Waverley Art Quilters set a theme for a small textile piece each month. I have been looking forward to the Architecture theme and had planned to use the Reader’s Digest Building in Surry Hills, Sydney as the inspiration for my work.

The RMIT Campaign for funding to reimagine the Capitol Theatre as an industry and education space reminded me of this magnificent interior, and so I used the amazing ceiling as a starting point for a highly textured work.

It is made from smocked white cotton and primed art canvas. This involved lots of hand stitching over the past few weeks. Once I had a pile of interestedly worked fabrics, my challenge was to piece them together in a way that reflected the amazing crystalline walls and ceiling of the theatre. It has a sort of inverted pyramid shape with strong 45 degree angles and narrow rectangles.

Limited by my smocked pieces this is what I came up with. And from the back you can see all the stitching.

When held up to the light is is semi transparent and I have been playing with various fabrics to put behind it to replicate the coloured lighting that is a feature of the ceiling.

The best effect I think is with the ice dyed fabric at the bottom, but to hide this gorgeous fabric would be a shame, so I may use one of the top two commercial prints.

This is an excellent article on the Capitol Theatre and the architectural contribution of Marion Mahony who did most of the work even though it is largely known as being by Walter Burley Griffin.


AQA Show in Box Hill

After a busy morning teaching frame weaving in Carrum Downs I managed to squeeze in an hour at the Australian Quilters Association Quilt Show at the Box Hill Town Hall. Parking restrictions also prevent lingering. The show is open on Saturday and Sunday until 4.00.

There were lots of signs saying photos of quilts were for personal use only. However after a chat with the convenor I was given permission to post some here and on social media. A large number of the quilts displayed were either reproduction style or hexagons. I did find a few brighter ones and some using different techniques.

The low contrast on this quilt was pleasing from a distance. Up close the fabric patterns still bled across the blocks. It is Season’s/ The Avenue by Ros Devine from Louise Pappas’ The Avenue.

A very colourful frogmouth by Tracey Leonard.

A trip around the world by Jan Hodge, made with Liberty fabrics.

The quilt on the right is made using orphan blocks. Maureen Mackie worked out a very bright setting for what would otherwise have been a rather dull collection of baskets.

Jill Galvin devised a hand project with the assistance of Janet Kidson and inspiration from Deanne Cevaal. It is three layers of whole cloth, dip dyed and then stitched using lots of treasures from friends. She has titled the finished work To everything there is a season Eccl 3:1.

Very much a traditional quilt show, it was interesting to see what else is being done by members of the group.



A rainbow

By looking carefully to find what is in flower, plus fruit and foliage, you can see a rainbow in my garden.


See yourself weaving

The calm before the storm. This is how the Handweavers and Spinners rooms looked on Friday night. All tidied up and set up for the Weaving Open Day. The empty tables are for even more looms, tapestry weavers and band weavers.

Just before doors opened at 10.00 on Saturday morning I had a chance to look at what everyone else was doing. It was really inspiring. So many wonderful ways of creating beautiful textiles.

The Louet Erica loom is a very well designed table loom from the Netherlands. It is set up with the rose path threading. My dream loom is a floor loom from this company. Maybe in a few years.

I really liked the strong graphic appearance of the twill weave in red and grey being created by Rosie.

Connie is part of the Kumihimo (Japanese braid making) group. The secret to success she told me is to remember the compass points and be organised. The band being woven on the inkle loom is for a strap and closing tab of a bag woven with eucalyptus dyed yarn.

Trudy is the queen of all things small. She even manages to weave on a mini backstop loom on overseas flights. Today she was demonstrating pin weaving and also had junior visitors having a go at stick weaving.

The soft coloured tapestry is an interpretation of the watercolour painting shown behind.

Visitors got to have a go at weaving, and discovered it is really not very difficult at all. Well done Jenni!

This is the first time I have seen the Lotus floor loom in action, it is usually under wraps. Jan got it all set up with a colour and weave warp. The plan is that we will then use it in the 8 shaft course I am doing once a month. That should be fun.

The rooms were very busy for the whole of the day and we were all exhausted by the time the last of our visitors left. The day was declared a success and we hope to have encouraged lots of people to take their interest in weaving a little further.


I am teaching a simple weaving course at a community house to a small group of enthusiastic students. These are the samples I made for the basic weaving techniques covered in week 1 and for tapestry weaving in week 2.

The first is made from garden hemp cloth stretched on a frame and then threads withdrawn and replaced with a wool yarn; weaving using a long needle.

The second has a 4 ply cotton warp on the same frame and 8 ply acrylic weft. It shows quite a few tapestry weaving techniques. The frames I made from coreflute, tape and tapered polythene tubes have been most successful.

The next samples are for the weaving demonstration I am doing at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild Open Day next Saturday. 10am – 3pm 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North.

It was suggested that I do a honeycomb weave, actually it was more like told that is what I would be doing. This is because I used a version of this structure in my final piece for Introduction to Weaving.

This time I am using 8 shafts and have picked a draft that uses stripes in the warp to emphasise the pattern. There were two weaving options and I will use the two faced one rather than the double weave which is much thicker. The cells also are a bit too squished but it is still a very nice weave structure.

My problem now is to decide on which yarn to use to outline the cells. I am showing both sides as I used different yarn front and back.

My first choice which is at the bottom is too thick. On both sides. The second is a merino baby yarn which flows around the tight cells beautifully. I used a lighter section of the variegated yarn on the front, darker on the back. It does look very blue.

The third is a multihued wool with different colours plied together. I really like the front with the hint of green but on the back the contrast between the pink and blue is so high the pattern gets lost. This is interesting too. So I cannot decide. Do I have same front and back, or different? And which yarns?

Opinions welcome.


Little trees

Bonsai is an interesting form of gardening and those who practice the art are certainly passionate about little trees. I went to the display put on by the Waverley Bonsai Club at the Mount Waverley Community Centre mainly to check out the hall renovations.

But I ran into someone I knew who gave me a tour of the exhibits, explaining the finer details on each plant. I was told pines are the best and his Japanese Black Pine was a great example.

It was repotted about a year ago and the prop keeping it from falling over has only just been removed. I think Ken said he started it from a seedling in the 1970s.

Acacia spectubilis. Complete with a kangaroo to emphasise that this is an Australian plant.

The eucalyptus is about twenty years old. It had flower buds but no further information about the variety. I thought the pot the melaleuca sat in was well chosen.

Was this liquidambar pining for the freedom of the park outside?

Suiseki is the Japanese art of stone appreciation.

MoMA in Melbourne part 2

In my first post I talked mainly about the art that expected to see when I visited the NGV last Wednesday. Here are some thoughts on what I saw that was new for me.

  1. Fans

    Three works on the same subject. One the original Fan (model GB1) designed by Peter Behrens for AEG in 1908. His design work sort to eliminate barriers between art and industry. The second Giant soft fan by Claes Oldenburg part of the pop art movement of the 1960s.

    Olafur Eliasson’s Ventilator (1997), a single house fan swinging from the ceiling by a thin wire.  So simple in contrast to the large works that are usually in the main hall that it is easily missed. I was not able to get a photo, so this one is from Broadsheet which has an excellent review by Will Cox and 63 photos of the exhibition.

  2. Bold geometries by different artists

    Franz Kline White forms 1955. The title made me look twice at this work, because at first all I saw were the black slashes.

    While many there are many well known American works on the walls, it was good to see artists from other countries. Helio Oiticica was a Brazilian artist who, as a member of the Neo Concrete movement, aimed to liberate geometric constructions from the highly circumscribed prescriptions of an earlier generation. Metaesquema no 348 and Metaesquema both from 1958. I just loved the animation in the work.

  3. Film and video

    Films feature in many of the thematic areas of the exhibition and all worth taking the time to view, if only to see past times. Christian Marclay created the black and white and colour video Telephones in 1995. It is composed of tightly edited clips from film and television showing human emotional engagement with the telephone from first dialling to hanging up in disgust. Most topical I felt.

  4. Text

    Jenny Holzer Living: Some days you wake up and immediately… 1980-82

  5. Global art and displacement

    ‘Flight Patterns’ is the last section which is a pity because energy is flagging by this time. There are many confronting works exploring the digital world, globalisation and displacement. Woven panel 2016 was loom woven by the National Union of Sahrawi Women. It is a map of Rabouni, the Algerian refugee camp in which that population has remained dislocated for more than four decades.

  6. Myself as part of an art work

Roman Ondak, Measuring the universe
My height is recorded by name and the date on the wall of this installation. It falls in about the centre of the thick black band so you won’t be able to find it. Other people’s heights are above and below this mean.