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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Bleaching Map

Last month our topic for the Waverley Art Quilters was Maps.

I struggled with this at first as I was looking at maps of my suburb but it wasn't inspiring me and then I thought about doing a map of the places where I've lived but still I didn't feel any enthusiasm. I started to wonder how I could do a map that tied in with my coral reef series and suddenly I felt a stirring of interest. I was Googling maps of the Great Barrier Reef when I found an article and illustration of where the coral bleaching was occurring up in Queensland.

Apart from being dismayed at the large bleaching area I knew I had found an idea for my map challenge.

I found a perfect hand dyed fabric for the water but didn't have a hand dyed fabric with enough interest for the land so I decided to do some sun printing and make my own fabric.

Here is the first layer of sun printing. I used a black Sun dye called Currawong.


When it was dry, I heat set it with the iron and sun dyed a second layer with magenta and orange.


That made an interesting fabric but would have been too distracting and obvious if I used it as it was, so I cut it up into squares and rectangles and pieced it together.


That made it more interesting.

I painted some Lutradur, which is a polyester cross between fabric and paper, but it is more fabric like and takes paint very easily and doesn't fray. I wish I had taken more photos but I was rushing to get this finished before AQC.

I left some Lutradur white and painted another piece two shades of orange to represent how good or bad the bleaching is.


Over the top of the Lutradur I free motion embroidered some star shapes to look like coral.

Finally I added some stamping and thermofax screens with some fabric paint.

Bleaching Map

You can see how badly the coral bleaching is in the north of Queensland and down in the south where the temperatures are a bit cooler there is no bleaching.

It is very distressing when I see how beautiful the coral reefs looked 20 years ago compared to what they look like now.

I can't think of what to call this little A3 quilt, Bleaching Map doesn't seem very creative!!

Bye for now,
Linda



Tuesday, 17 April 2018

AQC 2018 part 2

I have well and truly recovered from the quilt convention but it took a few days, I really should learn to pace myself a bit more.

I took so many photos of the quilts but I will just show the ones that particularly caught my eye.

I loved Delightful Daisies by Bernadine Hine, she painted the quilt and it really glowed.

Delightful Daisies by Bernadine Hine


I also loved this heron quilt.

Heron by Janelle Northcott

There was a display of 12 quilts by Jo Wearing, they were all big quilts and the patterns were designed by Judy Niemeyer, my favourite one was Paradise in Blooms

Paradise in Blooms by Jo Wearing

There were 3 quilts called Royals by Sarah Fraser, they made a striking display.

Royals by Sarah Fraser
They look like photos but I took a close up of Lady Diana's eye so you can see how it's made of squares of fabric.

Royals detail
I met Carolyn Sullivan a quilter from New South Wales who had a retrospective of her work, she usually works in earthy tones with a lot of hand stitching but recently she has done some bright, graphic work that really appealed to me. I love the texture she achieved in the background.

Abstract trees by Carolyn Sullivan

There was also a huge display of work by a quilter from the UK named Gillian Travis. I really liked the screen printing and stamping that she has done to add detail to her work. Gillian was also a tutor while she was here.


Gillian Travis

Gillian Travis

Gillian Travis

Another tutor was Meri Vahl from the USA, I went to her lecture and it was very interesting. She has won the Best of the World quilt 2 or 3 times and I never appreciated how good her quilts were from photos. They are fantastic in person.

Free Tibet by Meri Vahl 

Now look at the wonderful detail

Meri Vahl detail

Meri Vahl detail

There was also a SAQA exhibition called Turmoil and Tranquility and two of my favourites were from Suzan Engler and Donna Deaver.

The following quilt looks as if the middle square is sitting forward but the quilt was completely flat, it was all done with clever shading.

Winter Silence by Susan Engler


I have always admired photos of Donna Deaver's sea quilts and was glad to see one up close at last.

Morning Walk by Donna Deaver
Even looking at her quilt up close, I still don't know how she achieves such wonderful movement in the sea.

So that's AQC over for another year, I feel so lucky to have it held in Melbourne so I can go every year. I suppose that's how the quilters who live in Houston must feel.

Bye for now,
Linda

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

AQC 2018

AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) is over for another year. It was very successful with crowd numbers up and many saying that the quilt displays were the best ever.

It started with a cocktail party which was a great way to have fun after a tiring day of setting up the quilts. Here I am meeting up with friends at the cocktail party.

Cocktail party

The winner of the Borders and Bridges challenge was announced and it was won by my friend
 Sue de Vanny with her quilt Bordering Extinction.

Bordering Extinction by Sue de Vanny
Here is a detail photo, she gets such realistic and amazing detail in her work.

Bordering Extinction detail

I had another friend in the competition with her beautiful machine quilting.

West meets East by Linda Crouch
I also met Shirley Drayton and she allowed me to take her photo

Echuca Moama Road Rail Bridge by Shirley Drayton

I loved putting faces to names at the show.

Another quilt that I liked was by Marie Mitchell.

Bridge to Extinction by Marie Mitchell

There were so many wonderful quilts in the challenge and they were so different, luckily they will be travelling around Australia to all the quilt shows so they can be seen by many people.

At the entrance to the quilt show was the Cherrywood Challenge 2017, they had so many entries for the Van Gogh challenge that they divided them up into 3 different exhibitions, we had the Dutch display. Cherrywood fabrics are an American company that sell hand dyed fabrics and they seem so saturated and rich.

Cherrywood Van Gogh exhibition

I took photos of many of the quilts but I noticed a crazy patchwork one and so chose that one to show.

Tori Trevino
I decided to buy the book which has all three exhibitions in it.



I liked the book because it had close up details of all the quilts as well.

Inside the Van Gogh book

On Friday I spent the day in the classroom being a class helper for Denise Griffiths who was teaching a three day flower class.

Waratah by Denise Griffiths

I didn't go to the Gala Dinner but my friend Sugy Kim won Best of Australia with Colourful Retina.

Colourful Retina by Sugy Kim

It was a very busy show for me especially seeing it was my first as the coordinator. It all went really well and I enjoyed catching up with friends from all over Australia. I spent a lot of time talking and meeting people as well as having meetings with sponsors so I didn't buy as much as I was planning to but I really wanted some Magnifico thread by Superior and so I bought a few colours. Hopefully they will work well in my machine.

AQC purchases
I took lots of photos and there was a good mix of art and traditional quilts but they will have to wait for the next post.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Preparing for AQC 2018

The Australasian Quilt Convention or AQC for short begins on Thursday and it looks as if it is going to be just as wonderful as always. If you click on the link you can get a sneak peak of the wonderful quilts that will be displayed.

I was lucky enough to have a quilt in the final of the Bridges and Borders exhibition. I called it Mangrove Nursery and it is about how the mangrove roots form a bridge shape and create a border that stops the large fish from entering allowing the small fish a chance to grow.


Mangrove Nursery ©2018 Linda Steele
It was the first time I have entered the AQC challenge and was thrilled to be accepted because I know they get a large number of entries.

Another quilt of mine called The Bleaching will also be on display.


I love AQC because quilters from all over Australia gather and we see get to see some of the best quilts from around the world. This year there are art quilts from SAQA, the modern quilts from
 Quilt Con and the Van Gogh quilts from the Cherrywood challenge as well as many others.

Of course there are all the shops with all that merchandise to tempt us as well.

I will be there every day and hope to catch up with many friends over the four days.

AQC is held at the beautiful Royal Exhibition building in Carlton Gardens Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4.30pm.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Workshop with Sue de Vanny

Waverley Patchworkers ran a two day workshop with art quilter Sue de Vanny last weekend and I was lucky enough to be in the class.

On day one she gave us all a photo of an urchin and we had to trace the details and then make the urchin out of little bits of fabric. It looks as if I am nearly complete in the photo below.



Making my urchin

My colours are bright but these days I am going for more colour and artistic expression and less realism, if I wanted realism I could just have a photo.

It took everyone all day to complete their urchins, we were all tired but happy.

On the morning of day 2 we had lots of fun stamping and stenciling. Sue had brought lots of paints, stamps and stencils for us to try and we had such fun trying out as many as we wanted.

stamps and stencils

After lunch we started sewing our urchin onto our stamped background fabric. We were all sewing madly trying to get it done by the end of the day. I wish I could show you everyone's urchins; they all looked so different even though we started with the same picture.

The next day I quilted mine and had it ready for our meeting that night.

My urchin
When I got home from the workshop I actually added some orange paint to the urchin text because I needed some orange to balance the composition.

Everyone really enjoyed the class. Sue was such a fun and generous teacher. We were privileged to see many of her quilts up close and she told us how she made them. I would highly recommend a class with Sue de Vanny if you get a chance.

Bye for now,
Linda

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,
Linda

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,
Linda