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Monday, 15 July 2019

Kusama

I am a member of the Waverley Art Quilters and every month we study a different artist or theme. Last month we were looking at Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama.

She was born on the 22nd March 1929. I watched a documentary on her recently and she seems quite an eccentric character. It's hard to believe that she turned 90 this year and still makes art every day.

Kusama is most famous for her dot obsession and I must admit they are fascinating.

I didn't have much time to do a little quilt study this time, so I grabbed some black and white spot fabric and cut it into dots.



It looked too simple and so I cut some more plain black circles and added them to the top.

Kusama

It is quilted in the above photo. I did straight, horizontal lines, which is quite fashionable at the moment. Hard to see though, because I quilted with black cotton onto the black section of the fabric.

There is a permanent exhibition of one of her installations in the National Australian Gallery in Canberra. I happen to be going to Canberra next month and it is on my list of things to do there.

If you haven't heard of Yayoi Kusama, I recommend that you Google her, you are in for a colourful surprise.

Bye for now,
Linda

Monday, 24 June 2019

Quilt NSW Prize Winner

I was absolutely thrilled to receive an email from Quilt NSW to say that I'd won a prize at the Sydney quilt show last week.



Due to family commitments I couldn't go to Sydney this year but my friend Julie Adamson was going and she messaged me with the wonderful news that I had won 1st Prize in the Miniature section!!

She kindly sent me a photo after she had pinned its blue ribbon on.

Autumn Dance by Linda Steele
This little quilt is 43 cm x 43 cm or just under 17" x 17". I actually designed this little quilt about 5 years ago and only got around to making it last year.

Here is a detail photo of the quilt, it is machine appliqued and machine quilted.

Autumn Dance Detail
The reason that I couldn't go to Sydney this year is because my daughter is the Dance and Drama teacher at the school where she teaches and her musical The Lion King was on at the same time as the Sydney Show. I had to pick up my granddaughter Savannah from Kindergarten and then take her to see the performances.

Savannah and I at The Lion King

The grade 6 musical was a great success, it's just a shame that it clashed with the Sydney Show!

I haven't got any photos of the wonderful quilts that were there but you can see the winners on the Quilt NSW Website.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

AQC 2019

This is a rather late post about the Australasian Quilt Convention or AQC as we call it.

Every year there is a challenge and this year the theme was Magic. I was absolutely thrilled to win Viewer's Choice with my quilt Magical Coral Reef.

Here is a photo of me with my quilt well before I knew that it had won Viewer's Choice.

Me with my quilt

The 1st place winner was Alison Withers with her quilt Women's Magic.

Women's Magic by Alison Withers

Whenever one of my friends came by we took a photo of them with their quilt.

Phoenix Rising by Deb Layt

Creating Magic by Sue de Vanny

As well as a wonderful array of quilts and shops there are classes and the teachers also have some of their quilts on display. I couldn't resist taking a photo of Susan Carlson's quilt Tickled Pink. I've seen it so many times in books and magazines that it was good to actually stand in front of it.

Tickled Pink by Susan Carlson

There was a display of all the quilts that represented the states in the Best of Australia Award.

Here is the NSW entry from Jenny Bowker.

After the Last Sky by Jenny Bowker

The Tasmania entry was The Collective Language of Trees by Cindy Watkins.

The Collective Language of Trees by Cindy Watkins


The winner of the Best of Australia went to my friend Julie Adamson from Victoria for her silk applique quilt called The Apprentice.

The Apprentice by Julie Adamson

There was a wonderful display by a group of Korean quilters. They couldn't speak much English but they were so polite and happy to be in Australia for the show.

Enshrine the Landscape by Hyesook Kim

Castle on Sand by Kayoung Ahn

When the Sun Goes Down by Jungeun Tark

AQC was wonderful as usual, it is so great to catch up with friends from all over Australia and it has such a happy, friendly atmosphere.

Finally here is a photo of my quilt Magical Coral Reef without my head in front of it.
Magical Coral Reef 2019 by Linda Steele

The Magic Challenge will be travelling all around Australia this year at the Expertise Events Craft and Quilt Fairs.

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair 2019

The week after I got home from Japan, I went to Adelaide to visit family and friends and the Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair. It was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre in the city and that made it so easy to get there by public transport.

The major attraction this year was that Danny Amazonas was the guest artist. You can see how big they are by the photo below. They are huge and super impressive.

Me in front of one of Danny Amazonas' Quilts


The quilt that I am in front of is called Abyss.

Abyss by Danny Amazonas

Here is a detail photo so you can get an idea of the hundreds of fabrics that are included.

Abyss detail

Danny did a long talk and spoke about his quilts and how he makes them. He puts fusible web behind his fabrics and also starches his fabrics so they are ready and easy to use. He makes his own starch.

Danny doing his talk

He seemed like a lovely humble person. His quilts are very large, the one below named Bouquet is 3 metres wide and 1.76 metres high.

Bouquet by Danny Amazonas

I loved Levitate almost as much as I loved the undersea quilts. I am into circles at the moment!

Levitate by Danny Amazonas

Here is a detail photo so you can see all the fabrics, Danny uses a lot of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Levitate detail

I went to Danny's morning lecture and in the afternoon I did my duty at the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). SAQA had the Textile Posters exhibition on show.



While I was in Adelaide I went to the South Australian Art Gallery to see the Ben Quilty Exhibition. Ben Quilty is a young, famous Australian artist. He won a prestigious Portrait Prize, called the Archibald Prize, a few years ago with his portrait of another famous Australian artist, Margaret Olley.

Margaret Olley by Ben Quilty

I have seen this portrait before but this time I was so struck by how thick the paint was.

Paint texture
When I did my painting classes a few years ago I was being so careful to be smooth, I should have been much more free!

Ben Quilty's exhibition was mainly focussing on his paintings that he had done since his trip as an artist in war torn, Afghanistan. I found the paintings quite sad and full of anguish and didn't take many photos.

Life Jackets by Ben Quilty

At the gallery there was also a work by Japanese artist, Chiharu Shiota. She makes big installations using string that she weaves. I saw a documentary on her recently and she said that she is inspired by the idea of what or who used to be present in a room.She says that she feels the presence in absence and the red represents blood.

Absence Embodied by Chiharu Shiota

It was a brief but lovely visit to Adelaide.

Bye for now,
Linda

Monday, 3 June 2019

Japan

My youngest son, Cam decided to spread his wings and teach English in Japan for 12 months. My husband and I went with him in March to see him get settled. He was very glad to have us there as there was surprisingly little English spoken in Kobe.

We had to get him registered as a resident and find the shops, buy supplies, open a bank account, find out about getting the internet connected, learn to navigate the train system etc. There were lots of little things to do that were much more difficult when there was no English. Even the instructions for the TV we bought were all in Japanese of course.

Here is a photo of Cam all ready for his first day of work. He was pretty nervous and didn't want his photo taken.

Cam


Anyway, we did it and managed to get some sight-seeing done as well.

The first thing we did was see Osaka Castle, Osaka is the closest main city to Kobe where Cam is living.

Osaka Castle
Here is a close up photo of one of the gold decorations that you can see on the roof.

Osaka Castle Roof decoration

Everywhere we looked in Japan we could see these bonsai like pine trees.

Japanese Pine Tree

We went to Kyoto a couple of times. We spent a day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is a huge walk up through the red gates. I wish that I had taken note of how long it took but I was too exhausted. Lots of the young girls wear their kimonos to the heritage sites and I asked one if I could take her photo. She looked so gorgeous.


Japanese Kimono

Here is a photo of some of the shrines at the top to prove that we actually made it.

View of the top
On the way down I took a different route and went through an old village and saw some Koi fish.

Koi Fish


Even though it was early in March we did see a few early blossom trees.

Blossom trees
It must look absolutely beautiful when they are all out.

On another day in Kyoto we went to see the famous Golden Pavilion.

Golden Pavilion

It was a dull day when we were there and we had a bit of rain but it was still beautiful.

Golden Pavilion Lake view

We went everywhere by train and their system is so efficient. I couldn't resist taking a photo of this man in traditional dress.

Japanese man at station
There were special places to stand and line up and the train doors opened at exactly the right spot. You don't have to run around to find a door like we do in Australia. In fact, I never saw anyone rushing the whole time we were there. If you miss a train you don't have to worry because there will be another in 2 minutes. I suppose the population is so much greater over there.

There were lots of attractions in Kobe. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza and right next door was the Kobe Herb Gardens which went right up the mountain. I took so many photos of the beautiful gardens but here is one of me next to the Mother and Child statue. It was starting to sink in that I was going to leave my baby behind.

Me with Mother and Child statue

Kobe is unique in that it is right between the mountains and a harbour.


Kobe Harborland
We enjoyed Harborland because there was a huge western style shopping centre that seemed like it was built for tourists. There was even a International food section with English writing, so we knew what we were buying.

Kobe had a large zoo that was like zoos used to be when I was young, sort of glass cages so you got a really good view of the animals.

Flamingos 

Lions

Panda

On our last day we went to the Kobe Aquarium, it's not as famous as the Osaka Aquarium but it was really good with a huge variety of fish.

Kobe Aquarium

Lionfish
There were decorated manhole covers everywhere.






That is a very brief look at our wonderful time in Japan. I took a lot of photos and absolutely loved our time there.

My son seems happy living in his miniscule apartment and has already had a visit from his girlfriend and a friend from school here in Australia.

I loved Japan, the people are very polite and we felt very safe and didn't worry about leaving Cam over there. I would love to go back again, we didn't get a chance to visit Tokyo and I'd love to do one of those textile tours.

Bye for now,
Linda