Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eco Dyeing with Nat

As part of Botanique I participated in a two day ecodying workshop run by artist Natalie Billing. This has been on my bucket list for ages but other opportunities were never quite right. Nat is a great teacher and does lovely work in this medium. Take a look at her web and Facebook pages.

We ecodyed with red cabbage and eucalypt leaves as the two brews and used leaves, flowers and fruit of various species (more eucalypt, grevillea, paperbark) as "stencils". Red and brown onion leaves and red carrot provided additional colour.  We used watercolour paper and some gorgeous natural fabric - raw silk, fine wool jersey and silk georgette, secured the bundles tightly and into the pot they went.

And out came the paper

And then the fabric
 Raw silk with purple carrot
 Raw silk from a eucalypt brew

Wool jersey from two different bundles in a eucalypt brew.
I love the idea that I am using natural plant matter to get these beautiful colours and impressions.
Two important lessons from the workshop.
1. Take notes as you work - you may think you'll remember later... you won't (and I don't)
2. Open minds for opening bundles. Don't open your bundle with any preconceptions. You will invariably be disappointed with a beautiful piece - simply because it didn't do what you expected it to. 
I've now ordered the ecodyeing "bible" - Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Iced VoVo

No not the coconut sprinkled jam biscuit which brings back memories of childhood (I wonder if you can still buy it) but a lovely blog written by Tasmanian Joanne. She recently featured PalumaPrint - an interview accompanied by some selected photos of my works.  See her writings here

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Weeping Bottlebrush

I have been inspired by the weeping bottlebrush growing outside my kitchen window. The little brown honeyeater loved the flowers and I had the perfect spot to spy on them - and the blue faced honeyeaters as well, which were completely unaware of my presence.
The buds have long gone and flowers are finished and I am watching the seed pods mature. I have reflected all three phases in my latest screen print design. Not much planning went into this one. I sketched - it looked right. Then I completed the drawing, cut the stencil, did a trial print (yesterday)and then a series today - just love the result. Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Time for the Botanique Christmas Bazaar

Lovely works are sure to be available at this bazaar, held only twice a year at the Brisbane Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens. This time the event is coupled with a selection of workshops.
I am going to be selling a few new items at the Bazaar this time.
100% Cotton hankies - these are quite a challenge to print because the cotton is very fine but I think I have worked it out - at least the "error rate" is diminishing!

I redid the native violet stencil and am much happier with it, now so plan to use for tea towels and placemats next year.
There will also be a couple of full length aprons like this one

And the sweet loop bag


Monday, October 28, 2013

Hot Off the Sewing Table

I love designing and trying out new sewing patterns and here are some of my latest efforts - the Japanese loop bag - from prototype to final product

And this one is my favourite

And the "designer" apron - black linen for the bib front and screen printed unbleached linen for the rest. Might keep one for myself. Too good for cooking!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Coffee Cosy Chaos

A friend of mine has just ordered 20! She has decided that was an easy solution to her Christmas present buying for this year.
A few more to be made yet.

And prototype no. 2 - the Japanese Loop Bag. I've just had another go at this one. This time I have finally figured out how to do the straps so that it is fully reversible. Very cute.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Paired Printings

2012 Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens Artist in Residence Tricia Smout and I have just heard our collaborative work Paired Printings is a finalist in the 2013 Moreton Bay Region Art Awards. Here is our entry and Tricia's description.
Tricia SMOUT, Helen KING
Paired Printings

Date: 2012
Medium: Inks and embroidery on fabric
Dimensions: 420 x 420 x 30 mm

Artist Statement
Two of Australia's most beautiful flowers, the wattle and the grevillea, inspired these hangings. Helen screen-printed her designs in two overlapping colours, over which Tricia lettered and embroidered the descriptive words ... A pair of people and two forms of printing two different flowers, each printed in two colours, then the overlying lettering done twice (ink embellished with gold embroidery). Paired printing indeed!

One of these works has already received a Commended in the recent Royal Queensland Show (or The Ekka).

Tricia (not me) is the organiser of all of these activities. Have a look at her blog to see the huge and productive year she had as Artist in Residence.

And here is a link to all Art Award finalists

Friday, September 20, 2013

From One End of the Bay to the Other

Long time between posts but I've moved house - still by the shores of Moreton Bay, but the southern end this time. So I've been getting to know the local flora and wildlife in my new surroundings. One spectacular tree which I've not come across very often is the tree waratah or red silky oak (Alloxylon flammeum previously Oreocallis wickhamii). This is a rainforest native and here it is growing and in flower in my backyard.

Also close by is the beautiful red bottlebrush Melaleuca viminalis. I've never had one so close before and the flowers attract the brown honeyeater, rainbow lorikeet, blue faced honeyeater and little friar bird - that's my tally so far. You can see a little brown honeyeater in the photo - right at the top.

The birdlife here is a bit different - no bullies such as Little Wattle birds (no banksias) and very few Noisy Miners, so lots more of the smaller birds. Even some sort of thrush plus a pair of kookaburras nesting in an old tree.

These two were watching this big carpet snake!

And isn't this spectacular - not a native - some sort of ornamental passionfruit. The blue faced honeyeaters love it!

Red is the "in" colour of the plant world here.

I've decided my next print will be a bottlebrush - stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Flowering in the Garden

Not yet spring but there are lots of beautiful natives already flowering in the garden

A range of Grevilleas

The Bower of Beauty - spectacular in white

The Purple Hovea

The Coastal Banksia

And the Brisbane Wattle is just about finished. Waiting for the galahs to come and feast on the seeds.

Lots of inspiration!

Friday, July 19, 2013

More on the Banksia Print

This print sold out at the Botanique Art Bazaar so I have been inspired to print up some stock for my online MadeIt and Etsy stores (and also some base cloth to make some shoulder bags and purses - I think it will work well for these). So here is a sneak review - classic white on oatmeal linen.

The placemats

The table runner - two versions

And the tea towel

I used Photoshop Elements to mock up the design first. Goodness knows how I did it - but now I have "the book" to help!

I have started a Pinterest board on botanically inspired  art here. Take a look at other interpretations of the banksia I have discovered.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Brilliant Winter's Day

Too nice to be inside

So after whipping half a dozen little coffee cosies for the Samford shop

I went for a long beach walk, stopping for a delicious chocolate icecream on the way. It's now 5.30pm and I am still wearing a tee shirt - winter in south-east Queensland!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Coastal Banksia

I love love love this tree - Banksia integrifolia - the Coastal Banksia. This specimen was photographed at Cowan Cowan on Moreton Island earlier this year, but I also have a little one outside my house which the council planted as a street tree. It even has its first flowers this year.

I did a stencil screen print a few years ago but was never very happy with the result so its been floating around in my head to do another - just took a bit of time to get around to it. However a couple of rainy days this week provided the opportunity to do the stencil cutting, and here is the result (with a bit of artistic licence).

First as a linen tea towel (unbleached linen)

 I first tried two identical placement prints but I prefer the one above I think

Then as a set of placemats on oatmeal linen - so the print is much more subtle (though hard to tell from this photograph).

I'll have a couple of items at the Botanique Art Bazaar next week- see how they go, but I love this print.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Botanique Art Bazaar

The Botanique Art Bazaar is on again at the Richard Randall Studio, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens - from July 9 - July 14 (10 - 5, 10-3 on the last day).

The Bazaar features botanically inspired art and craft including ceramics, woodwork, textiles, jewellery and mixed media by local artisans. See more here at the Botanic Gardens website.
I'll be there with a new print - the Coastal Banksia (Banksia integrifolia). More on that soon.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

More on Two Colours

I wanted to try another design using two colours and the registration process - more artwork for my walls. So here is my next result. The Wheel of Fire of course. The 20cm embroidery hoops are perfect for framing.

This is it in real life (courtesy of Black Diamond Images).

And both now on my wall.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Two Colour Screen Print

I haven't done a multi colour print for such a long time - since my tee shirt printing days in fact. So I had to remember the registration process again. Anyway it worked fine and being a small print was a good way to make moves into this area again.

There are two stencils - one for the leaves and one for the flowers - leaves first and then the flowers of the gorgeous bower of beauty Pandorea jasminoides. Can't see any flowering around here at the moment but this is an earlier photo from my blog.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back to Bag Making

I haven't made any bags for a while and so I am now very low on stock (in fact I have nothing to replenish my recent sales with). I sell all my bags in my retail outlets - not online. Especially the Samford Slab Hut. I find that people like to see, touch and try more expensive items and that's difficult to do online, so mine don't get sold that way - understandably, I'd be the same.

So it's been a bit of a bag blitz over the last week at the PalumaPrint studio, and here are some of the results. I do love the way the satchels have turned out this time. I always find it best to make more than one at a time. It's amazing how one forgets the process after a bit of a time gap.

I've been mucking around with some smaller items for the online shops - little pouches this time.

Great for keeping bits and pieces (lippy, medications, tissues etc) together in a larger handbag, and easier to transfer these essential items from one handbag to another.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Keeping Coffee Hot

It's been raining here for the last few days but as it stopped this morning I thought I would take my morning coffee to the beach - all tucked up in its new coffee cosy. I've been playing around with this pattern for ages and lots of versions have ended in the bin, but I think I have it finally right. The outer fabric is linen (of course) and the inner is denim and it is insulated with two layers of a material called Insul Bright which is heat resistant - so it keeps my coffee hotter longer and well as protecting my hands. And it really works!

And I was rewarded with this view and a turtle popping up for a breath of air.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Another Use for Embroidery Hoops

I've often thought of how I might display my screen prints as wall hangings. Tried the usual way - suspending from dowel rods like this

but from time to time I kept thinking of using embroidery frames or hoops. I recently bought a lovely piece titled The Lorikeet from Studio Bonnie displayed this way - and now hanging on my wall. Such lovely fine detail.

and I thought - I can do that - so I did and here is my first attempt.

There are lots of tutorials on the web which give basic instructions but it's very straightforward. I finished off the edges using the shell tuck stitch on my sewing machine (I don't have an overlocker) and then glued the finished edges to the inside of the frame - all neat and sweet.