Natural and Man Made Tracks

September 28th, 2018

I remember taking this wonderful pic of many Man-made tracks criss-crossing the foreground in the Egyptian Black Desert  SSW of Cairo over 10 years ago.  Other timetracks, the worn down mountains surrounded by the fine sand deserts have been shaped principally by wind erosion.

The human bootprint I cropped out of this lovely pic would have told you these are very tiny little ‘cliffs’ in fine sand, photographed on our local beach just a few metres above the edge of the outgoing tide.  So, this time the erosional force is water, also indicated by the fine pattern of wiggly lines which are tracks of tiny little bivalves that burrow into the wet sand as the tide retreats.  I always feel I’d like to do something with the lines on this surface – well, make that something more – although this next image is a quilt,  New Directions, made many years before I saw the  pattern on the beach.

In “New Directions” (each square 12cm) the lines and arrows represent people coming to our ancient continent from all directions over its entire  human history.  The black/tan signifies the original immigrants, the Aboriginal people, who crossed the land bridges from Asia, at least 60,000 years ago.


Ancient History in Sheer Layers

September 26th, 2018

This Egypt themed work has never been ‘lost’ because I bump into it every now and then.  I don’t  remember giving it any name, it isn’t listed in my catalogue but I will rectify that, I’ve never shown it, nor did it lead on to a new body of work that I thought at the time it would; though I knew I didn’t want to make a set of ‘Egypt’ quilts.  I think it is an expression of awe I felt the whole time we were visiting a place that had fascinated me since I was a young child, and having put that into fabric, I left it.


We visited the country about ten years ago, before the Arab Spring upheavals, and of course layers and layers of human activity and history confront at every turn, carved and painted onto thousands of mural walls, monument bases, stelae and temple columns, and used to decorate all manner of objects both useful and not so useful for sale to the throngs of tourists who have not yet gone back to the pre-revolutionary numbers.  I’m certain this layers of history thing prompted my choice to use nylon organza to give a blurry sense of the passage of distant times – check the left side of the photo below.  Some pyramids, the sphinx and Tutankhamun’s iconic headdress are lurex fabrics cut to shape with marker pen details added.

Recently someone asked what fellow artists recommended for stabilising some kind of organiza for free machine quilting.  My sheer Egypt piece came to mind, and I recommended that maintain the sheer quality and avoid slippage between the layers, that she might hand baste and then freely quilt/embroider without either foot or hoop.  It’s a decade since I made this work, and so I think that’s how I handled it!  but it’s hard to tell from the photo or the actual (crumpled) work pulled from the cupboard.  As I often do, I found it a bit wondrous to see something I’ve not paid any real attention to for ages.  There’s a lot about this work I really like.

My regular readers know I’ve recently been thinking about influences from landscape in my work, the tracks left by Man, and natural patterns of all kinds in landscape.  Here’s a great pic, taken in the Black Desert SSW of Cairo, showing a network of tracks in the ancient desert landscape.

Ebb&Flow 26

September 24th, 2018

Round 2 of the 2018 SAQA Online Auction of 12″sq. quiltlets starts today at 2pm Eastern Daylight Time USA, 3am EST Australian time, 3pm Uruguay time.  The works are all donated by Studio Art Quilt members each year to support the organisation’s touring exhibition programme.  Full information on the auction and the online bidding form is all here

My donation, Ebb&Flow 26, is well down the page.  The background fabric is silver speckled black, and it’s machine quilted with silver metallic thread.


A couple of friends collect them and have attractively grouped several pieces together on walls in their homes – why not start your collection today?

Discovery Of a Forgotten Work

September 21st, 2018

All the time it was in a photo file of very early works, though I’d passed over it but not ‘seen’ it for years.  I haven’t actually seen it for years, either, though I think I still own it, and expect it is in the storage cupboard of my so called studio at our house in Perth Western Australia, one of the several repositories of the Artists’ Collection.  It’s from the era in which I made the Pahoehoe quilts and  another called Derivation  the same fabric palette.

Cupboard-dwelling, a J-Doe wall quilt, c.1997,  approx 150 x 160cm.

The detail shot isn’t marvellous, because for some reason I have not been able to get it larger, despite a lot of cropping and resizing and fiddling around, but you can see the flesh-coloured patch on the lower edge has some favourite straight stitches added for texture.

It was photographed against a creamy yellow wall, so those are faced holes in the design.  My regular readers know that ‘holes’ have always appealed.  I’m a browser and saver on Pinterest, so have a theme board ‘Holes’ , and have posted previously on holes, for example .

Landscapes In Watercolour

September 17th, 2018

This morning I was pleased to find a major article in ‘El Observador’ about the Uruguayan water colourist, Alvaro Castagnet, one of whose paintings of a wet night streetscape in downtown Montevideo has graced our living rooms wall for some years.  Every time I look at his work I’m reminded how much I’ve always loved water colours.

A little water colour painting I bought over 60 years ago was my first art purchase  You may well ask why I didn’t bring it over to Uruguay instead of leaving it in my studio in Perth all the years I’ve been here?  Well, when my geologist husband came to Uruguay to search for gold on a shoe-string budget financed by some Perth-based investors in the late 90s, I was assured that ‘…it will be a quick job, in and out 2-3 years…’  Given that most exploration ventures prove there is nothing economically viable in any given area under study, plus at that time we were financially stretched and could not afford to move our stuff around the world, we decided to temporarily leave the house in the care of a friend’s daughter.  She became the first in a long line of ‘caretakers’, and we never actually ‘moved’ to Uruguay.  But our time here has extended for so many years, I now think of myself as an ‘accidental immigrant’.  Nothing stays the same for ever, though, and we’ve just sold the Perth house.  Our main goal next trip back will be to clear out our stuff there; and one of the first things I will do is pop this little painting into my handbag 🙂

The current website re-organisastion is going well, and a powerpoint on  the home page will show how landscape has always been the inspirational backdrop to my art.  Maybe this little postcard-size painting could be background for the title slide, since it is perhaps the most important art purchase I ever made 🙂  Naturally, my young eyes and brain didn’t make a connection at the time, but the fence or hedge lines in this little painting are the tracks of human activity.

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