Friday, January 12, 2018

Garden Stories Textile Art

In my most recent series of works, Garden Stories, I drew inspiration from a workshop I did  in 2017 with British textile artist Anne Kelly. These  new works are a series of folded stitched books in response to the exhibition challenge by NCEATA ( Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists). We were challenged to print from wood blocks created by a local artist, Bob Seal. The blocks were stylised natural elements - a bird, a fish and a flower. When I saw the flower block, I immediately thought of a sunflower, so the plan was born...

I have also recently become a fan of reverse applique so I knew I wanted to incorporate that as well as develop the layering and stitching approach we took in Anne Kelly's workshop. I used only one of the blocks  - the flower for this set of books, but added one other feature on each - bees, birds, or butterflies.

The background is an old , recycled cotton table cloth  with a stamped, unworked embrodiery pattern), cut into three for each of the books. All books include bits of applique from an old patterned cushion with a sunflower pattern, embroidery, photo transfers on silk and organza,  stitched tea bag motifs  under a layer of tea dyed silk organza.
More stitching has been applied over the top of the organza to create a softer toning. Each has been finished on the back with eco dyed natural silk wth a wooden button and twisted cord wrap.

Most people who have seen these fabric books have remarked that it so unlike my previous work, and although it has been a "diversion", I really enjoyed using my sewing machine a little more creatively

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New Colour

Happy New Year to all!  I hope that this year will be a  bright, positive, happy and brilliant time for all my family and friends. 
To celebrate a new year, this art tag remembers the past with some torn paper and an old broken zip which is opened to reveal a colourful and sparkling future year, in the form of cut paper and glitter stars. I included snippets of a colour which trendsetters are calling this year, "ultraviolet"
Pantone describes ultra violet as a “provocative and thoughtful purple shade” that embodies individuality and spirituality. According to the company, it alludes to the mysteries of the cosmos and the unknown.
Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Colour Institute, said: “The Pantone colour of the year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” ( The Guardian)
 Perhaps this is true when you consider that the classical Chinese associated 'purple' with spiritual awareness, balance and harmony - the world certainly needs a good dose of that!  Of course, interpretations vary with culture - in European tradition, purple represented royalty, extravagance and later, it has been recognised as a colour symbolising mourning.
Regardless of the symbolism,  I don't think I will be setting any trends this year as I do not have "ultraviolet" in my wardrobe. Perhaps I should have paid more attention this morning when I dressed. I have just read: 
In some South American countries wearing colored underwear will determine your fate for the new year. Red underwear means you’ll find love. Gold means wealth, and white signifies peace.( 25 Strangest New year Traditions Around the World)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Memories -Tag Tuesday

Rather late arriving at the Tag Tuesday's Christmas party, but here I am with some Christmas Memories tags.  The first one is a simple watercolour and pen drawing, with a Christmas embellishment. The others are made with torn paper. I made a quite a few of these this year, using stamps from Christmases past - so I think they qualify for the "Christmas Memories" theme.

Here is a three minute video  I made for Timeless Textiles Gallery . It is a shortened version of how to use the torn paper collage idea for cards... just press the arrow to begin.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Firsts #25 : Merry Christmas

And so ends this year's Advent blog series of Christmas Firsts - a first Christmas 'selfie' for us and with it, very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Firsts #24 : Twas the Night Before...

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...

It’s Christmas Eve…. And you just have to read out aloud, to your family, to your friends, to your pet or to yourself, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ …. This classic poem was FIRST called ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ and published anonymously in 1823. It was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore in 1837. I have discovered this last month whenever claiming a Christmas FIRST, there is always a but… but now some literary historians now think that the author might have been Henry Livingston Junior.  While most of the evidence  has  favoured Moore, most recent studies might suggest otherwise ... 
MacDonald P. Jackson, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand has spent his entire academic career analyzing authorship attribution. He has written a book titled Who Wrote "the Night Before Christmas"?: Analyzing the Clement Clarke Moore Vs. Henry Livingston Question,  published in 2016, in which he evaluates the opposing arguments and, for the first time, uses the author-attribution techniques of modern computational stylistics to examine the long-standing controversy. Jackson  ... concludes that Livingston is the true author of the classic work.

Whoever wrote it and when is not important to most of us as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ remains one of the  oldest and most popular literary contributions to Christmas. I have included here both a video of a Perry Como rendition and the words, just in case you do want to read this tonight.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

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