Thursday, 22 December 2011

Im dreaming of a green Christmas

Christmas for me is a chance to spend time with family and loved ones. Not a commercial event where so many unwanted gifts end up gathering dust or in the trash. So last year I decided that all my Christmas pressies had to be thoughtful and environmentally friendly! 

I set myself some rules: I wanted to give gifts that would be enjoyed, but would have little impact on the environment. So I decided that hampers were the way to go. Recycled baskets from the local opshop were filled with home made jams and chutneys (using recycled glass jars collected throughout the year).  


Handmade cards, decorated with beaded snowflakes (which could be reused as Christmas ornaments) labeled each basket, and exotic fruit added a touch of colour. Each basket included a hand printed linen tea towel (by yours truly). Although I didnt make the wine (thats another project on my growing list of things to do!) at least it was in recyclable glass bottles.

Ginger dipped in dark chocolate, and other delicacies  were wrapped in grease proof paper and tied with string.

Happily all the contents of my Christmas baskets were biodegradable.

This year my Christmas presents will be handmade again, and I am working within another theme. Its so much fun, but I cant give away any more.... shhhh its a secret until Christmas day x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Granny Square Addiction

A little while ago, when the weather decided to have a cold spell in the middle of summer, I decided that I should make a blanket (!?) one of my 'seems like a good idea at the time' ideas. I thought it would be a good way to pass the time on a train trip to Melbourne and back. The trip to Melbourne unfortunately didnt eventuate.... but I have lots of odds and ends from all my knitting projects, so a scrap blanket to use up these bits seemed like a good idea.

I did some google searching to get some inspiration and found this delightful idea

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

And the pattern for these groovy granny squares can be found here

Amongst my searching many blogs warned about the addiction to granny squares. Throwing caution to the wind I commenced my first granny square. It was only then that I realised that I was hooked (ha ha - excuse the terrible pun!) and was finding all sorts of excuses to create another square.

Thankfully my friend had lent me the Mad Men series and I could fulfil two addictions at once - admiring the 1950's glamour of the advertising industry and create granny squares at the same time.... ah bliss.

So far Ive created 40 little circles and completed 20 squares.... my aim is a 10 x 10 granny square rug, so I need 100 squares in total.... looks like I'd better go and watch another episode of Mad Men so that I can get closer to my target :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Three French Hens go on an adventure

My three French hens have been getting ready to go on a BIG adventure.

They've packed their bags and have left their farm in rural France to go travelling and see the world.

First stop...... Paris, of course!

Here are some holiday snaps of them in front of the Eiffel Tower. They are amazed at how beautiful the structure is...

Three French hens in Paris is a limited edition tea towel print of 15. You can find them at Strathnairn Gallery in Canberra until Christmas or online.

I have been flicking through inspiring magazines and found a lovely image by UK textile artist Julie Black. She creates beautiful images by layering, stitching and embellishing fabrics. Below is an image of her work....

Julie Black's work inspired my French hens to be appliqued rather than screenprinted. And I love the result. Stay tuned to see where the Three French Hens visit next.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Featured in Womans Day

I was flicking through Womans Day (as you do) after a little bird told me that my Paris Balcony Heart cushion was featured in The Style File....

And here it is

You can buy the Paris Heart Cushion online at Blue Caravan - an online site which supports and promotes direct trade with emerging and independent designers. They insist on ethical production both locally and overseas, and love fairtrade or sweat-free certification. Blue Caravan believe that objects ‘warmed’ bydesigners, artists and artisans have aquality like no other… and that ‘ethical’is no longer a choice separated fromstyle and design.

My kinda thinking too :)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Queanbeyan Art Trail 2011

Last weekend I participated in an Arts Trail around Queanbeyan hosted by Georgina from the Queanbeyan City Council. We had a glorious day and I saw some studios that I didnt know existed, and visited some galleries Ive been meaning to go to for quite some time.

First stop was scones jam and cream at Benedict House. Kate Shelton, the clever lady who lives and is the brains behind it has just published a book 'love of a laminex table' and it looks fascinating.... the photo was taken after we had indulged in morning tea - and it looks a little like the Mad Hatters Party :)

Then we went to Curtis Glass Studio - tucked behind a house, next to a pet store, I didnt realise this place existed. We were very fortunate and had a personal demonstration on how glass is blown by Mathew Curtis and his two young sons as assistants .... amazing! We got front row seats :)

Following that we then visited Cheryl Hodges- an amazing botanical water colourist ... I couldnt resist and bought a couple of her prints on cards, including the image below

By this stage we were ready for lunch which was served (with bubbles - of course) in the dappled shade under the lilac blossoms of wisteria at the back of Ouh Wah! Gallery. I enjoyed the meal so much I totally forgot to take a picture.

Bubbles with lunch had set the tone for the afternoon and when we arrived at the newly opened Form Gallery we were greeted with a glass of red. Owned by printmaker Claire Primrose and showing works by Claire, Maxine Price (Claire's mum who makes beautiful ceramics) and Paul Summerfield. Maxine has just finished a series on Bess of Hardwick who was the most amazing woman who was the second richest lady in 16th C England. Second only to the Queen! A pretty amazing feat considering there were laws that women couldnt own property at that time!

Our last stop of the day was the Artist Shed Studios. Here we were welcomed with more bubbles, a live band and a tour of the studios and galleries. Ive been meaning to check this place out for quite some time, so it was nice to finally see it :)

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day. A big thank you to Georgina and Queanbeyan City Council for putting together a delicious feast of art and food. Well done!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Mud - My new love!

Have I told you about my latest obsession?

Ive just started a course with the intention of learning how to translate my designs onto ceramics (after years of not wanting to get my hands dirty) I am now elbow deep in mud..... and I love it!

There is something magical about the transformation from clay to pot, and then there's the alchemy of glazing too. I have a feeling that I am about to embark on a new journey of adventure :)

I've discovered you can carve into clay, just like a lino print. The effects are amazing!

Ive experienced a wood firing - now I know why potters love this effect - the ash produced can flavour the clay and glazes (above) and you get different results using the same glazes in a gas or electric kiln.

Above is a 'before' image, the tea bowl is coated with shino and temaku glaze in stripes. And below is how it looks after being fired in a wood kiln.

I love love love it! :)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Design Spark Article


I was flicking through the latest publication of the Design Institute of Australia and discovered an article on the Interwoven Exhibition I participated in earlier this year. To my delight the large image is of my screen printed fabric covered tea pots.

How very cool :)

A big thanks to Pip Wilkinson for organising the exhibition and article.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Canberra Times Review

How marvelous!

My Shibori Silk Stole was mentioned by the esteemed Canberran art critic, Sasha Grishin.

"Kate Ward's Pomegranate, 2011, a sik shibori stole, is another work which holds attention and has its own sense of presence."

To read the article in its entirety double click on the image below.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Works selected for display in home

Some of my prints have been selected by a client for display in their home whilst the house is on the market for sale. Because all the furniture has been removed it made the ideal space to display some of my fabric prints. If you look closely in the picture above you can see 'red knit print' as a canvas on the back wall.

The client was looking for some bold fabrics and my 'knit print' is the perfect feature within the neutral tones of the cottage - hinting at the possibilities the living spaces provide.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mum's visit

Mum came to visit me the other day to enjoy some country air.

She disappeared for a while and I found her drawing vignettes of my house.

Above is in the guest bedroom featuring a favourite cat toy I found at the Craft Fair in Tasmania last year.

And this is the other end of the bed..... Mum has the amazing ability to see beauty in my mess!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Silk Shibori Stoles

My latest shibori silk stoles have been selected to be exhibited in the Creative Alchemy exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre. The show promises to be quite a visual feast with over 60 works by 40 artists, all responding to the theme 'Creative Alchemy'.

The word 'alchemy' conjures up ideas of mystery and intregue: genies in bottles, magic carpets, the Middle East, the exotic and transformations of the sate of being. My works are created by manipulating silk and transforming it into a permanent three dimensional object using shibori techniques. The silk is then dyed using exotic ingredients which originated in the Middle East: saffron and pomegranate - alluding to the magic of food that transforms our bodies and souls.

This is my first experience of dying with natural colours, and Ive really enjoyed the process. I quite like that it is non toxic, and can be done in my kitchen at home. I have a feeling this may be the beginning of an adventure as I explore dying with other natural colours.

In conjunction with the Creative Alchemy exhibition, artist of international acclaim Julie Ryder will exhibit her work in Creative Alchemy II. Julie's fascinating work explores the marks made by the chemical reaction of bacteria and moulds which occur between vegetable matter and natural fibres.

(detail of Julie Ryder's work)

The exhibition opens at 6pm on Friday 23 September 2011 at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

Friday, 16 September 2011

National Gallery of Australia Commission

I have been working with the National Gallery of Australia over the past couple of months to create an image of the new entrance to the gallery which will be printed onto tea towels. After several design variations they decided on the one below....

They were printed and delivered last week :)

Friday, 9 September 2011

New Spring Designs

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'ver vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils.
Daffodils, William Wordsworth 1804

I have been inspired by the change of season and developed a new design which captures the exuberant nature of Spring. 'Flower Power' - a bunch of flowers growing out of the roof of Canberra's Parliament House!

Printed onto onesies, tea towels and bags this design is available exclusively at Shop Handmade in Canberra and my online store.

I caught my cat snoozing amongst the flowers that inspired the drawing yesterday - too cute! x

Friday, 2 September 2011

Enlightened Fabrics

A couple of months ago I teamed up with the very clever Jane from Honi and Lemon who transformed my screen printed fabrics into lampshades. Jane breathes new life into lampshades, recycling the frames of old shades and the lamp bases are upcycled too!

This shade with the Lake Burley Griffin scene has made its way to Shop Handmade in Canberra.

Each shade is bespoke, one of a kind and perfect for adding a touch of individuality within a room......

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Thrice Knitted Jumper

Despite the heat of summer, earlier this year I bought some beautiful hand dyed wool from Rainbow Wools. It was multicoloured in various hues of blue and green with flecks of maroon and it reminded me of the gemstone Opal. It was love at first sight and I just had to have it!

I have always shied away from knitting with variegated wool because of the 'tiger striping' effect which can occur when it is knitted up. I wanted a pattern that would enhance the wool and it took me several goes before I found the right pattern.

My first attempt was to try cables but the pattern itself was too dominating ....

Then I tried a mock rib stitch..... this was better, but the end result was a rather stiff and heavy jumper. I simply had to undo it and try again.

Whilst flicking through my Mum's vast collection of knitting patterns I stumbled across this rather fetching 1980's drop shoulder, cowl-neck sweater from a pattern book called Crucci Greatest Hits - Volume Seven. How could I resist a jumper which came from a pattern book which sounded more like a night club compilation than a knitting book :)

(plus the pattern met my prerequisite of having a high neck - most important for surviving cold winters in the Southern Tablelands- and it has a pocket!)

This is the end result - the double moss stitch beautifully enhances the colours in the variegated wool. The knitted fabric is much softer than the mock rib stitch and the pattern works perfectly with the dropped sleeves. Knitting my first pocket was fun too!

Phew! Well, those skeins of wool turned out to be very good value since I knitted the equivalent of three jumpers from the wool!

Now that I have completed this knitting project I have now turned my attentions to another hand dyed raspberry and chocolate variegated yarn - wish me luck!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Nets Exhibition at Barometer Gallery

I was lucky enough to have my work Necklace (below) selected to be part of a group textile exhibition which has been shown as part of the VI International Biennial Contemporary Textile Art in Oaxaca in Mexico earlier this year.

Necklace is knitted from recycled plastic bags and then heat is applied to make the fabric rigid. More details can be found in an earlier post on my blog. Click here to go to the post.

The exhibition has travelled back to Australia and was on show at the Barometer Gallery in Sydney in early August 2011. Artists involved in the show are: Catherine Dabron, Wendy Dodd, Gabriella Hegyes, Paula Hilyard, Barbara Jackson, Liz Jeneid, Lynne Johnson, Valerie Kirk, Jenny Manning, Maryanne Mussared, Marli Popple, Nancy Tingey, Monique Van Nieuwland and Katherine White.

Images of the Barometer exhibition are courtesy of Valerie Kirk.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Featured in Style

The lovely ladies at Style Magazine, the essential lifestyle guide for rural and regional NSW, made the journey to visit us at the Handmade Markets, Canberra in June this year.

They dropped by to say hi - and it was lovely to meet them face to face after communicating by email....

I think they might've had a lot of fun discovering all the lovely handmade things at the markets :)

They even published a picture of my cushions (bottom of page 55).

Click on the images for a larger image if you would like to read the article.

Enjoy! x


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