Monday, August 18, 2014

Trying Something New...Accuracy...

I'm not the most 'accurate' of quilters. I'm a bit of a bang it together kinda girl.
But there are some designs that call for accuracy or you are going to be tearing your hair out.

On Saturday I spent the day at the new studio of Jo Lawrence. Made Studio Textiles in Cheltenham.
An absolutely amazing place. If you are down that way you really should pop in the next time there is an open studio or workshop.

Jo is a killer quilter especially in the 'accuracy' department. And with all the winner rosettes pinned on her quilts, this is a lady you can learn a lot from.  But the whole thing about 'Made' is Jo is sharing her skills, tips and tools to making really tidy quilts and doing them in less time. Now for me, this is a whole new ball game.

A while back Jo gave me some of her new paper piecing templates. They were hexies. I cut out a pile out of Liberty but just never got around to starting it off. I knew what I was going to do, (heh heh, more on that later) but just never took the first step to putting it together so I never used the papers. Every time I ran into Jo, she asked me how I was going... it wasn't. I have always had a bit of a mental block with hexies ever since my horror year 9 textiles class.

As i've been sorting things out in the studio I came across another one of my 'boxes', yes I have 'boxes' that have future projects in them or half started ones that I need to keep adding to to get the right amount of stuff together. This box had a pile of cut diamonds from the 1940s from a stash I picked up a few years back. I always thought i'd make a scrappy star out of them, but I was dreading trimming, marking and hand sewing them together. Box goes back on shelf...keep going...

But, the light bulb moment hit me on Saturday, I can use these nifty new no sew paper templates!! So I gave it a go. I must say, if I can do it and get really neat results anyone can do it and it was quick.

The packs have really good instructions in them and plenty of tips on how to use the templates for the best results. And they are reusable too. In about 20mins I had 100 little diamonds ready to go. Please keep in mind with these photos that I was using diamonds that I had found that were from the 1940s so the shapes are a little different. But I got an acrylic template as well if I need to cut some more later down the track.

This is a very quick rundown on just one of the methods you can do with these templates. And there is a huge range that you can get and mix and match to do very complicated designs too. Jo is adding ones to the range all the time and you can order it all online. So if you want to try something new, Jo will be at the Eastern Quilt Show as well in September and she will be doing demonstrations of some of these techniques. If you want more in-depth info check her website www.madestudiotextiles.com and see when the next workshop is. Trust me there is so much more you can do and the machine shortcuts are cool. I'll give that a crack once i've got through this lot. So at this stage i'm whip stitching my little heart out.

The Made Studio Textiles Templates 
My bundle of found 1940s diamonds
Position template shiny side up

And carefully iron the edges over
Lookie Lookie, its done!
100 in no time

My first neat and ACCURATE diamond....





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trunk Show Saturday 16th August @ Made Studio Textiles

The next Trunk Show is on this Saturday the 16th of August. 10am til 4pm.

It's at Made Studio Textiles in Cheltenham.

"Studio is located directly behind the ‘Kids on Tulip St’ Childcare Centre. Turn into the driveway next to the childcare centre and then take the first driveway on the right, we are located at the end."

Tel: +61 3 9585 1723
Email: info@madestudiotextiles.com
Studio: 19/109 Tulip St, Cheltenham 3192

There is also plenty of parking on the street too.

Some tid bits to get you excited....new yardages in long lengths, vintage quilts, tops and other goodies.
This will be the last Melbourne Trunk show til my next buying trip. This is the last of the finds from the trip I did earlier this year.






From the Outside Looking In....

The past few days have been interesting to say the least.
Perhaps this is the continuing of my story.
As an adult adoptee I am trying to make connections with my birth family. Early on in this search things were not good, but lets just move on from that.

I met my little sister. She is 16. She has her smarts about her and I am so glad for that.
She wants to goto Uni and study to be a Psychologist. I am really happy for her.
Ever since I briefly met her 6 years ago I have been wondering how she is and how she is going. She was a little brown haired girl playing on a scooter caught up in a family melodrama. I kept tabs on her through our brother. But for other disjointed reasons he was not always in the picture in her home life.  Things were really confusing for her then. She was too young to understand what was going on and things were not openly explained to her. She didn't even know my real name.

I had 16 years of her life to catch up with, she had 40 something years of mine.
Here I am, her oldest long lost sister. I am old enough to be her mother and then some. Looking across from her at the table I kept trying to work out if there were any similarities. From looking I couldn't see, but later when we took 'selfies' of our meeting I could then see it. I never thought I looked like our birth mother, but she thinks I do. I don't even really know how I look, from all the looking there is not much seeing.


It was really, really strange trying to describe who I was to her.
How do we perceive ourselves? I thought about it, how would I describe myself? I haven't had to do this before. I can relay the physical things but what about the other things. From the outside looking in, who am I?

I remember a letter my best friend gave me when I got married. She wrote a speech just incase. But I have never been a fan of speeches so she slipped it to me a few days later when we caught up for coffee.
She said I was loyal.
Other people say I am generous.
Many say creative.
Lately people thank me and tell me how inspirational I am. This is something I am adjusting to. I have never seen myself in this way. I just do what I do. I don't follow anyone but my own nose and see where it takes me. I am lucky that way, I have been called a leader because of that.
Other words have been 'strong' and 'brave', again, this is from the outside in.
I am adjusting to the fact that others see things I don't.

She knows bits of my life via our brother. He had this knack of always ringing me when I was overseas. 'Sorry dude, can't chat i'm in LA, this call will cost us a fortune'.
She asked me where I had travelled and what was the best place I have been. I run my own business and I love it, I made it up from this idea I had and followed it through and it grew. I felt pompous telling her these things. It's not until you are asked that you sometimes struggle to come up with the answers. I didn't want to sound like some sort of arrogant twat. But gee, its hard to slot 5 descriptives of yourself in, try it, not easy.

But here are some other things that are easier... I have a temper and I don't tolerate fools well. I will give you three goes then you are out. If you are stupid enough to cross me you are dead to me for life. I can rant and rave and be very black and white on some issues then just as irritating can be very grey. I am reclusive and a tad antisocial. I can argue points to the death and don't let up. I have darkness that sometimes out weighs the light. I can be a real complicated shit sometimes.  My mum reminds me about my bad points quite often but has said I have 'calmed down' in recent years.
So why is it that we can describe the not so good things about ourselves but we struggle to come up with the good things?

So I am still trying to join the dots of my life, of who I am and my identity. So far none of the birth family on my biological mothers side I have met I can relate major parallels to. There is no one in there that has the same creative drive that I do. So the splinter keeps gnawing at me. That it could be my father. Are there other brothers and sisters? Who knows.

One of the things my sister said which I thought was very profound about this whole situation is that everyone would be far better off if our mother just told the truth about everything. No more lies and no more secrets. I agree. It would be easier and a relief for all of us. But that is for her to work out and come to terms with...As I do exist. I'm not an accident to be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about.

But the longer this goes on the less chance I have of finding things out. We have just recently found out that our biological grandmother has been admitted to a nursing home with dementia. She is the only other person who knows who my father is. She falsified my birth records and holds much of the puzzle pieces but will not talk. Now she might not even remember. And if she does, he might not still be alive.

I view all of this situation like a house top strippy quilt. There is the centre square of me and there are all these strips of fabric going around and around creating this bigger and bigger square of this fabric of life. Some are dark, some are light. Some pieces are found others are given to me. Its all joined but it can be equally as disjointed. On polar opposites of the same piece. As we grow we add to this fabric like the rings of a tree. I tend to view many situations like a quilt. A life that is layers sandwiched together. One of stitches holding fragile things together. Saving and finishing. Salvaging and creating a new purpose. Life keeps exponentially growing outwards from the centre and each experience, cut, scar, hurt, joy or happiness is a new patch.

House Top Quilt with Multiple Borders Alabama, 1940s Cotton 86 x 67 in. Collection of Corrine Riley









Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From the Top Down…..Postage Stamp

7,058 Blocks at 1.5 inch, 1 inch finished.
Measures 84 by 84 in, 213 x 213 cm
Sewing Machines - 4
Sanity - Pretty good, better now i've opened a bottle of red.

I've been asked quite a lot of questions as to why I decided to do this quilt.
And I have many varied responses.

Firstly I love postage stamp quilts. Ever since I fell in love with scrap quilts while travelling in the USA I have always wanted one. But they have always been out of my reach costing a pretty penny. I also have this strange 'thing' that it must cross my path. I find if I go and buy something from a shop it loses a little of its meaning to me as its too easy. Part of what I do with all this fabric collecting is finding it, its part of the enjoyment of what I do. If I just walked in and bought it it wouldn't be as big a part of the adventure of finding, collecting and stashing.

I have loads of scrap. Off cuts, left overs, damaged bits and pieces and when ever I look at it all I know there are a few quilts in amongst it all, it just needs to speak to me. So I kept stuffing the boxes with odds and ends after every trip and the piles were growing. I also had my jars and when I got a chance between customers I would trim up some scrap and put it in the jar for the best size block for 'future projects'.
I joking said to myself when I sewed the first two patches together on Election day last year that I would have it done by the next election. (If only that was now true) That was the first sewing machine the industrial. (now all sold in the move)

We finally made the decision to move the studio and I knew that it was time to not bring it all with me. I didn't want all these boxes of scrap that I had been stockpiling coming with me to the new space. So while we were building and renovating I took up camp on the kitchen table and started plouging into it all, cutting 1.5 inch blocks. Literally thousands of them. And started the process of chain piecing them together. With the renovations we have been held up, bad weather, council you name it and we are still 5 months behind schedule. So when ever things got annoying it was head down and bum up piecing away. This was machine 2, my domestic Husquvarna. My poor machine died. I wore out the drop bobbin casing so it was time to find a new machine. Moved onto machine 3, my Pfaff saddlery machine. Decided it was more trouble than it was worth trying to chain piece small bits on this one, its slow and heavy and its designed for leather and denim. So the process halted for a while til I got the next machine. Number 4 - Janome 6660 P. So far, ok.

This is not an 'easy' quilt to do. It's easy as in its straight piecing but its hard as it requires patience to stick at it. It is the sort of quilt that can break your spirit. It is at times mind numbing but that can sometimes be a good thing.

Also my quilt it not all that well made. If the quilt police have a close look they will be tut tutting about the fact my seams don't all meet and in places its a bit wonky. But I don't really care too much. As I used fabrics from old quilt blocks some were already off grain from the original maker so there are plenty that are not straight. Also, some days I just didn't give a shit. I just wanted it done. I'm human and by no means a perfectionist. I think trying to get things perfect can take some of the fun out of it.
So, there was no unpicking and if I made a mistake I just shrugged my shoulders, drank more wine and kept going.

I also tried to detrain myself while I did this piece. I had to let the pieces come together where they fell. It was hard not to stick a piece back in the box and grab another that would be more pleasing. I had to make myself not care. As this quilt needs to be completely random. If I tried to plan any of it it would get a strange half pattern appearing and I didn't want that. So the pieces just had to go together.

There is also another side to this quilt. I only work with what I find. So no new materials are in this quilt. Its all found and scrap (the bits that are too small to put into my scrap bags), salvaged bits, apron ties, skirt hems, damaged quilt blocks, unfinished quilt tops, you name it its in here. All from the 1920s to 1960s. I guess its about making something amazing out of things now days we would probably throw away. My backing is going to be made from 1940s kimono linings that are all red cotton. Another pile of fabric I have salvaged from old silk kimonos and tucked away. I will piece in a few other fabrics that I have saved that are sashings off some of the partial quilt tops thats I unpicked to put the old blocks into this one.

This is by no means a designed quilt, if anything is is de- designed. It is a quilt made as purely process with some theory chucked in. It is also a very personal quilt for me as each little piece has meaning. There are bits that are joy from when I found them. Pieces from quilt tops that I have pulled apart to save. It is just one of the quilts I have to make and have in my collection. 





Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stitching Our Stories Essendon Quilt Show Opening Address

On Friday I had the honour of being the speaker to open the Essendon Quilt Show - Stitching Our Stories.

For those of you who missed it here is the basic run down of it. Parts in "" are the gist of the ad libs.


"Firstly what an honour it is to be a part of your show, to be a part of this 'story' in the book of the Essendon Quilters in their 25th year
Everything looks fantastic so a big thank you to Janette and her team of helpers and to all of you who are here today being a part of this event.
In fact, turn to the person on your left and thank them for being a part of your story today, and to the person on your right,  as without you all and all your efforts this show would not be on, so a little round of applause to all of you."

Stitching Our Stories. 

"Such a broad topic, so many angles to tackle. Where do we start with that one." 

It could be a chapter, a lifes work, a short story or a process. It could be in history, folk lore, day to day enjoyment or a labor of love.

I know that I have my own story to tell with textiles. From an early age to my career as a designer, now sourcing amazing fabrics, to when I pick up a needle and thread for my own pleasure. Those threads are woven into who I am and what I do today. Why I am standing in front of you all, being a part of this story. 

But what does making and creating mean to you. What is your story when you make a quilt?

To cast a long way back into history when the first settlers came to the New World, as they embarked into territory that was cold, bitter and without resources, the women of the New England made a bed cover or 'quilt' of what ever they could find, often stuffed with leaves and dried grasses to have some warmth against the bitter winter. These women stitched for survival. Their story was one of hardship, survival and necessity.

Move forward to a time when fabrics were plentiful and times were more civilised and we see quilts for decorative means. Applique and best quilts, ones made with fabrics purchased specifically for the project. Ladies of leisure in victorian times would stitch with silks or the younger girls would practice their needle work lovingly stitching a special piece of waistcoat silk of her secret love while she sits and waits for a hand in marriage. 

Many a world event has changed the way we view quilts and sewing. WW1 asked that blankets be saved for the boys, so quilts became a necessity item again in the USA. In WW2 we were asked that we made do and mend due to the fabric rationing. At the end of WW2 saw the 'new look' and that was clothing in full skirts to abundance.

The depression, the boll weevil epidemic and the dust bowl were times of great hardship during the 1930s in the USA for many people. Quilts became a necessary item for keeping families warm again. Feedsacks were used not only for clothing and household textiles but the left overs were used in quilts. I cannot imagine how hard life would have been on the plains when the agricultural prices fell, the great depression and the farms being wiped out with drought.

We are lucky to have textile items surviving from this time. I know myself as someone who sources vintage fabrics, finding surviving lengths of yardage from this era is difficult for many reasons. The items were used on a daily basis so they wore out.  There were problems with the textile mills being able to maintain equipment. There was also an awful lot of corner cutting in production to keep costs down. Admittedly there was a bountiful amount of designs produced at this time to foster consumer interest but many were not manufactured to the best quality.  'Sack Cloth' was viewed as a laughing stock by the european manufacturers and the reputation of American Made textiles during this time was considered not the best but the American textile industry survived this time of economic hardship much better than most other industries and went on to be one of the biggest employers and producers of textiles globally in the 1940s.

From sewing for a dowry to the quilting bees in far flung communities a story was threaded through a needle as the stitches played out in the fabrics. There are many myths, romanticised stories and hard facts about quilts and quilting, its is fascinating and I encourage anyone who loves to make a quilt to dig a little deeper into the history of this amazing craft, art or pastime we enjoy. The stories contained in its history are more engaging than fiction.

To stitch a story on a more personal level is about what drives us to make or create.
The feelings, the efforts, the memories that the quilt or the process of creating it holds.

I want to share with you this statement.  Marguerite Ickis, some of you might know as the author of the 'Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting' that was first published in 1949 documented this quote from her great grandmother.

--- It took me more than twenty years, nearly twenty five, I reckon, in the evening after supper when the children were all put to bed. My whole life was in that quilt. It scares me sometimes when I look at it. All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those little pieces. When I was proud of the boys and when I was down-right provoked and angry with them. When the girls annoyed me or when they gave me a warm feeling around my heart. And John too. he was stitched into that quilt and all the thirty years we were married. Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I sat there hating him as I pieced the patches together. So they are all in that quilt, my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates. I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me. ----

Now that is a story, A journey, a narrative of this woman's life. Imagine if that quilt could talk, I wonder what it would tell us.

For each of us here, our 'story' of quilt making is as individual as we all are. There may be similarities or a common thread of discovery among us, but we all have our own story to tell with our quilts. What sparked off the interest, what keeps us creating, why do we go nuts when we see fabric? We are all quilters of sorts and we all share a common thread of this interest  but we are all unique in our story.

The quilts hanging here today in this show. What is the story behind them? What is the story behind your own entry. 
I am humbled to see so many fabrics I have found in my travels in quilts in this show too. And entries that evoke memories.

Could it be a quilt that was made for a special new arrival, perhaps a grand child. Where the quilt was stitched with all the hopes you have for this new child entering the world. It is made with love, with kindness and with a special touch that only you have. You put into it all your wisdom and your thoughts that this quilt you made will be wrapped around this infant to keep them warm and safe. All that you can hope for that baby is in that quilt. 

Is it that the quilt you have hanging here today was a challenge you set for yourself. One that drove you crazy as you tried to do a method or technique you hadn't encountered before. One that only you know how many times you unpicked that one block to get it to line up properly. 
How many bottles of wine were consumed during the making of that quilt. Did your partner accuse you of making them a 'quilt widow' and that they had to fend for themselves with toasted cheese sandwiches as you were just too busy in quilt land?. Is it the quilt of all quilts that you will swear never again or is it one that even though you hated it at the time, you are so freaking happy about it you will now go off and try the insanity quilt. Yes, are you a quilter with an addictive streak that needs the next challenge.

Is it that you have seen an inspirational quilt that you would like to add to your collection. You chose the design because you love it and wish to make your own. What feeling does it evoke for you. Did Quilt Mania make you manic until you got stitching on that next project.

Is it that this quilt is the culmination of many hours of quiet contemplation or keeping your hands busy at night. Slowly and carefully pulling that needle through the fabric. Feeling the sense of contentment that working with your hands gives you.
I know my grandmother would knit, even in poor light without her glasses she would still click clack away, quietly and rhythmically. Perhaps with the radio on low in her favourite old wicker arm chair by the heater in the living room. It was her meditation. I often wonder now that if she was born in a different time in a different country she would have been whiling away her time stitching a quilt at night.

Is it the planning and buying of the fabric, the collecting of supplies. All the future quilts that you could create. Do you have more UFOs than FO's? Are you the quilter that quietly squirrel things away for a rainy day.

I know that I personally love collecting the fabrics for future projects. And I do have quite a few UFO's as I wait for more fabric to turn up thats suitable to finish the quilt. As I only work with what I find, sometimes I wait a long while for the 'right' fabric to add to the project pile to keep going. I often start a project based around something that has crossed my path. A pile of orphan blocks from the 1920s or a partial quilt top with amazing fabrics. This triggers in me something that compels me to finish off what someone else started. 

I often wonder. who made this? Why didn't they finish it. What was their life like. I often make up little stories about imaginary women with old fashioned names like Beryl or Phyllis who might have been the maker of these things. I picture them with curlers in their hair wearing hooverette style aprons made from feedsack. Yes this is probably a romantic view, but I don't want to think about the hash reality of how things were between the wars and the depression.

Is it your time out. Did you make this quilt in-between tacking kids sports commitments, work and everything in-between,. Is it a reflection of your time, your ideas and your experience that this quilt made it here to be hung. Even though the dog walked on it or one of your kids split juice on it. Do you hope and pray for an afternoon to yourself so you can lock yourself way and sew. Or to get together with like minded quilty friends to stitch, drink coffee and eat treats and have a laugh. 

I love hearing the stories behind the quilts. I love the little details that are put in. One lady I know always puts one piece of fabric from a dress of her mothers in every quilt she makes. It's a green paisley and it's there, even if logically from a design point of view it shouldn't. 

"Its would be like a quilt version of Where's Wally, looking for that green square is if all her quilts were hung here today"

I love this connection between memory and comfort this quilter makes. Or recently a wool quilt that was made to save a fathers camel coloured dressing gown made into a quilt for a bothers 60th birthday, The braid on the collars and cuffs used as a decorative element along with other pieces of suits he once wore. 

During this show ask your fellow quilter, 'What is the story behind your quilt?'. We often don't get the opportunity to tell the details in the statement pinned to the wall. There is often so much more as to why this quilt was created. 
But if you have a little more time, maybe ask them what their 'story' is? As we now live a more fast paced life we sometimes don't ask as many questions. Find those parallels and shared experience of stitching your story.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Addendum

Thank you to everyone who has left such lovely comments on my last post and for those of you who have emailed me.
When writing it I had no intention of it being a sad thing. It's just part of my story and how I 'got into' being someone who makes and crafts things. Also, perhaps it explains part of being a creative person, that solitude often brings out the best work.
But perhaps also I need to add a bit to 'my story', perhaps clarify a few things.

Firstly Adoption is a very complex thing. It affects all involved in a different way. It also can be confronting for those who do not have an experience of it. In my experience people who have not had an encounter with an adoptee or know someone involved with adoption find it very hard to relate to it. You cannot apply normal logic to it. Its too big.

I think now that there has been a bit more 'media' on the adoption issue perhaps it is becoming a little easier to talk about rather than it being a big secret or taboo. Frankly I am relieved there is more talk about it all now, and also that it has been portrayed with a bit of humour too. I thank the writers and producers of 'Upper Middle Bogan' for that. That was a show I related to and had a really good and relieved laugh while watching it. It was as if they had been a fly on the wall of my situation.

Other 'stories' that are out there that are a lot less funny are 'Love Child' and 'Philomena'. They tackle some of the bigger issues of loss. Adoption creates situations of loss for all involved and is a constant reminder of it. But all those reality TV shows such as 'Find My Family' are not the norm. It is not happy endings. Trust me. Those shows only portray perhaps 5% of what it is like.

For me, and this is purely my experience, its not all happy endings. My story of adoption in not in that 5% and I can't see it getting much better anytime soon. I can laugh at quite a bit of it now and feel ok about some of it, but that was only after deciding that I had to not let it get to me and sort the shit out. I have not met one other adoptee that is totally ok about it or unaffected by it. If there are any out there, drop me a line, i'd love to meet you!

On the surface Adoption is good thing. And I do truly believe that it is if its done the right way. But it has taken a really long while for the powers that be work some of that out. Previously it was all a bit cloak and dagger and attached with loads of shame. But times have changed and being a single unwed mum does not have the same stigma attached as it did 40 years ago.

But my situation, and this is the only one that I can talk about with authority is as follows.
I was given up for adoption in the very early 70s by a 17 year old girl who was sent to the single mothers home by her mother.
I was assigned to a family but was returned for a few weeks as my adoptive mother was sick. I was left in the care of nurses at the single mothers home.
My name was legally changed and a new birth certificate was issued for me. The slate was wiped clean and I was taken home.
My first memories are all good, pretty normal I guess. It was not until I was told I was adopted when I was in Grade 2 that things went down hill. Thats when I realised I was different to everyone else, didn't look like my bother or mum and dad and felt like I was standing next to my life and wasn't in it.  To this day I think I was told too young and then it was never talked about. I felt scared, ashamed and that there was something wrong with me. Thats when I started to retreat. When the strange anxiety kicked in and when I just wanted to be alone. But, kids aren't meant to be alone are they. Loners are considered weird. I guess I just became the weird kid who loved books, lived for art class and ran away only to be dragged back again. By the time I made it to senior school I was knicking off at lunch time for a smoke with all the other 'alternative' kids. Strange kids tend to group together.  I was just the arty one who was a bit angry. But no one knew my secret as I never told anyone. Why I thought it was a big secret I don't know, but have found out much later that there were a few other adopted kids at school and I wish I knew them then.

My 20s were up and down. I was angry. I battled with identity. I didn't know who I was. I was doing what everyone else was. You were meant to be partying, hanging out in big groups, having fun. But I never enjoyed any of that. I liked being alone. I liked my own company. I became a closet knitter and sewer because that was weird wasn't it. So I just muddled my way through the best I knew how and sure I took wrong turns and made mistakes but when I turned 28 I made some big decisions, and learnt how to say no. I let go of many of my so called friends, those ones you have in your 20s that are only there for a good time, distanced myself from my family as I was tired of feeling like a constant disappointment and the title of black sheep was weighing me down and moved on.

That was when we moved up the coast. We bought our first house and we were a team. I had my own family. The one I chose. I was free. Making decisions I wanted to about my own life without the pressure from my family to be something I didn't want to be. Adopted kids often feel obligated to please, its part of the strange thing about needing to 'behave'.
This was also when I had the courage to start looking for my biological family and I had the full support of my partner to do so.
So I started the first step and lodged for my paperwork.
We finally got an appointment. In the months prior to the appointment you need to do counselling. I did all that. I hated it. I'm not good in group situations. There was too much pain in those sessions. Even though I could relate to it, I found that through whatever was in me, I didn't want that to be me.

The day I got my paperwork is like a scene from 'Upper Middle Bogan' its when I wigged out, had strange vision and was not far off. My biological mothers name was 'Cheryl'. Yep my bio mum was a Schazza. I had the vision of the middle aged woman in a pink tracksuit with a patchwork leather hand bag, gold jewellery and smoking a fag. A bit Kath and Kim style... And when I met her, I was not far off. She even lived in the suburb where they filmed that show!

Now, I was raised pretty strict, went to an elite private school, went to uni, owned a house, travelled, worked hard, had a good job all those sorts of things. I was not what she was expecting either.
I went from one fire to another. From one set of expectations of who I was meant to be to another.
My relationship with my bio mum is non-existent. I think its better that way. She blames me for ruining her life and will tell anyone over a bottle of vodka who cares to listen. On top of that there were far too many lies. From my paperwork being completely made up to never a straight answer. To this day she still refuses to tell me who my father is and will not let me have any contact with any family members. Thankfully my bio brother told her where to go and we have a friendship and I have now met an aunt who left home and hand nothing to do with my bio mum since she was 17.

Last year my bio brother tracked down this long lost Aunt. He has been on a crusade to find out who my dad is. My 'bro' is a good bloke. He was raised by his dad and not by our bio mother.  Also think he dodged a bullet. Our other sister is a write off, drug and alcohol problems, and we have one other sister who is 15 but I have not been able to meet her yet. My bother gives me updates on her. I just hope she stays at school and keeps out of trouble. I don't take after any of these other siblings. We don't have much in common, and I don't think we look alike either, so I must take after my father.

Last year we had a lead on who my father could be. My Aunt remembered some things. We tracked him down and found him about 15 kms from where I lived. I found some of his kids. They thought there was another kid, and it looked like it was me. Finally, did I have the last piece of the puzzle? I plucked up the courage and sent the contact letter. He didn't reply. One of his daughters talked to him and he agreed to meet me. He said that no, I wasn't his but he did know who I was. But also that trying to find my father would be opening up some 'dark doors'.

We have one other lead, but have no way of following it up. The lead is a bad man. One involved in organised crime in Carlton in the early 70s. But unless my bio mother or bio grandmother talks, we have no way of knowing and they have both said they are taking it to the grave. So I will probably never know who he is. But that could all be lies too. None of this has been straight forward.

But the things I do know are this:
My mum and dad are good people and they are my 'mum' and 'dad'. Always will be. And I love them. They have done what they think is best for me in their own way. Wether or not I agree is another thing, but I am old enough to make my own decisions now and its my life.

There will always be a strange connection between nature and nurture.

Always be kind as you never know what is going on in someone else's life even if it looks ok from the outside.

Everyone has a story. And mine is nothing compared to other people I have met. It is only a scratch.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stitching My Story

I have an opening address to prepare for the Essendon Quilters Show on the 4th to 6th of July. The theme of their show is 'Stitching Our Stories'.
In preparing for this and in writing my speech from an historical and social context about this theme, it has made me think about my own story and my own relationship with 'stitching'. My own process of working with my hands and what it means to me.

There were circumstances as a child that made things difficult for me. They were things beyond my control that made me awkward and unsocial. Things I didn't fully understand that made me retreat into my own solitary world. I arrived late on the scene. I was adopted. Everyone else around me had younger parents and grandparents. Mine were a good 20 years older than theirs, with very old fashioned views. Children were seen and not heard. The adoption thing was always skirted about and never really talked about, but in my head I thought I had to behave or I would be sent back. It was complicated never being able to talk about things that I didn't understand.  Part of that world I absorbed myself in was making things. It was solitary and quiet. Something I could master and learn. Something that was mine. It kept me out of trouble.

I taught myself to knit after watching my step nan on my Dads side knit. She was a test knitter for Patons. I had to teach myself as no one wanted to teach a left hander. They didn't have the time. The first thing I made was a little Australian flag. I was really proud of that. I worked it out myself from a book from the Library.
I was looked after a lot by my grandmother as my mum had times when she was very unwell. My Nan was a professional dressmaker for society ladies. She cut her teeth in the trade in work rooms in Collins Street in the 1930s and 40s. Then she set up a work room at home. Always scraps to play with but I was never allowed to touch anything. It's a terrible trade the 'rag trade' you don't want to work in it she would say. I never really listened to her. My early taste of rebellion and being stubborn. She was a stern and formidable lady, she loved me in her own old-fashioned way. She made it to 99.5 years. I still think she was hanging out for that letter from the Queen.

My dad always saw that I was making things. He bought me my first sewing machine when I was 13. I taught myself to sew from books, patterns and fabric from the op-shop and lots of trial and error. I think my mum never really approved of what I made. It was the early 90s and I was pretty grungy.  She kept trying to buy me nice pretty dresses. I've never really got the hang of the dress. I live in my skinny jeans and dark colours. Every now and again she will get me something from Country Road and she will push the envelope by it being in a colour other than black, grey or white. I'm learning to play the game. We are getting better at it. She finds me nice things in black now and didn't bat an eyelid at my wedding dress being black. Its funny how your relationships change as you get older.

In my early 20s sewing was my expression and fashion. Being a uni student and living out of home I was pretty broke. My best friend and I would go on mega op-shop hauls. We would tag team in our 'beaters' the first cars and go off and find all sorts of amazing stuff. We loved the old ladies who looked after the shops. My earliest taste of collecting stories. They liked it that we could sew. They would keep stuff for us as they knew we would be back. Todays op-shops aren't patch on how they used to be. One of my favourite finds was a mint dark denim Levis trucker jacket for 50 cents. I wore that to death. Or finding full length suede over coats for a few dollars. And the Fabric! Oh my god, AMAZING. Let us just say, I had a bug. And with tip money from waiting tables at a pizza joint, it felt like a million dollars worth of booty. And I hoarded. The earliest taste of 'she who dies with most wins'. I was a WINNER.

After 10 years in Melbourne my partner and I decided to pack up and move to sunnier climes. Packing that removal truck, half was boxes of fabric. It was a bit embarrassing, but my partner, now my husband was always very tolerant of it, not sure he liked it. I was a bit bored and out of sorts living in the country in a very small community that was a bit suspicious of 'city folk'. This was also a time when the internet was only just taking off and freelance design work was tricky to do living so remote. When my partner was working I'd jump in the car and go off road tripping picking up bits and pieces in the inland country towns and adding them to my collection. While living there I made vintage bikinis out of 1960s fabrics and sold them at the local surf shops. I called it 'Keenie'. It kept me out of trouble. After 2 years we came back and tried to settle back to life in Melbourne but it never really suited us. I went back to random and freelance design jobs and he went to work on boats. A different chapter of our lives began.

I have to say I have been incredibly lucky to have seen so much of the world and I would not have been able to do half of it if it wasn't for my partner and his work. I have done so much travel on my own as well. I spend loads of time on my own as his work would take him half way around the world at a moments notice.
My interests take me to places where I can learn and see. Solo travel is an amazing luxury. I have been able to spend whole days in the one gallery or museum. Wander the streets I want to just looking at buildings and people watching. Eating snacks and drinking coffee. Finding a length of fabric or trim in the flea markets, an old set of keys or a book. Seeing different details.
Now my husband is in the Navy, another title I have is 'Navy Wife'. So again, I spend a lot of time on my own. Having such a love of sewing, fabric, quilts and knitting and everything in between is my thing. I can while away hours on the one project and wonder where the time goes. I can get so engrossed in folding my stash, remembering each piece and where it was found or who it came from. Each one of my fabrics has a story. I 'find' my fabrics or they cross my path. I travel and I seek them out. The connections I make with kindred sprits are some of the most amazing moments be they small or large that I have had. A kindness or a smile about a similar interest. A memory or a handing down of a tip or story. I have been given fabrics that belonged to someones great grandmother and they want me to have them as they know I will love them. Even today a lady rang me and asked for my address to send me a quilt that she wanted me to have. She had met me once and remembered me. Its things like this that are embedded in 'my story'. But the 'thread' that links this is a literal thread. Be it spun or woven, stitched or knitted, it is stitched into who I am.  This is my story.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finally....New Website....

Ok everyone, I finally did it! How long did it take me? It's ok, I know, it took a REALLY long time.
It's amazing how much time gets freed up when you resign from your 'career'. The day job. 
I got my website happening. It's up, its running and sales are coming in. 

I will be adding to it more over the next few days and a few more categories will be added to make it easier to find what you are looking for.

At the moment you can shop by colour or by era. Then you can narrow that down. So for instance if you want a blue fabric from the 1950s you can go either way. Or if you want something as specific as a fabric with a bird, you can use that key word in the drop down box or just use the search box.

www.apieceofcloth.com.au

I hope you like it. Any feed back appreciated. I'm by no means a web guru but I have muddled my way through this and i'm pretty proud of the very steep learning curve it put me on. I will get better as time goes on working with code and with some help from a friend who is a Web Developer, might be able to do a few more things. We will see.

So go have a play... www.apieceofcloth.com.au


Monday, May 19, 2014

Definitions...

Ok, i'm getting a little confused....is it just me in my old age? I don't know. But a question to pose...what exactly is a 'Modern Quilter' instead of just a 'Quilter'?

I had a few people pop past and they told me how wonderful and nice all the fabric is, but they told me they were "Modern Quilters" and its not for them. That's all good, I respect that, I know what I do and the fabrics I source don't suit everyones taste. But to have someone say to me "...I'm a Modern Quilter, I just don't know how I would use this fabric..." confused me somewhat....well I do sell fabric...it's pretty nice stuff, interesting, one of a kind, amazing quality and a dream to work with.... I thought you could make a quilt out of any fabric you fancy?

This "Modern Quilter" thing was perplexing me a tad.  So I googled what a "Modern Quilter" definition was. And I thought, yep, I get that, in fact perhaps I might even be one, in the "modern traditionalist" category, I like old school stuff, it really floats my boat... but I have never thought to put what I do into a category except that I'm a quilter of sorts. I just love to muck about with fabrics and quilts and love the history, technical development, the visual language of the decorative arts and how it relates to the history of design. How print and pattern have developed over the centuries and how it is reflected in the items that are designed and made. How textiles, especially the concept of a quilt has travelled through the ages from ancient times to today. The history of textiles, their technology and design are fascinating to me.

This is the definition of a Modern Quilt, but to an extent I still don't really understand the definition...here it is...from www.moq.net

"Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting".

Ok...So this is my reasoning....

"Modern quilts are primarily functional..."

Yep, mine end up on the bed and the couch, so they are functional. 

 "...and inspired by modern design."

Yes, they are inspired by modern design. Mid century is my favourite period but I also reference the 1920s. The design theory of those eras is incredibly important in many areas of expression. Johannes Itten and his colour theory. Josef and Anni Albers and their geometric theory compositions to name a few of my design heros and influences. I see the influences of these designers in many quilts I see, perhaps too much influence...
Itten Colour wheel 1961
Josef Albers - Homage to the Square
Anni Albers, DR XX, 1974

"Modern quilters work in different styles..."

I machine piece most things, but do still hand piece if the project I am working on lends itself to it. If i'm working on a partial project if it was started by hand I continue that way. I am also a hand quilter. My introduction to quilts was seeing amazing hand quilted pieces when I was travelling in the USA and to the historic ones that I had studied from a graphic design and technical history of printed textiles angle. So for me, hand quilting was the look I wanted to create. A softness of the organic stitch to the hard angles of the geometry. But I just love the pull of the thread through the cloth. It's my meditation. 

"...and define modern quilting in different ways...

I like a good quilt, I like a good quilt if it was made 100 years ago or 100 days ago. I like making quilts, but I like to make them out of vintage and antique fabrics that I source from the USA. I like to do that because its more special to me to have prints and fabrics that really unique, ones that reflect my love of this that I do. I love the experience of travelling and meeting people of all ages and walks of life that share this common interest that I have. I like to hear the stories and to hear other perspectives of the experience of a life with textiles. I like the challenge of finishing off a quilt that is 100 years old so it can live on again, giving it a new life. I like to salvage something of the past and re-work it. I like to create a new response to an old tradition...is that my definition? 

"...but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to:"

"...the use of bold colors and prints," Past and Present Examples are being used.
1920s Broken Chevron Quilt - Laura Fisher Quilts
Fletcher Quilt from http://www.shinyhappyworld.com
















"... high contrast and graphic areas of solid color..."


L: 1920/30s Graphic Quilt-GB Best Quilts R:'Modern Hipster Black and White Starburst Quilt' -True Love Quilts Etsy
"...improvisational piecing..."
Gee's Bend Quilt 1940s
Denise Schmidt Quilt 2010's
The examples I have selected here are to show that a 'quilt' with a graphic or modern or improvised style has been a part of the decorative history language for a very long time. It is a reflection of the tastes of the times they are made in. That they reflect the design theories that were first published in the first half of the 20th Century by early practitioners of design. The men and women who pioneered the first documented texts and studies. Ones that today are still referenced in design education world wide that underpin most of what we know today of design. But what they also show is how they have evolved as a visual language that quilt makers reference today.

That this definition of a 'modern quilt' can be applied to many quilts that are 100 years old as well as ones that are 1 year old. Are we not all quilt makers if we make a quilt? As someone dear once said to me, I am a 'glorious fabric joiner'. Yes I join random snippets of fabric together or fiddle with things partially started and the end product is a 'quilt'. Do we really need to define and put things into categories that make us question where we fit? Because if thats the case, I have no idea what category I fit into. I'm making up a new one, just for me. A Whatever Way it Rolls kind of Quilter!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Time for change, closing one chapter and opening another...

For a while now I have been wearing two hats. One as this business, sourcing wonderful original fabrics for you and the other working as a graphic and textile designer in the clothing industry.

Sometimes you reach a point in your life where you need to let go of something. For me, this has been a decision I've been making for a long time, but hung in there, even though I was no longer enjoying what I was doing.
As the requests came in they got pushed further down the pile in the to do list. This was a sign.
After taking some time out I have tried to clear my head to make this decision and its a really big one for me.
To say good bye to this part of my life is saying goodbye to a good 20 years of who I am or should I say now, 'was'. To the kid who always knew what they wanted to be. To the young adult who worked their butt off to be in an industry that was cut throat and competitive and survived.

But a while back things really started to change in the section of the industry I was working in. The push for 'fast' fashion meant things were really churning. The reliance on China and Bangladesh for cheaper than cheap production meant the flow on effect was cheaper and cheaper design. When the rates started being squeezed and the competition for jobs became harder, less and less work was available. China now offers full design services for one twentieth of what a designer here needs to charge to cover costs and pull a wage. The briefs coming in were to copy a sample, not to design from scratch. I was being pushed to do things I didn't want to do and knew were wrong. No one wanted original work anymore, they just wanted the overseas samples replicated, and for next to nothing.

There are other far more complicated reasons why I am saying good bye to this part of my life. I no longer want to do interviews where I walk out feeling redundant and worthless that I have passed some kind of use by date in this industry. Where years of experience is a death sentence and not an asset. Where you begin to feel over qualified to just do the job you trained to do. Perhaps I chose the wrong sector but I always loved designing and fabrics and working with clothing. Perhaps I should have stuck with packaging but at the time I didn't enjoy it as much.

Where buyers, managers and agents cut the rates there is always someone who is happy to do the job for next to nothing for a foot in the door and experience. This has meant that its really hard to get paid enough to survive.

The costs of maintaining software, computers and insurance is expensive and those costs have to be covered somewhere. Also when you need to pay your own super and take care of your own tax from the contract rates it gets really bleak. Younger designers starting out don't take this into account when they offer to take a gig for $25 an hour. Further down the track it means there are no wages for anyone.
When I left the industry as a full time designer back in 2009 I was earning roughly the same money I was 10 years previously. In effect, my wages had gone backwards. I took full time work because I wanted a house, banks don't like freelancers much.

Issues with copyright and being asked to copy other peoples work is another thing I refuse to do. So, again, someone else will. And they know that.

I was an ok designer. I was fast, with good technical skills, professional and always delivered on time. I wasn't the best and nor was I someone who shouted from the roof tops or demanded to stick my name on everything. I did the job, delivered it and waited to get paid. Sometimes you didn't. Chasing payment is another thing I just can't face doing anymore. I know its tough for businesses at the moment, but its tough for us too!

So, I guess I'm burnt out. I don't want to design for other companies anymore. I will keep the few clients I like, trust and enjoy working with who respect what I do and that I've worked with for a long time but thats about it. So many of my previous clients no longer exist. Thats another problem with our industry here, its shrinking. The smaller labels and independents are being squeezed out by the big majors. We need to support our little guys. We need to support local talent and what is left of locally made.

So, after close to 20 years working as a designer of some description I have decided to shut the book on this chapter of my life. And open a page that is clean and white and one day when I am ready scribble some shit and see what it turns into!  Stay tuned....






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Melbourne Trunk Show and Up coming events


The Melbourne Trunk show is booked and ready to go.
Its going to be a huge 2 days.

Its at Quilts in The Barn in Wonga Park.

The lovely Linda also has some antique quilts, blocks and other fab goodies from Mary Koval as well available.

Kicking off at Noon on Friday the 9th of May til 7pm and Saturday 10th of May 10am til 4pm.
23 Hartley Road in Wonga Park.

Up Coming Dates:

Geelong Quilt In
Saturday, 17 May
9.30 am – 4.00 pm
South Barwon Civic Centre
Cnr Reynolds Rd & Princes Hwy, Belmont 

SUNBURY STITCHERS & QUILTERS BIENNIAL SHOW
"Old Days, New Ways"
Sat 14 & Sun 15 June, 2014
Sunbury Memorial Hall, Stawell Street, Sunbury
Sat 9am - 4pm; Sun 10am - 3pm

Essendon Quilters
""Stitching Our Stories Exhibition
Friday 4 July to Sunday 6 July 2014
Sports and Performance Centre
Moonee Ponds Primary School,
Wilson Street, Moonee Ponds 3039

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Bobbin a Day Keeps the UFO at Bay....

I have been trying to get more disciplined with my quilt making. I am between studios at the moment as we fit out the new one. So i'm working on the kitchen table. Its a bit cramped but it makes you really aware just how much you have bitten off and if its more than you can chew.

I have 4 projects on the go at the moment. I know thats not a lot for some of you, but its a lot for me. Especially in a very small temporary work space.

The one I am really trying to make a dent in at the moment is my Postage Stamp Quilt. Its 1.5 inch, finished 1 inch squares. Also, its for our bed so its going to be a large queen size quilt. So... when I do the math.. this is what it needs...7,744 squares. Thats quite a few.  Then the back, then the quilting.

I started this one on the election day last year and jokingly thought to myself to have it done by the next election...4 years. So I started cutting squares while I was doing other work and filling preserving jars. When they were full, i'd start stitching them into 2 patch.

The start....the jars to be filled
I would go through all my orphan blocks, all UFO's and any other scrap and cut the squares. I keep a large mixing bowl at my cutting area. After cutting other things, the scrap goes in the bowl till its full.

The mixing bowl. I like using bowls as I can dig my hands in.
A bit of everything.
My bobbin a day came from chain piecing. If I could just stick it out for a whole bobbin's worth of sewing I could at least make some sort of progress for this quilt. I am determined to get it done. I have wanted a postage stamp quilt for ever and a day and I have never found one. I have seen them, but not for sale. I also have to find my quilts. They need to cross my path. So, I'm doing my own. And for me its a bit of a journey and its a record of the fabrics that have passed through my studio, my collection and the print archive. I hope to be able to see this quilt as a bit of a snap shot of my fabrics and adventures over time hunting them down.

Chain piecing a bobbin a day
So now I'm onto my 5th jar of squares and i'm about a quarter of the way through this quilt. I have got them into 4 patch now, they are squared and trimmed and ready to be made into 16 patch. Then I will work out a bit of an arrangement of those.
4 patch ready to go
I am really trying to be very random about this quilt. I am trying not to look too closely at the patches as I assemble them. I want this to look very hap-hazard. As a graphic designer I was trained to be very methodical and precise about things. I am trying through making this quilt to become a bit freer. It's hard at times and I do chuck the patch back in the pile and go find another to make a more pleasing arrangement but in a way I feel I am not sticking to being random and free if I do that. I am trying to un-learn a bit. And to just let the scrap do its thing.


Monday, February 17, 2014

WIn The Trunk of Vintage Fabric Love

I know that all you guys are scattered all over the globe and that many of you can't make it to the trunk show coming up on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of March.

But do not fear, you have a chance to win your own Trunk of Vintage Fabric Love.
Yep, all you need to do is jump on Instagram and find me here @apieceofcloth or on Facebook here and find the giveaway post and share and #trunkofvintagefabriclove to enter.



Pretty simple yes. Winner drawn on 1st March 2014

So the Trunk prize is valued at over $400 and there are 10 runner up prizes of swatch packs up for grabs.

Whats in the Trunk...
10 Swatch Packs
2 Vintage Quilt Block Packs
1 Vintage Scrap Pack
1 Dresden Plate Pack
1 Milk Bottle
1 Suffolk Puff Pack
1 Strip Cushion Kit
1 Vintage Trim Pack
1 Vintage Button Pack
1 Vintage Buckle
3 Spools of Cotton Perle thread
1 Vintage Wooden Spool
1 Pair of 1940s Fabric Ties
1 Dress length of 1960s Cotton Crepe
1 Length of 1940s white Cotton
5 Vintage Dress Patterns
1 Vintage Aunt Marthas Quilts Book
1 Cloth + Co Cushion
And the Trunk

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Textile Travelling...On the Hunt...and in the Trunk...

I spend a lot of time hunting. Well I call it hunting. Why, because you have to hunt things out. You need to go far afield, look in unlikely places to find the treasure tucked away. Scratching the surface doesn't deliver the gems, perhaps the fools gold but not the pot of gold.

I think this bug has been in me since I was a child. I was always finding things that perhaps I shouldn't...like santas presents before christmas or my brothers hidden cigarettes.

But it gave me the nose (and its kinda a big one) to sniff things out. Curiosity and a healthy desire to learn the how, what, when and why made me a traveller. Not only of places but of the stories that come with the people and history. Match that with my other love, textiles and its a beast that needs to be fed, the itch that needs to be scratched. Maybe when I am old, I can look back on this as my life's work.

On this recent trip I caught up with many people I have met over the years feeding this need. People with amazing stories. The more I get to know these amazing ladies the more I learn about pushing past the barriers and becoming fearless. Becoming honourable. Becoming the best of what you do. Being and doing good in business. Surviving in the big sea. I am now a strong swimmer thanks to these ladies. I learn from them more and more. I look up to you and I thank you for taking me under your wings.

But as much as I go far afield physically and have my head stuck in a history book reading and learning about the stories of the past so I can understand more for the future, there is one common thing. Its a thread. I find this thread where ever I go. It's something that binds us together. A language you can speak even if you do not know the words. It can be shown with your hands, it can be shown through the motion of acting out the mime of picking up a needle and thread and pretending to sew. It is universal. Every country and every culture has some form of textile story.

When I travel I collect these stories. The ones about great grandmothers who made the finest laces.  The tablecloths that were embroidered by grandmothers. The weaving done by a tribe or the dyeing done by a family. A textile heritage is there. From the wrappers worn by statuesque African ladies to the tight skinny jeans worn by the teenager down the road, its all a textile. The shirt on our back as much as its a necessity for modesty can also be a work of design or a feat of human hand. The survival of haute couture requires the finest hand workers as machines are not allowed. So many stories of the past talk of innovation and progress. But at the same time mechanisation and industrialisation is also killing age old traditions and skills.

Some of the saddest things I have seen are the closing and dying out of traditional skills as Chinese manufacturing pushes into traditional areas. The weavers who support their villages being replaced by Chinese polyesters printed to look like the traditional textiles of the region - this is happening in Vietnam as the traditional Hmong weavers are being pushed out to cheap Chinese imports. In Africa the traditional wax cloths as now screen printed in factories in China and are being sold into the region cheaper than they can be produced locally killing off local industry and jobs. Even in our own country we have lost our local textile industry. One such practice is to send boat loads of unprocessed wool full of grease and grit from the shorn sheep over to china for cleaning and processing then shipping it back.

These are only 3 examples of many....

So I collect textiles and the stories that go with them. I find the original examples of human ingenuity before Chinese and computerised mass production took over. People wonder why I collect early printed textiles. I do so because to me they are clever. Done without the aid of a computer. Hand drawn designs and repeats carefully worked out. The screens separated by talented technical artists who split the colours into the separate screens for printing. Engravers who etched the plates by hand. All coming to together to create prints that flow beautifully with an effortless quality and organic line that can only be achieved by hand. The first of the trends and design eras, colours and technological advancements. We have had more advancement and movement in history in these last 100 years or so than any other period in history. Thats exciting.

The other reason I collect early printed textiles is the design and innovation that goes behind them. How technology and its effects on social history brought forward trends and milestone moments in history. As simple as a particular colour being able to be produced successfully starting a fashion trend and the age of new technology. Perkins Purple is an example of this. Even good old black was not an easily obtained colour that was stable until the early 1890s when 'Direct' black was created. Orange is another that set the world on alight with bright happy joy in the 1920s. Why the 1930s was mute and pastel was they could then produce those hues with stability and success. I just find this stuff really interesting. I like how curiosity and invention shapes the way we create things. These days we can have what ever we want. Sort of takes the fun out of it really.

So my thirst for finding the most interesting, clever, quirky, technically wonderful or down right wacky original print textiles continues. And I am sharing them with you.



Come to the special trunk show on Saturday and Sunday the 1st and 2nd of March at the Ceres Township Sunday School Hall.