Sunday, April 13, 2014


Arts Trail Poster
If you are in the Grampians Region over the Easter Weekend. The Grampians Arts Trail members have a special event planned, with open studios across the region. Twenty artists will be holding exhibitions and open studios, most artists will be demonstrating their particular skills. Brochures are available in local tourist venues. Or find out more about the planned events and keep updated with current exhibition and workshops by visiting the Grampians Arts Trail Facebook Page.
Keep an eye out for the Cockies!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Is there anything that breeds quicker than folders of digital photos?
I am having a quiet time this week, so I decided that now is the time to deal with all of my digital photos.
I used to be good at keeping them in order........that was when I only had one computer! Now I am using two different computers, both with back up systems just in case my computer decides to die on me. But they both have different files on them! When I used old fashioned film, I think I took a lot more care in what photos I took. Making certain that I was happy with the composition, especially if I only had a few photos left to use up in the camera. Point and shoot takes on a different attitude, regardless if I want to admit that of not. Photos seem to breed like flies! Maybe it is just me, but time has come to deal with it!    
Humm...this could take a while!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Golden Temple, Amritsar
A few years ago I found myself in a hostel for the aged, having a conversation with my only surviving Aunt who with her husband had just had to make the difficult transition from their home of over 30 years into supported care. Aunty Rae is quite an amazing woman, she sees life as a series of rooms that you just walk at some point from one, into the next. She think that worrying about things is simply a waste of time, because often you have no control over the situation. Better to just accept and save yourself from the stress. That being said, if she make it she will turn 103 on the first of September this year!
Golden Temple, Amritsar
I watched both of them let go of a lifetime of personal possessions. But the conversation that I had with Aunty Rae on that day was about a life time of personal photos. She explained to me that they had not been planing on taking their photos with them, but on the spur of the moment decided that they would. The night before I visited them they had sat down together and looked through them all and reminisced about all of the adventures that they had taken together over their 69 years of married life together.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
After selling their farm and moving into town they bought a small caravan and every year they headed off somewhere in Australia for around 4 months during our southern winter. They had certainly seen a lot of this country, But once they reached their 80's they could no longer travel. Aunty Rae's words that resonated with me were 'You have to have good memories because they keep you going when you are no longer able to do many things'
Golden Temple, Amritsar
It wasn't that I saw myself in their situation, but it made me think of experiences in my own life that I would like to be reminded of at times. I decided to begin a series of tapestry postcards titled 'Memory of Place' to record moments in time that have moved me in some way. So far I have woven three and have plans for many more.
Memory of Place
Four years ago while I was traveling in North India, I visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in the Punjab and close to the border with Pakistan. It is the holiest place in the Sikh religion. It is a huge complex and it was a very busy day when I was there. Although the crowds were large it is a very peaceful place. There are rooms where pilgrims can stay and the Lungar on a quiet day serves around 40 thousand free meals. All ingredients are donated and volunteers prepare the food as part of their Seva, or selfless service to God as it is referred to. Pilgrims bathe in the waters of the moat and the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple as it is more commonly referred to reflects in broken glory in the waters. This is my tapestry to remind me of my time there. It is currently in America as my entry in the American Tapestry Alliance Untitled/ unjuried exhibition.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Magic of Colour - Gerda van Hamond Exhibition Review

The Magic of Colour - Gerda van Hamond
Hawthorn Studio & Gallery
635 Burwood Rd Hawthorn East
Victoria, 3123
October 10 through November 2, 2013 
The Hawthorn Studio & Gallery is a beautiful, light-filled gallery space situated in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn East. The gallery has a strong focus on supporting a variety of artwork and styles, particularly supporting mid career and emerging artists from across Australia. The Magic of Colour is a solo exhibition of 16 of van Hamond's recent tapestries.
Gerda van Hamond studied tapestry at South West Institute of TAFE and then went on to graduate in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (painting) from Deakin University, Warrnambool, Victoria. After developing an allergy to turpentine, van Hamond now uses oil sticks as her preferred medium for tapestry design. The ability to push, blend, and translate an image using this method is seen in each of the resulting tapestries. Her ability to translate colours from her drawings to colour blending on the bobbin is second to none. 
In her artist’s statement van Hamond writes, “There is magic in creating art. It challenges, questions, struggles, and transforms. Why do I spend hour after solitary hour in the studio? The answer is the magic.” And magical they are, you feel instantly transported into the artist’s world. Though abstract in design, the viewer feels an invitation to seek their own translation to van Hamond’s images. 
The exhibition is a mixture of small and large tapestries, explorations of five different themes, grouped into series: Mind Gardens, Memories Grow, Cloud Day, Walk Talk, and Journey of the Thorn. Ten small tapestries, each measuring 30 cm x 30 cm, are mounted and framed behind glass. Although woven on a 12/18 warp, van Hamond achieves remarkable detail. 
The Mind Gardens series is comprised of three tapestries, including “Mind Gardens 3,” 30 cm x 30 cm.  This tapestry is a particular example of van Hamond's mastery at blending colours. Soumak, or flying shuttle technique, are used to outline shapes with the addition of half hitches with the knot brought around to the front of the tapestry for small details in the design. All culminate in a richness and fine detail in these small tapestries. 
'Mind Gardens 1' 129 cm x 127cm
A stunning large tapestry.
'Mind Gardens 1' detail Alive with van Hamonds signature details and colour blending.
'Mind Gardens 1' detail.

The Memories Grow series also includes three tapestries, one of which is “Memories Grow 3,” 30 cm x 30 cm. In this tapestry, van Hamond experiments with blending complementary colours, red and green in this case. The resulting play of colour is a vivid grouping of floating shapes, rich in colour, and made especially compelling by van Hamond’s signature colour blending. 
'Memories Grow 1' 135 cm x 135 cm
A large tapestry, alive with the combination of warm and cool colours.  
'Memories Grow 1' detail.
Another example of the use of half hitches to gain fine surface details.
'Memories Grow 1' detail.

A larger work, depicting the artist’s fascination with clouds and red roof tops, as seen out of her windows each day, inspired three works in the Cloud Day series. “Cloud Day 1” 120 cm x 130 cm, sends the viewer’s gaze to the upper edge of the tapestry, to articulate representations of floating clouds. Intricate colour blending creates a beautiful reminiscence of van Hamond’s daily interchange with clouds 

 “Cloud Day 1”  detail.

 “Cloud Day 1”  detail. Beautiful seamless clouds show van Hamonds mastery of subtle colour blending.

“Walk Talk 1” 128 cm x 132 cm.    
Similarly, the Walk Talk series is inspired by van Hamond’s daily, early morning walks, during which she
gathers views around the inner city of Melbourne to weave into her tapestries. The Walk Talk series also reflect a particular focus on the seasonal changes in the cityscape, and surrounding landscape. 
 'Walk Talk 1' detail
'Streetwise' 129 cm x 191 cm was displayed free hanging in the front window of the gallery. Allowing visitors a rare view of both the front and the back of the tapestry. Inspired by the artist early morning walks around inner city Melbourne. This tapestry is a response to the peeling paint and the torn paper found on old bill boards.

'Streetwise' detail with  striking blended colours.                                                  

Journey of the Thorn 1 131cm x 139cm
Her Journey of the Thorn series is a highly personal set of three tapestries, drawn from memories of the artist’s late father who had a passion for growing roses. Bands of thorns fall in jagged, red, torn, wound shapes down through the tapestry. The viewer is invited to ponder family memories, both positive and not.

Glorious details.

With delightful colour surprises of colour when one gazes around this beautiful tapestry.

A loom on display in the gallery gives visitors insight into the process of weaving a tapestry.

It takes tenacity to weave tapestries, with long solitary hours spent at the loom. Gerda van Hamond’s large tapestries are very detailed, taking between 500 to 600 hours each to weave. To hold a solo exhibition is a monumental achievement and it was wonderful to see so many of the artist tapestries displayed in such a friendly and inviting gallery space. The number of red dots representing sales in the exhibition of this scale, is a testament to the quality and appeal of the artists work. Each of the tapestries from this exhibition can be viewed on the gallery website here.  

 A less extensive review of this exhibition was published in 'Tapestry Topics' Vol 40 No 1 and is reprinted here with permission from the American Tapestry Alliance and Gerda van Hamond. All images are copyright to Gerda van Hamond, please respect her copyright.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Seven years ago today I uploaded my first ever blog post. I suppose it is happy birthday to me! But wow where has that time gone? For someone as talkative as me I have only published 198 posts in seven years. Seems I am not that talkative after all! Blogging for me was a means to an end, publishing my assignments to Tafe. I would never had considered writing a blog otherwise. At the time I could only find two other tapestry bloggers. How things have changed, there are now so many it is difficult to keep up with reading them all.
I have always been a single mother and Coen would have just turned ten when I started writing this blog. I began with the policy that there would be no photos of either of us, as I wanted to protect our privacy. Considering that Coen is now seventeen and a financially independent young man, I suppose that rule no longer applies. There are many people who read this blog and maybe know a bit about me, but if I am at an exhibition opening or other tapestry event they have no idea who I am as there has never been any photos. So I suppose today is a good day to come out of the closet. This is a photo from 2010 of Coen and I at my graduate exhibition at the Warrnambool Regional Art Gallery. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


12. Debbie Herd
'For the Love of Colour' an exhibition of tapestries and paintings by Debbie Herd will be held at 
'The Gap Vineyard' 4133 Ararat – Halls Gap Road, Halls Gap.
Friday 21st Feb to Monday 21st April.
The exhibition will be part of the Grampians Arts Trail and if the weather is good over the Easter Weekend you may find me weaving outside on the veranda.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I am certain that we all have books in our personal library that over the years become our most valuable resource for inspiration. One of mine is The Art of Zandra Rhodes first published in 1984 and now 30 years later I still find it an inspiration each time I take it off the shelf. Lavishly illustrated with sketches, photos and text about how the artist arrives at her final design prints. In this video Zandra talks about the importance of keeping a sketch book. After a search on the net this morning I found that Zandra has a second website. The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection full of so much of Zandra's work so generously shared. It will take a long time to go through but if you need a boost...take a look!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Last week saw temperatures in the high 40's here, summer is not my favorite time of the year. Once again lightning started fires in the Grampians National Park. The fire was estimated at 11 thousand hectares on Friday morning only to increase to 54 thousand hectares in about 28 hours. Although the fire was a long way from me the smoke plume was so intense that it created it's own weather and you could hear and see the thunder and lightning. An unpredicted wind change saved my immediate area of the Grampians, only to force the fire on to others. With the memory of the terrifying fires that we experienced in 2006 most people headed the warnings to evacuate and come into Stawell. Not knowing if you have a home to go back to is unnerving to say the least.

A second fire started at Bunjils Caves, much closer to me and an area that has may houses scattered across the Black Ranges. I am uncertain if this rock art site survived the fire, only time will tell.

I could post photos of the smoke and the fire, as Friday night it looked like the entire northern end of the Grampians was ablaze. But one person lost their life, many lost property, their homes and their livelihoods. Sadly many animals did not escape the blaze. This is the first time that I have seen the Metropolitan Fire Brigade send 5 units to help the CFA. The CFA or Country Fire Authority fire crews are all volunteers who give up their time and risk their lives to fight these fires. Coen's grandmother was a CFA radio operator for 38 years up until her sudden death. Win was only the second woman to be given the fire service medal in the Queens Birthday Honors. With the fire radio at the house I know only too well how much of her time that she gave to this volunteer position. An operation as large as fighting these fires takes hundreds of volunteers, and we are thankful to each and every one of them.
A satellite photo showing the devastated area of the Grampians National Park is here.
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