Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Atauro Island Timor Leste

A very quick blog post indeed. I am still here though I did manage to lose my passport and mythe american dollars I had taken to spend in the local economy- so hopefully the person who found it will spend it in the same way! It meant a day of bureaucratic running around in Dili with my help Madalena Barreto, we revisited every place where I might have left it, talked to many people, filed police report and  organised an emergency passport- which had it's own complications because I am not actually born in Australia though I have been a naturalised citizen since age 14. Anyway hopefully it is all sorted.So even though the gods took, they also smiled sort of, by limiting the bureaucratic aftermath that these things engender to a day- which is quite remarkable!

I got to Atauro Island on Monday on the dragon boat- the only transport between Timor Leste and the island is a ferry and the dragon boat, otherwise you catch a fishing boat. And then finally I arrived at Boneca de Atauro. I am impressed with what the women achieve on treadle machines. The public generator only runs between 6 pm and 6 am so electricity isn't an option to power machines so hence treadle machines are used. The weather is so warm ( hot really and I am struggling a bit with the heat taking to wearing wet kerchiefs) that we have been working outside. We have been making linocuts. The idea is that I teach some of the younger ones and then they will pass on what they learn to the other women, We are working on linocuts and printing this week and then embroidery by machine and hand maybe- we will see.

It really does have the feel of a far flung place but this makes it wonderful. The people are friendly and the children curious and open.I am looking forward to seeing how this residency will develop!


The Boneca de Atauro shop in Dili. You can aslo buy their product online- just follow the link I have given in the previous paragraph- there is an online  catalogue. This weekend two of my students are going to Bail- to celebrate the win of a stop motion movie they made about the Bonecas ( dolls) de Atauro- they have won many prizes with this little film in Asia


Traditional Tais weaving from the  Museum in Dili.
  Arriving with the dragon boat.
Making designs for linocuts.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Finally

Recently someone mentioned to me that I had not blogged for 6 weeks- that was two weeks ago I think and finally I am getting to writing a post. I have simply been horrendously busy working at least 10-12 hours  a day or more and if not working travelling to the various exhibitions to which I had committed and meeting my commitments. It has not left a great deal of time to do anything else. I haven't written in my journal for more than two months and I am feeling the absence. I also managed to kill my mobile phone, though to be honest it was on its way out, but its replacement has a camera that is far inferior- or maybe it is just me the operator. As a result I am taking photos on my phone with which I am not happy and I haven't had time to give my good camera the attention it needs nor the time to take it out of my bag. I miss my old phone sigh...

Things have been very busy with the Aussie Bush Project. In the last month or so the project has been to Canberra, to Wellington in New Zealand and Hamilton in New Zealand and is at present being exhibited at the Adelaide Craft & Quilt Fair. Then after next week it goes on to Brisbane before having a rest and reappearing at Quilts en Beaujolais in France in April 2018.People have loved all the variations of the linocut printed fabrics and have expressed surprise and delight at how different each print looks in the hands of the different artists! Reasonably priced  accommodation was not so easy to find because one of the Adelaide football teams is playing in the finals in their home city.



Then last week I went to France for 8 days to install my exhibition at Villa Burrus  at the Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork and also to be united with my latest book Plaid Nomad ( I was so tired, plus I had caught a nasty cold from a sneezing and spluttering passenger in the seat in front of me- not once did he cover his mouth in all the splutterings he was engaged in, I forgot to buy myself a copy as my publishers copies were sent to Le Triadou  and I did not have time to go to Montpellier as I needed to be back in Adelaide for the Aussie Bush Project) So I think people liked the book, as the copies I had at Villa Burrus sold out by lunch time on the friday, as had the copies at the Edi De Saxe Stand at the Centre Commerciale and that was all there was!

I have started on a new Travellers' Blanket which is all but finished. I wanted it finished for the exhibition in France but I didn't quite get there. I did display it as it was almost finished but a few people did come and tell me there was still a needle and thread attached to the work! I think it will get finished this weekend. I know I started this blanket on the 9th of August and have put in 10-12 hours of stitching into it most days- so I now have a good idea of how long the blankets actually take and I am rather shocked by the amount of time they take- and in terms of  money/wages for hours of work the equation needs to change- that is for sure.




There was a moment when I contemplated making this smaller so that I could finish it- but then I felt it would not have the same impact at all. The  circles are appliqued bits and pieces of hand dyed and hand printed fabrics I have made over the years including my latest prints chopped up. Plus I have also made a linocut with circles- these panels will be for sale, I just have not had the chance to print up many.

I did actually use some circles cut from this panel in the blanket and they came up very nicely. I will share photos when I work out how to get them off my new phones memory card that doesn't involve fiddly file sharing arrangements. I will put it on my shop page soon in case anyone is interested.

I will try and be better about blogging in the next weeks as I go to East Timor and Boneco de Atauro soon- sooner than I thought and there are many things to arrange before I actually get there including getting vaccinations and malaria tablets. Will have to find a travel clinic on return to Melbourne to sort all that out! I have to keep reminding myself one step at a time.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Creating

This last month has been super busy and one of those months where I wished I had an extra day for every day that passed. I have been up at Gembrook working but also waiting for a car to be fixed which my children bought for my birthday last year. As it is an older car it needed  quite some things fixing and as my daughters all work  and study and are busy with their jobs and lives this has taken longer than hoped- but anyway finally a RWC has been issued- now to get to the Vic Roads appointment, and hopefully I will be mobile so that I don't have to hire or borrow cars to get to Gellibrand and I can finally get stuck into some much needed  pruning and I can also end this frustrating dance of carrying equipment and supplies for a four hour road trip  from west to east and  four hours back again. Now that I have adjusted to the idea of living in my shed when I am in Australia, I really miss not being there- but most of all I miss my books and having  all of the things I work with readily accessible. No minimalism for me especially not in the book department.

I have been travelling to  two Craft and Quilt Fairs with the Aussie Bush Project, and will be attending another next week in Canberra, which I am looking forward to. I have made a small installation piece of  strings of gum leaves to help create a bush feeling. I can't tell you the number of times people have asked if I have a pattern for it. Unfortunately the photo is over exposed because of the lighting, but at the Melbourne event where it was quite windy where I was sitting, the leaves moved and shivered as they would do in the bush.


I have also been working on another travellers blanket to have for my exhibition at Villa Burrus at  EPM at Ste Marie aux Mines in readiness for the launch of my book with Editions de Saxe. I will be exhibiting with Smaranda Bourgery and Marie-Christine Hourdebaight. I have also been working on quilts for the Through Our Hands which is being shown at Festival of Quilts next week




My Through Our Hands quilt- or part thereof that I was working on last week. They are meant to be portraits- so mine is a portrait of techniques I have used over the years combined with favourite imagery- it is a while since I have done anything with fire- so of course that had to be included, and trees.


My daughter asked if we could  catch up for a weekend in Gellibrand in September- but this is the way September is looking.... fly to New Zealand end August until 10 September with Aussie bush project- fly back sunday morning, swap suitcases, catch plane to Europe Sunday night- install exhibition at EPM, France , board flight back to Oz Monday arrive Tuesday ( we always lose a day coming back) swap suitcase, take flight to Adelaide early Wednesday morning to install Aussie Bush exhibition on Wednesday afternoon-  and finally after the exhibition I can have a bit of a rest and start preparing for East Timor and my residency.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Aussie Bush Project Onwards!

It's been an extremely busy few weeks since being back, and it's more of a challenge as the area where I live is a digital blackout area unless you have a dedicated phone line which I don't. So sometimes it is difficult to blog unless I plan very well and go into Maccas ( yikes) in Colac or am elsewhere where there is wifi.

The Aussie Bush Project had it's first showing in Sydney the weekend before last , and whilst I had hoped for some more entries, what arrived  in my mothers' mail box was  beautiful, the quality very high and I loved how each and every one of you made the  linocut printed panels your own.  I did take some  gallery shots, but I forgot to bring my mobile connector cord.In any case the lighting is always so awful at these big exhibition venues, and I have to say the lighting in Sydney was atrocious for a purpose built brand new venue. You can see some of the installation shots on my facebook page

There is still time to send your entries if you still want to join the project.  But the Melbourne  Craft & Quilt Fair exhibition dates 27-30 July are the absolute last date possible to submit work. Please email me if you would like to join and I will send you details of where to send and pay the entry fee.

I also  will be making a visitor book for the Melbourne exhibition- there were so many positive comments about all of your beautiful work that it should somehow be recorded. I also will be updating the Aussie Bush Page next week whilst I am housesitting as I know I will have wifi access. I will put all images on the page so you can share it with friends and famil and so you can see all the gorgeous work submitted. Please note the exhibition dates are on the  Aussie Bush page. I share with you some of the beautiful work submitted.


                                                           Denise Fordyce

                                                                  Sue Broadway

                                                          Lindell Green

                                                               Sally-Ann Westcott

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Aussie Bush Project

 UPDATE Just a reminder to everyone that I am looking forward to receiving your submissions for the Aussie Bush Project the week after next. Those that I have thus far seen are beautiful and even though using the  prints I made are definitely marching to the tune of the maker/artist.

The two images are of work made by Dominique Houles that she sent to me here in France so I can take them back to Australia next week. Just love all the detail stitching and the borders. If you have a piece to send please email me and I will send you address details  and banking details . Otherwise there is also a paypal button  on the Aussie Bush Project page where I have also updated the touring schedule!





Those of you who are not sure I do so hope you will join the project- I think it will be a wonderful installation . I have been working hard on making I hope hundreds of gum leaves to add to the installation and add to the "bush" feeling. Hoping to get at least another hundred done today- time is running out as I have a busy week ahead before heading back to Australia. I have a 19.5 hour layover in Qatar ( not only did I book to come back in the wrong month  but I also did not notice the layover- sigh) so there will be some hand stitching travelling with me.

The image below is of  the dozens of gum leaves I have already stitched!


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Maria Furlan Bellis- a Living Treasure Alert!

This story started about 4 years ago when I was standing in the office of Cuci Service in Oderzo. I noticed some, what appeared to be free motion embroidered framed images. I asked who had made them  and so begins a story of one of Italia's living treasures. Denise Feltrin told me the free motion embroideries had been made by a 90 year old lady who lived in Oderzo, and that she had made many more such embroideries. She offered to take me to see Maria ( the ladies name). Maria was rung to make sure it was ok and next thing I was whisked off with Denise's sister Doris to visit Maria . What happened next just left me  stuck for words. I took photos at the time but I think I was so amazed by what I encountered I did not set my  camera correctly and only a few photos were good enough to share.

So when I knew that I was going to Italy this time and that I would be close to Oderzo I contacted Cuci Service to see if I could meet with Maria again. I also contacted Alex Veronelli  CBDO from Aurifil threads to see if  they would be willing to donate some threads for Maria's work.

So what can I say??? this is the  amazing story of  a lady who took up free motion embroidery on a treadle machine at the age of 80!!!!! She had painted prior to that and had  once a long time ago made a self portrait in thread.

She was a teacher and has very fine sewing skills. When I asked her why she commenced making free motion embroideries at age 80- she said she woke up one morning and knew that was what she had to do. She has made more than a 1000 embroideries and  the Feltrin sisters from Cuci Service were the first to convince her to exhibit her work. She does not sell her work, so many of her works adorn the walls of her house. Walking into her house is like walking into a cave of wonderment ( well for an textile nut anyway) She has made copies of many of the great masters ( even improving some of them) but has also made embroideries of some of her own paintings which are beautiful.

She works on a treadle machine ( unbelievable that she has made so many embroideries on this machine) with a bare needle and an embroidery hoop. She uses a zig zag stitch to build  up layers of colour in thread. She uses any old thread ( which is why I asked  Aurifil to donate some threads) which she sources wherever she can. Maria is now 96 years old, passionate about her  art and passionate about what she makes, passionate about music and art,still grows her own vegetables in  her vegetable garden and is seeking a renewal of her drivers licence- as the french say "formidable"! When I visited this time she was preparing for an exhibition of embroideries she had made inspired by a popular calendar in Italy.

I will share many photos I took with full permission from Maria . I took photos of the walls of her house covered in her works ( all are framed so there was some light glare form the glass covering the embroideries), some of her great masters works, and some of her own which can be identified because she signs  embroideries made from her own work.

 The first three photos of Maria are in her studio



The photos cannot do justice to the effect of walking into Maria's  house and seeing the walls laden with her beautiful embroideries- speechless is one way of putting it. And this is just a small selection of what she had on display.









The following photos are some closer shots where the lighting would allow- the glare of the glass  frames sometimes interfered with photographing.















Klimt's Three Ages of Woman received Maria's own interpretation she left off the old woman because she did  not like her.



I feel humbled and honoured to have been able to give Maria some Aurifil threads and to be able to visit her house and look at her work , which she so graciously allowed me to share. It was an extraordinary experience-0 and I hope  the Italian art world or certainly the Italian textile world makes her a living treasure!  And last  Maria explaining some of her work- full of passion and insights, on art and life.