Monthly Archives: May 2005

A Finished Object, Motivation and Fitness

First, I want to show you a simple little bag I finished tonight. It is 25cm (10″) high, from tip of handle to bottom, and 20cm (8″) wide at the base. The body of the bag is made up with the left over fabric I quilted for another bag recently.

I’m going to the Geelong Textile Fibre Forum this year for the first time. I’m going on my own so I hope I’ll be able to make some friends along the way 🙂 Anyway, in a fit of insanity I signed up to have half a table for the bazaar.

I’ve written out a number of lists of things I could make and I think my main ‘thing’ will be bags and perhaps quilted jewllery (similar to the item featured in my last post). I aim to complete 10 bags. But, not just any bags, I’m keen to make them very original, art type pieces… this one doesn’t really qualify, but it’s a good warm up piece.

I’ve also been asked by an aquaintance to make her a bag. She wants one like the bag I use every day, but I really want to do something more complex so I can refine my techniques, I told her that and she is fine with it, so I’m revved to go.

Motivation: I seem to have more engagement making ‘things’ like bags, jewellery etc rather than 2 dimensional wall pieces. I know I’ve mentioned here previously that I am interested in the idea of quilted jewllery and the little quilted, then appliqued, bird on the amulet has given me some confidence there.

So I’m going to focus on these areas (things) for the time being. NOT in a craft way, these pieces must be totally original and pushing my boundaries, this was the hard decision I took a 2-3 months ago (to follow an artistic path), and also why I’ve seen a decline in my productivity relating to a lack of confidence, fear of failure and thinking every piece must be a totally wonderful. I know I’m not alone here LOL!!!

Fitness: In one month we will be in Fiji, kayaking for 10 days. Recently I have been riding my bike to work so I can get some fitness. This morning I went riding with a group of people from work (for the 2nd time). This meant I was up and riding before dawn. I’m not a morning person. But it is good for my fitness and I actually enjoyed it (apart from the sore bum part).
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Amulet Challenge

It seems like forever ago that I signed up for the Amulet Challenge hosted by Becky Kelly. It’s a round robin format with four participants in each group. The moment has now come, I’ve started my necklace and attached the first amulet:

The Amulet is about 1.5″x2″, so in effect, a really tiny quilt 🙂 The bird is my rendition of the west african symbol ‘Sankofa’, my take on it is that you must learn from the past, or, as I have written on the back of the amulet ‘don’t forget’.

Thanks to Elle who pointed me to this site the other day after I mentioned the symbol in my blog 🙂

A little journal will accompany this necklace and I’ll also include some scraps of fabric etc. Note, this is just the bottom bit of the necklace, I’ll attach it to some string so I can loop it around my neck.

Sorry I’ve been such a boring blogger lately. It’s bloody hard to stay focused.

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A quilter I REALLY like

Since my sewing machine is out of action and I’m still spinning the silk so there are no interesting photos, I thought I’d give a link to one of my favourite quilters: Shawn Quinlan, his Jesus quilts are fantastic, his fear quilts are particularly powerful.

On another note. I was watching a documentary about Ghana last night on SBS. Some villagers were shopping for a new ceremonial chair for their chief, all the chairs had different symbols and my favourite was a bird looking backwards. This symbolised that you mustn’t forget where you have come from.

Last night I drew three birds in my little journal, none are quite to my liking yet, but I think I’m onto something.

I also saw a documentary about a guy who decided to enter a painting in the Archibald Portrait Prize, I was interested to see the agony and self doubt this guy went through and was very impressed at the number of self portraits he produced. Some were very good. The one he chose to enter was very different from the others he did and it wasn’t chosen to be hung.

Anyway, it’s sort of given me some thoughts to mull over, rather than just sitting here in agony, not producing stuff because I’m halfway convinced that I’m just a posure (I’ve tried a million spellings of this and it still doesn’t look right), I should at least be in agony AND producing work.

I am so relieved it’s the last day of the working week. Yesterday was totally crappy. I sat in a meeting all day and really could have been doing something useful. I’m taking the ipod in today, listening to headphones helps me concentrate much better at work. We’re in an open plan office and I get distracted easy. The only down side to this is that now I supervise people I want to be available for questions/discussions etc… sort of defeats the purpose when you can’t hear when people are talking to you LOL. Continue reading

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Sewing Machine Blues

This time last year I invested in a new sewing machine. The Janome 6500, my dream machine.

I’ve been neglecting her a bit lately in favour or the spinning wheel. But tonight, I returned to her and was merrily sewing along until I broke a needle. My machine now makes an alarming rubbing/grating noise … I think I’ve knocked the shuttle thing out of alignment.

I’m very sad. I need to take her for some professional attention tommorrow. But knowing my dealer, that may mean I will be without her for a few weeks.

To cheer us all up, there is a picture of the yarn I spun on the weekend:

This is the blue/green merino I dyed in the microwave. I’m very happy with it and plan to knit it into yet another beanie… gotta love those beanies.

I visited the Latrobe Valley Hand Spinners and Weavers Guild again today. The weather was lovely so they were out under the tree again. A very pleasant way to spend my lunch hour. Continue reading

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Quilting on the Downturn

Well, another week has gone by and I have failed to do any quilting. I don’t know why I’ve got this block, but I suspect it may have something to do with my spinning and knitting. Neither require much thinking really. Whereas my quilting is very brain heavy.

When I was in high school, I read billions of romance novels, I knew I loved reading, but wondered why I had trouble getting through the set novels for English class. My teacher told me that romance novels were like chocolate and serious novels were like orange juice. Orange juice is great, but not right after chocolate.

I think this is what is happening with the spinning (chocolate) / Quilting (OJ) thing.

I’ve also had a series of hectic weeks, but I suspect things will be a lot quieter this month in the lead up to our trip to Fiji.

Whilst I’ve been in this lul, I’ve been thinking about future projects and directions for my art adventures.

Thanks for the comments about my hand dyed wool. I am not an expert at this and I don’t know if I did it the best way but I’m happy with the results. It went something like this:

– Soak the wool in water for an hour or so (next time I might try a water and vinegar solution)
– Dissolve a teaspoon of landscape dye powder in hot water and then mix some vinegar in with the solution (this was recommended to me but it doesn’t mention vinegar on the dye packet).
– Lay the wool out on a length of cling wrap.
– Pour the dye/vinegar solution onto the wool
– wrap the wool up in the cling wrap and smoosh around to distribute the dye.
– Put on the microwave on high (900W) for 6 minutes then on low (300W)for six minutes.
– done.

I spun up the blue yesterday and it looks very pretty. I had no problems due to the slight felting.
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