28 November 2007

Organising

I think I am going to have to make lists. This year has been unsatisfying for me, creatively, and I really don't want next year to be the same. Since I have so many lists at work, I am always reluctant to take the same type of organisational approach to my personal life but perhaps a few lists might assist. Sigh. Surely there has to be a better way?

26 November 2007

Weekend venue

While I was in Braidwood, I visited exhibitions in this building, Braidwood Townstay. Built for the Bank of NSW, it is a two story building now with accommodation upstairs (four bedrooms) and a large workshop space downstairs. The whole building is self-contained and available for hire.

Immediately, I could see that this is a wonderful venue for groups of quilting friends who want to treat themselves to a weekend away in this lovely town. I can imagine arriving on a Friday afternoon and sewing like crazy until Sunday afternoon (in between visits to the quilt shop and the bakery).

I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, but the costs are so reasonable! Check out the website.

25 November 2007

Braidwood quilt event

Yesterday I drove a 550 kilometre round trip to see the annual quilt event in Braidwood. This photo of the Royal Mail Hotel is typical of the way all the buildings in the town are decorated with quilts.

I love the way the complete town gets involved.

One of the highlights was the collection of 2006 Journal Quilts made by members of the Australia/New Zealand Art Quilters online group. Alas, I wasn't organised enough to make any last year, but I plan to do so in 2008. Each participant had five quilts displayed, and they were arranged in small batches. I liked this method of display - it wasn't overwhelming, as it often can be to see a wall of small quilts. Unfortunately. I couldn't get back far enough to include complete columns of quilts in my photos, but these will give a taste of what some members achieved. I'm sorry, but I didn't write down the names of the quilters.



The Braidwood quilt event is held the last weekend of November and is a terrific way to indulge yourself. Did I mention that there is an outdoor market with lots of goodies for sale? I bought fabric pieces (of course) and some homemade jams there. No trip to Braidwood is complete without a visit to the bakery, either!

24 November 2007

He's gone

The Howard government has been voted out of office. How sweet it is.

22 November 2007

Couldn't help myself

cash advance

Okay, after seeing Kirsty's blog level, I just had to try this out and look what happened! Obviously a totally undiscerning website.

The Almost Moon

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold was my favourite novel of the year when it was published several years ago. I was transported into the tale and literally put my life on hold until I finished reading it. It was poignant, uplifting and oh-so sad. Even now I can remember how it gripped me.

So you can imagine how eagerly I waited for this new novel - The Almost Moon. Second novels are often disappointments and, while I wouldn't say that this book falls into that category, it didn't compel me the way
The Lovely Bones did.

The human mind is incredibly complex. How people make decisions and how the behaviour of other people affects us is also challenging to unravel. That's what makes us and our stories endlessly fascinating. The Almost Moon offers some insight into a dysfunctional family and the effect that each member's actions have on others. It certainly made me consider how difficult it can be to extricate ourselves from dysfunctional ties. I suppose that's why I read novels - to think about the issues raised - so in that respect the story is worthwhile pondering some more.

20 November 2007

Enough!

Surely I can't be the only person in Australia who is well and truly OVER the upcoming Federal election? The electioneering has been going on for months and the way the mainstream media breathlessly cover every minute detail makes me want to say: get a life.

I guess it's particularly irritating for me this week because I voted last Saturday by lodging a pre-poll vote. Since I plan to enjoy myself in Braidwood on Saturday at the outdoor Airing of the Quilts, I wanted voting out of the way.

The Outdoor Airing of the Quilts is a wonderful event. Braidwood is the first entire town to be listed on the state's Heritage Register. The architecture is much-admired and the quilts look amazing when they are draped over the 19th century buildings. I look forward to taking many photos to share.

19 November 2007

Tile patterns






Just when I least expect to see quilt patterns, I spotted this! Beautiful tile patterns on the outside wall of a small neighbourhood grocery store - and it's blue.

18 November 2007

New art quilt challenge

Cecile, who earlier this year organised an ATC swap to raise money for the NSW Cancer Council, has announced a new challenge for the same purpose. On her website, she says:

"This Challenge will be a lot of fun. Make a small art quilt (between 10-12 inches square) and be in the running for some great prizes.

Download the details and the Registration forms from the link below and get involved. You will need to send for your 'Challenge Material' which must be visibly incorporated into the finished project. Registration forms must be accompanied by a non refundable donation of at least AU$5 per quilt entered. You can enter up to two quilts in the challenge."

This is a terrific way to enjoy creating a quilt and also raise funds for this worthy cause. Details of the entry requirements and registration forms are available from Unique Stitching and Designs. While you are there, check out the art quilt collection of products that Cecile sells - there are some yummy bits and pieces for purchase there! The due date for entries is 8 February, so I will have time over the holidays to get mine made. Good timing!

12 November 2007

More inspiration

It must be the week for new books. Here's great one that landed on my desk at work today. Between 1999 and 2005, Jeanne Williamson made one small quilt a week. She started the process as a way to give herself permission to play with ideas and different materials but found that, as a side effect, it also stimulated her creativity and allowed her ideas to be realised in her other textile work.

In this book, Jeanne has divided materials into chapters - plastic, paper, surface design and fibre. Using her own small quilts as examples, she shows how she used these materials and encourages us all to try them too.

It's quite a hefty book - 159 pages - and I am enjoying seeing how she uses found materials to express her thoughts. Stimulating! Check out Jeanne's website here.

10 November 2007

Great new books

Time to share these new(ish) books. I've been reading through them both over the past month so it's time to share.
The Painted Quilt has great credentials - it's written by Linda and Laura Kemshall. It brings together myriad techniques that can be used to add colour to quilts above and beyond the colour of the fabrics used. All the usual methods are included: paints, pens, pastels, dyes, image transfer etc. These were known to me, but what impressed was the glorious examples of how the authors have used the techniques in their work. The photographs are wonderful.

Fabric Art Workshop by Susan Stein takes a different approach. Each chapter presents a different technique and precise instructions about how to do it. There is a gallery of quilts at the back, but no details of the techniques used on the pieces.

The difference?
The Painted Quilt inspires with the design potential of various methods of colouring cloth, while Fabric Art Workshop is a handy book for reference but not overly inspirational. The Painted Quilt is sumptuous, while Fabric Art Workshop is handy for checking the specifics of using a technique.

09 November 2007

Travel!

Travelling back from Adelaide yesterday, I was reminded why I don't enjoy trips where I can't control the transportation. Considering that I don't know how to fly a 737 plane, I was dependent on others to bring me home.

Six-and-a-half hours it took. I left for the airport at 1.30pm and arrived home at my house at 8pm. The journey was tedious for me so I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say that you know something is going pear-shaped when you watch the luggage and catering being unloaded from your plane, just before you are due to board. Sigh.

04 November 2007

Silver linings

Here's another of my 2004 journal quilts. Having lived in Sydney all my life, I always remember August as being cold and windy with beautiful blue skies, with huge black rain clouds blowing in. This quilt was made in August and represents my memories of that month.

For this quilt, I printed all the words for 'wind' that I could find onto blue mottled fabric to represent the sky. The clouds are made from fabric I created with yarn, pieces of felt and lots of shiny silver pieces such as sequins and chocolate wrappers. The clouds are dark, but have silver linings.

Since I made this piece, some people have told me that the clouds look like islands floating in a sea. Definitely not my intention, but perhaps if I'd quilted it differently (with lines of stitching that 'blow' across the quilt) my intent would have been clearer.

Satin stitch update:
I have been having difficulty creating an even satin stitch finish around the edges of my ATCs, so I sought advice. Today I made a textile work to give as a thank-you to someone next week and I think I finally got the satin stitching right. Whew! Can't show a photo until next weekend. I'm going to Adelaide and will be at the South Australian Quilters' Guild's Festival of Quilts on Thursday. If you see me wandering around, come and say hello!

02 November 2007

Twelve by twelve

Have you seen this blog - Twelve by Twelve? To quote from the blog:

"We are quilt artists who are embarking on an art challenge together. The plan: periodically, we will each make a small quilted art piece -- 12 by 12 inches -- on a designated theme. We'll use this blog to post our process, progress, and results. We're from different places throughout the world and our artistic styles vary, but we share a love of art quilting and a desire to play, experiment, learn, and grow."

The results of the first challenge have just been posted on the blog and wow - they are fantastic. Brenda is one of the participants and I've been lucky enough to see private peeks of her quilt as it has progressed, so I've enjoyed being an observer of her creative process.

On the Twelve by Twelve blog, you can see not only the results of the challenges, but also comments by each participant and, of course, you can add your own comment. I'm entranced by how each person interprets the theme and I am already envious!