Thursday, February 27, 2014

Divas? Goddesses? Sages?

This week, I finally put the finishing stitches to these little dolls which have been on my work table for some time. You will see that for most of them I used fabric with a horse motif. These were all meant to be ready  for the beginning of the Chinese New Year  "Year of the Horse"  ...
Here is the basic process I've used for making these  ....
1. Draw a basic shape,
 2. Use it as a template 
 3. Sew around the outside of the template with the right sides of fabric together
 4. Cut from the doubled fabric, leaving a small seam. 
5. Turn right side out ( turning tubes are useful) 
6. Cut a small slit where the polymer clay face mask will cover.
7. Stuff polyfill through the opening to fill the shape firmly.
8. Stitch up the opening 
9. Embroider a  free form design and add beads. 

10. Make a small face mask from polymer clay.
( You can use a commercial mould as I did or sculpt your own.) 

11. Stitch and/or glue the polymer clay face mask over the opening.
12. Embroider or bead around the face.
14. Use braids, ribbons or trims to create these dolls. 
Do you think these are divas? goddesses? or sages? Or do you have another suggestion?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tea on Thursday 5

digital print on tea bag paper, Eucalypt leaf, stitching. 
The term "billy tea"refers to tea brewed in a billy can, that is a small can, tin or pot used on a camp fire for boiling water/tea.  So the term "billy up to the fire" basically means, "put the kettle on". And for real billy tea, the addition of a few eucalypt leaves is  the ingredient which makes a difference.  The billy tea  from "Waltzing Matilda" seems a long way away from the story of the origin of the tea, but the scene of a man alone with his thoughts under a tree seems familiar. The  tea legend goes something like this....  
Around 2700 BC, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, was meditating under a tree while he was waiting for "his billy to boil". .A couple of leaves from a nearby shrub blew into the water without him noticing. When he tasted the resulting brew, he was really amazed by the delightful new taste, and the beverage of tea was born.
Time for a cuppa billy tea? ( Billy Tea is a trademark brand of tea leaves and tea bags.)  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stitch Against Domestic Violence


 Come and celebrate International Women's Day, 8th March 2014
Come and be part of a 14 hour stitch - a - thon to celebrate International Women's Day

you're invited to:

White Ribbon Stitch - a - thon 2014

Come and stitch with your friends and family - young and old. Drop in anytime between 6 am and 8 pm

We are having a 14 hour stitch-a -thon on Saturday March 8th 2014 at Timeless Textiles Gallery. Drop in anytime between 6 am and 8 pm have a chat, a stitch and a drink- and add a stitch or two, an old button or any scrap of fabric to our ever increasing white ribbon.
This day will not only recognize the achievements of women in our community but also contribute to the campaign to end violence against women.
Stay and celebrate what has been been achieved in 14 hours with drinks and nibbles between 7pm - 8pm on Saturday 8th, launched by Nicola Henley, visiting fibre artist from Ireland.
The ribbon will be used to hang the Taking Needles more on this exciting show

All donations and sponsorship of participants will support White Ribbon Australia.
For more information - Event link :
No experience required. A stitch - a -thon leader will be on hand to assist you.
Stay and stitch for as long as you like - minutes or hours.
Women, men and children are welcome to participate.
White Ribbon merchandise will be available for purchase.

Venue: Timeless Textiles Gallery
7 Beaumont St
Phone 02 - 49616660
Contact Wilma Simmons or Anne Kempton 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tea on Thursday 4

Tea on Thursday is becoming Tea on Friday ... but here is number 4 in my preparation for my exhibition later in the year. These are just  small experimental works. Plop your used tea bags , still wet, onto a canvas either stretched or a canvas sheet, Let the tea bags do their work, and remove them  in a few hours - 24 hours is even better. Work with the pattern. You could enhance the pattern with paint, pencils, felt tip pens . In this one, I did some simple embroidery stitches to create "Wistful". 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Out of the Red

In our family, children love red envelopes. They signify special occasions, usually a party, and gifts of money. We have just celebrated the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, with the consumption of amazing amounts of delicious food, mah jong challenges for all ages, and with the giving of red envelopes - lai see ( in Cantonese) and hong bao ( in Mandarin) which contained "lucky" money.
Tradition suggests that on auspicious occasions like the lunar new year  and weddings, money in the red envelopes  means blessings and  good luck bestowed on the young by the older generation (the unmarried by the married)  and on the bride and groom by the guests. Some employees are also lucky enough to receive red envelopes from their bosses. It is also a happy custom to give red envelopes of money for special services given like Chinese lion dancers in a new year's performance.

Always red, the colour of good luck, the lai see (hong bao) are often gaudily decorated with  lots of gold and other bright colours. I have even seen some with colourful images of Disney characters and comical versions of ancient gods and classical figures. It is even  fun to make your own with templates now readily online.
In our red envelopes, we put gold coins in an even number as an odd number is usually associated with funerals. However, I believe that crisp new notes are considered better luck, and certainly for weddings, it is not so obvious how much is given if the money is of the folding variety. The grandchildren in our family are very happy with coins, and they love it when I include a couple of coins from another country.They even like a couple of chocolate coins as part of the offering. These red envelopes are always offered with both hands and received by both hands.

 Where did this custom of giving red envelopes come from? While there is no literary evidence to prove one theory or another, I like the story  that the use of  the colour red comes from the time when people used to paste red paper couplets on their front doors to chase away Nien , the ferocious beast which allegedly ate people on New Year's Eve. This developed into the practice of weaving red ribbons or string around coins as "warding off evil spirits money" - often one hundred coins woven in the shape of a dragon. Then with the popularity of the printing press, this practice became red envelopes and paper money. 
Whether or not our grandchildren really understand the significance of the lai see (hong bao), they do recognize that this is a Chinese tradition and part of their heritage. It is a very easy custom to maintain, and  the red envelopes themselves have become a symbol of unity and continuity of culture.