Wednesday, 30 April 2014

On the road between Lake Rotoiti and Dunedin April 17 - 26

 One of the rocks in the bush around Lake Rotoiti.So much texture and colour.

 So . . .  
I left Ballarat and flew to New Zealand to catch up with friends I had made two years ago when I was over here last. Denise Cleghorn was one such friend. We had been planning a nine day trip around part of the South Island for the past year. We drove up from Christchurch to St Arnauds on Lake Rotoiti, surely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even in the lashing rain (the tail end of the cyclone that had hit Australia two weeks before). It was so wet I had to buy wellington boots and water proof trousers. But I didn't care - I was in New Zealand!

 The view from one of the jettys on Lake Rotoiti. Just stunning.

Denise and I went to stay with Bob and Christine Marks who I had also met two years ago. They have a 'bach' or holiday home very near the lake. We had a tramp through the bush in the pouring rain and ended up at the lake shore.
I took hundreds of photos. It is one of the most beautiful places I have seen.

 A view through the bush  . . .

Christine at the front, Denise in the middle and Bob at the back - in the pouring rain.

 Beautiful colours and textures . .

 There was even a tree growing through a huge rock.

Denise and I had a great time larking about with Bob and Christine and then it was off to Golden Bay to enjoy the peace and quiet - or so we thought. Till all the landslips started and then the flooding began . . . . just like being at home!!! We couldn't get to Golden Bay as the road was closed so we stayed in Nelson and got a very cheap deal at a very posh hotel for a couple of days and we mooched about just enjoying the town.

We then started our journey south to Dunedin, stopping off at Cheviot where Denise lives, to catch up with washing and organise my kit as I would need it when we reached Dunedin. We also needed to check that Barry, Denises' husband was coping with the cattle on their farm and all the rain. As the coast road was closed because of landslips, we travelled inland through the Lewis Pass - more remarkable scenery. Everywhere you travel over here you are inside the landscape - you feel part of it. We saw at least ten rainbows as we drove through the pass.

Once we had repacked, we were off again on our way down to Dunedin and the Fibre Festival. This is an annual event and I was the keynote speaker two years ago. It would be good to meet up with many of the ladies I met then.

 Broken trees and drift wood as far as the eye could see.

On the way down Denise decided to show me a quiet beach that might have a few interesting shells washed up on it . . . .

What we saw was incredible - if looked as though an entire forest had been felled. The storms had washed up an amazing amount of wood, the drift patterns were fascinating.

 So much wood - like a pile of matchsticks.

 The textures of the bark where they had been soaked and bashed about were fabulous.

 Denise and I spent an hour or so taking photos and then we were on the road again - to the Moeraki Boulders. I have wanted to visit this beach for many years, since I first saw a photo of these amazing, huge boulders. They look as though they have been put in place by aliens.

 The largest boulders are about 6ft high.

 We spent two hours taking photos, trying to avoid all the other people trying to take photos - trying to avoid all the other people  . . . .

The weather was quite dull but boy was I happy - the colours and the shapes were just - FANTASTIC!

 Sigh - just gorgeous . . . .

 As it was starting to get dark we set off down to Dunedin to stay with Denise's sister whose house overlooks McKendry Bay. VERY nice indeed.
We were very well looked after. We spent the three days of the Fibre Festival catching up with friends and Denise attended several workshops while I chilled out and learned to crochet!!!

On Sunday Denise was relieved of her duty of driving me round this beautiful island and one of my students who is on my course this week who lives in Dunedin drove me up to Wanaka. It was hard to say goodbye to Denise, we are good mates now, but I know I will be seeing her in January when I am back again to teach on the North Island. 

I have just finished teaching the third day of a five day workshop here in Wanaka. It is an Autumn Art School - with fifteen classes from fly fishing and watercolour painting to textiles (me), upholstery and photography. There is another very beautiful lake here which I hope to get out and photograph on Saturday. On Sunday I will be getting the bus from Wanaka to Christchurch ready to start my journey home on Monday.

I will post about this weeks work on Monday before I leave.

 The sky last night when we were leaving college . . . .


Hello Jill, Diana and Tod - home soon. 
x x x

Monday, 21 April 2014

Fibre Arts Australia - Ballarat - April 2014, part the second

 My lovely groups work on show.

Here I am again - finally!! There is little available wifi while I am traveling so this is a bit late and rather short, as I am still having problems getting photos the right size for the blog. I will get there in the end . . . . 

So - we had a wonderful week at Ballarat - lots of fun and great times with good friends. The end of week show was a roaring success showing off the stunning work all the groups had produced. This is my groups work. They didn't get a lot of chance to finish anything as it was a workshop of 2 halves - the first 3 days was spent creating original designs and printing blocks - the last 2 days was spent tearing and layering pages form old books and newspapers and painted Bondaweb to print onto with their new printing blocks.

 Here you can see the Journeys and some of the printing blocks and prints . . .

 Some of the papers and more considered pieces . . . .

and a bit more . . . . 

There are more photos over on FaceBook if you fancy taking a look at my albums -


Since leaving Ballarat I have flown to the South Island of New Zealand to meet up with friends I made 2 years ago when I was last teaching here. I have been traveling with Denise Cleghorn around the top of the South Island, dodging the storms, floods and landslips that have occurred in the aftermath of the cyclone that hit Australia. I have had to buy wellington boots and waterproof trousers - but I don't care. I am on holiday in the most beautiful part of the world.

I will be traveling to Dunedin tomorrow to take part in the Fibre Festival, then travel on to Wanaka on Sunday to teach for 5 days.  I am so very happy here. Am trying to work out how I can spend more time here.

I think I will post shorter posts, more often while I am here. I will eventually learn how to size photos on my Mac that will fit on my blog - in the mean time . . . . . It's time for a glass of wine.


Hello Jill, Diana, and of course Tod - AND R.S. (stop worrying).

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Fibre Arts Australia - Ballarat - April 2014, part the first.

Katie painting her Journey.

So - Here I am back at Ballarat with Fibre Arts Australia run by Glenys Mann.
I love teaching here and most especially catching up with great friends that I have taught with here two and four years ago - Mary Hettmanspurger and Kerr Grabowski from the USA and Marlene Kranz from Australia. 

My design workshops have been asked for most particularly in Australia and as they are a great favourite of mine, this is no hardship. 
You will have seen that I taught something similar in Canberra. As this is a five day workshop we will be developing the use of the print blocks and creating layered newspaper surfaces to print and stitch onto.

The Journeys were painted . . . .

 . . . and hung . . .

We also played with 'flipping out' . . . .


 . . .  and expanding . . .


The group then took two sections from each design exercise using 'L' shapes to isolate their designs.

The designs were then traced and transferred into sketch books . . . 

 . .  and then painted in two colour ways.

I brought carbon paper with me to make it easier to transfer the designs.

Then the students chose two of their designs to make into printing blocks . . .

From one design you get two blocks - one positive and one negative.

The printing blocks are made from self adhesive foam and foam core or mount baord. Some of the designs can be a bit fiddly to cut, but if you use a sharp scalpel, you can get there in the end. 

 . . . and here's the proof.

Once the blocks are made the students can then experiment printing onto different papers using acrylic paints.

All these designs have come from the three design exercises - they didn't exist before the class started.

The group are printing onto a variety of papers, old books, maps, sheet music, even old hand written diaries.

Once the papers are printed and dry - they are flooded with procion colour wash
Which I will show you in the next post . . . . . 

 These kind of residential courses are very full on, with lectures from three or four tutors nearly every night, along with special dinners and parties. There is no time to be bored!!!
But that is part of what makes these events so special. The organisation that goes on behind the scenes is mind boggling. There are sixteen tutors from all over the world and everything is running like clock work.

So - there is a lot more to tell - will try to keep up - but as I have explained, it may be a few days before the next post . . .

x x x