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?”

The Inspiration of the Art of Others

It tends to happen in waves, lots of time spent working in the studio with occasional visits to galleries and other art events. Austin Kleon would say you need this balance of input and output.  I recently had a weekend full of art events. The last day of Evenline Kotai‘s beautiful exhibition Invisible Threads at Art Collective. Her work gives me both a sense of calm and blissful joy. Gorgeous busy detail whilst still creating an overall sense of unity, cohesion and emotion – something I am forever striving to do.

Saturday evening was the Lawley Art Auction. My work Dusk was auctioned with funds raised supporting the arts program at Mt Lawley SHS. Many, many years ago I attended a similar specialist high school arts program. It is lovely to be able to help support the next generation of artists.

Sunday I attended the Wearable Art Mandurah Showcase. I am delighted that two of the women, Meagan Howe and Ardea Murphy, that participated in my Wearable Art Mentor Group 18 months ago have won their respective categories in this years event! It is pure joy to be able to celebrate their wins with them and to feel that in some small way I have been able to help on their journey. See photos from the showcase here

For the first time in 6 years I was simply a member of the audience, rather than a nervous designer. I had a gap year from Wearable Art to give my full attention and time to my solo exhibition last November. After seeing the showcase I am again inspired. Lots of vague ideas floated around in my head. Many of these, as I considered them over the next few days disappeared due to lack of interest or practicality. Trust in the process, and one of these ideas has become stronger, clearer and compelling. I now know what I want to make, how, though is still a mystery!

A Well Worn Path

As a female artist, the role of caring for loved ones, domestic duties and family responsibilities are never far away. From nappies to the beginnings of an empty nest, twenty five years of laundry care are marked by a well worn path. Mostly invisible, yet expected, quiet steps throughout the house are often only noticed in their absence. Stitched layers of worn-out family clothing map the labouring process expected of so many women throughout our society.
A Well Worn Path is currently on show at the Minnawarra Art Awards, Armadale District Hall until 19 May 2019. The piece is made from family clothing, well washed and worn out: My Husband’s shirts printed with metallic paints, layered with shirts, shorts, jeans and silks. The whole piece is then machine stitched. Some areas have been cut away through two layers, then colonial knots cover the remaining circles to create the texture and contrast of the well worn layers.

City of Stirling Art Awards

My work Silver Linings #5 Seeds of Hope received an Highly Commended at the City of Stirling Art Awards last night !
 Out of darkness and disaster come seeds of hope, regeneration, new beginnings, an opportunity to do things differently.
The Silver Linings theme began in response to a series of back to back personal challenges in 2015. As the series has progressed, the inspiration for works has trended toward explorations into nature and life cycles. In this work I was inspired by travels along the Forrest Highway after the Yarloop Bush-fires. Amongst the blackened devastation new growth appears, a sign that our Australian bush is tough, resilient and adaptable to the circumstances presented. 

WAFTA @Wearable Art Mandurah 2018

Would you like to enter Wearable Art Mandurah in 2018? I have loved being a part of this competition over the past four years. I’ve made lots of great friendships in this wonderful community of designers, and there are many many opportunities to have your work shown. Along with making my own garment for the 2018 competition, I am running a five month long – one day per month program WAFTA @ Wearable Art 2018 starting 30th September. This program is designed to help you step-by-step through the processes and challenges to create and enter your work in the upcoming 2018 competition. I’m going to share my successes and my disasters! We will cover:

  • Concept development
  • Material choices
  • Tips and techniques
  • Judging criteria
  • Mentoring and instruction
  • Pre-selection photography
  • Artist statements

Suitable for Beginners, Tertiary Students, Groups (1 or 2 people) and Individuals.

It’s going to be loads of fun!  I hope you can join us, places are filling fast!

Click here for further details

The Making of Everlasting Love?

Early last spring when nothing much was flowering, I watched the first blooms of the Everlasting Daisies on the median strips in our neighbourhood and on the daily commute taking my son to school. I watched the daisies follow the sun, close their petals against the rain, cloud cover and as the sun sets and open brightly again on sunny days. I documented them as they faded and went to seed. This coincided with my son’s final day of high school. Both with the promise and hope for new beginnings the following year.A year prior, on the last morning of Vicki Mason’s Fibres West class we learnt to make flower like brooches from computer wire. In July as we set up twentyONE+ there was a skip bin full of discarded computer equipment and cables near the gallery as the University was upgrading their technology systems.

The idea for Everlasting Love? came from these connections –
Our everlasting love with bright shiny new technology, often quickly discarded is resulting in landfill. Will future generations be planting everlasting daisies made from plastic coated copper wire from computer cables as our environment carries this burden of waste?
My vision was a wearable carpet of everlasting flowers.
Each of the 1000+ flowers in this work have been created using UTP computer cabling.
The blue plastic covering was stripped away, the paired wires were untwisted using a cordless drill, then stretched and dyed pink.The flower shapes were then spray painted in three shades of pinkOver 500m of cabling was used. I tried several materials to create the desired “skirt/train” shape and background for the flowers, eventually settling on chicken wire for the lightness and transparency.The “skirt/train” is clipped to adjustable shoulder straps and connected to large metal rings across the waist. The challenge was to make this comfortable for the model as well as quick and easy to remove. The corset has a side zip as well as adjustable lacing. Through experience in wardrobe I know you need the quick change option of a zip. Recycled buttons from Para Quad were hand dyed yellow for the flower centres and pink for the flower buds.
There were lots of trials for the flower buds.The final version being on an armature from wire, felt and sari silk to cover the shoulder straps.
 The completed carpet of flowers.

Wearable Art Mandurah Showcase – What a weekend!

It was a massive weekend. The brilliant showcase, seeing all the finalists garments, meeting up with new friends I have made through this competition, and enjoying the company of family and friends that came along to support me. AND, I’m absolutely thrilled that my entry Everlasting Love? won the Avant-Garde category in the Wearable Art Mandurah showcase last Saturday night.

Above with my darling Dad.

More images of the show here and backstage

There were some amazing artworks by TAFE Fashion and Floristry students in the foyer.


Due to a sell out show in 2016 a second show was also held on Sunday. In conjunction with this matinee show a DADAA initiative offered an enhanced performance for people who are blind or visually impaired. An audio description of the visual elements of the show via a personal headset was offered along with a pre-show tactile tour. We designers were given an opportunity to be involved in the Tactile Tour and asked to bring samples and leftover pieces of the materials we used to make our garments. These included wire, felt, doilies, cane, milk bottles, cool drink bottles, fabrics, wool, buttons and elements of artworks.The participants moved around the room to hear our “mini talks” about the making of our garments and descriptions whilst they touched and felt the materials. This was a very memorable and thought provoking experience for me and the other designers. So much attention in this very visual medium of Wearable Art is given to the story behind the work and the wow factor. It was an absolute pleasure to describe the details of the materials, textures, colours and construction to this very interested audience.

This cheeky guide dog sat on my foot during my talk. There is still a chance to see the amazing WAM artworks up close at the exhibition in August.

Guarding Secrets

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. Ruby on box 2Wearable 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.

 WAFTA members received their “Altered States” bags at the general meeting last night. The challenge is to create a small work (30 x30cm) from the contents of the bag which will then be exhibited in September…this is also a secret. A quick look in my bag…it is going to be a big challenge, one with lots of giggles 🙂 WAFTA Challenge Bag
Not so secret is the announcement last night of the WAFTA Fibres West 2017 Scholarship. I am delighted and very grateful to be the recipient of the scholarship. Fibres West is in July and I am really looking forward to spending a week away to immerse myself in everything textiles. A 5 day workshop with Amanda McCavour, along with lectures, activities and textile related events.
And finally last week I made an Artist page on facebook.
Louise Wells – Artist. An extremely simple process I discovered when I mentioned to the Gen Y in the house “I really should have a Facebook Artist Page” “Yes” he said, and proceeded to set it up for me quicker than I could login to my account…occasionally things really are that simple 🙂
My High School

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.

Writing not making

Studio work has been sparse in the past few weeks. Writing seams to have taken over…Writing artist statements and bios, drafting ideas for a magazine article after the twentyONE+ exhibition, an application for a wearable art project and lots of emails. Other time has been sucked up with family/work priorities.

I have been slowly working on a new canvas…Print 1 Print 2I’ve got back to the machine stitching steps in the past few days, now that I have my head around the article and application. The constant hum of the machine, the repetitive stitch is great thinking time…new ideas are sparked, formed and my mind can just wander…Stitch 1

At the same time I have a back log of interesting looking podcasts to listen to…another cup of tea? but I need to sew…I set the iPad up with headphones at the machine and listened to Alyson Stanfield‘s new podcast on TIME – how long it really takes to do things, how we dislike and avoid some areas in our arts practice, and how actually completing these things out of our comfort zone gives us the greatest sense of achievement. After an initial grumble to myself “why can’t I just quickly read this?” The machine stitch/podcast multitask worked very well, and of course the podcast was great.Stitching

It seams to be a theme for me of the past few days, also been reading Mark Manson articles. They are pretty gutsy…I like what he says about Passion – even when doing a job/project/whatever that you love and enjoy there will be a %, probably a biggish % of it that you are really not going to enjoy…

Although I’m not making much at the moment, the result of what I was doing in May/June have come back with great news. I was delighted to receive notification that two of my works were selected for Australia Wide 5 presented by Oz Quilt Network. Australia Wide 5 will be launched at Bunbury Regional Art Galleries at 6pm on Friday, 23 September 2016.

And on Monday afternoon I was surprised and delighted to find out my garment “The Gilded Cage” won the “Red Light Review” category of the Worn Art Revamped show in Broome over the weekend. Very excited that I have been awarded a prize by Merc Electrical WA of a Broome Pearl! supplied by Camdons Broome Pearl and Fine Jewellery. What a pity it doesn’t include traveling to Broome to collect it 🙂

Detail