Monday, 31 March 2008

Harrietville 2008

This weekend was the annual Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria, weekend in Harrietville. Travelling with friends was a good day in the car, punctuated with stops at First Editions and Wangaratta Woollen Mills, lots of talk and laughter, and we did manage to eat and drink along the way, as well. Purchases were made and other travellers met and greeted. The journey to Harrietville is an event in itself.
Harrietville is a relaxed Friday night to Sunday lunch. With all meals provided, workshops you can drop in and out of, beautiful surrounds and welcoming locals, the weekend passes too quickly. There is so much to talk about that I'll add for the rest of the week.
This first post Harrietville post is about the workshops I managed to attend.
Marianne Little is a wonderful artist and paper maker and I managed to make two sheets of paper. Having done a little paper making, it was just a privilege to listen to her, look at her paper and, most delightfully to look through the portfolio of her art work. Inspiring!
On Saturday afternoon, I managed to attend Carmel and Jan's dyeing workshop. Inspired by the computer dyed yarns that have been available for sock making, they have devised a very interesting way of creating our own controlled dyeing versions. Much nicer, I think. I was using left over dyes and am not quite sure of my colour choices. I've skeined it up and it's not that bad. Trying to find a suitable pattern. I think I want something wavy!
One of the other workshops was Viv's fibre sandwich. I didn't participate in this, but she decided to create a weekend long fibre sandwich, which was such fun. With willing helpers, she ended up with over 40 people contributing and 80, 50gm sandwiches to distribute. I can't wait to spin mine up, I think I'll card it first. Just love it.
More throughout the week.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Frustrating moments

This is a picture of a disappointment. I've spent a good part of the afternoon, knitting, unpicking, come up with this, which isn't right. So this will be unpicked and started again!
On a rainier note, after the heat of a week or so ago it's now glorious rain. However, looking out my window.....not only is my washing still on the line but so is my neighbours. Both optimists, obviously.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a happy Easter. We went to the beach and ate chocolates. Not bad really. Saturday afternoon listening to Ross Wilson on Churchill Island, Sunday afternoon, cheese and wine at Phillip Island wines. The rest just lazing really.
I wasn't totally non-productive. Some spinning was done. I had purchased at the last Australian Sheep and Wool Show some dyed fleece. I've spun it up to create a few different yarns. I'll take this all to Harrietville. I need to find some matching top to ply with, and I'll start knitting as well.
As I haven't used these yarns in anything particular it will be interesting to see how they knit up.
This is the last lot of spinning that I won't record how long it takes. I've decided to no longer apply a flat rate to each yarn, but an individual one based on the time taken to make. This will, hopefully, highlight which will be better to sell and those that I need to use in a more productive way. I suspect some of the more fun yarns are faster, not just fat, slubby yarns. It also fits into the way I'm going in that each piece is unique and is priced accordingly.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Everyone made some sales

I checked my stock at In.cube8tr to discover I made a sale. At last, cheers all round. I must make some more interesting cuffs, as it was the black multi-colour handspun cuff which hopefully looks wonderful on the buyer.
I also called in to a shop in Smith St which sells all sorts of 'goth' stuff. Lots of black t-shirts, corsets, very interesting jewellery and a great range of killer shoes. These are my purchases, which are a bit tame, but still fun. Look at the label.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Stash busting

I have been working, despite the lack of blogging. A combination of our wonderful heat wave and computer issues has meant a lack of movement on this front.

I've had a commission for a set of my red cuffs in a much smaller size.

Also, I've been doing some serious stash busting. Spinning 5 or 6 different unwanted commercial yarns together and then knitting on extremely large needles (25mm) is a very quick way of creating a really bulky fabric. If you take more care than I have on the colour combinations, it actually results in quite a good look.

The sad thing, is that even though quite a number of yarns have been removed from the stash, there seems to be no more space in the storage boxes. It's as if all the yarns relaxed and breathed out!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Masks of China at the Immigration Museum

On a blazing hot day in Melbourne we headed to the Immigration Museum for the 'Masks of China' exhibition. It was worth it. Masks ranged from the very beautiful to the quirky to the downright disturbing! As a bonus there were some beautiful textiles with the traditional embroidery that we associate with Chinese textiles. Colours were vibrant with a great combination of the three primaries plus green and white for a scheme which worked better than just the three primaries.

I would love to know more about Gnome Grandma and Gnome Grandpa, especially Grandma, who had some very interesting facial expressions.

Unfortunately, knowing I would be unable to take photos, I had assumed that the Museum would have published a catalogue which I was ready to purchase. There was none and there was, apparently, insufficient funds to produce one. This Museum needs more funding. Its exhibitions are always interesting and in a country of migrants this is intrinsic to how we think of ourselves.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Meet some rocks


I thought you might like to meet some new friends. I've finished four out of the six. The other two are nearly done. I'm very happy with them and seeing them again this morning did make me smile. I hope it does that for others. They will look cute on the stall on Saturday night.


Tomorrow is a busy day. Boys tennis, the Black and Coloured Sheepbreeders Association are coming to the Handweavers and Spinners guild to sell their wares. And I have to go to Twilight Sounds at Sills Bend for the market.


Sunday will be equally nice with a visit to the Immigration Museum to see the Masks of China exhibition. I will miss youngest son in a rock band, but hubby will be there camera in hand.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Exhibitions to think about

After visiting In.cube8tr sales, we live in hope....I decided I could afford the time to visit a couple of exhibitions. This is an area that should always be part of any art practice. To see what others are doing in whatever medium is stimulating and thought provoking.
The first was at Collingwood Gallery in Smith St, where the exhibition was 'Journeys' aboriginal art from a number of areas. My favourite picture was a fairly muted (greys, blacks, whites) on, I think, waterholes. but all the work was worth a look and in a number of styles, including 'body paint' which I hadn't seen before and quite different. The exhibition owner/curator showed a piece by Gabielle Possum, grandaughter of Clifford Possum. At six foot tall and about a foot wide, it was striking and beautiful. There were also a fish trap and fish net and sculptural works, all fairly traditional.
I then went off to the Yarra Sculpture Gallery in Vere St. Collingwood, (home of the Contemporary Sculpture Association of which I am a member) where, in particular, the members of the committee were holding a joint exhibition called 'Committed'. Derek & Julie Collins did another wonderful work combining plants and metal sculpture contrasting attitudes. Phill Hall had a large recycled work, different from what I'd seen him do before and Cecilia Fogelberg had some very confronting textile pieces. Incredibly exquisite work and confronting subject matter.
Both these exhibitions raised the question of the intent of the artists. All telling stories in their own way, about the things they think is important. I always wonder whether, or how much, you have to work to achieve this in your work, or whether it's an organic process, involving personal preferences.
Something about the nature of art.
I also have to start designing my website. Here is my inspiration from which I'll start work.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Just go crazy

When in doubt just go out left-field way. I've had this idea about wrapping rocks for awhile, but was going to do it on a big scale for the Sculpture Award, as that won't be happening till next year, I'll just do a little practice now.

Each of the rocks has a name and its' own scarf. They'll sit on a covered seat, much more comfortable than bare wood.

I'll sit them on the stall and at least people can have a bit of a laugh.

And here is a picture of the said stall, as taken by a friend on Sunday's market. It's a bit dark, and I haven't quite decided what it all says about the presentation. More thinking required.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Has been a busy long weekend. Saturday, I did the domestic goddess thing and cleaned the parents were coming over for youngest son's birthday. He's officially a teenager, I've got two now!

Sunday was the market, and unfortunately was hot. So if people could be bothered coming out, and who could blame them if they sat at home in the cool, they certainly weren't interested in buying scarves. I did sell one, which paid for the stall and made up for last months shortfall.

I'm now trying to figure out how to approach next Saturday night. The Banyule festival has Twilight Sounds at Sills Bend, which is a great night of quite good music. They giving us stalls there for free to help promote the market. But the weather forecast is for a week of 30degree(C) days, including Saturday. Who's going to buy scarves?

Anyway, feeling like something should get done, thought I'd better do some photocopying from someone else's book for the Sheep and Wool show project. What a wonderful book of shells. I collected shells when I was a child. Don't have many left from that time, but we've a very small collection down at the beach house. So here are some beautiful photographs to inspire.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Whilst it would appear that I haven't been working on anything much in particular, I have had a project on the go for a few days. The knitting is finished, but I'm still wondering what I've done. They're a pair of fingerless mittons, only a thumb hole but with quite a cuff up to the elbow. I think they need to be displayed intelligently. I'm looking for the right sized tubes. I have either too large or too small. Sounds a bit like Goldilocks. Anyway I'll keep looking for wrist sized tubes.
I've also just started this triangle scarf. It's been sitting in my head for awhile and this is how it has manifest itself so far. I think I'll add buttons to finish it off.
I have been thinking about presentation for awhile. Some comments made about how people don't always realise that artists such as those at In.cube8tr make unique one-off pieces and that it needs to be spelt out. This has been the last piece in a corner of the complex puzzle, but I thought it might be nice to give each piece a name, with a description that is both useful and hopefully entertaining, as a way of saying something about the unique nature of my work.
I also need to photo my finished work, I have alot of work in progress, but few of the finished pieces. So I'll post these with their name and story. See how it goes!
Thanks George.

Friday, 7 March 2008

You can't have enough earings

The last couple of days has seen alot of administration and not alot of work. I did manage to console myself at In.cube8tr with these gorgeous and inexpensive pair of earings.
I haven't sold anything, as yet. I did have a chat with the lovely Kylie. Lots of encouragement and feedback. I have now met Kylie and the equally lovely Lisa. I did manage a good look around. My favourites were the knitwear and the found object jeweller. It will be interesting to see how this shop evolves.
Yesterday was market allocation day and we spent the morning putting people in their places. We've managed to just have enough to open both the upper and lower halls. There are some interesting new people. So if you're around Ivanhoe on Sunday come and have a look.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Web Design for dummies

As you may be aware I'm currently studying a short course in Web design which harks back to my earlier profession (ie. BC - before children) of Analyst/Programmer. I do however, at times, feel like a fool. In class, terrific......come home and try something....uuuugh. I think it's coming together, but to what end?

Anyway, something far more pleasant is my current spinning. In the Beginning Spinning class we always have a quick random dyeing lesson. It's fun and opens the students up to the possibility of colour to make even their earliest attempts look wonderful.
This is my attempt. I like to try something and this time, I didn't wash the fleece before dyeing. It is surprising, as it took the colour much better than I thought it would.
Here is the fluff, combed, before spinning.
The next class is tonight, I hope I can spin it all up.
Off to In.cube8tr today, wish me luck.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

New product design

Have had an idea playing around in my head about making a simple but stylish backpack. This is my first attempt.
Using the weaving technique on the knitting machine, I've knit a piece of fabric as long as I could. I did run out of yarn and the machine started to kick up a fuss, so this is more in the line of a crochet hook holder...longer, longer....but it works. I've sewn it up and felted it.
Unfortunately, photography has let me down and you can't see the rich texture or colour, however, I love it and will be making a full sample, for me, next.
I've also had a bit of a thought about spinning. I have so enjoyed the last few days spinning that I really need to design yarn for particular projects. I look at the commercial yarn stash and am becoming more frustrated with it, as it doesn't have the colours or textures I want. Some serious stash busting is required here to get rid of that unwanted yarn!....

Monday, 3 March 2008

Jewellery as Art

Sunday morning coffee with partner demanded some reading material, well he reads the paper! and I found the latest issue of 'Craft Arts International' had this wonderful article on Marjorie Schick who does body sculpture. It's very inspiring and the idea of getting so big is really intriguing. If you're going to do sculpture that's what is needed. I seem to be getting they can sell? I think I need to work on bigger pieces. That's why the Sculpture award was useful, but that won't run till next year. I need to keep looking for appropriate opportunities.

I don't always buy this magazine. It's always beautiful, but not always enough to interest me to justify buying it. This is well worthwhile.

And I finished the skeins for the Bendigo workshop and am very happy. In April, I'll do two more sets, one with fleece and the other 'disobeying' the workshop co-ordinator (me!) and doing something else.

Sunday, 2 March 2008


A pretty busy couple of days. Friday, I finally went to in.cube8r and rented a cube. I do need to go back and have a good look. I

only had an hour parking spot and it took all of my time to sort myself out. Lovely helpful young lady at in.cube8tr made me feel welcome and I'm hopeful that both ventures will be successful.

The first meeting of the 9x5 market working group also took place. Now we have to be serious about making this a self-sustaining market. A good number of people have volunteered and I feel very hopeful.

Yesterday was Experimental Spinning day and we were playing with beads. What alot of glittery fun. I did alot of talking and showing and only managed to produce this very small sample. However, it is very useful on several counts. Firstly, threading the beads on a core yarn and then wrapping the core was successful. Secondly, knitting it up was great as it really is fluffy and round. I could have used bigger needles, but the 5mm needles were all that was available.

Coffee, then Thai food finished the day.

NOTE: in.cube8r gallery: