Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ailsa Craig Quilt and Fibre festival

In mid May a group of New Zealand quilt tutors will set out for Canada to teach at the Ailsa Craig Quilt and Fibre Festival.  An exhibition of quilts made by the tutors were sent off a few months ago to take part in a road show to promote the festival, then the 100 quilts from around the country were sent off last week in a huge parcel along with challenge quilts with the them "New Zealand through Our Eyes".

I'm starting to think about which quilts to take with me. It's a choice between having enough clothes for the festival and for 3 weeks travel in Canada afterwards, and having a good selection of quilts for people to see in class. Maybe I don't need clothes!

I'm teaching my Spiky Trees class . Here are some of the quilts I've made in the past. Past students have made quilt tops of plants such as Aloe (South Africa), grass trees and palms (Australia), agapanthus and cacti (in the UK). Its always interesting to see which pictures people bring with them to use as inspiration for their quilt top.

The New Zealand Cabbage Tree (Cordyline Australis)

Cordyline Australis

New Zealand Lancewood

New Zealand flax bush (Phormium Tenax)

Spinnifex on a New Zealand beach (our sand is grey )



Another class I'm teaching is based on utility quilts. In Australia these are called 'wagga quilts' this is probably because the quilts were often backed with flour sacks from the Wagga Wagga flour mills.
Wagga were made from discarded clothing often covered with a final layer of cretonne curtain fabric. When the top layer of fabric is removed, the layers of clothing can be seen. A childs jersey, a mans overcoat, a wool skirt - anything to keep warm. They are like a history of a family in discarded clothing.

I've used this layering of clothing to signify 'layers of lives'. Sometimes I embroider genetic symbols on top of the clothing, sometimes I have screen printed on the fabrics. I often use this method of laying out fabrics or clothing as a background and then add something else on the surface.

3 layers of lives quilts displayed as 'genetic history' cloaks

Granny Smith (using doilies and household linens as the background)

Layers of lives (inspired by the book 'the seven daughters of Eve'


Wagga quilt over printed with genetic information

layers of kimonos (after the Tsunami in Japan)

crossover wagga/japanese boro

Layers of Lives - white office shirts (and DNA image on the surface)

The final classes I'm teaching are to create simple kono (baskets).In New Zealand we would weave with harakeke (NZ flax). This is not available in Canada so we will be using willow bark. I'm going to try and take a bit of harakeke with me so people can see what it is like.

The way we cut the harakeke leaving the three central leaves

two kono (square baskets)

a selection of 4 and 2 corner kono
I understand that the two weaving class are full but there are still spaces in the wagga and spiky trees classes. If you are interested in my classes but need more information, please don't hesitate to ask questions and I'll try and explain anything that doesn't make sense. 

I look forward to Ailsa Craig Festival and hope to see some of your there.
Nga Mihi (regards)
Clare



Friday, November 23, 2018

Raranga Exhibition - Te Wananga o Aotearoa Porirua 2018.

Raranga (weaving) exhibition, 2018.
Potae (hats)

mostly kete timata

mostly kete pikau (backpacks)

ipu putiputi (flower arrangements, kete, wallhangings)



Learning to weave Harakeke part 2.

The course at the Wananga is nearly over, we are currently having our exhibition and our opening was last night. The course is 10 months long and counts as full time but most people are able to work full time as the classes are 5-9pm on a Wednesday and once a month there is a full weekend of 5pm friday to 2pm on sunday. Most new skills are taught on the full weekend.

here are a few of the kete I have made in the second half of the year. I have been exploring the use of dyes and weaving with flax that has been harvested and prepared then boiled and dried for 4-6 weeks before dyeing and weaving. I'm still getting used to the amount of time the flax needs to be soaked to get it flexible enough to weave with. Too wet and it dries with gaps, too dry and it cracks while I'm working with it.
patterned kete pikau (backpack)

patterned kete Timata

Patterned kete timata with 4 plait shoulder strap

kete pikau with patikitiki pattern (the flounder)

kete pikau with patikitiki pattern (the flounder)

kete pikau with patikitiki pattern (the flounder)

Kete porowhita with whakapuareare (holes)

kete whakairo (fine weave) with holes

kete whakairo

kete porowhita

the poster for our student show

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Learning to weave with Harakeke (NZ Flax)

This year is my year of Raranga. Raranga is Maori weaving with Harakeke (New Zealand flax or Phormium Tenax). I should have done this years ago as I have found that I love it. In fact, I think it would have given me a greater connection to New Zealand if I had learned this, way back in 1975 when I arrived from England although maybe I wouldn't have been ready for it then.

Here are some photos of the things I have made in the course so far. It is a one year course at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, in Porirua.

At the beginning of the year we started making putiputi. Flowers made from Harakeke. Our first assignment was to make some sort of flower arrangement and I made a Christmas wreath.

Lily Whakairo

Koru

Pohutukawa

Christmas wreath
We then learned how to make Kono and Konae. Simple baskets and small mats and then pot (hats.
Our most recent assignment was Kete using undyed, green harakeke. As it is green it shrinks a bit as it dries so there will always be gaps in the weave, but the gaps are getting narrower.
Potae (hats)
The two hats on the left were made very early on. The weave is quite gappy. I filled in the gaps by weaving coloured harakeke strips through the holes.

Kete Timata showing gaps in the weave

kete timata showing improvements

Kete Porowhita (round) showing vast improvement!


Kete Pikau (backpack)


Latest backpack which hasn't got straps yet

Kete Kupenga (seafood basket using a special kupenga knot)

Kete Kai (seafood basket)
So that is where I'm up to in class and my weaving is improving all the time. I'm still a beginner and have a long way to go but I can really see the improvement.

Other than the main class I also made a Wahakura with a private tutor.  A Wahakura is a baby bed. These are used where families co-sleep. it helps to prevent SIDS (cot death). The weave is different to the method we are learning in class.
Large wahakura

Thinking very hard

wrestling with an octopus




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Clare's Classes 2018

Clare Smith


all prices are in New Zealand Dollars.

Summary
1-day classes
-     Quilt Doodling (Machine Quilting) 
-     Boro and sashiko placemats 
-     Cabbage Trees  
-     The Doily Quilt 
-     Fabric painting and Printing
-     Fabric dyeing (3 classes to choose from)
-     Hand sewn books
-     The Modern Wagga
-     Beginners Screenprinting on Fabric 
    Pojagi (Korean inspired piecing)

2-day classes 
    Spiky trees and plants
-     Next step
-     Putting it into Perspective

Combined classes (2 to 5 days)
-     Indigo dyeing combined with Boro/sashiko
-     Fabric printing and painting combined with pojagi
-     Dyeing classes combined with Modern Wagga
-     (any other combination you can think of)


One day classes

Quilt-doodling and colouring-in for machine quilters
Spend a day honing your machine quilting skills by doodling using the sewing machine. When you find yourself getting tense, relax, take time out and colour in your design using fabric pens. 








Boro and sashiko Quilts or Placemats
Use some of your collection of Japanese fabrics or other scraps to make simple placemats then embellish them with sashiko stitching. These can be very organised or very random, depending on your preference (see photos)




The Doily Quilt
Have you got a cupboard full of your granny’s doilies, placemats and tablecloths? 
Use precious family linens or op-shop finds to make a quilt for the home, the bach or as a wall hanging. This quilt can be seen on the front cover of New Zealand Quilter issue 77.


No Materials fee


A Modern Wagga   
Making a quilt was historically about recycling.In this class , make  a ‘wagga’ or ‘utility’ quilt. Clothes your kids have grown out of? Things that used to belong to your granny , old doilies, aprons, teatowels?
Use recycled clothing or linens to make a quilt for the home, the bach or as a wall hanging. 

No Materials fee






Fabric Painting and Printing

Paint and monoprint on fabric using water based inks and resists (similar to batik). 

This technique class will also cover printing with found objects such as fruit and leaves as well as making print-blocks from carved erasers and lino blocks.

Materials fee approx. $20 (covers inks, resist, lino blocks)





Dye Classes 
Three classes are available
-     Dyeing cotton
-     Dyeing with indigo
-     Dyeing wool and silk
1. Dyeing cotton
Learn how to dye fabric using Procion dyes. Methods include scrunch dyeing, basic shibori and tie-dye, multi-coloured dyeing and dyeing in plastic bags. Students should end up with approx. 6 metres of dyed fabric.

Materials fee approx. $25 (covers dyes)





2. Dyeing with Indigo on cotton, silk or wool.
Indigo dyeing often seems quite complicated and can include toxic chemicals; my new method uses a squashed banana instead of the smelly chemicals!






3. Dyeing wool and silk
Learn how to dye wool fabric, felt and knitting wool using wool dyes and natural dyes. Multi-coloured dyeing, shibori and dye painting will be covered. 

Hand sewn Books  (Japanese Bookbinding)
Learn how to make basic hand sewn books. These can be used as note or sketchbooks, photo albums, quilt record books or diaries. You can bring little pieces of embroidery or quilt blocks to set into the front of the book and recycle old book covers to make new books.

 

Materials fee NZ$20




Beginners Screenprinting
Learn the basics of screenprinting to create unique fabrics suitable for quilting or embroidery. Use found objects and hand cut stencils to create textured backgrounds. Learn how to design repeat patterns and experiment with pre-prepared photographic silkscreen designs.

Materials fee $20

Pojagi patchwork window or wall hanging
Pojagi is a Korean form of patchwork using scraps of transparent or semi transparent fabrics such as cotton organdie or silk organza. It looks fabulous hanging in a window where the seams show up against the light, or hung away from a wall so a light can form shadows on the wall behind. Try improvised piecing or use simple patchwork block patterns of your own choice. 



Organised version

Free –style version










Two-day classes

Spiky Trees and Plants quilt.
Learn how to fuse and sew a quilt depicting a Palm, Yukka, fern, aloe, cactus or thorn tree. Some fast workers even manage to quilt their picture on the second day.


Materials charge approx NZ$10 (covers inks to paint a sky fabric for their background)



The Next Step 
Are you ready to take the step from traditional quilting into something unique but don’t know where to start?  Are you scared of the word ‘Design’ or feel you can’t draw? Learn how to make an art quilt using an art-school design trick. No two quilts the same!  Use fusible webbing to put it together and quilt it on the second day.  

NB The class samples are not what you will make in class, they just reflect the technique of putting the quilt together. Your quilt will be your original design.

Materials fee - $5 (OHP sheets)




Putting it into PERSPECTIVE
Learn how to draw in perspective, how to show the sides of buildings and how to make things come forward or recede into the picture. Everything from landscapes with buildings, beach huts, country cottages, letterboxes  or sky scrapers.

Materials fee $5 (photocopying and OHP sheets)