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

 

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

 

 

Delizia Floreale

Dear readers

I’ve been working on a new quilt design over the past 6 months. At the same time coincidently,  I have been attending Italian lessons, so I have named the quilt ‘Delizia Floreale’  which in Italian means ‘Floral Delight’.  The title reflects my love of working with floral themes and the medallion in this project  is an abstract vase of flowers, bordered with simple block and dresden plate patchwork.

I am embroidering using needle turn appliqué and simple stitch techniques and will be hand piecing throughout.  I started the project with idea of using neutral linens as the background theme and I’ve auditioned brightly printed fabrics and primary colours  as the main colour  way.

I am enjoying working on the design an it is evolving slowly. I hope to have it ready, in my teaching portfolio  for the Patchwork, Quilting and Papercraft Cruise in April and Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat in September.

Stay posted for progress notes and images. Cxx

Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat 2015

 

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Dear readers

It has been a couple of months now since Judy Newman, Rae Telfer and I hosted the 2015 Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat, in November and the village of Clunes may never be the same again after the huge success of the inaugural event.

In the spirit of friendship, creativity, and enjoyment, and in a venue set within the scenic and historic backdrop of the village of Clunes the event attracted 60 quilters and textile workers from interstate and across Victoria. Many of whom had never heard of or visited Clunes before. The laughter and fun, the camaraderie and friendships, the sharing and networking, new skills and much inspiration are the memorable outcome of this event.

Quiltessentially Clunes manifested its way into reality from a vision created early in the year by Judy and I and with much hard work , team effort with our additional and valuable member Rae T. the event was named and realised. The format of the weekend was planned to provide participants not only a stitching and textile experience but one of local hospitality, history and country fare.The feedback about Clunes by those that attended was extremely positive and included such comments as “ fabulous country hospitality” “such friendly people” “ beautiful buildings” and “ such a unique village”. When asked would they come back again, the reply was a very positive “YES” and many have already expressed their interest to attend the next retreat that is planned over four days in September.

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It would be an omission not to acknowledge the economic and cultural value of the event for Clunes. Participants were accommodated in the town, dined in the local eateries and shopped in the local stores. A ‘Meet and Greet’ event was held in the Gallery on the Friday night which was a huge success. Following this, a Sundowner in the beautiful gardens of Keebles Country house on the Saturday saw participants gather for regional wines, cheeses and bread.

With due respect this event would not have run so smoothly nor have been the occasion for celebration if it were not for a wonderful team of local helpers who we cannot thank enough. To the community of Clunes, the Hepburn Shire, the Clunes  Warehouse, Linda and Neil Newitt at ‘The Gallery’, Keebles Country House, Jane and Paul Lesock at Beckworth Winery and the lovely donations from Leslie at French Pear your support was invaluable.

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Judy, Rae and I feel blessed and thank everyone who contributed to make the inaugural 2015 Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat such a success. Much love and creativity. Cxx

Artistic Inspiration

Dear readers
Inspired to start working on canvas again I have been playing with textiles and stitching using the ‘All In A Row’ design as a background theme. Using different colours than usual and hand and machine embroidery I am quite pleased with aspects of the work so far. I am going to sit with this for a while and look at ways in which to mount it onto canvas and I have been thinking that a collage of small canvases may be the way to go. Stay posted as ideas come to fruition. Cxx
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The Sewn Heart Series

Quote “From the manner in which a woman draws her thread at every stitch of her needlework, any other woman can surmise her thoughts”. ~Honore de Balzac

Dear readers
As I come to the end of unpacking boxes and finding a home for some of my art work on the walls and equipment in the studio, I have been inspired to make some space, get the easel out and take up with some textile art again.
Last year I started on the Sewn Heart Series, a collective work representing how sewing, textiles and art form continues to come together for me. So I thought as I start work on other pieces to complete the series I will explore the theme using a variety of mediums and play with a few different techniques as I go.

This is the third in the series titled ‘My mothers Lesson’. In a collage of three simple pieces, using personal reflections, print on fabric and naive stitching this work highlights memories of my Mother teaching me how to sew on her Singer treadle sewing machine and my very first basic stitching steps which lead to a subsequent journey with sewing and relationship to the needle and thread. Cxx
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Friendship

During the week I had my friend Heather visit from WA. We go back a long way having worked together over many years, travelled overseas and have kept in touch since my move to Victoria. We have similar tastes for lovely things and often shared a keen eye for the aesthetics around us. Here she is having some ‘one on one’ tuition making a Liberty Links necklace. Challenged with the option of ‘randomness’ which is what this necklace is all about, it took her a while to select her colours and buttons but as she progressed, her work was truly lovely to see and her attention to fine detail, a very rewarding result. Cxx

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Floral Table Runner Workshop

Dear readers
Starting off my workshops for 2015 will be this design the ‘Floral Applique Table Runner. I have set two dates in the new year, the 22nd and 31st January at the Margie and Bert Studio in Clunes. Please leave a message or email me at margieandbertstudio@gmail.com if you have any queries or go to the Summer Workshops and Fees for more info Cxx

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