Betty Busby

Betty is a quilt artist that I’ve admired for a long time. I just watched a video from Lisa Walton that explained how Betty gets such fine raw edge detail.

Her shapes are cut using a silhouette cutter and non woven fabric.

I’d like to do raw edges applique with non woven but I don’t like to use synthetic. Felt is a non woven so maybe I could make my own fine wool/silk felt that I used to sew into.

Entropy, 60 x 40 inches

<> Viewed 7 September 2020

Her non woven is painted prior to being fused to a background and then stitched. A lot of what reads as small appliqued pieces are actually holes through the fused non woven that reveal the background.

A similar effect might be achievable by preparing a background work and then using a stencil to mask out a pattern/imagery and use solarfast, rather than printing a foreground with solar fast. This is a bit similar to what I have sort of done with the current layered photo.

Sculptural work:

Snowbound 62 x 15 inches

<> Viewed 7 September 2020

Wondering if I can incorporate textile or quilt work into my final tool sculpture. Don’t want to waste a lot of time making something that I will not pursue in sculpture but happy to try and see if sculptural forms add something to my work, or increase the range of imagery I can create.

Good Painting

One child Is One Too Many, Thomas Knauer 2017, 38 X 38 inches

Image Reference:

Knauer T 2019, Why We Quilt, Storey Publishing, USA, pp x-xi


Cot size quilt in coloured patterned and plain fabrics, featuring a traditional ‘Sunbonnet Sue‘ design which has been altered to add the white silhouette of a gun.

<; Viewed 5 September 2020 – This link is a refresher to the formal elements that I will use as structure for my discussion of why this is a good painting.

Medium and size: Work is rendered in fabric and thread, as for a traditional quilt and is of a size that could have been used in a cot or for a child.

Colour: the colours used are similar to the pastel colours often used in a traditional cot quilt but they are slightly more intense and the background yellow is quite a sickly biological green yellow rather than lemon yellow, which introduces the work as mildly unsettling even at first glance.

Line: Fifteen figures appear to move across the quilt, initially read from left to right but this is then disrupted by the alternating direction of the figures, the selection of a different background for two of the figures and the absence of a figure at all in the bottom right corner. In this way the traditional geometry and repetition of a quilt is further subverted but still retains neat regimented arrangement which belies the horror and chaos of the content being suggested.

Atmospheric elements (movement light space): Neat regimented arrangement belies the horror and chaos of what is being represented

Shape and form: The soft curves and simple shapes of the figures suggest childhood innocence and the layering of patterned and plain fabrics give further soft form to the figures. The machine gun is inserted into this as a white silhouette with sharp edges and no suggestion of three dimensional form. This serves to highlight the contrast between the child like figure and the straight edges of the gun. A white silhouette suggests absence to me and is perhaps indicating that it needs to be removed from the image.

The final empty yellow block also reinforces the idea of absence going forward into the future, but in this case may be commenting of the absence of the child and loss of childhood.

Space/picture plane: All figures are presented on the one picture plane, but have space around them. Isolated figures repeated across the work, referencing repeated but separate events.

Texture: Texture is visible as a soft work due to the medium and further relief is developed by the use of quilting lines. In this case the lines encase each figure in its own cage like structure best seen on the darker background. It is a tight and somewhat hard looking quilting pattern that removes some of the traditional quilt softness and is a bit reminiscent of a target centered on the child figure.


Whilst at first glance this looks like a quilt made for a child, on closer inspection it reveals itself to be unsettling but effective comment on the loss of children in the US to gun violence and gun accidents. It encourages the viewer to engage, to look deeper and most importantly to feel, and this is why I think this is a good painting.

Below is a hand out sent by Yvette to help with this task.

Strategies used in analysis and evaluation of artworks[1]

Yvette Watt


  • An examination of the image in front of you that discusses formal elements (such as colour, line shape), materials and medium, technical qualities as well as subject matter.
  • Be objective. Try not to use words such as “beautiful” or “ugly” that identify a subjective opinion.
  • An assessment of atmospheric elements of the work (i.e. movement, light, space).


  • Examines how the work is organized as a complete composition. How is the work constructed or planned (i.e. placement of elements within the pictorial plane, directional forces)?
  • Identifies some of the similarities throughout the work (i.e. repetition of line, colour, shape etc)
  • Identifies some of the points of emphasis in the work (i.e., use of scale, pictorial space, movement, use of colour).
  • Identifies the relationships between the subject matter and formal elements
  • Addresses the visual information that the artist presented in terms of content


  • Describes how the work makes you think or feel:
  • Describes the expressive qualities you find in the work.
  • Describes any feelings, emotions or attitudes that may arise when viewing the work.
  • Does the work remind you of other things you have experienced (i.e., analogy or metaphor)?
  • Does the work use symbolic elements?
  • Does the work respond to a specific social or political issue or event?

*All statements made here should be supported by visual clues and evidence found within the image.

Judgment or Evaluation

  • Presents your opinion of the work’s successes or failures
  • Addresses how effectively the image projects or communicates the artist’s intention
  • Addresses whether you like or dislike the work
  • Address other issues such as originality, contemporary relevance and social context.

*All statements made here should be supported by visual clues and evidence found within the image.

[1] based upon



This is a fabric and thread work, nearly one metre square, that is comprising of 16 square panels arranged and joined in a square and then further contained within a thin border. The individual panels show a stylised child-like figure rendered in patches of patterned or plain coloured fabric. This figure is shown carrying the white silhouette of a gun pointing away from the child. The child is shown in all but the last panel which is left blank in the background yellow colour. The figures are arranged in rows of four, first facing in one direction and then the other. All but two of the backgrounds are yellow with the substitution of a blue and a pink background for the remaining two. Quilting lines in an echo type pattern centred on each panel is visible overlying the panels. The figures are all the same in shape and hang in space centrally in each panel essentially on a flat picture plane. The only slight depth is created by the overlaying of fabrics in the figure.


As a functional quilt, this work could be considered cot size or of a size suitable for a child, immediately referencing childhood.

 The colours used are mostly primary but fall somewhat on the pastel side in tone. The fabric patterns are cheerful floral or other repeating patterns. The background yellow however has a slightly biological green hue to it as opposed to sunny yellow. This colour serves to unsettle and insert an element of anxiety into the work.

Fifteen child-like figures move across the work, initially read from left to right but then disrupted by alternating direction at the end of a row. This repetition is further undermined by the use of a different background for two of the figures and the absence of a figure at all in the bottom right corner. In this way the traditional geometry and repetition of a quilt is somewhat subverted. The work however, still retains an neat regimented arrangement, while belies the chaos of the content the artist is referencing.

Soft simple shapes and curves suggest childhood innocence and the layering of patterned and plain fabrics give slight form to the body of the child. The gun, however, is represented as a silhouette in white suggesting absence or perhaps that it needs to be removed. It is not given form or detail possibly to highlight that it is out of place.

The final empty yellow panel also reinforces the idea of absence going forward into the future, but in this case may be commenting of the absence of the child and loss of childhood.

The figures are all presented on the one picture plane and each figure is isolated on its own panel with no points of connection or interaction between them. The arrangement suggests both isolation and repetition of the isolated event.

The work is visibly constructed of fabric and hence reads as soft but some relief is developed by the use of quilting lines. Lines encase each figure in its own cage-like structure best seen on the darker background. It is a tight and somewhat hard looking quilting pattern that removes part of the traditional quilt softness and is reminiscent of a target centred on the child figure.


At first glance this appears like a traditional baby quilt, but this initial impression is then undermined by the presence of a gun. The use of many traditional quilt elements and the modification of a traditional quilt pattern serves to highlight the contrasting elements of softness and protection with the frightening concept of a gun in the hands of a child.

I am conflicted appreciating the formal elements of attractive colour and pattern but at the same time facing the terrifying message of the work. I feel a desire to get in there and remove the gun from the image to restore its beauty and peace.

I know from reading about the work, that it is responding to the deaths of children in the US from gun violence or accidents. I think this meaning is accessible from the work without this knowledge. The violent content viewed in the context of what is normally regarded as a gentle type medium, speaks clearly to the horror of the mix of guns and children.


I think this work is very successful at disquieting the viewer and conveying a message made more powerful by the contrast with a lot of other works in this medium. It is a work that conveys a message first and foremost. I don’t find it aesthetically pleasing, and I find myself having a desire to see it without the gun, in order to feel the pleasure I can obtain when I look at some artworks. It is a work that is relevant to the social and political environment in the US where it was made.

The work encourages the viewer to engage, to look deeper and most importantly to feel, and therefore I think it is a good painting.  

Wen Redmond

I’m spending a lot of time looking for a work to use for my ‘Good Painting’ presentation. The work of Wen Redmond combines textiles with molding paste and inkaid to print manipulated photos or layered photos on to a substrate. She then further embellishes with stitch and painting to create a layered artwork that is most probably seen as mixed media art but can still fit within the bounds of a quilt. I am attracted to the look of the final work and may well present one of her works for the good painting. But her works are not functional quilts and that takes away from this technique a bit for me. The quilts are not washable, not really because of the photo but because of the addition of medium and varnish over the top that removes the reference to comfort that a quilt has.

So although I have bought her book and the aesthetics appeal, I am not ready to completely disconnect from the potential to use my work as a bed covering or to be able to bury my face in it when I feel the need.

So while I can probably steal some of her ideas of division of the segments and ethereal photography, I don’t think I’ll be using the inkaid and molding paste.

Wen Redmond 2018, Continuing the conversation, 30 x 50 inches

< > Viewed 4 September 2020


{Contemporary Australian Photograms}


National Gallery of Victoria 2003, First Impressions: Contemporary Australian Photograms, Brochure from an exhibition of the above name, Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

This exhibition is made up of works from contemporary photogram artists.

Interesting the brochure states that they use photograms because as a medium it most suits the creative ideas the artists are trying to convey. So rather than using photograms because they like the look of them, they are using photograms because they best suit the works. Have to think about that because I use solarfast mostly because of process related concerns – the ability to cleanly get an image on to fabric – but perhaps you could say I use fabric and quilts as my medium because of the ideas of comfort and security in a hostile world. They are both more emotive and also more accessible than paint or photography. Something to keep in mind when I am writing about my work.

Also something that has come out of “Why We Quilt” a bit – The effectiveness of quilts as an art medium to convey emotion and meaning. To go beyond the craft. Perhaps I can somehow get a question or an exploration for honours out of this. It’s so hard to know what will work. (relevant to honours)

Some artists represented in the exhibition:

Ruth Maddison (relevant to painting)

Ruth Maddison.jpg       <Viewed 1 September 2020>

I hadn’t seen this before I did my face photograms but this was the type of thing I envisioned for my self portrait initially. Turned out to be difficult to achieve and certainly not on a 8 x 10 piece of paper. I wonder how many goes she had to achieve this clarity and exposure that also has a third grey tone. That comes from having her face off the paper with the points of contact being completely white and then light getting around the object to create grey. I initially tried to do this in the sun but it simply takes too long to be still on wet solarfast to create this . I did have some success a couple of years ago with cyanotype and I did my whole body and printed on both sides. Then I threw it in the washing machine and bleached the lot inadvertently. Still it was an emotive image that I could return to. Not now though because I have made my decision for the self portrait on this occasion.

Ruth Madison does work about the everyday and homely relatable portraits. Accessible and ordinary but ubiquitous in most people’s lives.



(relevant to photography)

Just had an idea how I might be able to present my idea of windows and foreground for my photography series. Perhaps I could do some photograms of objects in the darkroom and then do a two layered print with solarfast of the photogram and a photo of the view through the window only visible in the white areas of the photogram. Maybe use dense cyanotype for the photogram so I get a good white and then put solarfast in the white area and print the view. I’m not sure that the bleaching effect of solarfast on cyanotype is very strong but it can be overcome with the use of tea if necessary to return it to a dark colour. Or I could photoshop the imagery together first and just use solarfast or cyanotype.

The outside world viewed through the lens of a wine glass, coke bottle, washing powder box, nutribullet, iron, vacuum hose, cushion, hand sanitiser bottle, disinfectant can, hand weight, needs to be something that is smaller than 8 x 10. Could look through my window pictures and see what is in the foreground. There was a washer on one windowsill I know. And my little soft toys, hanging beads or wind chime, Curtains I took down. Can do a small photogram and enlarge if necessary.

Penelope Davis (relevant to sculpture)

Penelope Davis

<>       Viewed 1 September 2020

From an exhibition called Penumbra. A penumbra is the partially shaded area around an object. It’s a great word.  Penelope makes objects by casting using silicone and resin. Then she exposes them to create this type of photograph. I have been thinking about using my sculpture in this way to create imagery using solarfast.

The combination of soft and hard edges created in photograms of 3D objects gives an ethereal presence to the object that is hard to achieve in other ways.

Sculpture shadow.jpg

This is one that I have already done using my suspended toilet roll sculpture. Lots of problems with this but in proof of concept. Would work better to do a photogram on photo paper so it can be scanned and contrast increased to get a higher contrast print.


Mood painting

mood painting.jpg

My word was lush and I was trying to go for deep purples, blues, greens and gold. Everything had complementary in it. Not sure about the gold ceiling.


I’ve tried to enrich the colours a bit here because I think lush refers to texture and depth of colour. Haven’t succeeded well. Have tried to get red but still have orange. Can’t waste any more ink. Could do the whole thing again but would rather get on with what I’m doing for self portrait.

Self portrait 3

Struggling with this. I was looking forward to it but now I can’t seem to get anything that looks evocative or interesting.

Digitally planned this:

Idea here was a resilient core with the fragmented image drifting a bit but remaining tether to the core. Core is slightly to the right as it continues to move forward. selfportrait3.jpgselfportrait3

but the execution is much more difficult. I have printed out a few of these on thin fabric and you can’t see through it and they just sit on top looking blah….

I was thinking of this as a collage but as soon as I start this I realise I don’t like the raw edges and the saggy fabric. There is something about the quilt format that I gravitate to. I’m not a textile artist relishing drape of fabric. I am interested in evoking mood with juxtaposition of colour and line. I think before Thursday I will cut these up and rejoin using a simple block of some sort. Maybe a log cabin type around the core? Centre assymetrical? Looking at the work of Thomas Knauer and realised that I am perhaps straying too far from my quilting roots and perhaps that’s why it’s not appealing to me so much. I enjoy doing pieced quilts and the idea was always to print fabric to use in quilts. I have moved a long way from that and maybe I need to move back.

Thomas Knauer       Viewed 27 August 2020

Now I have roughly pieced some of the squares after cutting them and giving them a hard edge. I was thinking of the grid as containing fragments but there is lots wrong with this. The colour of the grid is dominant and not allowing the imagery to be seen. It’s also too wide and the idea of a resilient core is lost in the cutting up of the “core”. The fabric is too thin and doesn’t hold the imagery well. There was pleasure in the sewing though.


Moving on I have now composed something more in the pattern of a pieced quilt.

Multiple photograms done directly in the darkroom

photograms face.jpg

selfport3mock2 copy

I am planning to use dyed cotton sateen to get the grey which will be pieced between the images. The grey grid should stand proud as I will fold both edges in to that and then sew the image down flat a bit recessed. The single grey square will be pieced in but will still show because it will be bordered as the rest of them are.


I forgot to invert in the image above. I like the way the face looks more like shadow when I do.

My background is green instead of grey. I can try again or maybe I will think about painting neutral sashings in grey. A light wash of acrylic will stiffen and make the grid appear more rigid. I’m wondering about painting after sewing. It shouldn’t bleed once it is sewn in place. The sewing will define. Excited to try this.

Feedback from Group:

Seemed to clarify in my mind that the repetition could be thought of as sticking with it, keeping on, in the context of resilience. The grid is enduring and underpinning the softer faces. Ambiguity around the face being a face. Anyway seemed ok and I think I will now move it forward to completion. No mention of it being a quilt. Yvette did suggest maybe there could be another layer over the top but I’m not sure what that would look like. I’m going to change to silk/wool with visible weave now for my grey because I can at least get the colour I want that way. Green will be put aside for another project. The silk wool won’t have the smoothness but it will have a different strong twill like texture that also resonates with metal grid.

Later I thought about how Yvette had asked me if the number of repetitions meant anything. I hadn’t thought other than laying out a portrait shape compositions with an odd number. Now I’m thinking I could add an extra layer by making it mean something.

28 years I’ve had this stress so 28 it will be. That will be for rows of seven but the missing grey square will mean that there will be a bottom row of only one. I hope that suggests that this continues on.


I won’t have that block of grey to the right of the last image but couldn’t work out in photoshop how to crop odd shapes. Yet. Maybe I’ll try again later.








Self portrait 2


This is a second attempt. I tried to get an actual photogram on the fabric but it was unsuccessful and all that remains is that slightly paler area at the top of my head. Then I used a mask of a photo and ended up with this which looks odd floating there and looks like a cameo.

My idea was to stitch a wire contour core under the skin.

Feedback was that this whole thing looked flat and just like representation of my face. Warm element with fabric. I agree it’s uninteresting with flat picture plane.

I have finished the stitching and turned it on its side, which makes for a more visually interesting image but not saying what I intended, and perhaps not saying much at all.


Things I have learnt out of this are technical things. I bagged this up so it met the requirement for a quilt and I did this but sewing the batting which was canvas in the centre to give stiffness. It is sewn through the back to hold it in place so I didn’t need to sew it into the edge seams and that gives a flatter neater result.  which sharper corner points.

Other things that were discussed was how the wall as a whole was coming together.


Yvette mentioned Sally Smart as someone to look at.

Sally Smart     Viewed 15 Aug 2020

Sally Smart

Sally Smart does large scale installations as sometimes with performance, that are collaged on to the wall.

Sally Smart – Family Tree House (Shadows and Symptoms) 

I imagine thinking about the meanings of the world; inevitably the discourse begins with the body, a forensic activity, an external and internal examination of the body environment: clothes, house, furniture, landscape. This becomes an anatomy lesson; where dissected parts are examined and reconstructions are made for explanations. Inevitably the conclusion is like a puzzle-picture: a maze of fugitive parts; landscape parts become human parts: but whether the lines, shapes and colours appear abstract or representational there is an assemblage of parts. However, the composition is unstable, a chimera: the picture is impaired. 

Sally Smart 


SmartS, No update date given, Writing, Viewed 15 August 2020


This is an interesting quote from Sally Smart’s website which resonates a bit with my inclination to investigate everyday objects and details of life, and also my quilting tendency to assemblage. However it is not the aesthetic look I would go for. Colour is important to my work and these hard edged collages with white background seem a bit prosaic for me. I want my work to be a bit more ethereal with emotive colour. I’m struggling to achieve this in a quilt like assemblage but I may be more successful with layering thinner fabrics. I’ve just got some silk cotton and silk voile so maybe that will be the answer!! I have a new idea that I’m going to experiment with and that will be in the next painting post.

Starting self portrait

Self portrait.jpg

This is just a sketch from a photo. I have used gelato crayons and brushed over them with water. I’m starting to think about what I might do for this project. Last time I did a self portrait was in this unit in first year painting.

FIrst year self portrait

This painting was about me and how I felt about the situation with my son and how I felt a need to confess my failures around him. I’m thinking this was done in 2015 but I’m not sure.

Since then things have moved on to a situation where I no longer feel the need to confess, and in fact have been surprised myself with the resilience and perseverance I have been able to sustain in the fight to get him help.

I’m going to attempt to show that in this portrait. My idea was to fracture my image and then reassemble, not quite right but held in one place with embroidery in a chicken wire pattern. Just a slight bit of leakage beyond the chicken wire.

My starting portrait could be a photograph, or it could be a painting like above where I translate it into a digital image that can be digitally fractured and then placed back in place by printing on fabric and sewing together.

Thinking maybe I will piece together lightly and then show the straining at the edges of pieces with stitch. I don’t want raw edges because I still want it ultimately to be able to be washed as a quilt. Maybe I don’t need chicken wire pattern – maybe visible stitch showing the pieces being held together with strong stitches, or maybe mended strongly?

? a bit of a hodge podge of facial imagery from painting and photos patched together.

Think first step is to use the above to do a bit of a small tester.
self portrait bw.jpg

Start by changing to black and white and printing an inverted emulsion down transparency.


Turned out too dark which is mostly a function of overexposure but I feel like I can see enough that I don’t really want to go with it. It is rough looking on the surface which is not what I was hoping to show. Trying to show a disintegrating soft outer with a resilient core.

Painting week Four – Culture and Identity


Howard Arkley – colourful outlined work with a lot of the content being suburbia and the everyday.  Referencing both the everyday and art history.  –  made me think of my work with everyday objects and details and attempts to present them in an art context. Not particularly about culture/identity for me though. Howard Arkley.JPG

Triple fronted , 1987; Viewed 6 Aug 2020

Lindy Lee –Lindy Lee.jpg;     Viewed 6 Aug 2020

These two included photos are the same photo but one is darker than the other.  It’s interesting how different it makes them look. Repetition with variation. This sort of configuration suits my work but I’m not sure what it says. To me it looks haunting and suggestive of loss. As though a lot of what might have been there in red has been covered up by black.

Kara Walker – 

Kara Walker

The keys to the coop   1997

In the tate article associated with this it mentioned the simplicity of silhouettes resonating with the simplicity of racial stereotypes.;    Viewed 6 August 2020

I’m more interested in the potential of silhouettes as a process given that they work well with my solar fast imagery. There is a lot of detail in the image above but it has a kind of cartoon quality which I’m not looking to use.

Sometimes I think that the stencils yield up interesting shapes and a certain reduction in the distraction away from form that lots of internal detail can give. Having said that, I like to create internal markings that don’t necessarily reflect the exact detail of what is present but more create a certain mood.

In my dog work I was happy that the man had some degraded sort of marking within his silhouette to resonate with the idea that he was being lost.





Painting 2B Black dog

First experiment using solar fast to paint with and exposure as I went. Wasn’t very happy with the image itself although the composition was ok. Don’t like the soft edges and painterly quality. Too flat and uninteresting.

This is a composition of stencils with each stencil exposed to different colour solarfast individually. It is better than the painting but I’m still not sure it’s cohesive with the separate pure colours. It has a bit of texture from the prints but not as much as I would like. And I did really want the dog sitting on the man’s chest but I have placed it wrongly.

This third experiment was printed on silk/wool compared to cotton sateen for the one above and it hasn’t taken the colour as well as I would have liked. It appears very muted and I’m not happy with the beige appearance of the background.

I have moved on to dyeing with orange landscape to unify the background and I am reprinting some of the stencils on top to see if I can demarcate them better and strengthen their colour which was someone lost with the orange dye. Likely I will end up with a painting of brown shadows on orange. Not sure what I think about that yet. If its not as good I am going to stop and just use the second version because for me this is about experimentation. The experiment of using stencils has worked in my opinion but I haven’t quite worked out the best way of applying background colour. I may try just painting colour on the back and exposing it through the front after I have already applied the stencils. That may be less invasive than dyeing. Or maybe just expose the back in colour and enough may show through to the front to tint the front without altering the colour in the stencilled area.

Black dog final.jpg

Ok this is the final one. Not perfect but I am moving on. Fabric gives it a muted matte feel which is more noticeable on the silk wool weave than on cotton sateen. This one looked a bit muddy with more loss of colour than I wanted, and I didn’t feel that the planes were well defined so I added the stitching to try and define picture planes better.

I would definitely have liked to have more control over the background colour so that the front colours are not so muddied. I don’t might dulling the colours from the primaries but here I feel like I lost control of the process.

Good thing is that I am pleased with the sewing. Doesn’t interfere with the pleasurable sharp edges of the image but still serves a purpose to better define areas of the work.