Slow Textiles

Working is textiles is a rather slow process. I started this piece in mid February. It is large – 3 x 2m lengths and there are several very time consuming steps…lots of ironing, printing, machine stitching, cutting away and now covering the entire piece with colonial knots.The slow stitching is quite calming, I’ve got into a gentle working rhythm that is surprisingly easy on my back, neck and shoulders. Often the repetitive nature of my work leads to lots of pain…and always in the back of my mind – How will I complete this if my body can’t cope?I’ve started listening to Podcasts as I stitch. Thanks to a recommendation from my son, I’ve been listening become slightly addicted to 99% Invisible. I’m boring my poor husband with lots of interesting facts…

A lovely coincidence was to discover my recent favourite read, The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair was a featured episode. I loved this book and her next, The Golden Thread– how fabric changed history. The chapter on spider’s silk lead me to google this amazing cape.

More stitching and Podcasts await!

So close and yet so far…

As I’m writing this I am close to my self appointed deadline of the end of this month, to have all my work finished for my exhibition in November Of Our Time – Ordinary Lives My studio and our house is covered in dust thanks to the endless cutting fabric into small bits and reassembling.
I was actually a little bit ahead of my deadline and that is a problem. In that I thought Ooh, I could see that exhibition…and that other one…and maybe go out to dinner. You know, have a social life like other people. There goes the weekend. And then over the past week or so, so close to being finished a few unexpected challenges consume my days. The washing machine hoses leak and flood /stink out the laundry, the dog starts limping – will this be the second trip to the vet in a fortnight? A car is purchased for our daughter = an afternoon sorting out insurance, money and collection of the car.With a couple of days to go I have officially finished making!!!As I have mentioned to friends that my work is almost finished, they comment on how organised I am. November seems a long way off. There are still many steps other than making work in order to prepare for an exhibition – attaching work to canvases, backings, hanging devices, all leading up to photography day mid September. And on to catalogues etc.


 

 

[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
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

The Bird Cage by Jennie Abbott and Lyn Nixon

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Urban Insect by Carol Hazel and Amanda Brown

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

The Masquerade by Meagan Howe

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

The Mariners Treasure by Ardea Murphy

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

Photo by; Stephen Heath Photography
www.stephenheathphotography.com

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.

Open House Perth 2017

Described as “When residents become tourists in their own city” Open House Perth, ran for it’s 6th year last weekend. This year we concentrated on the inner east and north discovering some gems.
 Old Perth Girls School 1936 -1962, and more recently occupied by the Police department until 2002, is now ready for the next phase, a 3 – 5 year use until the developers are ready to start the more permanent project. Cafes, tourism, arts, community involvement  are all considerations for this time frame. I can envisage some wonderful possibility here.
Above- view from the projection room into the assembly hall.
The building itself is a quality build, the original lockers, fire places, bookcases were a delight, as were the anecdotes from past students on our tour.
 I imagine they’ve given up trying to match keys to lockers 🙂
Edward Millen House in Victoria Park is at a similar stage. It was built in 1912 as the first maternity hospital in Western Australia, becoming a repatriation hospital in 1920 – 1960, and until 1995 for various medical purposes. Current owners, the Town of Victoria Park spent over a million dollars in 2007 on  maintenance works. The community visiting over the Open House weekend were invited to share their views on the future of this beautiful heritage listed building. I hope its use will mean it’s available for the public to enjoy.
 Next was The WA Ballet. A beautiful example of new use for a stunning Art Deco building. Government, councils, private donations all coming together to make this work. I loved the tour so much last year, I went again and am now hoping to get an in-depth look at the wardrobe dept 🙂
Lastly, a couple of residential houses. The Triangle House in Mt Lawley that I drive past regularly was a spacious surprise inside that we all loved. The build on this awkward triangle 170m2 block is a great example of what good design can do and the creativity that arises from limitations.

The Time of My Life – in review

Canadian independent creative magazine Uppercase asked for submissions recently on the theme Diagram Your Life. If you drew a Venn diagram of your life, how would your life and creativity intersect? What would a data-driven self-portrait look like? 
I am delighted my work “The Time of My Life” was selected for inclusion in issue 35. The work was originally made for the WAFTA InTension exhibition in 2011. In late 2010, I documented my time spent on the activities of the day for 100 days, each with a colour representing a separate activity. At the time of making the work I felt very frustrated about my lack of time in the studio. All the pink areas are studio time. Reviewing this seven years later, with my darling children all now beyond their teen and schooling years and mostly independent (although all still at home) my art practice has significantly changed and developed, and I do have more time available. The mad rush to get everyone out the door early in the morning is much less of a challenge and no longer am I running kids to appointments or after school activities and cooking dinner in spurts between the drop offs and pick ups.
In other ways there are still lots of demands on my time, however my priorities have also moved much more towards making art and art related activities. Sometimes often the housework is at a minimum, my garden is designed to thrive on neglect and I don’t go shopping without a specific purchase in mind.
In hindsight I can see the time spent away from the studio not so much as a frustration, as it can be just as valuable to my art practice as the hands on activities at my desk. That time helps me process ideas, find a solution to design challenge, see new possibilities, and relieve my sometimes aching back and shoulders!

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. 

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

WAM Head Wear Workshop

Head Wear, like footwear in wearable art can cause a lot of angst.
The footwear challenge is due to the shoe size guessing game of your model. Head Wear has a few more challenges; for the artist and the model. As artists/designers we want a head piece to complement our garment and create that wow factor. We also don’t want it to fall off mid-showcase! Models and dancers require something secure, comfortable and lightweight.
Lou Grimshaw, Props Assistant at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts presented a wonderful workshop on Sunday to address these issues. Sharing her wealth of experience, we learnt techniques to make balanced, lightweight wire frames to build our designs upon. Below is one of Lou’s pieces.
 Using a jig we learnt to shape wire and solder the joins to make the basic headpiece.
We then looked at the endless variations and alternative materials, always considering the wearability of the piece. Lou shared many tips, suggestions and products to try for our head wear. The very experienced group of participants were also happy to share their knowledge. There were lots of aha moments and “ooh, I want to try that!”
Above – the wire frame of one of Lou’s pieces.
Many thanks to Barb Thoms from Wearable Art Mandurah for organising this fantastic workshop. I’m really looking forward to seeing some amazing head wear next year!

 

It’s been a busy week…and a bit…

Firstly a transformation of the studio into boudoir for our friends from Sydney for a long weekend. It’s amazing what you find when you have a good clean up…
Five lovely days including an unheard of visit to the beach on a Monday morning…what an extravagance. The beach and weather stunning – it was meant to be 🙂

Then the submission of my 2017 entry for Wearable Art Mandurah WAM. The work has been finished for a while, photos taken, but pressing that “submit” button…it’s when you let go of your work.

On Saturday I gave a talk to the WAFTA WASG (Wearable Art Study Group) about my journey and experiences over the past 4 years making wearable art followed by a mini workshop.A simple way to start making Wearable ArtDiscover the possibilities of upcycling your recycling bin!WASG2
Participants worked directly on dress forms, playing with recycled materials. Using pins, staples and masking tape to speed up the process.WASG
It’s always interesting to see a garment develop on a body shape. You can do lots of drawings and designs, but when you place the items on a body form it comes to life.WASG10

WASG11WASG9All the participants made wonderful and unique starts to wearable art garments, including two 10 year old girls present by default.WASG6 I could see the start of some wonderful garments for the 2018 WAM competition!WASG4WASG13WASG8

WASG12

The workshop reminded me that I really enjoy teaching, something that I have been pushing aside for a long time.

I’m well into the next deadline and it’s slowly progressing with machine and now hand stitch. This needs to be my focus for the next few weeks.13 Feb 004 13 Feb 023