Thursday, September 24, 2020


 A first attempt at splicing and editing stills and a video into an iMovie.... 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Covid Man and Book Print


This is my tag for the current theme at Tag Tuesday - Book Print. I like using text as a background for tags and today, I reduced one of my recent  line drawings and printed it on a small book page .... as you can see,  the book's chapter is entitled "Of Holy Living and Dying ( from The Book of Books) .  I thought this was appropriate as this 'Covid man' drawing depicts Nature happily thriving while man appears to be "unravelling " at the edges of body and mind... 

Original drawing - Wilma Simmons 

 Silk screen print on fabric  : Wilma Simmons 

Silk screen print on paper : Wilma Simmons 

And here are some other tags on book print backgrounds - these are free motion stitched "Nature" portraits done earlier in the year. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Farm Fervour


"Down on the Farm " is the current theme at Tag Tuesday - an art tag fortnightly challenge . With lots of other projects 'on the go', I quickly  made these farm inspired tags probably with more fever than fervour.  The technique is simple - tear up a magazine page and randomly and quickly paste all the  torn pieces down onto a sheet of paper. Cut out the required size for the tag and complete by choosing an image(s) as a focus . With these I also added some hand stitching and a button as embellishment. The vintage images are from a purchased collage sheet by Eleven Nine Design. 

And here is another "farm"tag which I free motion stitched  in February, for another challenge, 29 Faces . 


Thursday, September 10, 2020

September Textiles Love - Week 1

 Background: Seam are a contemporary textile collective based in Bath, England. We are emerging and established embroiderers, printers, knitters, weavers, dyers, fashion designers, eco-designers, makers, artists…

…who want to make textiles that are irresistible, and find their way onto your body, into your house and onto your walls. We share a commitment to pushing the boundaries of our craft and making high quality objects realised in the hands and thoughts of the maker. We hope to make a sustainable living from textiles, work locally and bring textiles into contemporary focus This month, all textile artists are enouraged to share their love of textiles and respond to  30 different textile prompts for on  Instagram  during September. You can respond to as many of the prompts as you wish, this could be only a few or it may be all of them - with the hashtag #SeptTextileLove  

Here is my first week of #SeptTextileLove 

Days 1 & 2 - Introduction

Current Project -stitched collages , especially portraits. 

Day 3: Tools - 

Bernina sewing machine and hand stitching needles , pins and scissors.- I often wonder what I would do without these, then remember that when we were in Papua New Guinea, women showed me how to make a needle and a cutter from found metal waste

Day 4 Inspiration -

I am inspired to create with simple materials by my interest in social justice, women’s issues and personal family and local history and places . My most memorable work is an installation of 193 ‘dolls’ made from sticks, giving voice to the girls of the Newcastle Industrial School (1867-1871) - the first government ‘welfare’ institution in NSW

Day 5 - Stash
There is far too much of everything in my stash but can I do without my abundance of used tea bags and sticks ?

Day 6 - Colour

In one of my recent works , a stole for ‘an upcoming exhibition ,’ Stole the Show’ - I hope these colours help to tell the story of regrowth and regeneration

Day 7 : Inside/Outside

Most of my work starts outside, but inside , the next part of the process happens - the editing of photos and the thinking , writing and the stitching ‘Red Grevillea’ is an example

Day 8 : Pattern

The traditional art of temari (stitched thread wrapped balls) is an engaging journey of discovery and experimentation involving embroidering the endless pattern variations with attention to design , colour and symbolism

Please contact me if you have any questions or add comments below.

For my #SeptTextile Love posts, follow and to look at others also posting about textile art this month, follow the hastag.


Monday, September 7, 2020

Newcastle's (NSW) link to Father's Day


Father's Day is the first Sunday in September in Australia, but that's not true elsewhere in the world. Why is Father's Day on different days in different countries?

Australia is one of four countries where Father's Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in September . The others are New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The most common choice worldwide is the third Sunday in June, a tradition deriving from the US and now followed in more than 70 countries. So why do Pacific countries choose a different date?

The broad tradition appears to date back to the mid-1930s, as a newspaper report from Newcastle in 1936 treats it as an entirely new event:

A new day for the Calendar is 'Fathers' Day,' September 6. Mothers' Day has become very popular, and maybe 'Fathers' Day' will.

The likely explanation? Having encountered news reports about Father's Day from the US, Australians decided to adopt it. However, rather than waiting a year to celebrate, it was placed later in the calendar, and in a similar season.

Mother's Day has similar global variations, but Australia lines up with the majority of countries by celebrating it on the second Sunday in May. And that gives us one other potential reason for our different date down under: Mother's Day in May followed by Father's Day in June makes for an expensive couple of months. Being able to wait until September means you potentially have more funds to splurge on Dad.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Why Wattle has 'Wow" Factor

The appearance of wattle flowers seems to cheer up the Australian landscape.... apparently it's true that somewhere in Australia at any time of the year, one species of wattle is in bloom.  That's probably not a surprise if you consider there are at least 1000 species of wattle native to Australia, adapted to flowering in all seasons, in all climate zones. 

The word "wattle'  often refers to the framework of interwoven sticks or branches. The early settlers'  "wattle and daub" houses - composite buildings of wood and mud are today highly considered as a sustainable alternative to less eco-friendly building techniques. 
Long before British settlement, indigenous Australians  had discovered the many uses of  the Acacia (wattle species )  - food, medicine, utensils, weapons, musical instruments, and ceremonial decoration. 

While Masterchef has introduced many of us to recipes using wattle seed, the Australian Aborigines prepared and ate wattle seed in many different ways, depending on the species  - raw, roasted or steamed and ground into a flour.   The use of  the seeds, as well as many other parts of the tree ( leaves, bark, branches, pods and roots)  were valued for their medicinal benefits in treating colds, nasal congestion, headaches and even some skin complaints. 

Wattle timber is highly regarded for contemporary furniture. Indigenous Australians also used wattles routinely  for making  utensils such as digging sticks and barbs, weapons (clubs, shields, boomerangs, spear throwers, spear shafts and heads), and  for musical instruments like  clap sticks.    Almost every part of the plant was used in some way.... Acacia gums were used as glues to make and repair tools and spear throwers, and to waterproof fish, mussel and water rat traps. String and rope, head decorations and sandals were made from the inner bark of some species. While we marvel at our contemporary discoveries of eco-dyeing,  Aborigines obtained fibre dyes from Acacia roots centuries ago. 

Not only useful to human beings, wattles and animals often enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. The brightly coloured and sweet smelling flowers attract bird and butterfly pollinators. Black cockatoos love the seeds and often feed on insects and grubs under the bark of  wattle trees. Possums too feed on insects attracted by the blossoms as well as the gum from the trees. Many species of possum also like to make their homes in dense areas of wattle. 

With its many uses - and I have touched on only a few here in this post , wattle  can be appreciated for its benefits to human and animals. However, there's more to  wattle than just the practical - it has a special place in most Australian's hearts ... 

"To many Australians the wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine and love -  every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines." The Sydney Morning Herald, 1910 

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Sea - for Tag Tuesday

For the current challenge "The Sea"  at Tag Tuesday, I made a couple of  painted/ hand drawn tags . These were created from a piece of watercolour paper which had been sprayed with acrylic paint - blue, yellow and quinacridone gold. I then sketched over the top  , trying to follow some pattern created by the splatter and then add some felt tip pen lines  watercolour pencil to highlight the shapes. The tags represent the fantasies of the hidden city of Atlantis and a mermaid. 

With this theme in mind, I also add a free motion stitched  tag I made  earlier this year for 29 Faces - 

Monday, July 6, 2020

If life gives you limes, make margaritas....

Margaritas sound  like an exotic use for limes, but as a non-drinker, I have been looking for other delicious ways to use an excess of limes. 

One of the most obvious ways was to make some marmalade.  One kilogram of  limes made a tester jar and 10 other jars. Not only does it taste good on toast, it will make a good glaze for ham and in other sauces. 

To celebrate limes more indulgently, I also made individual lime cheesecakes ( although the recipe calls them pies) - two batches of these didn't last long. 
And with the rest .... just a slice of lime in water because 
Limes are a good source of magnesium and potassium.
  • Rejuvenates skin. Several skin care products claim to promote healthier, younger looking skin. ...
  • Improves digestion. ...
  • Fights infections. ...
  • Helps with weight loss. ...
  • Lowers blood sugar. ...
  • Reduces heart disease. ...
  • Prevents cancer. ...
  • Reduces inflammation.  ( from Healthline)

Here are the links to recipes I used : 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A rose by any other name ...

The well known song says that it should be "raindrops on roses" as one of my favourite things, but this  morning, I am saying that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..." What do I mean ? I don't have any roses blooming at the moment and so there are no photos of raindrops on roses. I do have flowers of other names in my garden that I think  are as beautiful just after rain. 

And, just out of interest, a final explanation from Literary Devices: 

Meaning of A Rose by Any Other Name

The importance of a person or thing is the way it is; not because of what it is called. Simply, it means the names of things cannot affect what they actually are. This line,  from Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" is, in fact, very profound, suggesting that a name is just a label to distinguish one thing from another. It neither has any worth, nor gives true meaning. Only an individual or thing has a worth when it deserves it; for example, even if we call a rose by an entirely different name, it would smell the same as it does by its name “rose.” Likewise, Juliet links this with Romeo, that his name is just a label, and that he would stay the same for her.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Feathers -Tag Tuesday

"Feathers " is the new theme for Tag Tuesday and as I am currently making #100pinpoems tags for #the100dayproject, I thought I would share some of the ones I made with 'feathers" as inspiration. 
The first is a fabric collage with a stitched bird. It captures a moment when I saw magpies on the lawn, appearing to keep their social distance. 
The second of the "feathered" tags is still about the magpies.... I startled a few when I went out into the garden. I was surprised as they were, I think, and all I seemed to see were black and white wings against the blue sky. 
The third of these tags is an "abstract" of some pigeon feathers on the underside of their wings. It is free form stitched collage d cotton paper. The pigeons which frequent our garden are crested and look very fashionable as if they are wearing little hats, and although their outside feathers are essentially grey, there are beautiful jewel tones on their wings when they are flying.   

The fourth tag  I am sharing with you today is suggestive of the amazing coloured feathers of a rainbow lorikeet.. We are very fortunate to have these bright colourful native birds in our garden every morning and their red, green purple and yello  feathers brighten the dullest day. 
Remember to pop over to Tag Tuesday to see the great tags created for the theme "feathers'  hosted this fortnight by Wendy. 

And for a blast from the past to end with - "Feathers appear when angels are near " -  created for Tag Tuesday in 2015....