I attended another fantastic Wearable Art Mandurah judging day yesterday. The excitement and anticipation grows each year. I love the chance to catch up with the friends I have made through this competition and it’s the day you have the first opportunity to see many of the other amazing garments designers have entered. Here is a link to some images in the Mandurah Mail.Away from the studio, you see your own garment at its best. I was very fortunate to have the gorgeous Amy model for me and Duvah’s hair and makeup team did a beautiful job. The garment is called Everlasting Love?These images are quick snaps I took from behind the professional photographer…
This box arrived late last week. It has grown in size and accumulated address labels as it has travelled across Australia, through the middle, up and down the east coast and now back to Western Australia. Wearable Art Whispers is a project facilitated by artist Anzara Clarke and will be a part of Wearable Art Mandurah 2017. I am the last of seven artists to contribute to the project, each person adding their own unique piece to the garment, whilst responding to what has gone before. It was a delight to open the box and see the beautiful work the others have made. You, will have to wait…My Studio Supervisor is guarding the contents of this box.
And to really end – Last Saturday my High School celebrated its 50th year. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and also to be reminded of where my immersion in art began. I attended a specialist art program here for five years along with every other art and sewing class I could wiggle my way into.
Aha and AHHHH…These are the words you want to hear from participants in your workshop. That lovely moment when something clicks or they can see a connection to what you are presenting and the type of work they already do…a new way of working, a slight twist, an “of course”… I’ve had all these moments myself at workshops and artist talks. Some of them are defining moments in my work. Often a small, seemingly insignificant part of the whole, has made the difference.
I had the great pleasure of running two half day workshops for WAFTA late last week. Simple Steps to Surface Design was part of a series of Textile Techniques Toolbox workshops to coincide with the launch of “Altered States” WAFTA’s member challenge exhibition. The challenge is to create a small work of art from the surprise contents of a bag of materials. These workshops are designed to inspire and expand possibilities.In my half day workshops we covered screen printing in various forms, gelli printing, stamping, spray stencils, fugitive medium, Dylon and RIT dyeing. A lot to cover in a few hours, just a taster to explore further if it was of interest. The participants made lots of A4 size samples – reference material for future work.I loved seeing my stencils and stamps used in ways I would never have thought of…how each participant explored new possibilities. I loved their delight when something surprised them and they were excited to explore further.
My week started out with some great things happening, like my Wearable Art Mandurah 2017 garment getting through the pre-selection stage and now heading to the Judging Day in April and a small piece I have been working on becoming “resolved”…not finished, but ready to be assembled together.Great sadness followed as we made the necessary decision to say goodbye to our 16 year old Golden Retriever Austin. Difficult beyond belief. He passed away peacefully in his favourite spot in the garden surrounded by the family and with the help of a home visit vet.
We all shared our favourite stories of Austin over a glass of wine early that evening. Then at a complete loss of what to do what to do with myself, I returned to the rag rug that I started making in January when I was also at a loss. At that time finding it really hard for a number of reasons to get started doing any new artwork. A practical rug made from old t-shirts for our family room floor, simple, repetitive, few decisions needing to be made and holding no arty angst. The making routine got me started again. I’ll be sharing the making of this rug soon if you want to make your own.
On Saturday we saw I, Claude Monet. A rather slow moving, although very interesting film of images of Monet’s work and photographs of his family, friends and home with voice over reading from his letters and diaries. Throughout the movie, he expressed his exhaustion and his frustration with his work…all his life. He lived in dire poverty for many many years and never truly felt he did much work of great value!
I think to most of us his garden and Les Nymphéas (The Water Lilies)…say otherwise.Here is little Olivia on our visit in 2008. Here is a short video of at the Musée de l’Orangerie The WAFTA general meetings started for 2017 on Sunday after a two month gap. It was lovely to catch up with new and old friends and we had an interesting talk by Canadian artist Laura Vickerson.
Yesterday we photographed works for two exhibition entries. One was a reshoot as I was never really happy with the white background we had used previously. I loved the detail shots, but when the full work was viewed on a computer screen it kind of got lost in the background. If you can imagine a 1.5m work the size of a gift card, the fine details appeared as one dull colour. We shot it with a black background yesterday and with the greater contrast, it came alive.
I’ve been hand stitching solidly for a couple of weeks on the second piece. An often asked question is “How long did that take you to make?” Well, completing the hand stitch alone, I caught up with all the TV shows I had recorded, finished Wolf Hall DVD Series and the entire final season of Downton Abbey. The listening and glancing TV watching technique of course.
Firstly a transformation of the studio into boudoir for our friends from Sydney for a long weekend. It’s amazing what you find when you have a good clean up…
Five lovely days including an unheard of visit to the beach on a Monday morning…what an extravagance. The beach and weather stunning – it was meant to be 🙂
Then the submission of my 2017 entry for Wearable Art Mandurah WAM. The work has been finished for a while, photos taken, but pressing that “submit” button…it’s when you let go of your work.
On Saturday I gave a talk to the WAFTA WASG (Wearable Art Study Group) about my journey and experiences over the past 4 years making wearable art followed by a mini workshop.A simple way to start making Wearable Art – Discover the possibilities of upcycling your recycling bin!
Participants worked directly on dress forms, playing with recycled materials. Using pins, staples and masking tape to speed up the process.
It’s always interesting to see a garment develop on a body shape. You can do lots of drawings and designs, but when you place the items on a body form it comes to life.
All the participants made wonderful and unique starts to wearable art garments, including two 10 year old girls present by default. I could see the start of some wonderful garments for the 2018 WAM competition!
The workshop reminded me that I really enjoy teaching, something that I have been pushing aside for a long time.
A holiday to the beach helps me breathe…just looking at this image I take a deep sigh. Ahhh…We were very lucky to escape the horrid heat of Perth this past week to enjoy lovely weather in beach front Busselton. A breeze that gives you a warm hug, along with the bliss that nothing needs to be done.My ideal relaxing holiday
- Walks along the beach
- Swimming if the weather is perfect – which it was
- Yummy food, lovely wine
- A good book – Really enjoying The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith
- Sleeping in
We also enjoyed watching the finals of the Big Bash League
It’s the time of year to look back and reflect on what you have achieved and plan for the new year. Rather than focus on individual works and exhibitions, here is my list of:-
Things I learnt in 2016. (Textile related)
1. How to properly use a seam ripper– I know I’ve been sewing for 40+ years…
2. How the bobbin actually works on my sewing machine (see above)
3. How lovely Perth is…when you stop to look and discover the buildings
4. The incredible amount of stuff that gets thrown away and the cost(s) of manufacturing said items. I’ve started to really consider my purchases (new clothing especially)
5. The lovely Beverley Station Arts– I want some time here 🙂
6. Years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt I would spend soooo much time writing about my work.
7. How gut wrenchingly hard making very personal works can be to make, and how uplifting completion is.
8. It still amazes me how Google connects all over the world.
9. Bullet Journal – I trialed this analog diary in December and it works for me far better than any other commercial diary/calendar/digital program.
These things I did know and have reconfirmed in 2016 :-
1. How much publicity WAM gives you.
2. Having your work juried is a very subjective thing…however, exhibition rejection letters are still challenging to deal with.
3. My work takes a LONG time.
4. Every work has challenging elements, especially when trialing new ideas, techniques and ways of working.
5. Deadlines are the best way for me to get work done.
6. I have to keep making – I get very frustrated and bored when not working on something.
7.Through the common interest of textiles, I have made a lot of lovely, interesting friendships.
8. Inspiration and the connection of ideas appears in the oddest of places…it’s a reminder to keep going out, not just to art events, but all sorts of places.
9. That the art exhibitions, talks, workshops and events that I have the pleasure of participating in, are in the vast majority run by volunteers. Without these wonderful people willing to give of their time and skills (often at the expense of having time to make their own work) our textile community would be much poorer. I am truly grateful to them all.
Christmas is just around the corner and this week I am in full swing preparing lists, shopping, cleaning and cooking. I’ve had the blinkers on Christmas up until now. Over the weekend, I (95%) finished my Wearable Art Mandurah (WAM) garment and cleaned up the studio. I have been working on this garment solidly for the past three months. Although not due until mid February I gave myself a Christmas deadline. I find it is really necessary to allow my work to “sit” for a while…time to consider how to finish, does it work? will it hold together 🙂 I know I can’t work well up against a last minute deadline. The nature of my work doesn’t allow for this and the stress caused is not worth it.
This Brain Pickings article arrived in my Facebook feed today and beautifully sums up why.
Acts That Amplify: Ann Hamilton on Art, the Creative Value of Unproductive Time, and the Power of Not Knowing
From Anne Hamilton’s essay “Making not Knowing”
One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going. In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know. You may set out for New York but you may find yourself as I did in Ohio.
I find this happens in my work, a seemingly brilliant idea in my head, in reality, goes completely astray…the completed work becoming quite different to my initial imagining.
But not knowing, waiting and finding — though they may happen accidentally, aren’t accidents. They involve work and research. Not knowing isn’t ignorance. (Fear springs from ignorance.) Not knowing is a permissive and rigorous willingness to trust, leaving knowing in suspension, trusting in possibility without result, regarding as possible all manner of response. The responsibility of the artist … is the practice of recognizing.
This is the challenging part – the trusting in possibility…time allows for this, it can’t be rushed for a deadline. It appears when ready…ideas and connections come when I’m in the shower, driving the car…
So, this week I prepare for Christmas, next week watch the cricket, read books, see friends, relax…
Last week I had the pleasure of helping my friend Jo Ireland with a Wearable Art Parade she organised for staff at St John of God Hospital Murdoch. Gorgeous students from Seton College (came back from holidays) to model in the show.Garment by Philomena Hali made from rope and cable ties.
Garment by Jo Ireland made from desalination filter paper and fruit tree netting.
Garment by Julie Smith modeled by the delightful Colin.The last showing of The Gilded CageJulie Smith’s work above and below Fire FliesAnother by Jo Ireland made from rubber bands, nespresso pods, jigsaw puzzle pieces This was the final showing of the The Gilded Cage. The garment has been worn and shown on many occasions, traveling as far as Broome, and now the cage is worn out and retiring. The corset may become part of another garment…I love that it has been seen and worn so many times.