Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Helen Maudsley

In the Waverley Art Quilters this year we are studying female abstract artists and last month it was Australian artist Helen Maudsley.

Differences by Helen Maudsley

Helen Maudsley was born in 1927 and now in her 90's. She studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1945 to 1947 and at the same time studied at the Conservatory of Music. She was married to well-known Australian artist John Brack whose painting Collins St -5pm is very famous in Australia.

There was an exhibition of her work from the last five years at the NGV Ian Potter gallery earlier this year. It was called Our Knowing and Not Knowing. The titles of her works were rather like essays and she says they are written thoughts; here is an example of one of the titles from the exhibition.

I've abbreviated her titles. Helen Maudsley is a meticulous planner and does many precise drawings before starting her painting

The Effort by Helen Maudsley

The Shoe by Helen Maudsley

Her colours were quite subdued and pastel-like which I found a little challenging. I decided that her painting called 'The Self' reminded me of patchwork and took my inspiration from it.

The Self by Helen Maudsley
I chose colours of purple and blue but made them stronger than the painting, even though she has a restricted colour palette there are a lot of different values of lights, mediums and darks.

I enjoyed making the quilt using the improv method. I cut and pieced many shapes without thought of where they would be in the quilt. After making them I started to try and put them together.

Top complete

I started to do detailed quilting at first and then I realised that it didn't need it, the interest is in the shapes and piecing, so I just did mainly ditch stitching and straight lines.

Finding my Way with Helen by Linda Steele
I did a slightly long title but nothing likes her epic poems. It measures 12" x 16".

Our next topic is Maps and I have absolutely no idea what I will do!

Bye for now,

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Fabric Paint for Mono Printing

In my last post I wrote about printing with a gelatin plate on paper. After a while I thought I would change to printing on fabric because it is fabric that I enjoy working with the most.

I got out all the fabric paints that I had on hand.

Fabric Paints

I had done a lot of prints on paper but I knew that it was more difficult on fabric. I also knew that paint sits on the top of fabric and can make the fabric stiff, something I didn't want especially when it comes to quilting.

I decided to do some testing and kept everything the same. The same white fabric and the same stencil shapes. I did a lot of printing that day. Here they are drying

I used the paints straight out of the bottle, some were a very thin consistency and so they might have performed better if they had been thickened. Those tests will have to wait for another day.

I was looking for paint that kept the fabric soft and printed clearly. Here's how they worked out it order.

1. Texcraft Dual Purpose
Texcraft Dual Purpose- soft hand and clear print

2. Setacolor Transparent
Pebeo Setacolor transparent- Soft hand and clear print

3. Sun Dyes
Sun Dyes- Very thin and runny but worked well with a soft hand and clear print

4. Gems
Texcraft Gems- medium hand a fuzzy print

5. Speedball
Speedball fabric paint- Fuzzy print and oil smell

6. Derivan Screen Ink
Derivan Screen Ink- Bubbly well rolling out and a lot of paint went through the fabric, fuzzy image

7.Tulip Fabric Paint
Tulip Fabric Paint, very runny, came through fabric, fuzzy print- rough feel

8. Derivan Fabric Paint
Derivan Fabric Paint- Came through the fabric, fuzzy image

9. Tsukineko Ink
Tsukineko Ink- very runny and thin, came through fabric

10. Setacolor Opaque
Setacolor opaque- Very pale print

To be fair some of these paints and inks were not meant for mono printing on a gelatin plate, but I wanted to find out what worked best for me so I didn't spend time or money in the future buying paints that didn't suit me.

When I found what I liked best I started to do some more prints, combining colours and using different stencils.

I still have a long way to go with this technique and not sure yet if it's something I will keep using. So time will tell. I really love making these prints though, it's very addictive.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Printing with a Gelatin Plate

I did an online mono printing class with Linda Germain recently because I've liked some of the images that she does and thought that it might be good to learn some techniques instead of just making mistakes myself.

We started from scratch and learnt how to make our own gelatin plate, in the past I have used a purchased Gelli Plate.

She posted many videos and I enjoyed the class although I did make many prints that I wasn't happy with as well as some OK ones. I printed onto the back of old printer paper so it didn't matter if they didn't work out.

My main problem was that I didn't have much paint to use. I hadn't used my paints for so long that they had dried out and were useless.

I had to make the best of what I had.

Here is a photo of some of my prints.

Mono Prints

I chose a simple vase shape and I quite liked the result but Linda suggested that I would have more room for interest if my vase shape was smaller.

Then I tried using some weeds from the garden and got an abstract like image.

I was starting to get a bit disillusioned and couldn't remember how I achieved some effects.

I decided to stop playing with paper because I am more interested in using fabric anyway.

When I switched to fabric I felt more at home and started to enjoy it more.

Mono printing on fabric

I decided to do things properly and test which paints worked better on fabric because it is a little more difficult than paper.

I'll post my test results in the next post.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

NGV Triennial and Del Kathryn Barton

During the holiday I went into the city to see a couple of art exhibitions

The NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) are currently hosting their summer exhibition which is called NGV Triennial. It is a huge exhibition with paintings, sculpture and installations from artists all over the world. It's almost too much to see in one outing. Luckily it is on until April 15th so there is still plenty of time to re-visit.

The Triennial is free and so the gallery is even busier than usual. I didn't take many photos, I just wandered around from room to room trying to take it all in.

There is a massive sculpture to greet everyone in the foyer.

Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana by Xu Zhen

I think my favourite section was the gorgeous embellished gowns by Guo Pei. For some reason I only took one photo.

Gold Embroidered Gown by Guo Pei

Another popular installation was Mass by Ron Mueck. I had to crop the photo because there were so many people looking at it. It seems a bit gruesome but I found it oddly compelling. I am not sure of his message but I took it to mean that it's how we are all going to end up and so we'd better make use of the time we have.

Mass by Ron Mueck

I am looking forward to going back and seeing the Triennial again. Since I have been to the Triennial I have been reading articles in the Gallery magazine about the different exhibitions and it gives a new appreciation to the displays.

On the same day we also went to the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square to see an exhibition by Australian female artist Del Kathryn Barton. She is a very well-known Australian artist and relatively young at 45 years old. She has won Australia's largest portrait prize, The Archibald prize twice in 2008 and 2013.

Del Kathryn Barton explores what it is like to be feminine and I must admit that I find her work to be a little confronting at times.
What I did enjoy was the detail in her paintings, it closely resembled embroidery to me. Here are some detail photos of some of her paintings.

It must take her a long time to include so much detail in her paintings. It's unusual these days, I suppose it is one of the things that sets her apart.

We also saw the Helen Maudsley exhibition because we are studying her in Art Quilters this month. I was doing research for my homework. I'll post those photos when I finish my project.

It was probably too much to go to two galleries in one day but we don't go into the city very often and we wanted to make the most of it. Well I did; my husband just follows along and doesn't complain much!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Art Quilters Holiday Challenge

Last week the Waverley Art Quilters met for the first time in 2018. It was good to see everyone again and catch up with what they have been doing during the holidays.

When we last met at the Christmas break-up party, we were given a paper bag with strips of batik fabric inside. We were told to make something with the strips and include a stamping or printing technique.

Here is a photo of some of the strips I received because I forgot to take a photo of them before I started the quilt.

We all had different colour-ways and mine were blues, purples and browns. I had two months to make something and ended up making it the weekend before it was due!

We were allowed to add some other fabrics and I had to add some lights because my original composition was too dark.

I used some Thermofax screens to print onto some blue fabric that I had that seemed to go with the batik strips.

Here is my quilt top before I did the quilting.

I made this quilt using the improv technique, in other words I just started sewing the strips together and gradually added more by looking at it on my design wall and adding extra fabric as I thought it needed it. I really enjoy this carefree approach.

It didn't take long to quilt because it is only an A3 size and I called it Midnight Blue.

Midnight Blue ©2018 Linda Steele

I have been very busy making two other quilts this year, one for a competition and a project for a magazine but unfortunately I am not allowed to show either to the public yet.

Here is a little detail of one of them though.

Coral Reef detail

I have also been to a few exhibitions so as soon as I get the photos ready I'll blog about them.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

It's Christmas time again, it comes around so quickly and I have been busy as usual. All the parties are over now and all the meetings and commitments can wait until next year. All my shopping is done and the presents wrapped.

One of my friendship groups shares a Kris Kringle gift with a particular theme. This year we had to make a candle mat that was dinner-plate sized. I had some left over shapes from an applique project and decided to use them because of lack of time and my usual sewing machine was getting repaired.

After I had fused the shapes I used a sewing machine to blanket stitch the edges. As usual it looked much better when I quilted it. I was a bit worried because I wasn't using my usual machine but it turned out ok.

I also bought a candle to go with it; it was a Grateful candle which I thought was a nice sentiment for the end of a busy year.

I received a beautiful Christmas candle-mat from my friend Jo.

In hindsight I wish I had made a Christmas one, it's my first year with this group and they have been very kind and welcoming to me.

So here I am another year older and just as busy as last year but I made a few resolutions at the start of the year and one of them was to start exercising again and I did a yoga class every week and certainly felt the benefit.

I would still like a bit more time for sewing though.

I will finish the year with a couple of photos of my two favourite people, I feel so lucky that I can see them so often and be part of their lives.

I am going to take a break from blogging and have a holiday at home, give the house a good clean and get lots of sewing done. That's the plan anyway!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thank you to the faithful few who take the time to comment on my blog, I really appreciate it.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Party Time

It's that time of the year when all the groups I belong to have their Christmas break up parties and we all look forward to a break from our commitments for a while.

I received a lovely bunch of flowers from the Waverley Art Quilters to say thank you for running the group.

We have finished our study of the principles and elements of design using the Sandra Meech book called Connecting Design to Stitch. Next year we are going back to studying various artists and themes. I have chosen all women abstract artists for us to discover and learn more about; that should be interesting.

A couple of years ago I gave a talk to the Westernport Quilters group and I spoke about my involvement with the Waverley Art Quilters and it inspired them to start their own group. I was so happy when I found out about it, they have gone a step further than us and have a page on their website showing their work.

You can see their art quilts here.

I only have one break up party to go and I will be officially on holidays from all duties, whew,  I need a break!
I have the good news that I got my Bernina 820 sewing machine back at last and it is sewing beautifully. Now I have no excuse, I have sewing to do.

There is still time to visit the AQIPP exhibition in Box Hill, it closes on Thursday 21st and it is well worth a visit. You can see my post about it here. I still want to get back there myself because the opening night was very busy.

Bye for now,