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Australia’s No. 1 magazine for fibres, yarns & textiles DOWN UNDER

Miniature Marvels DISCOVER Creative postcards


Tricia Smout & Dijanne Cevaal ISSUE 13, 2013 AUS $10.95 / NZ $12.95

MAKE Quick & easy gift tags

Small-scale art with a big impact



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Let’s Create 28 Four Ways to Foil

69 It’s Not About the Camera

34 Simply Kantha


Neroli Henderson’s nightscape project explores a variety of foiling methods

Wendy Saclier has tips and stitching guides for creating wonderfully textural Kantha pieces

47 Textile Gift Tags

Brenda Wood presents quick and easy quilted gift tags that can be used for all occasions

61 Working with Rust

Sally Westcott reveals how to create a stash of rich, earthy fabrics

Diane Groenewegen shows how to take better photographs of art pieces

6 Bits n Pieces 73 Blogroll 76 Library 78 What On, When & Where 82 Next Issue

Features 10 Journeys

Suzanne Gummow asks – what inspires you?

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12 22 12 Baltic Miniatures

Enjoy selected pieces from the Baltic Mini Textile Triennials

74 Where I Create

Fibre artist, botanical illustrator and photographer Jola Szymczyk opens the door to her creative space

18 Up Close

Angela Griffith Fimmano details the inspiration and creation of one of her signature ties

22 Meet a Textile Artist

Tricia Smout, a prolific mixed media artist from Brisbane, talks about her work and creative life

41 Express Post

Sisters Karen Hurford and Merody Buglar share their 12 month art postcard exchange

54 Meet a Textile Artist

Discover the intriguing work of Dijanne Cevaal

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Australia’s No. 1 magazine for fibres, yarns & textiles DOWN UNDER

Miniature Marvels DISCOVER

Creative postcards


Tricia Smout & Dijanne Cevaal

ISSUE 13, 2013

AUS $10.95 / NZ $12.95


& easy gift tags


DUT13 FC option iiiaA.indd

Small-scale art with a big impact KANTHA STITCHING



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Catherine O’Leary, Australia Synergy, 2013 Hand felted wool fibre

Baltic Miniatures

A 15,300km Journey Down Under Text by Kate Oszko Photographs by Jola Szymczyk

An exhibition of miniatures has a big impact on the local art and textile scene.

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A specially curated exhibition of 70 pieces from the Museum of Gydnia, Poland, has been touring Australia through 2012 and 2013. Gdynia is little known in Australia, but it has a strong textile tradition and hosts the International Baltic Mini Textile Triennials, a competition which always attracts quality submissions from around the world. In 2010 Jola Szymczyk, a textile artist living in Brisbane, had the vision of bringing the unique art works to Australia. Two years later, with strong personal support from Janet de Boer and Sue Ford, as well as The Australian Forum of Textile Arts (TAFTA) and the Australian Textile and Surface Design Association (ATASDA), the pieces were being unpacked on Australian soil. The pieces, no more than 20cm x 20cm x 20cm in size, have been selected from Triennials 1 to 8. They display a wide range of styles and an often surprising and interesting use of materials. The works demonstrate how ideas can be superbly expressed in a compact form. The Pine Rivers Art Gallery was the first to showcase the collection. These images were taken at the gallery as they were being unwrapped by Jola, Janet, Sue, and the gallery Director, Tracey Wallace. The exhibition then travelled throughout Australia and has been very well received. As a direct result of seeing this work, eight Australian artists submitted entries to the 9th Triennial, and five were accepted. A heartwarming outcome from a vision more than three years ago.

The Baltic Miniatures can be seen at the Warwick Art Gallery in March 2014 before they head back to Poland. For more information, contact Jola Szymczyk on 0405 336 240.

Tricia Smout, Australia Worry beads for the Environment, 2008 Hand-lettered words on black paper attached to spheres covered with natural-fibre papers

Margaret Barnett, Australia From the Forest Floor Muira shibori, handmade mulberry paper, fibre reactive dye, beads | 13

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Jill Burgess, Australia Industry 1 Commercially available metal washers embroidered together into an appropriate “industrial� design, mounted on a felt background

Jolanta Szymczyk, Australia Fabric of Life, 2013 (above, detail left) Raw silk, eco dying with eucalyptus leaves, printing on fabric

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Danuta Paprowicz-Michno, Poland Brodacz, 2001 [Transl: bearded man] Linen and cotton, pins

Heidi Bedenknecht De Felice, Italy Sea Inhabitants, 2004 Tulle, plastic

Helga Borisch, Germany Figures on black ground, 2007 Various papers, sewed | 15

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Brigitte Amarger, France Brown pebbles, 2007 (above, detail at right) Reflective and phosphorescent threads, linen, micro balls of glass, glue, pebbles

Irina Kolesnikova, Germany Balance, 2007 Flax, silk, weaving, handmade paper

Ruta Linite, Latvia Sunrise, 2007 Felt, carton, wool, applique, plastic

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Judit Szekely, Hungary King of the sea, 2007 Tea bags (paper), felt (wool)

Anna Goebel, Poland Ujawnione IV, 2011 [transl: revealed layers/ revealed treasures] Paper-mache

Lidia Kuk, Poland Skrawek BĹ‚ekitu, 2009 [transl: a piece of blue] Paper, wire (above, detail at right) | 17

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Tricia Smout Tricia Smout is a mixed media artist who translates her passion for text into a wide range of genres – from books, jewellery and boxes, to art quilts and wearable art. She shares her journey with us.

Creativity Cues

Alice’s Coat of Quotes, with words from the poem Jabberwocky, worn by Sonja Smout

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Life Choices

How long have you been involved in creating art works? I have enjoyed playing with paper, yarns and fabric since I was a little girl, and as a teenager I used to make my own clothes (sewing, knitting, crochet). Craft work took a back seat during my years as a researcher, science teacher and mother of three boys. Then 30 years ago I learned calligraphy, and started doing commissions. Twenty years ago I did a workshop with the famous English calligrapher/ embroiderer Pat Russell, and I have been creating designs based on lettering ever since. A lot of your work is mixed media and often features text in some form. What are your favourite materials to work with and why? My great love is calligraphy, and indeed lettering of any type, and in all shapes and forms. I enjoy doing calligraphy commissions (wedding invitations, graduation certificates, etc). I have fun making small books, cards, paper jewellery and other merchandise to sell at galleries and markets. I also love working with all types of textiles: fibres, paper, yarns and fabrics. The tactile qualities of the materials give me tremendous pleasure, and I also delight in playing with different colour combinations. So my ultimate ‘grande passion’ is creating designs based on letters and words which

I then construct in an appropriate medium. I use ink or paint on paper and fabric, felting, collage, papier mâché, embossing, embroidery, appliqué, patchwork, quilting, knitting, crochet, tapestry, beading, photography, spinning, dyeing, silk painting, papermaking and fibre sculpture. Some of these intriguing ‘TEXTured’ patterns and designs are legible text, whereas in others the text is manipulated into abstract designs so that the aesthetic qualities of the pattern and colour predominate. My dear husband says, “if they can’t read it, why bother”, but I keep doing it anyway! I use several different methods to create these designs; some feature a single letter, and some are based on a particular word, while others incorporate a whole phrase or sentence. A recent major work commitment has been as Artist-inResidence at Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. Tell us a bit about that experience. It was a huge privilege to be selected as the 2012 Artist-inResidence. Because of my love of lettering, I chose ‘The Language of Nature’ as my theme for the year and I organised lots of activities and demonstrations for visiting members of the public. I’m a member of lots of different craft groups, and I invited my textile colleagues to participate in many collaborative artworks, incorporating a wide variety of materials and techniques. | 23

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My ultimate ‘grande passion’ is creating designs based on letters and words which I then construct in an appropriate medium.

‘Arachnid Artistry’ was an impressive series of webs strung in the trees near the gardens’ entrance, and the ‘Swishy Swathes’ garlands of fabric flowers are still hanging in various shelter sheds. More of these flowers adorn the ‘Tropical Profusion’ tabard that I made for the Gardens’ Botanique fashion parade. Bundles of fibres, which had hung in trees and been buried, were later then transformed into A3 pages for ‘Integrate/Disintegrate’. The 11 ‘Flowers of Friendship’ hangings comprise 495 squares created by 355 people (aged 2 to 91) in an amazing variety of techniques, materials and colours. People from all over the world posted 250 gorgeouslydecorated envelopes to my ‘A-I-R Mail Project’ (A-I-R for Artist-in-Residence). Eight artists made 22 ‘Fragrant Flags’ inspired by the herb garden at Mt Coot-tha. ‘Forest Fusion’ is a large framed fabric collage incorporating wet felting, embroidery, painting, silk paper, machine embellishing, crochet, beading, knitting and, of course, lettering. ‘Japanese Garden Reveries’ is a book of haiku poetry and photographs. Screen prints and embroidered lettering feature in ‘Paired Printings’. For ‘Environmental Exhortations and Elucidations’ I lettered the same quotes in nine identical books, and these were uniquely embellished

Spectrum Of Humanity (detail)

Spectrum Of Humanity (detail)

Spectrum Of Humanity

Flowers Of Friendship

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Naturally inSPIREd

Cycle Of Life

by different people with drawings, paintings, collage and photographs. ‘Emergence’ and ‘Naturally inSPIREd’ incorporate basketry and handmade natural-fibre paper. Drawings and collage feature in the artist books ‘Naturally Collaborative’ and ‘Tangled Nature’. And there’s many more. I hope you’ll visit my residency blog to read about all the projects and exhibitions: How do you deal with challenges when working on a project? When I get stuck, I leave the project lying around in a prominent place where I keep seeing it out of the corner of my eye. Hopefully my subconscious eventually kicks in and I get an inkling of how to solve the problem. One of my biggest challenges is abiding by the KISS principle. I am just not good at doing ‘concise’. Years ago a curator told me that I should ‘turn on three lightbulbs, then turn two off’, and I realised that my response is always to ‘turn on another two’. I guess it’s too hard to teach an old dog new tricks! What is the project or series that you are most satisfied with? What did it involve? One of my favourite pieces (probably because it was my first piece to receive international recognition) is a vest which incorporates black satin lettering over a patchwork of glitzy fabrics (creating a stained glass effect). The lettering on the back reads “all arts are one … every artist dips his brush in

Cycle Of Life (detail) | 25

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his own soul”. The two front panels represent my interests in various art forms. I’m pleased with my brightly-coloured ‘Ways of Seeing’. This is a series of lettered ‘lenses’ which overlay circular discs of quotations. Another piece which has been widely admired is ‘Reconciliation’. This is a book of black and white weavings, which become increasingly complex. What is your current project or focus? I am currently searching for a permanent home to display the ‘Flowers of Friendship’ hangings where they can be easily viewed by the contributors and visiting members of the public – all offers welcome! I am also determined to complete the two unfinished collaborative residency projects: a children’s book about water dragons, and ‘Focus on Nature’ (plant photographs sent by hundreds of people from all around the world). What are your plans for the future? I hope to stage an exhibition entitled ‘MathemARTical’ for which I have been intermittently making books, hangings and sculptural works for several years. And of course I also plan to stop procrastinating and start sorting my mess (oops, I mean creative chaos)!

Cycle Of Life (detail)

Wearable Art Vest (front) Wearable Art Vest (back)

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You can see more of Tricia’s work on her website at or on her residency blog at Contact Tricia for details of classes in calligraphy, artist books and various papercrafts (both adults and children)

Ways Of Seeing

Ways Of Seeing (detail)

Reconciliation (detail) Photography Credits – Russell Stokes: Alice’s Coat of Quotes (p22), Spectrum of Humanity (p24), Wearable Art Vest (p26); Rod Buchholz: Creativity Cues (p22), Life Choices (p23), Ways of Seeing (p27); Mark Lee: Cycle of Life (p25-26); all others by Tricia Smout. | 27

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Kantha By Wendy Saclier

Kantha is a wonderfully rhythmic form of stitching that can look simple, or be used to give interesting texture and design to many projects. I would love to share with you some of the methods I use, so that you can get started on your own Kantha journey.

Many Moons

As you can see from the photo gallery of my work, I have created many art pieces using this deceptively simple stitch. How did I get to this point in my creative life? I have been interested in all forms of hand embroidery throughout my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother Vivienne making woollen quilts, smocking my dresses, darning socks and work-clothes and embroidering tablecloths. I grew up in western Queensland on a sheep station outside the little town of McKinlay. It was in the years of World War II and at a young age I realised that every piece of fabric, including flour, sugar and chaff bags, was precious and needed to be recycled. Most women have a desire to make things beautiful through embellishment, and I was no different. I have a book cover made of a recycled sugar bag on which my mother appliqued flowers and embroidered in chain stitch. When I was introduced to patchwork and quilting in 1976 in Canberra, my mother and I embraced crazy patchwork and appliquĂŠ quilts and we made many quilts together. My enjoyment of hand embroidery has continued and developed. It was no surprise that I became immediately

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Tako and bowl

interested when I observed June Fiford sewing Kantha-inspired pieces. June is an inspirational embroiderer, well known for her gold work. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the stitch and the way in which it transformed a plain cloth background. June had attended a workshop at a Textile Forum where tutor Dorothy Caldwell, an internationally acclaimed textile artist from Canada, held a workshop using Kantha stitch. Dorothy has researched stitching in

India, Japan, Australia and northern Canada and has works in a number of permanent collections around the world. In Australia there are many quilters using this stitch, including Carolyn Sullivan and Helen Gray, whose work I admire. The women of India and Bangladesh have been making Kanthas for centuries. Using old cloth, including worn saris, two layers are joined together with row upon row of running stitches through both layers of fabric to

recycle what as a single layer would not be functional. Often included in these pieces are motifs depicting everyday village life: animals, plants, figures and other objects. Once the motif has been ‘drawn’ by sewing the shape, the outlines are then shadowed with row upon row of running stitch. This tends to distort the fabric making the motifs stand in relief or make them appear three-dimensional. Contemporary artists use a variety of textiles (usually two layers) such | 35

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Cutting Corners (above, with detail at left) as cotton, wool, and silk. They can be plain, dyed, printed, painted and/or patterned, and are basted together and then held together with a running stitch. Other stitches used in conjunction with the running stitch may include backstitch, stem stitch, and straight stitch. Threads may include stranded embroidery thread, crochet, silk, and metallic threads, depending upon what desired effect is being created. It is the variation of the length, direction, space between stitches and the arrangement and placement of the stitches, which creates different effects. The basic running stitch is arguably the simplest stitch one can use. Yet using it and its variations can produce the most elaborate and complicated results. The stitch arrangements on the following page are a starting point for this simple but effective technique.

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Patterns and stitch arrangements for Kantha

Basic running stitch.

Stitching a wave.

Double running stitch, similar to backstitch.

Stitching used to fill in a shape.

Stepping stitch: lines of stitching run parallel to the previous row, but the stitches fall slightly behind or are stitched slightly forward of the stitches in the previous row which produces a rippled surface.

Using stitching to shadow an outline.

Parallel stitching.

Brick stitching.

Making circles or spirals. | 37

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Gallery The basic running stitch and its variations can produce the most elaborate and complicated results.

Sash (below, with detail at left)

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The length, direction and placement of stitches creates different effects.

Sandhills (right, with detail below)

Channel Country (left, with detail above) | 39

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L E T ’ S C R E AT E

Practice makes Perfect

Gift Tags By Brenda Wood

Have you ever wanted to practice your free motion quilting but you’ve wondered what to do with the samples? Here’s a way to put those practice pieces to good use! These gift tags are quick and simple to make and are an excellent adornment for any gift for any occasion.

Requirements: 2 fat quarters of fabric Thin batting, fat quarter size Coloured quilting threads Decorative shape templates Purchased paper tags Pen Paper Decorative cord or ribbon Tailors awl or hole punch Scissors Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat Quilting gloves (optional) Free motion quilting foot or open toe foot | 47

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Thread Choice: Shiny rayons are great for the main design, plainer flatter coloured cottons are better for the filler design. Choose a different coloured thread for the top and the bobbin so as to allow the elements of the quilting to stand out on both sides of the sandwich. (Photo 4)


The best fabrics for this project are ones that have simple patterns and a restricted colour palette (Photo 1). Front pieces (top row) and back pieces (bottom row) should complement, but contrast each other. Complicated and multi-coloured fabrics are unsuitable, as the quilting will be lost. (Photo 2) Fat quarter size pieces are ideal, and will provide enough tags to give away and still have some to sell at the next market day or quilt group exchange. Batiks that have a subtle colour shift, with a simple, moderately sized pattern are great for the front. Commercial cottons with a simple design and minimum colour range can also be quite effective. Plainer fabric with a simple colour scheme and minimal pattern are great for the backing and can be either a hand dye, batik or commercial print. The best effect is created when complementary colours are chosen for the front and back fabrics. such as purple and yellow; red and green or blue and orange.

Make a quilt sandwich by layering the back fabric, batting and top fabric so that wrong sides of the fabric are against the batting. Pin or baste the quilt sandwich lightly. Trial the quilting designs on paper first. Use a pen to draw line designs and quilting patterns. (Photo 5) Remember not to lift the pen off the page in the middle of a design. Draw repetitive or filler designs, as well as feature patterns such as feathers or leaves. Some fabrics have a design which can be copied. Before starting to quilt, make sure to be seated comfortably and be relaxed. Hands should be positioned on either side of the needle to securely hold the fabric. Quilting gloves can help with this. (Photo 6) Use a free motion quilting foot or open toe foot and cover or lower the feed dogs. Start with a filler quilting design, beginning on the side of the quilt sandwich with the plainest pattern. Thread colour should be of low contrast and enhance the colour of both fabrics. Pause and adjust thread tension if necessary. Once a portion of the sandwich has been quilted, change to a different filler design and continue. One fat quarter quilt sandwich is big enough to try several different designs. When the sandwich has been covered with quilting designs, turn the fabric to the patterned side, and change thread colour to something that will co-ordinate and contrast with the fabrics, top and bottom. Often the best choice is the opposite colour of the fabrics. Try matching the top thread to the bottom fabric for contrast and vice versa. Now quilt following the lines of the pattern on the top fabric or stitch a feature quilting pattern. (Photo 7) Feathers or other designs can fill plain spaces. In Photo 8, the fabric flower design is being used to fill spaces.

Photo 1 -– suitable fabrics

Photo 2 – unsuitable fabrics


Fabric Choice:

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Photo 3 – the backing fabric can become the front of the tag and vice versa

Photo 4 – auditioning threads

When the quilting is complete, iron and trim the piece ready for cutting. Use the purchased paper tag as a template. Select a part of the quilting design you like, and cut out. Make a template for the other part of the tag (star, heart, flower, or other shape – see Photo 9). Trace and cut out. Layer the paper tag, the fabric tag and the decorative shape. Using the tailors awl or hole punch, punch a hole in the three layers and tie them together with a decorative cord.

Tips for Machine Quilting: – Check the seat position, hand position and relax your shoulders. – Try the feed dogs up, then try them down. Which feels better?

Quilt sandwich

– Adjust the speed of the machine if possible and see if more control is gained. – Change the stitch length to zero. Does that help? – Wear quilting gloves. Cotton ones with little grips on the palm and fingers are best. – An embroidery hoop can be helpful to keep the fabric taut and moving near the edges. – Use a sewing machine extension table. – Use a new quilting needle. – Put on some music that has a good tempo and sing along. Complementary threads | 49

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Photo 5 – drawn quilting designs

Photo 6 – using quilting gloves

Complementary colours give the best effect.

Photo 7 – back and front of the quilt sandwich, with filler quilting and feature design in high contrast colour

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Photo 8 – filling spaces | 51

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Paint, foil or stencil the tags for added creativity.

Photo 10 – stencilled design

Photo 9 – assembling the tags

or ribbon. All that remains is to write a message on the paper side and attach the creative to the gift. Stamping, printing or spritzing the quilt sandwich can add more impact. Applying lumiere paint or trying a foiling technique is another way of adding creativity to the tags. Using the printed design as a stencil can be done as well – see Photo 10.

We would love to see how your tags have turned out! Share your creations on our Facebook page or email them to

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Down Under Textiles 13  

Down Under Textiles 13 Sampler

Down Under Textiles 13  

Down Under Textiles 13 Sampler