Friday, December 17, 2010

They're Back!

The yellow tailed black cockatoos are back - a bit later than last year and not as many. And they have already moved on leaving lots of half eaten banksia cones lying on the ground under the trees where they are feeding. What a treat to see these magnificant birds lumbering through the suburbs like low flying black jumbo jets. They announce their presence in the trees with a gentle call as they feed contentedly, quite unlike the raucous white cockatoos. It's been a week for wildlife. This morning there was a dolphin very close to shore and not far from the Woody Point jetty (of course no camera with me) and back home I see the resident blue tongue skink quite regularly now - this morning I caught it chomping on a toadstool that had popped up in the mulch. Oh - and last night there was a tawny frogmouth on the clothes line booming away. Too bad the carpet snake had to be evicted and relocated to the Boondall Wetlands. But probably safer for it there.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time for Tea

I've just been email interviewed by the lovely lady responsible for the amazing Tea and Travel website - Deb Huff. If you are a tea afficionado then this is the website for you. I was just blown away by the fabulous photography and range of tea topics which she covers, including tea related travel and tourism, teaware design as well as tea (of all types) and tea farming, and production - and from all over the world.  The latest post is about the oolong tea plantation in the Waikato area of New Zealand - called Zealong - well what else would you call it.

Me, I'm just a traditional "black tea with milk" tea drinker but maybe I should be a bit more adventureous. Here's the link to my interview. There are also posts about ceramic artists who also specialise in teaware on Deb's website.

And speaking of tea, I've just printed up some tee shirts for some little Tasmanians who will be visiting soon. So cute...

And before I sign off on tea, I have some swanky new tea towel linen blanks to play with - in oatmeal and flax. Lovely finish.

I'm drowning in tea towels right now. I'll need to find some new outlets next year - PalumaPrint might be expanding :-).

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Tea Towels

I've just finished another print run using one of my favourite stencils - the Wheel of Fire. This time I printed in turquoise on cream, oatmeal and flax linens. Nice!

For some reason I got ink all over me this run. Not usually that messy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrating Tea Towels

I love tea towels - they are just so pretty - and so versatile!

You can wrap them around wine bottles

Make a stylish bread basket

Or line a fruit bowl

I have made a cafe apron from one

And even a shoulder bag

I want to try cushions - like this one made from a tea towel from quince

I'm sure they could be made into wall hangings, tray cloths and even hats. The possibilities are endless. Who cares about using them to wipe boring dishes.

Go tea towels! 

( I will be putting some new ones in my MadeIt and Etsy shops very soon)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wash Up

It's been a wild and wet weekend on Stradbroke Is.

Main Beach at Point Lookout is littered with open water creatures washed in by strong north westerlies - and all blues and purples. What a treat!
 Sea Lizard (Glaucus) - it's just stunning

 Bluebottle or Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia)

By-the-wind Sailor (Velella) - literally thousands of these washed up

Sea snail which floats on open ocean using a bubble raft (Janthina)

Even the crabs are blue

What a feast for the Sooty Oystercatchers

Lots of whales, turtles and dolphins enjoying the weather - and no plastic washed up!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Shoulderbags

While I was printing fabric for my cafe aprons I did enough for a couple of shoulder bags as well. This time I have covered the print with clear PVC to protect and give a modern finish. These will be OOAK I think. One I have just posted in my MadeIt shop, the other is now in the Samford Slab Hut. See how they go..

Friday, September 17, 2010

What's In Flower

I went to the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens to see what's flowering in spring - both for inspiration and to practice the macro feature of the camera on a nice dull day. Hordes of fruit bats and white ibis have moved in and so, sadly, a lot of the Gardens have been fenced off, but I could get to the back part by ducking down a narrow path between the bat trees - I'll take a hat next time.

Some of these are already in my native garden
Pointed leaf Hovea
Wild May
Everlasting daisy
This one doesn't have a common name
Flax Lily
If I ever grow a big enough tree I'd like this orchid

And I definitely want this one - a rainforest tree called Snow Wood and in the same family as wattles.
I've been playing around with sketching the Everlasting Daisy - it's got potential for a print - I just have to work out a nice layout for the design repeat.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Down on the Rocks Again

There have been some very low tides recently - and some interesting creatures exposed. I think this tiny beast is a Gold-spotted nudibranch.

And this is the deadly stonefish. Great camouflage even though it was completely exposed it was hard to spot. I thought it must be dead at first but I then saw its gills moving. According to Grant (Guide to Fishes) it is capable of surviving at least 24 hours out of water. So glad I had my camera with me!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Early Morning in Spring

I'm surrounded by water on three sides

The pied oyster catchers having breakfast.

I've been playing around with cafe aprons - now I just need a cafe.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Textures, Textiles and Twigs

This was the title of an impressive exhibition recently held at the Pine Rivers Art Gallery which included a collection of lino block prints on fabric by Jim Aitkenhead, Wendy Sonnenburg's containers "more than a basket" and contemporary embroidery by Fran Robinson (her work features on the exhibition invitation below).

I am now the proud owner of one of the lino print pieces "Crowned Mallee 3".  Have since discovered that the crowned mallee (Eucalyptus coronata) is a small mallee species found on heath-lands and coastal hills in the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia.

The artist has been a practitioner and devotee of lino block printing since 1947! In the artist's statement he talks about the floor being his printing table, inking the lino block and then standing on the back of the block after it has been placed on the fabric (he uses very big blocks). Carving a print in lino is addictive but very slow - a very small hand painted lino print on card I did while still in Melbourne.
I'd love to have a go printing on fabric - one day....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moreton Island - for a Bit of R & R

Moreton Is - the jewel of the great sand islands of Moreton Bay and still primarily a wilderness with 98% of the  Island protected as National Park, yet so close to Brisbane. I have been wanting to write a short post about Moreton Island for a while now - so after a recent visit and lots of photos I have no excuse. 

Hard to believe this place is so close to Brisbane and so unspolit but I was horrified at the amount of plastic of all sorts that is watched up by the tide - thongs, bottle tops, bits of bottles etc etc. Makes me sad this thoughtlessness of others. Strong westerlies over a few days threw up some interesting flotsam - heart urchins, starfish, anemones and juvenile sand snails (I think) as well as plastic.

And lots of sea hares

And mangrove fruits - which way's up?

On the ocean side and not too far out, lots of humpback whales at the moment, on their annual migration north

Not much flowering in the bush yet except for a wattle and the beautiful Wedding Bush shrub - also prevalent on Bribie Is. Lots of my favourite Banksia fruit lying around.

Interesting critter basking in the sun just above the high tide mark.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Art than Design

A couple of weeks ago I went to a screen printing workshop held in conjunction with the exhibition "ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions" at the Redcliffe City Art Gallery. The curator of this touring exhibition is Marie-Therese Wisniowski who exhibited a piece in the exhibition and was also the tutor for the workshop. I found it interesting the exhibition's proposition that an art metamorphosis is taking place with some contemporary fabrics now being cast as fine art cloths, and may be the start of a separate art movement. The exhibition consisted of works by Australian, European and North American textile artists. Each piece is  approx 1 metre wide by 3 metres in length and demonstrates a wide variety of techniques - the catalogue describes in great detail. I think my favourite piece is Treescape by Annie Trevillian - an Australian artist - clean and simple effect.  
The workshop explored some of the techniques used by the artists including use of materials to provide positive and negative space, producing ombre/blended effects using the indirect stencil method, creating colour and texture effects using a blank screen i.e. no stencil by overprinting, as well as providing some basic screen printing techniques which I am well versed in. There was also some info on colour basics. We ran out of time to try the cold wax technique so just saw the demo.

Here is my effort - not an art work but a tryout of some of the techniques - ombre effects and using a blank screen and overprinting - love the colours created...

What did I learn?

1. using acetate for the stencil - much prefer Eazy Cut stencil paper
2. using gloves during the process is not for me
3. that the quality of masking tape you buy these days is crap
4. that you don't need to iron to heat set the inks - just leave to cure for a couple of weeks (never heard of that before and don't know if I would ever trust not heat curing but I will test it)
5. Permaset inks are the best
6. there is a product called print paste which is used to make colours more transparent (and this is not the transparent white fabric ink)

In all it was a very well structured workshop and well organised. Marie-Therese is developing a website so once it is up and running I'll do a link.