Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pablo Neruda

Some through internet wormhole or another I found an Instagram account @storiesgram who run weekly themed challenges. This weeks challenge is Pablo Neruda since his birthday was on the 12th. A few years ago for rather elaborate birthday cards I 'illustrated' 2 poems for Dougie.

So of course, I thought...well I could mix the images from those cards in a graphic or 2 or 3 or 4...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Glass in Fairy tales

Here is a thought, that was meant to be part of my talk on Sunday at the Fairytale conference. But in my nervousness I forgot it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Second day of Winter

Lots of frost, that stayed around for most of the morning and a leaf popsicle!

We don't have particularly serious Winters here in Australia, but Canberra does get chilly. About -5or6 for frosty mornings and days of 8-13. I find the cold is more of a novelty for a few months before Spring and the heat of Summer come back.

Graphics with Canva

Recently I have been having fun with Canva, a free graphics app online. It's very easy to use, has lots of free stuff and has a bunch of templates with the right proportions for various social media banners and pics.

I have been thinking about how to use the images I have in new ways on place like Pinterest, facebook, Instagram and twitter without boring people to death. So with Canva I have been making graphics with quotes from fairy tales. I have done a few with #creepyquotes and now i'm starting an #onfairytales set. I'm enjoying looking for the text, matching it with the images and playing around with fonts and colourways.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy Birthday DRAGONCLAW!

Kate Forsyth's first published book Dragonclaw was published 18 years ago today. To celebrate the series has had new covers designed.. and Kate is running a competition to win a new set. I have designed a few graphics on Canva to add to my social 'love' of this series.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

40! Birthday wishes and velvet dresses

I turned 40 today.

It was a good day, mainly spent frantically sewing a velvet dress interspersed with birthday wishes, parcels & flowers. There is an Andy Kehoe resin print on it's way, from my parents, a beautiful ceramic bowl from a friend and a poem and Hazelnut trees from my partner.
Beautiful, lovely and thank you. xxx

Elisalex dress from By Hand London
Fabric: Crushed velvet from the stash c.1996. Blue base and burgundy pile, probably synthetic.
Alterations: Heck yes
Overall Comments: I like the silhouette and I'm glad I stuck with it through the alterations. Once the fit is established it is an easy sew and I will make it again.

THE SEWING DETAILS: lots and lots of them
I love velvet and when I was younger I bought a lot of it, in purples and blues, many shades of red wine and some green but I didn't actually sew much of the woven velvet. I decided that for dinner on my fortieth I would make a dress out of some of that vintage? (18-20 year old fabric). After some deliberation I firmly told myself that drafting a dress from scratch was going to take too long, my skills were too rusty and the lack of a fitting buddy tipped me over to buying a pattern. I chose the Elisalex dress from By Hand London.

Elisalex seems to have been made up almost by every sewing blogger I follow, flattering a wide range of figures in a variety of fabrics... a quick toile and then on to the velvet was how I saw the project. Hah!

In my 20's when I sewed the most I was a very standard Australian size 10 (with a slightly smaller bust and waist). I'm now size 14 with a C+ bra cup. I didn't really think how much a being out side of the standard would affect the pattern fitting (!!!) which is silly really, considering my experience in dress making.

The first Elisalex toile (size UK 16) was an awful fit. Baggy sleeves, shoulder slipping off, big wrinkles under the arms. I almost stopped there. I rang my mother for advice.
Probably the only photo of my first toile i'm willing to share
I made 4-5 toiles in all. After the first one I concentrated on the bodice and sleeves and I did a FBA, sway back adjustment and some fine tuned fitting around the princess seams over the bust.

The sleeves; first off when I saw the sleeve pattern piece I was surprised. In my pattern making training (admittedly some time ago) fitted sleeves had a higher sleeve head. Ah well I thought, I've seen plenty of Elisalex's out there, they look fine.

Elisalex sleeve in comparison to my industry fitted bodice block

I took my mum's advice and fitted the bodice as well as I could, then I inserted the sleeve only in the underarm from notch to notch. When I tried it on, the gap showed me how much the sleeve head was missing. After much discussion with my mum (who had been sent lots of toile photo's) I drafted an entirely new sleeve, which took a few adjustments to get right. I added a dart below the elbow, raised the sleeve head and some width in the bicep area.

Elisalex sleeve
Sewing buddy, about to be evicted
Sewing buddy retreats to a safe place

After all the toile-ing I made up a final toile with the skirt and lining, which due to the double layer of fabric was a bit too firm. By this stage though I was getting close to my deadline, and I decided just to go ahead and make some final adjustments by eye.

I'm pretty happy with the result. I didn't quite finish he garment in time for dinner, but it was wearable by then (the bodice lining wasn't stitched in but all the hems were done). Next time I sew velvet I will take my time (yes dear, you were right) as something must have gone a little skew in the cutting and I ended up having to lower the back neckline by 3cm and the front neckline wasn't as nice as the toile. The crushed-ness of the velvet is very forgiving of any speed sewing stuff ups.

40th Birthday Dress

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Selkie Stories; sketch book & samples

My next focused exhibition is 'Selkie Stories' showing in late August in M16 Artspace's black room. I am developing the themes I was looking at last year with 'Depths & Shallows' by using animation, glass & textiles to portray the transformation and narrative of Selkie folklore. The last few days have been productive, the story board is coming together along with material samples & tests.

I have found some great resource material from on grey seals. They have quite a few filmed sequences which are fantastic for getting the movement of seals in the water. Also David Thomson's 'The People of the sea' arrived in the post today. First published in 1954, the tales he has written down retain a feeling of their oral nature. Also in the post recently was a package from author Kate Forsyth which contained her beautiful book 'Two Selkie Stories from Scotland'.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Autumn musings; fiction, poetry and colour

Autumnal embroidery in silk and cotton floss on calico.

Well it is no surprise that I love Autumn, I take the same kind of photographs every year, I regularly use Autumn leaves for bookmarks and find leaves from past Autumns well pressed in-between pages every year.

I have done my Autumnal re reading of Kim Wilkins' Autumn Castle, such a perfect read for the season and one of my favourite books ever.

The Autumn Castle has a quote from a poem of Kate Forsyth's, another favourite author (Her poems are published under her maiden name, Humphrey).

"So pure and cold the wind breathes. It pares the flesh from the bones of the land - finds at last the essential shape" Autumn, Kate Humphrey.

Kim Wilkins also includes her own translation from a few lines of Hohenburg by Georg Trakl.

"There is nobody at home. Autumn fills the rooms;
Moonbright sonata
And theawakening at the edge of the twilit forest."

This quote reminded me of another, one that when I read it thought... Yes, that's it exactly! Unfortunately all I remember is that feeling and not the quote. Frustrating. Searching my memory I managed to narrow it down to a Charles de Lint novel but despite searching 'on the google' I couldn't find it (turns out I should have remembered the American and Canadian use of the word Fall).

So I started re-reading 'Jack the Giant Killer' and then 'Memory and Dream' and at last I found it.

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show."
                                                                                                        -Attributed to Andrew Wyeth.

I had read Memory and Dream in a previous Canberra Autumn, where I was feeling incredibly nostalgic. Canberra is planted with many European deciduous trees, reminding me more of German and English Autumns than any Sydney season could give. I was pondering on why I love winter trees (I mean why would a person prefer bare branches to glorious green?) and the Andrew Wyeth quote drew me to an answer. It is that brimming sense of potential, of becoming, of promise. The tension of the moment before the action happens. I love being able to see the 'bone structure' or bare architecture of the tree branches... I guess that is why all my glass pieces have bare branched trees.

OK Autumn gush over!

Well not quite. The trees in my garden, which I take pictures of constantly at this time of year have inspired me to a small embroidery. Yellow and grey are such a great colour combination, that I kept seeing the tree branches and yellow leaves in stitches. So I have started, the background calico is an old piece (20 years) of stitch testing. When I first went to pattern making college, our first lessons where of threading an industrial sewing machine to a timer and practicing sewing a straight and even line. As you can see mine are a little wavy, but I think it works great as a background giving a suggestion of landscape. The calico has a lovely soft texture 20 years later!

Silk and cotton floss on calico sewing machine stitch samples

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From table cloth to Apron

This terribly bright poppy and lavender op-shop table cloth was crying out to made into a terribly kitsch apron (or two). The table cloth was rectangular but there was an half oval design at each end, which I followed for the hem and the pockets are the corners. I'm going to make another from the other half of the table cloth for a friend.
It's a very practical apron with those huge pockets

Thursday, March 12, 2015

MIT app inventor

So, I have this great idea for an App (KILN SCHEDULE APP) It is very specific and doesn't exist yet. I am slowly working my way through some beginners projects at MIT Appinventor a very cool site where you can learn to make apps. Very simple ones to start with, like the examples below.

You don't have to learn to code (phew) but you do learn to work out how things fit together. Those little blocks I guess have a whole heap of code behind them to enable someone like me to build them together to make things happen.

Now I realise that now there are 'drag and drop' style app builders (like App pie), but the feel too simple for the kind of App I want to build.

I am scheduling in one or two exercises a day from the MIT 'Course in a box' to see if I can build up some new skills!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cycling in the evening sun

Needing to return someone else library book (much more urgent than ones own) I cycled to Erindale, the nearest library. Delightfully, I only needed to cross 2 roads over 5.8km. The bicycle tracks and underpasses of Canberra are actually really great. I love not having to worry about cars.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

GLINT 2015

I received a reply to my GLINT residency proposal. While I crossed my fingers of my left hand and squeezed my eyes shut with hope, I opened the email.

YAY! I got in. So thrilled.

Here is a look at last years GLINT.

10253790_773400476037618_2458324873196204952_nMegalo Print Studio and Canberra Glassworks have partnered to create an exciting residency opportunity appropriately called GLINT, a combination of Glass and Print. 
In 2014 this project offered eight artists a unique opportunity to explore the connections between printmaking and glass practice, working across the facilities of Canberra Glassworks and Megalo.  
The eight artists were selected as a result of an Expression of Interest process include Scott Chaseling, Emilie Patteson, Ben Rak, Annika Romeyn, Dionisia Salas, Mark Thiele, Annie Trevillian, Melinda Willis. 
IMAGE: Emilie Patteson + Annika Romeyn working on a lithographic stone
The artists, made up of 4 glass and 4 print artists, worked in a collaborative manner, sharing skills and forging the links between Glass and Print through a two month residency concluding 30 May 2014 
The work created during the GLINT residency culminated in an exhibition at Canberra Glassworks Gallery from 25 June – 4 August 2014, curated by Alison Alder, former Director of Megalo.  
This was the first collaborative project between Megalo and Canberra Glassworks. Both organisations are excited about the prospect of future collaborations and look forward to working together to establish Kingston Foreshore a visual arts hub for Canberra.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring bulbs

Such fun opening a parcel this morning from Diggers. Among other selections of Bluebells and Freesias I opted for the 'Gambler's Choice' bulb pack.

Inside the pack, were Daffodils, Hyacinths, Bluebells, Tulips, Freesias and Ipheions.  I quite like surprises like that. A busy time planting all of those in April.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Long promised peg apron

I have finally got my straight stitcher going, with a few problems solved from when the removalists moved it. I made a friend a peg apron, which she has had to wait a fair time for. The fabric is from a duvet cover I bought in an op shop.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Organisation in the sewing room

Finally getting myself a little organised in the sewing room. I have worked through the problems with my straight stitcher and I have realised I do need to take the Elna for a service. Let the sewing commence!