Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 ends, 2018 begins.

Always the time for reflection, review of the past year and achievements, disappointments and then the hope for new beginnings as the clock ticks away and January begins again. I have been tidying up trying to prepare for the new whilst dealing with the old like everybody else on the planet. Age is starting to creep up on our thoughts and actions this year.
I spent another Christmas Season working, the roster I work is a cyclic 4 week one and it just so happened that my 5 shifts with the Lates and Nights covers the Friday - Wednesday which for 5 years has also covered the Christmas dates. I spent Christmas Eve working until 10pm, drove the 230 kms home after that, spent Christmas morning sleeping in while someone else went farm working for 3 hrs, then we met one of the family group for a picnic lunch at a local creek swimming hole, then drove back home, had a sleep, then drove 230kms back to Bundaberg, then started work at 2145 Christmas night, and worked again Boxing Day night. I was thankful for the shift change giving me nearly 24 hrs between the shifts. Next year, I will be starting night shifts on Christmas Eve so will spend Christmas Day sleeping. Am thinking of once again staying at the beach for a week and hoping the family will come too. Luckily for me the work was not too stressful this year. The good thing about the roster was once I got home I had my usual 9 days off which coincided with the New Year shutdown of most businesses.
I have decided to participate in the Ready To Wear Fast challenge, from now on called RTW 2018. My goal is to make one item of clothing for me once a month. I know I won't find myself in the situation of having absolutely nothing to wear, Dear Husband would probably be quite happy about that but I don't think anybody else would be.
I cut out the pattern pieces from this vintage style pattern I picked up from ebay last year and this is my first item. Am going to have to size it up half a size. I have a piece of silk somewhere in my stash which will make a good sleeveless shirt. 
I have continued working on the Quilting Arts monthly word 10"x8" pieces.

Joyful is still a work in progress, needs tidying up, facing and mounting.

I really like the simplicity of this one called Phenomenon. Still amazed at the illusionary effects.


This is Simplicity finally finished. I tried to get a good photo and even editing did not improve it. Looks much darker than this photo shows. I wanted to achieve the look of weaving in this piece and demonstrate how thread can change the base fabric. Not sure if I did but looks ok hanging on the wall with good lighting.

So a New Year beckons, I have 2 more word challenges to do Blanket and Wonder, they are both in the thought stages, 2 huge pieces to start, Visibility and Inset, Visibility is due Jan end, which isn't going to happen and I'm not stressing this year. Off to Ballarat in 11 days time for Fibre Arts Summer School to learn different batik methods. Then back to work for the lates/nights again. 
Have 2 birthdays of the little people in January, 4 and 3 years respectively, both are wonderful little girls who we love dearly. 
In amongst all of this the usual farm work keeps happening, the house and shed building project needs to be completed as they hope to move in by January 31st. Severe storms ripped through the area on Boxing Day with their current place perched on the very western edge of the severe strip. One family we know that has suffered great hardship in the past few years, have had their house condemned by the assessors and now have to rebuild from scratch. Imagine the trauma they will suffer each time a storm rolls in. 

The house renovations will continue again after the mustering is finished, though the spare room door is now safely back on its hinges. Our bedroom door  is still patiently waiting for it's reno, but it will be done by 2018 end. Remember goal setting seems to be the best way forward. Lots to do in 2018, so let's get to it. Happy New Year everybody.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

New Project and Half Finished Ones

What a title!, as if I haven't enough to do, I have seriously been considering for the last month ,whether to join the Ready to Wear Fast for 2018. What this entails is not purchasing any ready to wear clothes, except shoes and underwear for 2018 and sewing your own clothes. Since I have a huge collection of patterns, fabrics sitting in storage here, just maybe this is the Shove I need to start using my sewing talents again for clothes making. I remember when I sewed all of the children's wear, until it was deemed no longer trendy, ( I do remember making a very suitable Debutante dress though) and so many years of Dance Concert costumes. It might cut into my quilting arts time, but having a wardrobe of clothes already, I think I might manage it, though working professionally and renovating an old queenslander may mean I won't be  overly prolific but maybe one item a month as a goal might be ok to start with. I have until the 31st December to sign up.
Speaking of December here is another Work in Progress on the Quilting Arts Words. This one is Joyful. A word that I always associate with Christmas. I love the figure ground confusion which is happening in this one.

 Speaking about Christmas/New Year, since I am working and our youngest daughter is also on shift for Christmas Day/Boxing Day our family had a Christmas Get together with the grandchildren this week. Sleeping arrangements have had to change as the kids have got older, I found this day bed for sale in Kingaroy. Fits nicely under our lounge room window at the front of the house. I even think I might be tempted for a few snoozes on it. Worked well when they visited, so am very happy with it. Not sure why everyone thinks that soon there will be a pile of quilts on it.

 This photo looks like an interesting modern day Stonehenge. It is actually a collection of wooden stumps for a relocateable house. The grazing paddock is currently a building site for the next generation of graziers to live in. The house was built off site and moved on last week and is currently being plumbed, wired and the deck attached. Hopefully finished by end of January. Busy times for all of us.

I seem to work best to a deadline for my sewing pursuits, so set one for the spare bedroom door renovation. I wanted it finished so my daughter could sleep with a door on the spare room. We hung it back up the day before they arrived to visit.

Now, the next one is lined up waiting. This is our bedroom door. 
With all of these activities, I have fallen off the WAP wagon. Think it will have to wait until 2018. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and what new challenges are you setting yourself?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Quilting Arts Group equals Weekly Art Project

Weekly Art Project is an attempt to make creating art a habit. Having to catch up on the word challenges for Quilting Arts before the end of the year is my new self imposed deadline.  Having  a few larger projects to do in 2018 and some new commitments I think my time should be spent wisely now.

This is WAP 2 called Phenomenon.  It is all stitched, quilted. The inner rectangles are both the same measurements, a phenomenon for 2 reasons, a) it is finished and b) the visual perceptions that the rectangles differ in size. Value is the important art property at play in this piece.

This is WAP 3 in progress. It is finished but you will have to wait for a photo as I am currently unable to post one here.

I have also been selecting colours, fabrics etc for WAP 4. More to be revealed later for this one. It does have some advantages to work in 10"x8" size but scaling things down can sometime be difficult too.

Meanwhile the house reno's are still creeping along. I decided that hopefully the grandchildren may visit in the weeks before Christmas. Last time they visited the spare bedroom door ( and our bedroom door) were still missing in action ( on the veranda waiting to be cut down to fit after the floor renovations) and the light shining in at night was a bit annoying with no door, so the goal is to cut, strip, sand, repaint and rehang the door before they come.

The work has started. The paint had crackled, I would like to know what the primer was that was used originally. A long way to go, I don't need reminding there are 2 sides to a door. I also have 2 doors to do. 

When I scraped this back, there was a name scratched in the paintwork that was not visible before this. The people that built the Ivanhoe house were named Scott ( we think) so what link to this door does this name has, is something we will probably never know.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Magic 4 and catching up.

I seem to like the number 4, it has some special meaning to me, as well it is 4 months since I found time to write. (Post script, I found this in drafts, it is now nearly 7 months) time flies when you keep yourself busy.
Since I last found time to write,  I have travelled to Bali/Java for my batik excursion. We spent a fair amount of time travelling as well as 3 days at the batik fabric factory where we designed, coloured 50m of batik fabric. I found the process very interesting. I also found some art batik in process upstairs in a classroom in Malleoboro in Jogyjkarta where I bought 2 small pieces. We drove back across Java to Bali seeing all the rural areas as well as the more urbanised areas.
 I learnt about keeping healthy and using non western toilets, called to prayer each morning and evening during our time in Java, but managed to succumb to food poisoning during the last 4 days, to the extent my last night in Bali was spent on IV fluids in a Clinic using my travel insurance. I think it was salmonella from the breakfast at the 4 star hotel in Malang that we had stayed at. I was the only person from the group who ate that item at breakfast and was the only person to get ill. Word of warning, travel insurance will not usually cover a pre existing condition, and as severe gastro is not that, I had no problems getting the bill covered. I certainly did not intend to research the Indonesian pathology system but found that it works quite well with a turnaround time of approx. 2 hours.

We had some tourist excursions as well. Indonesia is a big selfie country. This is at the Hindu temple at Prambanan. We also visited the Buddhist temple at Borobordur. Whilst visiting the lake at Telegata Sarangan, I had 2 tourists from Sumatra race up to me asking for selfies with me. I really did feel like a star. I think it was the blonde hair!.

Typical mode of transport for some, other than cars and the many scooters. There is a bird in that birdcage. This was on the streets of Surakarta.

These are pictures from within the batik factory. The staff were so willing to put up with us Aussies and our wishes. It was hot and humid even for the Queenslanders in the group.

This is a tjap maker a master craftsmen, he would earn approx. $AUD100 a month for his handiwork.

2 tjaps I selected for some fabric.

2 of my favourite pieces that I designed.

Some views of the tourist part of our trip.

After making it back to Chandidasa in Bali, this is where we rested. I didn't fully appreciate the view as I was getting sicker each day. My watch battery died, and the locals knew exactly who to phone. He was so amazed that it was a "real watch" that he put a decent battery in it. I'll be able to tell you in a year or so if it is.

First time for a drip in nearly 26 years!  They had no trouble putting the cannula in, in my small veins. Luckily I got out of the clinic 4 hours before I was due to leave for the 3 hr drive back to the airport for the flight  and made it safely home.
Since being back home, I have recuperated quite well. I have started my final online course with Lisa Call and slowly working my way through it. Not much actual sewing happening but I plan to start again very soon.
We have had a few important family events happening including 80th and 30th birthdays. A 60th wedding anniversary celebration and the arrival of a new granddaughter. Great excitement for the family. The newest granddaughter is now 9 weeks old so shows you how time flies when you are kept busy.
A great night catching up with some of the Meyers. There were only 3 missing from this group of cousins, who had not been in the same place at the same time for many years. One of them was there that night but not when this photo was taken on my Ipad. I will have to find the other group one and add it.

I had a special request from the eldest granddaughter to make her and her brother a new horse. Her original needed life saving surgery. So I used some Java batiks. Mind you, their tails are now a bit shorter. Might have to start using fabric tubes instead of felt. So some sewing has been happening.
These are from some of my series work in the last year.
This is my Longreach storm landscape completed in September 2016.

After doing Lisa Call's Design Principles Class where we studied various artists, these are some of my Paul Klee inspired landscapes. I got a Highly Commended in the recent Mt Perry Art Exhibition Textile section with "Fire"

I love looking at this green one, the depth and dimension is not done justice in a photo.

Learning about design, value, focal point, has been so worth it.

This piece is a sample piece inspired by Gordon Walters artwork. It is another in my combinations series.

This piece I made for the Mt Perry Art Exhibition section called "Reflections" but it was ineligible for that category as it had to be painting not textiles so was entered in the textile section. It is mounted on canvas and was awarded first place. The  batik fabric makes this piece have so much depth.

Before I went away to Java, I had signed up for Lisa Call's Abstraction Class. I was quite pushed for spare time in the beginning. The class involved a lecture, emails and always a weekly assignment. I was feeling quite overwhelmed at first. I did manage to finish all 8 assignments so felt that alone was an achievement. These are some of them.

Abstracting a landscape.

Abstracting an object, in this case it was a kero lantern.

Copying a master.

Abstracting an emotion with lots of planning and drawing.

Abstracting whatever you like improvisationally with no planning.

Meanwhile the class has finished, it's time to reflect, I have lots of stuff to complete for Kingaroy Quilting Arts, habits to form with my new ideas. At this stage I would like to make a piece a week inspired by the new to me Abstract artists. 
Sadly the house renovations are also beckoning. I have decided that the only way forward is at least 2 hrs a day when I am home is needed. This week saw the sanders start again. The yellow platform has been moved from where it has been sitting idle. Paint was purchased and soon these rails will be ready. It is a long way down to the ground from the top of the yellow platform but I can at least reach the decorative pieces. 

 Meanwhile the year rolls by and Christmas and New Year will be upon us again. I am rostered to work Christmas again, this time I am between Late shift and Night shift on Christmas Day. Will soon be 2018 and I am off on another learning adventure involving traditional batik on silk in Ballarat in January. Never seems to stop! Life certainly does keep moving along.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Last 4 Months- Artwise

Late 2016 I joined the Quilter's Rest Quilting Arts Group, now called Tangled Threads. They have an Exhibition annually but rotate between Kingaroy and Wondai Galleries. Each year they set certain challenges which we are not obliged to participate in all, but are encouraged to do. These pieces then become the basis for the exhibitions. This year we have  a Word Challenge each month and they are restricted to 10" x 8" portrait. January was Wacky.  Mine is titled " Wacky Red Hatted Moon"
I am trying to use these words as inspirations for a lunar series. This size is a good size to try techniques/styles etc. This one is all pieced. They are mounted on canvas, I have used black gesso to paint the sides and back. They are ready for hanging with D rings and wire across the back.

 February was my chosed word, Ambience. I titled it "Lunar Ambience" The three small moons are applique while the Earth is pieced in.
March, the word was Fantasia. I think the person who submitted this word was really thinking orchestral. I interpreted it as a play on words for me. Fantastic, Fan, Sound, wind fanning out from a source. It is a combination of applique, FMQ and straight line quilting.

April was Seasons. This one was quite difficult for me in this size. This is the 3rd attempt for me. The other 2 will probably end up in the bin. I titled this one, " Seasons Change but does the Moon?" It is a wholecloth with texture created by stitching.

For the month of May, the large piece Combination was due also. This had to be 0.5m x 1.5m long so it was a huge effort to get this finished. I have also been working on my Tracks Series of landscapes.
In my spare time in January I started studying with Lisa Call for her Design Elements Online Class. It was definately money well spent. I have had no formal art training at all. I did science /maths subjects at school, and university. Learning to sketch, draw and how to view art has been an eye opener and I hope I can use these skills in my artwork.
This course went for 6 weeks with lectures/ assignments and live review sessions online. One thing I have learnt is how dependent we are on the internet these days. Luckily for me we upgraded to NBN satellite a few weeks before enrolment had to be finalised otherwise I don't think our previous satellite service would have coped. I had a 2 week break then we started the next one I wanted to do, Design Principles Online Class, which was the same format but covering how the elements are used.
I now know what people mean by expressions such as figure/ground, focal points, rhythm and balance in art.  Do you? If not maybe you should look at her website if you wish to make art quilts/textiles.
I have still been making a few more landscapes for my tracks series. Am thinking of a spin off series just pure landscapes. I have still been fitting in some real work, so juggling all of this  has been fun, hence the lack of blog posts. To keep the habit going from Lisa's classes I am endeavouring to study one artist a week and try sketching one of their works.
I also made a major health decision when Water Aerobics commenced at out local pool for the rest of summer to attend. I found I enjoyed it that much that I intend to visit the heated pool in a neighbouring town regularly for winter.
I am also jaunting off to Indonesia in July for 2 weeks to learn and make batik fabrics. That has been on my list for years so should be fun. I have also booked into Fibre Arts Summer School Ballarat in Jan 2018 for more batik.
Hopefully one day, I will be making pieces that I have coloured all of the fabric for. Must go, off to do some more creating.