Friday, November 23, 2012

Shaky Bill the Alcoholic Tattooist

This image reminded me about a funny story I was told by a fellow shed dweller.
It was about a tattoo. And how it ended up being inked. The reason why it was inked was a little sketchy, but the story of how it was done was hilarious. But not sure I should divulge that on here..all names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent...
But to cut a long story short, back in the day there was a guy and his name was Bill. Everyone else knew him as Shaky Bill. He was the only tattooist in town and he liked a drink.
People travelled a really long distance to not get inked by him, so off the lads went to other places and thats where adventures began.
Perhaps you had to be there, I had a good old laugh.

Obviously this was not inked by Shaky Bill, via Thank you Pinterest.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Work and Working

Part of me has shifted into a different mode of working. I have all this space now to unpack ideas into...and a huge 2.2mt square table that I can walk around on all 4 sides certainly helps too. My old studio was so small and I annoyed my partner as my work spilled into every other room in the house.

I know I don't talk much about my 'work'...for some of us, its just what we do, putting it into words is another thing all together. For me it is about process. There often isn't much ruled order to the process but its a process none the less. Being a graphic designer I have a methodical way of working but it is different every time. A client asked me the other day how I got so ordered and I had to have a laugh to myself...if only they knew how much chaos there really was getting to the solution of the brief. 

A quilt will often come to me in pretty bad shape. I love to pick up the ones that others leave behind. I love the not perfect and un-pretty ones. Because somewhere in there will be a little bit of gold that will stand out and thats all I need. I spend a lot of time unpicking. I find it relaxing. Others find it maddening. But pulling something apart knowing how great it will become is kind of exciting. I like knowing i'm saving it as each little scrap can be great if its given the right setting to be in. I like to sit out the front of the studio on the old chairs in the sun. A cup of coffee and a bit of a break to unpick a block or two.

This weeks unpicker

Nearly there...1880s blocks with god awful sashing

Here is a page from my working 'diary' part scribble and part scrawled notes. I love the Moleskeine graph exercise books, i'm fussy, I don't like the hard cover fancy ones, always too nice to scrawl into. A dear friend gives me some every year for my birthday/xmas present, I give her Vera scarves I find on my travels to the USA. It's becoming a nice tradition as we grow older.

Some ideas
I love simple shapes, give me a one patch postage stamp quilt and i'm in awe, often a nine patch is all you need. Add a triangle to the square and you are in business. I don't like to get too complicated. I like the scraps to do the talking.

Playing, planning, a work in progress of 1920s cottons

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shed Crasher

I love the old place where my studio is. Over the last however many years its been a light industrial area. There are lots of tradies in sheds - this is a real blokes with sheds kinda place.
I feel like i'm a bit of a shed crasher. That I have interrupted some secret mens business. Don't get me wrong, i've been made to feel very welcome, even been given a beer. I have earned my 'shed stripes'.
When I first got my warehouse it was, shall we say 'a tad on the rough side'...the blokes would tell me to 'toughen up' that this was Fyansford and they would have a bit of a laugh. But over time we have turned a rough gem into a bit of a diamond. We could see the potential.

Shed Cleanup and paint of many...

We had to clean it up, from being the original sites boiler room to what it was last as a joinery. There were decades of neglect to sort out. Then fixing windows and all sorts of other things. Keeping in mind this is a heritage listed building and there are somethings you just can't do and some things you have to do a certain way....then install things. You name it we had a TONNE of work to do. And without the help of my friends and my family you wouldn't have what we have today....shall we say a warehouse that transformed into a studio...but I still call it my shed. I have always wanted a kick ass shed.

Shed fixing day with Elfi from Molle Interiors, me and Rach from Textile Treasure, photo from Michaela
Our front doorway today and some landscaping
A huge shout out goes to..
My beloved Paul from The Odyssey Tavern
The amazing Elif and Tim from Molle Interiors
Ben from Preston Street Media and Shane
The awesome Michaela for all her hard work
Fi from FWD design you are truly brilliant
Lena from Ideas by Tuesday - legend
Fiona from The Stitching Project 
My Dad for all his help fixing stuff and my mum for all her thoughts as she recovers from Chemo.
To the 'blokes' on site for their kind words, jokes, beer and help. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Get ya' Funk on...

New in stock - 1960s and 1970's vintage fabric fat quarter packs. 4 fat quarters in each pack. $20.00.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Bit of History

My studio is in a heritage listed building built in 1876 in one of the worlds last remaining intact Victorian era paper mills. I have become quite fascinated by the old place and have started to gather bits information and photos about its varied and sometimes crazy life. First it was a paper mill, then an ice factory and during the wars as an explosives factory. Yes, a little crazy.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting some photos I have found via the State Library archives and from some very old photo albums I found a few years ago that have many photos of the area from 1921 to 1936.
I hope you enjoy these images as much as I have enjoyed learning more about this amazing old building I work from. (And, no, these photos aren't from Instagram, this is just how photos were back then (-;)

These photos were taken in around 1880 when the Mill was in full swing. Back then 'Paper' was made out of fabric, hence the term 'rag paper'. The ladies would work in the top of the buildings snipping buttons off collected clothes from the rag merchants and then sort the rags out into giant bales that would then be loaded onto horse and cart and taken down the ramps into the mixing race. In the race giant machines called mashers would tear it all up into a pulp to make the paper sheets.

This is my favourite photo. It's of giant revolving boilers that would feed the machinery in the floor above. The reason I love this photo is this is my studio. My office is in front of the windows to the right of the boilers. And the place still has those gigantic timber beams. When I started investigating all of this, I at first thought I had the old rag house, but that is the building next to mine. This is the boiler room....I wonder how many ideas we can cook up in this place now! We have already been rollerskating in here.

When the paper got to the end of the machines, the ladies would check the sheets for quality and then it was packed into heavy cloth bags that they made on site in the bagging shed.

One of the bagging machines.

If you do come to visit you can still see some of the remains of the old machinery here and there.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Studio now Open

Hello everyone, we have decided to open up the studio to you all from 11am to 3pm Thursday to Saturday. Feel free to pop in to view the fabrics, quilts and other textile goodies. Cash and Card available. We look forward to seeing you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Playing with Colour

I've been playing with colour schemes at the moment, grouping colour and pattern together gearing up for some new projects. Tying things back with grey and white and maybe a little accent of that nice soft vintage black. I have a few favourites from my latest trip that I want to use so working with the colours in them. The lovely red, grey and yellow 30's cotton 4th from the top and the unusual grey geometric from the 20's. So have narrowed down to a red scheme and a blue scheme. The cornflower blue geometric 3rd from the bottom from a past trip always pops into things, It's one I love to work with. That shade of blue just makes me happy.
So when I fiddle with fabric I always have music on, each colour conjures up a song....I see red by Split Enz and Blue Jean by David Bowie spring to mind.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Australian Quilters Association - Guest Speaker

How excited am I to be the guest speaker at the Australian Quilters Association on September 3rd. I will be trading from 10am with feedsacks, quilt blocks, quilt tops and vintage fabrics from the 1800s to the 1960s as well as silks and cottons from the Stitching Project and the range of jackets, scarves and accessories from the Pukka Desirables range.
At 1pm I will be talking about my latest trip to the USA and my work with vintage and antique quilts and the Stitching Project in India.
The meeting is at the United Church Hall at 679 Canterbury Road Surrey Hills.
Selection of Quilt Blocks from the 1860s to 1930s

Feedsack Feedsack Feedsack

A start of the Feedsacks I have got together so far on my trip. I will start to get these ready for sale when I get back.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

You shook me...

Thank you to the last 3 mins of New Girl tonight, the end scene of the dedication of the AC/DC classic You Shook Me All Night Long to all the girls in his future.
That scene made me smile from ear to ear, as when I hear that song I can't help but turn it up and jump around the studio making a dick of myself or get behind the drums and play along.

Even though its Brian Jones singing and not my beloved Bon, its still a classic tune.

Rock on!!!

(PS...holy, Coles got the Quo in their awful ad, talk about old rockers still rockin'??)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scrap Happy

What to do with all your it. Image via Doreme Japan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dyson goes Steampunk

Here is a little bit of ha ha for you the time it wasn't, but now I think we can all laugh at it...
The switch broke on my beloved Dyson DC01 -  the first Dyson vacuum cleaner made, and this was the limited edition Dyson De Stijl. Named after a pretty influential design movement in the Netherlands in the early part of the 20th century. This Vacuum had the hall marks of this design movement - or Neo Plasticism as it is also referred. The art movement that gave us Mondiran. What could I not love about this Vacuum cleaner when I bought it, bright purple, red and yellow, it had my name written all over it.

So, my dad offered to take a look, he's pretty handy. He couldn't find a replacement switch in the local electrical store, as you would assume, not many place carry parts for a Dyson in a regional town and not ever having contact with a computer would never think to google to look for one ($24.95 delivered if he did know) so he decided to 'make do and mend' and fitted a 1930s bakelite light switch to it.

Yes it turns on....And to make sure it really took hold, its been drilled through the casing and super glued on and he's glued up the old i'm stuck with it, literally.

Bless him....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shiny Happy People....60s and 70s Warm Brights

As the weather gets colder I like to have bright happy textiles around. I have these lovely wool/cotton blends from the 60s and 70s, Clydella, Viyella and Marvella. Perfect for skirts and blouses.
Every year my Nana made me a blouse out of Viyella, that nice brushed twill, it was so warm. The little ditsy prints remind me so much of her and what she made for me with love. Enjoy!