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Monday, July 24, 2006

Stitched Up Festival, Wangaratta

Two weeks on and I haven't blogged about this!

We had to leave Melbourne earlier than usual to drop Sirius off with her dog minder, so i got an extra hour in Wangaratta. This gave me a chance to go to the aerodrome plus some exhibitions in the town itself.

I fear that a semester of 'art school' has turned me into an artistic snob. I found myself going around the exhibits at the aerodrome muttering under my breath. There was some lovely stuff there, certainly, but nearly everything that won a first prize in its section was so conventional, while the wilder stuff rarely got even a commendation. There was a lovely series of A5 embroideries, for instance, that made me think of encrusted corsets - lots of exciting techniques and effects - and absolutely nothing for them. That artist did win a prize in another section, but with the most conventional (and least interesting) of her pieces.

It was nice to see a lot of (excellent) work from High School dressmaking students, demonstrating some really nice flair for what they did. Some of them should be wearing some nice clothes in the future.

Then we popped into town and went into one of the wool/patchwork shops. Upstairs there was a small exhibition of (mostly) small art quilts. They blew me away. Some of the best work I had seen in a long time, and one of the artists was doing something that I have been contemplating for a while, and I came away full of inspiration. I also bought some Opal sock wool (currently being turned into a pair of Feather and Fan socks for me - the first 'lace' socks I have knitted!) and some hand dyed fat eights.

Then there was an embroidery exhibition that was also pretty exciting. Some of it was, again, quite conventional, but the level of technique was so high that I forgave it (after all I use some quite conventional techniques myself!) A few times I found myself thinking 'yes, I;ve read that book too' as I could tell where the particular techniques had come from, which made me smile.

Again I came away feeling inspired and enthusiastic.

At the last minute I dashed into an exhibition of church embroideries - which was way over the top, I don't really like ecclesiastical textiles much though there were two lovely Australiana themed pieces that were refreshing and beautiful.

O is for On The Steps of the GPO

This is our standard family meeting place in the city centre. It;s where George and i used to meet up, many years ago, and I think the meeting place he used wit his family when he was a child. We call it, 'by the flower seller at the GPO'. That's because there was once (for many years) a flower seller in the little alcove to the right of the picture. He hasn't been there for some years now. In fact, it isn't even the GPO (General Post Office) any more. It's a boutique shopping mall - I haven't ever been in it though it is supposed to be lovely and VERY up market.

This picture was taken 18 months ago when we went in to see the Myer Christmas windows, another Melbourne tradition.

Years ago there was a bagpipe player who would busk up and down the Bourke Street Mall, in which this is situated - the only tune he knew was 'Scotland the Brave'. I alsways associate that tune with this place too! Posted by Picasa

Project spectrum - July - Purple

This is a pin I made for Baby Bear to wear at music camp. She likes to wear handmade things there as everyone is a bit eccentric!

I am currently finishing off another purple pin for my July swap pal, in between sock knitting and schoolwork (oh, and housework - ha ha! - and kid care!) Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

N is for Natural Dyes

I am fascinated by natural dyeing, though I am forced to admit that this is the only lot I have actually done! It is my homespun, dyed with lemon-scented gum. I used alum as the mordant, it being the only one I had to hand (it's used in swimming pools). Actually getting other mordants has put me off a bit - they would all have to be got mailorder or by trecking across town. Yes, they are poisonous too, but then I keep poisonous dyes in the shed too so the mordants could be stored there.

I am now keen on trying it out with fabrics. I have been reading about rust dyeing, and one of my tutors last semester had done a lot of cloth dyeing with dirt. I met a textile artist last weekend who had been using local plants to great effect, too. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

M is for Mariposa

I called this freeform hat Mariposa, because it reminded me of a posy of flowers. I made for Baby Bear to wear to Music Camp last year. She loves it, most gratifyingly! Posted by Picasa

L is for Lichen

I am SO far behind on my ABC Along!

Lichen pictures from the weekend. I want to do a series of small embroideries inspired by lichens, I think. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006


This is a series of photos taken between Wangatta and Beechworth on Friday. I am very interested in using natural textures as inspirations for textile pieces, and so George and I gathered some photos while we were away to use as future reference points.

More on our trip later on in the week. Posted by Picasa

Project Spectrum - June - Blue

Rather late, but here are the pics from the gorgeous stuff sent to me by Carolyne. The teddy bear is just too, too cute! She also made me a darling little needlecase out of Japanese fabrics. There was also fabrics, threads, beads, a necklace and earrings, and some yummy Lindt chocolate which did not make it to the photo!! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Project Spectrum - July - Purple

This is the pin I have made to go with the bag I am making for the Tote Exchange. The bag will be finished later on today, it just needs sewing up. I really love making these pins! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Project Spectrum - July - Purple

A pair of socks I knitted out of yarn I dyed myself. It was a white or cream sock yarn, Patonyle or St Ives - I was using an op shop lot that had these various combinations in it to dye seeveral different lots - dyed with Landscape dyes while in the ball to see what the effect was. It made a really bright pair of socks! Yes, George does wear them with a business suit. Posted by Picasa