Bungle Bungles, 3

April 23rd, 2015


This afternoon I have been piecing – that is, cutting out different shaped pieces of fabric and sewing them together, which I know puzzles many bystanders around those of us who make ‘patchwork’ things including quilts. ¬† Fabric is just a raw material to some textile artists, and thus no different from a skein of wool, a tube of oil paint, ¬†a block of wood or stone, all to be worked by people with appropriate skills. ¬†I’ve always loved sewing, and love piecing as a technique for surface design, which produces contemporary patchwork that despite appearances does in fact have connection with the traditional geometric patterned designs that most people think of as ‘patchwork’. ¬†Patchwork, traditional and contemporary, is often backed with a layer or two of fabric and quilted by hand or machine to hold it all together in a completed object, usually bedding or clothing for warmth.

piecing #2


This pictured segment continues some piecing I began a couple of weeks ago, before undergoing surgery for a shoulder prosthesis.¬† My doc did say use the hand as much as possible, and this activity is well within the restrictions – of holding nothing heavier than a cup of tea, and not to try to raise the arm above shoulder level – well just now I can’t get it anywhere near the shoulder so there’s no danger there. ¬†All the newly constructed left arm has to do is some gentle holding of small pieces of fabric as the machine slowly sews, and my other (good) arm whips out the pins, flying back and forth from the pin cushion as the machine gradually sews around the curved edge. ¬†It’s all rather like setting in a sleeve. ¬†Even as I was doing this today, a brainwave came for another piece in this theme, inspired by what I read recently about the structure of the sandstone karst formations in the The Bungle Bungles. ¬† So as soon as I finish putting all these pieces together, I’ll start another to incorporate my new idea. ¬†However, right now its time for a change of activity to include arm swinging and shoulder shrugging followed by a cup of tea.

Bungle Bungles Quilt, 2

April 21st, 2015

At least one quilt on the Kimberley theme is finished, and I have been reading various articles on the Bungle Bungles to help crystallise why I personally am drawn to these ancient, emblematic sandstone karst landscapes.

Kimblerley slice blog

I hadn’t realised how fragile they are inside, protected as they are by an outer coating layer of cyanobacteria just millimeters-thick that stabilises the surface of each unit of the formation. Hidden beneath are the layers of soft rock – white or light coloured fresh sandstone alternating with conglomerates. For millions of years these sediments have been carved into by water erosion in the monsoon wet, being divided into round topped towers separated by steep sided gorges, the sides of which display the characteristic orange and charcoal grey bacterial bands that appear to wind around each tower.

GC_Australia_WA_BungleBungle_2597_APT_edit_LR blog

My goodness I’ve learned a lot this morning, and unexpectedly, one of the most interesting and informative sources I read is the Western Australian Government’s nomination document supporting the inclusion of Purnululu or Bungle Bungles National ¬†Park on the World Heritage List in 2007. ¬†Far from being dry and boring, the very readable text is beautifully arranged and includes some lovely art from the region, plus some brilliant landform photography. ¬†¬†An hour just whizzed by, and you can dip into it here ¬†http://tinyurl.com/knsrme8 ¬†¬†

New Bungle Bungles Work – Questions Arising

April 9th, 2015

Well I’ve pieced shapes and set them in, and things have gone together well – all finished and bound with sleeve on the back.

¬†I won’t show it all to you, but just enough to give an idea of an issue I have to decide on – ¬†whether to go with dots, or not.

Are they a bit of a cliche?  Is their use cultural misappropriation? Are they just a readable reference to Aboriginal art?  Will they offend anyone?  On the left side is a segment of the quilt top design, and on the right you can see a strip that came from trimming to size, and it was very useful to use to paint some gold dots on to get an idea of what the overall effect would be:

bunglebungles 2 copy web testing


Although I have decided how to deal with it, if you would like to give your opinion please feel free!

About Souvenirs and Memories

March 27th, 2015

In today’s¬†“The Australian”, ¬†reporter Trent Dalton interviews writer Clive James, an Australian writer whose work I always enjoy. ¬†In it, a sort of pre-recorded obituary, Clive reflects on his life in general and his illustrious career. ¬†He’s lived in the UK ¬†for many years, and at 75 he’s now unfortunately terminally ill and too frail to travel anywhere except to the hospice to which he will eventually be conveyed. ¬†There, with none of his stuff and books around him, he expects to have time to reflect on the infidelity, as he puts it the biggest mistake in his life ¬†–

“But I shall have time to reflect

That what I miss was just the bric-a-brac

I kept with me to blunt my solitude,

Part of my brave face when my life was wrecked

By my gift for deceit

Truth clears away so many souvenirs” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Clive James, 2015.

“Truth clears away so many souvenirs” ¬†rang a bell with me, and I wish I could remember who it was who wrote some words I read just recently, on how all of us accumulate a lot of stuff including mementos and souvenirs, and especially the heaps and heaps of photos. ¬† We find it hard to let all this stuff go, and yet these are not memories but merely the “artifacts of memories”.


Years ago I had a fierce argument with an aunt who was horrified that I did not wish to grab up our father’s sunday school and many academic prizes when their house was being sorted after our parents’ deaths. ¬†She clearly felt I had some sort of duty to cling on to prizes HE won – but I didn’t feel that way at all! ¬†Different life styles I guess – she spent her life mostly in the one town, we have moved a lot down the years, and more to come. ¬†I dread being reunited with several shoe boxes of photos in our house in Australia – as we really let the photo album thing go, I think, in the flurry of house moves and long spells in storage – that’s my recollection, anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

And it was Barry Humphries as Edna Everidge who uttered the immortal line about wrinkles around the eyes which we Aussies call crows feet – ¬† “… and what are they but the dried up beds of old smiles?”

Mexican Craftsmanship On Show

March 19th, 2015

Here in Montevideo one of my favourite museums is the Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indigena,  or Museum of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art.


It’s on Calle 25 Mayo in the Cuidad Vieja. ¬†The permanent exhibitions are always fascinating and I always learn something new. ¬†Definitely a must-visit if you’re coming here to Montevideo.

They also have exciting temporary/visiting exhibitions, and on at the moment until 4/4, with the possibility of extension Рis a visiting exhibition of superb Mexican artisanship,  Grandes Maestros del Art Populare Mexicano,  which I enjoyed last week.  Just as in other parts of the world, hand crafted art is constantly under threat of extinction from mass produced stuff, and people are becoming less aware of the importance of traditional crafts. This project and touring exhibition is designed to help promote and preserve the traditions in danger of being lost to younger generations.

I have travelled a little in northern and central Mexico, and have a sister who for nearly 40 years has lived in the extreme south of New Mexico US.   That location has allowed a great deal of travel  across the border down the years, and given her opportunity she has never resisted to collect a large quantity of very fine examples of Mexican folk art.  Mexican ceramics, textiles, wordwork,  cut and textured tin, glassware and clothing are in use in and and decorate her genuine traditional adobe mud brick home in the Rio Grande Valley.  She would love this collection, and many of the pieces in this fantastic exhibition are of crafts and art that I  have met before.   But others were new to me Рlike this incredible candle wax sculptured altar

Mexican art 6 blog

approx 1m w x  90cm h which was displayed in a rather cold air-conditioned room for  obvious reasons!  (It was a pretty hot early march day)


Mexican art 1 blog

Mexican art 2 blog

This 2.5m x 2m hand embroidered cloth could be used on bed, wall or table.  I have a couple of huipils in this technique, plus some small mats and a table runner.


On one wall was hanging a group of different weavings, all in lovely colours and very skillful .  I show the edging of this shawl or scarf  for its featured fringing and feathers Рquite beautiful.

Mexican art 3 blog


Embossed and cut metal sheeting is used a lot  for frames  and light fittings, and this one around a mirror is superb:

Mexican art 4 blog


From Oaxaca comes ¬†wonderful hand painted wooden items particularly animals birds insect and fish, of which these are the largest examples I’ve seen. ¬†We have some nice pieces at home in Australia, too, but they are much smaller. ¬†The spotted cat-like creature, jaguar perhaps, is about 80cm long x 35cm high.

Mexican art 5 blog



The beautiful ceramic candelabra itself is perhaps 60cm tall and the candles add another 20cm approx. ¬†Talk about intricate, delicate and downright fragile – heavens’ knows what the bill for packing and transporting this stuff was!!

Mexican art 7  blog


And, finally, some Day of The Dead ceramic figurines at a funeral …

Mexican art 8  blog


Apart from my delight at seeing this beautifully hand crafted art work and so much of it – 600 pieces – the wonderful thing about the exhibition is that it is here in Montevideo. ¬†If you’re coming soon, or live here, take an hour or ¬†two to enjoy it: ¬†http://www.mapi.uy/informacion_de_interes.html