Thursday, December 5, 2019

Here and (T)Here: ATA’s 2019 Postcard Exchange

Vicki Aspenberg "The Seasons March On'  7" X 5" tapestry postcard.

Tapestry weaving is what I would describe as a 'solitary process' distractions are unwelcome and often of great annoyance to the weaver. Well to this one they are. Building an image from the bottom to the top requires concentration, tenacity, often mixed with feelings of frustration and self doubt.

The American Tapestry Alliance organized a postcard exchange during this year based around the theme ' Here and (T)Here' A random draw of participants was held and each were notified as to who their partner in the exchange was to be.
The exchange began with emails between partners, often getting to know a complete stranger and the parts of their lives that they chose to share.

It has been very interesting, getting to know someone who lives on the other side of the world and exchange life stories and a part of our year with each other. It has been wonderful to talk about our backgrounds in tapestry weaving and the sometimes frustrating elements of the medium that we all seem to share. Vicki and I posted our tapestries on the same day and surprisingly we both received them the same day.
It has been a joy, and if you ever get the opportunity to participate in an exchange you will find it a rewarding experience. 

The exhibition of the postcard tapestries has been uploaded today and you can view them all here.

Monday, June 3, 2019


Have you ever had a favorite piece of knitwear, one that makes you feel warm and cozy and never want to take off?
I bought this jumper at my local St Vinnies charity shop for $2.00. I was surprised at the time that someone would pass on such a new jumper knitted in the most beautiful soft wool.
I had worn it so often that I became concerned that if I wore it out, I would not have another one to replace it.
For years I searched my local charity shops for knitting patterns, hoping that I could find the pattern that this jumper was knitted from.
Three years ago while looking through a large donations of new pattern books, there is was!
Better Homes and and Gardens free knitting supplement April 1994
The jumper is called 'Yellow Cables' and to my surprise it is a jumper for a child. I counted the stitches on the band and made a sample of the cable. Yes it is my jumper.
I decided that each year I would knit a new jumper from the pattern. This one is knitted in Patons Totem, colour Raspberry.
This one was finished just in time to wear at Easter last year. Knitted in Bendigo Woolen Mills Dark Plum.
May last year I had my son's German Shepherd on a lead, but the lead wrapped around my hand and ring finger. The dog bolted as she heard strangers in her house, needless to say I came off second best. Broken bones and failed plastic surgery left me wearing a splint for three months. I could not drive my car, or even eat with a knife and fork. Knitting was out of the question. Even without the splint I had no ability to grip anything.
Life has improved and I was to have my hand re broken in June, but I have cancelled the surgery.
I have no wish to re live last Winter.
After six months of intense physio, I discovered that I could knit if I used a circular knitting needle, as you don't have to grip all the knitting.
I worked on this jumper over the terrible heat wave that we had this summer past.With great enthusiasm after competing miles of knitting I somehow began sewing the sleeve to the jumper right side to wrong side. Unpicking back stitch can be challenging and instead of cutting the sewing, I managed to cut a hole in my knitting. In the front of course! I searched YouTube for a solution and found this tutorial that is the best I have found for repairing holes in knitting.     
The repair is difficult to find even if you know it is there, So I am happy to have this one to wear this winter. Knitted in Bendigo Woolen Mills Cherry Red.

As for my original cream jumper, it is showing signs of wear and tear. Long jumpers often wear out on the bottom band from the abrasion of sitting on them. Last year I could not wear any of my new jumpers as the splint on my hand has several bands of Velcro fastenings that caught on everything. I do confess that I did wear my cream jumper which has now been mended and washed ready for anther winter. Next year will be the year to knit a new cream one to replace it.

Whoever the knitter of the original jumper is, or the person who donated the pattern, I will never know. But I am grateful that they chose to recycle at the charity shops, rather than sending unwanted goods to landfill.

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Mirka Mora PAS DE DEUX—DRAWINGS AND DOLLS is an exhibition currently on display at Heide Museum of Modern Art. Originally the exhibition was to celebrate Melbourne artist Mirka Mora’s ninetieth birthday. Sadly Mirka passed away on 27th August 2018, two months prior to the exhibition opening. Mirka has been one of Melbourne’s best loved artists. Mirka immigrated to Australia from France with her husband Georges in the early 1950. The couple had several successful restaurants. Tolarno, famous for the murals painted by Mirka that cover almost every inch of the walls. There are many public works around Melbourne including a large mosaic at Flinders Street Station. Looking through the many photos I took I have decided to divide them into groups.
Sketch books. Like other artists I treasure the opportunity to look through artists sketch books. There were many on display, sadly in glass cabinets so photographing them was difficult. I won't talk about each of the works, I feel that the images are just to be enjoyed.

In 1970 Mirka began making soft sculpture dolls. At the time her son’s were living apart from her, after her separation from her husband Georges. I feel she felt that they were substitute children in a way. They range in size  from tiny to quite large. 
Mirka first began drawing seriously in the mid 1950’s encouraged by other artist friends. Drawings over her long life Mirka filled hundreds of sketch books. Although the artist also drew many colourfull works it is the charcoal drawings that I love the most.

It was not until I looked a this work on my computer screen that I noticed a self portrait in the top left hand corner. If you would like to learn more about the artist there is a wonderful old article here.
Mirka Mora PAS DE DEUX—DRAWINGS AND DOLLS exhibition continues until 24th March 2019.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Ararat Gallery TAMA, Celebrating 50 Years

Vivienne Pengilley, Ducati Trip, 1977

Ararat Gallery TAMA are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. 
Everyone is invited to join the celebrations at the newly refurbished Gallery on Saturday 10th November from 2 till 4pm.

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