Monday, May 22, 2017


Aussie Bush Project-- please let me know if you are participating . I have updated the Aussie bush page with additional information . I need to get an idea of numbers as soon as possible. Even if you have not finished your work yet please let me know. You have until 14 June to finish work and deliver it. I would love to see as many panels as possible- and if you submit your work- it will definitely be exhibited and tour.

It's been a fast and furious last few weeks as I drove to Italy ( much longer than you might think), and very dodgy wifi most of the time. A friend decided to come along in the first week I was here, so we stayed near Ravenna. I did a 2.5 day workshop  at Montefiore Conca with Opficia della Rossa. The workshop was a combination of kamishibai , shadow and print making- and gave me lots of food for thought.
Some of the work I made for the workshop- we made puppets out of paper to create characters for the shadow theatre ( the puppets were inspired by tracing shadows of foliage and other things)- and I tried out some different printing- cutting stencils and such- it is quite different working with oil based inks.

The two  teachers were Umberto Giovannini and Anusc Castiglioni and I was very inspired by their work and approach. And I feel incredibly lucky to have swapped a piece of my work for Umberto's Ferrocarril 1- and ongoing project he is involved with in recording farflung places and peoples.I don't do many workshops , but have found over the past few years that Italy does offer some very good and innovative courses and they are worth looking out for and are often very reasonably priced. Anusc's shadow work for theatre and films she has made has reiginited my interest in lace- and well printmaking and books are my other passions.Being able to see Umberto's work on an evening visit to his studio for a meal and viewing  his new work was simply wonderful. His print works are on a very large scale and full of shadow and layer- really inspiring and atmospheric.

Some images from Umberto's book- he made wood blocks (xylographs) on each day of his travels for 23 days in the outlands in Argentina.Feel very lucky to be able to view this in the flesh.

Then it was onto Lido de Jesolo- not because I am a beach holiday resort  person, but because the season has still not started and it was possible to get very reasonably priced accommodation in a small apartment. Another friend , Caroline Higgs and I had arranged ages ago to visit Venice. She had seen many parts Italy she had never been to Venice. It was lovely catching the boat bus to Venice in the early mornings  with the local children going to school or local people going to work,before the tourist hordes descend. You end up arriving near Piazza san Marco- so you are also travelling against the tourist tide that invades from the railway station. If you ever go to Venice make the effort to get up really early in the morning- it is quite magical and it is easy to get around- none of the shops are open to distract- you simply concentrate on the ambience and you can get very good photographs because it is not as bright and the light is slightly diffused with water vapour.

 There is so many things to see in Venice and at present the Biennale is on. We did go to one or two fringe events but decided not to see it simply because so many were video installations or combinations of such in the top 10 rated exhibits. The one we did want to see was NSK Pavilion but we ran out of time because we did a half day mosaics workshop with Artefact Mosaic Studio, which we stumbled upon in our wanderings around the city. The course was for 3 hours and was very reasonably priced and included materials. Allessandra di Gennero and Romauld Mesdagh are extremely talented mosaicists, with awards under their belt and "master" qualifications from  the Scuola Mosaiciste del Friuli ( the best mosaic school in the world)- their passion for their work was palpable. It turned out that at one time Romauld had lived very close to where Caroline lived in the French Alps- the world is such a small place sometimes- and they had the loveliest "love" story  as only Venice can offer! Allessandra ( originally from Rome) wanted to study at the Scuola Mosaiciste del Friuli because she had seen a portrait made in mosaics when visiting the school- it inspired her to such an extent that she applied and was accepted for the school. During her study she got to know Romauld in classes and on discussing what had inspired her to study at the school she took him to see the portrait. The school does display work of students but usually with no name- so she was aghast when he reached for the portrait, because you cannot touch the work,  and then showed her the name on the back- yes you guessed it and now they run their inspiring studio together in  Venice. You can also commission their work. Take some time to look at their website- the work is stunning- plus  the restaurant they recommended for our last meal in Venice was excellent .

And every now and then you run into a piece of art that stops you in your tracks and simply has you gasping for breath and leaves you with tears in your eyes. We walked into the Chiesa della Pieta because it was a free  fringe exhibit of the Biennale and on the way to the boat bus station. What we had not expected was to find such incredible emotion. I took pictures and of course will give the artist Safet Zec's website- but there is no substitution for seeing the work in the flesh. He works on grounds seemingly made out of layered papers and newspapers, but it is the emotion in the plight of refugees that he has created that is breath taking. He and his family were once themselves refugees- he makes all those human connections seem alive and heartbreaking. For those that say painting is dead- this work proves that it is not. Caroline and I both had the same response to the work and we went back a second time. It  is powerful and moving and asks us the question of what it is to be human.My photo does not do justice to the work.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Aussie Bush Project

The time is drawing near for delivery of your Aussie Bush Project pieces.I have already seen some beautiful finished pieces appearing on Facebook and instagram so am looking forward to seeing all the pieces in the flesh and am hoping for a fabulous exhibition. It will be shown in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, New Zealand, Adelaide and France in 2018.

There is still time to finish your piece!

Important information!

Delivery date before or on 14 June 2017 ( Wednesday)

Payment of your participation fee ( $20 per person and you can submit more than one piece for that fee) the fee covers administration and return postage to you the maker). If you pay by Paypal  the fee is $21 to cover the Paypal admin fee. I have created a button to make payment easier if using Paypal. If doing  a direct deposit via the internet please email me and I will send you details


Delivery address- please email me and I will send you the address

Please email me to tell me of your participation   so that I can start preparing my list of participants ( I return to Australia on 13 June so won't have much time to do this when I return so the sooner I can start my list the better) I will need your name and the title of your piece.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bayeux and So Much More

I have been trying to blog more, but it has been a bit difficult this last month as I have been teaching and demonstrating  or driving to get to one place or another, and then staying in  places that have not always had the best wifi access.

First of all I am teaching  in Chartres in  the studio of Cardamome Gallery on 2 and 3 May. The first day I am teachign Tranfer Printing and stitching ( working with Lutradur) and the second day creating your own linocut, printing and stitching. The french descriptions of the workshops are on Smaranda Bourgery's blog. There is still time to join. Both these workshops are great for expanding creative ideas and mastering some simple but enjoyable techniques.

I have spent the last two days in Bayeux which was on the road to Caen where I am teaching tomorrow and Saturday. I wanted to see the Bayeux tapestry again- that marvellous 11th century embroidery  detailing the Norman conquest of Britain. Just wish I could have taken photos but also understand why I could not- and then there is the tour groups... sigh....I  was there at 9.00 am and they were already queueing. I have seen the tapestry several times and this time I was a bit struck by the bloodiness of it all and by the  really rather fine detail of the horses throughout the tapestry- the horses are quite  quite wonderful which makes me wonder about who designed the tapestry- the detail of the horses seems much finer than all the other details, and they are proportionately well executed. Below is an image which was from a  poster for the museum.

I have been staying in a monastery whilst in Bayeux. I had intended to camp,but they were forecasting rain so I though a room might be a better option.Staying in  monasteries is cheaper than staying in hotels and then there is the ambience of the experience. The monastery I am staying in is Benedictine and the sisters who deal with the public have been most helpful. The only down side is no wifi- but then again the walls are so thick that this creates a problem. It's been very peaceful and just the kind of break I needed after a rather frenetic couple of weeks which included demonstrating at Nantes for Bernina at Pour l'Amour du Fil. Everything is within walking distance which is an added bonus.

Whilst demoing for Bernina I worked a little on my  pomegranate linocut print quilt with Wonderfil wool threads. I love how these threads almost look like hand embroidery

The one thing about staying in a room  rather than camping is that you have to eat out for your meals  unless you picnic in your room. The other night when walking back from a pizza restaurant the light was just magical. I don't  usually doctor my photos at all apart from cropping, so was especially pleased with the way the colours turned out in this photo- it was almost dark but not quite, and the Cathedral is lit.

And I had not intended to go to the British cemetery in Bayeux- but in the end, in light of some of the current madnesses decided that I would, if only to pay quiet respect. I was overwhelmed- the ages of those young men, the number of those young men, the people they left behind, those that survived with all sorts of wounds- it was almost unbearable to feel the weight of what they sacrificed. I was visiting at the same time as a group of  english school boys- one lad seemed as overwhelmed as I was - I watched him- he looked at each grave attentively read each  young mans name- his head was bent in attention to what he was reading , he was reluctant to leave when the teachers called for him to join the group to leave. I don't know what his thoughts were- but I felt as if  all the cares of the world were on his very young shoulders. We must do better than resist. We must stop this bloody madness- nobody has the right to sacrifice the life of another.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Coburg and then Nantes

It has been a hectic few weeks with a quick trip ( well actually it was slow- like an eleven hour drive , more with stops) to Coburg and the studio of Regina Klaus where she has several longarms for people to work with. Linzi Upton had been there the previous two days ( and i am sorry to have missed her classes ). Always lovely to get together with other teachers- and we had lots of commonalities including fountain pens, paper and typewriters! I arrived a day early as Regina had offered to show us around Coburg, a delightful small city  about a two and a half hour drive from Frankfurt. We visited the Schloss Veste Coburg, with wonderful views over the city and with some wonderful smaller treasures. The collection of Lucas Cranach the elders paintings simply gorgeous!

Unfortunately I had left my good camera at the house, but there was one room, the hunting room where the wood panelling was simply  divine- hard to believe it was all inlaid wood. All were hunting scenes.

I am looking forward to going back and remembering the good camera so I can take some good photos! And we will be. If you follow the link for Regina's website there is a report of what we did and what is to come in the future!. I am only sorry I did not get a good photo of Linzi's wonderful fish drawing/extrapolation- but there is one on her blog ( just follow the link on her name and you can also see what Linzi taught whilst we were there)

 We coined a new phrase longarm drawing and we put the machines through their paces using 30 weight thread. I like to see the line and 30 weight thread does that and really gives great texture as well as colour ( thankfully Aurfil makes this thread and I love their colours!)
.Some of the work done:

And then it was straight back to Le Triadou as I have a mountain of work to do and  there is a lot more to do still! Today I am packing today  to drive to Nantes to demonstrate for Bernina France at Pour l'Amour du Fil. Another long drive, but then I will be up there for close on two weeks  teaching mostly.

Then I intend to go to Italy and camp and do a stage at Opificio della Rosa for 2.5 days on shadow theatre- thinking of exploring Colombina from the Commedia dell'Arte- just wish I had brought the Colombina I made with me. Anyone want to come?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

New prints

I have been stitching samples for my classes in Germany next Monday and Tuesday at Bernina Longarm DE owned by Regina Klaus. It will be a long drive but fortunately I have a friend with whom I can stop for a night on the way to Doerfles-Esbach. The week after it is to Nantes for Pour l'Amour du Fil and demonstrating for Bernina and then after that workshops in Caen.

Extra Workshops
I will also be doing workshops  in a gallery just outside Chartres on 2- 3 May 2017  at the studio of Cardamome Gallery. On the 2nd of May 2017 we will be doing transfer printing ( and working with lutradur ) and stitching and on the 3rd of May 2017 we will be making a linocut for printing on paper and fabric and doing some embellishing with stitch of the linocut. If you are interested in joining please email me

When I was up north  recently I picked up a bag of my things that I had stored in the garage of a friend. I had forgotten about half of the things that were in there, but was pleasantly surprised to find a large linocut of a boabab tree which I made quite some time ago and which I had put aside because I thought it needed more work. So I finally got around to doing the little extra work and printed off some panels this morning. I can't wait to stitch some of these up!  They measure 34 cm x 49 cm and have been hand printed on hand dyed fabric. They are for sale for $25 AUS plus $3 postage. At present I only have these colours available as I have to dye more fabric which is on the to do list for when I return. I have created a Paypal button for your convenience- just tell me which colour you would like.

I also printed up some of the Travellers' Blanket linocut which are also for sale. This print measures 34 cm x 39 cm and is also priced at $25 Plus $3 postage.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Felled by a Cold and Travellers Blanket On-line Class

The week has flown and I have been sick most of it. I was teaching free motion  quilting and applique to beginner groups in Toulouse and I lost my voice- trying to speak in french with no voice proved quite challenging but we got through.

Back in Le Triadou now before heading off to Germany on Wednesday to teach some workshops to much more advanced free motion quilters and am still finishing the samples.

I did finish the linocut I started last week and have printed off trial prints, but as my preferred printing pad these days is newspaper ( about 6-8 sheets) I am holding off printing more until tomorrow when I can get a newspaper.

The linocut took quite some carving as it measures about  30 cm x 45 cm. it was inspired  by my Travellers' Blanket with Circles which will be coming out as a book in August or September in French
 Once I print fabric I will then embroider it- I think I will try with machine stitching first seeing I have the Bernina here for the time being. The print below is on transparent paper- just to see how the print works.

And then I printed on fabric. I think it has lots of possibilities- now to just find the time!

There is still time to join the Travellers' Blanket on-line class.  Lessons are delivered as pdf files that you can print and include dyeing instructions and story ideas and stitching ideas with closeup photos of the  traveller's Blankets in Blue and the one with circles. I also set up a private Facebook group  for discussion and I keep this open for some time after the workshop as I realise hand stitching is a long process. I view the travellers' blankets a way of telling stories without words- so your stitching becomes your way of telling the story. The cost of the class is $60AUS

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Moments of Quiet

The exhibition at Chartres finished last Sunday and I headed off to my cousin who lives in a rural France in the Indres region on the way to Chateauroux. Her brother, also my cousin, whom I had never met before and another cousin from their fathers side of the family were also visiting for a few days. It's uncanny meeting family you have never met  through circumstance and because your parents immigrated to the other side of the world, and to find you have so many commonalities and that my brother even looks a little like him. It was pleasant spending a few days getting to know them in front of the fire, as the weather was not very co-operative.It is lovely to enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural area where my cousin lives- so different to being in a city!

I have also stitched quite a lot on my pomegranate piece since I last posted- I think the black stitching is finished- just as well as I have 40 cm of black thread left! As I said this piece is a Travellers Blanket of sorts and a very personal journey but its morphing and changing as I stitch simply because so much of family is in this piece, and just the last few days spending time with cousins has added an extra dimension for me, and it has acquired even more meaning, and one that I did not think it would- but I know whenever I pick up this piece part of the memory will be of this week. Now I need to get onto embroidering the lighter indigo areas.

The travellers blanket book is being translated at the moment so there has been a few back and forths with the translators about certain words or ways of expressing which is very interesting in its own way. When I wrote it, I did think about how it might be translated into french ( even though my french is not good)  but there are ways of saying things in english that are difficult to translate into french. I completed the drawings for the book before I went to Chartres but as I did the drawings, a few ideas did pop into my head and it's been lovely having quiet time, so to speak, to explore those ideas a little.

I was a little intrigued as to how much like maps my drawings of the embroideries looked, and I guess when you think about  embroidery patterns they are a map really. But it did make a little buzz sort of go off inside my head, about lets put that into the thinking tank. I made about 64 of these little drawings so there was a bit of thinking to do lol! But then I played around with them this morning because I actually am thinking about the next blanket as well - the one after the pomegranate one- and well this is what I came up with.

And then my brain jumped to linocut linocut- because I was doing some looking around on the internet to share for the linocutting group I am teaching- so tomorrows job is a lot of  carving! It's quite big and a few changes will happen because of the way the tools work.

So there is still time to sign up to the Travellers' Blanket on-class which starts on April 3 - which is the only one I will be teaching this year-it's an online class to hopefully inspire you to explore your own stories in hand stitch. there is  more information on my previous last two posts with a Paypal button also.

And lastly but not least , and how did I not know this??? There is a Rilke connection to Chartres. He wrote a poem about the Meridian angel on the outside of the Cathedral ( he actually wrote six poems about Chartres but until I get home I will not be able to find out exactly  what those were)

round the strong cathedral 
like a denier thinking through and through,
your tender smile suddenly engages
our hearts and lifts them up to you.

O smiling angel, sympathetic stone,
your mouth distilled from a hundred mouths:
do you not mark how from your always-full
sundial our hours slide off one by one –

that so impartial sundial, upon which
the day’s whole sum is balanced equally
as though all our hours were rich and ripe?

What do you know, stone-born, of our plight?
And does your face become more blissful still
as you hold the sundial out into the night?

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, tr, J. B. Leishman
  (slightly modified by Oriana)

Dans la trombe assaillant la forte cathédrale
Comme un dénégateur qui pense et qui repense,
On se sent tout à coup plus tendrement guidé,
Du fait de ton sourire, en ta direction :
Toi l’ange qui souris, figure qui ressent,
Et dont la bouche unique est faite de cent bouches :
Ne remarques-tu point comment pour toi nos heures
Vont glissant tout le long du plein cadran solaire,
Où le nombre du jour se tient, entier, ensemble,
Pareillement réel, en profond équilibre,
Toute heure étant tenue, croit-on, pour mûre et riche ?
Que sais-tu, toi qui es de pierre, de notre être ?
Ton visage est peut-être encor plus radieux,
Quand entrant dans la nuit, tu montres le cadran.

Im Sturm, der um die starke Kathedrale
wie ein Verneiner stürzt der denkt und denkt,
fühlt man sich zärtlicher mit einem Male
von deinem Lächeln zu dir hingelenkt:
lächelnder Engel, fühlende Figur,
mit einem Mund, gemacht aus hundert Munden:
gewahrst du gar nicht, wie dir unsre Stunden
abgleiten von der vollen Sonnenuhr,
auf der des Tages ganze Zahl zugleich,
gleich wirklich, steht in tiefem Gleichgewichte,
als wären alle Stunden reif und reich.
Was weißt du, Steinerner, von unserm Sein?
und hältst du mit noch seligerm Gesichte
vielleicht die Tafel in die Nacht hinein?
(in Neue Gedichte, 1907)