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

Experimenting with Leaves and Landscapes

This last week I have been playing with ideas for my Leaf Series,  in part prompted by the drawing class challenge I shared last week (I'll show you how I'm going at the end of this post).

Decided to try combining a simple landscape with one of my favorite leaf designs and to make the leaves using a 2 step reverse applique to give a line effect.  I wasn't altogether satisfied with the result.  I think it would have worked better if I had used a darker tone for the line element?

This seemed like a good opportunity to try our another idea for adding a dimensional effect, by using what I might describe as free form applique.  In this case I stitched the leaf shapes to the piece along the vein lines so the edges are free to lift and curl.  

I have also been adding some hand stitching for texture to complement the machine quilting which is less dense than my usual style (the hand stitching is  nice work to do in front of the fire on these chilly evenings!!)

And now in a completely different style .... I've added another layer of dark tone to the drawing class challenge piece from last week.   I've used "shards" of dark turquoise silk and covered the piece with some wedding tule to keep it in place. 

I'm still playing with it and there is still the stitching to be added .... what do you think.... an improvement????

Thanks for reading ......CC

A New Sort of Inspiration!

As part of  drawing class,  we went to view the 'Now Contemporary Exhibition'  at the Shoalhaven Art Gallery a couple of weeks ago .... our task was to pick one of the artworks and write a review. The challenge was then to develop an art work.  The brief was to .....

 "Consider the formal aspects of the art work, how elements and principles were used to make the work, in your own response, make a work that has been guided in some significant way by the study you have undertaken.   The work you make can be any subject, size, material, technique and approach you choose"

So I've been working on this project for the last couple of weeks ....  I chose an abstract painting 'Untitled' by Sivan Agam in blues and greens which has a wonderful sense of depth .. made me think of mangroves ...  so I decided to make a work inspired by the value placement  to see if I could achieve a similar sense of depth.

 I also wanted to try out using some silk in this project ....

Here's a photo of the original inspiration painting  and where I'm up to with my piece .... just the first stage ...  more work and stitching to do yet!! 

It certainly is a challenging exercise ... I'll post a photo when finished!!  

Thanks for reading ....CC

Adding Color & "Fugitive Media"

As I was finishing the latest Grevillea piece I wanted to add some extra color to the quilting design ... while there are lots of ways to do this,  my favorite media at the moment is the  NeoColor 11  Watersoluble wax crayons ..... 

 The question is ......  what is the best way to make them permanent on fabric?

This week I discovered an interesting article written for Quilting Arts TV by Kerr Grabowski with the intriguing title " Making Fugitive Media Permanent on Fabric" .   The article advises applying a layer of transparent base extender, normally used to lighten textile inks and bond them to fabric.

So for this exercise I coated the areas of Neo Color 11  with the extender using a paint brush ... the extender has the consistency of a thick cream ... so that makes it easy to apply!! 

This extender can be used to make NeoColor 11,  Soft pastels and charcoal permanent on fabric! So there is more experimenting to come!!

Thanks for reading .... CC

 

 

 

New Grevillea Artwork Underway

This week I 've had my head down,  working on the next Grevillea piece and specifically the stitching ....  

The design has come together with the applique and reverse applique completed.  This piece at 20" x 30"  is somewhat  larger than much of my recent work ... so its taken a bit longer to get to this stage and takes more time to stitch and there is a deadline looming!  Great motivation!!

The big questions now revolve around the quilting and choice of thread color.  After a few experiments,  I've settled on the stitching around  the flowers and the reverse applique shapes, but have yet to decide on the other areas!!  

                                  © CarolynCollinsArt 2017  'Grevillea 8  Detail'   

                                  © CarolynCollinsArt 2017  'Grevillea 8  Detail'   

So back to the stitching .....   Thanks for reading ....  CC

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) 2017 Benefit Auction

This is the 11th year of the SAQA Benefit Auction,  which raises funds to support SAQA's exhibitions, publications and educational programs.

Last year more than 430,  12" square quilts were included in the auction ... the largest number ever!!   "When the auction started no-one knew how it would be received or how much fun it would be to keep creating quilts year after year"

SAQA reports that there are 15 artists who have donate every year since the start in 2006 andI thought it would be fun to have a look at some of the artworks donatedby these amazing artists ......

This is my second year of donating to the Benefit Auction ....

I've sent this piece for the 2017 Auction .......  it's one of the grevillea samples that I made earlier in the year ....

Grevillea

'Sunset Bronze'

CarolynCollinsArt 2017

 

 

You can find out more about the SAQA Benefit Auction and see all of this years donations at www.saqa.com

Perhaps you might find an artwork you love !!! 

Thanks for reading .....  CC

Good Art Books ?

This week two new art books arrived in the post .... 

The first was Martha Sielman's new publication 'Art Quilts International - Abstract and Geometric'  ......

While I always enjoy looking at art quilt collections, this publication goes one step further!  In addition to 300 beautiful images of art quilts the book includes interviews with 29 artists including many of my favorite artists ....Diedre Adams,  Fumiko Nakayama, Sue Benner,  Judy Hooworth ... to name a few.  The interviews cover the artists inspirations, techniques and challenges ....  most interesting reading!

The second book is Hilary Spurling's  'Matisse - The Master'  ..... this is the second volume of the Matisse biography ....

MatisseTheMaster.jpg

I haven't ventured into artist biographies before,  and while I have only read the first couple of chapters of this book, I can't put it down!  

One of the reviewers sums up the book as follows ........

" A superb read, and presents fresh and revealing material at every turn" ... Frank Whitford, Sunday Times

I'd love to hear about any recommendations you might have for other good artist biographies ...... 

Thanks for reading ....CC

Art on the Wall

This week I've been focused on getting 'art on the wall'!

The first task was to deliver artworks to Jing Jo's Cafe in Kangaroo Valley for the new show 'Still Life' which was hung this week.  If you happen to be in the vicinity I would highly recommend dropping in for a coffee and checking out the art!!

I sent across three of my framed and stitched 8" x 10" monoprints .....

as well as a larger, pieced and stitched monoprint  16" x 20"  mounted on a stretched canvas ....

StitchedLifeinBlue1.jpg

Stitched Life in Blue 1

It's always a challenge for me to photograph groups of artwork on the wall  ... we have an old house with lots of timber panels and strips of timber dividing the wall space.  

So while I was browsing the internet for some ideas, I came across a free app called WallApp which lets you upload a photo of your artwork so you can see what it looks like in a room/living space - there are half a dozen room options and you can also upload a photo of your own room.

Here are a few examples ......

It's very easy to use and quite fun!!! 

This led me to thinking about the reasons for choosing a piece of original art/textile art for your home.  The following are my thoughts about the possible reasons .....

The textile art creates a mood or feeling that can evoke memories or take you to another place.  It adds personal character,  can provides a color palette for the room and makes a room feel finished.  It's something to look at and contemplate,  especially  if it is a work that speaks to you .....  and can inspire and foster creativity.

Textile art particularly,  adds warmth and a softness,  it creates a connection with the makers hand that has created the work and to a long tradition working with fabric and stitch.  

What draws you to a particular piece of art/textile art ... something you own or would like to??  Please comment on why you have chosen to buy a  particular piece of art....

Thanks for reading .... CC