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July 2009
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September 2009

August 2009

Education about textiles

There was a workroom at the back of the exhibition.  It was set up with a DVD of a fashion show, notes on how you put one together and static displays of what is in a working workroom .( I was interested to see that the sewing was done with Rasant thread.)

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In the middle of the room was a creation area for children.  Paper models, templates for the clothes and printed paper for the fabric.  Kids and parents loved it.

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On the way out I stopped off in the Gallery shop.  Everything was too expensive to buy but I would really like to see if I could make some of the embellishments on the bags and the bracelets.


Eastonpearson There is a page of more detailed images on the GoMA website and you can buy the  catalog from the Gallery shop.  There is a Curator's Essay available on line if you wish to read more in detail about the exhibition.  (These are excellent notes for year 11 and 12  Fashion students.)

My next job is to put together an excursion for the year 11 students.  They will not being doing the Fashion Unit until the beginning of 2010 but this is too good an opportunity to miss.

The delights

Here are some of the designs I just found delightful,  that's the only word to describe them.

Rick rack, cut away and needle weaving peeking through, with a bit of satin stitch as well.



Layers on  layers.  Screen printed top on silk, over-sewn with metal rings couched into position using a pink embroidery thread and then trimmed with feathers.

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Embroidery using the design of the brocade.  Stitch pattern on bands, some one has sewn those little prairie points as well.

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Wool embroidery.


The colour in this image isn't too good, it was really a lot brighter.  It was a crochet and knitted patchwork coat inspired by the work of Klimt.


This skirt looked beautiful and when you looked into how it was constructed I was overcome with admiration for the creative process of these designers.  The main fabric was a light-weight printed wool and the colours made a pleasing whole. 


When I looked closer each of these ruffles had the seam covered by a velvet ribbon and at the back of each seam, just visible, was a strip of silk which after being cut on the bias was inserted into the seam and frayed to show a hint of colour.


The satin strips in the bodice are hand stitched with a fagoting stitch.  Can you imagine how long thing would take?


Here's another one using the same hand stitching process.


And easy old running stitch.



Most of the embellishment seemed to include some kind of beading.  These little jackets remind me of the beaded cardigans that I used to buy from Hong Kong back in the 1970's.  The cardigans were beaded and then lined in silk.  They used to weigh a ton!  These have been beaded in India on net.  They don't look heavy at all but the designs are very similar to the old cardies.

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The oriental styled garments already were constructed of rich fabrics the beads just made them even more exotic.

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Here the beading is used more sparingly.  It still looks rich.


Embroidery with raffia

I was most taken with the use of raffia as a medium for embroidery.  If you have ever worked with raffia you will know that it splits, is hard to pass through fabric and all in all a 'dog' to work with.  But here it is in all it's glory.  (click on the images to get a larger view.)

Here it was couched to the surface of the fabric (calico) in lines and then looped back as a decoration.


Then it was crocheted as an over-skirt.  Not what I would like for myself but the bolero is all yo yo's and I like the idea of using centres on some yo yos to highlight the appearance of a flower.

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This cummerbund is very like those used by Pacific Islanders and makes a statement on top of this patchwork skirt. ( I would have loved to have spread that skirt out to see how it was made.)  The design on the centre skirt, although obviously not raffia, could be translated into a quilt.


Then we get to the 'how did they do that?' dresses.  I had to look again at this one to make sure it was raffia. The fabric seemed to be of a fairly tight weave. A very traditional design in a very nontraditional embroidery medium.


The use of geometric designs for the stitching was interesting.


And finally this one.  Some person has sewn all this raffia onto this outfit.  It did have an open weave so that it wasn't as difficult to pass the raffia through and the background stipple lines were couched.  All I could think of was, "oh, their poor fingers at the end."


A problem and the exhibition.

I hit my foot in the kitchen at work and have been walking on it for a week.  It is black swollen and obviously broken.  I have been going to work every day but the pain got too much and I had to go to the doctor.  Guess what?  It's broken.  I'm going to have to take a day off work to get X rays, to tell me what I already know, it's broken.  I only have 5 weeks to my son's wedding, I hope the plaster is off by then.  I want to wear those high heels I bought.


This was the wall at the entrance to the exhibition and yes those are real pineapples alongside the stylized ones.  It really set the scene.  From other entrances the use of Indian lamp shades gave an exotic feel to the space.  You often see these shades but grouped like this they looked stunning.  I'm going  to try using them in my house.  I have 12 foot ceilings and large rooms so I think I might be able to use them in my dining room.



There were so many stunning pieces it is hard to select particular examples.


This dress was made of a fine wool, it fluted just like a silk.  The edges were unfinished but didn't seem to fray.  The whole dress was spot embroidered.  This was more noticeable on the jacket and bodice but the same embroidery was hidden in the ruffles.


Looking at their current collection I see that yo yo's (or suffolk puffs) are in evidence.  They were also used in a number of pieces here.  There was a black evening gown, that I had trouble photographing.  It was designed for movement.  They had used yo yos and beading on the underskirt.  When the wearer walks they will move the under skirt and this will flash occasionally into view, and move the silk in the over skirt.  The concept of movement being part of the design is intriguing.
Black silk also featured in this skirt, top and shawl.


Eaton Pearson - T shirts

These were displayed at the back of the entrance not in with the main displays.  I could get up real close and see how they were made.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Firstly, it was the lack of making that took my eye.  No hems or bound neck edges, just stay stitching.   (Great for my students that don't have good sewing skills just yet.)  If you click on the photo you can get a close up.

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The next thing was the use of simple surface design.  The use of a sponge roller to apply the ink.  The sort that you can buy in craft or art shops.


Then the use of found items for embellishment.  Sharonb in her July/August Explorer challenge highlighted the use of found objects in embroidery.  You could incorporate interesting bottle tops into the work like they are here.


There were T shirts that had multiple decorative processes incorporated in them.  Embroidery, Applique, found objects and beading.
  When I looked at each element separately I think the the embroidery designs, in particular would work well off a T shirt and as an art piece.  The same applies for some of the applique.


These appliques look like a doodle and are really quite small when seen on the garment.



Beading was used a lot, especially sequins.  Around necks, armholes and hems and then there were encrusted pieces that had been sew separately and then attached to the garment.  There was a set of T shirts with designs taken from playing cards which used these techniques.

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The last T shirts in the display used printing techniques, block and screen predominately.


I don't know how to catagorise these two.  Slashing and attaching?

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Teenagers do not normally look at high fashion garments.  Firstly they are out of their price range, (and mine for that matter), but it is the inspiration that these pieces spark.  I don't have one student that couldn't sew any of these pieces.  It is the putting of the elements together to make an original garment that makes the difference.

A week of fashion from Easton Pearson

What an exhibition!  I didn't get an invite to the opening on the saturday night but from the Sydney Morning Herald it looks as though it was a great party.  My little camera went click, click click, 280 times as I walked through.  There was just so much detail.

Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson


The use of design journals.  Just what I needed to show students what working designers use.

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This material was in the show cases on the way into the gallery along with a display of T shirts. The detail used in each creation can not really be seen unless you understand garment construction, fabric embellishment and embroidery.  Tomorrow those T shirts.

From my window

I don't know what has happened to the weather?  It is still winter and outside my window the temperature is 31 degrees C, that is supposed to be high summer!


The council have been around to trim the lower branches from the trees, they get in the way of people wanting to park outside my house.  The trees look like winter.  The branches are bare and all the seed pods are ready to fall.

I was really surprised to see how quickly the mulcher ate up the branches.  It takes me ages to chop up a branch and at the end my hands are usually  scratched and dented.

It was a case of going, going gone.   I'm glad they didn't touch the fig tree outside the kitchen window.  The possums, flying foxes and birds love this tree and so do I.


I'm off to the Gallery of Modern Art to see the Easton Pearson exhibition.  Their dresses are works of art.  So much detail, beautiful embroidery and fabrics.

When I'm stitching

One of my favourite blogs belongs to Anne-Marie Horner.  The other day she wrote:

"When I'm stitching I'm not emailing. I'm not texting. I'm not talking. I'm not writing. Not negotiating. Not invoicing. Not shipping. Not receiving. Not cutting. Not even sewing. I'm stitching."

I have always liked stitching for it's own sake.  When things get really bad I will find an embroidery that takes total concentration, usually counted thread work.  I can't think about the problem, I have to count.  And you know, when I stop I can look at the problem more objectively and it often isn't a problem any more.

My current stitching is based on an idea from the Floating Life exhibition.  I think that stitching can be a bit like writing a novel.  Writers often say that their characters take on their own personality,  I know my designs do.  They start as lines on a page and then when I start to dress them with stitches and threads they take on a life of their own.  I think this one has something of the teenager in it.  It says it needs other colours and threads.  I will have to indulge it.


Pattern Darning

This months Stitch Explorer Challenge is 'Pattern Darning'.  I enjoy this stitch as it feeds my obsession for counted thread work.  I find it very satisfying to make regular patterns.

A couple of years ago I made a set of six place mats for my daughter.  The finished size was 17 1/2" by 13 1/2", (44 X 34 cm).  I hem stitched the edges, using Ecru colour, DMC Cotton a broder No 16 and then stitched 6 different band designs, one on each mat using DMC Cotton a broder No 8 and 12. (The bands ran down the side of the mat.) The fabric was an even weave linen/cotton with 20 threads to 1", in a natural colour.  I must do some more of these as I found the stitching very relaxing.


Very hard to get a good scan of these neutral colours.  Another good reason to buy a new DSLR camera.