New Blog on the block Wild Women and Dream Weavers

Another textile blog has been started under the title of Wild Women and Dream Weavers Cheryl Sisson’s blog has only been going a few days but pop over and check it out. While you are at it check out her website RareAir Designs too.

I was delighted to hear about this new blog as I see blogs a bit like a conversation at a quilting or sewing group. At these groups women work on their projects while they share their stories, and knowledge. People talk about techniques, share tricks and tips, show each other their work, encourage each other to learn and perfect a skill, swap bits of their stash, and share their histories as people. In the process cultural artifacts that take the form of needlework or quilts are made. Other things are also built or maintained as friendships are made, traditions are passed on, and skills developed.

Blogs could work as these groups do. There are already a number of blogs that document various projects in progress. These blogs are performing in the same way as when stitchers take along your latest project to a group to show how far they have progressed since the last get together. People who love textiles can take the blog genre further. Just as in one of these stitching groups you would show someone how to do something automatically sharing a skill without thinking about it textile practioners can share the information they discover online. In doing so others can learn a skill, keep a tradition alive and I think build an online network which in some cases become friendships.

The difference between blogs and these quilting and stitching groups however is that blogs are not closed. You have to be a member of a group to gain the benefits but many people can’t attend a group regularly. They may have small children, or their working hours clash with the time of the meeting, or they may live in an isolated area. This is where a network of bloggers can provide a resource as isolation is not an issue if you are online and you can read a blog or maintain your own blog at a time that suits you. When the kids are asleep or after work you can take some time out for yourself and tap into a group of people that have similar interest. I know that email discussion groups already perform this but blogs allow images to be posted and you can read or update them as you choose. Many people don’t want their email box any fuller than it already is as they feel obligated to read and post to the list. Many list lurkers are simply very busy people who don’t have time. Lurkers can read blogs guilt free yet gain heaps from them and its OK.

Blogs can also raise the profile of textiles as a medium suitable for artistic expression. In a email discussion list the people are all subscribers who are already practitioners. Blogs can be read by anyone, anywhere, anytime and those people can leave comments. Simply put, blogs are more accessible and therefore the possibility of exposing the strengths of textiles and fiber art can only be of benefit. Many textile practitioners complain that fiber artists are not taken seriously and are misunderstood but so much of their conversation is amongst themselves. That’s fine and has its place but sharing the love of fiber with outside world is also important. I realize that the majority of my readers are interested in textiles so it is still in house but because it is published online rather than to a discussion list it at least opens the door of possibility that people outside the group will stumble in and find at least some things about textiles interesting.

As you can see I am a believer in the more blogs on textiles the better. Textiles and fiber arts as a topic is so broad that everyone comes at the subject from a different angle. Anyway welcome Cheryl have fun with your blog!

Drawing with a sewing machine

Melanie Testa has been taking life drawing classes. Instead of pencils and charcoal she has been hauling out her sewing machine and using the machine to draw with. Melanie has been documenting her results in a new blog a Bit of Creativity Every Day

Melanie Testa a textile artist. Her quilts and textile surface designs are found on Melanies personal site.

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.