Saturday, 23 November 2013


The subject I have really struggled with this semester is Printmaking - I couldn't wrap my head around it at all and resorted to joining a print class in Castlemaine.  I tried youtube videos which helped a bit and by the last assignment I have made a slight improvement and I enjoyed the tasks.  We had to do an urban design on cardboard and cut it out.

Not a brilliant photo, but you can get the idea. Next we had to print it.

The cardboard inked.

This is one of the ones I didn't submit.  Next we had to do a textured print which for me required 2   plates.

This is covered with wire, the idea being to give a grid like  background.

The objects stuck on the plate were tiles, garlic top, squashed sardine tin and rope.

The end result is not brilliant but I enjoyed it.  The print teacher in Castlemaine was taught by Tim Jones who is a very highly regarded print maker and sculptor near here.  We went to his studio during the DMROS Open Studio weekend.His work is beautiful. DMROP stands for Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Open Studio group and there are some amazing artists involved. I have finally finished year 4 of course I am doing and I am looking forward to getting back to my tapestry as I have done nothing since finishing the large tapestry.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Body of Work

I had to produce a Body of Work for my course and as I have not done any tapestry since the  large tapestry for last year, I decided to play around with Shifu books as I already had one book completed which, I am pleased to say, was accepted in the Books...beyond words exhibition at Bairnsdale earlier this year.

So, here it is.

Shifu Books

Artist Statement
This body of work brings together two of my passions - books and all they entail, words, stories and paper; and weaving in the form of Shifu. I am influenced by the Roman rhetorician Quintillian, who taught that after we have chosen our words, we must weave them into a fabric until we have a fine and delicate texture.
Shifu is a traditional Japanese technique of turning paper into cloth which originated in the 16th c.  Legend has it that a spy had to cross enemy lines to deliver an important message and to avoid being caught he cut the message into strips, twisted it into fibres and wove it into cloth and clothing so he passed through unnoticed.  On arriving at his destination, the fabric was unravelled and the message delivered.  Realistically, rural peasants and farmers were the first to make cloth from paper and they often used old account books because the paper was strong and the characters on the page made interesting speckled patterns.
To make the Shifu, I use Nepalese paper called Lokta and the process is described on my previous blog and an earlier on called Shifu, Weaving Paper.   I like the idea that the text is present in the page but no longer decipherable.  Hopefully, it allows the reader to imagine their own story, cued by  the title.

I have made 4 books - In Conversation, Shifu, a short history, Sonnets, lines by E B Browning and Between the Lines. Three of the books measure 8 x 10 cm and one, the history is 10 cm square.

 In Conversation  was the one I submitted to the Books...beyond words; Revolution.  My revolution was that the words were in the page not on it

I used red and purple inks to denote the different speakers.

Shifu, a short history.  The cover of this is made from shifu and the small piece added with the eucalyptus flower was an experiment.

The writing is like weaving.

Sonnets; Lines from E B Browning.  I love her book called Sonnets from the Portuguese.

The binding is plaited Shifu.

The text makes interest patterns.

 And the last is  Between the lines because I wove plain pages and stitched them for you to write your own story.

Some of the stitching

I have amused myself imensely playing with these trifles.

Small things amuse ... me!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Shifu - New Technique

I recently bought a book called Paper Textiles by Christina Leitner which is mainly concerned with making Shifu and I decided to try her technique of turning Lokta into Shifu.  The difference to my previous method is that the paper is wet, rolled in a towel and left to dry and rest for a while.  I leave it overnight before spinning.   This seems to make the final product stronger and because it has been rolled before separating the strands, it is easier to spin.

I cut the strips about 1 cm wide.

The paper is then unfolded on to a towel and sprayed with water.

This  is what it looks like before being  sprayed and wrapped in a towel.

Next I gather the paper and roll it to separate the strands before spinning.

Next I tear it into one long piece (hopefully) then spin it.
Then I spin.

Then I weave.

 This is to be a cover for a book 10 cms square.

This is for a subject for my Tapestry Weaving course called "Produce a Body of Work".  I know it isn't tapestry weaving but it is weaving and it takes as long. I am producing a series of miniature books using Shifu similar, but not the same as, the one I did earlier this year.

Saturday, 12 October 2013


I have finally put some furniture in the studio and some tapestries on one wall and I have tried to buy nothing new to fit in there, so far.

The desk was free  except that we had to get it which was fun and the dresser came from the local Op shop.  Lenny kindly painted it the same colour as the wall. The set of drawers was free as was the  model.

This is the wall adjacent to the desk with the tapestries that I did for my Major at RMIT.  The idea came from a drawing I had done (the one on the right which also became a tapestry) and the other one was an ink blot that I was playing with. When I put the small image of the digitized flower petal on it, my teacher at the time suggested I weave  it.  I laughed at her as I didn't think I could do it; I still don't know how I did.  However they look nice on the wall. Maybe I should put the drawing there too. I have something special for the red wall but it needs a little attention.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

New Studio

The new studio has been painted ready for me to move in.  I love it.

The painter at work.

Looks good.

Maybe a candidate for Light and shade?

I will move some of my stuff in tomorrow.  I need to get a new bookcase.  There is a lot of light in the room so it should be  pleasant to work in.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


There has just been a daffodil festival in Kyneton and there were daffodils everywhere.

Along the footpath.

Along the River walk.
On the hill.
Beside the river.
"Clouds of golden daffodils".

On another hill.
Under trees in the Botanical Gardens.
In nature strips.
In wheelbarrows on the main street.
On show.
The festival finished with a street parade last Sunday which featured the people, schools, services and interests of the town.  It was marvellous.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I have been very lazy about blogging of late as I have not much to blog about.  However my studio is built and is in the process of being painted.  I am looking forward to getting in there and getting all the stuff out of cupboards.  Here are the photos.

This is a  view from the outside.  I will get morning sun through the glass doors, lots of it.

This is where I will put my computer desk, bookcases, shelving etc.  It will be painted off white.

This wall is for art work, things that I have still in boxes.  Maybe even new things.

This is the view through the windows through which will stream lots of sunlight.  I plan to have this wall painted red because I have always wanted a red wall.  I bought a wall hanging in Sri Lanka which will go nicely in between the windows. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013


While in Sri Lanka we went to 2 batik places  which were very different from each other.
The conditions of the first one were not brilliant and the chemical fumes were obvious; however the work there was freehand and colourful.

We saw some of the workers having a nap after their lunch.

Sleeping on the job.

The other place we went to was the workshop of Ena de Silva a 95 yr old woman whose designs graced the ceiling of a hotel near Galle.  The conditions there were much better than the previous one and the batik produced was of a higher standard.  The work photographed was for the cieling of a hotel we stayed at called The Lighthouse designed By Geoffrey Bawa.  Ena's workshop was all about design even the plates we ate our curry from.
Very precise work
The last picture I will add is of a cushion cover which took 2 weeks to complete and
which is sold for the princely sum of about $23 Australian.

Beautiful  work; I bought an orange one.