Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Special Homewares

I collect examples of other screen printers' homewares - usually tea towels and usually Australian. But these are a little bit different and special. When I was visiting Cambodia recently I purchased this stunning set of screen printed silk place mats, and heard the interesting story behind their production.

The silk yarn is dyed and hand woven using traditional Khmer techniques in a small workshop (Orange River- named after the Mekong River at sunset) outside of Phnom Penh, then screen printed and sewn into various products. The enterprise which supports fair trade is typical of many burgeoning "silk farms" now being established throughout the country - both to resurrect and nurture the traditional weaving culture of Cambodia (essentially destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime) and provide an important source of income for the artisans. At this stage insufficient silk thread is being produced in Cambodia and much still has to be imported from China and Vietnam.

This bread basket from Mekong Quilts is another example of the effort (from NGOs/non profit organisations) being directed to support the artisans in the rural villages in Cambodia. Money generated from sales provides books and scholarships for school children, and other community development programs in some of the poorest areas of Cambodia.

It's great to be able to support these causes by purchase of such lovely pieces of work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In the Garden - This Week

This little native violet (Miss Viola Hederacea to you) has enjoyed the rainy weather this summer and seems intent on taking over the garden - and that's fine by me!.

The flowers are a lovely lilac with a touch of white and nod happily in the breeze.

The shape of the flower is perfect for a stencil print and is one of my favourite "happy" prints - it looks like it's always smiling to me.

Especially when it is wrapped around a nice bottle of wine.

But I should have included a leaf or two as well in the design - they are such a lovely rounded ivy shape.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Slab Hut Art and Craft at Samford

The Slab Hut is certainly worth a visit if you are planning a trip to the picturesque Samford Valley in Brisbane. It is a unique art and craft venue which is operated by the Samford Art and Craft Association, an artists co-operative with about 60 members who all practice a diverse range of arts and crafts. Lots of delightful items for children, soaps, jewelry, textile items - felt, silk and screenprinted (including PalumaPrint), photography and paintings, pottery and glass ware - and more. It's the perfect place to pick up a gift or take overseas visitors for quality souvenirs. Not many places in Brisbane like this!
(photo by Nikki Burke)
The building is situated in the John Scott Park in Samford and there is signage but it is easy to miss as it does not look at all like an ordinary shop! It was built in 2000 by the local Council following traditional plans and using local timbers and recycled corrugated iron.  While you are in Samford have lunch at the Flying Nun Cafe and take time to browse in the delightful Urban Dweller which stocks items by another Brisbane screenprinter Thea and Sami.