Friday, February 24, 2017

A Week to Remember!

Where to begin- it's been a week of excitement that is for sure, even though not as much work as planned got done, even though I have been working long days!

First of all my book on the Travellers' Blankets is written- done and dusted apart from what the editor may require further. I drew little map diagrams for each of the circles in the Travellers' Blanket with circles- that took longer than expected as I got a bit carried away, but all to the good . The title of the book in French will be Plaids Nomades: Piques Main . I am not sure when it will actually be published but I think it must be sooner rather than later ( originally it was going to be September)

And seeing I am talking about the  Travellers Blanket I have had quite a few requests  for information of when I am running this on-line class again. So I have decided to run it again starting April 3. I think it will be the only time this year I run it because  the second half of this year goes incredibly pear shaped and madly busy.  The course costs $60 AUS ( I will add a Paypal button to make things easier). The class consists of instructions for dyeing your fabric and ideas for encapsulating stories in your blanket and stitching  ideas. The blanket is all about catching moments and memories and adding detail and zest! If interested but you want more  information I do have an information sheet just email me


I can now confirm that the Aussie Bush Project will definitely be shown in France in 2018 at Quilts en Beaujolais. So that means it will be going to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra. Hamilton and Wellington in New Zealand,  Adelaide and Brisbane. There is still time to join the project, and I still have panels available for purchase here with me. Just check out the Aussie Bush Project page. It has details of what is required . I have been asked why there is a joining fee, but with the amount of travel that it is doing, and the insurance that is  now required by organisations and the return of the pieces to the makers , you can well imagine that there are costs involved, and when you compare the fee to some other entry fees I think it is very reasonable. All works that are submitted will travel. This is open to everyone  not just Australians!

So I have been desperately trying to make new work for my exhibition in Chartres which starts at the end of next week, but there has been so many things happening that I feel as if I am not achieving much. So if you are in the area please do come and visit, I will be there ( and anyone who has any suggestions for budget budget accommodation it would be much appreciated, and I do have a car so it can be out of Chartres))

And then in amongst all this I was approached by a Womens Co-operative in Timor Leste to submit a proposal for doing a residency there- it all came through my blog- so there you are ,there is a reason to blog! I had very little time to submit a proposal and to my great delight I had an answer very quickly. So I am very excited- am going to Timor Leste ( South East Asia's newest nation ) for 8 weeks at the end of the year for a residency which will consist largely of  helping upskill the already very talented women and teaching them some new skills at Boneca de Atauro.  It is a wonderful project which is running self sufficiently at the present and is about  creating work for women so that their families came have better lives- the project is also about educating and teaching skills to the younger women. I think I will have to learn some Tetun- the local language and a friend has already given me the name of someone in Melbourne who does teach Tetun.

I shall leave you with an image of the latest piece I am working on- I seem to be in tree mode again, maybe because there is so much growing going on!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Back in France

The last week has flown by in a blur I must admit. Firstly we celebrated my mothers 80th birthday early (i won't be there for her actual birthday) so we invited some of her friends from over the years ( not much family as we were immigrants and most of them are still in Europe) and I made all the food. Thankfully the weather obliged by not being too hot! Was trying to sew up a storm, but fell behind a plan I have to make an installation piece for ChArtres in early March, but I am determined to get there by hook or crook. Taught some classes at Open Drawer in Camberwell which were a lot of fun and then caught the plane to Geneva where I arrived yesterday to teach a class with a group near the Swiss French border. The snow was a bit of a shock to the system after the heat of the day when I left!

One of the workshops I taught at Open Drawer was stitching for the Aussie Bush Project ( and yes you can still order prints as I have brought them all with me- just order through my shop- though I could not fit the actual linocuts in the suitcase). This lovely piece was commenced by Robyn Steel-Stickland- I love the soft variegations in the thread used to create the banksia flower- it seems just right!

After my mothers party ( and I was house sitting for some friends also) it was back to Gelli and pack up everything for my trip - everything I wanted to bring would not fit in my suitcase.... I think I just need a home in France! My flowering gum just broke into flower the last days of being in Gelli- they are so pretty when they are in flower and this one is in my favourite colour!

The photo is the view from the back of my block-it dawned kind of misty but turned into a 34 degrees centigrade day.

And now in a small village in France near the Swiss border in the  Haute Savoie, staying with  my friend Chantal Guillermet a talented french textile artist and teaching with her group Saturday and then another group  to which another talented friend Caroline Higgs belongs on Monday and then off to Le Triadou for some house sitting and intensive stitching. Nesta the dog will keep me moving with daily walks, but I really have to sew like the fury and write like the fury- so if I am quiet here you will know why!

Chantal and I went for a little walk yesterday- it was good to stretch my legs after 23 hours of flying and we walked up to the ruins of a medieval castle- not much left and my goodness is nature just so strong- how it even overwhelms  massive stone walls!

The last image is a piece of traditional Bretonne embroidery that belonged to Chantal's grandfather family who came form around Quimper. The embroidery from Bretonne is different than embroidery in other parts of France and is distinctive for it's dense stitching and distinctive designs. The piece in the photo was executed on wool. We also talked about a wonderful workshop she did with Pascale Jaoeun who has taken Bretonne embroidery to another level adapting it into haute couture. I think I might  do some exploring when I go to Nantes in April for Pour l'Amour du Fil.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Phew It's Hot

I am at a friends house as it is too hot to be in the shed at this time of the day, so that is when I try and catch up with computer stuff as I have no wifi in the shed and my mobile telephone does not work in gellibrand. I am not sure whether it's an issue of the suppliers coverage, although most people seem not to be able to use mobiles here.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post. It was lovely  to get  feedback. Once upon a time people used to comment all the time on blogs, but it seems much less so these days. I for my part am trying to blog more!

All the fruit on my block is starting to ripen in this warm weather, and I have been able to save a bit from the ever hungry and destructive birds- yesterday there were Major Mitchell's ( they have become sneaky and quiet and the only way I can tell they are in the trees is when I hear the sound of a dropping apple), Cockatoos who are as noisy as, King Parrots beautiful to look at and they actually seem to eat more of the fruit than the other parrots who simply crack open the fruit to get at the seeds, ganggangs, wo aren't frightened of anything even apple missiles,  rosellas, parakeets and the other day a lone budgerigar.

 Unfortunately I don't have the time to process the fruit at present nor the facilities really. The flowering gum has decided it wants to flower- it's very pretty but I am afraid I shall be missing most of that too, but I have enjoyed the marguerites. A little peak in my shed...

In this heat it's too hot to sit with a travellers' blanket sewing so I am back to angels. I completed two more today. They are growing!

I have also put some of the angel panels in my shop if you are interested in buying a panel.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Feeling Very Chuffed!

I wrote in my previous post how happy I was to be exhibiting at ChARTres in March 2017 which is a multi arts manifestation in a city which inspired some of my recent work. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in 2016. So yesterday when I opened my emails I could barely believe that  the organisers have invited me to be Guest of Honour for this year. I had to read it several times and even then I had to pinch myself! I have to fill  quite a lot of wall space at Collegiale Saint-Andre and in a very good position as many of the other manifestations take place in this part of the Collegiale, including music and lectures. It's very humbling- a dutch/australian immigrant being guest of Honour at such an event in France- I am still pinching myself! So yet another reason to love France and Chartres that has delivered so much!

Yesterday we had a lot of fun at the Open Drawer Linocutting workshop. We had a person who had only recently been made redundant and had never done anything "arty" to a year 10 student.And what wonderful linocuts were made- none of them choose to do something easy, instead they all stretched- and made wonderful linocuts. Of course not all were interested in the fabric side of things ( coming from paper backgrounds) but they all loved the effects on fabric. I will share some of the work and I apologise I do not remember everyone's name as I do not have the class list.

We always start with a small block for people to get a feel for the tools and try out some ideas and learn what marks the tools can make.
First I  will share Lisa's work ,our young student, who also made two largish linocuts. She worked quietly away and I loved what she did! The first image is her practice block about 10 cm square the other images  were on larger blocks.

 The second block was larger and there is lovely movement in the background of the block. The second block she made really shows strong graphic qualities!

I  do not remember the following students name but her background was paper cutting and she translated those graphic qualities very well into linocuts.

This linocut was by another Lisa who had not done anything arty- I think it's really wonderful effort and like the gradation in the background and the wobble lines which are actually difficult to do!

The following two images are work by Lyndell Green. She chose to actually make her linocut  in the shape of the feather - I love the strong graphic qualities of this linocut. She also brought in a lovely surprise. The travellers' blanket she completed in a previous class- it got lots of oohs and ahhs and is a wonderfully rich  and beautifully embroidered piece- it measures about 140 cm x 95 cm- so lots and lots of work. Thank you Lyndell for bringing it in - it is such a pleasure to see completed work!

I have also forgotten the next students name, but she struggled with arthritic hands which makes  her linocut doubly amazing- it is not easy to do linocutting with hands that won't co-operate. I love the shading  on the fruits.She also chose to cut her lino into a shape which gives a lovely "neat" image and then can be used much more randomly for over all printing.

The following linocut was by Marion who is also an amazing embroiderer. She had in mind this landscape effect, but of course it had to be biggish in order for the contrasting layers to make dynamic impact. I can tell you she did not stop for lunch at all. I love the contrasting layers and can see that stitching will really add lots of dimension and interest.

 And the last image is by Anne Shuttleworth ( a wonderful felt maker  with whom  I did  a class with many years ago) She had been to the Northern Territory and had an encounter with a cycad forest. Cycads are ancient plants that are very slow growing and live a very long time. I love the wonderful abstract qualities of the print on paper and it did not quite come out the same on fabric, though a lighter colour fabric would add more contrast-  and then if you added stitch...

So thank  you everyone for a great effort!
 If you are interested in doing an in the flesh class with me,
I am teaching another class at Open Drawer on 3 February 2017 which is a four hour class, working on Aussie Bush panels and showing you different ways you can stitch and embellish linocut panels with stitch. There are still spaces left if you are interested- just follow the link for Open Drawer.

Monday, January 23, 2017


My daughter Celeste Galtry Creative has given my blog a much needed revamp as it was looking very tired and messy. She has created new buttons at the top of my posts for easier navigation. You will see she has made a shop button- which I will be adding to as time goes on and as I make new things. My quilts are now in a Gallery and you will see most are for sale. I think it looks much neater and cleaner this way and means I can blog to my hearts content. As part of the revamp we are offering my book Musing in Textile: France at a new special price of $30AUS plus $15AUS postage & handling ( Australian residents only unfortunately) Just follow the link.

The Aussie Bush Project also has its own page though the panels for it are available in the shop.

 I head overseas on 8 February- the time has simply flown and I haven't got nearly enough work accomplished, though I finally seem to be concentrating and I have been working on the hand stitched pomegranate piece on the indigo dyed Khadi cloth as it too needs finishing, and being unable to plug in my sewing machine until I get more solar panels, hand stitching it will be!

Still quite a lot of stitching to go and lots of flowers to put in but it's finally starting to look like something.

I have also been going through all my  plastic tubs of fabric- some have not been opened for quite some time- and was happy to be reunited with this lovely piece of ice dyed fabric which I made a few years ago.

I was actually going through the tubs to find fabric that was large enough for the backs of quilts, as I need to get quite a few pieces ready for  quilting for when I go overseas. The more I prepare the more I am likely to finish especially as I am house sitting again in le Triadou in February. So I found various bits of fabric and  found this piece which somehow reminded me of the invite for the William Kentridge invitation for the exhibition I visited in Milan last year- maybe it's the shadowiness.

 I loved  the Kentridge work- there were so many layers- and shadows  that were suggestive- hard to capture in a still photograph as it was a kind of diorama accompanied by music. I thought the fabric has distinct shadow opportunities especially as I have to think of a quilt to make in response to the Theme for ChARTres this year which is a quote from Simone Weil "En chemin, l'empreinte de l'autre..." I have read her book  The Need for Roots, from  which the quote comes, but have had difficulty finding it's context within the book, though I get the drift of the idea- difficult to translate in fabric somehow and yet full of possibilities as well. Anyone have any thoughts? I would be glad to hear them.

Anyway I shall be in Chartres for the exhibition  from early March  until  the 19th of March. There is an invitation and also various concerts and philosophical lectures in case you are interested.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Somebody asked me for some photos of older work and one of the pictures I sent is a combination of two favourite things. In the 1990's I did used to piece some quilts but I pieced in such a way that no lines matched , but your eye wants to make the lines match. This way of piecing was inspired  by African calabash decoration. I added a layer though, by using the borders to create an opportunity to create a story. This originally came about because my middle daughter used to draw tree spirits( I don't think I have any pictures of this) so the first quilt done in this style contained her tree spirits. Some years later I came back to the technique ( I used to teach it as a class- there were a few variations) and this was the little quilt I came up with . it contains of course pomegranates ( a thing I am playing around with again at the moment)

I had not looked at this little quilt for quite some time- funny that I should pull it out now that I am playing around with pomegranates again.

I am stitching on an indigo dyed khadi piece- it is all hand stitching ( because I cannot run my sewing machine in the shed- that has to wait for later in the year) But just sitting and stitching has been generating ideas, partly to do with the new lino block print form my previous posts. I can see the linocut morphing into a much bigger piece. Sometimes I ask myself the question is all that stitching worth the time- but I like the stitched linocut much better than the one I am just beginning to stitch. So there is a lot more stitching to do!

Monday, January 16, 2017


I have slowly been organising my workspace in my shed. Everything has to be placed in containers as unfortunately natural vermin abounds especially when I am not there and of course plenty of spiders, other insects and an overabundance of ants. This morning I found a green spider- never seen one of those before! It was outside.

I found one of my shaped linocut printed cats I made ages ago. I obviously started stitching it but did not finish.Must finish it one of these days!

I am teaching  at Linocutting at Open Drawer in Camberwell on the 25th of January. There is still one place available if you are interested. We will be doing a little more advanced linocutting  and of course printing.  And on Friday the 3rd of February I am teaching a half day class on embellishing the bush project panel- there is a materials fee which includes a bush project panel. You can chose whether you would like to join the project  or not. here is one of the panels that I am working on.

 I still have panels available or simply  tell me what colour you would like for the background and I can print you a panel.  There is information on the Aussie Bush Project Page on my blog- just use the tab at the top of the page. You have until  mid June to finish the panel.

I also printed up some more Florentine panels on different colours.

If you are interested in buying one simply use the Paypal Buy Me button below or email me if you would prefer to pay in another way. The bottom print is actually a more orangey/green colour.