Pages

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Drawing and Collage in Lockdown

Seeing as we are still in lockdown, I treated myself to an on-line purchase, some Tim Holtz fabrics.


I have decided to work a bit more on collage as I love the layered look that you get with paint but it is harder to achieve with fabric. So, I thought I would make myself another sketchbook and do some more on paper first. I find the sketchbooks that you buy with the spiral binding annoying when trying to draw, if you are using both sides of the paper.

I used some large watercolour paper folded in half and made a cover with some really heavy interfacing. I went looking for some fabric to fuse onto the cover and decided to use some of my new Tim Holtz fabric.


Usually, people hand sew the pages into the book, but I did it with a large stitch on the sewing machine. I've done it that way before and had no trouble.

So, now I have a lovely new sketchbook to use.

I have also been doing some mono-printing with some eucalyptus leaves, I think they were too big and I don't know if I'll ever use them. In fact, I am much happier with my sun-printing results.


I might see what one or two look like with some stitching on them.

I have also been trying to draw everyday, just a little pen drawing in the concertina sketchbook I made.


That is a benefit of staying at home all the time, you get to play around with this and that.

I've also been quilting my latest improv quilt that I finally finished piecing together.


I have been busy and luckily we are locked down because I haven't done my art quilters homework. That's on my to-do list along with lots of other stuff.

Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Wonder of Eyes

 Last week the curator of the Wonder of Eyes quilt swap Brenda Gael Smith organised a fun Zoom event to distribute the quilts. 


This exhibition was supposed to be displayed at the Australasian Quilt Convention last year, but of course that was cancelled. Sadly, this year's event will probably not take place after being postponed twice, so it was time to distribute the quilts.

Brenda is very clever with all things computer and she arranged a wheel with photos of all the quilts on the outside. Whenever the wheel stopped the next entrant on her list got the quilt. Only once did a person get her own quilt and the wheel had to spin again.


 

It was fun to watch and good to see some familiar quilting faces again even though it was only on-line.

My Peacock quilt went to Cindy who lives in the USA.


I won a quilt named Reflection by Catherine McDonald from New Zealand.

Reflection by Catherine McDonald

On the back she wrote, 'Sometimes reflecting back on events your memory is blurred regarding details. I have tried to show the reflection in the eyes being a bit blurred rather than crisp'.

The other news is that 2 of my grandchildren had their birthdays, Jack turned 5 and Anna turned 3. Just like last year we are in lockdown and their parties were cancelled. We bought a little bike for Anna and left it at their door. Apparently, she absolutely loves it. We bought some Lego and a transformer toy for Jack but I didn't get a photo of them, but he was just as thrilled. Hopefully, they can have a party next year!!



Bye for now,

Linda

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Exhibition news

 There is not much happening exhibition wise in Australia, here in Melbourne we are currently in our 6th lockdown, where there are only 4 reasons to leave within 5k of your home. Everyone is getting pretty sick of it.

However, exhibitions overseas are starting to open up.

There is a travelling exhibition curated by Brenda Gael Smith called Open Borders, they are travel inspired quilts from Australian artists. We cannot travel but our quilts can!

There was a lovely advertisement featuring my quilt, Magical Coral Reef.


The exhibition will travel with the Mancuso shows this year.

The World Quilt Show is currently an on-line exhibition and that is on at the moment.

The quilts will be on show in person at

The Pennsylvania National Quilt Exhibition 16th - 19th September

Pacific International Quilt Festival 14th -17th October

Quilt and Sewing Festival of New Jersey 17th - 20th November

There is also going to be a Portrait exhibition at the same shows and my quilt was selected to be in that too. This exhibition was curated by Phyllis Cullen, I did a on-line portrait class with Phyllis and we continue to meet monthly via zoom for a critique session, which really helps to keep everyone motivated. 

My quilt of my grandson Jack climbing a tree will be in that exhibition.

Jack 

Another exhibition called the Wonder of Eyes was supposed to be on show all over Australia in 2020, then all shows got postponed to 2021. Unfortunately, now most of the shows have been cancelled this year as well. The little quilts are going to be returned to us. I did a peacock and there was a lovely post on Instagram showing some of the postcards and my peacock was in the front.




We are still wondering if the Australasian Quilt Convention will go ahead in December and our Victorian Quilt Show in November, but it is starting to seem unlikely.

Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Digital Cloth Magazine

 I am one of the artists featured in the on-line magazine called The Digital Cloth issue 8. It is a great art textile magazine produced by Australian textile artist Caroline Sharkey. 

The Digital Cloth issue 8


I was very honoured to be included because there are always so many wonderful artists featured. I speak mostly about my Coral Reef series of quilts. The magazines are jammed packed with lots of photos and articles by various artists from countries around the world and not very expensive either.  A great value e-magazine.

I have done a couple of other articles for different groups lately. One is coming out this month for my local quilting group, Waverley Patchworkers monthly newsletter. I also did an article for our Oceania SAQA group about my studio. It's not really a studio, I took over the rumpus room when my children grew up. I really love being in that room though. 

Before I took over the rumpus room, I used to use my larger than normal laundry, now I use that area for dyeing and  preparations for sun printing.

Wet studio


The funny thing is, I took some photos and was disappointed at how messy my room looks when I am in the middle of creating a quilt. So I had to tidy up and take the photos again!

Here is where I do my designing at one end of our old table tennis table. I use the table tennis table for basting my quilts.

Design area

I have two sewing machines set up all the time and I work from one to the other.

Sewing machine area

I have one wall of cupboards for all my fabrics. Here is a photo of one of the double cupboards.


I sort my fabrics by type and colour.

That's a sneak peak into where I spend my days. I am really busy trying to get a quilt done for AQIPP (Australian Quilts in Public Places). It is a juried exhibition that is on every 2 years and entries are due next month! The theme this time is Where in the World. I didn't have an idea of what to do for ages and in the end I thought of two ideas. I only have time to make one though.

Bye for now,
Linda


Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Portrait Quilts

 This year, I had decided that I wanted to get better at making portraits. The trouble is that it is hard to make portraits when you are also doing other quilts for various shows.

In our Art Quilters group, we are continuing to work in a series. Our recent topic was Grace Crowley, an Australian abstract artist who was born in 1890 and died in 1979 ages 89.

I did my first quilt inspired by one of her paintings from 1951.



When I was in Adelaide earlier this year, I spent a couple of hours at their Art Gallery. I was thrilled to come face to face with a Grace Crowley painting.

Abstract by Grace Crowley 1953


When it came to making the second quilt in the series, I decided to include a portrait of Grace Crowley. That way I could fulfill the brief of working in a series and practice my portraits as well. I used four values to make the portrait and I used the painting that I saw at the gallery as my inspiration.

Grace Crowley 2


I was going to use a transparency method to make a portrait for my third quilt, but I somehow forgot my intention and made another fabric portrait! I did use a collage method though. It was a much more time consuming method to make a portrait but I was happy with the outcome.

Grace Crowley 3

It was only when I had finished quilting the third one that I realised that I didn't use a light enough value for her face; it came out too dark. Oh well, I just keep learning and trying!

Here is a photo of all three quilts together.

Grace Crowley Series 

Last year, I had done a portrait class with Phyllis Cullen on-line and she is having a travelling portrait exhibition in the USA with the Mancuso group. She invited us to submit one of our portraits to be considered for inclusion. 

I remembered a photo that I had taken of my grandson Jack last year. We were just coming out of a four-month lockdown and the playgrounds were being opened up. We still couldn't meet at our houses but we could catch up at a playground. It was such a happy day and the children were just as thrilled as the adults to be out and about.


I dropped everything and spent all my time making the quilt, the deadline was approaching and the pressure was on. I was absolutely delighted when my quilt was accepted for the exhibition.

Jack

I posted it the day that I finished, I just hope that it gets there in time, the post is so erratic at the moment.

I was happy with it; my family weren't that impressed though. I suppose a quilt can never look as good as a real photo. Probably a good reason to try a more artistic approach than realism. My daughter thought he looked like a scary doll from a horror movie, oh dear!

Anyway, I am not discouraged and want to make more and improve.

Bye for now,

Linda


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Eco Printing Experiment

 I decided to try some eco printing, now that is something I never thought I would say! I was inspired by a You Tube video I saw as well as one of my fellow art quilters who was also having a go.


I found an on-line beginner class by an English lady called Caroline Nixon, she was very thorough with her advice.

Eco printing

You have to have a mordant for the leaves to print onto the fabric. You can buy iron sulphate powder in shops but I found an old rusting saw that my husband still had in his garage and soaked it in water and vinegar for a few days.

Making iron water


I forgot to take a photo of the iron water a few days later, but it was quite rusty looking. I had to pour the water through paper towels a couple of times to get the rusty bits out and just have the iron water.

I rinsed some raw silk into the iron water, rung it out and then placed leaves on the top.


I tried all different leaves to see what worked.

I rolled up my bundle of leaves using an old rolling pin and plastic wrap as a barrier. It's important to roll it tightly.

My leaf bundle

Then I had to wrap up the bundle to keep it together while it was steaming. I used some crepe bandage that has a bit of stretch.

Leaf bundle wrapped

Here it is steaming for One and a half hours

Steaming


This is the first raw silk that I tried, all the leaves printed.


You get a clearer print if you put the back of the leaf onto the fabric.

That was so much fun, I thought I would try again with another piece of silk, but this time the fabric was a bit too wet and the print was a bit blurry. I used rose and camellia leaves, the camellia leaves don't print very well.

Blurry print

I quickly tried again but this time I ironed the fabric so it was almost dry, I still managed to get a print from the rose leaves but the fabric had been too dry. The yellow on the right was me trying the camellia leaves again.

Rose leaves

I had run out of time and iron water by now and so that was the end of my experiment.

I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. I learned that I loved the smell of the leaves steaming and you need the fabric to be damp but not too wet or too dry. I also learnt that deciduous leaves print the best. They have the most tannin when they are about to drop off the tree, so autumn leaves are perfect for eco printing.

I will definitely try again one day; I don't know if I will start to include eco printing in my quilts but you never know!

I do enjoy experimenting though, it is fun.

Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Sun printing

 We had a couple of days of sunny weather last week. It is the middle of winter and it wasn't warm but I thought I would grab the chance to do some sun-printing to prepare for an upcoming project I have in mind.

Here are some leaves sitting on some fabric waiting for some magic to happen.

Sun Printing with leaves

I want the fabric for a nature inspired quilt so I didn't want the fabrics to be too bright.

Here is the result of that fabric.

Sun printing result

After I had removed the leaves, I painted over with some yellow paint and then I added some olive green paint to make it more nature inspired rather than bright.

I also painted a fabric and left it in the sun with loose folds, once again I painted it twice for a stronger effect.
Sun printing with folds


I wanted to use up all my left over paint, so I put a stencil on some fabrics.

Sun printing with stencil

That was a very clear print, I think I'll be able to use them as applique in my project.

Some of my sun prints didn't have enough texture on them so I decided to add some flour resist. I hadn't done any flour resist since last year but luckily I could look up my old blog post to remember how I did it.

Here is my post on Flour Resist from last year.

I cracked the first one a bit too much and so the lines got a bit thick.

Sun printing and flour resist

I actually just gently tapped the stiffened flour on the back next to get a finer result.

Flour resist

Next I put some flour resist on plain white fabric, thinking I could paint it later in whatever colour I wanted. I was very gentle with the cracking this time and the lines were very fine.

Very fine flour resist


I think I will be able to use these fabrics in my upcoming quilt, I hope so anyway. I am trying something new this time, inspired by my recent collage work. I want to transfer what I have learned on paper to fabric.

Bye for now,

Linda

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Follow my Blog by Email

 I have mentioned before that Blogger have decided to stop allowing people to follow posts by email. I don't know why, but I follow a lot of blogs by email so it is annoying for me.

Anyway, I wish to continue writing my blog, at least for my own benefit because I can never remember how I did something, so it is a great reference for me.

I now have a new way that people can follow my blog through Follow-it

People who already follow my blog by email don't have to do anything, your email addresses have been switched over automatically. 

Anyone who would like to follow my blog by email can sign up in my blog side bar on the right.

Meanwhile, we have been having a burst of sunny winter weather so I have been doing some printing.

Sun printing with leaves

I'll let you see the results in the next post.

I've been juried in Houston and the Festival of Quilts in the UK as well! That's always exciting. So, it's been busy, working on my blog behind the scenes, 2 family birthdays and doing some dyeing and sun-printing. It's never a dull moment at my place.

Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Collage Course

 A couple of months ago I signed up to a Collage class called Process and Possibilities- Connecting Through Collage. The teacher was Cordula Kagemann from Germany and it was through the Fibre Arts Take Two group. They run fantastic workshops.

People from all over the world took the class and we had a private Facebook group. I decided to take the lessons slowly and really immerse myself into the techniques. It was interesting that most of the other participants did the same thing. Nobody wanted to rush through the lessons.

We worked with sketchbooks at first, trying out different compositions and techniques. We were encouraged to use lots of different papers especially Chinese, Japanese and transparent papers. I had to buy most of the papers on-line.

Here are a couple of sketchbook pages where I was trying out an Image transfer.

Sketchbook Page


Image Transfer

The image transfer is done with a laser print, so I had to go the Officeworks to get the photocopies done, apparently inkjet prints are not waterproof and smudge as you try and do the transfers. I found the image transfers difficult but effective. The first time I tried one, I made my finger bleed from rubbing too hard!

We did monoprinting onto transparent papers, which was a first for me, I have always done it on printer paper.

Mono print tissue paper

After a lot of practice we were encouraged to try a collage on an artist canvas. here was my first try, it is mainly in Cordula's style.

Collage 1

Then I tried another one, this one was called a low relief collage, I did mine in Autumn Colours and used the techniques that Cordula taught us.

Late Autumn Collage

Next we were encouraged to try and use our own inspiration and see where it took us. We had to use a day in our life as inspiration.

I had recently come back from my short stay in Adelaide when I judged the South Australian Quilt Show. I chose photos from the day that I visited the cemetery and Art Gallery with my brother. I had by chance taken photos of doors and windows when I was there and it was a perfect focal point.

Journey triptych

I was really happy with what I had done but it still felt a little bit like Cordula's work. I had another canvas and tried again, this time just trying to do my own thing. 

I loved the result, it is hard to explain what happened but I felt as if it was coming from me and was truly my work.

Journey Home by Linda Steele

Now I have all these artist canvasses around the house, I realise why painters have to sell their work, it is much easier to store a quilt than a bulky canvas.

The course is over now, although we have a lifetime access to the lessons. I really want to try and translate what I have learnt onto fabric. That is on my list of things to do. It's a long list though.

It has been quite drama filled around here, we have just had a 4th lockdown and last week there was a terrible storm that caused a lot of damage and power outages. We lost power for 2 days, it was cold and dark, so we stayed at my daughter's house until the power was restored. Grandchildren Jack and Anna loved having us stay. It just so happened that shopping Centres were allowed to open on that first day, so we went to see the sparkly magical Beasts display.



Apparently Blogger is not going to send blog posts by email anymore from June 30. I don't know why, maybe blogs aren't in fashion now. I read most blog posts that I follow by email, so I think it is really annoying.

Sorry to those people that usually read my posts by email. I am going to continue to write my blog because I find it really handy as a record of what I am doing. Maybe I'll start doing more posts on Facebook and Instagram now. I might change and start writing a newsletter to send by email. I'll see what happens.

I have a Facebook page- www.facebook.com/LindaSteeleQuilts 

and Instagram is instagram.com/lindabsteele

Bye for now,

Linda