Posts Tagged ‘keeping a record’

Several Pleasant Surprises …

Sunday, October 29th, 2023

I’ve mentioned a couple of times before not being able to fully cross reference images that weren’t listed in my master list ‘catalogue’ – and vice versa. But this has turned out to be a bumper week for surprises.

First, when I emptied out the contents of a decaying plastic bag that had been literally sitting on a shelf undisturbed for years, and which I thought it held just a few offcuts and samples, I pulled out this little quilt I’d totally forgotten I ever made, and which I’d failed to enter on my master list:

Tidelines 13, 2012 80cm square. Whole cloth, stencilled, machine quilted. perhaps I should have ironed or steamed it before photographing, but this is literally how it was when I pulled it off the shelf!

and next I pulled out another two which I really thought were in storage in Australia, and that I don’t remember bringing over here!

Sunburnt Textures 3 1997, 70cmh x 100cmw Freehand cut, machine pieced and quilted in the ditch. Hand stitched.
Forgotten Title” was in a 1994 exhibition in Sydney, Australia. Improvisational patchwork, machine pieced and quilted.

But the biggest surprise of all was when I contacted Dianne Finnegan in Sydney who headed the selectors team for the Colours Of Australia 1994 exhibition, asking if she could tell me what I had called that piece above, and she sent back an image of a quilt I apparently called Bushfire Weather from the catalogue for Art Quilts of Australia 2000 that I really don’t remember making, but it undeniably has my signature all over it :-

“Bushfire Weather” 1999, 100cmh x 120cmw. Improvisational machine piecing, machine quilted with triple needle stitching. (catalogue page by Dianne Finnegan, and I’m still not sure who took the orignal image)

That clears up a bit of the confusion on that master list I referred to at the start of this post as I couldn’t find an image to go with that title – and most of my slides and records of entering shows, catalogues, etc are in my filing cabinet – all safely in storage. Stuff in storage is at times the bane of my existence – a long story I’ll not go into here. But I must have a slide somewhere there because we had to enter juried exhibitions by submitting 35mm slides until about 15 years ago. But for the moment, this will have to do for the record.

And, looking at it, I wonder how on earth I could have forgotten about it, and how I’ve no idea where it is, whether it sold or came back after the exhibibition…. So let me just say I really like this work and am so glad some record of its existence has been restored to me!!

The first paragraph statement is exactly as I would have written it today. The second paragraph is a nice little bio for the time.

Sample Making Satisfaction

Friday, November 13th, 2020

I have in mind something about 2m wide by about 95cm high, which is largish for me, and with the hand stitching that’s on my mind just now, I’ve been thinking of how to apply large areas of colour – well there’s paint of course …

I’m always inclined to set personal challenges to somehow use stuff already in the house, much of which I bought years ago on some whim or faded intention.  A few years ago I bought several metres of slightly dusty white cheesecloth in an old downtown store – I’ve asked myself a few times since what on earth I was thinking.  The other day from somewhere came the idea that I could paint or spray it, and thought it would go well with what I have in mind (see previous post)  I just happened to have a new can of gold spray paint, it was a nice day, so I cut off 3m x ~50cm, took it outside, and emptied the whole can on it.  Outside, with the fabric folded over so spray passing through the holes would get picked up as it moved through, with re-folding periodically, I regard that as a successful move… though I forgot about an aprin so njow have a new painting shirt, and managed to get some drips on my foot amazingly missing my sandle, and a few drops on the ceramic patio tiles, which didn’t cause any angst anywhere.

Gold gauze and a sandy coloured waxed string machine appliqued with invisible nylon thread to secure the edge, which was then hand stitched with one of my many gold threads.

I suppose I fiddled around for at least an hour, ironing the gauze, and trying several ways to stitch it down, none of which I was happy with until this combo,  so it ticks all the boxes –

  • I can invisible machine applique large sections of this gold gauze, and the edge will not fray and become unstable as I stitch and handle the rest of the piece
  • The effect of this gold gauze is earthy, not brassy – very pleasing.
  • In addition to the horizontal strips I at first tagged it for, I now know I can use it for other shapes that would fray even more on handling if not fo my technical breakthrough.
  • I have a lot of this colour gold thread, but as it’s just the edge being oversewn, it will be much more economical with the feature thread than the oversewn strips on Pandemic Pattern (which did fray, and that was a chosen option, so AOK)



Samples: Eyes 2

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

On the Art Quilts FB page recently, a quilter asked: “Who on this list uses a sketch book? I’ve been told I should, but can’t get started …” or something to that effect. I’ve written a little before on how I approach this and

My sketchbook photogtaphed with some doodles I made on scrap paper but elements of this appeared in whatI eventualluy ended up with, and after taking this photo I binned the paper bits.

In responding to that writer, I realised my sketchbook, see above, is a real book in which I do make pencil diagrams and notes of ideas. But it’s only one tool in my box, so to speak, partly because I only have one handbag this A4 book fits into, so it’s not always with me. Today’s photo shows the latest pages in my book with thoughts over several days about making eyes in various ways for a recently completed project. I don’t often include a graphic pictorial element in my designs, but the notion of ‘Eye’ might appear more often in my work, who knows?

I posted these samples on a FB page I belong to, but as the project developed, the final version of ‘eye’ was not like either of them. During hte sample phase you can see by the diagrams on the left sketchbook page that I was flirting with the eye as a motif in a repeat unit/block design. That’s an idea that will keep.

Though I love pencil and paper (lists, diagrams) I do rely quite a bit on my smart phone. The camera is quite good, and there’s the memo function for any note I need to make. If we’re out for the day, I usually have my little point-n-shoot camera which always takes great photos. It’s smaller than my phone, so is ultra convenient too. So, really I could say my notebook, visual diary or sketchbook plus items transferable from my phone add up to a multi-media group, in which each medium has a role. I could perhaps add the sample bag into which I toss samples I’ve made once they’re assessed: I never throw them away, just put them out of sight and sometimes dig into them for a look at something I know is there.

The one exception to that comment is a little 5cm /2″ square piece of brown leather suede, heat bonded onto unbleached calico/muslin, with centre square cut out and little holes cut out of one edge of each piece. I keep it in full plain sight on my design wall, because I totally love it, and for years now haven’t been able to decide where to go with this idea. Maybe something sheer … my regular readers know I keep this idea in plain sight too, without ever seriously settling on what to do with it 🙂

That might be an idea for this year’s SAQA auction quilt, which I normally turn to making early in the new year.

UFO Or Sample, Terminology Or State Of Mind?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

We’re  nearing the end of the year 2018, and though it’s a bit early to be thinking about the life-changing New Year Resolution just yet, another thing I tend to do as the Spring moves into Summer is a bit of tidying and a bit of chucking out, though really, if I’m honest it’s more like just moving stuff about a bit.  My summer clothes and winter clothes certainly do need to be swapped between cupboards, and any day now would be good.  But in the sewing room (I think it’s a bit pretentious to call it ‘my studio’) I tend to declutter my pin board and put away all samply-UFO things that I’ve really stopped ‘seeing’ and thinking about.

We artists all know some perfectly valid reasons why you can lose a sense of excitement over a project, and at such times the smartest thing mental health thing to do is call it a ‘Sample’ and put it wherever your samples go.  Mine go in a large opaque shopping bag.  I really don’t have many UFOs precisely because I do make samples to explore design or technique.  But once every few years, I jump right into a project, then have second thoughts.  At that time I decide the UFO is a ‘False Start’, and put that in the samples bag, too.

Now, if the UFO has become a rather advanced and possibly large project of fabric thread and you’re deciding to abandon it, I advise you be honest with yourself, suppress any guilt feelings, and select one of these options.  First, you could start referring to it as an ‘Ongoing Project’ as you put it aside for a while – but this does come with the implication that work has merely paused, not stopped.

If that is not true. or if it has been paused for so long that you know you have really abandoned it, you could consider cutting the UFO into dog-basket sized pieces, back each with some cosy flannel and edge with a machine sewn binding.  This is something useful for the family pets or gifts for your friends’ dogs.  Cats, too, like quilty mats, and you might find one of these useful in training a young cat where it is permitted to drape itself in your home and to help it develop a sense of its own special place.  (Key word ‘might’)  With a multiple UFO problem, you could make up a whole batch and donate them to your local animal rescue centre….getting rid of the UFOs and your guilt in one fell swoop.

Finally, I have heard of some makers cutting up their ‘false starts’ or advanced samples and using them in other, new, quilts.  I think that is an extreme and unsatisfactory solution, because the influence of the failed false start will always be there, enabling continued denial and showing that to some extent the sample/false start is controlling the maker.

Oh, and the pic above – just a snippet of a small sample of something which didn’t actually go further, as many samples don’t.




Browsing On Pinterest

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

My readers know I dip into Pinterest every now and then, sometimes browsing and procrastinating for hours; but this morning I was a little ahead of my loosely imposed daily schedule so took ‘only a few minutes’ …. then felt moved to write a little on this, create and resize a collage pic to illustrate this, and so really, nearly an hour has flown !  But shortly I’ll head back to more quilting on the one I’m half way through.

To me, Pinterest is an ideas source, just like what journalists call a morgue – collection of files and clippings for reference.  I’m so glad I don’t have bulging drawers of paper clippings gathering dust somewhere – thank goodness for computers.  I watch out for interesting edge treatments, presentations, lines and shapes, contemporary hand stitch, holes, and a few other categories for which I have boards.  I just checked and among the 13 boards I have one for recipes – which I really don’t collect at all, hardly ever consult the cookbooks I have, and instead focus either on family favs or on the spot creativity.

With the exception of the broderie lace upper right, included because I own it and it inspires me  (holes) the other sections on this collage are samples I have probably tried out for reference having seen something relating to them on Pinterest.  This morning  I saw and saved some contemporary hand stitch that reminded me of mending, and several  things on paper which took me browsing into a couple of interesting bloggers’ sites that seem to have been abandoned several years ago – that’s always a bit disappointing.  But, hey, Life intervenes at times, and I’ll look further to see if they are still producing, perhaps in another medium.  But my hour’s nearly up, so that’s all for today 🙂

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