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Anyone who has been to one of my classes or demonstrations over the years will have no doubt heard one of my favorite teaching “lines” –

“There’s no such thing as a mistake – they are creatIve interpretations!”

Often the time available at a hands on workshop is very limited.  Students don’t come to these workshops to practice reverse sewing.  It is my privilege, as the tutor, to “reverses sew” if it actually necessary. Otherwise, these slips are not given the chance to say something to the student and to the rest of the class.  Rather than cover them up – Let’s take a look at what they can tell us.

I like to take what a student would call a mistake and show that it can be the start of something new and exciting….that creating your own piece is about pushing your boundaries and the limits of the technique in order to put your personal stamp on it.

Let’s face it, if someone didn’t “make mistakes” we would all be producing the same pieces over and over with nothing new, exciting and challenging appearing within our art form to motivate us. We would be having many many conversations about breach of copyright and the world would have become a stale and sterile environment.  There would be no progress.

Copyright, and breaches thereof, is a whole new topic for consideration for another time.  My friend Judy B over at Virtual Quilter has a great collection of references regarding copyright which should be of interest to anyone involved in designing, producing and marketing their own work.

I particularly like this reference on Judy’s list from Marvin Bartel, Emeritus Professor in Art –

Percy’s Principles of Art and Composition

I think my  treatment of “creative interpretations” fit quite nicely with Professor Bartel’s principles!

Thanks, Judy, for the poke in the ribs to put this down in writing !


… is this single lone plant,  a gift from a neighbour.  I have been watching the buds form with interest and have been fascinated with the way they have turned and fattened.  Today it burst into bloom.


The raindrops added just a little more interest…..


Love the colours….. what better way to discover new combinations of colour that by what we find in nature?

Over the weekend I took myself into the NGV St KIlda Road to view the ‘blockbuster’ exhibition “Salvador Dali Liquid Desire”.

salvador-dali I am at a loss to explain or to describe this collection – it was so overwhelming.  The collection spans his entire working life; some of the early pieces on show dated from his teenage years.  Oh, what it would be to have been as skilled as he was at age 15!

Works range from early landscapes in oils to jewelry designs, photographic studies, film and theatre collaborations, limited edition artist illustrated books, sculptures, pen and ink drawings and, of course, his surrealist paintings.

I highly recommend this wonderful experience – tuck your preconceived ideas away and go with an open mind and allow plenty of time.  There is so much to see, it is almost too much for a single viewing.

The exhibition runs until October 4.

Near Richmond Vic

Near Richmond Vic

Such a bizarre contrast of texture and form….. the tenacity of the weed plant to take a foothold and persistantly flourish in such a hostile environment – I could not resist recording its success!

This is a worldwide collaborative project to create an installation art piece assembled from the contributions of craftspeople and artists all over the world.


I was so taken with the idea that it inspired me to pick up the needles and knit!  I have been able to knit for as long as I can remember – my Gran taught me.  It wasn’t one of those crafts that inspired me to create – I had a short attention span and it seemed to take forever to finish anything!

I did enjoy knitting small garments so there were a few hand knitted baby items and jumpers for my girl when she was a toddler.  There are too many unfinished symphonies hanging about the place to admit to; so the knitting yarns were put to good use for couching and embellishing, quilting and needle felting, doll making and experimenting – everything except knitting!

This project called for work in white – no pattern specified, no stitch count or design to be adhered to – just white and if it was narrow to be long!  I could do this!  I scrounged around the boxes and bags and found linen, hand spun silk, mohair, synthetic fuzzy with a cute silver highlight and even wool – all white, of course.

I have had wonderful fun with giant needles creating a spidery strand finished with some finger knitting.  The next stage is to block, then weave in some other fibres, add some tassels and bows and perhaps even stitch on a button or two.


Are you coming to Stitches and Craft – Melbourne?  Have you seen something there you wish to share with your blogging friends?  There is no need to wait until you get back to your computer to post – you can do it direct from the show by taking advantage of the  freee Apple computers supplied at the “Blogs Unplugged” centre situated right on the retailer floor!


Sprinkled throughout the show are these wonderful displays – this one particularly caught my eye as all these items are crafted from selvedges! Being the bits we often cut off and discard – they are more often found in the waste bin.

All these items are constructed from the selvedges of a wide variety of fabrics….so inspiring to see!


Fantastic  giant cotton reels with superbly rendered “enlargements” of those classic labels….tomorrow I will show you the giant knitting needles!

surface_5Depending on the time of year, trees take on a whole new dimension…we can gauge the changing of the season by the colours of the leaves on the deciduous trees, the appearance of buds and blossom, the starkness of their empty limbs against the winter sky.


The Australian landscape is coloured by these imports yet retains its own set of distinctive signals of seasonal change.  This year, however, the trees are stressed from lack of water, seared by record high temperatures and confused by sudden burst of cold.


Their barks are shedding, their leaves falling and in some cases they are blooming at completely the wrong time of year! The more established trees in our formal parks and gardens are showing their ages more than ever and sadly, it is estimated we may well lose anything between 15 and 20% of our tree cover in this state to the effects of this drought.


I am delighted to have received my first international postcard swap from my friend Shari in Canada.  It has inspired me to get moving on making my own exchanges and getting them in the post!


couture_postcardThis fascinating exhibition has been running at the Bendigo Art Gallery since December and is a “must see” for the fashion aficionado or textile enthusiast.  Wonderfully displayed pieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London showcase the fashions of the decade post World War 2 giving the visitor an insight into the motivations of the designers as well as a chance to view garments that might well have only been worn once or twice by their owners.

Of particular interest to doll makers are the Theatre de la Mode pieces on display – dolls of about 24″ in height dressed in beautifully made couture outfits from each of the major French design houses.  These are stunning miniature Dior, Franke, Shiarapelli and other designer gowns rendered in precise detail and in exquisite fabrics, even down to the shoes and undergarments.

Photography is not permitted in the exhibition so the acquisition of the Exhibition Catalogue was the only way one could keep a visual record of the occasion.

Highly recommended = but be advised that the exhibition closes on March 22nd so mark off a time in your calendar and head up the highway! Introductory talks are held at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays or groups can book a talk with the gallery staff.

Also highly recommended is the Devonshire Tea at the Gallery cafe – $6.50 for two enormous scones, a home made raspberry and blueberry jam and cream with your choice of tea or coffee – very good value!

My eye ( and therefore, my camera) has been drawn of late to textures in the environment;  to the everyday scenes in my inner city location.


I love the history of these lanes, wonder at the tales the stones could tell about those that have passed over them, fight for their preservation from the vanadalism of councils and utilities who scar them with their machinery.

They say a great deal about how communities formed and evolved, interacted and connected and they have a place in the future if only they are allowed to be part of the fabric of our cities and suburbs.


The lanes lead us to the modern gallery spaces – some would say that stencil art and graffiti have no place…but this is still the work of someone with something to say and this is a place for and a means of expression.

How revealing and inspiring the simplest things can be; and how accessible they are when you get out and WALK!

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