Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Almost 41 years ago, I set off on a grand adventure. I received an appointment to teach at the school on Norfolk Island, at only five days' notice. Those five days were an absolute whirl, because my life in the city had been a very busy one, but one thing stands out in my mind.
When he heard my news, and after recovering from his shock, my father said:

"Just imagine........on an island, you will be able to seethe sun rise and set over the sea!"
And it is true. We are always conscious of that sea around us. But it does not represent a great divide or barrier; it is more like a wonderful calm and protective presence when this island has become your home. It is both reassuring and inspiring at the same time to go to some high point, be it a hill, the mountain, or the cliff top, and watch the ever changing vista of the ocean. At times you may see a fishing boat appear on the horizon, returning from a day's fishing. Or you may see a cargo vessel or oil tanker bringing supplies to the island. One can imagine what it was like in decades past as women and children watched for their menfolk to return from their whaling expeditions.
But we are often conscious of other horizons, such as that of the ever-present tree-lined twin peaks of our Mt Pitt and Mt Bates hovering over the island. One could become quite philosophical about the contrasts.
When I was challenged to produce a page for a fabric book entitled Horizons, I decided to feature these two very literal horizons, and leave it to the viewer to dwell on the more metaphorical implications! The book is part of a Round Robin I have been invited to join, with seven ladies from NZ, Australia and the UK. Each lady has chosen her theme, and each month the others produce a complete page for her on her theme, using textile and/or mixed media techniques. The first page I am working on is for Carol from Queensland.

For Carol's "Horizons" book, I decided to reproduce two Norfolk scenes...the sea and the mountain....printing photos from my computer onto fabric. I have then created a foreground using collaged lace, which is hand dyed and embellished.
This is a technique I have been experimenting with for 3 or 4 years. I have since learned that the basic technique is called "Normandy Lace"....yes, I naively thought I had invented it!!! It seems that Normandy lace is a means of using and preserving small pieces of precious and special laces by joining them into either a pattern or crazy-patch style. I have done the latter, and then taken it a step further by colouring the laces, and adding embroidery, beads and other embellishments, as well as incorporating items such as pictorial images on silk and other fabrics.

I hope Carol enjoys her pages. For next month, I think I need to explore the theme of "Openings" this space!!

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