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April 2008

"Teach us that Granny stuff Miss!"

My grade 9s all want to learn that "granny stuff".
What is Granny stuff"? 
It's simple embroidery.  Forget the computers and the sewing machines they want to learn to embroider, and, that includes the boys!  Who would have believed it?

For the students that had completed their first item and before they started their stretch sewing, (and the rest of the class caught up), I put together an extension program.  This included how to do a simple applique.  Draft and make a drawstring bag, to put that stretch sewing in and a selection of other skills.  Such as, blind hemming, repairing a right angle tear,button holes and attaching lace.  When they finished this they over-locked (serged) around each sample. 

I thought that this would keep everyone busy but there was one who blitzed the field.  Stumped at what to do next I found some printed fabric, put it in a hoop and showed her how to outline the design in a thick thread.  Now more than half the class has got through their exercises and are clamoring for me to teach them that "granny stuff". 

I love classes where kids want to learn.


I couldn't put a category to this page because those letters mean so much more than one or two categories, but I choose textiles.  They stand for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. 

These letters represent my father, who served in the second world war and was forever damaged by the experience although it was the one service in his life that made him proudest and gave his life meaning.

I have an old photo of a lost relative somewhere in the house.  He served in the First World War, that makes him an original ANZAC.  I think he must have been a cousin of my father, he only looked 17 or 18 at the time.  I have held onto that photo for years.  It is in an oval frame and the glass is broken.  It is the same kind of photo I have seen in bush pubs, in the hall between the bars.  Lost young men who never returned.

What has this got to do with Textiles you ask?
All those things the women made with love for their men folk on the other side of the world, they were mostly textiles.  The uniforms they wore, the flag they fought under.

I found this poem. by Jim Brown, (I think,) called "The ANZAC on the wall".  There are lots of these photos all over the country.


                     LEST WE FORGET

                 The Anzac on the Wall

Loitering in a country town, 'cos I had some time to spare
I went into an antique shop, to see what was there.
Bikes and pumps, and kero lamps, the old shop had it all,
then I was taken prisoner, by the Anzac on the wall.

Such an honest open face, a young man in his prime,
and when I looked at the photograph, his eyes locked onto mine.
A face so proud and confident, inside a wooden frame,
I felt myself drawn to him, in a way I can't explain.

"That Anzac have a name?" I asked, the old bloke didn't know.
He said, "Those who could have told me passed on long ago."
Anyway the old bloke kept on talking, and according to his tale,
the photo was unwanted junk, bought at a clearance sale.

"I asked around" the old man said, "But no one knew his face",
he's been up on that wall for years, deserves a better place,
someone must have loved him, it seems a shame somehow."
I nodded, and said quietly, "Oh well I'll take him now."

So you come home with me mate - too long you'd be alone,
I don't even know your name mate, but you're welcome in my home.
Did you fight at Flanders? Or perhaps Gallipoli?
I'll never know the answer, but I know you fought for me.

I wonder where they sent you mate, when you answered the call,
Were you killed in action, did you have a home at all?
You must have had a family - will you be claimed one day?
To be honest mate, I hope not, cause I'm proud to have you stay.

Sometimes visitors look at you, and then they question me,
And I tell a small white lie, and claim you're family.
They say, "You must be proud of him", I tell them one and all -
that's why you got pride of place mate - the Anzac on the wall!

Dream Sleep Wear

Today I worked with a grade 10 class on how to create a Journal to help them to create a design for their dream Sleep Wear. They have to make 15 entries in the journal. The aim of the journal is to get students to reflect on their thinking about this design challenge and to act as an introduction for the process journal they will have to construct when they go into the Senior School.

In the process of doing this I showed them how to construct a mind map and after brain storming we came up with 30 different entries they might like to explore.  I also made a model of one of the pages and based this on Les Murray's poem, 'The Sleepout', published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney.  In the State Library I found a copy of a wood engraving by Rosalind Atkins inspired by this poem.  I thought that they invoked memories of my own childhood sleepout.


Childhood sleeps in a verandah room
in an iron bed close to the wall
where the winter over the railing
swelled the blind on its timber boom

and splinters picked lint off warm linen
and the stars were out over the hill;
then one wall of the room was forest
and all things in there were to come.

Breathings climbed up on the verandah
when dark cattle rubbed at the corner
and sometimes dim towering rain stood
for forest, and the dry cave hunched woollen.

Inside the forest was lamplit
along tracks to a starry creek bed
and beyond lay the never-fenced country,
its full billabongs all surrounded

by animals and birds, in loud crustings,
and sometimes kept leaping up amongst them.
And out there, to kindle whenever
dark found it, hung the daylight moon.

Apex Australia Teenage Fashion Awards

This is a great competition but no one in South East Queensland schools has received the information and the state competition entries are due in June, and that's not far away.  So here is some info from their web site and a link so you can look at it yourself.


"The Apex Australia Teenage Fashion Awards (AATFA) has been an annual event for Apex Australia over the past 17 years. In conjunction with secondary schools throughout Australia, Apex provides students with the opportunity to design, manufacture and model their own fashion garments.

AATFA is a unique opportunity for students interested in the fashion or design industries to demonstrate their skill and flair through a friendly competition. The Awards are an extraordinary co-curricular activity, which offers students the opportunity and encouragement to explore their creativity in the fields of fashion, design and textiles.

To some participants, AATFA is a boost to their confidence and self-esteem, as well as providing inspiration and the chance to grow. To others, it has been a stepping-stone into the world of fashion and design.

AATFA is open to all schools, both private and government throughout Australia. In previous years individual state competitions have attracted more than 200 entrants. Secondary schools are invited to be apart of this years competition now!"


Bernina 'My Label'

I have bought a copy of Bernina's "My Label".   I intend to learn how to use it at home and then introduce it into the classroom.  (I know, I have to persuade the budget committee to buy it for the school.)  We used to teach pattern drafting 20 years ago and I still draft some patterns.  I also draft them using Auto Cad but that is just overkill in the class room. 


I use AutoCad inventor and  another 3D program to teach graphics.  Being able to see things in 3D turns kids on, they lap it up and want to learn more.  I think that this program will have the same effect.  We only have one semester for clothing and design.  Most students have little dressmaking experience, let alone how to draft a pattern.  But, with this package they could style their own garment and know it will fit.  They can scan in the different fabric and preview what they will make.  Once they have a good fitting block I would teach them how to style onto this.  Actually it is exciting, I know lots of students who will be blown away by this.

I went to buy my daughter a shirt to wear to work the other day and was shocked when I looked at the price.   $250.00 for a well tailored shirt in a quality fabric and then it may not fit properly.  With those prices I can see sewing making a comeback.

Back to full speed

I seems to be running at quite a pace again now that the new term has begun.  Tonight I'm off to have a look at Bernina's  'My Design" package, so will have some feed back on that tomorrow.

I was sent these really funny video adds, well they are funny to me.  I love New Zealand, and their sense of humour.   I'm not sure if the English version is even funnier!

This was one of the designs from my screen printing workshop.  That was a good workshop.


Back on Deck

Well I am back in touch with the world again.  How did we ever get on without the Internet?

It was strange having no contact with the world only those on that small island.  When you think about it that is how everyone lived only 20 or 30 years ago.

I have been getting assessment and lessons ready. Attending a workshop on screen printing on the Sunshine Coast, which was great fun.  I have to teach that this term and I haven't done any screen printing in 20 years  so it was an 'in time' learning experience.

On Sunday I took part in the 'Traveling for Love' exhibition at the State Library.  The new State Library in Brisbane is really something.  I dropped into the Exhibition "STUDIO: Australian painters photographed by R. Ian Lloyd" , that was on in another section of the building.  Fascinating!

It is really worth while visiting the library and if you don't have time, or are to far away, have a look at their website.


Just another brick in the wall

Well I have finished cutting the fabric as though it was a stencil and have put them onto the background fabric.  All the designs have been taken from street art that I have photographed on walls and buildings, with the exception of the city scape which I took from a photograph I took at the traffic lights where I stop every day.  I have changed it a bit and put in a washing line.  Now they have to be appliqued and assembled in my quilt.   But, that will have to wait.  I'm off to my island in the bay for a week.  Hand stitching only for the next 5 days.  No TV, no Internet but I am taking my laptop to work on photo shop.