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.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Where did it go?

That is a very good question, where did the second half of 2016 go? I have had a few draft blog posts ready to go, waiting for some photos. Sat down today, added them, typed words to suit and hey presto, a wrong keystroke and they all disappeared. Tried to salvage it all, no good. So here we start again.

This photo is of the wharf at Euchuca, where we went for an early morning paddle steamer ride on the Murray River enroute to Ballarat in July. If you get the chance, do it. So noisy but peaceful cruising down the historic river.
 

The above photo was taken on a time out trip to Dalby with our youngest daughter. A freezing cold day in July saw us venture up the Bunya Mountains, in our parts ( on top of the world) Mind you , this was after I had travelled to Ballarat for my Working in a Series Class with Lisa Call.
 
This was my $15x15cm x 15cm piece that I donated for the MINDA auction. I was most impressed that Lisa Walton (one of my quilting heroes) bought this piece.
 
I have since continued working in a series, made up to 15 larger ones so far. This photo below is one  in progress.


Here are 3 from my series on display at the Bundaberg Quilter's Exhibition in August.
 
I was invited to make a piece of artwork for the Mundubbera Hospital Auxiliary Fine Art Auction. My mother had a slight accident with their car in their driveway and ended up spending a few nights there in late July, so I donated a "Mundubbera Landscape"
 
I personally think the buyer got a bargain, so I hope they like it as much as I do. It is a citrus landscape. Mundubbera is well known for it's citrus orchards and as one of them was my childhood home, I could not do something else.

 After a few dry months, Christmas was nearly upon us. We were drought declared, our plans for all of us to stay at the beach were looking dimmer. I had to work 5 shifts ending Wednesday 28th, and the weekend before Christmas we had Santa visit. This was a special Santa for the local pony clubbers, and our grandchildren were unaware a certain family member was "missing" whilst Santa was there. This is the only grandchild who sat still long enough for a photo. All of the others "took off" when he gave them their present. There was a reasonable amount of rain that evening as well which took some pressure off for Christmas, allowing a beach visit as planned so I could go to work from there.

On the house side of things, the top coat of paint in the dining area is still 11/12 unfinished.
I purchased this small side table in November. Sitting on top is the 15th quilt in my series awaiting quilting. On top of the quilt is my 3D piece I made for Quilting Arts at the Quilter's Rest. I have joined this small group so we shall see what I end up sewing in 2017.
I will try to be a better blogger, house painter, quilter, scientist, farm accounts manager, in 2017. My camera is playing up so may need a new one. We now have NBN with heaps more data allowance so soon I really will have no further excuses. Take care, seen too many tragedies of late. Catch you in 2017.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Finally, a free weekend to Prepare for Fibre Arts Australia.

I found this post saved to Drafts :  The last 8 weeks seem to have passed in a blur. I visited Amby for the Springhill Craft Retreat Open Day, met some new family relations out there that we didn't even know about. Recognised Anzac Day at their service, then drove off to Longreach via Charleville to see some parts of Australia we had never seen before. Sure was dry, very heartbreaking to see, but now some of them have had some good rain. Hopefully the gaps are filling in now. Called into Taroom, for a family wedding. It was a wonderful day for a wedding. A good time was had by all who attended. One of our family members managed to get lost on the way home and saw more parts of Cracow than he cares to remember. Since then I have been busy catching up with work as I had to swap shifts so I could go away.
I have also been still busy planning my Working in A Series workshop in July. I have been continuing on with my Tracks Series. Still not sure if I am on the( pardon the pun), right track with my ideas of  a series for art quilts.




This is the third one that I have made for my abstract vineyard. It is amazing what seeing a photo can do for your appreciation of the colours. Maybe I need to make another, I have parallel rows that are found in a vineyard but now I realise that maybe this is more a lavender farm. I need more greenery above the grapes too!

I will return with a more comprehensive update of our trip to Ballarat and the workshop  in the next few days. I have had to wait as the paid job took precedence. Back soon.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

February Here at Last!

Every year I hang out for February to arrive. It is the last month of summer. I have always believed it is easier to keep warm, than cool down without air conditioners everywhere. The Australian Tennis Open finishes, the TV viewing may get better after the Christmas/New Year break, I may get a chance to not have to watch the cricket which seemed to dominate 2 free to air channels this summer. Our TV reception after the lightning bolt is still not what it used to be, making viewing a bit of a challenge. It is also birthday month in our house for both of us. We try to do something to recognise those special days. Even if it is just a day trip away together to somewhere we have not visited before.

  I have been busy trying to sew in the heat and humidity. I have now finished 2 strip pieced wall hangings. I used golds to dark orange colours in this one. This is both  of them hanging on my impromptu design wall.

This is the beginning of a beach inspired one. I have 2 more strips of aqua colour, then a series of gold strips cut ready  to stitch. I have used a different grey batik as the background for this one. I managed to source some more of my original grey fabric from Gympie in our travels last week. Not sure which grey I like best.
 A while ago, I added to the kickstarter funded Sondra Millard's book "Having a Meltdown" about Ice Dyeing. I think I'll have to wait awhile though before trying it here. Still a bit too hot I think for success. Maybe I might bring home a few of the sytrofoam boxes our reagents come in, at work, to use as cold incubators.
I also collected  this gadget up from the Post Office today, to ensure some ice, but seriously I think it is far too hot and humidity too high for much success yet. I have to find a few more supplies before I get started. The paid work is beckoning, so will have my enthusiasm curbed for a while.
We have managed to score some rain with some decent falls without deluges causing problems. Happy to see that many parts of Queensland have also had some rain and a mood of optimism may prevail.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January Journal Notes

 In a previous blog post I mentioned our roofing iron. I had Dr Dirk Spennemann from Charles Sturt University contact me about our Redcliffe Crown Trademark. He was doing research into the use and whereabouts of the type of Redcliffe Crown Trademarks. He has established that the sale of it started in Australia in 1875 and was discontinued during World War 1. He has published his findings at this link https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287533307 if you are interested in reading it. Ivanhoe is included as one of only a few houses known to have it still in use. Has helped me establish that this house is close to 100 years old. I wonder if we can get the exterior and the top surface of the roof painted soon so hopefully though I'll never know, it can stand for another hundred, hopefully there is never another close lightning bolt again.


I did some sewing for Christmas for the Grandkids, the girls scored a few tops and nappy covers, Parker a few pairs of bright PJ's and Levi a crocodile. Charlee scored Marli the monkey, I managed a photo of Marli after she was unwrapped on Christmas morning. I'll have to get one of the Croc. he looks more like an armadillo to me.
 This was Christmas afternoon after the toys were put together and successfully being used.
I headed back to work for lates/nights on Boxing Day. My advice is if you must need to visit DEM don't do it on Boxing Day evening/night. The place is always super busy. Whether that is from no GP's open or people delaying seeking medical advice until Christmas is over, but I was really busy. I was pleased to get home a day before New Year's Eve, we were mustering, branding and weaning, and I arrived  home for the last day of mustering, so had a bit of peace and quiet for New Year.
I know I have shown this quilt top before, but I have finished a few more using the similar batiks. I will be thinking about quilting these very soon.
 This is finished also, ready for quilting. A friend said " it reminds her of an ocean" wouldn't I love to be living closer to one now in this January heat. It is a bit of a struggle to keep sewing in the middle of the day when it is so hot, and night time brings the insects that crawl through cracks. However I have managed to finish the next two UFO's as well.

Work in progress for this one. The foundation I used here is actually a pattern drafting fabric from Spotlight. Mind you I learnt that it doesn't like an iron. Shrivelled up in an instant. So glad I finger pressed the piece instead of ironing it each seam.
 It is still waiting for a small diamond to be appliqued in the wave bulge in the middle. I really like this technique and the colour grey I used for each alternate strip.
 I finally got around to working out the top and bottom border for my Inner City UFO. I started this 2 years ago on my first block of late/night shifts in Jan 2014 after we changed our work roster. So I thought it was time it got finished. I am still hand stitching the hexagons onto the bottom border. So quilting again will definitely be on my agenda.
First though, there is the BAS and paperwork for that. The annual PIC reconciliations for EU accreditation has been underway. We are in the process of getting warranty NLIS eartags to replace the hundreds that have fallen out of the breeder ears. Apparently the company has discovered that the original tags they manufactured since 2004- 2012/13 have about a 40% failure rate after 4-5 years and gets worse after that. That explains why most of  our old breeders are now tagless. The PIC reconciliation has been getting harder each year.
We also have been inserting a property management tag in the weaners since 2014. I really wish we had at least this number every year. 
Had some good rain, but Queensland needs a lot more. Hope you have been under some of it. it was good to see some areas had some decent falls but sadly some missed out. It was very heartening to see the Burrumbuttock Hay Run last week. I am off to Amby again in April, and am thinking of doing something like that but quilty wise as I want to extend my trip up to visit Tambo/Longreach at the same time. Will let you know if I can organise something as I may need some assistance, so watch this space.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

November- an eventful month


 The work has started (albeit very slowly) on the back wall of the house. He doesn't want to rush things and I am not allowed up that high. He is used to standing on a 6 inch wide plank, 13 feet above the ground wielding an axe, chopping competitively, so I suppose I have to heed his advice for once. I have started stripping the wall above the stairs. I think I will have my area finished before his though.

 
All was going well in the house until a storm came by and the lightning bolt hit this ironbark tree close to the house. We scored 14 mls of rain but despite my electricity supply precautions to various objects, we have suffered some damage. The transformer on the power pole had to be replaced, then we started finding out what else was blown up. The TV reception is now useless, despite replacing the signal booster. I think we may have to replace the cabling and the antenna.

I wish we could bark an ironbark tree for posts in a millisecond .
Needless to say, the phone, all existing cables no longer work, despite the best efforts of Telstra. They did manage to get a line in the cable working but that lasted only 2 days, so now they have decided against digging up 800m of cable and replacing it, but to go with a mobile device inside the house connected to the landline. I have heard good and bad about this so we wait and see.

 The good news for November, the plumbers came and removed the woodheater for the floor laying, then afterwards they came back an re-installed it and replaced part of the roofing iron above the kitchen sink where it leaked in a major rain event. They did this 2 days before  we received 95mls in a storm. So we were lucky for once.

This is the floor laying in progress in the lounge room. It is quite enjoyable to have this instead of the red and brown painted timber floors that were patched from the termites before we bought the place.

This is the view from our front door looking towards the dining area. I am now having a break from the house renos for awhile. Been a bit busy doing some Christmas sewing for the children and grandchildren. Will show you some of that after they receive them. Best wishes for a happy and safe festive season, and spare a few thoughts for the emergency workers caring for you all during this time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I did Promise a Quilting story

 I have done some sewing, not much quilting though. I have been steadily working on the Judy Niemeyer pieces during my downtime from work in Bundy. I have 4 rows of 14 joined together. No photos yet as the rest is still pinned together.
We welcomed grandchild number 4 in September, a beautiful little boy. Now not so little as he is growing very well. September was baby month for some of our woodchopping friends so I have stitched up some more of these colour cubes. Great for using scraps but it does not make much of a dent in the pile.
 
 
I have been inspired by the quilts of Ann Brauer ( her use of colour is extraordinary) and decided to make a small wall hanging to go with my newly painted walls in the hallway. I used some of my batiks. I started off with the idea of a 1600 quilt but ended up with this. It is waiting to be quilted ( along with a few others)
 
I have enrolled in a workshop at Fibre Arts Australia in Ballarat in July 2016. A masterclass with Lisa Call from USA/New Zealand on working in a series for art quilts. I honestly think I will be pushed way out of my comfort zone but I am looking forward to the challenge. I also will struggle with the weather ( Ballarat VIC in the middle of winter!) I struggle with our 6-8 weeks of cooler weather here in QLD. It will be an excuse to update my sadly lacking winter clothes. A friend has enrolled in a workshop there also so we will be driving down looking at this wide land of ours. Neither of us have driven that way before so we are quite looking forward to the drive.
I hopped on a bus from Murgon and travelled to the Qld Craft and Quilt Show Saturday Oct 10th. Bought a few things, saw a few quilts, got some inspiration but was still quite tired from a block of night shifts, so probably missed a few bits, but otherwise had a good time. I bought some template rulers from Westalee Rulers to use with a ruler foot. My ruler foot for the Pfaff Grand Quilter is still coming in the mail from them, it was interesting to watch them using the rulers. The foot is similar to the hopping foot on the Nolting but does not hop, but has much better visibility than the standard foot for quilting on a DSM. I also caught up with Hans (the Nolting Man) and got some supplies.
Lisa from Quick Quilts at Tiaro came for a weekend in September and I dyed some fabric, she did some quilting and serviced my Nolting for me. Amazing what she knows about machines and is not afraid to pull them apart. My experience with laboratory analysers about pulling them apart is "it is better to leave that for someone else" I always struggle to put them back together correctly. I do however seem to manage if I REALLY HAVE to.
 
Back to the upcoming  Ballarat workshop, I need 2-3 ideas for working in a series. I am considering continuing on with my colour connector series ( I think I can call it one). I did the batik one earlier this year. I feel it doesn't work as well as my hand dyed ones. I have had these pieces pinned onto a sheet for quite a few years leftover from about 2009. So I got them out, rearranged them again, and am now waiting to find some spare time to stitch.


 So the time spent not sewing/quilting has been my research time. Thanks to the quilter who enlightened me on that score.
Quick update on the house: I have now only got 3 panels left of the dining area ceiling to strip. The goal is to do 1 a month for this year, 12 in total. Maybe next weekend I can start again, the paid job always seems to get in the way. I will show you the progress next time.