Posts Tagged ‘October’

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

Wild man of the green

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

It’s the middle of the afternoon here in Melbourne, and nearly midnight in the Eastern U.S. I’m glued to the computer to keep tabs on your election results. I keep hitting that ‘refresh’ button on the BBC’s vote counter to see how things are stacking up. As a journalist, this must be a wild and woolly week, elections being what they are. I hope you get some stitching time soon.

Myth in the dark

A few nights ago I sat down late – it was almost midnight here – to paint a Green Man. It was a wild a windy night; perfect for an elemental spirit, and when I went to hang the dripping wet square out on the line in the dark, it glowed.

I’m still stitching on leaves and bark, bugs and buds, but I wanted to let you know that my Jack o’ the Green is on the way, soon to be revealed.

Bev

You’re going Greek? I’m going green….

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think about or plan out a part of this Myths and Legends challenge. It’s such a great topic, and I want to do so many images to explore myths and their place in modern life.

But I’ve decided. I’m making a Green Man.

Green Man

Green Man carvings – and they are nearly always men – are often found on churches in England. When we lived in Oxfordshire, we used to look for them every time we visited a country church. They’re often at the top of pillars or perched in a corner, looking down on the church nave through the mask of foliage and leaves that sprout from their mouths, sometimes from their nose and ears as well.

Sutton Green Man

Green Men can be disconcerting and they can be surreal, they often invoke shadows of the power of the ancient religions from the time before Christianity came to Northern Europe. Wood spirits, folk deities, ancient gods and spirits, they are associated with Pan, Herne the Hunter, Jack in the Green and the Old Man of the Woods. Some say the Green Man is a source behind the Robin Hood legends and Peter Pan, even early images of Father Christmas.

It’s an ancient myth – as old as the hills – that strikes a chord with me for the basic love of the earth and the seasons, and the quiet power of the forest; sometimes benign, sometimes dangerous, always powerful.

A quick search for good material about Green Men gives me three interesting articles:

An Introduction to the Green Man

The Mystery of the Green Man

Wikipedia entry for the Green Man

Life is busy at the moment, but I’m going to enjoy creating my own version of this ancient symbol. Stand by for reports: Wednesday afternoon is open for crafty business, and I’ll start my Green Man then.

Bev

I’m Going Greek.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Hi Bev.

I’ve been researching this month’s Myths & Legends theme and have been pulled back to the Greek mythology that captivated me as young girl. I love the the stories of the gods and their powers. I had forgotten that Athena was the goddess of crafts and domestic arts because it seems she was more widely regarded a guardian of those in battle and the goddess of wisdom. It rocks that there’s a goddess of craft! I think she will be appearing in my next quilt. Now I just have to figure out how.

How did it get to be Oct. 19 already?!

Cheers,

Jennifer

Myths, lies and the truth:

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

“Myths define enemies and aliens and in conjuring them up they say who we are and what we want, they tell stories to impose structure and order. Like fiction, they can tell the truth even when they’re making it all up.”

- Marina Warner, Managing Monsters: the Reith Lectures 1994

I drew a mythical village…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Doodling some houses last night, and these ones look like they might come from a myth or a folk tale:

Folk tale village

Sort of Swiss-German, with Regency British touches around the doors. Hmmm. An architect I am not.

Bev

Inspiration for myths and legends

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Hi!

This month, I’m reading on the theme, for inspiration. Myths and legends, folk and fairytales. I could read all month and not set a stitch. (Never fear, I’ll start sewing soon!)

What I\'m reading

Historian Michael Wood takes the premise that some myths might have a kernel of fact buried in their centre. He’s explored these themes for years: Was there a king of Britain called Arthur? Who was Alexander the Great? Did the Trojan War really happen? I’m a big fan of his eclectic approach to archaeology and ancient history, chasing any echoes of ancient literary references in the real world.

If you ever get a chance to see his TV programs, have a go! They are fascinating and a thankful antidote to those cheap ‘torches and swords’ re-enactment ‘history’ programs we get all the time (gack.) This particular book and program, In Search of Myths and Heroes, looks for evidence of Arthur, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and the kingdom of Shangri-La.

Printmaking has caught my eye recently, due to the effect of my recent screenprinting class at ThreadDen, which was wonderful! And there’s been a bit of a stencil-along going around in the Aussie and online crafty scene – as you know from last month’s quilt. I got some easy-cut lino blocks, tools, and a basic printmaking book for my birthday this week, and I am now all set to go!

When I came along for the ride on this challenge, little did I know that it was going to turn into an exploration of applying paint and ink to fabric. But that’s what’s happened.

So, what’s sketching? So far, I drew random images that remind me of myths: red apples, flowering trees, a white stag, mistletoe and a harp. Green will feature. I think I’m a celt at heart.(smile)

Bev

The new theme: Myths and Legends

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Bear Gate, Rome

It seems I’m still thinking of ways that I could stitch the last theme, and the next one is upon me.

This month’s theme is Myths and Legends.

It’s such a rich area that I am almost paralysed by a wealth of possibilities.

There are legends, tales and epics: King Arthur, Robin Hood, the Fisher King and Beowulf. The great myths of religion. Symbols and signs: the crafty fox, the regal lion, the mighty bear. Fairy tales and children’s stories, and tales told to teach, to moralise and to express a rough justice.

Stories to explain the stars, to bring back the sun, to heal and help, protect and give power, and promote a rich harvest.

How will I choose from a whirl of ghost ships and fairy godmothers, witches, wild men, talking foxes and dancing shoes?

For the moment, I am reading. King Arthur, kids’ literature, and Touch Magic - three books with rich tales to tell, and somehow an image will emerge that I will start to stitch.

Bev