Sunday, January 15, 2012

A miscellany...

Isn't miscellany just a lovely word?  It has also proven quite handy this weekend as it helps me do a blog post about stuff I've done and thought about, or found out about, without having anything really concrete done!

Thoughts about "A subversive stitch"
As part of BookArtObject this year I have chosen the title "A subversive stitch" to work with and have been thinking and pondering and bringing together all sorts of ideas. There are clear links to women's work and stitching, darning, samplers, garment making, and embroidering. There is something in it for me about censorship and letters written home during the wars where sentence were blacked out, leaving the safe words showing.  There is something about stitching to remove words and leaving others; and something about history where men mostly got to write it and women weren't featured.  What a ramble; but welcome to my head!  So it's been fun so far and a few solid ideas are emerging.

Some of these images have helped:

The Great English Letter Writers (detail) by Lauren DiCioccio, 2009
Red Tower, by Yuri Avvakumov and Yuri Kuzin, 1986
Hand embroidered newspapers by Lauren DiCoccio
Exhibition open
My next random mention goes to Gallery East in Fremantle - whose Artists' Book exhibition opened last night and where my book "Learning my Lines"is now on show. For anyone in the west - it is actually at Gallery East (not the partner gallery in Midlands).  They have promised each entrant a catalogue and I am looking forward to receiving mine.

A smoking machine
And for the final random instalment...there I was on Friday afternoon happily and totally engaged with my new found fun, stitching paper on the sewing machine when I began to smell a funny smell. A bit like baking/burning but not quite. Then I lifted my eyes away a bit and holy moly - the sewing machine had smoke drifting out of it all over!  A quiet "Barry do you have a minute? - yes, what for? - my sewing machine is on fire" brought Barry running downstairs with a fire blanket. Not needed, but an excellent precaution. I turned it off and sat it outside for a bit, investigating - but it wasn't an electrical burning smell and the machine wasn't hot at all. I think in the end some paper scraps ended up getting too much friction somewhere. It has been behaving nicely since altho the smell lingers.... I wish I'd had my camera handy, it was quite a sight.


  1. sewing machine aflame?.... damn i DO wish you had the camera ready... there's something so totally subversive about a sewing machine chucking a wobbly at your work that I rather perversely like... he hee heee

  2. Perhaps this will lead to experimenting with charred edges on your stitched paper pieces ;-)

  3. The stitches ran so fast, she left a trail of fire........ Sounds a bit subversive to me!!

  4. Ah Ronnie - I knew you'd love a conflagration of sorts! I know, the moments you don't have even your phone with you hey? Sigh. It was definitely perverse and subversive in its own way.

    Yes Robyn - I can see those burnt and charred edges as well!

    Perfect Annie - feel free to write a stone about it. No one would ever believe it really. I don't really know what happened myself - but it was speccy!

  5. You must have been going at a pace on that machine Fiona if the friction caused smoke to rise from the paper. I would love to have seen it. I like that calm 'Barry , do you have a minute....' you sound like the sort of woman to have next to you in a crisis!

  6. Oh! I had a good comment about smoking sewing machines, but after reading Ronnie's comment...and nearly falling out my chair from laughing so hard...I've totally forgotten what I was going to write. Thanks for the laugh!

  7. stitches up in smoke...i can so see this!

  8. Love these subversive notions and the work you've shown....just gorgeous! Of course, I laughed out loud with your sewing machine story. If that had been me, I no doubt would have panicked and fled the scene, worrying all the while the house was about to go up in flames. Just the paper aflame though...hmmm, I'll have to keep that in mind when I rev up my sewing machine to start working on paper! Continue your subversive activities, but stay on the safe side of subversive!!!

  9. Lesley - You'd think I must have been flying; but I thought I was just going steady - but for a long time. I now take it in shifts...I impressed myself with my zen-like response!

    Hey Jennifer - glad you got a good laugh I did as well!

    Pretty special I thought Velma!

    Patti - I too was quite worried the place could catch fire if I didn't turn it off and put it outside for a bit. Good advice - subversive but safe! (alert but not alarmed...)

  10. Hi Fiona,
    I have just found your Blog and love your work. Your "Letter a Week" is a fantastic idea. are you doing it for 2012? Please let me know if I can join.

  11. LBoB - thank you for stopping by and for your kind words - I will definitely be in touch re alaw!


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