Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are you being served ?

I'm shop girl here today at the Tweed Valley Artist's Co-op Gallery, at Tyalgum.  We have a tiny room at the side of the Tyalgum Community Hall, which was built in 1908.

It's a spooky space, I have to cross this hall to the toilets at the back, that's our "backdoor" in the top picture.  The roof creaks and rattles, it smells old and musty and you can almost hear the footsteps, a background murmur of conversations and the friendly clink of tea cups of the many groups who've used this hall down the years, as it would once have been the hub of village life. It still is used regularly for meetings, wedding and funeral services, a theatre group, the local environment action group and our own art cafe.

It's quite a contrast to our cheery gallery, with it's colorful variety of arts and crafts from all over the Tweed.

I think today will be quiet, it's rather wet, but that doesn't always keep visitors away. They come over the Border Ranges from Queensland looking for lunch, or come from the south on the way to somewhere else.  But I have plenty to keep me busy and happy. When I need to stretch my legs, there's this wonderful view to enjoy.

I have my knitting...
 Or I can work on my tiny scrap houses when I've had enough of knitting.  It's a pleasant place to be, with some mellow music playing in the background and the rain falling gently outside.  I can concentrate just on my knitting or sewing, unlike at home, where I'd be aware there's dusting or ironing to be done (not that it necessarily would!).  So it's like a little holiday out of my usual routine.

Aah, there's a step on the stair, and the bell has been rung, it sounds like I have a customer. 


Monday, March 12, 2012


Firstly I'd like to say thankyou to everyone who commented on my last post, and left lovely messages farewelling Freya. It feels very different now there are only 3, and the others have been unusually quiet....realising something is different perhaps.
I went to a basketmaking workshop yesterday.  There were 10 of us, and we were all new to it.  I've wanted to learn basketmaking for ages, and since I'm also booked into a week long workshop next month, I thought it was a good opportunity to get a feel for it.

These were all made by the tutor, Jill Bose, who has been making baskets for many years.

This is one of my 'efforts' that it's dried, I can see where it needs more work.

My other creation.  I could damp this again and push it into a more upright shape, but I quite like it like this.  The orangey-brown leaves are philodendron, with the lighter coloured banana leaf woven through as an accent.
This is the very beginning, getting the base flat.  Dried banana leaf is woven around spokes of thin canes that fall from the palm tree after fruiting.

Ripe berries on the tree

Stems dry out after the berries are finished, and the whole thing drops from the be collected and made into baskets. An interestingly sculptural piece on it's own.
Getting the left to right and behind cross over action right
The flat base has to be held firmly in your lap to start the shaping of the sides.  I could've used a couple more pairs of hands at times.

Lajla's  finished basket.  Despite being given the same materials and instructions the finished baskets all looked very different, as we added out own touch.
Jill, the tutor, starting the framework for the large open weave basket

Hard at work

A banana leaf basket made by the tutor
We shared good food

Now that I have some idea of what to do, I'm really looking forward to my April workshop, to see how different the two tutors are and hopefully learn different styles and techniques. For this workshop, Jill used easily obtainable tropical plants, whereas the plants and fibres used in the next workshop will be cool temperate climate plants, and so will be very different. 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Full Moon Art

A little late, but I'm sure the moon is still full ..or almost...somewhere in the world.  I was preoccupied with a sick chicken and so this photo wasn't taken until the moon was a few hours above the horizon, with a few clouds gathered to enjoy the light.
Once again, I've joined Peggy at Woman with Wings and others, creating a small piece of full moon art.  The full moon of March is in Virgo, a wise woman who is both pragmatic and a dreamer/visionary.  I had a very different idea for my piece this month, something about doorways and stepping stones, but the doorway looked like a piece of old spaghetti, and the stepping stones like cow patties.  Rip it all out and start again....aah, so Virgo means for me to walk the path, finding the balance, being compassionate with myself and paying attention to the details, rather then blythely skipping along stepping stones, paying little attention.
Woman with Chicken

Virgo is an earth sign, nurturing, holding and encompassing, so perhaps it was fitting that it was under this moon that I sadly tucked my little red hen Freya into the earth, when she decided she wasn't going to get well and it was time to go.
I'll miss this sweet little hen.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back again, sewing and knitting

The technical team did a great job searching high and low for the camera it got into a sewing basket is anyone's guess!

I haven't spent all that time searching, there's been other work of the hands as well. I made a needlefelted fabric postcard for a Stitchinfingers birthday swap, this handsome fellow went to Liz in Kansas who loves fantasy fiction and in particular, dragons. It was a bit of a headache for a while, I just couldn't seem to get him looking right. When I realised his head was too big for his neck, I took to him with the scissors and cut his head down, and re-needled him to a new piece of fabric, and with a fatter neck.  He seems none the worse for the emergency surgery.

These little 'isolette gowns' went off to the Miracle Babies' Foundation, to be worn by tiny premmie babies.

I made this sewing set as a gift for a friend who had bought her first sewing machine, and I thought she'd enjoy having some new tools, and somewhere pretty to keep them. She did!

Inside the basket, with needlebook and pincushion
Pocket in the needlebook to keep ...whatever?
 A baby beanie knitted last night while I watched the first of the new series of Spooks, a British spy show.  It's in Indigenous colours, and will go to Wilcannia, an Aboriginal community out west, when I visit next month. I hope to make a few more before then.

And in the garden, I had a eucalyptus tree trimmed and since it seemed a shame to bin all the clippings, I boiled some up to dye with.  The smell as they cooked was delightful, and the water turned an interesting mustardy yellow. did the fabrics.  I popped in a couple of pieces of wool batting, some linen, and a nice piece of muslin that used to be a sling from when I broke my arm.  Some of the colours are interesting, but I think I a) had too many pieces in the pot for them all to get good coverage and b) I'll overdye some pieces again, maybe adding some rusty nails and a copper tap.

a good start
We've had some odd weather lately...very hot and wet and very hot and dry. What better place to be when you  need a cool dry spot for a nap.........

than in the washing machine of course!

I hope you all find the perfect spot to spend your Sunday.

Edited to add that once again the country is experiencing extremes of weather, and way to the south, as the rain continues to fall and the waters rise, people are waiting nervously in evac centres for word that they can return home, others are returning with trepidation to see what the water has done to their homes, and still others are waiting for that knock on the door from the SES....evacuate now! Some are isolated and inconvenienced by the waters, but are quite safe.  My thoughts are with all of them.