Posts Tagged ‘Bev’

Round and round and round it goes…

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Ring o rosy

Ring o rosy

Posted Stitches has been on the go for almost a year now. A year of sending parcels back and forth. Dreaming up themes and making up quilts. Missing deadlines and hanging out on Skype (we introduced our dogs to each other, and I just love it when the girls want to show me their latest craft treasure!)

We’ve had a hiatus of an autumn (your spring), while I dealt with post-bushfire shock and wore myself out with crafty charity. You’ve had ups and downs in the turbulent economical climate of newspaper journalism. We’ve had illnesses and family events to take our attention and time away from the creative arts that capture our dreams.

But, do you know what? It’s always been there. Sitting in the background as a promise that creativity would be and is still a part of who we are.

‘Way back when we started Posted Stitches, we didn’t know each other. I was picking up my backpack and quietly shutting my front door behind me as we headed off around the world to see what we could see. Scraps of fabric and needles and thread: my entire stash in one zip-lock sandwich bag in my pack. You were working on your craft column, new then, and the idea of teaching and TV, well, they weren’t materialised (ha ha) yet.

Now, we’ve got almost a year of stitching and thinking under our belts. We both talk about our art quilts with a confidence that is so far from the tentative and under-confident first forays. ‘Can I even MAKE an art quilt?’ we both asked ourselves — first, privately, then openly. Now, it just seems a fact of life. We make art quilts. Little art quilts. Little reflections of a life lived, a friendship formed, and themes to explore.

There’s a whole world out there: it’s in our heads and our hands and in the minds of all crafters as we make up something new.swallow_tiny

What craft worlds have you built for yourself and, if you haven’t made an art quilt before, will you join us?

There’s a little list of the themes that we are considering next. I’m going to put a selection of them (plus a few surprises just for fun!) into the Random Number Generator to let it choose what we make next. The interwebby-thing can decide. After all, it’s where we met!

Bev

Protest stitches

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Hi there,

Now that I’ve explained my sudden prolonged absence, I can get down to the fun of showing what was made for the Protest theme. I really like your quilt, Jennifer, and next to it, mine feels serious. Though not entirely.

 

I made this quilt out of protest at the people who choose to pull the world apart. Through wars, greed or environmental destruction. Our globe is such a beautiful place, but it is so easily crumbled and torn to pieces by those few whose actions ruin it for everyone. Not all damage is reversible. I protest against the short-sighted, the greedy, the apathetic, and above all, against those who go to war needlessly. 

The font of the quilt is a globe, made up of bands of fabric. Flowers for beauty, camouflage print for militarism, and rich colours for the complicated mass of humanity. The globe is crumbling at the edge. The resulting shape is a little reminscent of a skull. Dangling pieces for the broken bits of lives and beauty smashed by war. 

On the back of the quilt, love can bloom in the midst of violence and warmongering. Love can be a spiky thing. It’s not all hearts and roses. The heart an image of blood, passion and unreason — strong emotions, sometimes god, sometimes destructive. There is a violent part inside humanity but we learn to live with it. To civilise ourselves. Be god to our neighbours. Walk lightly on the earth. 

I stitched this quilt in a 24-hour heat of inspiration provoked by thoughts of the injustice of war and the waste of environmental destruction. 

Serious? Yes, but that’s a part of life, too! 

Maybe the next one will have some sense of fun and humour in it again. We’ll see what shows up!

Bev

 

PS: I am still unable to load any new images, in whatever browser or machine I try. Bear with me. I think this is a Mac thing. 

Back in the swing of things

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Quilt swing

I’ve been out of the loop for far too long, and I wanted to post a quick note to let people know what’s been happening, and why I’ve been away.

Last month, we had the worst natural disaster that Australia has ever seen in recorded history – bushfires that destroyed whole towns, killed over 210 people and made 7,500 homeless. The fires burnt over 1,700 sq. miles (450,000 hectares; 1.1 million acres) and came with a ferocity and a speed no-one here has EVER seen before. 

If you are in the US, or overseas from Australia, you may have seen it on the news for a day, perhaps a couple of times over a week, but for us here it’s been weeks of living with the horror, shock, grief and more complicated emotions as the days unrolled. I don’t want to write a lot about it: much, much has been said on my own blogs, friends’ blogs and the sites of the relief efforts.

For the craft community in Australia, which is tight-knit (pun intended) and strong, we were and are still aware of the friends whose towns were obliterated, who mourn good friends and family, and who live in camps, trailers or temporary accommodation, surrounded by ash. For so many, nothing will be the same again. We have an overwhelming desire to give, to do something to help. We can also burn ourselves out with the extended emotion over weeks. Crafting for anything — other than another quilt to place around a kid and their single Mom whose house is gone — well, it just doesn’t happen. 

Jennifer, you’ve been wonderfully supportive of our efforts through initiatives such as Handmade Helps, the bushfire fundraising cookbook I am co-editing with a handful of crafty ladies, and the sewing bees run by wonderful crafters. Thank you for understanding when I disappeared from Posted Stitches. 

There are still quilts being made, packs of fabric and sewing notions packed in my front room, ready to be delivered to crafters who lost everything, the cookbook to be edited, friends to keep an eye out for, and above all, money to be raised for the long term, for the rehabilitation and those extras beyond the basic needs for shelter and food. Winter is coming here in Australia, but now there are many hands to help and the load is slowly getting lighter. 

We’ll be back to Posted Stitches soon, with the previous quilt, a new one to show you — and perhaps a mid-year challenge to pitch the Aussies against the Americans in a good old-fashioned art quilt challenge bout. (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! -Oi Oi Oi.)

Oh, hang on, I’m Canadian. What do we shout, eh?  (It’s probably something like – ‘Excuse me, pardon me, but if you don’t mind, that’s my quilt, eh?’) 

xo

Bev

 

Oh! My goodness

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

What a lovely quilt.

Jennifer, that quilt is so worth waiting for. I’m really, truly impressed. I know that life has thrown you some bumpy bits and way too much work recently, but this is lovely, and inspiring, and direct and honest and true. Your art is really growing somewhere, you know?Even the colours — although I chose them for you — they became yours somehow and I forgot that they weren’t exactly the fabrics you would choose for yourself.

A big standing ovation for you for this one! I love them all, but each new quilt is a delight to meet.

Bev

Pearls of wisdom, beads of hope, threads of tradition…

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

They say they’re coming out of Gaza. The protest quilt is done, a white-hot quick flash — like the news of this war as a flash amidst all the other themes in the news these days: gloom and hope, change and crumbling systems, and this flash of conflict against the always-looming dark clouds of the Middle East. Like I said, I don’t pretend to understand it.

I finished an amazing novel today. In the Skin of a Lion. The kind of novel that had me sitting at a cafe table longer than I intended in the 35-degree heat, clenching and unclenching one hand on the empty table (my plate long-gone), reading out the last few pages. Impervious to office boys in suits, yakking close at the next table. Close the book with a deep sigh.

It’s probably the sixth time I’ve read Michael Ondaatje’s book, but I keep hazy memories of it every time — only an image here and there (the men off to work in the dark morning; the red dog, August; sleeping amongst mushrooms in Italian darkness; the blue man on the roof). Beauty, sorrow, violence and pain — the feelings I had while I was stitching that Protest quilt — they’re all there in the book.

Somehow the heart glows amidst militarism; sometimes it’s spiky. We walk large in the skin of the brave lion; we become something else; we are small and we slip through – to dance, defiant.

What do I protest about?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

There are so many things to protest about.

- clearing forests, burning rainforest, laying waste to land

- landmines, injustice and totalitarianism

- apathy. About the real environmental cost of what we buy. Apathy about labour conditions for factory workers. About water use and food crises. Apathy is the worst of all.

I was going to make a quilt about apathy. The design was partly worked out, and the core meaning was absolutely clear to me: “Live your life with your brain on. Look and see. Now don’t just lie there, eating and buying stuff — do something!”

However small a contribution, actions and caring blast apathy out of the water.

But something else started to happen, and my quilt became a different thing. As I laid out your package of fabrics on the desk, Jennifer, I was listening to the radio. And there were missiles falling in the middle east again: Israel and Gaza: Gaza and Israel.

Some of my childhood memories are of the half-understood news of these kinds of conflicts. Images on the news at night, Israeli women soldiers, young, bombs in streets, families — and there’s me, living a sheltered and happy life in a quiet part of the world. Not guilt, but horrid fascination. Awareness of how things could have so easily been different: I could have been born in Afghanistan, the middle east, Angola, Cambodia — one of any number of countries ripped by wars I don’t, and won’t understand, in the years since I was born.

So this quilt became a record of anger, dismay and concern. Not understanding. A complete failure to understand why war is what happens. I stitched while the news reports came in, and finished as the land invasion began. My quilt is finished, but it’s not over – not for anyone on the ground in these cities, families and friends of local people, and anyone who is concerned, not apathetic about war in our world.

Bev

What do we want? A protest quilt!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

- When do we want it?

NOW!

The protest packet

Just last week, a protest was under way in Melbourne, and I heard that age-old rally cry. What do we want? Fair Pay! When do we want it? NOW!

It seems that there’s a lot to protest in our world, and fitting that I should be doing it on New Year’s Day. Sewing up a storm, stitching the world with the protest packet you sent me, this quilt lept through my hands and into the sewing machine, and it’s almost done already, only 48 hours later.

 

What’s that you say? You want consistency? (A slow quilt, a quick quilt… will she ever get this right?) 

Sorry – quilt a-coming through! I hope your TV craft spot goes well and that you can join me over here where I’m a one-woman, craft-mad protest chick.

What’s it all about?

Tell ya tomorra!

Bev

Green man for a southern summer

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Whew! The whirl of Christmas is over, and the new year is here (in Australia it is… I can’t remember if you’ve crossed the dateline yet in North America… hazy memory tells me that you must be just about on midnight as I type this, late in the afternoon of New Year’s Day).

wisteria

They say you should start the year as you mean to go on. If that’s the case, this will be a good year! I started with a burst of energy, and a brisk one-hour walk all the way to the top of the Big Hill (say that bit in a deep voice), with a big bag of library books to be returned.

The main street is quiet after the New Year revels. Some bottles here and there, yuck. Unusually quiet: all the shops are shut.

We live in an area that was populated mainly by Italian and Greek immigrants in the mid-20th century, and although it has changed a lot, become a mix of the older Europeans and the younger students and couples, it’s still a street of one-family-owned small businesses. Italian wedding boutiques. Mediterranean gardens. Tiny houses. Cafes, cafes and cafes. A Greek market: big cans of olive oil stacked high in the front window. Dress shops, alterations and sewing classes, mmm, sewing classes…. More cafes. Only the Internet Cafe and the IGA were open this morning: one with a solo backpacker inside, and the other attracting the usual half-dozen wrinkled old Greek men to the benches outside. Kalimera. Good morning!

The other good things about today, as I mean to go on in 2009 are:

  • Reading a good book – I finished my fifth book in five days – bring on the holidays, I say.
  • Cooking up a storm: I’ve made Tuscan flatbread (schiacciata Toscana) with sea salt and rosemary, and olive oil drizzled into the knobbles; a fragrant stew, and some slow-cooked bolognaise sauce
  • Sewing my latest Posted Stitches quilt!

I was cheerfully zipping away on the next quilt, when I realised that the Green Man quilt had not been fully explained and shown in photos. He’s been sitting quietly on the side while the wild rumpus of Christmas flowed through the house. And here he is.

Green Man quilt

I have been wanting to do a Green Man quilt for quite a long time. This one was first drawn on paper, then I went over the pencil lines of my drawing in thick black pen. I could see these pen lines through the white cotton, so I traced the lines onto my cotton, and painted swirls of green, brown and yellow textile paint into the fabric until it was saturated wet with colour.

A night on the line, and it was dry: I ironed my fabric to set painted fabricthe colours, and started some stencils for the next step. These were simple leaf shapes cut out of freezer paper, which I ironed to the fabric (use a low setting). Once they were stuck to the fabric, out came those brushes, a sponge and the textile paints, and I painted or blotched in the leaves.

I also painted some extra fabric, which I cut, free-hand, into leaf shapes and swirls. Then, weeks and weeks of slow embroidery and random stitches. That was the part I found hard to leave behind!

He’s all done, and ready to join the rest of my PS quilts in their special plastic case. What are we going to do with them all when we have achieved our year’s worth of quilts?

cheers

Bev

So the secret is out!

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Jennifer,

You crack me up! And so does your husband. Only you would beautifully stitch quilting lines that suggest the – er – richness of odour. Only you would relate the conversation about the quilt!

It’s such a cute car, and a fun story… my old man (no, I am not referring to my husband!) looks somewhat of a different creature in contrast. My myths quilt is much more on the traditional legendary line! So I had to leave him for a day or two to let the air clear – so to say (can I use all of my bad puns in this post — please?)

I seem unable to insert images today, so I’ll post this, and be back later with pictures and the full story of the Green Man of Melbourne.

Bev

Return to PS

Friday, December 5th, 2008

We’re here! You would be forgiven for thinking that the project has been abandoned as everything went quiet over here at Posted Stitches central. Rest assured, there’s been a lot of quiet stitching going on off-line, and plenty of activity.

Piles of work

After a hiatus of several months, and my round-the-world trip, I’ve started a new job. Not just one, but three, not being one to do things by halves. Thank heavens they’re all part-time! However, I’m discovering that it’s true: part-timers put in extra hours, and work harder in the days they are at the desk. I’ve been feeling the crush a bit, and the sewing time got squeezed. There was a bit of late-night sketching and a few crazy early-morning sessions, but fun time got cut down a lot.

I’m getting back on top of it now: perhaps I need to learn from Jennifer, who juggles more than I thought it was humanly possible for one two-handed crafter who needs to sleep sometimes.

But now we’ve both finished our Myths and Legends quilts, and we got together yesterday for the usual very long Skype chatter-fest with guest spot appearances by dogs and husbands, including disembodied voices off-stage (Jennifer’s husband) and 3-minute stand-up pontifications from the Professor (my husband). It’s a whole lotta fun – and the quilts look great.

So, sit tight: the reveal is happening. We’re back!

Bev