Category Archives: Uncategorized

Big holes

Hard to believe it has been six months since I had been to the dentist. But it was true, so I had a day in the city. Fortunately the dental visit is not the subject of this blog. No holes there. But everywhere else there are signs of what is about to happen beneath the streets.

At Federation Square, Flinders Street has been partially blocked in preparation. A huge photo of the boring machine looms over the pedestrians. Signs and symbols understood only be surveyors are all over the pavements.

At the City Square next to St Pauls a big hole has been dug and a conveyor installed to take away even more dirt. All this is for the MetroTunnel which will see two new stations added to the Hoddle Grid.

On the opposite side of Swanston Street where Town Hall Station is to go, buildings are down and the archeologists have moved in. Painstakingly sifting through the foundations that go back to the 1850s. New views have opened up and the imprint of what has gone can be seen on the remaining walls and in the early footings uncovered.

Another dig is in progress at the site of what will be the State Library Station.

It is the largest archaeological dig in Victoria’s history and they expect to uncover more than a million artefacts. A regularly changing display of items can be found at the shop front headquarters near the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets.

This week there are bits of penny dolls and Frozen Charlottes. These reminded me of the two tiny figures that still sit in a potted maidenhair fern that was my grandmothers. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they belonged to her mother before her.

I am quite glad the display of teeth has been taken away. They have found over a thousand as the Town Hall dig includes the former premises of dentist whose business speciality was extractions.


Midnight visitor

Over the last few months a visitor has come calling late at night. Sometimes as early as 10.00 pm, often much later. I don’t know who he is or where he comes from. I don’t think it can be from too far away but such visitors have been known to wander for quite a distance.

He sits on the mat and cries to be let in. Just softly, but quite persistently. The residents here check him out, they press their noses to the glass to see who is making the fuss. But it is not a good idea to let such strangers inside. No matter how cute they look, or how much they plead.

He doesn’t look hungry or unloved. Maybe he is a good escape artist or maybe his family doesn’t know that he should not be left to wander in the night.

No matter how many times he comes, he will have to stay on the other side of the glass. This house is full.

Cotton Tales

Last Saturday I went up into the hills to Belgrave Heights to see a small but impressive quilt show. The CottonTales is a group of about 16 quilters and every five years they put on an exhibition to raise money for the local fire brigade and to show off their work. This time there were about 67 items on show.

Nearly every surface in the small hall was covered in quilts and other textile items. The raffle quilt was a beauty.

The group did a challenge with a sister group in the US. That group had their show recently, so photos of their version of Bento Box Mystery were shown alongside the finished quilts from this group.

There were even three shops in attendance, lined up on the stage with their irresistible wares. From up here there was a good view of the quilts too.


Sonia Delaunay


The inspiration for the October project for the Art Quilters was Sonia Delaunay, a Ukranian born French artist whose long career began in the early 20th century. One of her paintings was included in the recent MoMA show at the National Gallery. I was really struck by the bold colours. Here the photo I took of Portuguese Market 1915.

IMG_0312As well as painting she is known for her textile and clothing designs and it is this aspect of her work along with her geometric abstractionism that I focused on for my little quilt.

There is an excellent article on her fashion work here.

I chose one dress shown at 2015 Tate exhibition and one of her fabric designs, shown here in two colour ways, and combined the two. Images from this review and this blogpost about textiles.

Like most things, it was not quite finished by the Art Quilters meeting, there is still some trimming of the appliquéd silk chiffon to be done. Even so I am quite happy with how it turned out.

The geometric shapes overlaying the geometric batik print distort the pattern and add a new liveliness. The semi-transparent fabric allows for a shadow of the pattern beneath to show through.

NOTY again

I was sure I wrote a post about my visit to the North of the Yarra Quilt Exhibition when I went in 2016. Apparently not.

This time I will, even though it is a few days after the event. The venue was the Eltham Community Centre, in the leafy Alistair Knox Park on the banks of Diamond Creek. The building is in typical Eltham style, mud brick, big beams and expansive windows. A perfect setting for the quilts.

A version of the Bonnie Hunter 2017 Mystery Quilt On Ringo Lake made by Diane Ross from her stash. Maybe if I did simple straight line quilting mine would be finished too.

This striking quilt looked like it was done using foundation piecing, but it’s not. It was frustrating that the labels had omitted pattern sources and designers. Fortunately the helpful white glove volunteer found the information on the label at the back.

Jan Mullen’s Leavez pattern uses freestyle cutting which is only a little bit scary.

There were some interesting and successful experiments on show. Robyn Cuthbertson is a professional machine quilter. This small piece is a sampler for a new technique that involves quilting the circles first then outlining the design. She mentions trapunto but I am not sure if the circles get another layer of wadding before the background is quilted.

Summer Garden by Chris Field is fully of pretty flower blocks. They have been made by putting rusted nails, washers, bolts etc on moistened fabric. The imprint left is then embroidered and embellished with rust dyed lace.

Two quilts showed amazing perseverance and a passion for tiny hexagons. They are both really big.

Oil on Water is an original design by Phyl Howe inspired by a painting that was washes of colour.

Stary Stary Night is also by Phyl, this time her challenge was making the stars all different. The all over quilting gave the finished quilt a puffy look.

I don’t often vote in the viewer’s choice when I visit a show, but the fabric selection, needle turn appliqué and quilting on this one was stunning. Shellabrations! a Julie Wallace pattern made by Guat See Khoo. It is her first attempt at free motion quilting!

As well as the quilt exhibition it was possible to see some of the paintings from the Nillumbik Shire Council Visual Art Collection that hang in the Community Centre including this lovely Hilary Jackman Lemon Tea 1989.



Spring has disappeared for a while. On a miserably cold day there was a brief bit of sunshine after a pathetic 1mm of rain.

Tiny flowers on ground covers, sedum, Sutera cordata and white periwinkle Vinca minor alba.

White buddleia, very very pale lilac  Alyogyne huegelii and a white Banksia rose. I just love the fluffy petals of this flower.

Blossoms. Quince, Satsuma Plum and ornamental pear.

Raindrops but not snow drops. This is the dreaded onion weed. I found this plant sneaking across from a clump growing next door.

Tompkins obviously thinks that this water is not just for the birds, even if it involves balancing with one paw in the bath.


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.