Monday, September 21, 2009

Ken Smith....What a Man!

Today I have been busy with textile artist Ken Smith. Ken is based in Tasmania and is a renowned machine embroiderer, with many years experience. He has learnt under such people as Constance Howard.....that really impressed me!
Ken has been in Perth and Bunbury running a series of workshops on machine embroidery. His techniques are superb and have resparked an interest in my sewing machine.....not that I had ever lost interest.....but hand stitching has sort of taken over lately.
The workshop I am taking part in is Holeyer Than Thou.....and yes, that is a made up word! We have been creating holes and stitching them, you forget how quickly you can do things on a machine. I want to try doing some of the bobbin work that Ken has been showing us.....a bit scared, but am going to be brave tomorrow. He showed us moss stitching, which I never thought I would be able to do..........only to discover that it is super easy and I am a natural!

One of the things I love about Ken, is that he is very generous with his knowledge. Many artists wouldn't share the amount of skills that Ken to Ken.....I say thank you. This is a link to his website and I would recommend a look!

I am scheming to get Ken to come back next year and do one of his week long workshop on fungi! His fungi is so realistic, he got picked up in customs in NZ when they caught sight of it in his bag.....they thought it was real and he had to explain himself. I just need to do a bit more nagging and see if I can get Jenny to agree to arrange it....something to have a chat about over lunch tomorrow I think!
I will share my samples when I am finished...they are all safely locked away at Craft House for the night. If anyone broke in there, they could make a fortune on stealing all the sewing machines....mine along is a couple of grand!

Alpaca Anyone???

OnFriday and I went for a drive with Taj, we went visiting Caroline, from Windella Alpacas. I should of taken some pics of the alpacas....they were beautiful. Two gorgeous girls are pregnant and 3 stunning boys were ready to go to the Perth Royal Show.

Caroline, along with 2 friends have built a business, where they breed, sheer and process their own alpaca fibre. I am terribly interested in their processing, which is much more minimal that sheep fibre. We are planning a visit to the processing plant in November.....can't wait.
These are some of the gorgeous bumps that have been produced from the alpacas. The colour range is wonderful, ranging from a clean white, thru to cream, light brown, a chestnut brown, a darker brown still, brown black and finally blue black. They are sooooo just want to hug them.
I bought 3 of the batts, which have been created and they felt beautifully. I know some girls who would love to spin and weave with these. One of our girls at Feltwest, asked me to get her a black batt, sight unseen........she's a bit excited.
I had never felted with alpaca before and had no idea how it was going to turn out. It felts very easily and has a very different texture to the merino I usually work with. Because of the different scales on alpaca (Caroline said they sit more flat), they have a different finished look. Even though it is fully felted, it still has a lovely textured look to it, more like hair than fibre. I have felted two shades of the brown I have and am currently working on a piece for Cervantes with them. Will take some pics as I go along the process. It will also show you how I go about planning (or maybe my lack of planning) process and just how I work.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Promise........

Now that I have been playing with my page and am happy with everything......I promise.......that I will not post in blue text, as it will blind all of my friends. I promise........that I will try and be a good blogger and blog more often. I update interesting blogs which I follow! I promise......not to bore the pants off you!!!

Don't You Just Love To Play

Don't you just love it when you take the time to play!! I had never really customised my blog...mainly because I hadn't taken the time. So with it being before 6am, the kids still asleep, my urges were bubbling to the surface.

It was so simple, I could kick myself. So now that I am able to be creative with my pages......I apologise for the colours that may confront you from now on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Photograph......or Not to Photograph???

A very interesting dilema arose on the weekend. Do we photograph another artists work or not??? Karin Kortenhorst would not allow us to take photos of her work, but was happy for us to sketch them and make our own samples of her work.

Apparently in Europe, it is common practice that you do not photograph other artists work. I can totally understand why and think that this practice shall start to be used more here in Australia. As an artist, you always put yourself out to the public for scrutiny. Unfortunately, there are people who are more interested in replicating others work, than tapping into their own creative energy.

I suppose the underlying thing to remember, is that other people may have different morals to you. Do your own work, develop your own style and this will be recognised by those around you. If someone replicates your work, firstly work is good enough to copy. Then approach the person and tell them this is not on. My wonderful friend Trudi has had this happen to her and she dealt with it immediately and it hasn't happened since. Word got out, not to mess with her and her work. You go girl!!!!!

The message I am probably trying to think before you snap! Do you have permission to take photos....or have you even bothered to ask?? What is the photo actually going to do for you? Why not just enjoy looking.....savour the moment.......let inspiration take over you........and then go and create your own masterpiece.

Think about it.....let me know your thoughts!

Karin Kortenhorst

Over the weekend I attended a two day workshop with Dutch jeweller, Karin Kortenhorst. Karin is a very fine jeweller, who has come to teach at the Geelong Forum and we were lucky enough at Feltwest, to have her stop over and workshop with us.
It's always fantastic to work with an international tutor and especially one, who isn't a felt maker, but someone who can show you different ways of using your material of choice. Wire was heavily used, with the use of many different types. Copper wire was popular to use, as it is very soft and maliable. Heather Davis had some copper sheeting and made this lovely lotus flower inspired piece. And yes....the photo us upside down!
This is a piece of copper sheeting, which has been hammered. I love the organic flow the occurs after hammering. The fact that something which is so rigid, can produce such soft lines intrigues me. I am keen to start incorporating some of the new techniques we learnt, into my work.

Sue Swain brought along this bulb, which is from a watsonia plant. Apparently they are a weed here in Perth, but boy do I love their bulbs. In the UK there are people who work in an area which can best be described at living plant sculptures. Willow is their plant of choice as it grows so well there. They plant the willow and train it to form these amazing sculptures. A large cathedral has been built in Germany. Go and have a look at this website and you will see what I mean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Natural Dyes

I have learnt how to download pics from my camera! Actually...that's not quite right....I made Anthony learn and he hasn't yet shown me....but hey....same diff!!!

Let me walk you through some of our pics from July.....

These were the results of natural dyeing which we did up at Trudi Pollards studio. When we dye, we try to dye different threads and materials. It gives us a good record of how the dyes effect different substances. We will use different types of silks, threads, wool and of course felt.
A collection of the various threads, with the leaves that were used to dye alongside each. This helps in the recording process.
These threads have been dyed with chilli bush, a native Australian plant, which looks nothing like chilli, but has a similar taste. You can get anything from a pink through to purple with this plant. This is a lovely subdued taupe colour. Every batch is different.

The next two pictures are the wrong way around....they should be the undyed version and then the dyed version....but can figure that out. This was a dye pot at my house, using Eucalyptus Cineria....otherwise known as Silver Dollar. I just love the deep, rich colours I personal favourite.
The dye pot, before cooking. It's a good idea to photograph each stage for documentation.

The result of some other dye pots using the same plant. Each dye pot will always come out differently. It depends on the amount of water, the number of leaves, which tree the leaves come from etc.
Some of the results from steaming, instead of boiling using plant material. These are wet, so the true beauty of the colour isn't seen yet. This is us as we unwrapped them, straight from the steamer. They were burning our hands!
These two were a piece of habutai silk and a wool/silk blend piece of fabric. The plant material was placed in between the layers, so we get the same pattern on two different pieces of fabric.
One of my round vessels, which was steamed. This is the leaves as we are peeling them from the vessel. Again using my favourite plant.
Finally a picture of my two favourite ladies. Trudi Pollard on the left and Lorna Hindmarsh on the right. Lorna is such an inspiration. She has been naturally dyeing for much of her life. I will blog about her later. Lorna very kindly had Trudi and myself to her house and went through some of her work. We are planning to do more work with Lorna in the near future. The felt piece that the ladies are holding, is all dyed using natural dyes from the local Perth area.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Suck!!!

As it has been pointed out to me....I suck badly. Firstly I am going to blame my camera for all my troubles. My faithful old Fuji, died a very sudden death. Of course on the day when I needed him most. Notice how I have decided it was a male.....they always cause trouble!!

I had to rush out and buy a replacement.....not an easy thing to do...........especially when I loved old Fuji so much. Now I have my first Cannon and am loving him (still a male), but.... I now have a problem. I need to learn how to download the pictures. Can you imagine how many pics I have sitting on that camera. It will take me a week to sort them into folders and if I am lucky, I may print a pic out....notice I can't commit to when that may be!

So.........what's been happening you may ask??? Lots, lots and lots more! After our exhibition at Mundaring was a great success, I was asked to join the WAFTA Exhibition Committee. Now that was busy. Our exhibition went for a week and was one of the most successful to date at that gallery.

Now I am getting ready to have a body of work completed, as I am one of the featured artists at the Cervantes Art Festival in the end of October. The works need to be submitted by the end of September.....gettin close......eeeeekkkkk!!!! I have upcoming workshops with Karin Kortenhorst from Denmark, Ken Smith from Queensland, Chungi Lee from Korea and I am off to Geelong for the fibre forum at the end of the month!

Anthony has just arrived home with the boys, so now I am going to see if he can teach me to download those photos.......lets hope there is something interesting in there!!!!!