Thursday, December 20, 2012

Major Work 2012

Have finally finished my 2 year Intermediate Historical and Contemporary Embroidery Certificate course at the Embroiderers' Guild NSW. The whole experience was certainly "challenging" for several reasons. I knew from the start what my theme was going to be - the difficulties experienced by the girls aged 12-16 years put into "Lynwood Hall" (now called Linnwood) when they were State Wards in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. I thought this would certainly fit into one of the theme categories we were offered, so I chose Pain. My original concept was to make or adapt a 1950's garment and embellish it with details illustrating my theme. About half way through the 2nd year I started to realise that I needed something a bit more unique, and while googling terms to find some suitable illustrations to modify I stumbled on emotional baggage images. Eureka, all I needed was a suitable piece of baggage. As luck would have it, not long after that I was volunteering at a vintage clothing show and bought a great 1950's suitcase at a great price. Full steam ahead. My final piece is mixed media using painted and stencilled handmade paper, unusual fabrics, machine embroidery, quilting and machined text. Don't know if I've passed yet, but hope I will as the marks from our progressive monthly assignments were good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Au Revoir Grace

Why is it that we always promise we'll see our extended families more often, but it's usually at weddings or funerals that we catch up? Today we saw husband's side of the family at the funeral of his father's cousin Grace. A lovely lady, one of those true ladies that everybody just loved and in her 92nd year. We saw cousins that we haven't seen for years except at such gatherings and everyone left with promises to catch up more often. It's a fact of modern life that everyone is so busy that it takes a sad event to bring people together. My New Year's Resolution for 2013 will be to try to do better at visiting family members I haven't seen recently, so many on my side of the family too.
Grace and love of her life Cec

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blast from the Past

I've been doing some reminiscing lately, for various reasons, and look what was posted on Facebook today? My husband's 2nd cousin (or 3rd I'm never quite sure) found this photo of her uncles and me. This was taken in my husband's back yard at Lurnea, I can remember the dress I wore, navy seersucker with red and white spots and I made it myself. I'm guessing I was turning 17 and had just started going out with John who was turning 18 and his cousin Bob with beard was 19. I look very like my oldest daughter and youngest daughter combined ! Thanks Kathie, one I haven't seen before and will now treasure.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's been difficult to post regularly this year. The Intermediate Historical and Contemporary Embroidery Course I've been taking with the Embroiderers' Guild NSW has needed a huge amount of dedicated time for homework over the 2 years. Then there's the dreaded "Major Work" due this December LOL We were advised at the beginning to pick a theme which would sustain us for the full 2 years, and 5 themes to choose from. They were Body, Time, World, Pain and Anarchy. So naturally I chose Pain! My connection for the last 10 years with the Linnwood/ Lynwood House story and the girls aged 12 - 16 who were sent there for various reasons which were not their fault has affected me from the first hearing. My own teenage years were quite turbulent with a fracturing family unit so I could certainly identify with the pain suffered by these kids. But how to interpret that into contemporary stitch? Well, I'll just say that whilst my theme hasn't wavered, my concept has "evolved" into what I hope is interesting and contemporary. At the moment I'm working on "emotional baggage" with a vintage suitcase, unusual materials and machine quilting. I'll try to post some in progress photos, it's quite hard to photograph this "mini installation" but I'll see how I go. Stay tuned !
South side of Linnwood with original fountain and restored rose garden

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bring on the Springtime !

So pleased that a touch of Spring has come to Sydney this week, I think I suffer in the Winter with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I want to hibernate and not go anywhere or do anything unless absolutely necessary. Today my latest vintage/antique underwear piece arrived from the US, a self-frilled top petticoat with a train. It was "as found" in a trunk in an attic, and after 2 hours of soaking and rinsing the grey colour out it looks pretty good. Hoping for a sunny day tomorrow to do it all again and "grass" it this time. Will photograph it after final treatment, such a pretty thing to own. I've been enjoying a new TV show on Channel 10 Sydney called "I Will Survive" which features one of my entertainer clients. I sewed for Davin GJ and his Performing Arts School for 10 years including his cabaret show costumes, so I can truthfully say I had a small part in his current success. 12 blokes are vying for $250,000 and a chance to perform on Broadway in NY while travelling from Sydney to Darwin by bus as in the show "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" Of course a lot of wearing drag costumes and makeup and performing, but the search for a fabulous dancer, singer and actor (called a triple threat in the business" is the main focus of the show. The judges are Jason Donovan and Stephan Elliot (writer and director of Priscilla) and guest star mentors will be popping in and out along the way. Here's a picture from the first episode, with Davin putting on his drag makeup for the first time
and then a group shot of a performance of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls just want to have fun" at half time at the footy in country NSW at Dubbo!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Images of Mandy's Counted Thread band round robin

Here, finally, are photos of my work on Mandy's band. This band is one of 7 bands which have been working their way around the world for the past few years between an online group of stitching friends. I've had this band for WAY too long, but now it's finished and I've worked on 6 of the 7 bands (I think!) I was fortunate to find a V and A Museum book with line drawings of Elizabethan blackwork patterns in it, and have been able to fine one suitable to use on each of the bands. I had to graph them up, so that was a great learning curve for me. The design for this one is circa 1660, and I've continued the yellow and burgandy colours from previous bands. Hope Mandy, likes it, just waiting to hear if one other lady is able to work on it before it returns to England.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's been a while

I've been quietly stitching away on my Intermediate Course assignments and volunteering occasionally at Hambledon Cottage Parramatta, Linnwood at Guildford and for the Embroiderers' Guild NSW for most of this year. Our 4 grandchildren continue to delight us as they grow up, with the 2 babies Aiden and Seth both over 6 months old now. Our last child Bron has announced her wedding date in May 2013 and I'm sure that'll come quickly enough. There has been a little improvement in my balance problem, but not enough for my liking so I think I'll start another round of doctor's visits to try to get a better result. This has meant I'm not entirely confident travelling about town on public transport unless necessary and the recent Craft and Quilt Show at Darling Harbour in Sydney really tested my stamina. My major work for the Intermediate Course is due to be finished by 7th December and I'm well into the planning and sampling part of the piece. Next post I'll put up some photo information, then I can't change my mind once it's public, can I? LOL

Monday, January 30, 2012

Latest eBay purchase

I'm very fortunate that my dear husband sometimes buys things at my request on his eBay account. In May I'm mounting another exhibition at Hambledon Cottage Museum and Gallery in Parramatta NSW and this time my theme is Victorian / Edwardian children's wear. Hopefully by then I'll have invented a snappy title and added more items to my collection. I've been gradually finding some gems on eBay including this latest purchase which was advertised as an insect cover for a baby carriage. I actually think it's a netted coverlet for a cot or baby carriage and is in pretty good condition with just a few breaks in the netting background by the look of the detailed photos. Filet embroidery was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century and I'm sure this dates from the Edwardian period (prior to WWI in 1914) Can't wait for the parcel to arrive from the USA, any day now.
Here is a closer look at the first 2 letters of the alphabet, looks like some crochet detail as well as filet embroidery on the netted background. Wish it could tell me its story though !

Counted band finished

Can't believe I have FINALLY finished my section of Margaret's counted thread band round robin which was started on its journey way back in 2007 ! This is one of 6 remaining bands by 6 different stitchers which are being mailed progressively around the world, with the completion date originally of early 2008. As you know we crafting ladies tend to take on too many projects at once, creating UFO's (Unfinished Objects) and WISPS (Works in Slow Progress) but I think these bands certainly qualify as E-WISPS (EXTREME works in slow progress) There were extenuating circumstances of course, including loss of spouses, loss of homes and natural disasters which all contributed to the slow progress of each band. However now the end for some of them is in sight, and I hope my own efforts are worth the wait. One more stitcher in Canada to go and then I think this band will be ready to head home to the USA.
My section is the bottom one in burgundy and yellow pearl 12 thread, a traditional blackwork design illustrated in "Double Running Stitch" by Luisa F Pesel published in 1931 and taken from the Victoria and Albert Museum London collection of a 1631 Elizabethan sampler. I drew up the chart from the drawing which was very helpful to study the detail of the design. I chose to use 2 colours where the original had 3, and I think the design suits the feel of Margaret's sampler quite well. This band has travelled with me to Norfolk Island, Canberra (twice) Araluen in southern inland NSW while on holidays and has visited meetings of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW and the Lace Guild NSW Branch and been much admired everywhere it travels. I have another girl's band still waiting for stitching but I seem to have my embroidery mojo working at the moment so will tackle that next.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The "alien" invasion continues

Here are the three largest stinkhorns of the 9 new ones which appeared beside the mail box garden this morning. These three are all about 5 inches (13 cm)long and look spongey although I won't be testing that theory ! All the heat of yesterday has certainly produced a great crop of these smelly fungi. I'm just sorry I had to get so close to macro them, they are REALLY smelly en masse like this. You may even be able to see a visiting fly if you enbiggen (sp?) the photo They only last a day or two, then shrivel up and fade away. Very curious indeed.

Introducing baby Seth

Baby Seth Enrique arrived a little earlier than expected on 30th December 2011, yet another Capricorn to add to our little family. We are very proud of our daughter Dianne who delivered him naturally after an emergency Caesarian section last pregnancy. It was a hard and fast labour after an induction 12 days early, but she is very grateful to the support of her doula (birth coach) Tricia and student midwife Zoe who agreed with her that the offered C section was not needed despite some horrific tales from the OB. No wonder the Australian C section rate is steadily climbing if this experience is the norm, he wanted to deliver the baby because they thought he was very small. Well, he surprised us all weighing 3.03kg (6lbs 11 oz) and measuring 45 cm long. They only stayed 24 hours in hospital after his birth as dad Steve has a month off to help with big sister Amelie (nearly 3) and baby Seth. I love this photo of the kids so much.
We are all very relieved that Seth arrived safely and mum and bub are continuing to do well at home. Now I can concentrate on getting organised for the year to come, more in another post.