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September 2008

Edrica Huws

I don't know what happened to the rest of the last post but it didn't make it to the web.

I went onto comment on Edrica Huws work, saying that the "Quilt Police" would have had a field day with her stitching.  However, her work is beautiful and invokes other emotions.  When I got home I googled her name and found a wonderful video of her final exhibition on You Tube.   I also found that Germaine Greer had reviewed the exhibition for the Guardian Newspaper.   This then raised a howl of protest from the blogging community.  Personally, I think that the article reflects a deep insecurity in the writer.  It is a shame when someone becomes so self absorbed that their perception of art and beauty is the only one that enters their consciousness.

There is a publication of Ms Huws work available from the English Embroiderers' Guild.  It is top of my wish list.



A visit to the Guild

I haven't been to the Guild for ages, so, as I am on semester break I took the opportunity to go today.  I spent most of my time catching up on the embroidery magazines and new publications.  In one of the copies of 'Embroidery' magazine, the publication from the English Embroiderers Guild, I came upon the work of Edrica Huws and was just blown away.



I went to the opening of a new antique shop out at Ipswich today and came upon a most remarkable find.
It is a stitched wall hanging which incorporates embroidery and patchwork.  It is not very old because it is stitched onto a polycotton background and is all hand stitched.  When I asked the owner where he got it from he couldn't remember.  I think it must have been stitched by an immigrant of Hmong background. 

When I was young our church was without a minister and a retired Missionary, Mr Hutton, stepped in until a new minister could be called.  He must have been well into his 70's if not his 80"s at the time and this would have been in the early 1960's.  I know that China was a communist country and there were few books or any information that I could find.  I was fascinated with China and have been all my life and this all began from Mr Hutton's stories.

He had been a Missionary to the Black Mioaw.  I found a photo of a child from this ethic group on the net.


This piece tells a beginning story from the Hmong (of whom the Mioaw are a part of) people.  I wonder if the woman, (I think it would be a woman) stitched this for her children so that they would have a link to their culture?  Why are textiles so underrated by our families?  It is not unusual to find an old quilt or some other piece that has been stitched with love in a op shop or garage sale.

Well who ever she was I will cherish this piece and it will become a heirloom for my children.


When I looked at the detail I found that the people were stitched in Black, maybe this is about the 'Black Mioaw"?


More Quilt Show

There were some outstanding quilts at the Toowoomba Quilt Show and so diverse.  I liked the work of Susan Musgrove.  There were three pieces of hers that caught my eye.  They were multi- dimensional pieces, you looked into them and they seemed to look out at the viewer.

The first was titled "Race for the Moon" and the artist statement said;
                   'Completed over about 5 years, this quilt is made from cotton, ramie, silk
                    and organza.  Techniques used include hand painting, silk screen and lino printing,
                    stenciling, and and machine embroidery, hand beading, applique and quilting.
                    It was the center piece for my first solo exhibition in late 2006 and was also
                    selected for exhibition at the Japan quilt Grand Prix for 2008.'


It was the depth and detail that caught my attention.  The foam of the waves, the baby turtle, the fish in the sea and the moon in the sky.


There was also a Family group titled "Musgrove Family Reunion 1987" (The refection from the ceiling lights are a problem with this image.)


I also like "The Night Watch".  I wonder where she got that fish fabric?


Toowoomba cont...

The Toowoomba Quilter's Guild hold their exhibition at the TAFE college.  They could use a larger venue as I felt that it was squashed, but, this didn't take away from the quality of the quilts.

My friend, Angela had three quilts on show.  One I featured earlier on my blog ( and now can't locate it) and the other two I now have photos of.  The 2007 class quilt that she made with her year 2 students at Toowoomba East State School.  Students traced their hand, choose their fabric and then decided on the direction of their hand on the quilt.  Every student got to take the quilt home to sleep under.


Some teachers who make quilts with their classes will display the quilt in the school and some times auction it off to raise funds for the school.  Wouldn't it be something to have a quilt like this with all your grade 2 classmates there to remember!  Grade 2 was so long ago I'm not sure that I can remember back that far.  But, that was the year I was ill and I had to go and live with my Grandparents.

The other quilt was made from fabrics that Angela bought when holidaying in New Zealand.  I think that this is a great idea.  I have a whole bundle of N.Z. fabrics and this would be a great way to use the.


A trip to Toowoomba

I drove up to Toowoomba last Saturday to see the 'Quilt Show'.  It was also the Carnival of Flowers and the city was full of people who had come into town to see the parade and the flowers.  Many homes had their gardens open for people to visit but I didn't get past the park.  Too many people, no parking and it was hot.

They had an Illawarra Lily bush on show.  Normally these flower spikes shoot up high and are used to make dramatic for flower displays.  On this plant, which is growing a long way north of it's normal habitat, was weighed down with flowers.  I have never been able to really look at the flowers before.  They gather water in their petals and are quite stunning.  A wonderful design for an embroidery.




I have been busy making costumes for my son.  He is a computer game designer and the studio for whom he works is having a big party at a Gold Coast theme park.  The all have to come as characters in a game they are designing.  I got to make this costume.Sc001d026e
I used a Chef's jacket taking off the collar and replacing it with another, then cut the coat off at the waist and added the cut away bottom section.  The join is covered by the belt.  I thought about wiring the frame of the coat skirts but this would make it cumbersome to wear and after the first sighting no one is going to look at that again.  It would appear that they are going as teams.  Sounds like fun.

Another change.

I am on the move again, this time back to the school I was moved from.  I have been finishing off marking and tidying up loose ends.  In doing this I realised that although the original move was traumatic it was also a gift. I was moved right outside my comfort zone and had to confront the fear of teaching subjects in which I had no training.  I have found that I love teaching English.  That I have a life time of reading to call upon.  That I know Greek and Roman writers, those from the Renaissance, Elizabethan, the enlightenment, the Romantics and lots of modern writers.  When it came to teaching poetry I had all those poets at my fingertips.  What I didn't have was the theoretical structures but they weren't hard to find.  Then, I had this wonderful class of students who were so eager to learn.  Only 12 and 13 years of age but creative and eager to experiment.

I think that the poetry unit was the turning point because I was able to tell them about my own experience at school.  I could never work out why we studied poetry.  The different forms and patterns, what relivence did they have to our lives.  Since then I have realised that poetry is art in words.  I always knew words were beautiful, I just never put the two together.  I was never one of those people who had their poetry in the school magazine.  I just didn't get it.  By understanding the theory I have been able to give a structure to my students so they found it easy to create.  They wrote me the most beautiful words.  Words that painted pictures.  That has been my special gift.

Hand towels

Since I have had my kitchen renovated I haven't had anywhere to hang my hand towels because I didn't have a towel rail fitted.  Then someone gave me a tea towel with a crocheted top that I could attach to the door handle.  I swore that I would never have one of those things in my house, but, it is perfect for the job.  Trouble is, I only had one and I like to change the towel daily.  So I had to work out how to make a set myself.

I bought some towelling tea towels and  sewed across at the half way point using my overlocker.


I tried a number of crochet hooks but found that anything bigger than a 2.00 hook was too difficult to pass through the double layer of towel.  I firstly pushed the hook through one layer at the point where the two layers were overlocked and fastened the thread with a knot.


I then used a double crochet stitch, covering the overlocking.  I worked around the corner at both ends to secure the stitching.


I then worked a treble stitch into each double crochet from the first row.


In the third row I started with a treble stitch and continued working a treble stitch into every second treble stitch from the second row.


I continued working repeating the third and fourth rows until only 6 stitches remained.  Then continued in treble stitch on these 6 stitches for another 14 rows.


At this point  I worked a double crochet into the first 2 stitches and repeated this for 12 rows.


This was then slip stitched to the other end of the 6 treble stitches, forming a button hole.
I double crocheted around the outside edge of the button hole to form a neat edge.


A button was then attached at the beginning of the 6 treble stitch section. 


These are really simple to make, I finished three tonight.  But, I haven't got any lessons prepared for tomorrow!  Oh well. I will just have to get up early and do that.