Friday, 25 July 2014

Challenge: Ruby

What's life without a challenge or two? We've been working on Birthstones in our journals all year, but sometimes it's hard to see how to bring that into the things we make. Maz challenged us last month to make something on the theme of Ruby, for our August 11 meeting. Of course, we've already made Ruby postcards this year, for the ATASDA 40th birthday postcard swap, as you've just seen.

To spur us on, she brought along her Ruby work-in-progress to the last meeting.
I can't wait to see where she's taking this!

There should be more Ruby challenge works in a few weeks' time.

Ruby Postcards

Whoops, we just realised we didn't share images of our Ruby postcards! These are extra postcards we made back in April for the ATASDA Ruby Postcard exhibition and swap, to celebrate ATASDA's 40th birthday. Not sure how they got missed!

The theme was quite broad. "You may use Ruby - the traditional 40th anniversary stone - or interpret the anniversary in your own way. Look at our Australian country, poetry, people, music and culture and show us what ATASDA means to you."

Carol's postcard was inspired by the ruby-rich colour of the pomegranate, and its association with good luck and prosperity. She appliquéd, beaded and embroidered on black felt.

Nola took the theme less literally. Her postcard shows a map of the southern skies, with an enlarged Southern Cross, and it's called Lodestar. She said, "Travellers of old navigated by the stars, especially, in the northern hemisphere, by the Pole Star. Here in the south, we have the Southern Cross to guide us home. For more than a decade, ATASDA has been my lodestar, guiding me on my textile travels." Drawn, embroidered and hand stitched on a sun-printed background.
Maz's postcard was inspired by an image she saw, of an earlier twentieth century lady wearing her ruby jewels. Very chic! Beaded, felt applique and hand embroidery.
Yvonne's postcard celebrated the 40th birthday with joie de vivre. Couched threads and embroidery on a hand painted background.
Helen's postcard also revelled in the celebration of 40 years. Hand embroidery on wool cloth.

We hope other members' postcards in the Ruby swap will be available on the web later in the year - we want to see them all!

And some other things we're making

Show and tell for our first meeting in July was small, because only a few of us could be there.

Nola shared progress on the knitted coat that she started back here. She's almost finished the first front but it was too tricky to photograph.

Maz brought along her unfinished work for ATASDA's upcoming Future...Past exhibition at the Palm House in the Botanic Gardens. It's layered muslin with hand embroidered images, so it's very light and sheer.
You can see her work and the work of many other talented ATASDA members at the Palm House from 14-26 August, 10am-4pm.

Carol brought along a scarf she'd woven, in tabby weave in blue and grey.
Here's a close up of the weave...

So simple and so effective!
During the meeting, she also...drum roll, please... finished her Doctor Who scarf! She was working on it back here, remember? It's been going for a while, not surprisingly.
She wants everyone to know that this is the short version of the scarf.
Helen brought along a work she's made for the upcoming Lateral Stitchers exhibition, the theme of which is Klimpt. It's inspired by the Stoclet Frieze, in her trademark canvas embroidery, and the photos really doesn't do it justice.
More information about this exhibition to come.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Birthstones June

We did a little catching up on the birthstones project this month. Maz has been working on her March aquamarine.
 She began with a rhyme about the birthstone's properties...

...and then some physical properties, and its symbolism.  Then she began to play with the colour, in patterns that appealed to her.
Meanwhile, Helen was working in emerald. She was also interested in colour and pattern.
Nola has been working on agate. She began as usual with the cultural aspects. There were lots of little objets d'art made from agate.
Then she became interested in seals, as agate was often used to make them in the ancient world.
 She decided to design her own seal, to make it more directly relevant to her art work.

What sort of seal would you design for yourself?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Birthstones - May

The birthstone for May is emerald.

 Nola became intrigued by the history of emeralds.

The earliest known emerald (beryl) mine is at Wadi Sikait (Jabal Sukayt) in Egypt, near the Red Sea until the end of the Roman Empire. This whole area, including Wadi Gamal nearby, was a huge mining complex in Roman times.

The Romans loved emeralds. No well-dressed young woman of means was without her emerald jewellery and this area was the only source. Pliny described Lollia Paulina, the partner of the emperor Caligula, as "covered with emeralds and pearls interlaced and shining over her head, hair, ears, neck and fingers, the sum total amounting to the value of 40,000,000 sesterces" To put that into context, a soldier was being paid 33,000 sesterces a year.

You can see more about Nola's discoveries on her blog.

Postcards for June

We swapped postcards as usual this month and what a diverse lot they were!

 Carol's postcard was made on a base of Lutradur, painted with Lumiere and heated, mounted on card. She added sun-printed and block printed fabric layers, metallic net and running stitch, before edging it with straight stitches.

Jan's postcard was embroidered like last month's.
The image is based on her drawing of a wooden form by an artist, hand embroidered onto linen with the edges turned in.

Nola's postcard, Autumn Rain, has a background of marbled fabric using transfer dyes that she made with the group back here in 2012. She added strips of organza, with running stitches, and a machine embroidered leaf motif, hand-stitched into place. The edges were turned under.
Yvonne's postcard had a painted cloth background, with frayed painted and hand-dyed cloth, couched yarn with whip stitch and running stitch. The edges were hand couched yarn with hand-stitched straight stitches.

All very different!