2017 Review

I set a self imposed Studio ban from the week before Christmas until last  week. I prepared for Christmas in one week without too much stress and then planned to relax for the Boxing Day Cricket Test. A day of so in, after much napping, I was bored…so, I’ve read a few books, sewn some clothes and cleaned out lots of cupboards. (The lady at the op shop sighed when I said “I have a car full of donations”… obviously not an original idea at this time of year!)

At the beginning of a new year, like many of us, I ponder what might have been and make big plans and goals for the new year ahead. I’ve followed Alyson Standfield’s Annual Review Process for the past few years as I find it has really helpful prompts to make me consider all aspects of my art practice. This year I decided to follow Austin Kleon’s 100 things that made my year style of listing all the funny, incidental and delightful stuff, the odd discoveries and the simple pleasures we sometimes take for granted and forget. Combining the two reviews I have created a more balanced and joyful look at my year.

Here are a couple of my 100 things from the end of the year:-

Our dog being the most excited member of the family at Christmas

and my Mum’s yummy Christmas pudding.

My studio supervisor was very keen to get started for the year and I have big plans for 2018. So we have started… One working.One napping. A fairly good indication of how the year will pan out.

Back to the Studio…and Back to the Routine

It’s already two weeks since we returned from our lovely holiday in Italy and Germany. I’m over the jet lag and have caught up on most of the jobs “to do after our return”. Below are photos of the beautiful Lake Garda, Italy.
My daily/weekly routine has returned and I’m happy to be able to make a start on my next wearable art piece after only being able to think and dream about it for over a month. Some purchasing of materials and a quick dyeing session yesterday means I have made a start on some samples.
The first full day session of WAFTA@WAM was last Saturday. In this program I am helping others through all the steps to create their own Wearable Art garment to enter in Wearable Art Mandurah (WAM) for 2018. I’m really looking forward to seeing their amazing ideas develop into finished garments.
I was delighted to find in the mail on our return, amongst all the bills, my copy of Down Under Textiles Magazine. Back in February I was asked to become a regular contributor and this Issue 29 has my first column. The magazine, also as of this issue, is available in Barnes and Noble in USA.
In the mail this week was a copy of the beautiful catalogue for Art Quilt Australia 2017. There are many stunning works in this exhibition and I feel honoured to have my work juried for inclusion amongst them. If you have the chance to be in Launceston, Tasmania before 22 October I think it would be well worth a visit.

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

A short break, a new outlook

A much needed overnight break away last weekend was welcome relief in our current, very busy life. We went to visit our son Josh Wells who is Artist in Residence at Beverley Station Arts in the beautifully restored 130 year old Station Masters House, now Artist-in Residence accommodation and gallery.Josh Beverely Station ArtsJosh has an exhibition and a photography workshop scheduled among his time here to focus on new works….both writing and photography. I’m really excited to see what comes from this residency. If this photo (taken by the owner of the field and Beverley Station Arts committee member) is an indication…Canola fieldThe vibrant and friendly community was out in force on the weekend at the Agricultural Show. I love a country show, the exhibition hall…love these children’s exhibits.Children's exhibit the animals…the chooks!

Chook 21

Chook 11Chook 12Chook 6Chook 18Chook 1Chook 14
Chook 9Chook 2Chook 25Chook 24Just a tad of excitement seeing all these gorgeous chooks…they are wearable art!

Pattern, texture, design…all in a lovable pet.


I’d rather be in the studio

Several years ago WAFTA had a guest speaker talking about her arts practice and at the end of the night she mentioned how she spends 1/3 of her time applying for grants, a 1/3 of her time on art admin and a 1/3 of her time making art. My naive self thought this was ridiculous…why would I want to be doing anything else but making art, in the studio?

I now know to show/exhibit/promote your work does take a good chunk of time. I also now know how enjoyable mostly enjoyable this can be. Finding exhibitions to enter, making artist statements clear enough for the audience to understand the work, helps me to understand the work too. Writing C Vs, bios, applications and such develop a cohesive sense of my practice as a whole. Blogging the processes of making my works helps me see how works have developed from my original idea and all the bumps along the way. Blogging is also a great record for myself of what I have been doing all year and my progress over the years. Days like the Common Threads Judging day are great fun and a great way to meet like minded fellow artists. Being part of a small committee like twentyONE+  is a wonderful learning experience, helps me think beyond my current framework, learn new skills, along with the opportunity to meet and work with great people in the arts field.

Alyson Stanfield’s book I’d rather be in the studio talks about the “business” of having an arts practice. Subscribing to her weekly blog is a constant reminder of what is required. Often in simple doable steps. Her year end review among others, I have found very useful.

So to say I haven’t spent much time “in the studio” of late is correct. A fair bit of socialising, my daughter’s school ball, son’s birthday,  jury and judging days and then away in McLaren Vale SA for Easter.

McLaren Vale 3McLaren Vale 2

McLaren Vale 4Lovely beaches, yummy food, great wines…McLaren Vale 1I try to “do something” always so have been hand stitching small circles over the past week or so and whilst we were away.circlesMy beloved camera has died so this last image is from my iPad, not the best quality…

Yesterday I visited two excellent textile exhibitions.
Improbable Returns at Heathcote Gallery. The work of Elisa Markes-Young (who’s work I have loved for a long time) and her husband photographer Christopher Young. The show closes next weekend 10 April.

over here at Nyisztor Studio until 1st May. The stunning work of five contemporary artists who live and practice in Albany WA. I am looking forward to their artist floor talk on saturday 16th April @ 6pm

It’s back to the studio now as I have a rather interesting and short deadline exhibition I want to enter.

Finishing, then starting again…

Last week I entered 4 works into 3 (2 juried) exhibitions.
There are many many months of work to get to this point, and lots of things somewhat neglected, especially the garden, and yes, the studio…

25 jan 2016 001

I have been planning for some time to rearrange the studio AND have a big clean out. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve started, moved some furniture out, added new drawers and storage shelves. I want to have all the tools and supplies at hand, stored in like areas (not in the box they came home from the last workshop in) Seriously cull the amount of stuff I keep, all those techniques I’ve tried and won’t again, all the products bought on a whim at craft fairs and never really used, and the “It might come in handy one day”s.  I am sure some of this stuff just burdens you with guilt that you SHOULD use it rather than WANT to. The big question – Will I really use this? Is this the direction I am going?

The clean out is still a work in progress, due to slotting it in around all the other things going on at the moment, and the ripple on effect of moving things out of the studio means there are piles of stuff sorted, but not re-homed all around the house, and piles of stuff to give away.

Along with better storage, I wanted to make the studio easier to move in. I have a 2m wide display board in the studio that is a fantastic design wall and Josh uses it for the majority of textiles shoots he does. It has prevented the studio door being fully open for the past 18 months! The rearrangement means we can now do photo shoots in the studio AND open the door fully! We have done 5 photo shoots in the studio over the past few weeks and it is starting to work really well.

March 31 2015 004

A very useful design board, however you can’t open the door fully nor see the telly!

Sept 1 007

Photography for the MELD exhibition 2014

I’ve not finished the studio clean out partly because my wonderful husband took me to see Chris Isaak at Leeuwin Estate Winery in Margaret River last weekend. Traveling there and back I stitched, slow stitching over printed text on small pieces of silk organza.March 4 2016 032 These will become my piece for “Brooching the Subject”. Once semi finished I am going to take the plunge and put the whole work in a sun dye jar for a month or so, and hope I can reproduce the result I achieved in the samples earlier this year.

A Week Away

A week away to relax and refresh. We have just had a holiday in Busselton, one of my favourite beaches and only a few hours drive from home! I have been there so many times from childhood onward that I don’t need to go and do anything…just relax, read books…25 jan 2016 006

It was far from swimming weather for the first few days, much to the disappointment of the teenagers, although a luxury for me to lie in and read a novel and then Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I had seen reference to this book on several occasions recently, so decided to get a copy. It’s old – 1994, although still completely relevant. If you are not familiar with it you will be surprised how many quotes and references about making art come back to this book.

Art & FearThe only book I have ever really felt like underlining sentences and paragraphs and saying YES!YES! (Books to me are precious things you don’t write in, my husband is the opposite, underlines, asterisks etc)

The weather improved, allowing us to venture out. A delicious lunch at Bunker Bay Cafe and even a swim!25 jan 2016 010

More Dyeing

During the Christmas break we watched lots of cricket, read books and generally lazed about. My husband had a long overdue shirt purge. 20 + shirts, wrong size, outdated style, loved but worn out (for business wear) and a few “what was I thinking”! 12 went straight to the studio. The fabrics are quite lovely, subtle weaves, stripes and pattern.

ShirtsThe sleeves have gone through a “Velvet Black” Dylon dye bath. I am really pleased with resulting silver/grey/black variations due to the fibre content mix and time left in the dye bath.

Dyed ShirtsI threw in a few pieces of silk too.

Dyed SilkIt’s back to the studio full steam now. Common Threads Wearable Art submission is due before the end of January. I am very pleased relieved my garment is ready to be photographed!
The WAFTA juried exhibition twentyONE+ deadline is the end of February. I have 1.5 of 3 works ready for this. I’m on the committee so have a commitment to ongoing admin work during this time and well into the year. I am looking forward to the entries arriving!

MELD Retreat

I’ve just returned from a week away in Busselton with the MELD group. We spent most of our time planning and working on pieces for our upcoming exhibition in October 2014. Yes, only 7 months away!march 2014 068Busselton is one of my favourite places. The huge expanse of ocean and sky refreshes me and there is always something to inspire on our daily walks.march 2014 070march 2014 089 march 2014 090march 2014 094 march 2014 095 march 2014 096

I worked on a variety of projects, both developing ideas and finalizing pieces. This piece of rust and indigo dyed silk that I have cut up and hemmed, I think now resembles little landscapes.march 2014 120



A Short Holiday

We have just returned from a few days break down south in Dunsborough with friends visiting from Brussels. It was quite hot, low to mid 30s, great swimming weather. These friends return home today to a maximum of 2 degrees!

Early Morning

Early Morning

Low Tide

Low Tide

The section of the beach we stayed at has very shallow water. At low tide the patterns made by the ripples of water were delightful.

Ripples 1imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

We drove through the Boranup Forest with its majestic Karri trees, growing up to 80 meters high.

Boranup Forest

Boranup Forest

Boranup Forest 2Boranup Forest 3…there was a young family strolling down the road.Emus

After a lovely break it’s back to work now. I have a couple of juried exhibition deadlines looming, one this week another for mid next month.