Sunday, June 14, 2015

visiting the land of the long white cloud




 Last week I went to my birthplace -  my soul spot - my country. While I live in Australia and have done so for a long time, I still call New Zealand my home - my soul lives there and my spirit needs to reignite regularly. I am proud to be a citizen and covet my NZ passport where ever I am in the world. Above is my favourite  coastline - just north of Pukerua Bay before Paekakariki - I love it when the skies are grey and bleak and the waves come crashing as they did when I drove north.


This is work from another wild west coast beach but in the South Island. The more I work with cocoon strippings and silk rods, the more I discover about them.


I took my wild woman with me to stitch - I have discovered Drizzle Stitch which has been perfect for her hair - sometimes stitching can be for learning and for sheer pleasure and fun. I used my New york nail varnish on her nails and if you look carefully you will see she has her own nail bag.

I also took a collection of stuff to start something else but it isn't finished yet.

I was on a grave hopping mission. I have been doing heaps of family research especially on the females - and concentrating on two grannies at this stage. There is plenty about the males. As one of my degree majors was in History, I am sure you are all aware that history is merely a euphemism for nosey parker but with serious concern - well I hope so anyway. I have been badgering cousins and siblings for  photos and memories etc - in some cases it is a bit like getting blood out of a stone but I have now built up quite a collection - Grannie Ethel has been the hardest because she died when I was 8 months old and no-one seems to remember much what she did or liked or said. But I don't give up easily - I caught up with cousins not seem for years and one - Carol - very kindly gave me a poker worked tray which Ethel had made. I know we had a piece in our house but no idea where it went.

So that was very kind - poker work was all the rage back then and I intend to recreate this in my own way to fit in my work. Then my brother produced a few pieces but they were too large to even consider nicking off with.


My grave hopping involved checking out a few other relatives as well as grannies - on my way up I called into the Foxton Cemetery (my home town) and after checking out my parents and adding flowers to their graves, I spent ages looking for my great great grand parents who I never even knew existed and I wandered all over and was about to give up when I spotted two graves half way up a hill - and there they were - how exciting. Their own romantic spot - alone. Actually in the photos I had, his grave was lying on its side and was very black and impossible so I know someone else has cleaned up the pristine white marble. Anyway I had a chat to them (dead relations cannot answer you back or tell you off) and found them some roses and off I went.

My main trip was the Wanganui where I spent all day at both the old town cemetery and the new one where I found my grandparents straight off. They already had their own rose bush so that was good. In the old cemetery after I sorted how to, I found all the people I was looking for including Mr and Mrs Death and their daughter Miss Eustace Death.  I should have taken a photo - I guess with that name it is kind of inevitable. So now I can get further to work.



My other reason for going was for Bev's birthday - a weekend of excitement. Luncheon for 25 women on the Saturday - dim sum on Sunday and Monday night two of Bev's sons flew over from Qld to surprise her.  This is Bev and Ross on the Sunday.

Then I drove back to Wellington (I forgot to add how exciting was the Hurricanes game on the Friday night and now after the last game - they have won 14 from 16 and are at the top of the ladder with the finals coming up.) Wellington was wonderful as always. Coming home I scored a one-up - an upgrade so it was the end of a profitable week. Til next trip.

Back home I have been flat out but with a few orders still outstanding but we will catch up in the next few days. One thing which really bugged me - didn't have to be in NZ - could be anywhere - is when people ask you what you do - you think before you reply - I always say I sell threads and wait for the reaction. A cousin not seen for a long  long time, told me she didn't do crafty stuff as she had no where to store that sort of junk. Charming eh? All textile artists suffer this sort of fate - I don't sell my work - it is precious to me and I read an interview with Sue Spargo who made the same comment - same cousin asked why I bothered. I remain as unhelpful as I can with my answers. What about you?

Let's all have a good week - I have assembled and started stitching my Red Obsesion for Berry Patchwork exhibition.

Friday, May 29, 2015

what's happening in my world


 In New York last year I bought myself some lovely nail varnish - thought it was high time I used it on my nails as opposed to my work. However I now dare not touch anything so not sure what might happen this weekend when I get colouring and sticking etc for my several deadlines.


 This is the front cover for my Okarito book - and yes that really is me - I love those west coast beaches

 Boxes of new beautiful hand threads arrived this week so I took the opportunity to play - wove some wool felt and stitched with one and decorated my wold lady with another. Just deciding what colour hair and teaching myself drizzle stitch.



 Love roses and on my walk today I bought a bunch - not all of these though.

 Have to share the new threads - this is Eleganza = variegated perle 8

 This is Razzle variegated - rayon -


 Eleganza solid colours

Dazzle which is rayon with metallic - it is so exciting using them all and the colours are right up my alley - such a great palette of colours.
I have stitched with Dazzle - you just can't see the metallic strand so clearly. And for anyone who asks I am exclusively using the Sue Spargo Milliners #1 which I should have found years ago. If you want to check them out you can see them here - a new order is on its way already.

It's a long weekend here this weekend but i have rather a heap of deadlines to attend to so not much relaxing will be going on. The Hurricanes have won 12 out of 14 games - sadly they lost today but are still on top of the ladder - fingers crossed for their last two games. It has been an exciting season and well may it continue. Before the Rugby World Cup...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

finally finished my big kimberley dreaming

 I think I have finally finished my big Kimberley Dreaming - I have fiddled and added and stitched and played since about October last year - it is much bigger than what you need to make for the  Kimberley Dreaming Exhibition but I hope Elizabeth will hang it with it - now to move onto some small ones - I absolutely adore stitching by hand on Flimsies - and i have been working with our hand dyed silks threads in Medium and fine, in cotton, gimp, Painters threads in cotton floss, flower thread, metallic braid, rayon and Razzle and Dazzle (watch this space) and totally loving the Sue Spargo Milliners #1 needle. Should have tried this years ago!


 A detail - and I love stitching circles - I have used my embellisher to create these from Kimberley Dreaming merino wool and then added stitch.

 And some more detail - the colour is maybe a little too yellow but it works,

 Yesterday watched the rugby of course and the Hurricanes won their 10th game - they have only lost one game this season - exciting times


Prince Harry was at the game and so they seem to have renamed yesterday Harrycane
....

 They gave him a jersey and something for the new princess - very happy Captain Conrad


And Cory Jane looks pretty animated chatting away to Harry - wonder if he will remember what he said.

This week I am onto beaches - then back to my pintucks. I have spent all of today putting together new Victory Topic packs - they look so good but instead of eating them we are going to bbq again - still great weather for it.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

all of April in one go



 Well - just where did April go?  I had every intention of writing often in April - my blog is a wonderful diary and as I have them published every year, it has been fabulous to go back and see what I did and where we went. i need to turn over a new leaf on this one. One of my problems has been that when I post away, it either doesn't work or I get these huge out of control photos and I cannot work out why.

Anyway - I went to Ballarat to teach at the Autumn Leaves Seiner for the Embroiderers Guild - fabulous ladies in my class and generally a really nice event - well run and everyone was so very friendly. Every day they knew my good taste and we had sandwiches - lovely. My classes created some wonderful work - I love seeing how people run with my ideas - they are always polite and say they have enjoyed themselves so I always hope that is how it is. I loved them anyway and I didn't take many photos but suffice to say - it was great.

If you are wondering what a giant dog is doing on the blog of a cat lover - this is George - he is a lurcher and I have to say he lurched across the table and stole my cheese on toast, ate it all and then farted somewhat badly.  I had a wonderful host - Jo Maxwell who owns The Elephant Patch in Ballarat - a delightful little shop where, if she didn't sell Cottage Garden threads, we wouldn't clash at all. Loved her work and trying to work out how I could be more involved with her. It is ever so good for me to get out of my comfort zone and see what others are doing.

I also traded on the Friendship day and of course delighted to show people our new threads and needles and other excitements. My suitcases were pretty light coming back. I was also lucky to be collected from and returned to the airport by Alison Cole.


It was my birthday on the last day of the seminar and it was a surprise (and embarrassing) to be sung to at morning tea and presented with a little cake and candle - and autumn leaves - I did say a few times how much I love autumn which we don't get in Perth. Anyway, despite the plane leaving late, I arrived back in Perth with a few minutes to spare and a bunch of lovely roses plus from Ian.


Then as a reward we flew off to Broome for a few days break. The amazing thing about having cancelled our Broome Retreat is that people keep getting in touch about wanting to book and being disappointed. Sadly there is a moment when you have to make a decision. one such call was from NZ at 6am while we were sleeping in Broome. This is the back of our villa - we love coming to this place - have our own Weber Q and the pool and relax and there was almost nobody else there the whole time so we had the pool to ourselves. We even have our own outdoor light

 Plants are simple but sit the surroundings - I did lots of sketches this round - mostly of plants like this
 Love the way the frangipanis hang down - the frangipanis were very evident this trip - trees packed with flowers -
You don't always think of them as having long stems


On Saturday we went to the markets at the Court House - got ourselves lots of mango goodies and plenty of new soaps.


Several nights we indulged with fresh Exmouth King Prawns cooked on the bbq - these were marinated in yummy ingredients - so good we had them again the following night.

I did some weaving from a hank of hand dyed chifon sari ribbon - in readiness for stitching a slip or so on the top.


our last night and day was very wet - lovely - the skies were exciting and the camels were out as always

Behind the villa we stay in, there are these wonderful root structures




 This one in particular becasue I am working on a twin needle - pin tucking project (actually part of it will be my article in Issue 9 of our e-mag threads.In-fusion and perhaps the idea of wrapping and pintucking will feature.


 the tide was out at Cable Beach so went for a walk along the beach (actually Ian had deemed that we were going anyway) - I collected a heap of shells and while they don't show so well here, was interested in the strong orange colouring and of course the pintucking/twin needling ideas.




No way could I bring these rocks home but all these pintucks screaming out to me - how could I avoid them? Watch this space.

When I got home I succumbed to some strange illness - maybe a strange flu - maybe a bit of Ross River Virus - who knows?  Anyway I went to bed with an extremely painful foot and woke up with a fever and a headache like no other - for two days. All back to normal now. the few lost kilos were a bonus.

 but I have started on my playing - brought back Broome newspapers - of course - and twin needled them - layered, - stitched - burnt and some to start a slightly different book - this is the cover - right now loving exploring what I can do with these lovelies and expect to see them developed more.


My aim for May? To blog as often as I can

















Thursday, March 19, 2015

transferring images


 I like transferring images of mine and Ian's photos onto my work and I also rarely look for perfect copy becasue, of course, nature isn't perfect. If I want really good clear images then I use TAP - Transfer Artist Paper - which gives the very best results - and believe me - over time I have tried lots of different ones. However I also have a few other favourite methods of transferring my images - i personally prefer not to use gels and other mediums but sometimes you just want to try something else.

Water soluble paper - which I have used to print on many times and to stitch on and wash out parts etc etc - then I came across a video made by Liz Kettle water soluble transfer using the paper to transfer images using a gel medium and I thought I would try it - I have seen it used to transfer images to soap whihc has fascinated me but as I don't make soap I haven't tried it. But I did try a few a while back and I wasn't happy at all with my efforts - maybe I was expecting too much. However the other day I decided to give it one last shot. The above is one of my pohutakawa photos and it mostly worked except right in the middle where the paper lifted but I can work around all of that.


Then I did a couple of others - Broome and Okarito where as you can see there are quite a few holes. Maybe more than I expected. But you could work around them.



Next I tried a few more and I am pretty happy with most of these - above is me in Marrakesh  and it is possibly the most successful.


 This is a drawing in Marrakesh

and a photo from Marrakesh

 and two of the donkey - first one I forgot to reverse the image and of course it worked best of all and then I reversed it and not so happy. But it does make the background look rather fragmented and worn which I like.

However I am pleased with my efforts - the old permission to play - and my little stash of images will be used in different places with added anything that takes my fancy. I transferred all of these onto polycotton. I found that once they were dry I could run them under the tap and wet them and have a go at removing the top fibrous bits. they do all feel a little too firm on my stash but I think plenty of manipulating might do the trick.

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