Monday, 9 December 2013

December: Journals

We had our last meeting of the year today. Yes, we managed to eat a delightful lunch and chat about all sorts of things.

We also shared our finished journals. Most of us have been too busy to work on the last  few themes, but Nola and Helen had explored the idea of Under the Sea.

Helen's first idea was coral reefs.
She made this image with acrylic paint and a sponge.

These pages are about Neptune (and his girlfriends).

She found this photo of a yellow submarine. It was called "A Yellow Submarine with the Nose Cut Off", as indeed it does! It must be going so fast, it jumped right out of the picture.
She added the surfboard because she liked it.

These images and drawings are of shells that her father brought back from his travels around the world as a sailor.
Nola began by drawing a concept map of what might be under the sea,
Then she chose some of them to focus on. She got very interested in seahorses, when she realised that the males carry the young in a pouch, and that mating pairs hold tails, like holding hands.
She also got interested in shipwrecks, especially the Vasa, a Swedish ship that sank in 1628 and was raised in the 1960s, in remarkably good condition.
Last of all, she investigated the amazing animals found in the deepest part of the sea, the Marianas Trench. Here is one of the animals..
This is the last of our journal themes, though there may be a few late ones coming in. Next year, we plan to do something different. We'll be back in the New Year with lots of new ideas. In the meantime, a very happy Christmas to everyone and we wish you all the best year in 2014.

November: postcards

Here are our last postcards for the year. Doesn't time fly?

Remember this embroidery? Helen made it into a postcard. The background was a fabric she dyed a while back.
Jan made her postcard from layers of silk that she dyed herself too.
Maz hand-stitched over layers fabric strips to make her postcard.

Tricia's postcard was made on a dyed background, with added tassels and couched yarn.
All three postcards had folded and slip-stitched edges.

Nola's postcard was made with machine embroidery on organza and painted fusible web. The organza was frayed back to look like grass. It's one of the last of her Heartlands series and has a double satin stitch edge.
We'll be swapping again next year, so there'll be more postcards to see soon!

November: Other things we're doing

Helen was working on this embroidery this month. Gorgeous!
Carol was making temari balls. Incredibly intricate...

Jan's skirt front
Jan was wearing the skirt she made from dyed samples from her indigo dyeing adventures at Haystack in Maine.
Jan's skirt back
Here's a beautiful bag that Helen made for a friend. Lucky friend!
Helen's  bag front
Helen's bag back

Helen's bag open
And last of all, Helen bought this bag  at a recent exhibition at Woy Woy. It was made for a challenge called Present for a Spanish Princess.

November: Houses

The theme for our journals in October was Houses but out first meeting in November was very small so only a couple of us shared our results. It's strange but, although we work on these alone, we often find we've taken the same approach to a theme and that was true this time as well.

Helen's first page was a pop-out page of a streetscape. She drew it with felt-tip markers.
She added some pages with images she likes. The first one is a postcard, from a gallery. The second is a design she made for a Christmas card, a few years ago.
Then she looked for some unusual houses - a house built around a tree, some wild furnishing and a collage of different houses.
Her last image was a photo she took of the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna. He was ahead of histime, because, as well as the obvious bright colours, he was very interested in what he called "high rise meadows" - plants growing on the walls of the house. You can't see it in Helen's winter picture but, if you look at summer photos of the house, the top half is covered in plants. This must surely have influenced the rise of "vertical gardens" on apartment blocks in recent times!

On her first page, Nola was experimenting with how much you can distort the child's image of a house, door, two windows, roof and chimney, before it stops looking like a house. The answer is - quite far!
 She was also interested in the contrast between the houses in western countries and those in less well-developed countries. Houses in Australia, especially older ones, can be very decorative, which means money has been spent in making them look good.
She added that the Samoan fale shown behind the terrace house is actually way better housing than many people live in. It's large, quite elaborate, built on a very good stone platform has a well-kept roof and suits the climate, even though it may not be considered comfortable housing by many non-islanders.
In this one, she was jus playing with the house shape.
 These houses are word art - made up of the letters of words relating to houses; house, castle, chalet, villa, tenement, terrace, igloo, abode.
 She called this page A Short History in Houses.  It shows several of the houses she has lived in, in different places and different phases of her life, as a pop-up. (Sorry - very  hard to photograph!)
Maz made this house collage from scraps from a postcard she's making. It was done with vilene, painted with gesso, with tissue and paints added.

Monday, 28 October 2013

October: Some other things

We also shared some interesting things this month.

Nola and Tricia have been dyeing this month. Here are some of the results:

Tricia's dyeing

Nola's dyeing
More pretty things!

Maz was inspired by Helen's embroidered rocks to make one for herself. Here is the beginning of her work:
I'm sure you'll see more of this, as time goes by!

Maz also brought along two tiny artworks that she bought in India in 1971. They are oil paintings on peepal leaves.
 This is the information that came with the artworks, which were sold as greeting cards.
They were telling the truth when they said "it will not have any atmospheric effect" - the colours are still vivid forty-two years later. Let's hope our artworks have the same longevity!

October: Postcards

Yes, it's postcard time again! Here are our postcards for October.

Nola took on a challenge from Helen to incorporate some of her samples into a postcard this month. The samples included paint between two layers of plastic sheet, stitched; fabric made from yarn stitched together; stamped cotton fabric and synthetic fabric melted over a candle flame. The base was a fabric printed by laying it on another painted fabric.

Maz also accepted a challenge this month. Someone commented last time that we had used many mediums in our postcards but never knitting. Her postcard was completely knitted - even the background. How clever!

Helen's postcard is unlike her previous ones, yet it's very typical of her work. It shows images of her work embellished with some rug canvas, her favourite medium.

Jan's postcard was one of her dyed works, made from layers of dyed organza and cotton.

Yvonne made her postcard during the group meeting.  It's a collage of fibre, cloth and stitch, on a card base. Amazing to watch it come together.

We also decided the details of our collaborative work for next year's ATASDA Palm House exhibition. Details coming soon...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

October: More journalling

Our challenge for last month was... challenging! Strangely, one of the hard things was choosing which letter to work with. It's surprising how paralysing this can be. In the end, almost all of us went with an initial in our name.

Maz played with M-shapes and wrote down words beginning with M. She thought about M's as boat sails, not surprising since she's a sailor.

She tried out different shapes and patterns...

... and embroidered the letter M on cloth. 
Finally, she drew various M shapes with pen.

Helen worked with the letter H. Like Maz, she began with words for inspiration. The nouns are red, the proper nouns are black and the green ones are words that begin and end in H. She made an H with things she likes, birds and cats.
She made a jigsaw puzzle by cutting apart a letter H and reassembling it into a different pattern. The pieces to match the pattern are in the pocket. The H on thispage is a stamp.
Then she began making H's from geometric shapes...
...and combining them to make patterns.
Finally, she embroidered an H on canvas.
Jan wanted to see what patterns she could make by repeating letters.
 Tricia was also interested in what patterns could be made from repeats of her letter, T.

Nola began by making letters with a calligraphy pen. She didn't have any inks so she used Dynaflow, which behaved very differently from calligraphy inks. The she added highlights with metallic pens and watercolour crayon.
 Then she cut a letter A fron paper and used it as a template. The left hand letter A was drawn with metallic pens on a background of watercolour pencil. The right hand A was constructed from stitched yarn, with a satin stitch edge. The background is Dynaflow.
 Then she began cartooning with A, creating illustrations for words that begin with A.
This A was created using the template. The background is a mixture of media, with a top layer of metallic oil pastels, which was burnished. The letter is water colour pencil and fine drawing pen.

 This A was drawn freeland with felt tip pen on a watercolour pencil background.
This letter A is from the template. It's like an illuminated letter, using words describing religious concepts beginning with A.
 Carol created an illuminated letter too.
 Very clever!

She also used the letters of Fibre to experiment with styles of lettering.

Our next journal theme is Houses. Maz supplied some inspirational pictures of very modern artworks of houses to get us going. More next month...