This year the SAQA-Oceania region members contributed 32 pieces to the annual SAQA Benefit online auction, and decided on a blog hop to highlight ourselves as a regional group of SAQA member artists.
Although here in Montevideo Uruguay I’m technically only about 100 km from the South Atlantic, as an Australian I am part of the SAQA-Oceania group, and as you know, home is where the heart is. So, today I have a few notes on my auction piece, how it fits with my recent work, and then I’ll finish with a few pics of my workspace to give you some idea, if you want it!
I always make a 12″ square for these auctions, and they’re either small samples for new work, or examples of what I am doing on a larger scale. Late last year I made a group of quilts for an Australian exhibition, and after fluffing around with samples, I decided stenciling really was the way to go for that group, with designs based on images of sand ripple patterns I photographed and manipulated to produce the pattern from which I cut the stencils (out of fabric) for each:
For this 12″ square, I cut a stencil of ripple patterns from template plastic: the plastic didn’t start out gold, of course!
Template or other plastic sheeting is wonderful for stencils you might want to use over and over – easy to clean and store. I’m a fan of the low tech approach, and fabric stencils enable you to produce even larger surface patterns.
After stencilling, my auction piece was free machine embroidered with gold metallic thread; then layered, pinned and free machine quilted with a fine stipple pattern (rather tedious) using fine black polyester thread top and bottom. I am a great fan of Guterman’s Skala thread as used here, and in fact use it whenever I piece, too. I buy 10,000m cones of the basic colours of black, dark grey, light grey, white and cream … which tells you something!
It was then trimmed and bound. There’s a hanging sleeve which is easily removed if the buyer wants to mount it in a frame.
Mike agrees the following photos are a totally normal, reasonable representation of my workspace at any given time ! and I include them to give you some idea of where I beaver away creatively. Of course, all spray painting, stencilling and burning are done outside in the garden, with my back to the wind, but for everything else, this is my workspace. I think ‘studio’ is rather too refined a term, although some might not agree.
My pin wall, right, is large, half a wall in a long narrow room.
Having pride of place in my work area, shown in the back corner of this photo, is an extremely unusual wooden cabinet, a re-purposed antique, closeup below. Perhaps you can guess the original use, but everyone I’ve ever shown it to has been totally stumped. We were too, when we first found it. The answer’s at the end of this post.
I find it very useful for thread storage. Each little sliding door/panel has a small finger-size indentation, and there’s one spare space per row, enabling access to every cavity by sliding the panels back and forth. Some cones and spray cans go below. It’s a beautiful thing, and the original use will surprise you!
And finally my actual ‘sewing’ area, (complete with the other usual occupant in the room) showing my cutting table at right angles to my sewing table with recess for the machine. Both were custom made to the same height, so it’s easy to move it as necessary for machine quilting. When piecing, I cut, sew and press each seam as I go, so again, convenient for how I work.
OK – it might look a bit like a jumble sale, but what I need is close to hand, suiting how I work. If a bunch of coloured fabrics out on the table become too distracting I simply put them away. After a big project I tend to tidy up, put everything in its place, then for something new I get fabrics and threads for fresh consideration – I audition them, really.
Now, that cabinet? When we found this interesting piece in a furniture restoration and reproductions place, we were very puzzled. The proprietor, Roberto, told us it was from the ticket office of the central railway station in Montevideo, and the little boxes held pre-printed tickets for every railway station along the radiating lines. The rail system in Uruguay is largely defunct as most lines closed 30+ years ago, the magnificent C19 Central Railway Station was stripped of all furniture which was auctioned off, and the grand building stands sadly empty and unused to this day. Before that, well into the ’70’s, you bought your ticket from Montevideo to somewhere, paid for it, and then it was then date-stamped with the date of travel. Mike, bless him, suggested I could use it in my studio. Roberto was thrilled that someone wanted it, especially for such a practical use, and we both thought it was a snap at twice the price we paid.
The blog hop began on July 16th, so a number of artists have already posted, such as Ali George and Rasa Mauragis just before this, but all posts on the hop are scheduled HERE The next is from Maggie Gilbert on August 7th, then Susie Cujes on August 9th. We hope you’ll enjoy the whole blog hop excursion!