Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Of stitching britches, and babies

My favourite jeans for yard work started ripping.  I figured I could keep wearing them and continue the ripping or I could throw them away, or I could mend them; also with an SOS out to Liz Ackert having seen her darn hers beautifully, I undertook to have a crack myself.  

It makes me laugh to see that the main rip has yet to be attended to; however, many small frays are being dealt with.


I decided I would try and test a few different ways to see what aor tof stitching enjoyed and what works for didn't work.

These two frays show random horizontal and vertical stitching and seed stitch.

Each darn has a patch underneath it as well.


This has proven to bey favourite  so far, so I am going to use it on the rip if I can.


And so it begins...


All poor efforts are mine and purely mine and have nothing to do with Liz's suggestions!

And so to babies...

My cousin's daughter had a baby on new year's day and I am doing a calligraphic Y for them.

I wanted to be a bit playful with this one, so started to draw and doodle a bit.


And then tried to transfer onto proper paper - with mixed results!


Finally got one that copied well.


I trialled a few colours - I first thought of the amber colour tones as I had seen the wee one in clothes like that a fair bit.  But then I fell for the brighter blues and greens.


So I finalised a blue-green one.  Then I saw more photos of the bairn in amber/gold/ green tones so went away and did a final of that and forgot to photograph it before taking it to the framers! Laugh.


But you get the idea...

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Armadale Horizons

Whenever we visit the cottage, we try to do a walk to the cove every morning.  It has to be pretty bad weather for us to pike it - we don our many layers and our waterproof troos and head off intrepidly!

On our most recent visit, we took a lot of photos of the water and the sky and the horizon.  I chose to stand in the same spot each day and photograph the same horizon at the same magnification.  Or pretty much the same.

On return I have been playing with what to do with them; how to present them or show them and it has been a dreamy time staring into that horizon.

I selected 42 photos and printed them all out onto individual sheets  of matte photo paper.  They looked great on the dining table and the kitchen bench.




I am mesmerised by the individual nature of each and every one of them - even grey misty mornings look different.






So I have gathered them up and layered them with tissue paper between them and they can now sit and quietly let me know what they might become.

In between times I printed them all out on cheap paper, in a smaller size and wondered how they would present if I placed them next to each other. A really quick cut and past job.


Because the photos are square, Barry suggested I try 36 of the 42 in a square format. So I did, but couldn't quite work out why I wasn't finding the square and the grid calming like I usually do.

I think it was because it didn't actually look square because of the horizontal lines the sea was forming. I did love the way the lines appear and offer another element to the whole thing.


42 has  quite a few nice divisions 6x7, 7x6, 2x21, 3x14... and I think I like the 14x3 version.


I could do cheap and cheerful cuttingand pasting whilst watching the tennis - photos taken at night on the floor.

I am now trying to imagine what they might be printed on, and again, what they might become. 

To compare and contrast in a way, the valley was astonishing at 5.30am yesterday.  Layer and layers of clouds and a tiny strip of blue. Sublime.




And barely a mountain in sight!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

"I have a real need to express elation at how interesting and beautiful things are and to see them arranged…I work with things I rather like and move them about until they recall the feeling of an actual moment in the landscape; then I’ve won". 

Rosalie Gascoigne

I do find Rosalie's words often reflect my way of thinking or an experience I have had.  With this one, it was the notion of arranging things I like until they recall a feeling.  Mine may not be so directly related to a moment in the landscape; but the arrangement of them does oftentimes re-create a sensational or feeling. And at that point, I know.

The other element I love about these words is the real need to express elation at how beautiful things are.  How uplifting is the word elation?!? What a glorious sentiment and emotion; what a fabulous feeling to express.

My elation at seeing how beautiful simple things can become when arranged is often a quiet heart-lift rather than an expressed trumpet of joy.  But I do love that quiet moment of recognising and responding to the beauty in their simplicity, and the tug on my heart as I gaze at them.


And so it is with my pegs of threads...


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Apron update and a warning

The rescued aprons are done!


It has been so long since we have had any rain that it slipped my mind to move them inside until they were rather damp from an unexpected yet welcome shower.  I worried that the dampening may have made the ink run, but no, it held.



So I dried them off for another few days (a week all up probably), then cured them by ironing.

A few days later that pumpkin vine had grown into the typewriter a wee bit...


I decided to sew the tie on at this point in case of overwhelming fraying and that was a good decision.

Then into the washing machine and lo, they held again, and then a good iron and they are done!

They make me very happy.


 And now to the warning bit. Avert your eyes if snake skins concern you.

As I went out the door to exercises early one morning I looked across to the veggie patch and wondered what's that?  Without glasses, always a bit tricky, but I figured I knew the answer...


 Sure enough, on closer examination it turned out to be the BIGGEST shed python skin I have ever seen.  Rather pleased I have not met its former inhabitant.

Here it is in parts... the belly in comparison to a regular garden hose.


Right the way across...


And down...


Astonishing. We retrieved it and measured and it was 3.3m long. Impressive.

Perfection from the tip of its head to its tail - it was utterly intact and it must have just finished. Look at that jaw!



There's always something happening on the block - and this was pretty special. Pythons are relatively harmless to humans and do keep things like rats and mice at bay so we are happy enough to have one, as long as we don't run into it ourselves too often.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A real blast from the past.

As we continue with our annual clean up, sort, and divestment of stuff, we came across this blast from the past.

Way back in 2006, I quite my senior executive role and went to CIT in Canberra (a technical college) to do my one and only art qualification - a six month Certificate III in Design Fundamentals, just before we moved to our shed in Maleny.  It was a hoot of a time - I scrambled out of work to attend the Introductory briefing in my suit and high heels with my mobile going off; all of my classmates had just left school.

I had a fabulous time hanging out with 18 year olds and learnt so much.  I was introduced to printmaking, drawing, theory, ceramics and sculpture.  I was hungry and lapped it all up.

Our final project was a sculptural piece with a brief: take two things that have movement; and re-work them to create a new thing with movement.

I chose a domestic tool - an egg beater; and a writing tool - a typewriter.

I took as my theme the women codebreakers of the Second World War. How they had been plucked from domesticity and transported to important jobs and roles, and then after the War, basically told to go home and pop their aprons on again.


Of course, I had the help of Barry even then, and whilst I came up with all the ideas and movement, when I got stuck he could suggest how to attach something to something, how to make the thing come to life as I envisaged.

I gutted the typewriter and used it as a base for the work.  I removed the roller and made it stand vertically.  I took apart the egg beater and created the silhouette forms of two women.


One was the before and after woman - the woman in a 40s frock and with an apron.


The second one was the in-between woman - in a service uniform and jaunty cap.


The idea was that as you applied pressure to the return handle of the typewriter; the women would move between the two worlds.  Starting in the domestic sphere, moving to the important professional sphere then being returned to the domestic world again.


Hopefully the video LINK HERE shows it in action. Blogger doesn't let me upload videos that work anymore, so I have made a youtube video which hopefully you can link to.

The work has been in a cupboard since we moved here (13.5 years ago) but now seemed the right time to take it out and pop it along the sculpture paths below, nestled in the bush to be a nice reminder for me  when I wander there. 


And here, with Barry's help, is the video in the bush (I hope)! Again this is a youtube video and I have all my fingers crossed that the link works...





Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

“…we don’t just respond to fiction (as might be implied by the idea of reader response), or receive it (as might be implied by reception studies), or appreciate it (as in art appreciation), or seek its correct interpretation (as seems sometimes to be suggested by the New Critics). We create our own version of the piece of fiction, or own dream, our own enactment. 

 Keith Oatley

I have pondered quotes like this one before; and I seem to regularly respond to them in part because I still live with that utter amazement of how differently we all perceive a work of fiction.  So often I am caught by the way in which somebody whose reading tastes/habits I thought I knew well, will delight in and devour a book which I resent for taking taken my time and giving me nothing.

Or when I fall deeply for a book, and find that my emotional investment and response is not shared! How!?!!?

With this one in particular, I like that he suggests that despite notions of reader response, reception studies and art appreciation, we still, in our own minds and imaginations, create a marvellous panoramic, cinematic, evocative rendering of the lives and worlds contained within the covers of a book that is unique.

What this tells me about how we bring experience, education, understanding, empathy and all manner of things to bear as we attempt to understand events, is that we, and our brains, are amazing!


Different ways of reading...

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Rescuing aprons

A long time ago I bought a couple of cheap calico aprons with the plan of printing on them sometime. Having done my tests and trials about printing on fabric, I thought the time was right to finally print.

So, paying attention to my new rules, I washed them first.  This proved disastrous and the entire binding fell apart and pulled holes in all sorts of places.

Did I mention they were cheap?

I put them aside sadly thinking oh well, but then decided there was an option to attempt a rescue mission.  I removed the binding and cut them in half, turning them into half aprons that would tie around the waist.  They had this great set of pockets on the front for pens and brushes and things so I was lucky that stayed intact and it definitely made them worth saving.

I set some large Italian type in the bed of a proofing press and did some proofs.

It felt like I spent so long proofing for just two aprons, but I wanted to give them the best chance.


It took a bit of fiddling to get the letters printing relatively evenly - every time I attempted an adaptation it shifted something else ink wise, so in the end I did a fair job and decided to print anyway. Life is too short, especially when I didn't even know if it would work!

In a way, I just love that the type has been used so much or hand hewn that it isn't perfect.  It tells a story and shows the hand made nature of it all.


Modifications first with some card, then later with some paper.



The new proofing press allows for variable pressure which is great, as Italian type is a different height to regular type.  Here I have a pre-loved piece of 300gsm paper to provide a tiny touch of pressure.  Heavier card made it impossible to roll through.


The calico apron went down and I was happy wth the pressure achieved when I saw this on lifting the  protection paper.


The reveal - photo courtesy of Barry. See the fab little pockets on the front?


And so to drying and curing.  Still hot and dry here so plenty of drying opportunities.  Once again outside the studio in the gravel seemed perfect.


Using gravel in the corners to keep them from being carried away if the wind blows.


It looks kinda cute with them, the rusting typewriter and the creeping pumpkin vine...


After they have dried, cured and been washed again, then the binding sewn back on as the waistband tape for tying I'll show you them gain. Fingers are crossed.