Posts Tagged ‘holes’

Discovery Of a Forgotten Work

Friday, 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 .

Doreen Bayley, Sculptural Basketry, Dodeca, Uruguay.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Late last year I visited the exhibition of award winners in Uruguay’s Premio Nacional Artesania de 2017 / National Craft Award  2017, at the Museo Blanes in Montevideo, about which I posted  at the time.  It included these two non-functional vessels, made from pine needles stitched and held in place by needle and thick thread, working up spirally into basket-like forms, each topped with objects gathered from nature – on one a limestone rock, and on the other a large seed.  (I’m sorry the photo is a bit contaminated by reflections on the acrylic display case they were in)

Doreen Bayley, sculptural basketry ~ 10cm<20cm, Premio Nacional Artesania de 2017.

Doreen Bayley’s constructions’ emphasise the negative space between fibres (enclosed hidden volume) and suggestions of function, both from the heritage of ‘baskets’ as containers, connecting modern basketry with ancient woven or meshed vessels.  Probably all ancient peoples had some kind of hand made fibre vessels we call baskets – this article will give broad perspectives through human history, though I skimmed without seeing any reference to the basketry skills of the Australian Aborigine which are well known and continue to this day through the art and efforts of such artist-teachers as Nalda Searles , and even a gardening program on my country’s national broadcaster, hardly surprising really, as much beautiful basketry today is made from gathered vegetative fibres.

Though the Uruguayan 2017 national craft award show has finished, this award winning fibre artist, Doreen Bayley of Colonia, Uruguay, currently has some additional, mostly small, pieces of sculptural basketry on exhibition at the Dodeca Cultural Centre Carrasco, showing until May 2nd 2018.  In some ways the pieces are more interesting than those she had in the award show, though I can understand why a couple of them at least she may have decided were not appropriate for entry there.


For this largest piece in the exhibition, Doreen used Salix Matsudana known variously as the corkscrew willow, the tortured willow, the curly willow … a popular subject for gardeners and raw material for interior decorators.  Assembled from cuts of this tree’s weeping branches, the short pieces are held in place by plastic ties frequently used by gardeners and home handymen.  Overall this piece is about 30cm x 25cm x 5cm  approx – and that little space centre front in the section of the bare wood just suggests a vessel function.  Actually to me, the whole thing suggests a facial tissue box tipped on its side.  As my eye flips from the branches to the ties that hold them in place, so my mind flips from ‘beautiful to not-really-beautiful’….it’s an intriguing piece.  In front of it on a low table are two very small pieces: now these two suggest some practical purpose but are in fact totally ‘useless’.  The blue of a fine blue fibre woven in with something firm but hidden, makes me think of a small sack of something, standing up on it’s base.  The other piece makes me think of either an Aladdin’s lamp or a drinking vessel, the old fashioned kind of thick glass used to feed reclining infants or invalids in the days before sippy cups or bendy straws.  Each piece made mind ponder on ‘the inside’.

Doreen Bayley, vessel, grasses, base approx 15cm diam,  10cm h.

And finally, an elegant vessel that one could certainly plunk a pot of maidenhair fern into, but why would you? This lovely piece begs to be lifted up, weighed in the hand, turned over, sniffed, smoothed by the palm and fingers, looked at closely, peered into and set back down again with a satisfied smile.  A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. Doreen does pre-treat her materials to protect against the ravages of decay by insects, moulds and fungi.

Doreen Bayley’s statement mentions the influence of Ed Rossbach, who spearheaded the 1970s resurgence of interest in the craft of basket making, elevating it to a sculptural art form – some would say architectural. Though he himself used a wide variety of natural and man made materials in his art, under the influence of hippy culture’s back to the earth movement many since that time have focused on gathering and using natural materials they found around them.  This firmly grounds modern basketry in the heritage of an ancient craft that descends from the Stone Age.  Materials, food and tradable goods had to be carried around at times, and most ancient peoples had some form of woven fibre technology to do this.  Woven vessels have been found from Asia Minor and ancient Egypt from before 5000 BC, and similarly dry desert climates around the world favoured preservation of early natural fibre objects from plant materials and hides; but like all other textiles in humid conditions, basketry decays fairly rapidly from the effects of moulds and insects.  (For a glimpse of the variety of materials and forms in basketry today, go to  and then consider the art of Lanny Bergner about whose work I posted March 26, 2016 – baskets/vessels but stainless steel and blowtorched – they’ll last indefinitely!)

Browsing With Pinterest

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Every day Pinterest sends images of things it thinks I might like.  Because I can so easily become totally absorbed and lose hours happily wandering through images, following links one after the other, I rarely take time to browse.  It’s worse than Facebook.  So I clicked on a page of enticing images headed ‘stitch’, and found myself looking at a page of pics on which was one work I knew I’d seen before, by Cordula Kagemann and as it turned out, had saved in my own board Lines and Shapes, though I’d never gone to her website.  What magnificent work, collaging with cut paper and some fabric. Textile friends in Australia, note that she will be teaching there in October of this year.  Her cutout paper overlays feature various shaped holes and overlocking rings – my mind asked could you call this paper ‘lace’?

Holes and lace have been part of my inspiration for some time:  and I still have this little leather sample on my board after about 10 years  – suede bonded onto unbleached calico/muslin, and to me this is definitely all about the holes… and I’m still thinking about it.


Snippets and samples of holes in leather and fabric … ? lace

The surface design snippet below is part of a 12|”x12″ quilt first bought in a SAQA Benefit Auction some years back, of gold leather triangles with holes punched from it sewn to a black background with gold machine stitching forming the grid. This week it was auctioned among a collector’s pieces which were donated to the organisation to benefit SAQA a second time, and I am thrilled to hear an Australian collector it.  I never gave it a title, but with hindsight perhaps I could have called it Black Holes on Gold Triangles …

A question I’ve had in mind before is this – what is the most important part of ‘lace’ – is it the holes, or whatever it is that surrounds the holes?

Discovering A Long Forgotten Work

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

This morning by chance I found a photo of a long forgotten quilt from 2006-2008:









Also in the file I found a photo of half of it mounted in a frame – so clearly I had chopped it down and sold or given the pieces away, which I don’t remember just now; but whatever happened to those, I might have been a bit hasty in chopping it down 🙂 as I now really like it …  It’s from an era in which I applied a lot of leather pieces to quilts, the best known of which, Timetracks 1″, middle lower row, was in Quilt National 07.









Many feature holes punched through leather units as part of the design, but these myriads of little holes are out of the question now given the arthritis in my hands.  The detail uppper left is Timetracks 3, one of several I made using leather for this repeat unit I have so often used. In my mind it’s a bare-bones diagram of erosion at work, one that has become important to me as the umbrella metaphor for passage of time change in all of Life itself. Interestingly there were also work-in-progress pics with my untitled discovery, so I include these partly as a belated documentation effort, but also to remind you of how my embroidery informs much of what I do.















I love stitch constructions on detached warps – aka needleweaving, and in 2007 blogged about these two pieces, Behind the Scenes 1 & 2,  from 1987.


Edges and Holes 2

Sunday, November 29th, 2015
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