Photo album of Canberra fires up

Last night I finally put up the promised images from the Canberra fires of 2003 As I have explained in the introduction to the album, I live in one of the suburbs where residents fought the fires, many losing their homes. After the fires in Canberra on January 18 2003 I spent a few hours each day taking photos of the devastation around me. Every day my partner and myself walked the district and I took hundreds of photos in the months afterwards.

I am not a photographer and at the time could not make sense of why I was doing this. One morning I realised that this activity was my way of trying to make sense of the experience and that there is simply no way to make sense of the tragedy. I haven’t taken a photo in the district since that morning.

However recently I have had the energy and will to start sorting them out. The contents of this album are a few images from the many films I exposed during that time. Some were taken with a digital camera others are film.

Drizzle stitch

After a bit of a saga between me an my ISP server drizzle stitch has just been added to the Stitch Collection .

Drizzle stitch is a down right peculiar stitch with loads of personality and individuality as it stands free from the foundation fabric. When you first read the instructions, if you are kind, you will think there is an editing error. If you are not, you will think I am mad. Let me assure you trails with ISP servers aside, I am not and there is no error. In order to create this stitch you have to unthread and rethread the needle a number of times during the process of working. This feels counter intuitive particularly if you hate threading needles!

As a stitch it is worth the effort simply because it is so different and adds high texture to embroidery. I have yet to show it to anyone without their reaction being one of first smiling then wanting to touch.

As I have just said it is a very distinctive and individualist as a stitch but it is also a good team member as well. Drizzle stitches look good in clusters. It doesn’t mind hanging around with other stitches either. Its a very social stitch (even if sometimes the eccentric in the group). Drizzle stitch works well with company such as Palistrina or knotted stitches such as French knots or bullion knots. It also looks great if you combine with woven or whipped wheels and Casalguidi techniques . Being a textured stitch, of course couching techniques also work well.

Beadwork techniques are easily included tucked in between clusters of this stitch. Or manipulate the foundation fabric to start off with a textured surface. Techniques such as slashing and pleating before stitch work well. Another possibility it to use techniques that involve padding or quilting such as trupunto.

Since it is a textured stitch a thread with a firm twist in it such as pearl cotton is ideal to use to test it out. Once mastered experiment with other threads particularly those that have been space dyed by hand. There are a group of stitches that all involve this cast on technique.

Drizzle stitch is not just for those who like to push the structure of a stitch for it is used in conservative embroidery as well. Traditionally drizzle stitch is used in styles like Brazilian embroidery. It is often employed to create floral motifs or worked in the center of floral motifs. Its high texture and organic feel lends itself to a much wider use. For instance worked with just a few cast ons and pulled tight the stitch looks like a small sea shell.

Grab a piece of cloth and try it out – experiment and I think you will find it triggers your imagination in all sorts of directions.

Design course and notes online

Charlotte Jirousek of Cornell University have provided a textbook for Art Design and Visual Thinking a course on design. The site includes articles on the design elements, application of media and notes on the fine art movements, and the decorative arts. This site has a number of strengths as it is interactive, linking to sources online and it is not limited to Western Art.