Everlasting Love?

Everlasting Love? asks “If we continue to throw away our once loved technology for the latest bright shiny new thing, will we have room to plant flowers? Or will the only flowers be made from landfill contents?”

CITY OF MANDURAH WEARABLE ART, APRIL 2017

The 1000+ flowers in this garment are made from over 500m of UTP computer cable. The enclosed eight strands of wire were untwisted, stretched, dyed, wrapped, spray painted and assembled.

These images of the gorgeous Amy on judging day are by photographer Elle Norgard and courtesy of the City of Mandurah.

CITY OF MANDURAH WEARABLE ART, APRIL 2017

I am delighted that Everlasting Love? will be in the Wearable Art Mandurah showcase Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. Along with La Mariposa and her cocoon.

I’ve just seen the images of all the other finalists and I know the showcase is going to be amazing.
Here is a short video of 2016 showcase:-

To purchase tickets for 2017 showcase  click here

Dates and Times:

Saturday 10th June 6.30pm
Sunday 11th June 2.30pm
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

 

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

A Short Break

My Husband and I took a short break away from the kids and the dogs to Bunbury last weekend to see the Oz Quilt Network, Australia Wide Five exhibition at BRAG and especially the Artist talks held on Saturday afternoon. Oct 17 109I was one of four WA artists who spoke about their work on show. Oz Quilt Network President Margery Goodall spoke on behalf of several artists from other states, their work, inspiration, techniques, challenges, and how they go about creating.AW5
Artist talks are always interesting as they give you a much greater insight, understanding and appreciation of the work.AW5 6AW5 4AW5 3All of the works can be seen in the online catalogue.Margery GoodallSunrise Sunset by Margery GoodallKathy BeilbyChanging Landscape 2 by Kathy BeilbyJudy HooworthCreek Drawing #13 by Judy HooworthClaire SmithSevere Weather Event by Clare SmithCarolyn SullivanFlower Cover by Carolyn Sullivan

My work Silver Linings #4 Seeds of Hope was inspired by travels along the Forrest Highway towards Bunbury, Western Australia after the Yarloop Bush-fires in January this year. We drove past the blackened devastation caused by the fires only two weeks after the event. Even at this early stage, new growth was present. The tops of the Zanthorea (Grass Trees) had started shooting, small specks of green appeared in the ash; a sign that our Australian bush is tough, resilient and adaptable to the circumstances presented.Silver Liings #4Now nine months later the view from the roadside.Forrest Highway

The afternoon was a nice catch up with friends and thanks to their local knowledge, a delicious dinner that evening at Market Eating House.

Boxes and Events

twentyONE+ exhibition has finished – works packed up and collected, walls patched and painted, final paperwork soon to be completed and then a celebratory dinner 🙂 The development of new work has been distracted by this and a few other pleasant events…

“Brooching the Subject” is the latest exhibition at Timeless Textiles gallery in Newcastle NSW. Approximately 100 fibre artists from across Australia and the world have entered this inaugural exhibition. July 13-17th.

Silver Linings #5 (5)

My brooch “Silver Linings #5 New Beginnings

See all the brooches here and vote for the People’s Choice

At the same time I’ve packed two enormous boxes (thanks again to theboxman)

big boxeswith my wearable art garments Fire Flies and The Gilded Cage. The size gives a clue as to why I have not been able to work get into the studio! Today they are heading to sunny, warm Broome (sadly without me) for-

Worn Art  Revamped presented by Theatre Kimberley Inc.

A vaudeville inspired melodrama that is part 2 of the trilogy titled “Poppy Child of the Lane” – A little girl who grows up in Shiba Lane(Broome’s red light district of old) and her quest to find her father. It features stunning costumes, dance and circus!

On Saturday as a member of the Quilt and Textile Study Group, I attended the Machines & Makers exhibition talk with Susie Vickery at Mundaring Arts Centre.

Susie Vickery at MAC Susie spoke about her own stunning work and also her career over the last 18 years as a craft consultant and artistic mentor for projects in India and Mexico. You can follow her wonderful projects here.

The Machines & Makers Project has numerous interesting events including workshops, artist talks, community and historical exhibitions, an open day…

 

 

Behind the Diagnosis

LWellsFull1

Behind the Diagnosis was selected for twentyONE+ exhibition, currently showing at Spectrum Project Space

H – 12, W – 49, D – 40

Materials: upholstery fabric samples, stainless steel wire, nickel plated beads.

Techniques: hand cut circles threaded onto wire in stripes and arranged to represent Chromosomes in free form.

A Karyotype showing 3 pairs of #21 Chromosomes gives a diagnosis of Trisomy 21 Down Syndrome. This work, showing those same Chromosomes in a free state, represents the person behind the diagnosis; their uniqueness, layers and complexity, likes and dislikes, hopes, dreams and passionate love of life._DSC3300LWellsDetail3

This Work: ‘Behind the Diagnosis’

This series of work began in response to my frustrating experience applying for a disability support pension for my 16 year old son who has Down Syndrome, which involved an arduous series of steps over 5 months, through a system which is incompetent and lacking in compassion. This made me more determined to fight for recognition of him as a human being.

The basis of the work is the Karyotype of the Chromosomes; the scanned image of this shown to me at his birth, I kept going back to in my mind. (A set of the 23 chromosome pairs are laid out in numerical order. If there are three instead of two pairs of number 21 chromosome, this leads to a diagnosis of Trisomy 21 – Down Syndrome).

I was inspired by Karyotype images where striped diagrams of black and white lines appear in pairs of varying set lengths. I first made a standard Down Syndrome Karyotype cut from my jeans, and my husband’s business shirts, then sets with discarded upholstery fabric samples. The beauty, high contrast and the delicacy of each layer helped me to focus on the complexity, uniqueness and personality rather than the cold clinical profile. The slow process of hand cutting the circles assisted my healing. These individual chromosomes were then threaded onto wire and coiled basket-like, looped and woven to show a cheeky personality, a passion for life, hopes and dreams, all the truly human aspects of the person, rather than just a clinical profile.LWellsDetail1

Longevity in an Artistic Life

A recent WAFTA meeting honoured four octogenarian textile artist members – Peggy Buckingham, Judith Pinnell, Joy Knight and Margaret Regan. Peggy, Judith and Joy are all Life Members of WAFTA. Their contributions to textiles in Perth in the 70s, 80s and 90s through teaching, discovering and sharing new techniques have been of great benefit to us all. This is in the days before we could simply look up a technique on google, or be part of a like minded textile group on facebook. They were instrumental in starting textile groups such as WAFTA, 84 Group, FibresWest which are all still going strong today. All four of these ladies have a great passion for what they do and are still making work!

I truly hope I can still be making art in my 80s!

Austin Kleon‘s weekly newletter had a link to Carmen Herrera who is 101 this month and still exhibiting. She sold her first piece of work 81 years ago!

Towards my “Still Making Art” goal, I am currently – along with the rest of the committee,  doing a lot of admin work for twentyONE+. The exhibition opening in six weeks! It is starting to all come together and getting exciting.

WAFTA’s Memory and Commemoration exhibition has just finished in Busselton.

Last post Busselton

My work “Last Post” is the sheer organza piece, far left, Julia Sutton, front Diane Binns.

The latest projects are for OzQuilt Network Australia Wide Five – due too soon and “Brooching the Subject” I have been sun dyeing some silk organza for each project
Beetroot DyeingSun Dyed OrganzaNeither has turned out like my samples, but they are growing on me. (Dreadful photos thanks to very old camera – have since bought a new one!)

Beetroot Dyed OrganzaThe 40 x 40cm size for Australia Wide Five should be easy, although following the path of discovery “how would that work…” I am currently playing with four variations, none of which is developed enough as yet…

And slightly distracted – I made Ruby the sausage a sleeping bag

Ruby Sleeping Bag

Studio Stories – Margaret Regan

My interview with Margaret is the first for The Studio Stories Project. I have known Margaret for a number of years through WAFTA, although it was not until early in 2015 when she asked my son Josh Wells to photograph her work that I discovered what she does. At the time Margaret showed me her studio and told me a little about her work while Josh took some photos of her studio space, so when I decided to start this project Margaret was a natural first choice.

We started the morning with delicious freshly made, still-warm scones and a cuppa, and then moved into Margaret’s studio for the interview.

Interview with Margaret Regan

Interview with Margaret Regan

Studio

Margaret has had the same studio space (she calls it her “work room”), a small room at the back of her house for 54 years. The area was created not long after she moved into the house with her husband and 2 1/2 year old daughter. She had nowhere to put anything so her gardener gave her some cupboards from a shed, much to the horror of her husband as they were old and worn out. They have changed colour a number of times from white to yellow, bottle green and currently blue. The whole space is very organised, a trait she learnt when she was a tailoress where everything had to be cleaned up, pressed and put away at the end of each day. The space hasn’t changed much over the years, although the use of it has. Margaret used the space to work as a dressmaker for some wealthy ladies for a number of years, she made all her children’s clothes here and since retirement about 20 years ago she has been making her art works. Cupboards and shelves lining all the walls are filled with fabrics, threads, paints, tools…she says “What I’ve got here is like a shop – I’ve got everything”

It's like a shop, I've got everything

What I’ve got here is like a shop, I’ve got everything

Work routine

Margaret gets her inspiration from a picture. She then likes to study the subject, going to the local library and finding out about her subject. She loves the planning stage, getting all the pieces together, the drawing of the pattern onto paper. “Which part do you enjoy the most?”, I asked. “I love the whole lot” she said.

She gets so involved in the project she will happily sit for 6-8 hours a day working intensely on a piece for months on end, feeling quite upset when she has to stop and make her husband’s lunch! She can’t start working though until the housework is finished, then she can relax knowing the house is clean. Not feeling guilty, she can sit there and work all day.

Margaret at her work desk

Margaret at her work desk

Margaret’s Journey

Margaret has always been creative. She said she was gifted with an eye for detail and from 2 years old was drawing all the time. By 8 she was making costumes for all the kids in the street and bribing them with a shilling apiece to participate in her concerts. Margaret’s aunt was a tailoress and a big influence on her. She used to watch her aunt doing hand work at home and was soon able to stitch fine work herself. She could simply look at a hand stitched button hole and was able to make one. This was at the age of 10 -11! Margaret would deliver her aunt’s work to the Tailor in Perth city and realising she was sewing some of the work, he asked her to come and work for him as soon as she finished school.

At 15 Margaret joined the High Class English Tailor starting her 5 year apprenticeship as a Tailoress. By the time she finished her apprenticeship, her wage was twice that of a shop assistant, a very good wage. She would make a coat in two days, from start to finish, completing every step herself, except for the cutting, which the tailor did.

Over the years she has seen huge changes in the way clothing is made. In the 1960s stock work was introduced ending the tradition of one person completing the whole garment. A man’s suit although expensive, would last many years due to the construction, nowadays they are throw-away…not made to last.

After Margaret got married she stayed home with her young family, where she did dressmaking for private clients. She found this a breeze compared to high class tailoring. This lead to working part time at a local fabric shop when her youngest child was 10 years old, and then full time managing Northlands fabric shop for 20 years, spending a lot of her time showing customers how use the products and materials they sold.

This was 1980s when everyone was making their own clothes and there was a fabric store in every local shopping centre. Margaret would make a garment in the evening and then model / wear it to work the following day and sell the pattern and fabric to her customers. She developed a loyal customer base helping them select fabric patterns, threads and trimmings for day wear and Christening gowns to ball dresses, sometimes going along with a daughter’s desire to wear black in a time when our mothers thought it was a big no-no! “Oh she has beautiful young skin, she will look gorgeous…”

On retirement Margaret joined Contemporary Quilt Group “for somewhere to go” and then WAFTA about 9 years ago. In the late 1990s she discovered the stunning realistic and detailed work of Annemieke Mein in a textile magazine, and knew she wanted to do this type of work. Annemieke Mein was the inspiration for the work Margaret now does. She started making her current artwork about 9 years ago.

Margaret had originally wanted to be a commercial artist and I asked if the work she now does is as fulfilling? She said “Oh no, this is much better”

Margaret’s work

Margaret is inspired by a picture, often an Australian bush scene or an old building, ones with lots of detail. She uses a variety of textured base fabrics that she paints, stiffens and then heavily hand stitches with embroidery threads to create the desired effects, “Like painting with stitch”. She often hits the finished stitching with a hammer or rubs it with a pair of scissors to blend the stitches. She secures additional 3D sections with strong tailors threads. She loves the challenge of looking for images with lots of detail and aims to make it as realistic as possible.

Carnarvon Gorge is the work she is most pleased with as “It’s so damn good, full of detail” She loves the positive reactions she has received for this work.

Carnarvon Gorge by Margaret Regan

Carnarvon Gorge by Margaret Regan

Awards
Margaret has received many awards from the Perth Royal Show and most recently the Textile Award at the City of Stirling Art Awards 2015 for the “Balcatta Hotel”.

Margaret, along with WAFTA Life Members Judith Pinnell, Joy Knight and Peggy Buckingham will be talking about their “Creative Lives” at the WAFTA general meeting Tuesday 19th April 2016.

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Margaret can be contacted via the form below.

If you would like to learn more about Bespoke tailoring, The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan is a fascinating journey of the craftsmanship through history to the current day.

A Bit of All Sorts

In the last 10 days a bit of all sorts has happened. All good, interesting stuff.

Firstly, last Tuesday evening our MELD group presented “The Making of an Exhibition” to the WAFTA membership. The talk was about how the group started and what lead to the decision to hold a group exhibition, and then the processes involved from that initial decision right through to the evaluation after bump out. We hope to have inspired others to consider exhibiting in a small group. You can read about the processes from the beginning on the MELD blog

Liz Arnold, Louise Wells, Margaret Ford and Julie Devereux

Liz Arnold, Louise Wells, Margaret Ford and Julie Devereux

I spent two days helping Josh Wells shoot a short film for a Uni project. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot about film making. He had two very experienced and interesting actors who were a delight to be around and the days although very long, ran to schedule! Callum (Josh’s younger brother) had a pupil free day so took on the role of Clapper Board Marker!

Callum has just started work experience at ParaQuad Industries. They have huge bookstore Book Bazaar (run by volunteers and ParaQuad employees) stocked by State Library discards at bargain prices (they have secured the contract whereby all discarded library books are donated – 1000s arrive daily) – I challenge you to leave without a few…BooksParaQuad Book Bazaar is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 3:30 pm

10 Selby Street, Shenton Park, Western Australia 6008

On Saturday I met a cousin in the city for coffee, chats and a wander around the Cultural Precinct. We visited Beau Est Mein a gorgeous print shop and studio. The staff are particularly helpful, very happy to take you upstairs to show you around the print studio and explain the various techniques they teach. I am quite keen to do one of their Collagraph classes. We also visited the State Library shop, and took home a few more discard books.More booksTuesday the MELD group visited Mundaring Arts Centre to see with every fibre of my being  works by leading WA Textile Artists. Well worth a visit. Following this we went to take a look at REmida. REmida collects clean unused industry off cuts, discards and old stock and then through a membership system, artists, schools, daycare centres etc “Collect the items” for re-use. We all decided to join and hence Liz’s car boot was rather very full on the way home. Soft furnishing sample cards, plastic sheeting, silver shade cloth offcuts, black leather and red boxes came home with me. I forced myself decided to only collect items I could see myself using for the projects I am currently working on, rather than just anything that appealed (even though it was very tempting), as I simply don’t have the storage space.Curtain SamplesShadecloth and LeatherREmida BoxPlasticI made a few necklaces for the 15 x 15 Challenge for FibresWest. All items are for sale at Fibreswest  for $15 each with the funds going towards the next Fibreswest in a few years time. The first is knitted metallic look thread from Dairing, (I can’t find it in their catalogue although there are lots of other gorgeous yarns and fibres) The button necklace is crocheted. To make your own see Button Necklaces.Necklace 1Necklace 1aNecklace 2Necklace 2aOn Friday a box of greeting cards and new business cards printed with my artwork arrived from Moo in the UK. Six days after I ordered them! Gives you faith in the postal system…CardsMore cardsBusiness CardsThis past week I have also made a start on samples for my next major project. I’ve done a fair bit of research, collecting of materials and writing of ideas over the past few months, so it is nice to start, AND to see that so far it looks like the image in my head!new workThese are the scraps NOT the sampling!

 

Breathing

I feel like I have some breathing space right now. I have in essence finished the two pieces I have been working on solidly for the last few months, and pleasingly well ahead of schedule. They need hanging systems, photography and then the relevant paperwork to be submitted, all doable in the time available. This space has lead me to look around the house, see the dust, the overgrown garden and mending surgery as Margaret Ford calls it (major) in this case. Beaker Repair 1 Beaker repair 2Beaker repair4 Beaker Repair 3 Poor Beaker had major surgery last May and at the time I had not counted on the arrival of a puppy! Beaker now has a new red suit and slightly shorter arms. I think he looks as happy as ever. Callum is happy as Beaker can still dance. You can read Beaker’s full story hereBeaker repair 5 Beaker repair 6 Other family favourites – My own now vintage “Rabby” lovingly crocheted by my Nanna. Such and interesting shape to make clothing for…this is where as a pre-teen, I learned creative crocheting, adapting patterns, making my own designs…a good skill for an artistic future!Rabby 2 Rabby 3 Rabby 4I made Bikini bottoms to accommodate a tail.RabbyNanna also made “Owly” for my Brother. This is one of the two he has.

OwlyOwly 1And another generation back, my Dad’s Teddy.  TeddyAll much loved in their time.