Thursday 31 December 2009

Tunisian Berber Textiles

Back from 12 days touring around Tunisia with Explore. Lots of Roman remains (and spectacular mosaics) contrasted with mosques, desert oases and camels. As anticipated, lots of wonderful doors too (took over a hundred photos!). Meanwhile I'll start with some textiles. Tamazret is small berber village in the South (unlike Morocco , they are in a tiny minority). We visited a small museum with an enthusiastic curator who explained the various traditions . There were local textiles displayed including this traditional scarf (bakhnough). It looked knitted rather than woven (now I'm wondering whether it is Tunisian crochet?). In trying to ask about it in French , I asked 'combien' and found it was for sale ,bought it and had it tied around my head in traditional manner
Several people were rather envious as they hadn't realised anything other than some handmade necklaces were for sale.
There was a recreation of a traditional marriage room (complete with bride) . In Tozeur, Ian and I were dressed up in marriage clothes in the small museum there - I'm still debating whether you really want to see that!
I wish this gorgeous dyed cloth had been for sale...

Friday 25 December 2009

Xmas Greetings from Tunisia

Here we are in Tozeur, desert oasis, on Christmas Day -in internet cafe struggling with French keyboard.Having a great time,if a bit sore from our camel ride.Ian got his revenge by eating one in kebab form.I have developed a taste for dates.Sketched this morning in the folk museum.
Catch up on our return

Thursday 10 December 2009

Doors or Vistas?

So which combination of this years Journal quilts do you prefer as a 'foursome' for display next year? Vistas or Doors?
I'm torn - the 'doors' are more interesting individually but there's some intriguing
dynamics going on in the combination of sea, water and landscapes and it works better as one piece.

SouthBank Xmas Activities

Having missed ( due to swine flu' ) hearing Haydn's 'The creation' when it was performed at the Proms , for our Xmas music treat we went to see the Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment perform it at the Royal Festival Hall. What a sound! - really appreciated the individual instruments and the swelling crescendos of the choir compared to hearing it on CD. A packed hall too (including David Dimbleby - it must be so hard to go out of an evenings entertainment when you're recognised and followed by lots of whispers )

Beforehand we'd gone to Somerset House to see the exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery on London Building Sites 1952-62 by Frank Auerbach. An interesting combination of powerful impasto oil paintings with the preliminary sketches and also photos. The video podcast of those based on the Shell Building Site gives a good overview. My motivation for going was based on my interest in the building sites around here- particularly the cranes but here was a rather different view: " not drawn to the spectacle of modern buildings reaching the sky but to the primal qualities of the earth displaced in their wake"

On our way back across Waterloo Bridge towards the SouthBank (and an early dinner at The Canteen) I had more choice of subjects for practising 'digital fireworks' ( moving my camera when capturing image in nightscene mode)

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Patched Door - December Journal Quilt

My December piece for British Quilt List Challenge is a different shape as I've made it up as my Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilt( 6 x 12"), saving having to do 2 in a busy month!
The technique was mosaic - applying scissor cut pieces of fabric to a sandwich of fabric, wadding and backing: stitching and quilting all in one - I like that!

I really enjoyed cutting up scraps and applying them to a photo of a Greek door printed on fabric - and it was so quick! The raggy edges of the scraps lend themselves to the textures of rough stone and wood.
As a non traditional quilter, taking part in the BQL challenge greatly added to my repertoire of skills even if sometimes the projects weren't really my thing ( thinking of these handbags for instance) But that's the idea of challenge isn't it, to do something you wouldn't normally tackle?

Now I've reviewing which group of 4 CQ JQ's I shall put together for display - doors or landscapes? I'll post some combinations and you can choose!

Thursday 3 December 2009

Journal Quilt Catch-Up

Finally catching up on CQ Journal quilts! I've actually got quite a few in various stages of completion- the decision was about what to finish off. I decided in the end on those that most linked to what I was up to in the relevant months - like looking at sketchbooks it brings back memories when you look at them again September was Moss Month - both a moss identification course at Flatford Mill and joining the British Bryological Society and participating in their annual conference and field meeting. This was held at Wakehurst Place with special permission to enterTilgate Wood with its' wonderful exposed tree roots and 'lower plant' assemblages on the sandstone rocks.

I wanted to test out some new fabric sheets from Craftycomputerpaper - they worked a treat with high density of colour. I also had some offcuts of mosses printed out on fabric from a much earlier project which I added for a change of scale. I also tried out 2 new threads for the quilting : Madeira 'polyneon' in neon pink and Madeira FS metallic no 20 in Emerald colour.

Octobers JQ was based on enjoying my drawing evening classes, getting to grips again with pencil and ink. On a gessoed section of old Durham Quilt , I drew some honesty seed pods directly in ink and Inktense pencils.
In November, visits to Kew revealed the wonderful textured doors of Queen Charlotte's Cottage in the Conservation Area ( best visited at bluebell time but the autumn leaves were pretty good).
On a sheet of fabric treated with 'Golden Digital Ground' I printed a photo of the old oak door(un manipulated in Photoshop) then stitched it with Madeira FS Metallic no 20 in gold/bronze. It really shimmers! Just goes to show that crumbly door subject matter can be found nearer to home than Greece!
I'm still deciding what to do for Decembers JQ - probably a door again so I can hang 4 pieces together for exhibition. I'm sure I'll find lots of inspiration in Tunisia over Xmas but as we don't get back until 29th that might be cutting it rather fine - just have to anticipate.

After a days interviewing for next years sandwich student I was too late ( and too tired) for my evening class so went instead to preview of 'Craft in Focus' in Richmond. There were so many things I coveted but settled on another sculptural scarf from Tammy Childs - this time in red (Christmassy treat!) . So nice to talk to maker in person - she doesn't have an industrial overlocker/sewing machine but her machine mechanic probably wished she did!