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May 2008

The work of Sonya Schonberger

I spent a good part of today trying to make a Power Point explaining Ezines to my students.  As I have said before, we are unable to access these sites because of Education Department policy.  Mind boggling when you think of all those great textile sites out there.  They are an unacceptable risk, we are told. 

Anyway, in my search I came across the work of Sonya Schonberger  who uses news photography as her inspiration for her embroideries. She just works in running stitch,  which although technically an embroidery stitch,  and the work does  qualify as an embroidery, it's main message is more a comment on our society.  She is not the only textile artist who has moved in this direction.  I find this an interesting development for embroidery.



It has taken me over a week to finish my line for the add-a-line round robin that my quilting group is doing.
It has been one disaster after another.  Firstly I didn't check the measurements on the foundation block sent to me.  A bad mistake because when I went to join the ten blocks together they were not square. I had to start again. This time with a puppy who wanted to help.  That has added to the time needed to do the job.


I have added them to the first line of check-a-board blocks and they are passable. 

Just look at that puppy, who would think that she could be so much trouble?


I don't have enough fabric!

I have just been through my stash to find fabric for a particular job and you know I couldn't find anything suitable.  I can't believe that!  I have 16 drawers full of fabric, a cupboard full of fabric and non of it is suitable, unbelievable!!  I will just have to go and buy some more.

What do I need the fabric for?  To make library bags for a village school in Fiji.  Cheryl, from my patchwork group has just returned from a trip there. Her daughter teaches at  St. Peter Chanel School here in Brisbane and the mother of one of her students asked her to take some second hand clothing back to her village.  They ended up having to buy new suitcases to fit it all in.  When they arrived the village put on a feast to thank them.  The villagers didn't eat because there wouldn't have been enough food.  They were so moved by their generosity and their lack of material wealth that both Cheryl and her daughter have decided to try and get materials for the school.  Hence the library bags.


My fabric is just not sturdy enough for the wear and tear of children and I want to contribute as well.  Her goal is to make enough for a class of thirty, each with a book inside.  I'm sure that we can do better than that.

Some old news

Looking back over my posts I see that I didn't put up any of the work form the "Travelling for Love" exhibition that was held at the State Library back in April, it finishes this weekend.


To recap, this was held in a gallery in the library  and formed part of a larger exhibition.  On the Sunday the Embroiderers Guild of Queensland put together a panel of experts and brought some of their work for people to exam and ask questions about.

Gabrelle Henderson, who's work has featured in Country Bumpkin magazine, has an interested audience looking a trims.


We were served a wonderful afternoon tea in the board room,


overlooking the city and the Art Gallery.


Last day of competition

I have survived the State cookery competitions   for another year.  Hospitality involves being physically fit, both back and front of house.  Each year it takes a little more effort, on the physical side, for me.  But it is great to work with wonderful Chefs and young people who have a passion for what they do.

This piece won first place for the food sculpture competition this year.  It is made of margarine.


Now it's time to get back to sewing!!!

Feeling my age.

Last night Kay brought along this patchwork bag she made, I think that I will have to make one.

Today was the State cookery competitions, 'Chefs of the Future', for schools.  I was working as the head Marshall, which was setting and clearing tables and making sure that the students had all the ingredients etc.  It was the clearing of tables that got me.  I used to be able to clear a table of 12 at one go.  Today my back didn't like carrying that weight.  All the students performed really well.  They had to make a main and dessert and worked in pairs within a time limit.  They had to plate up 4 serves, 1 for judging, 1 for display and 2 for taste testing by the public.  Some of the food was impressive.

This was Olive and anchovy chicken with trussed herb crust with apple and onion.Dscf0102

This salmon looked delicious.


As did this dessert.

There was a wonderful display of chocolate work by apprentices.  They and the chefs will cook tomorrow.  I hope my back holds out.

Design ideas

I have been busy writing new curriculum for school.  We have to move from a skills base to a problem solving one using Technology Practice.  That model is; Investigation, Ideation, Production and Evaluation.  This is used to solve design problems.  For example, instead of we are going to make a stretch garment these are the steps, there would be a problem posed about making a stretch garment that the student would have to design, make and appraise a product.  This is a big change in direction and teenagers, who really like to be told what to do, step by step, will find it difficult to think it through for themselves.

On the home-front I am still using graffiti off the street to inspire my quilt designs.  I was really taken by this example.  I think it has possibilities to be developed into a quilt hanging.


A progress report

Well I have managed to piece the blocks made from the fabric squares given to me by members of my quilting group.  I ended up making the blocks 6" x 3" or 3" x 3".  The window blocks are multiples of this and the applique is of graffiti I photographed in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.  All the graffiti are stencils, with the exception of the city scape, which was taken from a photograph of a scene I see every day, I did add the clothes line to add a bit of interest.

I still have a couple more pieces of applique to add and also the borders.  I want to use sayings that I have seen spray painted on walls.  Nice clean ones, of course.  So there is still a lot of work to go.


I need to make something quick so that I can experience something finished.  That will give me fuel to go on and get this quilt finished.

A rude shock - kids don't read!

I have been busy this past week with mid term testing.  All year 9 students undertook the National testing this week, and for some of them it was a rude shock.

I also had some in class testing.  The most telling was my textiles tests.  Now these are not very difficult.  The questions included such things as matching words about fibre characteristics to explainations, how to read care labels, and, the big one, how to read commercial patterns.

Now this was an eye opener for me.  All the information is on the packet or on the instructions sheet.  I had seen this in some of my classes.  Some pattern envelopes have the metric instructions in French or Spanish, which causes a bit of a problem.  "If we can't work it out right away, forget it!"   So I have been trying to come up with ways to 'demystify' this process.

In my searches I have found a site called  'Thread Heads'.

This is a great blog for the DIY fashion for the young.  The segments are all under 10 mins and it is young for the young.  The shows are all down-loadable for free.  I have used itunes to get mine.  There is some advertising. Some episodes are sponsored by Xbox, who one would think would have their finger on the pulse of what is going on.

I have especially downloaded the session with Burda Patterns.  All this work is put on the Internet by a new company called next new networks .  It's a good site to check out if you want to tap into youth culture.

Not much work being done!

There isn't a lot of work going on here.  Having a new puppy is like having a baby in the house again.  I haven't had a full nights sleep since she arrived and I have developed that "one ear open" sleep that you have with a new baby.  Just in case she wants to toilet and that means getting out of bed and taking her outside.

She has already learned how to get up two flights of stairs, it's the getting down that is the problem.  And , just like having a toddler around, I have to watch her with the power cord to the sewing machine.  Well the kids grew out of it and were toilet trained, I suppose the same will apply to her.


She really likes her food and the poor cat now has to eat on the patio on top of the BBQ to keep her out of harms way.

At school I started some more students on embroidery today.  I had forgotten that they have no experience at all in hand sewing.  Keeping the extra thread that you have pulled through your needle from being sewn in never seemed to be a problem. But thinking about it, these students have no point of reference.  It's a bit like driving a car.  The knowledge gets passed into automatic, you don't think about it, you just do it.  The same thing applies to all kinds of knowledge.  It is the job of the teacher to identify this and think like the novice student. 

I also have a stretch sewing garment to construct with another class.  I have made so many stretch garments  that I don't think about it.  This time I am making a trial to work out every step that could be a problem.  I want to be about two or three steps ahead of the students so that I can identify the possible problems in advance. 

The first problem is reading an instruction leaflet. For them it is like me trying to program a VCR.  It is not an easy task and  takes a high level of concentration and the ability to visualize the steps.  Demonstration is definitely the way to go.