Posts Tagged ‘lines’

Inspirations From The Earth’s Crust

Monday, March 11th, 2024

This is the most dramatic picture that leapt off my computer screen this week. I just can’t stop smiling at it. No one knows for sure how it was formed, and discussion online ranges between it somehow being deliberately split by some unknown ancient civilisation and a product of erosional processes. When you think of it, if you cropped the photo it would look like just another vertical cliff face somewhere, but the photo in full begs the question ‘how come this bit of vertical cliff was left behind after such an extensive erosion process in that area?’ I’m very interested in both fields, neither extreme seems convincing, and the answer doesn’t matter much to me, so I’m not theorising here. I’m just intrigued by the drama of these two massive blocks of stone appearing to be balanced on relatively small pedestals or plinths.

The Al Naslaa rock, Saudi Arabia, (source Wikipedia)

We all live on the Earth’s crust of course, but not everyone has more than a passing interest in the familiar features of the landscape around them, and I’d suggest ‘the weather’ occupies more time per day in human minds. Also, most people live their whole lives in the area in which they were born and raised, without direct experience of other parts of the Earth with different mega shapes and textures. My early interest in physical geography probably began with the different sunday drives and school holiday road trips that our parents took us on as we grew up in the Australian state of Tasmania. In our childhoods we learned about the economic activities in various areas, they took us to see things like a power station under construction. We travelled on trains – air travel was rare and expensive. My parents knew people who lived on sheep farms, ran diaries, apple orchards and fished commercially. Dad’s best mate ran a furniture factory so we learned a bit about wood and forests during our travels. Dad’s brother was an industrial chemist who was involved in a paper mill which I did see in operation long ago. A friend of his took ours and another family underground in a silver lead zinc mine he managed. Tasmania is pretty rugged, with mountains and plateaus in the centre, and the western side of the island has particuarly inaccessible hardwood forest covered mountains and steep sided river valleys. Moving to the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia with my exploration geologist husband was my first encounter with very flat expansive semi desert regions and the sparse vegetation that results from low rainfall. It was one part of the huge culture shock of the totally new experience of living in a goldmining city, Kalgoorlie. Mike’s work in 70s and 80s took us the other parts of the Australian Outback, each with distinctively different landscape types, and our love of camping and road trips took us through more really remote parts that mobile phone coverage has rendered less ‘remote’ these days. When we were young, far Outback tourism was too difficult for most people outside mining and pastoral companies to undertake, but these days modern fourwheel drive vehicles and highly sophisticated camping gear enable many to undertake trips to places that we were fortunate to experience nerly fifty years ago courtesy of some of Mike’s employers, and what I call our Tent Period took us to the Northern Territory to live in a tent camp, in an area that has since been gazetted Kakadu National Park. In the 80s we spent 6+ years in Denver CO and visited many of the most famous national parks and monuments in the United States, many of which are based on extraordinary geological features. In further travels in Egypt, France, England, New Zealand, Chile, Southern Argentina Uruguay and The Falkland Islands, either employment or recreational tourism related, physical geography has always been interesting to me.

My geologist husband ‘sees’ the lines and shapes of and landscape as the surface results of the powerful tectonic forces acting beneath the Earth’s crust. I ‘see’ the lines and shapes of plains, mountains, lakes, valleys and mesas as results of the eternal erosion and deposition cycles through wind, water and temperature variation, and sometimes as a result of human activity, as in these next pics. Digging into the Earth’s crust to extract minerals is one of the most interesting human activities, and has always been tied to our family’s economic well being. So it’s hardly surprising that has been an inspiration to my art on several occasions –

An opencut mine in paint and stitch. It is just possible to see small trees and possibly buildings or heaframes on the distant surface. c.1987 Approx. 18″ x 24″
“On The Golden Mile” 1987, approx. 16 x 24in. Paint+ hand stitch.
“Hannan’s Reward” 1993. 100cm x 140cm Machine pieced and quilted.

We see/read the same view of the Earth’s surface in different ways, and I have always found landscapes a rich source of inspiration for my embroidery and contemporary quilt designs.

“In Fourteen Hundred And Ninety Two…

Monday, August 14th, 2023

Columbus sailed the ocean blue” go the famous first two lines from a children’s poem on American history of which I first learned while we lived in USA, 1987-94.

Probably in 1991, before the quincentenary of the discovery of what became known as The New World – the Americas, Quilters Newsletter Magazine announced some competition or call for an exhibition to go in their pages to help mark this huge event in modern world history. I don’t remember the exact details of it, however I clearly remember making my entry, which unfortunately was not selected:

“In Search Of The New World” 1992, 130cm x 130cm

Last week I realised that although this quilt was listed in my ‘master list’, I hadn’t noticed a photo of it anywhere for a very long time. Since then I have been searching, knowing it has to be in my computer somewhere – and eventually just an hour ago I found it in an external hard drive I haven’t accessed for years. Please share my joy! One possible reason for not finding it is I didn’t have the title exactly right in the search – duh. Anyway, I immediately re-saved it into this computer, and now it will probably pop up somewhere just because I’m no longer looking for it…

Detail “In Search Of The New World”, machine pieced and quilted.

I was a bit disappointed when my work was rejected, but I’d already had acceptance and rejection experience so took it philosophically. When the selected ones were published later that year, I saw there were some some much better ones than this one.

Now looking at it, I know the shiny blue fabric said ‘water’, and the earthy coloured strips said, to me anyway, ‘earth’. If you look carefully, in the detail shot you can see spherical shapes representing the round earth, (as many at that time still believed the Earth to be flat) but now I see those spheres were way too subtle, but it’s an interesting idea I might revisit some time. Probably the horizontal strips of fabric should have had some green in them, to suggest ‘land’. Plus the strips themselves were perfectly straight edged, not at all land like… I had not yet learned the basics of improvisational cutting and piecing, but If I’d known them then, those strips might have looked more like islands in the blue, and been more appealing. The best features of this landscape+history inspired work are the wonderful cerulean blue polished cotton furnishing fabric, and the inspired freehand watery machine quilting pattern.

New Collector

Monday, May 16th, 2022

These two quilts have just been acquired by the Australian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which also serves Australian interests and Aussies in Paraguay and Uruguay. Here in Montevideo last week, I handed them over to an embassy staff member who was about to return to Argentina after some business here. As most of our consular needs can be handled here in Montevideo, I’ve only had to attend the embassy in person a couple of times in the last decade, so I expect that might be the last I see of either of them. I understand they’ll be hanging in areas fairly accessible to the public, and look forward to seeing the installation shots. In their new posts I hope they give embassy staff and visitors pleasure for years to come.

Ebb&Flow #10 “Red Tide” 157cmw x 114cmh
Timetracks#4 “Surge” 100cmw x 106cmh

Evolution Of A Motif

Friday, April 15th, 2022

I’ve always loved hand stitching, and am among the growing number of textile artists whose surface designs are featuring greater amounts of hand stitch than they previously used in their 2D and 3D functional and/or decorative stitched layered works. I extensively use that most basic of all stitches, the straight stitch, or as I think of it – the Glorious Straight Stitch, on account of its mark making versatility.

My regular readers know that I periodically browse on Pinterest, spending an hour or two viewing images and sometimes saving them onto to and sometimes deleting from my boards, (categories or collections, for the Pinterest uninitiated) Important things I search for on Pinterest include Lines and shapes, and it’s not exaggerating to say that I really do see lines as potential individual stitches or collections of them. And any kind of grid, regular or not, interests me, so I also save images of art designed on grids or grid-like layouts in this board, Grids! l spent several months last year experimenting with stitch as mark making through sample making, and many of the samples were on grids.

Probably a couple of years back my attention was grabbed by an image that I saved but didn’t investigate at the time. However, it kept attracting my attention, and one day last year I picked up my needle and began doodling. See lower left – it became the basis of several of the samples I did in that samples-only period. I began with a stitched square which I then went over again with the lines slightly off kilter and then followed with different arrangements of a few lines. This was the essence of that image which, when I investigated it recently, I found was of computer generated art designed by a Hungarian artist, Vera Molnar, pioneer of generative computer and kinetic art. So then I began reading more about this woman artist who apparently frequently declared “My life is squares, triangles, lines. I am mad about lines.” – quoted from the interesting Mayor Gallery artist bio on Artsy.

Now here’s a fascinating article by information designer Duncan Geere on his blog, He’s young, clearly very able with computer algorithms and all the big words that go with that stuff. In 2018 he discovered Vera Molnar and was smitten; I really recommend you take a minute or two to scroll through his article, following the evolution of complexity in his diagrams until right at the end you get to a similar kinetic drawing like the Molnar one that grabbed my attention on Pinterest, though that one on Pinterest didn’t ‘move’ ­čÖé

Earliest sample explorations of the stitched square, inspired by the pen plotter art of Vera Molnar

Anyway, my little stitched block gradually developed complexity, all without any help from a computer program, and has become a signature motif, really:

2022 Spotlight Auction piece, ~8″ x 6

I used it with neon nylon thread to produce this small piece; and at 6″ x 8″ like all other submissions – it’s too small even to call a potholder, let alone a ‘quilt’. and it will be auctioned off during the SAQA Spotlight Auction during the annual conference, this year from April 29th to May 7t. Bidding is online and open to everyone, anywhere, whether registered for the conference, or not, so for further details go to

My square motif ~1.5cm fused silk organza was first used in this work, which is now quilted and hanging in our home.
I’ve auditioned several styles of embellishment, but favourite is the square, top right.
See previous blog post.

Browsing With Pinterest

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Lately┬áI’ve noticed something that might have always been there, but now I’ve noticed it, it erks me a bit: when you click on an image to have a closer look, you get this message – ‘Tried this Pin? Add a photo to show how it went.’ and there’s a button to click to add your photo ‘of this pin.’┬á The message might just as well have said ‘Have a go at copying this and let us see how successful you were’.┬á Of course there are no instructions or list of materials, and all artists who display their work understand that imitation/copying does happen, and can often be regarded as the sincerest form of flattery.┬á But such actual encouragement to copy is a bit annoying.

Arcs in the Bungle Bungles series


This morning my eye was caught by a red and cream abstract work of the German multimedia artist Sati Zech on Pinterest.┬á ┬áThere are many images of her art online, and I loved the way she repeats particular organic shapes, especially the arcs, quarter circles or approximations of, elongated arc-like shapes that I have often used myself.┬á ┬áI went to her website and found her to be a very gifted multimedia artist and teacher. Her own media include paper, fabric, plastic, paint and found objects – and probably anything else she sees that grabs her imagination.┬á There is a lot of information on her website, but the closest thing to artist statements are her master class workshop descriptions; from which it is clear her focus when teaching is the basics of design which the student can achieve using any medium and any technique –┬á sculpture, sewing, photography and accessing a wide range of materials.┬á How stimulating it would be to be in such a class.


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