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!

[email protected] 2018

I’ve entered three times, but never finished a garment” was a comment that inspired me to propose an idea to WAFTA for a mentoring program to help people enter and complete a garment for the Wearable Art Mandurah (WAM). WAM started as a local competition in 2011 as part of the Stretch Festival, Mandurah, Western Australia and has grown to become a stand alone event fast gaining an international standing.

Went I first entered in 2014, all garments were automatically part of the showcase and exhibition. Now there are a series of steps – pre-selection, judging day…that’s once you have completed your garment!

[email protected] 2018 was a six session/six month program designed to assist participants along all the steps to create and enter their garment. We covered concept development, material choices, lots of tips and techniques, judging criteria, pre-selection photography, artist statements. Most importantly, at the first session I showed the group this image from Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist.  The Dark Night of the Soul is the point where we give up, it’s all too hard, for any number of reasons…THIS is where I really wanted to help the program participants. To get past this point. An initial brainstorming session; looking for inspiration, referring to category information and judging criteria and writing notes to help with artist statements further down the track.Trying out your ideas on a dress form is a great way to quickly see if the proportions are correct and the how it works on the body.

The garments not only need to look amazing on stage, but also have interest in the detailsThroughout the process the participants continued to refer back to their design ideas and inspiration.There were many many hours spent making individual elements, often trialed in several materials before the best solution was found. Group members were supportive of each other offering suggestions and advice, and materials.There were also many, many hours spent constructing body frames, corsets and hearwear supports made from paper, glue, cardboard, polystyrene, retic pipe, foam, masking tape, powertex, metal sheeting etc.

Trialing how elements work togetherSometimes you’ve just got to try it on…see how it feels! Headwear trials. Is it comfortable? Is it secure?Pre-selection photography day with last minute alterations and finishing. After quite a few rather late nights, we had a very exciting day seeing the completed garments come to life.

I am extremely proud to show the final results –

Phoenix by Kitty Boyd

Singing the Land by Jennie Abbott

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

The Bird Cage by Jennie Abbott and Lyn Nixon

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Urban Insect by Carol Hazel and Amanda Brown

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

The Masquerade by Meagan Howe

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

The Mariners Treasure by Ardea Murphy

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

These amazing garments have gone on to be shown in wonderful events such as the WAM showcase, WAM exhibition, The Perth Craft Fair, Art Gallery of WA Art Ball.

Exhibition Time

As I’ve said many times before, it all happens at once. I have work in three exhibitions this month!

Wearable Art Mandurah Exhibition opens Friday 3 August @ 6pm

When: Friday 3 August to Sunday 9 September 2018
Where: Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah(CASM) | 63 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210

I am delighted my garment Light into the Darkness will be on show among the WAM 2018 winners and other amazing garments

Wearable Art MandurahA Retrospective 2011 -2018

Wearable Art Mandurah has selected one garment from each year, 2011 – 2018, celebrating the journey from a small local competition to the premiere wearable art event in Australia.
Where: Lakelands Library and Community Centre
49 Banksiadale Gate, Lakelands Village
When: Friday 3 August – Sunday 9 September

I’m really pleased Once, my first entry, way back in 2014 has been selected for this exhibition.

Lastly, I have a display of my works on canvas along side recent graduate Georgia Sherwood at Victoria Park Central

When:  5th – 31st August 2018

WhereVictoria Park Central  366 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park WA

This piece Moments #2 40 x 40cm will be in the show.

The Making of Light into the Darkness

I have been working on the theme of Silver Linings over the past few years
and Light into the Darkness was a shift to wearable art and is the final piece in this series.
I wanted the model to be smothered in a dark cloud, her view of the world obscured, not to be able to see beyond the overwhelming darkness.
I came across an image of an enormous pony tail tree in full bloom, the strength of the trunk supporting the bloom inspired the shape of the garment.  The trunk or body of the garment became the silver lining, those little seeds of hope and colour connecting and building a strong foundation of resilience. 
The cloud is made from tulle that I dyed black and grey.
Some of the edges have been machine stitched with silver lines and some with a black lace like edging.
I wanted the effect of an upside down tutu and after feeling very frustrated with my results,  I rang the WA Ballet and spoke to a lovely lady in the wardrobe department who very generously gave me lots of tips and ideas to create the desired effect.
I ended up making four separate layered pieces for around the models’ neck and a headpiece.
The model’s body is covered with colourful circles connected together with machine stitching.
There are about 1200 circles. Each circle is a sandwich of denim jeans as a backing, transfer printed satin (see below), silks
and a top layer of dark grey fabric that has been printed silver with a stamp. The sandwich is machine stitched together and then I cut away the top layers to reveal the colourful silks and satins underneath.
Each piece was then hand cut from the sheets.
The circles are connected to each other by free machine embroidery. I stitched on a plastic like material called Solvy to connect all the circles. When I finish stitching, I wash away the solvy in warm water and as long as all the stitching is attached to the circles the whole work stays together…If not, it’s a big knotty mess!
I made a few panels of circles and then trialed them on my dress form. My initial idea was to blend the circles black to silver. 
Very quickly I abandoned the silver, and continued to make dark panels trialing for shape and quantity.
When I was happy with the arrangement, I stitched all of the panels together. The whole garment then needed to be washed again. This was a rather scary moment!!!
The shoes where a Buy Nothing gift and were bright orange. I spray painted them black then made a stencil by stitching another piece of solvy and then sprayed silver over a stencil. 
Light into the Darkness image by Tony Tropiano at Wearable Art Mandurah Showcase 2018

Some Progress and Many Distractions

The past few weeks have been filled with some lovely studio distractions. A couple of wonderful birthday celebrations, gallery visits and time away at the beach for Easter have all been delightful, but there is the frustration of not enough time in the studio and that time is ticking by, ever closer to the exhibition date.
 The amount of physical time required in the studio at the sewing machine, hand stitching, printing, cutting etc is huge…for all of my artworks. The daily practice of going to the studio and continuing from where I left off, slowly adds up to create my work. It is mostly a calming and meditative part of my day and I really miss it and get frustrated when I “don’t have time” to be in the studio.
 Having said that, I also know that time away (on holiday), visiting galleries, seeing friends, and even the daily drive to take my son to work, all help me process the work, think in a different way, make new connections and what if?…
The progress that was seemingly very slow, has leapt forward thanks to one of those aha moments in the car last week.
 Also in this busy time, the judging day of Wearable Art Mandurah was held, and I am delighted to have Light into the Darkness and the work of two of my [email protected] 2018 participants selected for the showcase June 9 -10. Tickets are selling fast

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography

I was also very happy to received notification that two of my works have been selected for Petite Miniature Textiles exhibition at Wangaratta Art Gallery, Victoria, opening 2 June!

Lastly, the images below are from the stunning sculptural installations by Zadok Ben-David: Human Nature at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. It finished tomorrow 20 April, well worth a visit if you have some free time tomorrow.

It’s been a fortnight of finishing

Four deadlines over a couple of weeks in February seemed like a long way off back in the second half of 2017. I put my hand up for them all, and I’m delighted to see the wonderful results produced by the consistent and hard work by myself and others involved in each of these projects .
[email protected] 2017 is a program I have presented and mentored over the past six months to help artists design, create and enter a garment into the 2018 Wearable Art Mandurah (WAM) competition. We had our final session and photography day last Saturday and after a few rather late nights, the participants have created some amazing garments. Seeing their works completed and come to life on a live model was breathtaking for all of us.
I’ve been working on my own WAM entry since last October and although 99% finished before Christmas, a few final details took several days, and then there was photography, artist statements leading to submission last week.
Sadly, you’ll have to wait until after Judging day to see any of these garments. Instead here is Mannequin Monroe, a new resident in the studio, a gift from our local Buy Nothing group. She has had a long career in Aherns Dept. store, then Behind the Monkey modelling jewellery and most recently has spent six months lonely in a shed. She will be busy modelling Wearable Art garments soon.
My gorgeous niece was our model for all of the WAM garments, and back in June 2017, she decided to make her own gown for the year 12 Ball, which was last Friday night. My mother, sister and I helped her through the processes of creating her stunning lace covered dress, meeting together about once a month. As you can see she looked stunning and rightfully won best dressed on the night.
My latest Down Under Textiles Magazine column was also due among these.
On a very busy day in the middle of all this I visited Annette Nykiel’s beautiful exhibition Meeting Place, which is on at Spectrum Project Space until 17 February 2018.
“…My edginess quietens as my mind wanders to moments in the country walking the ground…”  quoted from the exhibition catalogue.
Yes, this is how I felt, walking into the space, a sense of calm.
Well worth a visit if you can.

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 [email protected] 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.

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

Wearable Art Mandurah Exhibition

What is it made of? What does that look like up close?…questions often asked by people watching the WAM showcase or seeing photos of Wearable Art. The Wearable Art Mandurah exhibition is the opportunity to see a selection of 30 garments from the 2017 competition up close.The Mandurah Mail has lots of beautiful images from opening night. Here are some of my detail snaps to tempt you!
 These are just a taster of the stunning the exhibition, across two venues this year, running until 3rd September. It’s well worth a visit 🙂
CASM Wed – Sun 10am – 4pm 63 Ormsby Terrace Mandurah
Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery Mon – Fri 9am -5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm, Sun 12 – 4pm Ormsby Terrace Mandurah