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.

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?”


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.


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


Simple Steps to Surface Design

Aha and AHHHH…These are the words you want to hear from participants in your workshop. That lovely moment when something clicks or they can see a connection to what you are presenting and the type of work they already do…a new way of working, a slight twist, an “of course”… I’ve had all these moments myself at workshops and artist talks. Some of them are defining moments in my work. Often a small, seemingly insignificant part of the whole, has made the difference.
I had the great pleasure of running two half day workshops for WAFTA late last week. Simple Steps to Surface Design was part of a series of Textile Techniques Toolbox workshops to coincide with the launch of “Altered States” WAFTA’s member challenge exhibition. The challenge is to create a small work of art from the surprise contents of a bag of materials. These workshops are designed to inspire and expand possibilities.Print wsahop 4In my half day workshops we covered screen printing in various forms, gelli printing, stamping, spray stencils, fugitive medium, Dylon and RIT dyeing. A lot to cover in a few hours, just a taster to explore further if it was of interest. The participants made lots of A4 size samples – reference material for future work.Print wshop2Print wshopPrint wshop 12Print wshop 10Print wshop 7I loved seeing my stencils and stamps used in ways I would never have thought of…how each participant explored new possibilities. I loved their delight when something surprised them and they were excited to explore further.Print wshop 3Plastic dyed 4Print wshop 5

Print wshop 9Dyed PlasticPlastic Dye 3 Dyeing DylonI am really looking forward to seeing all that comes from this.

Cut away and Folding

Colour Project – Pink, Part 4

Some samples of cut away layers of fabric. Below the layers have been stitched and cut away, repeating as each fabric has been added.

Above another bonded fabric origami piece, below rows of folded silk triangles.

Below, the reverse of the squares above, all the layers stitched through at the beginning, with more stitching and cutting, progressing to the middle.

This final pink piece has loose folds, creating a softer version of the samples earlier in the month.

Folded Strips

Colour Project Pink, Part 3

When I came across the work of Anne Kyyro Quinn in a Selvedge magazine I was drawn to take a closer look. She makes stunning three dimensional large scale wall panels from single colour felt strips that are twisted and stitched. The current edition of Surface Design magazine also has an article about her work. Her technique is partly a reverse of what I have been doing, cutting the strips of fabric and then laying them out and twisting and stitching to form waves.  This works beautifully in felt as it doesn’t fray and has a nice weight to it.

In these samples I’ve used cheap acrylic felt.

The next samples are my further experiments in silk dupion, firstly a single layer cut on the diagonal.

Then two pink shades of silk bonded together and cut with the grain

Finally, hand stitching french knots to secure the twists.

Why Pink?

Colour Project – Pink, Part 2

Why Pink? – I have been asking myself this question.  I have worked through the primary colours, red, blue, yellow, the secondary purple, orange and  green, the obvious black, white and brown, and indigo was a natural choice for a textile artist. Then there were two months left for the year….pink seamed like a good idea at the beginning of this year…I came across a book on fabric style origami so that has been my starting point.

These are two macrame style braids incuded in the book  – actually quite useful..

Little stars, quite thick due to the size and double layer of fabric.

This  piece is a little larger with less folds so works a bit better.

I was inspired by the stunning fabric sculptural works of french artist Simone Pheulpin when I saw her work in a textile magazine recently. I’ve used an old sheet from the Salvation Army shop that I dyed in “Fushia” dylon dye.  The wrapping technique, very basically, involves long strips of fabric folded in half length wise and rolled, folded back and pinned.

The folds in these samples are sometimes held with pins and sometimes by the next roll of fabric.

I’ve used three shades of pink in differing combinations to make these rolls.

The final pieces in this set have been printed with a variety of stamps. I had thought of unwinding the rolls and re-winding to see the effect…

November – Pink

Colour Project – Pink, Part 1

“Pink is the navy blue of India”  Diana Vreeland

Fuchsia, Salmon Hot Pink, Strawberry, Fairy Floss, Bubblegum, Shell, Mauve, Peony, Magenta, Lollies, Shocking Pink, Rose, Pink Blossom, Cherry Blossom, Pinking Shears, Tickled Pink, Girls, Romantic, Pink Panther, Scarlet…

Slow buds the pink dawn like a rose from out night’s gray and cloudy sheath; Softly and still it grows and grows, Petal by petal, leaf by leaf.” Susan Coolidge

The colour “Pink” is first recorded in the 17th century, whilst the verb “pink” dates back to 14th century meaning “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern”. We still use the term today with pinking shears. The colour Pink only became associated with girls in the modern era.  Softer pinks speak of romance, innocence, calm and tranquility, whilst bright pinks represent youth, fun, excitement, vibrancy, encouraging action and confidence. Hotter shades have the same passion as red without being too aggressive.

I fell off my pink cloud with a thud.” Elizabeth Taylor

The very pink of perfection”  Oliver Goldsmith