Monday, December 31, 2012

The end of 2012

The end is nigh...but it's another year tomorrow.  I won't be staying up - the New Year is coming anyway and it doesn't need any help from me.

While in Christchurch over Christmas, Sophie took me into Restart, the container city that's been set up in Cashel Mall.  (For overseas readers, much of the inner city was destroyed in the February earthquake of 2011).  While there have been myriads of photos published,  I hadn't been into the city and seen how it looked for myself.  These photos were taken with my phone.

 We had coffee upstairs in a container cafe.  This is the view across the mall....
 ...and down to the outdoor seating on the ground.
 Here's Sophie engrossed in her phone.  It was a lovely warm day.
 Looking across to Ballantyne's lounge area - now in a  container, though most of the original building is still there.
 More clever use of containers.
 Somewhere down Lichfield St I think - many of the landmarks are gone.
 Most of the damaged buildings have been demolished.  Sophie told me that Clarendon Tower, the highrise she was trapped in, has been pulled down.
The shell of Knox Presbyterian Church on the corner of Victoria St and Bealey Avenue.

It's a time of renewal and regrowth in Christchurch, and my son Cass and girlfriend Cat will be moving here in the New Year to be part of this.

Best wishes to all my blog friends and readers for a happy and productive year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A lot of water under the bridge.....

Yes, dear blog friends, it's been a long, long time since I last posted.  This has been quite a tough year, especially the second half, when I found myself doing 7 papers which was a heavy workload.  There have also been some ongoing health issues that I won't bore you with (because they're not relevant) but which have also contributed to the lack of blog activity.

I spent Christmas once again with my daughter Sophie and her partner Mark in Christchurch, fortunately without the accompaniment of strong earthquakes this time.  Sophie had requested a quilt (again) and this time, I obliged.

The top was made from a jelly roll of batiks, combined with my own hand dyed fabric that was dyed to co-ordinate with the batiks.  The borders were quilted with leaves and flowers, while the pieced windmill blocks were just outlined.  Sophie pronounced it suitably tasteful.

While I was in the mood, I also quilted this top which I made many moons ago.  It's lap quilt sized and I really like it.  It's just made from bits of hand dyed and tie dyed fabrics.  I also made 2 quillows for my friend's sons but didn't photograph these.  So the lead up to Christmas was pretty busy with all that stitching.  

It's summer here, so this is what's in the garden at present :

Monday, September 10, 2012

Feeling like felting

I know I've been very remiss about posting as I'm not sure if anyone is reading blogs these days.  Due to time constraints, I mostly just look at Facebook to see what my creative community is doing.  I'd be interested in reader comments on that issue.

It's only 11 days till the end of Term 3.  Year 2 of the degree has been really busy and demanding, and while there are fewer classes next year, I have a Major Project which is done independently and which is the equivalent of 3 papers, so it won't be any easier.

I'm doing felting of various kinds in 2 projects at present - vessels in Professional Practice, and pods in Sculpture.  Much of what we do is conceptual, critical reflective and so on, but we do have to produce actual finished work for Sculpture, so I've been concentrating on that.

My daughter Sophie wanted a felt hat for her birthday, and to ensure that I made a good job, I went to another of Bex Pilley's hat felting classes.  Here's a few photos of what went on.

 Bex explaining how to fold the fibre over the template.
 Some of the luscious colours the class was using.  Sophie's hat was plain black so no photos.
 And here are some of the finished hats....a pixie hat...
 ..a fedora style...
 ...a cloche hat...
 ..a pixie hat with a fedora top...
 ..and another cloche.
 Here's the pods I made during the class for my sculpture project.
And lastly, here's the dogs enjoying a patch of sunlight on my bed.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Missing in action

You could be forgiven for thinking I had fallen off the edge of the world...seeing as I live at the very bottom of the country.  However, my busy study schedule (50 hours per week plus) means that I'm simply not getting to blog.

Here's a medley of photos:

 This was taken at Bluff this morning....
 ...and so was this.  I love the colours of the sky there.
 I made and dyed felt balls for my Professional Practice project.
 This is Bek Pilley, who was teaching a bunch of us how to make hats....
 ...and this is what I made.
The twins were unimpressed with all this.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Southern felting group

This group doesn't actually have a name, but the members come from various parts of Southland.  Today there were 6 of us, with a couple of others who popped in but didn't stay.  It was held at the home of Dawn Molloy from Felt 4 U, and she was demonstrating how to make felted baby booties.   Here's some photos from the day:
 Because booties are 3 dimensional, a template that acts as a resist is used.  This will be removed later. Here's one of the other ladies adding carded wool to her template.  Both sides are covered in wool so that both booties are made at once, then they're cut apart and the template is removed.
This is the wool I used for my second pair, laid out in thin layers on the template.
A completed pair.  These had a different colour on the inside.

Bex Pilley from Fanny Blott Designs was doing other stuff, including finishing off this hat.  I'm going to do a hat making class with Bex next month. Yippee!  There are still spaces if you want to come along.
 Sue showed off the fabulous and complex scarf she had made with Shona Schofield....
..while Rhonda modelled the scarf she designed herself.

Altogether a great day.  Can't wait for the next one!  Below are the 2 pairs of booties I made - the turquoise ones are slightly larger.  They've been rinsed and are now drying.

Stepping into ancient footprints

I have become excited by felt, that centuries-old material traditionally used in cold climates for dwellings, coats, boots, blankets and so on. I am seriously considering working with felt for my major project next year - in the final year of my Arts degree, we have to come up with a project that will absorb 3 of our 8 papers.  This project will be lived and breathed throughout that year.  Having discovered that I can do anything I want for this project, I'm researching felt artists to get some idea of what is being done in contemporary felt sculpture.

The above sculptures are the work of Marjolein Dallinga of  She is a Dutch-born artist who now lives in Canada.  She submitted a prize-winning entry in last year's World of wearable Art here in New Zealand (no photo sorry) and has worked for Cirque du Soleil.

What I love about felting, and wool of any kind, is that there is minimal processing required before use, it is organic and renewable, and nothing is wasted.  Wool takes dyes beautifully, and there's nothing I love more than myriads of colour.

Watch this space to see what happens next.  Shortly, I'm off to join a felting group for a day of hands-on creativity.  I'll take the camera.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thank you..

..dear readers, for leaping to your keyboards and restoring my faith in blogging.

I've been out and about over the past 24 hours - firstly to the Bluff Oyster Festival.  As well as being NZ's southernmost town and on e that was settled by Europeans very early on in NZ's history, Bluff is most famous for its oysters.
 This was the lineup on stage for the sea-themed fashion show. Some very imaginative costumes.
 On the docks afterwards....
 ...a nice little fishing boat.
 I liked the reflection of the rope in the water...
 ...and of this boat too.

 This morning, I went out to Oreti Beach to take some moody in-the-rain photos but as soon as I decided to do that, the weather improved.
 There had been quite a bit of rain during the night, and even a touch of snow on the hills.
I always like seascapes with a bird in them.  Click on photos to enlarge them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What to do?

Dear Blog Readers,

I have a problem.

The only comments I am getting on my blog are standard responses coming from unrelated websites.

According to the blog, I have 47 people following my blog, and have had 122 visits this week.  So where are you all?

Perhaps I am not doing anything of interest to you any longer?  If that is the case, perhaps there is no point in continuing with this blog.  Your feedback would be appreciated.

Meanwhile, here's some photos taken at Riverton last week.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Things I learned this week

I'd like to think I learn something every week.  I hope so.  Over the weekend, I've been at a painting class run by Riverton artist, Dawn Barry.  Turns out she's a friend of my old school friend, Astrid (who lives in Auckland but has a wee place at Riverton and comes here in the holidays), and so was one of the women I was sitting next to.  Small world.    Here's some photos from the class:

 There were 11 of us - 1 man and 10 women.  The others were all more experienced that I am, even Rose (left)  who is only 16.  Some had held exhibitions.  I was slightly daunted by this, especially as I've only painted a handful of pieces so far.
 First, we painted something we knew, in a technique that left a black outline.  This worked better on some subjects that others.  Not so well on my portrait, but it was either that or a still life as that's all I've done.
 The second technique was a segmented style, with each segment blending from light to dark, or dark to light.  I quite enjoyed this, but would use less white next time.
 Thirdly, we painted something in flat colours, then added visual texture with oil pastels.  I also painted with my fingers.  Not a great landscape but it's my first.

Lastly, we did a seascape using plaster, sand and so on, applied with a palette knife for texture.  When it dried, we added layer after layer of thin washes.  Mine wasn't very good so I'm just showing some that others did.  Dawn's sample is top left.  All in all, we had a great time.

 I do know you're not supposed to allow lens flare in photos - however, sometimes, I like it.  This was a really interesting afternoon sky recently.
 And while I know how to weave fabric, I had to relearn it as it's ages since I've done it.  This is 2 completely different versions of my Blended Fabric - above, being woven on the ironing board, and a close-up below.  I've stitched it, but want to add some stamping to pull the colours together.  It's a cover for my new creative journal.