The Australian Dream

ARTIST STATEMENT:

In 1961, my Mother-in-Law started her married life 500 km away from her family in a small WA mining town, her home a hessian hut. These humble dwellings honour women like her who have made their own luck in difficult conditions.

The trees inside the dwellings are inspired by Richtfest, an ancient German tradition celebrated when the last timber beam has been placed on top of a new house before the roof is covered. A small birch tree (in this case eucalyptus caesia) is nailed to the beam to appease the tree-dwelling spirits whose habitat has been disturbed in its construction. A toast is made to thank the builders and bring good luck to all that live there.DIMENSIONS: H 19-45cm, W 10-15cm, D 10-13cmMATERIALS: Eucalyptus caesia (Silver Princess), assorted gifted fabrics including mining sample Bags, vintage upholstery, Obi, print mat.Images below – On show at Hanging By A Thread, Holmes a Court Gallery @ no.10
TECHNIQUES: Coiling, hand stitch

Remains of the Day

Remains of the Day was made for Hanging by A Thread, WAFTA’s Member exhibition held at Holmes a Court Gallery, 10 Douglas Street, West Perth 17 September – 2 October 2020.

Artist Statement:

We can never truly throw things away. They remain, maybe not in our homes, but somewhere on the earth.

I use recycled and repurposed textiles in the majority of my work, to honour the past work of others, for the narrative of the fabric, and attempting to reduce the environmental impact of my practice. Despite this, I still end up with left-over bits…mostly too small to use.

Whatever I create, creates waste, destined for the bin, to end up in landfill, probably not decomposing for many, many years.

What is left at the end of the day in the studio? This work is made from those scraps of fabric that remain.

Yet I still threw out a handful of dust and scraps…

DIMENSIONS: Total – 105cm high x 151cm wide

Three panels 97.5cm h x 66cm w, 84cm h x 64cm w, 105cm h x 68cm w

MATERIALS: Fabric scraps from previous work in the artist’s studio, polyester thread

Plans ahead

I’ve just looked back at the last post I wrote over a month ago. My studio is not the lovely clear space it was post clear out, as soon as I start to work things get a bit messy, the difference is – it is organized AND I can find things!

It has started to get busy. After all the cancellations in March, this second half of the year is getting exciting with work in exhibitions in September, November and December. (Fingers and toes crossed of course) There are also plans in place for 2021 and beyond ????

The first of these is WAFTA’s member’s exhibition Hanging by a Thread, due to open 17 September at Holmes a Court Gallery @ no.10. With over 100 artists represented, it will showcase the diversity of textile art practices in Western Australia. These are some detail shots of one my entries.

When it’s Time to Let Go

Marie Kondo says ‘’If it doesn’t bring you joy, or isn’t useful, let it go” However, what if that is how you feel today, but not next week or in a year? And how many times do you throw something out to find you need it the next week?

My studio has turned into a box room, there’s barely enough room to work. I have a large table, yet work in a small space surrounded by stuff.

A small reprieve between deadlines gives me time to actually look at the space rather than the work right in front of me. What do I really need? What materials and tools are needed for my art practice and what is a long past dream, left over from previous projects, workshops, was a maybe that never happened…what did I accumulate on a whim?

Will I really ever use most of the stuff in here? Will it make me feel a whole lot better to have a more organised or freer space? A bigger studio is always the dream, but is it necessary or just an excuse to get more stuff?

I do keep all the little jewel off cut bits of fabric from my work, and have made artworks from these.  Image – Days .

I collect and have made work from family clothing, recycled doilies, tea towels and blankets…

I do know the need for a good range of supplies to create my art. But what about the dozen sample bottles of perfume, boxes of buttons, computer wire, CDs, envelopes, paper, 100s of empty cotton reels, 5 kg of green flower sequins, tie linings, a garbage bag full of collars, cuffs and seams from 85 shirts, felt scraps, foam, tulle, polyester organza…

2 days later I have piles of stuff to give away to our local Buy Nothing Group, the Op Shop, Fibres West garage sale and a big bag for the bin. My studio is now neat and tidy and spacious! The much loved artworks  on  the  wall  by:  Betsy  Bush,  Justine  Row,  Josh Wells, Jaslyn Pearse,  Helen Jones,  Amanda  McCavour,  Wendy Lugg,  Jan  Mullen,  Anne Williams,  Anne  Johnson,  Pauline  Franklin,  Mo  Kelman,  Marianne  Penberthy,  Gail  Hawes,  Eveline  Kotai  and  Katrina  Virgona.????Supplies are back together in LABELLED boxes, I have a storage system for my artworks, and ALL of my 2m long table is usable again????It’s such a good feeling.

As time goes by

I think this is week ten of the new normal for our household. We isolated earlier than most due to concerns for our son who has Down Syndrome. I have not been to the shops at all during this time, and become quite good at online ordering. ???? I rarely leave my house, other than for my morning walk. I spend quite a lot of time at home working in the studio, and that hasn’t changed, however due to the cancellation and doubt in my 2020 exhibition calendar, my enthusiasm took a dive. Like many people, my emotions were all over the place for the first month or so. Gradually we have set new routines in place and weekly events to look forward to. We now have a weekly movie night among other things, and as I write this my son is having a cooking session with his support worker via zoom.

On my Groundhog Day morning walk each day (a walk for the hills and exercise, not the view) I have time to think and I have started to notice the gradual changes over the past few months, the weather (cooler), the smells (more fragrant), the increased number of birds and various plants blooming and then fading. This beautiful Banksia flower slowly blooming got me inspired.As I work in the studio, I’ve been listening to the fabulous The Great Women Artists podcast.I’ve enjoyed reading Threads of Life by Clare Hunter, The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley and most recently The Diary of a Bookseller by  Shaun  Bythell (if  you’re a fan of Blackbooks…)This one below reminds me of the state of my Covid 19 hair 🙂 

 

They are not toilet paper rolls!

You can certainly tell where the world is at right now by the responses to my Instagram and Facebook post of this short video.

I purchased 18kg of recycled men’s business shirts from the Mega Barn Op Shop back in early February, as the base fabric for a body of work for a small group exhibition planned for later this year.

My preparation work was to wash the 93 shirts, cut out the back pieces, cut these into strips and then fold and roll the strips. I now have a colour palette / paint box ready to start.The reactions to the video, was “Wow!” and “I thought it was toilet paper rolls” ???? ☹

Almost all my events, workshops and exhibitions have been cancelled. My planned year, no longer…

It’s still, sort of, business as usual in the studio though, the work planned will hopefully show sometime in the future, if not now.

Making has always been my sanity, and the studio my sanctuary. Many works I have made have come out of the bad stuff that happens, it’s a way to deal with it. The process of making, getting in the flow, and of late the very repetitive task of cutting and rolling all these shirts has helped me on the emotional roller coaster we are all currently on. I simply walk into the studio and start where I left off. My hands engaged before my mind needs to be.

Calm in the Chaos

Ironically, this is the title of an artwork I made, in a less chaotic time, for the inaugural Australian Textile Art Award. The exhibition opened last Friday, then the gallery immediately closed for an indefinite time due to the Corona Virus.

Last October, in what seems like another life, we spent a wonderful week at Lake Garda, Italy. We walked along the lake edge, caught ferries to lake side villages, ended the days with an Aperol Spritz and a delicious dinner.

My plan was to make work inspired by this beautiful lake, focusing on the enjoyment of life.

Artist Statement 

Big skies and large bodies of water calm me, I take a deep breath and sigh, all is right with the world. This work began after a lakeside holiday with a goal to reflect and inspire this simple joy in life. However, back home life got in the way, with responsibilities, interruptions, and the negative influences of social media and the news. Working through the many iterations of this piece has helped me accept that the chaos will continue, and that we need to look for the glimpses of calm amongst it.

Materials and Techniques

Materials – silk organza, silk dupion, recycled business ties, woolen blanket, polyester machine thread, embroidery thread. Techniques – Fabrics were printed and hand dyed, then layered together and machine stitched throughout. Some layers have been cut away. Colonial knots were then stitched throughout. Individual circles have been assembled with hand stitching.

I’ve Got Nothing to Wear!

I  am delighted to be a finalist in the Collie Art Prize (CAP) 2020, on show at The Collie Art Gallery until 5th April 2020.

Title: I’ve got nothing to wear!

Artist Statement:

My relationship with clothing is complex. What I choose to wear each day represents my face to the world, how I feel, what I want to express. How will I fit into the groups I wish or am expected to belong to?

The choice becomes more complex with a mix of who I think I am in my many and varied roles, current body image, seasonal weather and mood.

The fabrics for this artwork are discards from the artists own wardrobe; loved clothing worn out, some rarely worn, others purchased for a single purpose and others “What was I thinking?”

A lot has happened since I last wrote…

A wonderful big holiday to Europe in October. If you are a fan of German, French and Italian rocks, stones, brick walls, doors, windows, Mosaics, Stained Glass…you may well like to see my Instagram

Also on Instagram you can see in London my Mum and I had many a textile treat visiting the iconic Mary Quant exhibition at V&A and the fabulous Zandra Rhodes exhibition at The Fashion and Textile Museum.

We were part of the last small group tour of The Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion. before it’s two-year long closure to move to a new location.

The Foundlings Museum, which has the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving from eighteenth century Britain.

Since returning home I have been busy making new work and new plans.

Exhibitions

This weekend we head to Collie for the opening of the Collie Art Prize where I am very pleased to be a finalist. 3 March – 15 April 2020.

Also opening soon is the Australia Textile Art Award (ATAA) at The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria 21 March – 5 April 2020. I am delighted to have work selected for this inaugural exhibition.

The Art Quilt Australia 2019 exhibition is now on show at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Lilydale, Victoria from 8 February-17 May 2020.

Workshops

There are a few places in a couple of workshops I am running for WAFTA very soon.

7th March “Where Do I start? Where do I begin?” Concept Development workshop 

29th March – Printmaking Techniques exploration on cloth and paper 

New plans

I am very excited to announce I have been invited to exhibit with fellow artists, Sarah Thornton-Smith, Leanne Bray, Charmaine Ball, William Leggatt, and Marina van Leeuwen at Lost Eden Gallery in Dwellingup in July in an exhibition called Patterning Habit.

 It’s a very busy 6 months!

 

8000 Buttons + Rain + Sunshine + Time

Sculptures on the Scarp 2019 was held a couple of weekends ago. It rained and rained and rained on install day. It rained on the first day, friends were concerned that my work would be getting wet…Yes, it was, but fabric and buttons are designed to get wet, so I wasn’t too concerned.

What I didn’t consider, was on that final sunny day, as the buttons and fabric dried out in the sunshine, they absorbed some of the colour in the bush. Some of the individual buttons have dyed silvery greys, other hints of rusty tones.On a few of the pieces the thread I used to stitch the buttons has also developed rusty tones. I’m surprised and delighted that  plastic buttons and polyester thread has dyed so well.Thanks to Kerrie Argent for all the lovely photos on location. A couple of night time images

The work on show at Sculptures on the Scarp looked amazing. You can see the work of all the Artists Here.