Stiched Shibori ... Freeform

I've ventured down the Shibori path before ... I tried some Arashi Shibori (pole wrapping) a while back, loved the resulting fabric but found it very hard to incorporate into my work!

Recently I have been looking for ways to build different textures and variations into my surface design, especially when using natural dyes ...so I've been looking again at Shibori techniques and in particular stitched shibori.  I was delighted to find Jane Callender's book "Stitched Shibori - Techniques, Innovation,Pattern, Design" ... which provides a comprehensive reference to stitched shibori.  Jane describes stitched shibori in the following terms  ....

"Pulling up the threads of hand-sewn rows worked with small stitches creates tiny folds,  and as a row of stitching can follow a drawn line, specific shapes, motifs, patterns and designs can be composed."  

I've experimented with a range of traditional stitched shibori designs ...

and tried out a stitching technique on a wool scarf - for fun   .....  here are the stages in the stitched shibori process...

but it's the flexibility to stitch freeform designs that is exciting ....  I've been stitching my own designs using an oversewing technique called 'guntai shibori'  which creates a lovely effect.  

I can see lots of possibilities ...... Thanks for reading and for your interest in my work ...CC

 

New Work Naturally .....

Over the last month, as well as working on the FiveBySix Challenge,  I have been finishing some new work which incorporates some of my nature prints.  

I started with a nature print overlaid with some applique.  Then I decided to try some mirror image nature prints using silk and silk organza  and a range of plant material from my garden ... the results were lovely ... so these prints became the focus of two compositions.  To add texture and another layer of interest to the pieces I've hand stitched the background of the nature prints and added some hand stitched leaf outlines ... a little slow stitching which was very enjoyable....

One of these works together with two of my nature print scarves (something a bit different) are included in the 'Reflections' group show at Jing Jo's Cafe/Gallery in Kangaroo Valley which opened last week and runs till 29 April.  The scarves, are printed on a silk/wool mix and are lovely to wear, both light and warm!

This is the flyer for the exhibition which opened last week ... I'm looking forward visiting Kangaroo Valley in the next couple of weeks to see how it all looks.   If you are in the vicinity do drop by for a coffee or a bite to eat and enjoy 'Reflections' ....

With this new work I decided to update my website with a fresh layout and new galleries.  I hope you will have a look at the rest of the site,  I think it's an improvement!  There are more updates and content to come ....

Thanks for reading and for your interest in my work ...CC

 

FiveBySix Challenge ...

My friend Melissa and I decided to take a 30 day challenge during the month of February (plus a few days!),  Melissa wanted to work with embroidery stitches and  I decided this would be a good opportunity to experiment with the nature prints I have been using recently.

We set up a Facebook group which we've called  'FiveBySix Challenge'  and asked a few  friends to join us.  It will be really fun to see how it all comes together! 

I've been working in batches, experimenting with various silk fabrics, variations in techniques and testing out all the likely plants in my garden and in the local environment.  The most likely candidates seem to be deciduous plants and those that have a scent .... so plenty to work with!

After the first few batches, it was clear that part of the magic of nature prints comes from the combination of plants used which infuses the print with extra color and depth.    The combinations of fabric weight/density and printing technique also has a significant impact on the end result ... so I've been trying to work out the best combinations .......

After many batches and experiments I now have a nice lot of prints on the design wall .....

I've been playing with layout options and I'm currently thinking I will put the prints together in three panels of 12  (I know that'll be more than 30!) ....  here's what they look like on my design wall so far ... still need to be trimmed and some need some extra stabilizer but you'll get the idea....

I'm not happy with some of the prints ... so there are a few more batches planned before the end of the month!! 

While the 30 days is up soon ...  we have given ourselves a month to finish off and work on the presentation.  Will post the final result in April.   

Thanks for reading  CC

 

Art Quilt Australia's Second Outing ....

The Art Quilt Australia Exhibition,  including my two works  'Autumn Winds' and 'Grevillea Moonlight',  is having a second outing at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale, Victoria ....

AQAinvitation-YarraRanges.jpg

It is very exciting to see this Exhibition having a second life and travelling to Victoria.  I have just been looking at the Catalogue for the exhibition and I particularly like this quote from Padraic Lee Fisher,  Director of the National Wool Museum, Geelong Victoria and a member of the Selecton panel for AQA 2017...  

" The works on display in Art Quilt Australia 2017 are memories made manifest in cloth and thread, where something of the maker is revealed in each work.  The slow process in a fast world - the repetitive mark as each stitch marries the nature of cloth and time honored technique with innovation and creative vision."

I won't have the chance to travel to Lilydale but I know it will be well worth the trip for those a little closer!  Love the featured work used in the invitation above ... 'Ode To Banksias 7'  by Susan Mathews.

Thanks for reading .... CC

Sketchbook Play

Wanted to get 2018 off to a flying start so I enrolled in a short online workshop with one of my favorite textile artists  ... Dionne Swift.

Over 5 days with circles as the theme I've been making backgrounds, cutting, pasting, drawing, stamping and building up layers.  I've dug out my paintstiks, inktense pencils, water colors, charcoal, producing lots of pages and making lots of mess ... but what fun!

There is terrific energy in this class with emails and videos from Dionne each day.  It is so good to be encouraged to try things out without thinking about the end result.  What is so valuable is the the process, that takes you from the initial 'visual brainstorming, to building layers and then to the final stage of putting it all together in a sketchbook which flows with the development of ideas and imagery.  If I've peaked your interest here is a link to Dionne's website and online classes  http://www.dionneswift.co.uk/shop/workshops-online/

I'm contemplating the next class with Dionne!

Thanks for reading  CC

Leaf Works

When I began developing textile art designs,  I went back to my horticulture studies for inspiration.  My fascination with plants has become my inspiration.  My early work focused on leaves from  Forest Pansy to Maple leaves  ...

I have often used direct leaf prints in my work and have recently been exploring the world of 'Eco Printing'.  This form of direct printing has led me back to leaves and to creating a new collection of works.   These new works incorporate leaf prints, natural dyed silks and hand stitching ...

 © 2017 CarolynCollinsArt 

© 2017 CarolynCollinsArt 

I am enjoying exploring the possibilities for handstitching .....

 © 2018 CarolynCollinsArt  

© 2018 CarolynCollinsArt  

adding  new layers of pattern, texture and tone to the work. 

Thanks for read ... CC

Looking Back at 2017 ...

With the New Year at hand, I've been thinking about what I've achieved in 2017 ... and sometimes it feels like not so much!

After reading Lisa Call's blog post  'The Power of The New Year'

I was wondering how many accomplishments I could list for 2017.  When I went back to look at the artworks I had made I was quite surprised to find 18 pieces of finished work and these were mostly of a larger size than in previous years.

There were a number of experiments and some works that did not fly,  as well as one piece that was reworked into a 4 smaller works .... I haven't included these...

I decided it would be fun to see all of 2017's works in a gallery format ..... they are pretty much in the order they were made and you can see the focus has been on the Grevillea Series ....  

Now for 2018 !   

Wishing you a fun and creative year ....

Thank you for reading   CC

 

New Grevillea Pieces .....

Returning to my series work has resulted in three new pieces  that are moving my series forward in many ways ......

The first piece Grevillea  'Pink'  while still representational,  incorporates some imagery from my Grevillea drawings,  in addition to the leaf printed organza I have used on other pieces ....

Exploring the imagery from the drawings led to a more abstract approach ...  a deconstructed grevillea ....

The third piece 'Golden Gem'  pursued this idea of deconstruction and incorporated some my recent experiments with natural dyed silks.   The result is a more neutral color palette ....

This piece has also incorporates some stitched shibori and hand stitching to add tone and texture ... opening a whole new world of possibilities!  I just need more hours in the day ....  I'll tell you more about the stitched shibori and hand stitching in future  posts. 

Thanks for reading ...CC

Avocado Seeds ....

Who knew avocado seeds would produce such lovely soft colors on fabric!

In the pot, the dye is a lovely deep pink.  The fabric turns out a soft smokey pink, but I've fallen for the amazing grays that resulted from adding just a touch of iron to the dye bath ..... not colors I've been able to produce before!  

Spurred on by this success, my next venture was to try Calendula flowers,  which produce lovely soft golden yellows and a more olive tone with the addition of iron .....

The silk organza just soaks up the color wonderfully !!

Now the challenge is to find out how these fabrics will work in with my existing stash of hand dyed fabrics and my current Grevillea series work.  I'll keep  you posted.....

Thanks for reading CC

The Question of Sketchbooks!

I love the idea of keeping sketchbooks and I know how valuable they can be, I have a stack of them ... some started with a class ... some began with the idea of following a particular theme or subject ... some are  a rough collection of ideas or experiments ... some I've worked on with the aim of creating art on the page ....   

The common theme here is that I've started all these sketchbooks but after a flurry of interest they seem to languish on the shelf despite all my good intentions !!  Even so they prove to be a useful resource for ideas and inspiration!  What if I could be more consistent .....

I do keep a written journal to help me stay focused on my goals with monthly and weekly plans in the style of a bullet journal and I've been running with that over the last years or so but I hadn't found a way of integrating the use of a sketchbook .....

I've been reading with interest Lisa Call's series of posts on her Make Big Art site about the ways different artists use their sketchbooks ..... I can highly recommend Lisa's blog and this series.... here is the link if you'd like to read more .....

https://www.makebigart.com/artists-and-their-sketchbooks-heather-pregger/

In a recent post,  Heather Pregger talks about her approach of reviewing and recording her progress at the end of each day (or studio session) ... including progress with current work, experiments, critiques etc

.... here was a way of integrating a sketchbook into the art work of the day .... definitely something I could do!! 

So I've started doing just that ... it's working fine so far and I'm sure the way I use it will evolve over time ... the most important thing is to make sure it becomes a regular and ongoing part of my art work!  Wish me luck ....

Thanks for reading .....CC

 

Back to Series Work .....

What I love most about working in a series is seeing the work develop with each piece I make ... I discovered this 'magic' when taking Lisa Call's  'Working in a Series' class a couple of years back....

There are lots of reasons for working in a series .... here is a link to a post by Katherine Tyrrell which gives an excellent review of the reasons why artists choose this approach ...

https://makingamark.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/what-are-your-reasons-for-working-in.html

With the Grevillea Series that I started last year, I have worked on a number of smaller pieces developing design ideas and techniques  ......

and then a couple of larger exhibition pieces, including the work for Art Quilt Australia 2017.

So now it is time to get down to the serious 'series work'!! 

I have defined a number of parameters for the series work to come,  in terms of size, techniques and materials and I'm making good progress with the first piece with the stitching is coming along nicely.  Here are some detail shots of the work in progress ....

I also have the next couple of pieces starting to take shape on the design wall .....  It feels really good to be back into the flow of series work!

If you work in a series .... why do you take this approach??

Thanks for reading .... CC

Art Quilt Australia 2017

The last few weeks I've been spending quite a bit of time helping with the Art Quilt Australia 2017 Exhibition and Advancing Art Quilts Conference organised by the Ozquilt Network Inc .... I have recently joined the Ozquilt Executive Committee ....

The Art Quilt Australia 2017 exhibition was officially opened on 8 September at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery (Royal Park) Launceston and the winners announced.....

You can see all of the fabulous works in the exhibition including the prize winners in the online gallery posted at https://www.ozquiltnetwork.org.au/exhibitions/art-quilt-australia/

I was delighted to have two of my works included in this juried exhibition.  'Autumn Winds' (left) which I made in 2016 and 'Grevillea Moonlight' (right)  which I made this year ......

The Exhibition is an excellent showcase of the creativity and diversity of Australian textile arts  and has been described as .....

"A collection of bold, intricate and colorful contemporary textile artworks .....  

The materials, colors and techniques used to create this fantastic exhibition are simply incredible and there is an amazing breadth of talent on display"  

The Catalogue of the exhibition will also be available for purchase from the Ozquilt Network website.  Here is an image of the Cataloque cover ...

AQA2017-Cataloguepromo.jpg

Hope you will have a look at the amazing textile art in the online gallery!

Thanks for reading ......CC

 

Dye Happy with Natural Dyeing

I recently spent a very fun weekend in nearby Jamberoo trying some natural dyeing techniques with Alice Springs based artist Deb Clarke.

This introduction to natural dyeing techniques covered the basics.  On day one we learned about plants, fabrics, mordants and dyeing processes including boiling, steaming and some shibori techniques and we made our first silk scarf.

For my scarf I used red and brown onion skins encased in the silk and then twisted and wrapped around a rusty bolt.  The resulting bundle was then heated in a dye bath of purple carrot!   

Here is the bundle and the resulting scarf ...

Deb had loads of samples and examples of different techniques/dyes and mordants ... so much to take in ....  very amazing and fascinating! 

On the second day we worked with Eucalyptus leaves - a very special plant in the world of dyeing and readily on tap here!   We were introduced to a wonderful resource developed by artist Sally Blake, who has tested a large range of Eucalyptus species for their dye potential.

Here is a link to her website  https://sallyblake.com/eucalyptus-dyes-1/ 

I chose to work with a fine wool scarf and a  range of Eucalyptus leaves of different sizes and shapes for the direct print.  The leaves were arranged on the scarf and then covered with some cotton sheeting soaked in iron sulphate, then wrapped and tied firmly around some plastic piping.  The resulting bundle was then steamed.

The leaves, the bundle and the amazing result ...

This workshop demonstrated an inspiring range of opportunities offered by natural dyeing techniques and it was so much fun!  I will definitely be exploring these techniques and contemplating how I might incorporate them into my work. 

Have you tried your hand at natural dyeing and printing ? and how have you used the results in your work?

Thanks for reading .....CC

Art Date at 'Bundanon'

I had the opportunity to visit 'Bundanon' this week, organised by my drawing teacher Linda Dening who was doing an Artist Residency as a result of winning the 2016 Meroogal Art Prize. 

'Bundanon' is a property located on the Shoalhaven River west of Nowra NSW  and was the gift of Arthur and Yvonne Boyd to the Australian people.

Arthur Boyd (1920 - 1999) was part of a unique and remarkable artistic dynasty -  including  painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals across many generations.

A significant part of the gift was an extensive collection comprising over 3800 items; more than 1300 works by Arthur Boyd and over 1200 works from 5 generations of the Boyd family as well as a number of works by Arthur Boyd's contemporaries.  In addition to the art collection there are also rugs, furniture, books, family papers, and ceramics.

The art collection has now been digitized and you can now search the collection at https://bundanon.com.au/search/collection/

We were given to tour the house at Bundanon which displays a selection of works from across the generations of the Boyd family.....

We visited Arthur Boyd's studio ...  set up as if he had just left it.

And we were given a glimpse of the extensive collection of works and some of the treasures it contains.

We also had a first hand inspection of the Artist Residency studios.  The Artist Residency program is open to Australian and international professional artists from all disciplines through an open annual call.

I greatly enjoyed the art, the house, the history and the beautiful and peaceful location on the Shoalhaven River .....

" In preserving the natural and cultural heritage of its site,
Bundanon promotes the value of landscape in all our lives"
You can learn more about 'Bundanon' and view some of the many outstanding works at  https://bundanon.com.au  or if you are in the area I can recommend a visit ....  
Thanks for reading .....CC
 

 

On The Design Wall - New Grevilleas

This week I've been trying a new grevillea design on the pieced backgrounds I developed about a month or so ago.  

Decided to try just the tip of a flower as the basis for the design and to applique the design. The earlier pieces on these background designs were stitched and colored.  At this stage they are just pinned to the design wall.

I started out with two backgrounds in a square format ....

Then in the process of editing the photos for this blog,  a couple of Photoshop Element's  "suggested crops" caught my eye ... so I've included the rectangular format for comparison and I think they are rather more interesting?  Any thoughts?

Now all I need to do is commit to the design and get the stitching done!!!  

Thanks for reading .... CC