Sunday, February 26, 2017

A few things I've made in 2017 so far.

I used to say that I was a quilter, then i started saying I'm a textile artist. Now I do a whole variety of different things that have to do with textiles. It would be impossible to make a living in New Zealand as a textile artist so like many people I do a whole variety of different things to earn a living. These are just a few things that I have made this year so far.

Over the last two weeks I have been making seagull costumes for a theatre group. They will be performing  during the Capital E arts festival in Wellington. Its been a time of experimentation but also great fun. Thank you to Anna Maea Chitara for making the beaks.



I finished the seagulls yesterday so today I started work on a quilt commission. In this case its a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt which I was given to finish. I did a similar job last year with an almost identical quilt. This one is for a man who inherited it from his Great Aunt. It is King bed sized was almost finished except for about 10 rosettes in one corner. I removed a row down one side and moved those into the corner. Next I will add borders and send it off to a commercial quilter to quilt, then I will add the binding.

Earlier this year I taught an indigo dyeing/shibori workshop for The Hutt Arts Society. Here are some of the dyed pieces that the students produced. Luckily it was a nice warm day although very windy which made it hard to work outside. Its been like that all summer really in the Wellington region.




The start of the year is also when all my classes seem to need class samples at once. These are for simple 'quilt as you go' classes at Nancys Stitch Studio in Wellington.
Shopping bag class sample for Nancys Stitch studio

Table runner using fabric I won  in a charity raffle  at Monterey Quilters

detail of quilt as you go table runner
I have also made a lot of piped cushions this year. I turn people's tapestries into cushions one day a week at Nancys Stitch Studio in Wellington. Its great to spend time in the shop, its a nice change from working at home alone.

Here are a couple more oddities made this year, I've made 3 of these giant wetas so far.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Textile Commissions, earthquakes and travel

Its about 4 weeks since I got back to New Zealand from India. Its taken me a while to process everything and also to catch up on various projects which I couldn't work on while I was away.

Since I got back we have had a large earthquake. Our house has suffered a few cracks which weren't there before, and my husband has been working from home as his office is closed until they find new premises. The day after the earthquake we had heavy rain which followed a few weeks of steady rain. the ground was waterlogged and that meant we had water leaking through the back wall of our garage so we spent several hours sweeping water out of the garage and trying to get things dry. A lot of horrible fabric was thrown away that day. It was all stuff which should have been sorted and thrown away years ago.

It was lucky that we don't live near the coast of New Zealand. In what the newspapers called 'the perfect storm' we had a strong earthquake followed by heavy rain at the time of the Supermoon. There was a tsunami then high spring tides because of the superman and the heavy rain. No wonder the roads were flooded especially around the coasts and there were land slides, and fallen trees. Its taken a while to get back to normal, although there are still a lot of government and private buildings in Wellington closed due to earthquake damage. One of our friends has been evacuated from their apartment in central wellington and has been unable to get anything out of their home for nearly 2 weeks.


Bitter Harvest 3. This is a wallhanging currently hanging at Pataka. Water has been running down the front  from the cups to make the dye in the blue patches run. It looks quite blurry now.

This small quilt is travelling with the OzQuilt exhibition in Australia.

This life-size model of a weta (a New Zealand grasshopper)has been at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in London, Dublin and Harrogate this year with the BugLife exhibition curated by Ann Kelly.
Its not easy to make money as a textile artist in New Zealand. I am usually working on a lot of different things at once. As well as making quilts I also make their costumes, tech quilt making and surface design, do commissions and complete projects for people.
Before leaving for India I was making costumes for the show The Merry Widow almost up till the day I left. I still have a lot of the costumes in my garage , I brought them home to wash, and I haven't been able to take them back to the costume store because no one knows whether the building is safe. Luckily the costumes were up on a table or they would also be wet.

Most of the time I work from home and it can get a bit lonely. So I also do 'finishing' for a shop. People bring in their completed tapestries and I make them up into cushions. Sometimes I get to make up beautiful needle cases or quilt shop samples.  I get to have some social time with customers and staff at the shop and the bonus is that I get paid.

I have been working on several collage litter bins for a commission and I recently completed a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt for an elderly lady who is in her 90's.
No sooner had I handed over the first quilt than I got another half finished hexagon quilt which is almost identical to the first one.
The Grandmothers Flower garden quilt top when it arrived

The quilt after I moved some of the rosettes around and turned it into a single bed sized quilt
Lastly, some pictures from India


Gorgeous step well near Jaipur

Woodblock printing at Anokhi Woodblock museum

Elephant near Jaipur

Traffic on the way back to Delhi

View from the hotel window in Delhi. Cows, ice-cream vendors, cars and chaos

Beautiful architecture in the Lodi Gardens, Delhi

Coloured chalk for making rangoli patterns for Diwali
India was inspiring as well as confronting. 2 days after I left, Delhi had some of the worst pollution days ever, caused by Diwali fireworks and farmers burning off stubble in the fields. Then the large bank notes 1000, and 500 rupee notes were withdrawn suddenly over night making it very hard for tourists and locals alike. At the end of my holiday I would have loved to have stayed in India for longer but now I am very glad I left when I did. Maybe I will get a chance to go again when things have settled down.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Summer Art School

I will be teaching an indigo dyeing workshop at the Hutt Art Society rooms in January 2017.


Thu 12 / Fri 13 January 2017 All levels
9.00 – 4.00
Painting Studio

Students should be able to dye several metres of fabric each and try it a range of different Shibori ( upmarket tie dye) techniques. The weather will be warm so we should be able to lay the fabric out on the grass around the rooms. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bandhani / tie dye

Today we did a workshop on Indian tie dye. Mr Jakob showed us how to tie tiny circles, then to make a heart and a star. Colour choices were pink and orange or pink and black. Some fairly loud scarves were completed on very thin loose weave cotton. 
While we were making our masterpieces the rest of the family were continuing the family business by blockprinting previously tied and dyed fabric lengths and pulling the fabric diagonally to pop off the ties.
 
Tieing circles
 
Dyeing pink
 Taking off the ties
 Finished scarves

Bandhani / tie dye

Today we did a workshop on Indian tie dye. Mr Jakob showed us how to tie tiny circles, then to make a heart and a star. Colour choices were pink and orange or pink and black. Some fairly loud scarves were completed on very thin loose weave cotton. 
While we were making our masterpieces the rest of the family were continuing the family business by blockprinting previously tied and dyed fabric lengths and pulling the fabric diagonally to pop off the ties.
 
Tieing circles
 
Dyeing pink
 Taking off the ties
 Finished scarves

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jaipur

We went to a woodblock printing and dyeing workshop today just outside of Jaipur. We printed fabric using a mud mixture which was then sprinkled with sawdust to help dry it. When fully dry it was put in the indigo bath. We also printed with black ink made using natural black ink made from lumps of rusting iron fermented with sugar cake for 8 weeks in a black pot in a hot place. The fabric had to be ore mordanted with myrobolan which is a strong tannin.

 
 
Woodblocks for mudprinting. The recipe for the mix is mud, gum acacia, flour made from spoiled wheat.
 
The indigo vat is 10 ft deep. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cow parking

Our hotel is down a side alley full of cows, ice cream vendors trolleys and the milk station. 
 
  
The veggie market, unusually quiet because it's Sunday.