Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Summer harvesting

Each year I look forward to summer with excited anticipation and this year is no different. Growing up in a household where the biggest tomatoes are the most celebrated, food has always been an important part of my life. I can’t wait for the first red tomatoes of the season from the garden - still a few weeks away. In the mean time, I took a little road trip down to Monbulk to pick raspberries this morning. They will be turned into jam and possibly a sweet tart or two, if I get onto the pastry tonight. The next few days are going to be hot, definitely not pastry making weather.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cake for Jules

I have made this cake so often that I barely need to look at the recipe. I only make it in the Summer months, when berries are abundant and can fill the hole created by pressing it down with a weight as soon as it comes out of the oven. Certainly not one of the prettiest cakes around, but rather, one for those who love their cake on the rich side of things. My sister and I share a birthday, so this is for her, with love.
The River Cafe Pressed Chocolate Cake

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Who would have thought that after finishing a simple weft-faced sample in a first year weaving class, that I would become so addicted to rugs. I find myself invariably turning the corner over of any rug I come across to see if it is hand knotted. In weft-faced rugs, the warp lies hidden in the middle thickness of the rug and is only seen at the fringes. It is covered almost entirely of closely beaten weft. That being said, not all rugs are weft-faced. By far, my favorite technique in carpets is knotted pile. It is not only because they are steeped in such a rich history, but also because they are probably the slowest of all techniques and therefore require a certain type of madness in attempting to create one.

Weaving on a vertical loom.

Nothing like a hand drawn diagram. These ones illustrate two of the most common types of knots used for pile rugs as well as tapestry weave. On the right is a Sehna or Persian knot and the middle a Ghiordes knot. Ghiordes is a town in northern Irak, from which have come rugs knotted in this manner. There are different reasons for using either knot, while the Ghiodes is much more secure and lends itself to long pile rugs, the Persian knot allows for more knots to be tied per square inch, hence a much more complex design can be woven.
Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom
The Silver Rug c. 1923.
I swoon over this rya rug.

Otti Berger

Flatweave carpet c. 1930

Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom
Black Garden c. 1925

Marion Dorn

Pile carpet with a geometric design c. 1930s

Marion Dorn

Lobby of Claridges Hotel London c. 1935

Eileen Gray

Design for Centimeter c. 1926-29


Eileen Gray

Felt mat c. 1928

Ivan Da Silva Bruhns

Carpet c. 1927

The carpets of Ivan Da Silva Bruhns are among the most highly sought French Art Deco Carpets. If I could own any, it would have to be the one below. I especially love how carpets made during this time were usually signed with the name of the designer or workshop with a monogram.

Ivan Da Silva Bruhns

One of a set of three carpets c. 1935

Sonia Delaunay

Carpet c. 1925

Two amazing books if you want to know more. For technique, The Techniques of Rug Weaving by Peter Collingwood. For Modernist Rugs, the book Art Deco and Modernist Carpets by Susan Day is an invaluable resource.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Keys to a new studio

There is nothing like the feeling of sitting back and looking over everything you've made in a short period of time. I've been madly finishing off scarves, darning in ends, drawing and printing, that I hadn't had that chance until today. I managed to take a few photographs this morning before rushing off to uni, so this is only a small selection of work. My fabric will be made into neckpieces over the weekend. Usually once these weeks are over, I generally feel a little lost about what to do with myself. For once, I'm going to enjoy it and relish in the fact that there are exciting things around the corner. I'm moving into the studio on Saturday.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Moon

During third year presentations yesterday, I managed to get a few hours in the print room alone. Not that I'm opposed to sharing, but when there is so much to do, it's a bonus getting the space to concentrate. Quite a few smudges and two perfect paper prints later, I said goodbye to the print room forever.

For Millicent

It has come to that time of year and tomorrow is my last day in the weave room before presentations next week. Thanks to those who made it a great place to be, I probably wouldn't have gotten through without you. You know who you are. Much love, especially for you Millicent!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fingers crossed

Just thought I would post a photograph of a scarf that I cut off the loom on Monday. It awaits a finished hem. That will happen on the weekend, when I have some time to sit down and concentrate. I'm not the most industrious weaver when there is sky like this outside and there are clouds to watch. Fingers crossed I get everything done!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working with colour

I'm exhausted from weaving all day today. I sat in on a talk at uni by Primoeza designer Elizabeth in which she talked about her design process. It was great. This is mine. I work with colour quite intuitively. Not only do love the look of a cone full of beautiful yarn, but it helps me putting things together and photographing them, when I'm trying to decide what to leave out. My eye is a little more trained when looking through a lens. That's what I'm putting it down to.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Double weave

I was thinking that I might not figure this out in time. Time being the three weeks before all of my work is due. Double weave in six blocks and on twenty four shafts. A little lesson in life is that the best things come when you least expect it. I was almost going to re-thread the loom to weave something that wasn't as complicated before I wove this sample, but I'm glad I didn't.

I miss my typewriter. It didn't like the fact that I kept using the full stop and not much else. My typewriter man said that it was too big a job to fix but I might give it a go over summer. I always wanted to get my hands dirty and try to fix something mechanical, so I figure here is my chance.

A few more ideas with ink.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Maps and pistachio cake

I have collected maps for quite a while. Old atlases are easy enough to find in suburban op-shops. They acted as paper for present wrapping until I found ones I couldn't part with. My favourites are a series of maps I got photographed onto film from a rare book, which I then printed in the darkroom.

The school atlas below is another one I love. I've never really used pastels in my own work until recently and these colours are beautiful.

I was handed a bag of these pistachios as a thank you from Lucy, after putting together a few bake stalls in aid of our end of year exhibition. They are hand picked from trees at her parents farm, then roasted in small batches on a wood fire. They taste amazing and I think a cake is the perfect way to eat them.