Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Current mood: empty

I should feel relieved that my two-year judging  course is over, but I only feel annoyed that my last paper didn't turn out as good as I expected and terrified that I will be asked to write some additions to it. The only explanation I have is that I got some severe case of oversaturation when writing, thinking and most of all correcting  written texts takes enormous amount of energy. My paper was ready a week ago, but I couldn't bring myself to read it again till tonight. The only thing I want is to make stupid and kitschy Christmas presents and knit a couple of scarfs, the longer the better.
This weekend my daughter insisted that we have quality time together and made arrangements for  cinema, restaurant and museum, the programme that caters for all tastes. In the Fashion Museum there was a retrospective exhibition of the Fashion academy and the famous "Six" graduates. The inflatable costume from the exhibition reminded me of my current state

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Festival in Veldhoven

The second exhibition of our group in one month was a bit too much for me but everything was perfect this year in Veldhoven. Hanging of the competition quilts, light, organization. Lots of enthusiastic quilters, lots of friends who came to see the group's work, lots of feedback in form of critique and advice. At the end I am glad that I brought the collection to Veldhoven, there were some doubts before.


Hilde had a solo exhibition and brought new beautiful work

My friend Galina Kozulina 's quilt with stunning optical effect was selected for the exhibition in Berlin.
During the festival I met a nice man from Germany, Frank Guschmann, who made a lot of good quality photographs of the event and sent me a link to his album afterwards. I normally make a lot of pictures myself but not this time. All my time and energy went to telling stories about members of the group and their work to numerous visitors)). The majority of the public were Dutch quilters and they are very sociable and enthusiastic.
And my another friend, Corinne got a third prize in competition with her quilt "Peace"

Monday, October 14, 2013


Our humble group named Art-Igra was invited to take part in the textile exhibition in St-Pete. The grand  exhibition hall of All-Russia Artists' Union with beautiful light, balconies and marble stairs though has seen better days  is loved by local artists. It's an honour to be exhibited there, especially for an amateur.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Anatoly Belik, exhibition in Birmingham

The festival of Quilts in Birmingham brought a couple of surprises, one of them Anatoly Belik, Russian artist working with textiles. I knew his work before and love it but looking at his quite small pieces surrounded by thousands and thousands of European and American quilts was quite a special experience. He was so different so authentic and  so original that hundreds of people coming to express admiration told that he made their day.

All of them, quilters, artists, amateurs and professionals noticed the intricate, skillful design that supports his touching but pretty simple ideas. Most of the pieces he selected for the exhibition were devoted to women, because in his view women are the beginning of everything, they create life and secure its continuity. Whenever I had time I tried to come to his exhibition  to help him with interpreting and saw people coming again and again. The artist's style that was unmistakably Russian sometimes initiated  discussions, retrospective associations and long lectures on the history of Russian Art of the beginning of the 20th century, suprematism in particular. Two English ladys were so impressed with his work that asked me spell the names of some Russian artists Anatoly considers his teachers.  They were determined to make internet research to fill gaps in their art education.

He is a passionate teacher, his pupils are children from very early age to teenagers . Every year they get dozens of diplomas at various creative competitions, he can speak hours about them. His class:

I am a dummy, I don't know anything about modern technology, explains Anatoly. This is me embarrassed and absorbed in self-pity. And those are antique Russian kettles (in Russian dummy=kettle)

As I have already said lots of his pieces are devoted to women.

One of my favourites

Anatoly in front of this work

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Scotland is so beautiful it hurts
Beautiful in spite of constant drizzle and intermittent showers

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New fabrics

It's been a long time since I made something new, but after submission of Module 4 paper there is some room for  experiment. The "trout" series got a "plaice "addition and is expanding. Some silk screening completed yesterday and several collections of fabrics will serve as backgrounds for further printing and discharging.
The first fabric -white linen, printed with acrylic ink, second -very heavy cotton canvas and third-lovely antique French bedding painted by hand and then discharged. It is clearly seen that the blue fabric didn't work very well, the thickness and density of canvas prevent the discharge paste from penetrating deeper into the fibers. I had similar problem during my masterclass this April. One of the fabrics, high quality thick and dense cotton was hopelessly unfit for discolouring. I am not disappointed because I was somewhat  ready to paler image in the result.

 Some screen-printed fabrics are still drying, I hope the blue will fade.

The length of "trout"fabric, commissioned, I hope the background won't turn greyish, printed with Procion

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Buttons 2

I have three big vases full of buttons, finding the right one is not easy. The best way to find it immediately is to display all of them.
In case I need one of these, I'll just remove it and sew another in it's place in no time.

Before Jeanne left for South Africa, her native land, she gave me this doll. It has a metal ring on its neck like long-necked Ndebele women, very expressive mouthless face and a bright beaded "frock". 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Some time ago I visited a stunning Tudor period  exhibition in the Kremlin, Moscow.  It happens all the time, that after I saw something beautiful, I want to try making it myself not to replicate, but to find out how it was sewn/ embroidered/quilted and assembled. This time I was attracted by tiny little
knotted buttons and started searching for the techniques on the Internet. The one very peculiar kind of buttons exists in the Netherlands and it is a part of a long tradition I didn't know about. The photo is taken from the Belgian knitting blog yarnlot.bogspot.be, there are other  colourful photographs explaining the process.

Mandalas and temari balls that have become popular lately, have the same idea of creating a pattern by interweaving threads either silk or wollen, some ancient buttons were made the same way, only they were much smaller.
Another interesting twist in the use of this favourite embellishment- London Cockney Pearly King or Queen costume known since Victorian times.   The costumes are decorated with hundreds of mother-of pearl buttons. Here is the photograph I took from the uniquebuttonjewelry site

Lots of amazing photographs of this London Cockney tradition


Among all non-wovens  that have been  introduced recently, Lutradur is  the most popular. It has a couple of very useful qualities except for being perfectly sew-able. It can be burnt nicely with very little health hazards (they say, but they always forget to mention that it shouldn't be covered with paint before burning, paints stink ). I have tried two paints so far- Marabu textile paints both regular and metallic and artists acrylic paints. To  reduce transparency in some places I applied gesso, but the same result could be achieved by simply applying thicker layers of acrylic paint. The comparison between the two paints mentioned above showed that Marabu looks nicer and penetrates into the fibres better. Sadly, it costs much more)). The thicker the layer of  paint, the longer it takes to burn through, and the colour of the paints gets darker as with Tyvek.

To have control over the burning process it is easier not to place the sheet of Lutradur on the ceramic tile as recommended, but to hold it in hands. In this case Lutradur is better be stretched inside some wire frame. I was too lazy to make one and used embroidery hoops. Holding the hoop against the light I could control the process better especially when I made  random holes. Just heated the soldering iron to the desired temperature and punched the stretched sheet of Lutradur. The hotter the iron the better are the edges of the holes. The tip of the soldering tool is round, pencil-like in this case.
To cut long lines in Lutradur another tip was used.
The other piece is painted with acrylic paint, the upper part was first covered with gesso to add colour
The piece was punched with hot soldering iron and then treated with heat gun. I think it should be burnt more but I am afraid that it will start bulging.