AQC 2017

Dear readers

WOW . . . . . .what a whirlwind. With months of work now behind me in the lead up to  the 2017 Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) and in a blink of an eye the 4 day event is over for another year. And may I say the beautiful Exhibition Centre was alive and as grand as ever. It felt just awesome to be within her majestic space again.

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Quilters and textile workers came and went, acquaintances gathered, (some for their 13th year),  new friendships were forged, delegates were wined, dined and shopped until they dropped and traders spruiked their wares.  Magnificent textile work was on display everywhere the eye could see and the array of colour ways, textures and designs was mind boggling to say the least. Tutors taught in the upper gallery and students listened and worked new skills and knowledge into their repertoire of talents. From 10 til 4.30 every day a cacophony of sound rang around the building. . . . . sales pitches happening everywhere, the hum of machinery, excited chatter, announcements, music and the clatter of catering in the background.

With the good fortunate to be invited to teach along with the other amazing tutors, we started our AQC adventure on Wednesday 19th. We were oriented to our roles and our classrooms and given our packs and attended a fabulous Cocktail Party in the evening where each of us were introduced to the large group of AQC Delegates. It was a great occasion to meet other tutors and some of the delegates up close and personal.

IMG_0776On inspection our classrooms were set up, equipped for 20 students, with new Bernina sewing machines and welcome packs. I discovered I was to have a classroom angel to assist me all day and a Bernina Rep. to help out with any issues with the machines.

I felt very humbled to be able to display my two latest quilts ‘Floral Delight’ and Tinellen Farm’ in the tutors ‘Teach Me’  section of the quilt gallery with some exquisite work produced by the team of AQC tutors. I was blown away with the talent on display this year.IMG_0757IMG_0754I worked a busy couple of days with Jane McDonald on her BeBeBold Stall and it was great to catch up with friends and regular customers who visited to buy their annual dose of Japanese fabrics, Sashiko needles and threads and be inspired by the array of patterns and designs on show. My classes commenced on the Saturday 22nd with ‘A Floral Bouquet’  followed by the Sunday class ‘A Vintage Keepsake’ on the 23rd.

My groups were not to capacity however the extra space to spread out was a Godsend and it saved my voice, competing with the noise coming from the ground floor. I had a very enjoyable time teaching in the atmosphere of ACQ, with a great group of students who worked well to absorb my guidance and experiment with the techniques I had to demonstrate. The ‘Vintage Keepsake’ class proved to be a  perfect wind down day after the excitement over the previous four days.  Students were reflective as they  shared stories about the treasured relationships they had with the family and friends and the  heirlooms they were working into their pieces.The verbal feedback from both groups was overall very positive and I was chuffed that some even finished their pieces ready for framing.IMG_0809

In one of my classes I had the privilege of meeting a lovely woman by the name of Mary. The other students and I lovingly adopted her as our token senior citizen. She was happy to tell us she was 91 years old and had been attending AQC since its inception and does not intend missing the next one. It was a joy to have her with us, a stitching enthusiast for many years,  who still loves to learn new things, had stories to tell and loved the idea of preserving old textiles.

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On that note I think my AQC reminiscing is done for another year. It was a great experience to teach at this years event and I wish to sincerely thank Judy Newman from Expertise Events (EE) in Sydney for the invitation to attend and the incredible amount of work it takes by the EE Team to make an event of this size happen. I hope i get to do it again some time. I also wish to acknowledge the privilege of working alongside some great teachers and displaying my work among some of the ‘quilting greats’! Now that has to be a good thing? Cxx

Family Collaborations

Deciding on a tree change Daughter No1. (as in age not favouritism) came to live in Clunes a few months ago.  In fact Nasci came right on back home! Wanting some regional experience  and a new direction away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne,  she has relocated indefinitely, working locally, continuing on with her studies and settling into home and the community as if she has always been here. Of course I’m  loving having her energy around and the studio has now become a shared space.

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Both my daughters Nasci and Gabrielle have always been creative. They have had exposure to my work  and ‘workings’ as an artist growing up and both went on to do very well in art at college. Gabby went on to study Fine Arts at Curtain University in WA and although she did not complete she produced some amazing work in her time there. Strangely, but maybe not,  neither really developed stitching skills despite being surrounded by fabrics and threads when they were little.

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Things changed somewhat when we moved from WA and I established the studio in Clunes. Over time with occasional visits on weekends the girls took an interest in how my work was evolving. Liking what she saw, with encouragement I got Nasci back to the machine to experience free motion machine drawing  and she ‘fell in love’ with what she could achieve. Our creative partnership began to flourish and now my new boarder is loving working with textiles and slowly understanding the pleasures to be had from stitching by hand and with her trusty 1972 Bernina Minimatic. Not a day goes by where we do not share ideas and feel inspired to work together when we have the time.

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Joining in on the Monday and Tuesdays in the studio has exposed Nasci to the ways in which the variety of women who visit, work with fabrics and thread, by hand and machine and I have seen her knowledge, creativity and confidence grow in leaps and bounds in a very short time.

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In fact she has moved very fast, developing her new business ‘Clarity Designs’ and is now showing her work at markets and soon to exhibit in the 2017 Regional Tidy Towns Art Trail. Nasci graduated in 2016 as a Counsellor. Her aspirations are to study Art Therapy in the future. Her exposure to a working studio, the diversity of those that come and go, listening to  and sharing the stories of others as they  create and work has inspired her immensely and provided a sense of belonging that is not often experienced outside of small communities whatever they might be.

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On another level I have to constantly remind myself that she is 32, (independent and autonomous), that daughters don’t always make good students and that patience and persistence on my part is still required. I love the influence that Nasci brings.  She makes me laugh a lot and she brings a youthful perspective to mine.  She has her tastes  and I have mine but we make them work when we are nutting out ideas. We both love colour and textures. I love it that we can sit down at the end of the day and  watch TV together while we stitch.  Sometimes we cry or we we talk about life and learning. We have the odd cranky moments with each other but we forgive too and much quicker now because we have creative things that are pressing and we have inspirations to get on with and that is just the best thing a Mother could have. We are blessed

Cxx

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Quilts By Design

Dear Readers

For some time now I have had two quilt designs in the making. I have toyed with ideas and dawdled  with production and as time permitted added a bit here and there but up until mid September last year time was not a concern and I felt no need to rush. A couple of unexpected phone calls arriving within weeks of each other changed all that. Initially taken aback after each call  I was left contemplating the commitments I had just made and how on earth I was going to get these two quilts completed by December.

First came the invitation from Judy Newman at Expertise Events  (EE) in Sydney to participate as a tutor at the 2017 Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC). To be honest you could’ve  knocked me over with a feather, having been asked to take part based on a growing interest in my work.  I had no idea anyone knew who I was and I tell myself far too often “I’m not really a quilter’!!  Feeling very humbled, I gained composure, said yes and agreed to the proposal. When I received a second call a short time later from Clare Moody, the then editor of the Australian Quilters Companion Magazine, to ask if I would be interested in a studio profile and project article in the 2017 May Edition my heart jumped a beat.  Left feeling quite overwhelmed I thought “What has just happened”,  “are their people talking to my people”?   I recovered quickly enough to agree before my rational mind had time to rebut my decision.

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So make what you will of timing, divine synchronicity and serendipity I was now committed and needed to get focussed and begin some serious work. Its all very well saying yes and being caught up in the whirlwind of validation but in reality I had agreed to two rather large projects, and there were now new obligations and timelines to meet. Amid my already busy working schedule my energy was fast running out by the time Christmas holidays 2016 came around.

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Despite initial minor set backs,  I put my social life on hold and titch and appliqué I did til the ‘cows came home’. Now months later, it is March 2017 and quilt No1. ‘Tinellen Farm’ is complete. The article for the magazine has been drafted, the official photo shoot has taken place and the quilt has been sent to and now returned from Sydney where it was measured and I guess scrutinised within an inch of its life for the project profile. The quilt itself was a pleasure to create and a loving and sentimental project.  A combination of curved dresden plates, hexagons and squares make up the simple design however against a background of contemporary grey scale prints, I utilised old and discarded family linens  from our family farm in Western Australia. These included old tea towels, curtains, meat bags, cushion covers and a doily or two that my sister Terri and I collected on my visit to the farm in 2015. To counter the weariness of these older fabrics I combined  them with new prints including my favourite of all time gingham squares and dots. I taught some women in the studio how to hand quilt using Tinellen Farm to which another layer of love has been instilled. I showed my daughter how to paper piece the hexagons using the stitching method (as opposed to glue) and I even darned a couple of spots where the old linens have perished to which is added character and charm.

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Quilt No. 2 Floreale Delizia (Floral Delight) is at hand quilting stage as I write. It will be ready along with Tinellen Farm for the AQC ‘Tutors Exhibition’ section. I have had some trouble with constructing this quilt due to the perils of using linen in the centre medallion and haste and mistakes on my part to get it completed. I am loathe to admit that I have had to unpick sections and tweak here and there but happy with how it has developed despite the hiccups. I do love needle turn appliqué and this quilt has a lot of this technique throughout. Again I have used a grey scale themed background with a colourful floral medallion and borders and love the way the colours have settled in with each other. Overall the design feels easy on the eye and uncluttered. My trademark backing and border is red and white gingham on the back and green and white gingham along the edge and I love it!!IMG_7023

 

I will be teaching these quilt designs over time. I have a contract with Australian Quilters Companion Magazine that I must oblige before patterns can be developed and distributed for Tinellen Farm. The pattern for Floral Delizia will be developed and ready for me to teach by June.

I do hope I get to see you at this years AQC 20 – 23 April. I will be working Thursday and Friday for Jane McDonald on the BeBeBold Stand and  if you are interested in my classes I will be teaching ‘A Floral Still Life’ on Saturday 22nd and ‘Vintage Keepsake’ on Sunday 23rd.

For more information go to http://aqc.com.au/class-timetable-2017/  http://www.universalmagazines.com.au/magazines/quilters-companion/

In the meantime, much love and creativity Cxx

Establishing A Rhythm

Dear readers

Again I say “where has time gone” as I realise it has been 6 months since my last post. And of course much has happened in that time. In January I had the privilege of working with UK textile artist Dionne Swift at Fibre Arts Australia summer school in her ‘Establishing Rhythm’ workshop. What an amazing and inspiring time and the artistic wisdom I gained from the experience I find hard to express in words. It was tiring work from beginning to end and even my trusted Bernina (‘Betty’) had to go off for a major over haul after it was all over.

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Dionne Swift is truly a dedicated textile artist. She is an expert in thread painting and has a unique personal relationship with her sewing machines, quite like I have never seen before. What she taught me and the other students in the class during the time we were with her I will take with me to my creative end. Her  techniques are second to none and she well deserves the international accolades she is now receiving after years of focus and dedication to perfecting her craft.

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As part of the initial process, we (students) were to seek inspiration from our external environment, using our camera and  broad stroke sketching to capture images that could be utilised later for machine stitching . This is always an interesting process for me and I love to get the opportunity  where I can  to observe the finer details of the things around me that can be expressed into a different form.  After working up our images using both paper and fabric collage and with coloured pencils we began the process of preparing for free motion stitching. It was refreshing to be reminded of how important our machines are for this type of artistic work and tips and tricks  included getting your personal posture correct, working at the right desk height, then of course machine preparation and maintenance, changing needles and tuning in.

We had great instruction regarding the use of an embroidery hoop which we all had to prepare before  stitching commenced. I don’t often use a hoop when I draw with my machine but my frustrations have moved and I’m  hooked and a devotee of how useful it is to use one for this style of work.

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And so our journey ‘Establishing Rhythm’ commenced. No stone was left unturned, no machine neglected, no stitch left misunderstood and no thread left unknown. How Dionne advised us to make our machines work by encouraging us to experiment with our threads, tension and  bobbins is nothing short of a miracle as evidenced by the amazing stitching that was produced by each student. Outside the weather was hot, inside our machines got hot and our tempers frayed. We  were encouraged to make our machines go fast at the pedal and at the same time remain steady and focussed with our hands and as each day passed we pushed through our fears and trusted the process more and more. We eventually all did get into ‘a groove’ with our machines as I’ve never really experienced before and I personally broke through my fears to trust and feel how you ‘become one’ with your equipment.

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As a group we created some amazing work. Each one unto herself and uniquely interpretive. After our time together came to an end,  full of inspiration and raring to come back to the studio and practice,  I immediately sorted my threads into weights, types and colours and stored them in a dark place.  I purchased a couple of thread holders and  use them now like a paint palette by my side. Ive even amazed myself, where I once felt inconvenienced if I had to rethread my needle or change my bobbin it now is like second nature to do so . . . . no complaints!! Im still working on small pieces at this stage but practicing, I am and loving the experience. Im learning which threads my machine likes, which ones break and how to use embroidery threads in my bobbin. Im learning when to sit up, straighten my shoulders and take a big breathe. Im also learning when to just say enough is enough and walk away for a while. My time with Dionne has to be one of the most dynamic learning experiences I have had in a very long time and I feel deeply grateful to have shared the creative space with her for a moment in time.

Thank you for coming to Australia to be with us Dionne Swift

Cxx

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September in Clunes 2016

Dear readers

Apologies in advance for the late posting but as any of you who know what has been happening in the lead up to and during  September, I  could be forgiven for having some time out and stopping to smell a rose or two. Life on the home-front and in the studio have been so busy these past months in preparation for all things textile and stitching in Clunes.

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The textile art exhibition ‘A Textile Palette’, the Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat and the inaugural Clunes Village Quilt Hanging were a combined effort, respectively hosted during September and each event a huge success.

As you would be aware many hours of creating, planning, preparing and curating events like these is  an immense undertaking and and requires clear minds in tiring circumstances, positive attitudes in adverse situations, creativity when creative blockages happen and  a huge amount of support and sponsorship from the local community to run seamlessly with aplomb.

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Along with these three events the region experienced the wettest spring since recording began in Victoria, the Creswick Creek threatened to flood at different times throughout the month, including the weekend of the stitching retreat, launch of the exhibition and quilt hanging. Good spirits and flexibility were needed as venues were changed at last minute and quilts were transferred from one place to another. All needed to appear as if everything was running to plan. An international film crew (HBO) were in the village for two weeks filming sections to the series ‘The Leftovers’ so the town was truly abuzz with activity and seasonal influences.

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AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

All in all, albeit challenging at times, all three events were a resounding success and the feedback incredibly positive for those who attended and visited Clunes. A personal thanks to the following people who without their support and attention to detail I may have ended up ‘worse for wear’

  • My partner Phillip – (For all the meals you force me to ‘sit down’ and eat, practical help and the odd ‘telling off’!! Without your daily patience and support my love,  I just couldn’t do anything)
  • My daughters Nasci and Gabrielle – (for your endless encouragement and support throughout the year)
  • The Clunes Community – (for your enthusiasm, interest, intrigue, participation, ideas, attendance and positive and/or constructive feedback)
  • The studio ladies – Jacqui M, Vicki B, Maureen T, Sujeeva H, Leanne W, Teresa G, Sylvia R, Christine H, Kathryn H, Al H, Ros D, Barbara CS, Jeannie K, (for assistance with everything, Im truly indebted to you amazing people who support me so much)
  • Wesley College – Principal Tim and Admin Officer Linda N (for the arrangement and generous use of the Weavery for the quilt hanging)
  • Hepburn Shire – Bree M (for assistance with event advertising and  hire of the Town Hall  and Warehouse)
  • BeckWorth Wines  – Jane and Paul L (for your professionalism attending to the liquor requirements at Keeble’s and Gallery5)
  • Brett (for the beautiful floral arrangements)
  • Keeble’s Country House – Shelley and Peter (for your warm hospitality and welcome to retreat participants)
  • Jen Bray and the Clune’s Dance Troupe – (for the fabulous and fun filled opening night dance performance at Keeble’s Country House)
  • The Gallery Wine Bar – Linda and Neil N (for hosting the evening drinks and nibbles)
  • The School of Mines – Ken C (For the generous use of the School of mines Building for the quilt hanging)
  • Jane C –  (for your assistance with troubleshooting kitchen issues at the Town Hall kitchen)
  • Ian Baker – ( for your kind donation and effort to decorate the Town Hall with your lovely antiques)
  • To my students and textile working friends – ( for your efforts to present your  creativity to the public for the textile art exhibits)
  • To the quilters – (for your exciting array of work and talented donations of quilts for the Clunes Village Quilt Hanging)
  • Gallery5 – Annie and Rob G (for your efforts in preparing the space and assistance in curating ‘A Textile Palette’ and your attention to detail hanging each piece so carefully)
  • The Ballarat Ukulele Affair – (for the fantastic and groovy music ‘with a difference’ you provided for the textile art exhibition opening)
  • Catering – Jane F (for your vibrant personality and humour and extraordinary flair with food during the retreat)

Last but by no means least,  to Rae T and Judy N my friends and business partners a big thank you for all that you have done to help promote my beautiful home town of Clunes, advertise the 2016 event/s on your journeys and who bring ‘Quilting Wisdom’ to Quiltessentially Clunes.

My warmest regards and gratitude to each and every one of you.

Cxx

Our Studio Weekend

Dear Readers

Its Sunday night and all is quiet at the studio. Its been a hectic and creative weekend with the first of the ‘Hidden Word’ Workshops complete and my mind is working overtime with emerging ideas as a result. As with all events  some things worked better than others and  continuous improvement is on my agenda. Thanks once again for the patience and flexibility to all who attended. You handled the last minute changes quite well and I appreciated your cooperation very much.  Thanks also to my dear partner Phillip who provided the catering all day, did the dishes and kept the kitchen open. I could not do what I do without his support on these occasions.

Eleven women gathered at the studio on Saturday, in anticipation (I trusted) for a challenging day of experimenting with textile and mixed media. Unfortunately it was wet outside, so my plans to spend quite a bit of time outdoors was squashed and indoors it was to be for most of the day.  It was extremely cosy with us all inside, up close and personal around the work bench. (Note to self, reduce participant numbers next time)…….. however despite the blessings of rain, we managed and adjusted and progress was made elbow to elbow and a squeeze here and there.

We started off our day sharing our word of meaning and a lexicon of reflective words comprising of Belonging, Success, Settled, Evolve, Smile, Autumn, Courage, Spiritual, Mother-Nature, Purpose and Friends  was developed to be used in the journal work throughout the day and for future entries.

It was to be a day of experimental play and as highlighted at the outset “nothing is right or wrong about how things turned out”. Students were encouraged to take the initiative and make the most of each skill set to develop a journal and create spaces within for sample pieces of work along the way. We commenced our first task  with printing onto fabric from the office inkjet printer. Some were familiar with this technique, others were amazed that a simple office printer (the cheaper, the better) was capable of printing fabrics as well as paper. Such a simple application using fusible webbing or American Freezer Paper to support the fabric as it moves through the printer, was soon to be discovered, as a technique that was  accessible to most and transferrable across a range of printing needs. We printed out quotes and definitions of our chosen words and discussed the  capacity to print images and  how to use applications such as PhotoSketch to enhance photographs for use with textiles.

While we waited for the drizzle to subside,  work was progressed with covering journals and preparing spaces for  small samples of work  to be inserted. The journals consisted of old hard back books purchased from the recent Clunes Booktown Festival and to add to the discussions of the day, they came with a variety of dated titles and as some discovered some interesting and relevant subject matter.

The first of the the outdoor ‘wet work’ tasks was to layer fibres and textiles together with glue. Using a cellulose based wallpaper paste, students experimented with fusing fabrics with pieces of newspaper, used tea bags, card and paper to create small collages to be deconstructed and repurposed in later work.  The use of wallpaper paste allows the work to dry clearly, and the fabric once worked and handled  has the potential to regain its softness.  Pasted fabric pieces also aides as a supportive stiffened base for free motion machining which was to be experimented with later in the day. As with all things new, some (students) used way too much glue and others not quite enough, however a range of amazing pieces evolved and placed to dry in front of the fire.

After a light lunch we shifted position under the car port to work with painting and mark making on fabric. Leaves and plants were collected from the garden and used along with pre-prepared  blocks with a variety of surfaces for printing.  Lots of experimentation took place in this section of the day and the play with acrylic colours, fabric medium and printing blocks produced some  fascinating marks.

It was interesting to observe that whilst some were happy to embrace the experimentation which was the aim of the day, others were a bit lost with direction, not having a defined ‘project’ to commence. This happens sometimes in skills workshops and I reflected on classes that I’ve participated in over the years where I had felt very challenged and frustrated with the process, however appreciative in hindsight that I had pushed through to learn the artistic tasks regardless of how my work was turning out and what I was meant to do with it.  It is an issue that many participants face particularly women as we have been traditionally textile workers with purpose and are generally project oriented. We do and have floundered when experimenting with textile art and all that it brings just for the sake of learning.

With a little extra support and guidance we moved forward and in the latter part of the day students began to work on the sewing machines, experimenting with their work and embellishing with free motion machine drawing and simple hand stitching. For some this was a first time experience and for others a technique they loved to use and had been looking forward to all day.  Some very creative pieces/projects started to evolve and some beautifully decorated journals were coming along at this point. It had been a very busy day with much to absorb and consider and  although a tad weary, students got a second wind to progress their work a little more before the day ended.

I was really thrilled to see several projects emerge from the days experimentation which included plans to create  a lamp shade cover, friendship book, floral still life and a landscape ‘potential’!!

So finally, dear students, thank you again for such an energetic and dynamic day of creating. Your feedback was very much appreciated and I hope to get the opportunity to work with you again some time soon. I too take away many learnings from the day and the experience of working with you all. I encourage you to continue to work in your journals and/or visual diaries,  in particular those who are not accustomed to working with a variety of textile art techniques. Journals are about recording your ideas, inspirations and experiments and the more you practice and sample your ideas, the better you will become with developing your unique style of working and artistic expression using fibres and textiles.

I wish you much love and creativity in every way, Cxx

The Hidden Word

Dear Readers

Thank you to those who have expressed an interest to attend the first of a series of unique and inspiring textile art workshops to be held at the Margie & Bert Design Studio in Clunes.

The ‘Hidden Word’ is a 7.5 hour session and will be held on Saturday 4th June, 9.30am – 5.00pm. There are just two places left if you are interested in a fun and creative day. The fee for the day is $55 which includes all resources, morning and afternoon tea and a light finger food lunch.

A lexicon of words will be shared throughout the day, so bring to the workshop a word that has currency in your daily life and and any personalised resources e.g. photographs, old linens, cards, letters that you may like to include in your work.

In this workshop you will be guided in the following skills

  • Mark making including freehand drawing
  • Fabric painting
  • Layering fibres and textiles
  • Free motion machine drawing
  • Printing on fabric using an inkjet printer
  • Slow stitch embroidery technique
  • Workshop journaling, step by step

 

For further information contact me at margieandbertstudio@gmail.com
or call on 0415644101
Hope to see you there, much love and creativity Cxx

 

Clunes Makers Market

Dear Readers

Nothing could have made me feel prouder than when on Sunday 13th at the Clunes Makers Market, my students work was exhibited in a mini Textile Art Exhibition at the Club Hotel in Clunes. Albeit an arrangement of approximately 35 pieces, the standard of work was eye catching and gained a lot of interest from those who appreciate diverse artwork and the intrigue of all things stitched. Congratulations to students Jacqui Marshall, Leanne Wills, Ann Holden,  Maureen Thomas and Teresa Glen for the wonderful work you have completed for the display. You deserve to feel accomplished and the feedback reflected your creativity and developing talent. I am inspired that you have taken on board my teachings, embraced my style of guidance and have become comfortable with the new and challenging techniques you have learnt in class. Well done and I am so  looking  forward to advancing your abilities as we prepare for the Textile Art Exhibition in September. Cxx

Textile Art @ Millrose

Tuesday 17th February was the kick off date  for the ‘Making Art With Textiles’ workshop at the beautiful Millrose Quilting and Gallery in Ballan, Victoria.  https://www.millrosecottage.com.au/quilting.

It was fabulous to be teaching at this inspiring venue and to start the first of ongoing classes, there were 9 participants in the first workshop.  I was delighted to know that students had come from near and far and attended because they had found my work online, heard about me via the creative grapevine and others had been inspired by some of my exhibited work. Not to forget to mention Jacqui M. and Maureen T.  who are regular attendants to my Monday Sit & Stitch @ The Studio in Clunes. The lovely Tuesday staff at Millrose, Emily and Nat attended to our every need and made us all feel so welcome and  cared for, not to forget to mention our lunch next door at Millrose Cottage was ‘deliciously divine’ as always.

At the beginning of class examples of work were displayed to inspire the students and  most opted to  work on a larger piece, a floral still life, as their first project. Nothing like starting off with a huge challenge first off, I thought to myself. Highlighting at the beginning of the day that the process was iterative, organic and one of individual artistic choice (no patterns to follow), I was thrilled to find that the new techniques were embraced by most. I think it fair to say there were a few frustrating moments at times when students were challenged to break out of their usual colour ways, styles and stitching techniques.

With the initial stages of  sizing, colours, fabric and layout achieved the next phase to progress was the stitching. Commencing with simple basting and a range of embroidery stitches  I introduced free motion machine drawing in the afternoon session. Some were old hands to this technique and progressed their work easily, whilst others needed tuition.  For those new to machine drawing, once they accepted that going ‘out of the lines’ is accepted, common and  enhancing,  most were on their way creatively and with addictive passion.

All in all it was a wonderful creative day. There were certainly many milestones to celebrate as each piece evolved and the feedback indicated that the workshop was enjoyable and most wanted to continue on and come back to complete their pieces.

As much as I am the teacher in these situations, I am always on the receiving end of being inspired by the beautiful work that is  produced in every class. Students never cease to amaze me and the  teacher/student divide collapses where we ‘become one’ in the creative moment, time and time again.

Thank you so much for choosing to create with me. Cxx

 

 

Sit & Stitch at the Studio

Dear readers

Sit & Stitch at the Studio has started well for 2016 and feedback has been very encouraging and supportive of the creative and friendly space in which we come together.  I have a revised schedule for the year  which is working well for those that can attend on Mondays and Tuesdays and for those unable to attend during the day, an after hours session on a Tuesday evening.

I am thrilled that participants are so enthusiastic to take on new and creative ways of working with fabrics and threads and I am delighted to be teaching my textile art again among other things. I have set days for project workshops (See my teaching schedule in the top menu) but all in all we mainly work together on existing projects or new textile art pieces. Some bring their own work, embroidery or quilts and with others I provide support where I can  and short tutorials on techniques and skill development.

My teaching style has always been to inspire and encourage practice, trial and error where possible so that each participant develops the confidence to make creative decisions and develop their own style of working. A most inspiring teacher once said to me “respect the marks you make with stitch, there are no mistakes” . This has become my motto as I too like to encourage participants to take risks with textures, colour ways and markings and dare to do things differently! I have to say I have been thrilled with the progress to date and have witnessed some beautiful work to completion.

On a final note albeit belated, Maureen T. and Jacqui M. each entered a piece into the 2015 Clunes Agricultural Show (home and garden section, novice appliqué) in November. For both it was their first ever competition entry of which I felt very proud for them both. Over 8 weeks Maureen worked on her mini canvas series and was gainfully rewarded with an overall second prize which was a huge achievement for a first ever attempt at making art with textiles.

Congratulations, you are an amazing group of women to work with and I love to create with you all. Cxx