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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Build Me A Wall

Another class piece. We did fine line pen drawings of a wall and then coloured it with watercolours. Then we had to produce a textile piece in some way connected with walls. I chose to focus in on lichen and try to reproduce it with beads. It hasn't shown up too well in these photos - I wanted to photograph it somewhere natural but consequently the beading losing some detail. Beads are a PITA to photograph well! It is freeform netting with peyote stitch raised bits, draped decoratively over Alphonse, a large lump of quartz which was given to George many years ago (yes, he came with the name!)
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chemo Caps

Chemo caps for George's elderly aunt. They are made out of Zhivago (50/50 acrylic and tencel) which is apparently rather nice for chemo caps. It feels a bit squishy and a bit silky and is nice to knit. ONLY I didn't check my tension (silly me!) so the first one is a little big, but I figure she can wear it slouchily on a racy angle! The second one I just knittd in the largest child's size instead of fiddling with tension - too lazy - and it looks just fine. Both patterns from the Cleckheaton book Handknits to Wrap and Adorn, new this winter - though Zhivago isn't one of the yarns featured, natch. The flower is from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Never Felt Better, though of course I didn't felt it. I saw her knit one in five minutres flat last year at a Stitches and Craft Show and they were very quick and easy, and look just as good unfelted! Baby Bear has put in an order for one with a flower. They were quick to knit and a welcome distraction from beading with tiny beads and jabbing needles as fine as surgical ones into my fingers. (No, I don't wear thimbles, hate the things, would rather develop calluses).
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carnivale Mask

We had a class brief about faces - Class of 2008 - a 'class photo' was taken and we had to practice drawing faces in certain ways and then produce a stitched piece ins ome way related to the theme, as a wearable. I can't draw faces - they always look like serial killers or, in the case of our teacher Colin, who I drew, Rolf Harris. But I had these polymer clay faces at home and I love beading around faces, so the idea of a carnivale mask was born. It was fun to do and you can, sort of, see out of it - if I did another I would make the eye holes bigger, as they rather filled up as I beaded around them, and not back it with felt, which was what I had to hand - painted purple it looked like leather, but I would not like the feel of it against my face!
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Can't Draw

When I started at Box Hill 2 1/2 years ago I most definitely could not draw. I still can't, in the sense of looking at something interesting andproducing a good likeness of it. But the incomparable Colin Johnson has taught me techniques that have enabled me to produce the occasional almost Ok piece like these two. It will never be one of my strong points but I am quite pleased with these.
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Monday, June 02, 2008

Brunhilda's Breastplate Bra

We had to do a piece for class inspired by one of a selection of pieces from the Embroidery Guild. I chose the embroidered teatowel above, which is mid-60s to mid-70s depending on which source I check. It is a printed tea towel embroidered and framed, and titled 'Ancient Britons' even though it is clearly meant to be Vikings, who were not Ancient Britons!!

This is what I wrote about it for my submission:

The 'Ancient Britons' (actually Viking Warriors) in the embroidered tea towel look so well-dressed, with their beaded shields and fur boots. I imagined that they were in ceremonial clothes - not real battle clothes - surely battle would make the fur on those boots mat and look ugly? Wouldn't all that gold braid tarnish and those beads fall off if they scored a direct hit.

And so the idea of ceremonial battle dress was born. And if the male warriors could have it, why could not Viking women also get dressed up in ceremonial finery?

Hence Brunhilda's Breastplate Bra. It is clearly ceremonial - knitted fabric having no protective function other than against the cold! The crocheted wire bra cups would certainly provide some practical support while still looking lacey and attractive. It is discreetly decorated with a spiderweb rose and beading, and held together at the neckline by two Runic brooches. These runes betoken health, fertility and happiness, most appropriate for a party outfit!

Hand-painted wool, Procion dyed stranded cotton, nickel jumprings, glass beads, nymo thread, air-drying clay, acrylic paint,
nickel brooch backs.

While I was trying to come up with inspiration for this piece, an article appeared in The Age newspaper about a dig in Birka near Stockholm, which provided conclusive proof that Viking women wore metal bras. That gave me the push I needed to come up with the breastplate bra. It is obviously not life sized as we had size dimensions to work within.
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