A Week of Joys and Sadness

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.13 march 2017 059Great 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. Rag rug aAt 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.Ray Rug 2 I’ll be sharing the making of this rug soon if you want to make your own.Callum and Austin

Making art …

Monets Garden 1 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.The Water LiliesHere is little Olivia on our visit in 2008. Here is a short video of at the  Musée de l’Orangerie Monets Garden 5Monets Garden 2Monets garden 7Monets garden 6The 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.

I’ve just got a bit more paperwork to finish and then dive into the next work.
The past few nights I have ironed all the recent purchase of op shop ties ready to start working with.March 1 035



It’s been a busy week…and a bit…

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 ArtDiscover the possibilities of upcycling your recycling bin!WASG2
Participants worked directly on dress forms, playing with recycled materials. Using pins, staples and masking tape to speed up the process.WASG
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.WASG10

WASG11WASG9All the participants made wonderful and unique starts to wearable art garments, including two 10 year old girls present by default.WASG6 I could see the start of some wonderful garments for the 2018 WAM competition!WASG4WASG13WASG8


The workshop reminded me that I really enjoy teaching, something that I have been pushing aside for a long time.

I’m well into the next deadline and it’s slowly progressing with machine and now hand stitch. This needs to be my focus for the next few weeks.13 Feb 004 13 Feb 023

A holiday at the beach…

Buselton 5 A holiday to the beach helps me breathe…just looking at this image I take a deep sigh. Ahhh…Busselton 22We 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.Busselton 13My 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 inBusselton 15

We also enjoyed watching the finals of the Big Bash League

Some seriously fun op shopping (I would make Julie Smith proud) I thought it was an odd question to ask at the Tourist Bureau where the op shops were… only to find they are printed on the maps!Busselton 17

And some hand work cutting away layers ready for the next step in making of a piece for a really short deadlineColour layersGrey layers 1

2016 – My Year in Review

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.


As the end of the year approaches…

Tree 3Christmas 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. JacarandaOver 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…

And what does this garment look like? Sorry not yet…Instead here’s some Christmas Wearable Art made by a friend of Josh’s.Christmas Josh

Wearable Art Parade

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.SJOG Murdoch Wearble art paradeGarment by Philomena Hali made from rope and cable ties.
Philomena HaliGarment by Jo Ireland made from desalination filter paper and fruit tree netting.
Jo IrelandGarment by Julie Smith modeled by the delightful Colin.Julie Smith 2The last showing of The Gilded CageThe Gilded Cage at SJOG MurdochJulie SmithJulie Smith’s work above and below Julie Smith 3Fire FliesFire Flies at SJOG MurdochAnother by Jo Ireland made from rubber bands, nespresso pods, jigsaw puzzle piecesJo Ireland 2 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.Gorgeous Seton College models

Open House Perth

Last Friday night my husband and I watched a Rom Com called The Ageing of Adeline. At one point the love interest invites her for a lunch date “to a place in the city you have never been before”.
Open House Perth this past weekend was a bit like that for me. My Mum and I spent two lovely days walking around the city discovering unknown treasures, exploring exquisite restorations with complementary modern additions, along with some buildings yet to find their purpose in this new century. Some venues were a wander of discovery, others include a free guided tour. Open House Perth ticked all the boxes for me – Architecture, Design, History and being a sticky beak!

Bishop See Gardens (built 1859)    78 Mounts Bay Road
Bishop See Gardens 1Bishop See Gardens 2Bishop See Gardens 3
London House – St Georges TerraceLondon House 2London House 3London HouseTextile Designer, Megan Salmon’s  Cow at the front of CloistersMegan Salmon's Cow
Cloisters (1858),  St Georges Terrace. Not part of the Open House event, but had to take a few photos of the  brickwork of this stunning Tudor Victorian Style building as we walked by…Cloisters 3Cloisters 2Cloisters 1P & O Building 56 William St. This beautiful Art Deco building was built in 1929 as the WA office of the Orient Steam Navigation Company.P & O Building 3P & O Building 2P & O BuildingState Buildings cnr St Georges Tce and Barrack st.State Buldings 2State BuildingsThe State Theatre Centre of WA  (2011)State Theatre 2State Theatre 1Robert Muir Old and Rare Books recently moved to the two story heritage listed stables (1913) in Lindsay St.
Muirs Books 2Muirs Books 3Mum checking out a 1925 copy of Anne of Green GablesMuirs BooksNorth Perth Bungalow – Lawler St, North Perth 1937 Art Deco bungalow with modern extension.Lawler stLawler St 3Lawler St 2Woods Bagot – The Palace Hotel (1897) cnr William st & St George Terrace, newly renovated offices of Woods Bagot Architects. Woods BagotWoods Bagot 8Woods Bagot 7Woods Bagot 6Woods Bagot 5Wood Bagot 4Wood Bagot 2Perth Technical School 1910. Stunning Art Nouveau lead light windows.Perth Technical CollegeOld Perth Boy’s School (1852) – Curtin University, 139 St Georges Terrace. The oldest stone building in the Perth Central business district.Old Perth Boys SchoolOld Perth Boys School 2West Australian Ballet Centre – The WA Institute for the Blind (1937) Whatley Crescent, Maylands. As you can see, I loved the Wardrobe Dept. and spent some time on the backstage tour talking to one of the costume makers.WA BalletWA Ballet 2WA Ballet 3WA Ballet 4WA Ballet 6Shoe StoreroomWA Ballet 7WA Ballet 8WA Ballet 9Whipper Snapper Distillery. Kensington St, East Perth. Perth’s first urban whiskey distillery. The boys enjoyed a tasting.Whipper Snapper 2Whipper Snapper 3


Last week when I dropped my son Callum to work at Para Quad waiting to speak to his Supervisor, I had a chat with the chap who sorts the buttons…Para Quad ButtonsEvery garment that is unsuitable for sale has its buttons removed and the fabric is cut up for industrial rags in another section at Para Quad. The buttons are sorted into colours and jars for sale through the shop and the Scroungers Sale (next one is 27th November – get there early!) There is a huge plastic storage box under this table full of buttons to be sorted.Para Quad Buttons 2I started making button necklaces about five years when I acquired my Mother-in-Law’s button collection, working with the colours and combinations available until I ran out of buttons…I purchased a jar of white buttons from Para Quad last year.White ButtonsStepping forward to a few weeks ago and my Wearable Art Mandurah garment for 2017 needed yellow buttons, lots of yellow buttons…I had recently discovered through a Google search that RIT DyeMore Synthetic dye gives good permanent colour to plastics.RIT Dye I was delighted to see my white buttons become bright yellow after only a few minutes in the dye bath. Dyeing Buttons

Dyeing Buttons 2I love the shades of yellows, how the dye is picked up by the different plastics.Yellow Buttons 5

Yellow Buttons