Posts Tagged ‘holes’

Working With Wool After All …

Sunday, April 9th, 2023

The project I referred to in my previous post continues. I had already decided to make this a 100% recycling of materials project because the gifted materials make it possible – but it is challenging.

Many who use recycled garments in their art include details like belt loops, button holes, pockets and collars, showing the work’s made from a recycled garment, with clues to its former life. Because I don’t want my wool art quilt to say ‘garment;’ or ‘coat’ to the viewer, I laboriously deconstructed the two coats. I’ve been making samples on the small bits, but for the moment I’m not cutting up the larger areas until I’m more sure of the composition.

The entry rules require the wool composition on both the back and the front to be at least 60%. The red fabric is 50% wool, and the black 70%, so I’m considering some kind of red/black checkerboard grid, but I might put that on the back, because I also have a 65% wool cape which I might use for the front if I further develop a radial design that I’m considering, too.

Whatever I do, though, there will be added woolly elements, so time to show some of the things I’ve been playing with:

Some of the stitched element possibilities I’m considering


Wool wound around my fingers and stitched down.
Overcoming my hesitation, today I cut into one of the knitted samples for a section of rib knit, which frayed wonderfully.
Some more possibilities…

Collecting With Pinterest

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Peridocially I write a post titled ‘Browsing with Pinterest’. Today I have ‘holes’ on my mind again, and invite you to dip into one of my own Pinterest boards with the theme ‘holes’. Pinterest is such an interesting app for those of us who, in an earlier life would have cut pics from Mum’s old magazines and pasted them into a large blank paged scrap book, often without comment. When I was young kids also collected playing cards for their images, haggling with fellow collectors to exchange something we really wanted from their collections in turn for something we hoped they’d want from our own pack. sometimes what you wanted needed two cards to be handed over… and so people built quite large collections, some almost too much for young hands to hold and manage, she remembers with envy.

Just the process of browsing and cutting out images we liked was so satisfying, possibly ‘therapeutic’ using a C21 buzzword, and a perfect ativity to help keep kids occupied on a rainy afternoon, in the same class as sorting out Mum’s button jar, and choosing the best ones for extra attention. When we tired of that, or the sun came out, all the buttons went back into the jar to be sorted again another day. Do kids still do that? Indeed, do people still remove buttons from discarded clothes, or change buttons to give a new lease of life to an aging garmet? It was all about the process, saving or cutting out, maybe sorting, but not necessarily doing anything more. If you kept a few loose you always had something interesting to paste onto the protective brown paper cover on your school books.

From several works and samples

Pinterest subscribers can go online to look for something in particular or just just browse through the images Pinterest selected for us to see because of images we’ve previously saved. It is no exaggeration to say that you can spend hours enjoying images in exactly the same way as we carefully thumbed through discarded colour magazines. To cut up old womens magazines was ok, but we’d never have dared to cut things out of a National Geographic, regardless of age.

A hole’s essential characteristic is that you can see, or have some glimpse, of something beyond the edge of the hole. Holes can be deliberate or accidental, can imply deterioration by aging or be part of something called ‘lace’ , on which I’ve mused before.

Inlaid brass elements, public walkways, Miami International Airport

I have several boards or ‘themes’ for images I save, and holes is one collection to which I fairly often add an image. Holes intrigue me for their potential which is not limited decorative patterning. Enjoy my board!

Broderie anglaise, handmade antique, mended.

Ideas From Pinterest

Monday, April 29th, 2019

The sharing of creative ideas is one of Pinterest’s best features, and I’m a fan. I don’t visit or pin every day – but on a sunday morning I often find a bit of browsing+writing time, as I do today. And another thing about Pinterest is that one thing so easily just leads on to another, meaning you can spend hours just browsing around. Like any other artist, I am always interested in technical ideas to think about using in my own work.

I love hand stitchery, and the resurgence in popularity it has enjoyed in recent years as a highly flexible technique for fibre artists and mixed media makers. Scroll down my contemporary hand stitch board to find this image of a stitchery by Marisa Ramirez that I pinned a while back. While I don’t care for her colour scheme, I was intrigued by (1) that stitched, appliqued circular shape looks like firm plastic – do I like it? not really, but will remember it some time, probably. (2) the patterned segment at the bottom of the pic (to which my first response was ‘hand stitch’) was probably stencilled with red-brown paint with a thin masking tape resist. Whether I’m correct or not doesn’t matter – it’s the pattern and its potential that strike me most. To show why, I did this quick line sketch with jottings to show how I begin to explore possibilities:

From a pattern of lines to – hand stitch, netting, knotting, macrame, knitting, machine stitch, applique, stencilling, free crochet, couching, marker pen drawing

From my lines and shapes board I selected this image of a beautiful set of ceramic pieces. Beside the image: “We design and make garden wall art made from ceramic. Our wall art is suitable for interiors and exteriors and handmade in Marbella, Spain. ” Absolutely. I could live with this, and have just the very wall! On their website this and other customised wall sets are shown installed, and it is worth spending a little time looking at other parts of their website. I wish they were just down the road from here, as Marbella Spain is not on my travel list in the near future. However, having seen it, I’m sure I could take one of my own designs to a ceramic firm here in Montevideo. There are design elements in this that I have long used myself – wandering lines, inserts of pattern and texture, segmented shapes including arcs, and of course, glorious gold!

Ceramic tile set by G.Vega from (with permission)

On another Pinterest board I post hole images I find. Holes have always intrigued me, and I once wrote: To every hole there is a foreground through which the viewer can see a background which might be up close, or stretch into the distance.  I know this is totally basic, but still something to think about. I love lace in its broadest sense; I wear several pairs of earrings and other jewellery with holes as the decorative element; and over many years I have made some art some works with holes revealing something behind :

Post Apocalyptic Lace, 2009. 40cm x 140cm: Full view right, details left and lower right. Burned holes in nylon organza sandwiching fabric segments.

Untitled, irregular shaped wall quilt photographed against cream-yellow wall. circa 1997.
On The Golden Mile 1986, stitchery, overall approx 30cm x 30cm

So, to summarise, Pinterest is like that folder, scrapbook album, drawer or shoebox filled with bits cut from magazines and catalogues!! All creative people save such things, and today we can do it digitally. The financial and environmental cost of keeping up via paper magazines is huge if you must keep up that way. Today, however, we can sign up for digital editions of papers and magazines, google online catalogues where available, and instead of clipping paper we can save text and images in so many ways. Pinterest is a great way to gather visuals. Our computers range from desktop to our pocket-sized phones, many of which have cameras. On our actual phones or using laptops and desktops, we can put images through photo editing programs, some of those even within phones and cameras themselves. Of course, that barely approaches what those filters and lenses can produce in the hands of a skilled professional photographer.

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!)

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