Sunday, 16 October 2011


I've had a bad winter.
I don't usually get sick, but I got laryngitis, and it hung around for 3 months!!
It's hard to teach without a voice.

Then, as I was recovering, one of my Llamas got sick.
I thought he had injured his leg, and would be OK with some rest,
but it ended up being a mineral deficiency. By the time I called up the breeder to ask her advice, it was too late, as it turned out. So, after nursing him for 5 weeks, he passed away last Monday.

Now I only have one llama, and they don't like being on their own, so I am about to buy another.

This is Cochise, my surviving llama.

This is Wildfire, who died.

As it turns out, the new boy is one I had seen and liked a couple of years ago.
When I phoned this breeder, I was told they had sold all their available llamas, but then I got a call back later that evening to say that there was one of their own llamas they would be willing to part with.
The photo they sent was this same one I had liked earlier. I couldn't believe my luck.
So now I just have to get him here.

There is so much grass and weeds that need cleaning up around the garden (jungle), and I need to dig the vegie garden (more weeds). 

The other day, while I was sitting at the computer, I turned the chair around to look out the window, and there was one of the blue wrens just outside in a little tree. I got out my camera and put it on zoom, propped it by the window frame and took a picture:

Not bad, huh, for just out the window!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The saga of 'Revolt'

My mother is an artist (painter) and has done many landscapes and portraits, among other things. She very much loves the Australian high country and spent a lot of time skiing. She is a signatory member of the VAS (Victorian Artists Society) and has exhibited many times. So when she came up with the idea of doing some wildly colourful abstract watercolours, she felt she was revolting against all the 'proper' paintings she had done. 

The first major one of these paintings was appropriately called 'Revolt'.

After she had done a whole series of these (and got it somewhat out of her system) she suggested that 'Revolt' would look good as a tapestry. I had to agree.

And so it began.

I thought that a larger size would look good: say 2m x 1.5m.

OK, I needed a loom that would accommodate this!
So I talked to a woodworking friend who agreed to build a loom based on the one in the Carol Russell tapestry book, minus shafts and beater.
A couple of years later this was more or less done, but the beams were rough and needed machining.
Another woodturning friend was able to do this.
Then I needed the hardware  -  ratchets & pawls and 1.25" diameter steel rod to mount the beams. Fortunately the local steam engine society put me on to a member who was able to manufacture these parts to suit, including laser cut ratchets!

Wow, I now had a beautiful, custom built loom to my specifications.

I spent 3 days winding a warp using #24 seine twine, and putting it on the loom.
Then I used a printed photo of the painting to make a tracing on acetate, which I enlarged using an overhead projector, and created the cartoon on large sheets of paper on the wall.
This is hung behind the warp.
The design is inked on to the warp using traditional tapestry inking pens and indian ink.

This is a view of the back of the loom showing the top beam.
You can just see the top of the cartoon hanging behind the warp.

I use a leashes system of making my shed  -  I much prefer that to pedals and shafts.

OK, so now, 6 years later!!!! I have almost finished 'Revolt'
Mind you, I have only been a part time weaver, and there have been some months when no progress has been made, but I am nearly there!

This is the top half of the tapestry, the rest has been wound on to the lower beam.
This measures just under 2 meters wide. When I do finish it, and weave the top hem, I will wind it back up and take a photo of the whole piece. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I always wanted to weave.

Ever since I found out what weaving was.
I learnt the basics at school in craft classes (until the craft rooms were burnt down, new looms and all). I had to wait until I was married before I got my first table loom, And I was happy with that for a few years. But what I really wanted was to weave PICTURES.
I tried various ways, such as inlay and brocade, but they were too stilted and not what I was imagining. I found out about tapestry but avoided that because it was SLOW.
Eventually, while studying for my Certificate of Applied Art(Weaving) at the Melbourne College of Textiles, I did a unit of Tapestry. That was it. That was what I wanted. I did a second unit of Tapestry. 
Later I did a few years of the Diploma of Tapestry course at the SW College of TAFE (Warrnambool, Vic). 
Now I had the knowledge and tools to do the tapestries I was imagining, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

I like frogs, and I wove this one a few years ago.