Sunday, 30 December 2012

Slow Progress

Two posts in 2 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is great to be connected again and to have time to indulge  in frivolity, if blogging can be called frivolous.

I have put up 2 pictures of my progress since Oct.31st which is the top picture.  The second image  was taken today and shows how much I have done in 42 1/2 hours weaving since October.  Sometimes it seems so slow as I am constantly changing threads and  blends.  The earth bit at the top of the image took forever because it had to be woven right across.  I much prefer to do pieces and am enjoying the yellow Kakadu piece and the orange bit which refers to our trip on the Ghan. The colour in the top one is better;  photos taken in 2 different situations is more than likely the reason.

So my New Year's resolution is KEEP WEAVING GLENNIS

Happy New Year to everyone who views the missives  I pen.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Granny's Rocker

It is about 6 weeks since I have posted anything owing to the fact that we have moved house. The move went smoothly and the only thing missing is my pot of saffron bulbs.  I went to great trouble to pot up about 20 large bulbs and I think the moving people must have thought it was a pot of dirt and left it behind.  It was several weeks before I realised it which was a tad too late.  We have unpacked about 80 boxes and still have about 20 to go when the new wardrobes arrive at the end of Jan.  One thing I have unpacked is my great grandmother's rocking chair which took about 40 years to get; a long story.  However, having finally got it, my other half  fixed and stained the wood and I was left  to sort out covering.  I have a roll of antique cotton velour which I dyed in different strengths of dye and asked Mary who does lovely quilting to make a piece of crazy patchwork for the seat and back.

I love the result.  As for my weaving I have clocked up 201 hours and am getting there. I have been doing 6 hour stints and hope to get it finished this month.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I have not touched this tapestry for at least 3 weeks but I had done some work on it before that and will post where I am up to.  I am hoping to have a lot of time when I unpack to finish it before the end of Jan.

It is starting to  take shape.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Roses and Visitors

I suppose because I won't have access to this view much longer I should enjoy it while I can.  The roses are lovely this year and the red lilies and nasturtiums in the back ground provide a nice contrast.  Needless to say I have done no weaving; the sorting and packing for a garage sale precluded that. 

One of the things I find facinating about having a blog is the number of visitors and how they find it. It is exciting to have people from all over the world look at my musings; but I was really excited the other day to discover I had a visitor from Hanoi, a city I love and would like to spend an extended time in. One day.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


I have finished a new part of the tapestry and I have called it Alice after our tour around Alice Springs.  At the end of the 2 hour tour Albert Namajira' grave was pointed out almost as an afterthought.  I thought how sad it was that this eminent Aboriginal painter was  reduced to an afterthought by the tour guide. He painted many ghost gums and this is my take on the one on his grave.

 The second one looks lighter  because you can see more of the orange  zebra rock section and I think I have photoshopped the first one.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


I am getting there - slowly. Despite the temptation to do the opposite, I am taking my time which means I probably  won't get it done by the due date.  As my grandmother would say, better to be sure than sorry. I am including a photo of images on the floor near the loom that I refer to often re. colour of the Kimberleys and the train trip.  The thing that surprised me was how much green there was.  I often put pictures up on the computer as I can see how things are progressing with the weaving.

I have posted 2 blogs  in 5 days; anything to avoid work.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Today I am having a day free of house issues, workshops, tapestry weaving and assignments and just  fiddling around - mainly catching up on my life; which is nice.  The last 2 days I attended a workshop at Open Drawer on Patterning - historical traditions and innovative variations given by Ruth Hadlow which I have found very demanding but very useful.  There were only six in the class and the workshop focused on experimentation and a subjective  open - ended approach and exploration of patterning; e.g. we drew with scissors which is very freeing.  At the end of the two days, I have come away with a subject matter to research which I can use in designing tapestries. However there is much research to do and in areas that I have never dreamt of.
In discussing my response to one of the exercises we had to do, Ruth questioned (she asks more questions than I do) why a particular thing worked and it was because of an, unintentional on my part, flick of colour on a white page with black writing.  Which reminded me of a suggestion made to me about the fish shape in my tapestry. 

It was suggested to me that the fish looked blocky and  lacked reference to the surrrounding area and I should add some yellow to heighten interest and enliven the shape. 

I know the 2nd picture is a little lighter, but I think it works.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


The  latest assignment to keep me from weaving the large tapestry due in 6 or 7 weeks is called Interaction between people.  We had to do 4 drawings and select one to do small tapestry  sample.  The drawing I chose to do a tapestry of is one of my beautiful cousin Marj who died last year after a long battle with breast cancer.  When I was doing photography at RMIT we had to do portraits and I took  a lot of photos of her.  She had just found out she had to have a course of chemo tablets and the photos reflected her concern.  The drawing I did reflects my reaction to this news. We had been best friends since we were  8/9 and were constant companions and playmates for 60 years.

The cartoon


The tapestry

Monday, 24 September 2012

On third of the way - nearly.

I am about one third of the way to completing my large tapestry.  I am enjoying weaving it but it involves many bobbin changes to get the mottled look of the earth up north.  I am pleased with my "barra"; Tim and I spent lots of hours sitting beside the Ord River at Ivanhoe Crossing trying to catch a barramundi.  My job was to catch live bait which was quite a task as I am not a fisherman.  However I caught enough small fish, including a small barra about 20 cm which was thrown back. We went fishing in the afternoon to be there as the moon rose.  It is quite a spectacular and historical place and despite catching plenty of live bait, we didn't catch a barra. Each of the shapes tells a story of part of our trip and the shapes are based on escarpment shapes.  The Green shape is about the bombing of Darwin and the orange shape is about a visit to a zebra rock mine owned by friends of Tim that they are developing into a caravan and camping site. I am experimenting with the  outlining the red marks in the rocks, but this isn't working.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Changing My Mind

I know I said that I had decided not to pull out my weaving any more but I have changed my mind; a lady's prerogative. My mentor had a look at my work and thought my Darwin piece was a bit flat due to not varying the colours I used.  I took her advice and pulled it out , most of it and redid it.  As you can see in the photos, the 2nd version looks a lot better. My big tapestry is taking ages because I am taking my time. By the end of this week, I would like to be 1/3 of the way through. I have not done any weaving for 10 days due to upheavals in my life, but I should have a relatively clear run for the next little while. Despite the time I am taking, I am enjoying it.  Next time I have to design a tapestry I will employ the KISS strategy.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


A large patch of clivias
Spring is here and my front garden is beginning to look lovely.  Many years ago, I uprooted the lawn so that in out dotage we wouldn't have to worry about mowing the lawn.  I instead made several garden beds  surrounded by rocks collected from my sister's property to outline the beds.  The garden design has gone from native to roses back to mostly native.  It is very easy to look after requiring half a day every 3 months or so and at this time of the year is pretty to look at.

Native hibiscus
A close up of the native hibiscus.

Orange salvia
Here you can see a touch of red in the leaves of the rose called whisky/brandy which has strong orange flowers.

I mainly designed the garden around colour - orange, purple, red.  The strelitiza, colours orange and purple is nearly in flower  and will look spectacular in the mix. I am looking forward to seeing it in flower.  I like strong colours outside the house but neutral inside the house.

I think I am a bit addicted to purple; my violets are still flowering.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

ATW Blends

I have selected a few of the ends from the ATW which show how they blend colours and yarns.  Most of them are a combination of both wool and cotton.  The 2 mauve blends on the left are from the Alice Bayke tapestry.  The  next picture of one of them has 4 wool strands and 10 threads of stranded cotton, 6 white and 4 mauve; I think it was used in the lace part of her dress. I don't use as many threads when I blend.  For my large tapestry I am using 5 strands in my weft, mostly  4 strands of wool and 2 of cotton; I find the cotton lightens the effect.

Most of the wool I used for Tim's Tapestry was ends; saved myself both money and time as I already had the bag of ends  and who am I to argue with experts in blending colours.

Monday, 27 August 2012


I finally took some advice and sorted my wool into a proper palette and sorted my cottons at the same
time. At the ATW they use a lot of cotton and linen and I occasionally buy bags of left overs to use and to get an idea of what they do. 

Here are some of the bobbins  wound ready for use with a collection of cottons.  There is my last ball of Marta's hand - dyed wool which I am using with the orange/red colours to replicate the ground.  It gives a nice occasional fleck. I have also begun a colour strip which should, in theory, help minimize pulling out because the colours don't work.
You can see the effect of the hand dyed wool;  I like it because it is subtle.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Visiting Tim

Well I have finally made a little progress with my tapestry and I am  calling it Visiting Tim as it is a visual representation of our trip earlier this year to see Tim who lives in the Kimberelys.

The beginning was easy; soon however I ran into difficulties with the boabs and  colour.  I tried several times to get a representation with which I was happy.
Too stiff
I tried white as their trunks are a light colour then I added yellow.

This is starting to look better.    

I consulted my tutor and a neighbour who  mentors me when I ask and both said the same that I needed to include some of the  surrounding colour so the trees blend in. I did this and am moderately pleased with the result.

If only it was easy.  The process so far has highlighted 2 things. The first is the benefits of leashes and the second is my lack of experience with mixing colours.  My mentor asked me if I had my colour palette chosen and although I had chosen many colours I might use, I had not chosen a specific range.  That took time and has made things easier. The other work  tool I have decided to adopt is to have bobbins wound ready to use like they do at ATW.  I have also decided not to waste time pulling weaving out which has been a feature of my weaving in the past; sometimes I have pulled out as much as I have woven. 

The sky 's looking good.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


One thing about this course at SWTAFE is the amount of work involved.  I think the designers of the course must have known my old great - aunt Bridget who was full of sayings; one of her favourites was, "the devil makes work for idle hands".  He certainly misses out on me as I am never idle. Since doing the designs for our major assignment this year, the Large Tapestry, there have been 2 other tapestry assignments as well as 2 design assignments.  The tapestry ass. were  a commission and the other working with themes.  The commission took me forever as I over thought the subject matter I chose which was  a tapestry for a chapel based on the history of a particular order of Sisters.  We were required to weave a sample of the design and mine is 15 cm square.

The next assignment was about working with themes and as I had done a drawing of the black and white tree trunks that line the driveway into a vineyard in NE Vic I decided to do tree trunks.  Why? because it was nearly August and I hadn't started the Large Tapestry yet and I was slightly panicked.  We had to do 4 drawings and choose one of these to weave yet another sample.  The drawing I chose was one of a tree in Adelaide near Captain Light's lookout whose branches bear the scars of people's stupidity in the names and marks that have been cut into it.

If you look carefully at the right hand side of the sample you can where I have made a monumental error.  I have never done this before in my weaving life.  The good news is that yesterday I actually started my large tapestry and have done a little of it.  I will blog about this soon.  I have worked out it will take me 200  to 250 hours to weave.  I had better get started.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Violets and Potatoes

Winter in Melbourne has been very cold, wet and grey and I know why people go travelling north.
However, if there is no Winter, there is no Spring and my husband says we need the rain for the flowers (the same one who makes money trees). I wandered out into the backyard last week when we had a nice sunny period and made some discoveries.  The violets under the plum tree are blooming away and I picked a bunch and took them inside.  Violets remind me of my grandmother and when my sister got married, we carried posies of violets which inhindsight were amazing.

The colour purple

I noticed that most of the peas and snow peas are up; I will fill in the holes when we get some sun.  The coriander and the self - sown dill are starting to move and the broad beans are doing well.  We are lucky with the dill as it grows wild.  I usually have a huge crop of self sown parsley too but it seems to be having a holiday this year; maybe it will appear when it warms up a little.  The cumquat tree is on strike as I have not had a crop for the last two seasons probably because I fed it; never again.  However the big suprise was the self sown potatoes.  We must have left a few potatoes in the round last year and they sprouted so I left them be. The frost damaged the plants so we dug them up and got quite a few Nicolas (my favourite potato) and some Royal Blue ones.  What a winter feast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More purple.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Tapestry Exhibition

Today the RMIT online tapestry weavers group hosted the showing of the AuNZ Tapestry Challenge at the Spinners and Weavers Guild in Carlton. AuNZ Tapestry Weavers group hosts a challenge each year and this year the task was titled Circles and Squares.  The size of the tapestries is to be no bigger than 20 cm square. It is not a competition and all entries are accepted. Some of us put the exhibition up during the week and we were blown away with the tapestries.  They are beautiful and so diverse.  The quality of the weaving was amazing and they are so colourful. I will upload the flyer which has 4 tapestries from people who are members of both online groups.  I would love to show others but that would infringe intellectual property.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


A while back I saw that Beautiful silks in Fitzroy were having a Natural Dye Symposium and that one of the workshops was called Shifu and making miniature books. As I very inerested in things miniature, I enrolled without having investigated what Shifu is. Shifu involves cutting very fine paper, lokta, into strips like a paper lantern, then cutting it to have a continuous strip then spinning this to make a paper thread with which you weave to make Shifu.

A ball of spun paper

My first attempt.
As you can see , my first  attempt is not very even due to the fact that paper under strain breaks and I broke several warps.  However for a first attempt I thought it not too bad.  There were 9 in the class and I am very glad I did it as 2 of the other participants were also tutors at the Symposium. The tutor was Velma Bolyard and this was her first trip to Australia from  the USA and the students came from the eastern states of Australia and NZ.  We also made miniature book structures including one called a flag book which when you use different cououred papers is eally interesting.

Diligent  workers.
It was a very intense class and most people would baulk at the thought of spinning paper (it takes hours).
Velma had some gorgeous shifu books and one day (?) I hope to have 1 too. I have put  a link to her blog in my links.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Petites: Some of the Pieces

As I said in my last post, there were 12 or so pieces from ex RMIT tutors and students.
I am posting work from some of those I was able to photograph. The  photograph of one of my friend's pieces was terrible, both of them, but you can see her tapestry at her blog  marymac. in June, under the heading Recording my progress - to music.

Julie, sorry about the flash; her weaving including seaweed.
Mine has been  shown.  I have a few more but as I haven't asked permisssion, I had better not show them.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Petites 2012

Last weekend it was the opening of the Petites Exhibition in Wangaratta which they hold on the alternate year to the Wangaratta Contemporary  Textile Award. There were about 120 pieces exhibited  and RMIT ex students were well represented with about 12 of them in the exhibition - including me. The standard of the work was very high and I was chuffed to be in such good company. The tapestry was one I did last year for one of my assignments.  The design for the tapestry came from a photograph I took at the Australian Garden at Cranbourne that I played with in Photoshop and Illustrator; it was called "Water From the Desert". But the best thing was that someone bought my piece of tapestry.  I did a workshop over the weekend about making miniature books and on the Sunday when it was quiet we went into the gallery where I saw the red spot under my  tapestry.  I couldn't believe my eyes; whoever bought my work made me very happy.

The workshop was really  interesting and practical and I made 2 miniatures and started a third which isn't finished; maybe one day when I don't have any homework.

I got into an awful mess making the second one; luckily all the media were water soluable.
I had fun.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Tim's Tapestry FINISHED - nearly

I have finally finished weaving Tim's Tapestry after many months and all I have to do is take it off the loom and make the finishing touches, work for this weekend.   I have kept a record of the  time it has taken and so far have racked up 93 hours.  I used the ATW rule of thumb for costing tapestries and worked out that it would have cost $3, 650 (rounded down) as Tim is family, however it is payment for the loom. That,s motherly love for you; or stupidity. I have been very impressed with the solidity of the loom; it is nice to weave on and the warp maintains it's tension.  I didn't touch the tapestry for about 2 months  and hardly had to change the tension which is very different from my other looms. It is also useful that I can raise or lower the frame with the removable pieces that fit into the base. I wondered about outlining the leaves with embroidery but have so much work to do for my course that I decided against it as it would never be finished.

Thanks for the loom Tim., it works well.