Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

"Hetty has never read a novel; how then could she find shape for her expectations"? 

George Elliot

These words struck me on two levels.  The first being that when they were written; women were probably not encouraged to have expectations beyond their station; no expectations beyond being married off and to hopefully be able to manage a household and bear children. Don't get me wrong; if that is a choice and a  goal and a dream all good - if it is all anybody thinks you are capable of; not so good.

And the second was that novels which engage the imagination and open up entirely alternative worlds, can encourage expectations beyond the narrow margins of our known lives and experiences. I think non fiction can as well - biography and autobiography most definitely can show how lives begin in one setting and with opportunities, fate, fortune, skill, persistence and enterprise they can end in others.

The coming together of the importance of education for women, and the value of reading as a skill to enable our sights to be lifted; our enthusiasms supported; and our hopes and dreams expanded is really quite powerful and holds true today.

A key global development goal is the education of girls, and it's definitely one to support.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sittin' Stitchin'

 We had some rain over the weekend, and I had some time, so that was the perfect set up to sit and stitch by hand again.

I decided I might try to stitch a bit of sampler because that way I don't feel as if every decision is critical - I am just testing and trying things out, finding my way...

By way of beginning, some soft grey onto the reverse of some lovely hand printed linen. Running stitch is the perfect stitch for me; the rhythm the repetitiveness, yet the non-perfection. Edges left to fray. 

Followed by next favourites tech blanket stitch, going around three edges with no contrast in the thread colour, and leaving one edge open. Wondered if it might become a pocket?

I recalled that a split back stitch is a good stitch for lines so I traced around a bowl and decided to stitch a circle line.

And then began a little test - using cross stitch to hold a piece down.

And thinking that the blank salmonness of that larger patch was too much, went in with some contrasting running stitch to soften it.

In different directions.

And blanket stitched the edges all the way around.

I am really enjoying the palette. Some of the fabrics came with the kit; and so far all the threads I have used did.  Perfect colour combinations.  I have added in some fabric of my own and will probably introduce some of my threads as well.

Speaking of which I purchased some newbies from String Theory - a place in Australia that stocks some Habu threads!  

I do love the way textile folk wrap things.

Some beautiful linen paper thread from Habu and some gorgeous naturally dyed cotton threads from Temaricious.

As ever, I am reminded of how soothing sittin' stitchin' can be.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Playing and printing plus!

 So, I have begun to see my Sunday in the shop/studio at Deckled Edge Press as a chance to play and explore.  I did those wonderful cut up offprints a few weeks ago; and last week I picked up a couple of Barry's rejected prints and played around re-working one of them.

His poster Dismantle Patriarchy, Deliver Equality is a wee ripper; and I wanted to see what happened if you messed with it  bit.

So I cut into dismantle and coloured up deliver.

And then tried different colours behind dismantle

Including a mess of colours.

Not sure if this will become something or not but I enjoyed going down the rabbit hole of what ifs???

And it was time for product production as well - so a few more cards were printed.  Some still need to be illustrated but they are at least underway!

And a Saturday evening gift - the wallabies came to check out some of the citrus trees we have planted! Photos taken from inside through our deck's railing for fear of disturbing them too much. The first one shows the joey with its head out. Happy days.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

“I have lived in my body for years and still need maps and lights to find my way to how I feel.”

 Michelle K., Body of Maps

It took me a while to track down the author here; you know those moments when you think I love the words but who are they truly attributed to and/or are they a made up internet thingy?

I can report that Michelle K is a blogger poet from the East Coast of the US.  Not K. Michelle the songwriter-singer. 

This is a beautiful thought and sometimes how I feel I guess.  I loved the line I have lived in my body for years - so true! Me and only me has lived here, yet I still get lost sometimes trying to describe the way I feel; the way it feels...

Listening to your body, to its reactions, to the thumping heart rate, the knotted stomach; the blank brain and thought processes; the blossoming flush; the rising anger that needs physical release...each and every one of these things that my body might do is trying to tell me something and trying to let me know how I feel about something.

When you stop and think about it, the body knows so much and tries so hard to protect you. 

Her imagery of also needing maps and lights to find my way to how I feel is longingly beautiful in my mind. The sense that there is a place where you know how you feel, and that you are trying to find your way there...

 On one of my niece's pieces for her Year 12 Graduation ten years ago...

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Stitching and thank you

 As we begin to be able to settle into our new lives within being focussed on all the details of a move, I am re-discovering sewing.  Last weekend I sat and re-acquainted myself with my sewing machine; this weekend I picked up some slow hand stitching again.  Both wonderful and a real sense of enjoyment.

I have no photos of the trousers I made, but I was thrilled to lengthen the pattern and create my own variation of side pockets and to have them work. yay.

I ordered a fabric kit and a course online from Craft School Oz on slow stitching.  I just wanted somewhere to start (again) and sometimes an external impetus helps.

The bundle arrived in the post and I opened it and was delighted.

All sorts of goodies within and really, something for everybody.

For a woman who never wears pink, it surprised me that I had chosen the pink pack but they are so gorgeous I am happy that I did.

Hidden out of sight, right at the bottom, were a couple of remnants of fabric from Ink and Spindle in Melbourne.

Delicious but I couldn't see how they might go with the others so decided to work with them on their own.

A zip was included in the pack so I thought this might make a nice pencil case.

And I made a pencil case! All by hand! Who knew?!?!?

I thought I would embellish the pattern just a bit by doing some running stitch up the wobbly lines. It was just enough.

I folded it in half, turned back the edge to make a frayed edge; stitched the zipper in by hand; blanket stitched the outside edges; then stitched them together with running stitch (in two directions so quite solid in the end).

It was all a bit free flow and free form but it got me it into the rhythm again.  I rewarded myself with watching old episodes of The West Wing whist I stitched - ah the nostalgia.

Now I want to make more pencil cases.

Back in the studio - I blind embossed/ de-bossed some small thank you cards, just because I like the look of them and I like sending thank you cards!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Teaching pebbles

 Which is a kind of strange title, but it's what I did during the week - taught my calligraphy on pebbles workshop.

My workshop table before we began

It was a fabulous group - we had seven participants which is a lovely number, allowing for more personal time with participants.  We were writing Versals on the pebbles - code for built up letters.  The letters are formed by pen strokes or pencil strokes and then filled in. Sort of like drawing for letters.

Everyone got a small jar of ink and a handmade pen (dowel, plastic tubing and a nib). I had n exemplar which had four different style son it and they all had some paper with lines ruled to practice with.

We started with pencils on paper, and then went to ink on paper... and after a short break we headed to the pebbles...

A before shot.


And some afters...

It was great to see the variations that people tried.  Everybody felt more comfortable with one style than another and the workshop was all about encouraging folk to find their own style, their own expression. And they did.

We did a small group exercise so they all got to take some other folk's pebbles home with them as well.

In secret I then got them all to write one letter on a pebble.

Whilst those pebbles dried we made pouches for the pebbles from old book pages.  We made so many pouches!!!

And then the secret word was revealed as I finished the class and thanked them for their enthusiasm and effort.

And now to some of this week's flowers.  I have such a soft spot for leptospernum flowers; they are so delicate and I love the wispiness of the foliage as well. Some delicate white ones here paired with a delight small pink grevillea (names unknown).

My trio of vases go from white thru a blend of white-pink to pink!

Such delight they give me.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

"Art is a line around your thoughts". 

 Gustav Klimt

These words make me feel as if art is a bridge, which is odd given that they are suggesting a line around something rather than between.

I started visualising a line around my thoughts and feelings and and ended up with the sense that drawing a line around them helps you contain, express or show them somehow.  That by using art to circle these things we are providing an opportunity to understand them - to share them in a way that is meaningful to us and to others.

Art offers a different perspective around some things. It can be easier to say it with a painting than in  words.

So where I got to with this was that whilst art being a line around our thoughts helps encapsulate or tether them; it also enables them to be understood.

Tingari by Walala Tjapaljarri. One of my favourite of our Aboriginal art pieces.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 I am involved in a piece of work that requires me to work with some metal and have been pondering how best to represent this work. I had one of those lovely serendipitous moments late on Sunday afternoon, just as I was about to close the studio and head home, where I went Oh this, oh that, oh yes!

Some of the metal - I love its marks and wear and tear and the colours.

I was working out how to link the metal to a book; what the covers might be, what the pages might be, how I might tell a story.  And I thought to myself I should check if I have some brown Canson I can rust.

I went to the paper drawer and found excitedly that yes, there was plenty of brown Canson!  

And then I thought, but was it brown I wanted or was it a dark grey? I hunted out my Peace Emerging books and realised the base paper colour was in fact the dark grey Canson. And I went to the cupboard and the cupboard was bare.

But then I thought I might still have some leftovers (or did I throw them out when we moved???). A forage through the remnants drawer made me almost pump the air with my fist with delight! Yes!

Woo hoo.

I think they are indicative of that metal...

And will be a lovely base for some words.


And then I started playing with possibilities to join in and found some more lovely scraps.  

I think we might have something...

This wee tree at our new house has been struggling, and expectations were very low.  

And then against all odds... the very definition of Spring.

Or maybe hope in the dark or something - we all need it right now.