 'Wowza's' - fellow WOW entrants Jessica Thompson and Erica Gray and their partners, and the indomitable Janet de Boer and Peter. Awww, such a cute couple! Sadly, the photo I have of these two sweeties that should go with that comment is on my camera, which has gone AWOL, much to my dismay, and absolute frustration! I have turned the place upside looking for it, which has at least led to some tidying up!
We enjoyed talking about past and future entries, as only the truly addicted can....
Then another firing the following weekend. So much pizza. So good! A few weeks were spent lying low, trying to rest my left arm (suffering from old injuries and RSI), which meant I got some solid work done at the computer on my TAE qualification. (This will enable me to be a tutor at TAFE when completed in May.) The first module was mind-numbingly boring, and resulted in much wandering around the house and particularly towards the fridge in the search for something more satisfying - fortunately, the second is much more real and quite enjoyable. Hopefully also less fattening! After multiple visits to my beloved physio, we decided rest was not having much of an effect, so I have thrown myself back into both the gym and the studio, albeit with another glamorous brace on my arm. It's been great to be playing back in the gym with my personal trainer Bunneh - I feel very lucky to have had her expert guidance back onto the floor - and it has been wonderful to work with my hands again, once again with wire, tubing, and bridal offcuts. It has been the best Christmas gift, to sit in the airconditioning, creating, drinking bubbles, and watching old Family Ties and Charlies Angels!
This week we went up to Woodford Folk Festival - Matts' first time, my first in about 22 years. (Feels old, saying that...) After working pretty hard, it was great to just chill, hang out, and listen to interesting music. My favourite haunt was Bluestown - no surprise there! The organic sculptures were fabulous, as were the crazy puppet creatures. Children ran screaming in terror - awesome! Not surprising - these beasts were genuinely freaky. The black and white one unspeakably so!

Murray the truck made quite an impression throughout the entire trip, and made a wonderful bed for us with a tarp draped from the headboard to the back of the tray. I'd definitely do that again!
The day after our return, Matt and I went down to the shed to work on our vehicles - he on his 1941 Buick, me on the beginnings of the great kombi makeover. It was great to see Storm again, and drive him. I hope to have him finished in time for Woodford 2016. I've been playing with some ideas in Photoshop....
By the way, I hate the formatting issues with Blogger - this looked perfectly lovely in my draft - now look at it!! Aaaaaghhhh!!!