Monday, August 29, 2011

stitched postcard swap - August 2011

Yes, the theme was bloom, and I took inspiration from my "Bloom where you are planted" yarn bomb piece. I sent it all the way to Kentucky! To Donnalee.

And I got one in return - from mixed media artist Susan Mulder. She has a blog of her wonderfully interesting art, and a second blog for a project called the Ironing Board Project. I love these sunflowers, and the stitching which brings such texture to the piece. Thank you Susan!

Thank you Beth for another swap project that brings much excitement and joy!

ladies fancy-work

My grandma would probably say that she isn't a 'lady', but her fancy-work tells me otherwise . . . .

I am close to grandma (on the maternal side), having lived with her for a few years in my early twenties, and her having lived in my family home with my parents for many years. She now lives on her own in a retirement village (with some support) in Mandurah (a rapidly growing coastal town 100km south of Perth where I live). Regrettably I don't see her often enough, now that there is such a distance between us. I miss her, and I know she misses me. She always takes great interest in my crazy craft projects, but usually has a chuckle when I tell here that I don't follow a pattern, or that I will install the large crochet piece on a fence somewhere. She is one of those women who created the most exquisite crocheted lace doilies while working long days and raising a family, living in a tin shed on a farm in the middle-of-nowhere (well, somewhere east of Geraldton). She once killed a snake that was slithering up the wall in my mum's bedroom/corner of the tin shed with a single whack of a broom!! She had clout, my grandma! How did she do it all?!?!

Her precision and attention to detail astound me - she honestly was an expert at her craft. Later in her life - in the lives of her grandchildren - she made colourful knitted toys and tea cosies and fun things like that. These patterns come direct from the 70's!! I remember have sleep overs at her place as a child and asking for a nurses outfit for my doll, a fabric pencil case for school, a bonnet for my baby-new-born. She always managed to whip up something right on the spot!

My most amazing grandma will be 97 this October, but her eye sight is not what is used to be, due to both macular degeneration and glaucoma. She spends many hours in solitude and would love to keep creating, but she just can't see. And she can't bear to knit by feel, but drop stitches, and end up with a second-rate garment. I can understand this when I see the quality of her crochet, embroidery, pulled thread work, tatting, knitting, patchwork, quilting, dress-making . . . the list goes on. Her work leaves a legacy of her talents - and so I share it with you here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beaufort street festival: Community Yarnbombing Project

Hasn't time come around quickly - it is Beautfort Street Festival time again soon! And another exciting knitting project! This year there is a theme: The Fantastical Bird Park: Beaks on Beaufort. 

Louise Weaver image from here

Some amazing people (I know this because they have all inspired me!) have put together the info/guidelines which I am going to cut and paste in this post - in the hope that many perth knitters/crocheters will get creative and join in! 

Louise Weaver image from here

As well as the creative and talented local artists - Jude, Sandra, Elaine, Wendy - there are a few local businesses that are very generously supporting the project that I would like to acknowledge because they are awesome! They be Behind the Monkey and Bremick Group. If you need supplies/materials to work on your contribution, you could check out what is in store at the local Thread Studio

Here are the details . . . . 

Artist Inspiration:  Louise Weaver (pics above):

Louise Weaver was born in Mansfield, Victoria, in 1966. She has an extensive exhibition history in Australia and overseas and her work is represented in major public and private collections around the world.
Weaver’s alluring anthropomorphic animals are supremely sophisticated creatures with their crocheted, embroidered and sequined pelts and their mysterious masks. “

Local Artist Jude Cornuel has drawn inspiration from Louise Weaver’s work and has begun creating some fantastical birds of her own that she plans to perch on Beaufort.  We would love to draw on Jude’s enthusiasm for Louise’s work and push this theme out into the Festival.

If you would like to participate around the theme, think and imagine –

·      Birds (Lyre, peacocks, swallows, flamingos, little ones, big ones, funky ones, crazy ones, cute ones, dramatic ones……all sorts of ones), birds on sticks, birds in trees, bird on a wire….
·      flowers, trees, vines, butterflies, insects, bees,  (after all they need a gorgeous landing spot & some friends from bird paradise!)
·      nests, eggs, duck feet (why not!?) decorated bird cages/bird houses etc.

and then think also of:

·      a huge stylized installation the size of an largish aviary that looks like a beautiful old fashioned birdcage, decorated of course with SOCK N ROLL* (Recycled socks made into rope)……….housing of course the most treasured birds sitting on their knitted, woven tree with maybe even a neighbourhood knitted cat checking out the whole thing…….
This installation will be installed in the centre of the road at a point to be confirmed in Beaufort St - surrounded by some knitted chairs for bird watchers, listening to tapes of birdsong and possibly some knitted telescopes for the real enthusiasts…

*SockNRoll is an initiative by local Artist Wendy Herington who collects the world’s odd socks and turns them into amazing balls of sock rope, which she then uses in her textile-based art.

So how do we do this?

·      Of course we need you!  In the first hand - To knit, weave, wrap, crochet, collage – as we did last year something of your choice – around the theme if you wish, to install in an area on the street.  Can be up a pole, tucked in a pothole, on a tree, rubbish bin – as before you will just give us an earmark of your proposed spot so we can check it doesn’t interfere with another art project etc. 

Your individual installation can be tiny or large.  Of your choosing.  We would ask that you donate your time and materials (and if you have extras you’re not using – maybe make them available to those who don’t have access to any).   You will be asked to install your own work and also DE install it if necessary
*N.B. We anticipate in a lot of cases the work will be ‘souvenired’ and you may not be able to take it back – so please keep this in mind when planning your piece.

·      In the second hand – we will need an adventurous group to work on the main installation piece.  This will require some people also who might have the skills and means to put together a large-scale cane or wire structure that will form the skeleton of the cage.  So some innovative strong souls with drills would be most appreciated!  Once the base is made then the group would decorate, make and house the cream of our flock.  Materials will be sourced & supplied for the cage structure as a group and decorated with the recycled SOCK N ROLL concept as well as knitting, crochet etc.

Please let us know when you register if you would like to volunteer for this side of the project – or if you would like to volunteer someone else (i.e. husband, lover, friend!).  Wendy can also guide participants in this project on how to recycle and work the socks. No previous experience is necessary!

So please, do get thinking and register straight away your participation details to Sandra Royer – see the details we need from you below.


We have been given an old pinball machine and have had a special request by Bremick Construction (an important participant of the Festival) that it be knitted and displayed on the day. 
It is particularly appropriate as it coincides with the theme of the Festival logo and we would love to do this for them.
Please consider joining this side of the project (as well).


We’ll keep you posted about details regarding installation and de-installation and any other info that might be pertinent as we go along.

If you have any questions please email Sandra on  or ring Elaine on 92277886 and we’ll get back to you a.s.a.p.

Yes, please do invite friends that may not have participated last year but have expressed interest.  All welcome. Have them email their details to Sandra.

Please note you do not have to be a formal Artist to participate – the aim of this project is to have fun, create impact and bring the community together on a joint creative endeavor.
Should you wish to install a piece outside the theme this is perfectly ok.

And if you are theming, feel free to ‘play’ with the theme and let your Imaginations extend the concept if you wish.

Got an idea for us to incorporate into this project – do sing out (oh, pardon the pun!)……

Get registered with us as soon as possible and let us know which part(s) of the project you’ll be working on, but if you need some extra time to ‘think up’ your actual idea and position on the street you can send that through separately.


Proposed Project Participation:  *please indicate which you’ll be working on

Proposed Individual Piece - (e.g. Little birds in nest of flowers)

Proposed Location:  (e.g. rubbish bin on cnr. Broome/Beaufort etc.)

2.   Large Birdcage Installation

3. Side Project/Pin Ball Machine

4.  Special requirements:  (do you need any help? If so let us know – special materials you can’t get, help with installation etc. etc.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

meet nadia . . .

Nadia Bertrand is an artist from Quebec, Canada. I met her last week when she cam into the Home Is Where y Heart Is photographic exhibition. We got talking, and I was amazed by her story. 

Nadia has been traveling around the world for a number of years trading her artwork for needs (and sometimes luxuries). According to her blog, it all started when she payed her dentist with art. Now she is in Perth, Australia. The day I spoke to her, she had just secured a weeks stay in a local backpackers - using her art as payment, of course - and was relieved, as she had spent the previous few nights sleeping in a cave near the beach in Fremantle. I was heartened and inspired by her story. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

knitted engine

This reminds me of a high school physics project - NOT my favourite subject! But this is very cool indeed. More pics and details of this knitted BMW engine here. The artist, Amy Twigger Holroyd also has a blog :)

conceptual knitting project

Here is a knitting project with a difference! One that is right up my alley! Concept knitting? No strict pattern? Perfect! I mostly freeform crochet, and have never followed a pattern to exaction ever! I love this idea!

Conceptual Knitting Intro from Leafcutter Designs on Vimeo.

Thanks to Craftzine, I came across Lea  of Leafcutter Designs, who does lots of really rad projects. I do really like this project, which encourages participants to knit a row a day based on the weather in your own city of town for a year - in 365 days you will have a personalised weather scarf! I am imagining that if I follow her colour scheme, my weather scarf for Perth will be pretty blue! What will your scarf look like?

Friday, August 5, 2011

saturday pink martini

Not the drink, the band - or "little orchestra". I stumbled across Pink Martini listening to tunes on you tube last night, and couldn't get enough of these folks!

The band was formed 15 years ago by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, he explains that the group draw inspiration from the romantic Hollywood musicals of the 1940's and 50's, with a more global perspective. Well, I am just in love!

Friday Favourites!

Let's start with some tunes!

I really admire Sia, for her musicality, messages of love and sparkle, and it is just pretty awesome that she hangs with JD Samson of Le Tigre fame.

jd samson & sia

I also love this exciting combo I saw on the Craftivism blog - QR Code in textile crafts. Is there anything more rad?!

pic from Craftivism

Here is something else a little subversive - the photography of Mariel/Clayton. I love this pop art vs realism and a bit of dark humour. I hope you are not offended by her work - she says on her facebook page: "A doll photographer with a subversive sense of humour. I'm not a man-hater, I wasn't abused as a child, I'm not 'dark' or 'disturbed' or 'mentally scarred'... I just find certain things funny."


Have a delightful weekend! 

Over & out,

Captain Plaknit

Monday, August 1, 2011

home is where my heart is

Here is a short promo film for a project I am working on the moment. I am really passionate about the arts ability to be a catalyst for social change. Which is what the Home Is Where My Heart Is project is all about. Now in its fourth year, the exhibition is the culmination of a project that partners young emerging photographers with young homeless people, who are asked to take a photo that captures their interpretation of home. It is the simple act of sharing knowledge and skills that makes this exhibition so powerful - for the young people involved, the photographers, and the audience. 

Next week is exhibition curation week, which I am exceptionally proud to be working on, with a dedicated and awesome team. On opening night, and throughout the exhibition, prints of the photographs will be sold to raise funds for the youth services that work with street present young people. I can't wait to see the faces of the young people, and to witness the reactions of the audience - it gives me that feeling of being part of something bigger than myself, and being a small part of making a positive change in someone's life.