July 7, 2016

Mostly Dyeing and Stitching

It's been awhile since I updated my blog, but the dyeing and stitching is still going on. I got into the  habit of photographing so my photos are handy whenever I have time to blog. 

At the end of June I was away to look after my GS for a week. It was a nice change from my normal work routine. While I was away I did quite a bit of eco-dyeing and a bit of stitching as well. I started working on a journal cover for my trip to Hokkaido later this year. I completed the journal cover and I was told I should keep it as a decorative cloth instead of making it into journal cover!  

Should I use it for a journal cover
or a decorative cloth?

Quickly whipped up 2 more needle rolls for
gifts while I was away.

Rolled-up lots and lots of bundles while
I was away. 

Sharing my newly acquired vintage tin and
other favourite things.

Some great results from the dyed bundles. 

Half and half opened bundle

Bright and clear printing on wool.

I remembered to photograph it before rolling it up

Lovely gift from DIL. She made this for a
class sample.

On my return I hung some of the new pieces in
the Treehouse Studio.

I don't think I've shown you my new floor cushions
I brought back from Metsovo, Greece

Chocolate fountain cookies as GS calls them. 

I have a few more stitching projects in the works. I've finished quilting one and I am just waiting for binding. Hopefully I can show it to you in my next blog update. I must say I'm enjoying my dyeing and stitching right now. 

We are just about more than halfway into our winter. Apart from being cold, it has been raining a lot too. When I was away in Canberra I felt that our Melbourne winter is very mild in comparison to Canberra. I actually felt hot the night after my return. I do like cooler weather more than warmer weather!

Until next time

June 16, 2016

Commissioned Work - Sun and Earth

My commissioned work project is completed, sent and received. I can now blog about it and include the feedback from Debra SposaHere is what she said: 

Hello Nat!!!

OMG, what a beautiful piece of art this is.  Stunning in so many ways.  Wow!  Just love it.  Your stitching is perfection, the design so alive but in a very tranquil way.  Just thrilled with the piece.

Thank you so much for taking on my challenge. 
Your biggest fan,

Deb told me she really likes my work and would I create her something. I agreed without a deadline. I have been thinking about it for a while now. When I started one I couldn't stop, so I ended up making 4 little blocks together and combining them on a piece of vintage Japanese hem. I'm happy that Deb is happy with it too.

I met Deb through my blog many years ago. Deb is high school art teacher. She told me she often inspires her students with what I do and posted on my blog. I'm so thrilled to hear that my humble creations have a positive influence on younger generations. Deb regularly posts her students' work on her blog as well. 

Four little blocks together

Block #1

Block #2

Block #3

Block #4

I called my commissioned work Sun and Earth. The name came to me when I worked on the final block, block #4. It's actually gave itself a name when I accidentally stitched the Sun on it. 

I had a lot of fun creating these little blocks. I sometimes had stitching block. I'd walk away for a bit. When I took it up again I moved forward with stitching. It would tell me when it is done as well. Does that happen to you too?

Thanks Deb, for challenging me to create it for you. I have made a few little blocks for exhibition, and in future I might have to make more, but this is the biggest project I've ever made.

Until next time

May 31, 2016

Re Purpose and Dyeing Stuff!

I have been busy! What news right? Real winter is settling-in here in Melbourne. Winter is late this year. I felt that it might never come. Cold weather is good to snuggle in and work on something soft and woolly. I have done a lot of things lately, but today I'm only going to show you my latest project made from a woollen baby blanket. 

I have been busy dyeing weird and wonderful stuff. When I spotted a brand new woollen baby blanket at my local op-shop for only $8.25 I had to have it! I know that wool dyes like a dream!

For dyeing I cut the blanket into sections small enough to roll in bundles. I stuffed eucalyptus leaves inside each piece. Rolled and steamed. I love and treasure this blanket, and now I can share what I made from it with my stitching friends to love and use for years to come. 

Cut and ready to dye.

Wonderful result with rust objects
to add extra dimension.

Trimmed to size and added blanket stitches.
Very simple!

Added wool felt dyed previously on the inside.
I've left a small opening to keep thread.

Feeling very pleased with myself after the fourth roll. I made the cords using dyed threads. The buttons are vintage ones from my button tins. I posted them up today on my Instagram feed and I was asked if they are for sale! I will continue making them until I use up all of the blanket. I love the mass production process with whatever I'm making. It's the quilter in me coming out! 

Until next time

May 4, 2016

Post 2016 Textile Trip

It has been a busy couple of weeks since I returned from the SE Asia textile trip. I had arranged a few activities prior to my travel. The activities were of fun things to do, one of which was to visit Australian Quilt Convention, AQC. The Australian quilt show is not as big as the one in Europe or the US, but to me it's big enough! I don't go to many of these shows now, but at this one I wanted to go and say hi to Victoria Findlay Wolfe. When I met her in Seattle last year I told her I would meet her in Melbourne and I've kelp my word. Victoria was teaching, but she spared the time to have a chat with me when I got there. Her workshop was so colourful and lively. I loved what her students were doing with Victoria's modern twist of double wedding ring blocks. 

While I was at AQC I had a good look at the quilt exhibition as well. The ones that caught my eyes were Wartime quilts made mainly by men during the wars. Also the red and white quilts. 

On Sunday my colleagues and I visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see 200 Years of Australian Fashion and I did squeezed in dyeing on Sunday afternoon. Below are photos from many activities in the last two weeks.

The view of AQC from the balcony

Repost this from Victoria's Instagram

Wool quilt, all hand pieced.

Quilt made by men

Image from a magazine article

Simple red and white quilt

Another gorgeous red and white quilt

Victoria Findlay Wolfe's MOD wedding quilt

Some images from 200 Years of Australian Fashion showing at the National Gallery of Victoria. 

Results of the colourful dyed fabric from the dye batch. I've received a lot of inquiries from my Instagram feeds how I get such vivid colours from my dyes? My answer is always the same, time and patience! 

Hanging them out to dry

I also attended a two-day workshop on Seedpods Art with Sophie Munns. Like all workshops, once you get there you always learn something new and become engrossed in whatever comes your way. I can't say I learned how to draw anything complicated. It was a fun workshop and I highly recommend it. 

Sophie's drawing and some seedpods

My attempt at drawings

My colourful painting

The group paintings

Returning from the workshop with leftover seedpods. I had an urge to make ink out of them. I had some Eucalyptus base leftover from dyeing so I added the seedpods and started boiling it for hours.  

Here they are, seedpods ink and walnut ink. 

Well, I'm keeping myself busy with what life throws at me. I don't have long enough time to just sit and finish any project in a hurry. I've come to accept that what make me most happy is when I create! I have many quilts and textile pieces I made, but they stayed hidden in the closet and rarely get used. 

I'm happy to inspire people to create. So if you read my post and have any questions regarding what I do please do not hesitate to leave me comment with your reply-able comment and I will be happy to get back to you with the answer if I can.

Until next time

April 12, 2016

SE Asia Textile Trip 2016

I returned from the SE Asia textile trip last weekend. I didn't have much time to idle before I had to go straight back to work. It's a nice feeling though that I have a job to come back to.

Even though my SE Asia textile trip was only 2 weeks, what I have fitted in to those two weeks feels like a lifetime of learning. If you remember I visited this part of the world two years ago. Returning for a second time has given me more depth and appreciation into the vast range of textiles and cultures of SE Asia. I originally came from that part of the world, but apart from learning how to sew at a young age I didn't learn about SE Asia's textiles until long after I left. 

On this trip I spent more time exploring the designs, colour, natural and indigo dyes and vintage textile pieces. I also attended a couple of natural and indigo dye workshops as well as a weaving workshop. I have also noticed a change in textile collections. Instead of the traditional items I saw two years ago I now found semi traditional cheaply made gifts! I was lucky to come across a few shops that sell collectible textile pieces, but they were hard to find. I enjoyed walking in small lanes and back streets. In doing so I found little shops with treasures tucked away from the main thoroughfares. 

I love to visit as many markets as possible. I hit lucky in some places where there were markets only once a week. I will add short captions for each photo. I don't want you to think that I bought everything on the photos in this post! Just a warning that it's going to be a photo heavy post. 

Scrumptious dyed silk at  Talad Sao, Vientiane

Some vintage silk carves at a shop in Vientiane
Piles and piles of vintage textiles, Vientiane

I came away with a wedding piece from
the shop above. Woven silk.

These remnants were thrown in when I bought
the piece in the above photo! 

Decorative tapes found in Talad Sao, Vientiane 

I attended a natural/indigo dye workshop at the
Houey Hong Vocational Center in Vientiane

Natural dyes daily at Oct Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

Samples of work you can choose to
make in workshops at Ock Pop Tok

Lovely original woven pieces at Ock Pop Tok
gallery in town, Luang Prabang

I was lucky to get a chance to visit a
Hmong village in Chiang Mai

Some of the Hmong works both new and old

A lovely old woven silk scarf in my hotel

More lovely old woven silk
scarves in my hotel

Old Sinh (tube skirt) I bought from a back
street shop in Luang Prabang

Indigo vat at Ock Pop Tok

Silk scarf I dyed with indigo and
stitch lack insects

Indigo beads

Hmong textiles from a market in Chiang Mai

Woven old cotton blanket

Woven old cotton blanket I bought
from Talad Soa, Vientiane

Indigo cotton scarves from Bansoa gallery,

Indigo Sinh (tube skirt) from local
market in Luang Prabang

A simple woven linen cloth from
Indigo House, Bangkok

Last minute finds in Bangkok.
They are from Afghanistan 

A few simple purses bought at Chiang Mai Airport

Wholesale market, Waroros

Night market, Chiang Mai

Sunset on Mekong River with Cloth House's tote

Needless to say I came home with a big stash of stuff. Some are for gifts and others I will use to make home decorations and gifts.

Not all of what I brought home, but close to it!

I need a gift this weekend so I quickly made one
using a Hmong's embroidery piece I brought
back. It's a Coptic binding book.

Four cities in 15 days. It was a busy, but enjoyable and exciting trip. My trip was semi organized by Audley Travel and I. Audley Travel specializes in boutique tours. They will do from two persons to a full size tour. I'm very happy using Audley Travel when I travels without Mr Notjustnat

I'm sorry if some of you already saw my photos on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for following me along on the trip. If you have any questions regarding my trip just let me know.

Until next time