Sketchbook – Everyday and Margaret Olley

I have been drawing in a sketchbook based on the Everyday.  I have visited recently to the Muwillumbah Art Gallery(on the North Coast of NSW) and saw the wonderful exhibition by the painter Margaret Olley’s (1923-2011) and the amazing Margaret Olley Art Centre.  I also went to the New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale in north west NSW last month and viewed the painting they acquired by donations and fundraising called the “Yellow Room Triptych 2007”.  Margaret is a much loved Australian artist and her subject matter was still life; interiors; landscape and self portraits.  The processes she used were painting, drawing and watercolour and print.  The Margaret Olley Art Centre houses a re-creation of rooms from Margaret’s home studio and includes elements of her home and collections.  It is fascinating and drew me to think about the everyday.  Very many of Margaret’s paintings feature still life and interior subjects.


cover of “Margaret Olley”, Barry Pearce, 1996, The Art Gallery of New South Wales

img_8220Booklet produced by Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre – Murwillumbah, NSW

This made me think that in practicing my sketching I should look at the “Everyday”.  Some pages from my sketchbook are below. The group of jugs is in 2B pencil, the standalone jug is charcoal and the old spoon is pencil 2B.


Assignment Three – Written Reflection

I enjoyed this Assignment and course work.

Colour matching to the fabrics provided me with the opportunity to really examine the chosen fabrics and experiment with matching the paint samples using gouache paint which was new to me.  The extension of the exercise in part 2 was challenging to make sure that the colours matched.  I found the gouache paint a bit streaky compared to acrylic.

The challenge of interpreting the selected painting into yarn was very interesting and I think I did this exercise well.  Once again this made me really look at the colours in the painting intensely and the shades and tones in my thread/yarn collection.

I found Project 2 hard to start for some reason.  I think I was intimidated by the thought of really looking at the glass I am not sure why.  Once I finally got going though it was alright.  I actually set my glassware arrangements up on the table in the alfresco area outside my house and the light was really good and I became so much more aware of the hints of colour showing in the glass.  Very interesting.  I emphasised the colours in undertaking the exercise.

Collage studies was good but stretching because I had to work from my ‘messy’ photograph of the pantry rather than selecting my own inspiration which was, of course, the idea of the exercise.  I thought by the time I got to my final version(in the Colour Resource Book) I was starting to get something happening i.e. more movement.  I loved collage as a technique for both paper and for textiles and will continue to research and do work using this method as part of my textile practice.

The Colour Resource Book took lots of thought on my part.  I learned two things I am very visual (I messed things up until I saw a U Tube video demonstrating the Crop a Dile tool) and second that I problem solve a lot in my head before I actually do anything physical.  This may be something I need to work on i.e. getting those thoughts down in my sketchbook or notebook instead of having them rattling around in my head.  I am also in terms of my previous corporate management life an extrovert for problem solving so I miss not being able to discuss or debate ideas or problems with other students.  Our email group of students doing ATV has been of some assistance with this issue.

Against the Assessment Criteria I think that I am competent in terms of the technical skills required for this Assignment.  I think my Colour Resource Book is presented satisfactorily and visually is appealing.  In terms of demonstration of creativity in terms of imagination, experimentation, invention and development of a personal voice I think the last page presented, of my Colour Resource Book, with the Collage in black and white with the orange pop is the sort of work I should be aiming to do much more of. I spend time reading and working on the outline of the exercises and the Assignment, however, I think I should be asking myself to “Now take it further – what if….”.  If I do this on each exercise I will stretch myself rather than just trying to achieve what is asked of me.  With the Context criterion I think I can reflect and research reasonably.

Assign 3, Part 3, Proj 1 Research Point 2

Assign 3, Part 3, Proj 1 Research Point 2

It was noted from my course material that digital resources are being used increasingly in the development and creation of textiles.  We were provided with a list of some of the simple resources that are available and which allow the textile person to explore colour on screen.

Because I use Adobe products I decided to try the Adobe Color CC app but I found it was not available in the Australian Store, only the Maltese one.  However, I then used the link provided in our course notes and I could access the colour wheel on my Macbook.  So I decided to try my iPad again using the link in the course notes and up came Adobe Capture CC which I then proceeded to download the app.

I took a photo on my iPad of a flower in my garden and used the App.  The result is below:


I then applied aspects of the flower.  Result Color Theme 2 and Color Them 4.img_8881img_8885

I continued and started to built a Library of colours see photograph below:img_8894

I found this tool useful especially for a graphic designer as you can build up a Library of colours and combinations.  For me I would not use it – I like the serendipity of playing with colour especially using dye and paint.  I procion cold water dye a lot of fabric and love trying to combine dyes and experiencing the wonder of the combinations.  I also have a detailed dye book of maybe 500 combinations of dyes varied by dilution to refer too.

I have also looked at Blendoku another colour app which is about colour mastery with palettes and layouts all hand designed and crafted to test your colour skills.  This was fun to play with.

I think for the type of textile and mixed media work I do that I would not use digital colour tools.  My answer would be very different I think if I was designing commercial fabric or doing graphic design work.

Assign 3 Part 3 Proj 1 Research Point 1

Assign 3, Part 3 Proj 1 Research Point 1

I decided that using Pinterest was probably the best way to research the designers listed in our assignment, viz, Voyage Decoration, Marimekko , Mary Katrantzou, Wallace Sewell, Cole & Sons, Norma Starszakowna, Paul Smith, Vlisco and Ptolemy Mann.

The link to my Pinterest page is :

Rebecca’s Pinterest

I found the work of the designers fascinating and inspiring.

I have now to consider :

  • how do the designers control the colour in their designs?
  • what(if any) is their signature way of using colour?

I have to choose some key pieces to analyse –

  • do they demonstrate interesting proportions of colour?
  • does the colour used work well with the actual design?
  • which is more important the colour or the design? Or are they independent?

For me also it is the mood created by the pieces.


This is a brand well known in Australia producing for the last 60 years colour and patterned pieces for living areas bedrooms, bedrooms and bathrooms and beyond.  It was founded in Finland.

Marimekko founder Armi Ratia once said:

“To be part of our everyday life and to make our every secret dream come true – no more, no less. That’s how I see Marimekko’s future” (In patterns marimekko,p6).

To me this sums up the current relationship between the Marimekko product design and everyday modern life.  Marimekko patterns are bold, colourful, creative and intuitive.  They are created having consideration for how they will be used, the place and situation.  The type of customer who might buy Marimekko is also very paramount to the company. What hits me most is the colour – it is vibrant and energising.  The combination of colour is exciting.


Marimekko – saved from Pinterest – source

The black and white prints are pulsating.  All designs make a real statement.img_8877

Marimekko – saved from Pinterest – source

Reference book:

“In Patterns   marimekko”, 2012, Chronicle Books, San Francisco

Wallace Sewell

I was fortunate to see Wallace Sewell scarves when I was in London last year and visited the UK Handweavers Studio.  I was drawn to them because of the ‘grid like’ design and the colour combinations.  I think the two are interdependent in terms of the work I saw.


Wallace Sewell scarves saved from Pinterest – source Tate Shop.


Wallace Sewell multicolour kew shetland waffle throw saved from Pinterest – source

The colours work together and are harmonious which suits I think the nature of the product like a warm scarf and waffle throw. The core design is basic but it works for the type of product.

Overall the designers I have highlighted illustrate to me the importance of examining the product being produced what it will be used and /or the type of consumer it is being produced for.  This then can influence the design and the colour.  Different consumers may be drawn to the bold Marimekko colour and design to say the mostly more conservative Wallace Sewell.  What sort of feel or lifestyle as a textile designer are you trying to create becomes a very important question.

Assignment Three Colour Communication

Making the Colour Research Book

The aim of this assignment is to employ a process of evaluation and selection in my own work and to demonstrate effective design, layout and presentation skills in the visual communication and presentation of my work.

I need to use my work from Projects 1 and 2 to develop and create a beautifully presented colour resource book. This book will form and ongoing (pages added in future) resource.

Choice of Book

I considered the type and weight of substrate for the book first.  I have worked my collage and watercolour exercises on 185gsm paper so I knew I needed a heavy paper for the book.  I choose 300gsm which is obtainable here in Brisbane. The paper is by Bockingford and is purchased in a pad of A3, with 10 leaves.

The paper size I considered at A3 or A4 – I am aware that later I will have to send my work by post to the UK so I considered cutting about one inch off the A3 leaves which would create a book slightly smaller than A3.

I have made a number of handmade books and these have been stitched simply or with  ring binder, spiral, concertina and some with coptic binding.  Given the need to post the book eventually I choose to make the cover and back page also from the 300gsm paper.

I thought about the aim of the book which is to present a colour resource book so dismissed complicated binding as detracting from the aim of the book.  Instead I choose a simple ring binder.  To reinforce the pages I choose metal eyelets.

I had some fun trying to get the rings right though for something so simple.  My first attempt result in none of the pages lining up and the book looked a mess.  Next I found my Crop a Dile which I had purchased years ago and watched some U-Tube videos about how to use and importantly for me how to line up the holes!

img_8197I thought about how many rings would work I tried a sample of three but that seemed clunky so decided on just two rings.

img_8196For the layout I decided I wanted just one piece to a page – to create a clean line and draw attention to the colour work.  In addition, as appropriate though I included the photograph that had inspired the piece.

I examined my work for Projects 1 and 2 and choose those works I was most happy with in terms of colour and design.  I added an additional piece of collage at the end of the book in neutrals with a pop of orange.

In terms of the cover I decided to use leaves from my garden to make it more my Book and I used my gelli plate with slow drying Golden acrylic paint and Bank paper (takes the paint well) to make a series of prints of palm leaves and an unidentified umbrella type shrub.


I decided to use a warm coloured print on the front and a cool coloured print on the back of the Book. It is very hot here in Brisbane this week (32 degrees) and it was a challenge to find a glue that would not dry before I finished applying in the end the Matt Medium Gel  by Liquitex worked best. Also I found if I used a thick rubber brayer to roll the pages after the gel medium was applied the works sat pretty flat.


So the print I choose for the cover is taken from a palm leaf and is double printed. I like that it has several colours incorporated the first print was yellow/orange and the next blue but I created mostly green on the plate.


The second page includes the story of the Colour Book.  I wanted to write this rather than write one for each page because that would detract I thought from the main emphasis of colour on the relevant page. Here is the Introduction which is inside the front cover.


Page One: ( Translation through yarn)


Page Two and Three: (Fabric and Colour matching)

img_8202Page Four and Five: (Watercolour exercise)

img_8203Pages six and seven: (collage)

img_8204Pages eight and nine: (Collage)


For the back cover I decided to select one of my gelli prints which reflects cool colours.


Japanese textiles – Akiko Ike

I had the pleasure to attend the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show this week and there was an amazing exhibit curated by Japanese textile artist Akiko Ike, the Exhibition include futon covers, patchwork jackets and coats, table runners and curtains a some huge pieces including a seven metre-long carp banner and a crane curtain.

Akiko Ike prefers the bork style of stitching where she uses stitches to bring life to old cloth – she uses the term Chiku Chiku which refers to the sound of the needle passing through the thread.  It is said to invoke a sense of calm and encourage dreaming!

Visitors where encouraged to touch the works and to feel their texture and to look at the layers.  She has used recycled nappies with shibori which are very old, vintage and antique fabrics and even old used mosquito nets.

A simple sashiko running stitch (large) is used with thick cotton thread (2 threads) which the artist hand dyes herself.

I found the Exhibition so exciting I loved the textures created with the thick thread and large running stitch.  The layers created with the stitch over the top of the vintage fabrics was fabulous.  The colours Akiko Ike has used for the threads is also exciting – some pieces had a variety of colours.  I took some photos below:




img_6822img_6896img_6899Akiko Ike lives in Niigata, Japan and began creating her stitched pieces at the age of 60 some twelve years ago.  She has created her own distinctive personal style and she holds several exhibitions each year.

Assign 3.Proj 2 Ex.3.4 Part 2

Ex 3.4 Part 2

Monochromatic study – Black and White


I read the information provided concerning this exercise and saw that patterned papers still fitted within the parameters of the task.  I used a gelli plate and acrylic slow drying paint to form patterns and used mostly thin deli paper to print on.  I also gathered some textured paper I had found in Indonesia and thin rice paper.  I used my previous collage 2 to inspire this collage.  I liked the interest that was created with the textured paper and the patterning.  The photograph shows the black patterning as very dark which was disappointing I think the actual work has more definition especially in the right hand corner.

Single Colour Study

For this collage I painted with acrylic paint pieces of  light paper.  I wanted to create dark , medium and light colours.  I added white to the blue acrylic and then black to the blue acrylic.  I tried to retain the same tonal values as the original collage.


Multi-colour study

For this third version of my chosen collage I decided to explore more pattern making on my gelli plate using a variety of tools.  These included plastic tile tools from the hardware store a hexagon shaped print block.  I collaged the background using light papers and ghost printing from the gelli plate with the aim of forming a more interesting background to continue layering the collage.  I once again used some deli papers and like the translucent effect.  I liked this one because it was more interesting and to me subtle.


New Book – Textile Collage

I received a newly released book in the post on Friday it is “Textile Collage” by Mandy Pattullo (Batsford, 2016).

img_8154The book looks at using collage techniques in textile art.  Mandy talks about materials that can be gathered and she is particularly drawn to old fabrics to their textures and resonance.  Other textile artists work are included and discussed in the book and these include Debbie Lyddon and Anne Smith.  There are chapters on colour, composition, stitching, mixing paper and cloth and finishing off.  I was also attracted to the section on ‘Books’ which includes Quilt Books, Scroll Books Concertina fabric books and Wallets.  I have so much more to read thoroughly but I am very excited by the content and imagery and it has already given me lots of ideas.

Assign3, Proj 2 Ex 3.4

Assign 3 Ex 3.4 Collage Studies

Part 1

This exercise is aimed at working in collage with a focus on colour and composition.

I took a photo of a messy corner of my pantry and using this photograph as a reference I made three collages.

img_8084I  sought my papers collected for collage which I keep in an old suitcase and for Part 1 of the exercise using A4 paper as background I created a ‘simple’colour combination collage of the top section of my pantry shelf.  By simple ,I interpreted it using simple elements .

img_8120 Collage two was created using an ‘unusual’ colour combination.  I took this to mean colours that I would not necessarily use together and may not feel pleased with putting them together.  So I used pink and orange and yellow and a rose colour together.  These are not combinations of colours I would chose in my work.

img_8118The third collage is made using a ‘complex’ combination of colours.  I chose lots of colours and I was tired of the straight line sides of my collage pieces so chose to rip the papers and have uneven edges.  It also represents the second shelf photographed in my pantry. This image represents to me the chaos or disorganisation of my pantry shelf!



Assign 3 Project 2 Ex3.3

Assign3 Exercise 3.3 Watercolour Studies

This exercise aims to help me explore and gain an understanding of opacities of colour through the observation and recording of transparent and semi-transparent objects by extracting colour palettes and proportions of colour.

I gathered together a range of transparent and semi transparent objects and set up a small still life display on a white paper background.  I experimented with different arrangements and objects and glass.  I found I liked the slight colour in the coke glasses.  The Fowler preserving bottles had a faint tinge of green/yellow.


I mixed my watercolour paints and painted stripes of colour on watercolour weight paper to reflect what I saw and the proportions in my composition.  Image below.  The colours have come out darker in the photo than my actual watercolours.

img_8079My second go was to place the coke glasses closer together.

img_8069My watercolour stripes made on watercolour weight paper are presented below reflecting my perceptions of the colours and the proportions.

img_8076This task was interesting because it made me really look at the glass and to look for some hints or actual shades of colour.  It made me see that there are so many different hints of colour in many different glasses.  After I had completed the exercise I continued to look at glass in shops, windows, household items and antique glass.