Calm in the Chaos

Ironically, this is the title of an artwork I made, in a less chaotic time, for the inaugural Australian Textile Art Award. The exhibition opened last Friday, then the gallery immediately closed for an indefinite time due to the Corona Virus.

Last October, in what seems like another life, we spent a wonderful week at Lake Garda, Italy. We walked along the lake edge, caught ferries to lake side villages, ended the days with an Aperol Spritz and a delicious dinner.

My plan was to make work inspired by this beautiful lake, focusing on the enjoyment of life.

Artist Statement 

Big skies and large bodies of water calm me, I take a deep breath and sigh, all is right with the world. This work began after a lakeside holiday with a goal to reflect and inspire this simple joy in life. However, back home life got in the way, with responsibilities, interruptions, and the negative influences of social media and the news. Working through the many iterations of this piece has helped me accept that the chaos will continue, and that we need to look for the glimpses of calm amongst it.

Materials and Techniques

Materials – silk organza, silk dupion, recycled business ties, woolen blanket, polyester machine thread, embroidery thread. Techniques – Fabrics were printed and hand dyed, then layered together and machine stitched throughout. Some layers have been cut away. Colonial knots were then stitched throughout. Individual circles have been assembled with hand stitching.

Waiting, but busy

My exhibition Of Our Time – Ordinary Lives opens in one month today!

This past month has been spent writing a catalogue essay, labeling and choosing images, organising layouts, writing lists for guests and floor sheets…all necessary for an exhibition, but lacking the somewhat meditative process of making. My evenings in the studio usually consist of continuing from where I left off on my current project. It wasn’t until my work was finished, that I realised how much I need this and how bored, frustrated and lost I felt. I picked up this set of samples/experiments that have been sitting around for a while and started some simple stitching. What a lovely distraction from essay writing 🙂  With the essay submitted, late last week the lovely Anne Williams gave me a private tutorial on making artist books using Coptic Stitch binding.

I was delighted with the potential and made another using one of my art cards and used transfer print papers.I plan to make a limited edition of Artist books for my exhibition.On a sad note, this is the last issue of Down Under Textile magazine. The publishers have found it is no longer economically viable. A sign of the times for print publications, but still very disappointing for the readership and textiles in general in Australia. So many of us have had the opportunity to have our work featured over the years. I am especially grateful to Editor Kate Oszko for inviting me to write for the magazine over the past 18 months.





Cut away and Folding

Colour Project – Pink, Part 4

Some samples of cut away layers of fabric. Below the layers have been stitched and cut away, repeating as each fabric has been added.

Above another bonded fabric origami piece, below rows of folded silk triangles.

Below, the reverse of the squares above, all the layers stitched through at the beginning, with more stitching and cutting, progressing to the middle.

This final pink piece has loose folds, creating a softer version of the samples earlier in the month.

Gifted Exhibtion

Gifted is the Christmas exhibition at Mundaring Arts Centre for which a piece of my work was selected. The exhibition includes works in Textiles, Painting, Wood turning, Drawing, Jewelery, Mixed Media, Photography, Ceramics, Glass and Printmaking.

Red Red Wine, (61cm x 61cm) is part of my current series canvases. Printed, stitched and cut away layers of fabric.

The exhibition is on at:-

Mundaring Arts Centre

7190 Great Eastern Highway, Mundaring

until 24 December 2012

10am – 5pm weekdays and 11am – 3pm weekends




Monet’s Garden

Colour Project – Green, Part 11

In 2008 at the end of a wonderful European family holiday I was able to fulfill my dream of visiting Monet’s Garden in Giverny France.  It was quite an effort to get there, with several  challenges along the way. For me it was absolutely worth the effort.  Stunning displays of colourful flowers, the reflections in The Water Garden, I could see how Monet spent the later years of his life painting the Water Lilies series. We took a lot of photos…I printed some of these photos on the fabric sheets that you can use to print images from your computer…then what to do with them…they evoked such strong memories of the garden I didn’t know how to do them justice…not wanting to just plonk the image in a piece of work…So four years later, I’ve chopped them up!

As a piece of textile I think they work better…

Below is a print from the Breakdown Printing workshop that I have coloured with chalks and made permanent with textile medium.

Below a print from the same screen with hand stitch added.


Colour Project – Green, Part 8

I’ve just received a few new books in the post one is Create Your Own Hand Printed Cloth by Rayna Gillman. She encourages you to use every day objects (things you find in the kitchen, shed and office) to print, stamp and use as rubbings.

These first two samples are on polyester satin that was previously transfer printed.

Above – Stamp printed with fabric doilies. Below – Circle foam stamps I have made and a  piece of foam grid. In the book Rayna talks about using the same objects in different ways, such as using it as a stamp or rubbing and also as a stencil using the negative spaces.

These two are cotton fabric that have previously been coloured with a wash of printing ink. I’ve then used patterned ceramic tiles for the prints.

Below – using the same tiles as a rubbing plate on transfer printed polyester satin.

Gelatine Prints to Complex Cloth

Colour Project – Green, Part 7

This set of samples are created from re working some of my first attempts at Gelatine Plate printing over a year ago. The Gelatine Plate is still in the fridge and appears to be  useable…I plan to do some more soon…

Left is the original piece, right – adding a Shiva Paint stick texture rubbing from a cane chair and a lead light window.

Above – Bubble wrap stamp print was added to a very dull piece of printing, Then right – some gold Shiva Stick roll/scraped onto the brown stripes.

The gelatine plate second print (also called shadow print) was great for a background to the stamping using corks, wood blocks and a foam cut stamp.

The original lace doily print left has been coloured with chalk pastels and then scraped over with fabric printing extender to seal the colour. All of the pieces above could still be over dyed or added to in other ways to create more depth and interest.

Print, Stitch and Weave

Colour Project – Green, Part 6

Above – Previously stamp printed stripes, cut up and embroidered on felt.

Below – cut out sections left have been used in the piece right.

I have collected quite a few old doilies, both fabric and plastic and I have been playing around with dyeing, printing and stitching them. This one previously dyed has been woven with strips of scrunch dyed silk habutai.



Colour Project – Red, Part 5

1.5 x 1.5cm squares cut from red fabrics – silks, cottons, polyesters, t/shirting then threaded. I really like the effect…need to test how wearable it is.This is a sample from my first attempt at Breakdown Printing at a WAFTA workshop with tutor Linda Stokes. I’ve used cassette tape spools, bubble wrap and a piece of that puffy netting they put around mangoes to create the texture. We will be adding more layers and depth through additional printing and discharge at the second part of the workshop this Sunday.Another necklace style piece – same red fabrics cut in long thin triangles. It’s interesting how each type of fabric reacts differently….some twist, some bubble, some lie flat.



Texture and Dirt

Colour Project – Brown, Part 12

Above is a print taken from a lovely textured piece of bark. It was quite uneven so I used a roller to apply ink directly to the bark, then placed the fabric on top to print. Below the seed pods were inked individually then stamp printed onto the fabric. Both fabrics were dyed earlier in the month, top is head cloth, below is the cotton nightie.

Above – 3 weights of cotton “rubbed” with red dirt given to me by a friend, collected near a rather large rock in Australia…I left the dirt to dry on the fabric overnight, then washed it out well with soapy water. It has not changed the hand of the fabric, although I’m not sure how colour fast this method is.