Monday, May 23, 2011

...drink the wild air

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ( Ralph Waldo Emerson) … I chose this quotation as a theme for last weekend’s workshop at the Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists Retreat. The air was “wild” with inspiration, activity, enthusiasm, fun, friendship, colour and creativity – such an invigorating atmosphere for all who love working with textiles and fibres. The talented textile artists, Jan Clark and Trevor and Beth Reid were also tutors at this retreat.

I had a wonderful group of women in my class who created dolls from found objects, polymer clay and upcycled fibres and fabrics to produce really imaginative and meaningful creations. We each started with a quotation to inspire our work and from then on, there were no restrictions … a stick in the garden will never be looked at in the same way and a shapely bottle will never find its way to the recycling bin again. Here are a few images of my students' creations.... very satisfying to see such brilliant work produced.





I have had other wonderful weekends this month – is it so long since I have posted on this blog? The previous weekend’s theme must have been “Live the moment” - what a whirlwind weekend!

On the Friday and Saturday I was the Secretary General at the Model United Nations Assembly, where young delegates changed the world. We managed to resolve the Middle East crisis, develop plans to cope with Climate Change,deal with terrorism,  refugee processing and the reform of the United Nations itself – no wonder I was exhausted!  The Model United Nations Assembly is a Rotary District 9670 event, and it is a really amazing experience. Youth delegates representing  United Nations member nations debate global issues and attempt to resolve world  problems  using individual nations' viewpoints and alliances  taking  a peaceful approach. Perhaps the real politicians, world leaders and decision makers need to follow these young peoples' example.

Then on Sunday, I managed one day of the two day class with visiting doll maker , Patti Culea. - so interesting not only to learn new techniques, but also to chat about the inspiration for this doll - the bound feet of Chinese women in the past. How privileged we are to be able to access the talents of such inspiring artists. Then, just to finish the weekend on an even higher note, that was followed by a magical musical evening of Andre Rieu and the Seekers
The weekend before that we celebrated Mother’s Day. We spent another great day with our wonderful family on the shores of Lake Macquarie, first having an outdoor breakfast and then a visit to the Lake Macquarie Art Gallery to see a textile exhibition.



And of course, great presents, especially hand drawn and handmade cards from children and grandchildren
I know it's often said bad things happen in threes ... with these three fantastic weekends, I can only conclude good things must come in threes, too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wedding Lace

Were you excitedly waiting for a glimpse of THE wedding dress last Friday? Lace has been an old time favourite for brides, and royal ones are obviously no different. However, I was very interested to  find out more about this special lace dress -

... The skilled embroiderers of England’s Royal School of Needlework (RSN) contributed their technical embroidery expertise to create the bespoke lace on Miss Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress, veil and shoes and enable Sarah Burton to achieve her artistic vision for the bride
The lace design and process was influenced by traditional Carrickmacross lace which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Carrickmacross lace uses an embroidery technique called appliqué – the lace is worked by applying organdie fabric to a delicate net background and edging each motif with fine cord-like thread. Sarah Burton sourced a series of lace motifs to create a unique design, applied by the RSN and arranged to fit each part of the dress perfectly following her creative vision. Each lace motif (some as small as a 5 pence piece) was applied with minute stitches every two to three millimetres.
One of the hallmarks of the RSN is that our embroiderers can work collectively on a project yet it will look like the work of one person. The team for this project comprised RSN Studio staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and current students from the RSN’s Certificate, Diploma and Foundation Degree programmes. The RSN welcomes students from all over the world and the team for this project included British, Japanese, American, Chinese, Swiss, Dutch, Thai, German and Slovakian students...
from the Press Release of the Royal School of Needlework, To read more follow the link..

I think I came close to guessing what the dress might look like. Paper doll cut outs was the extent of my Royal Wedding Activity as I am definitely not a monarchist...

 I didn't go to any wedding parties ( I wasn't invited to any) but heard about some great gatherings to celebrate the royal nuptials. This was the best one I 've seen reported .. a creative "wedding breakfast"  menu

with Queen Victoria ( aka my niece)  in attendance.
And if you were wondering, the lace pictured is my own lace wedding jacket , now  40 years old - vintage!