Monday, 18 June 2018

paper on skin - Winner 2018!!

Ellie Simpson modelling Lichen Morphology. Photo: grantwellsphoto
Those of you who follow me on social media will be familiar with a lot of this, so please bear with me! On Friday night I had been sitting on the couch, fully aware that my work was on the catwalk in paper on skin, in Burnie, Tasmania, feeling edgy, and trawling Pinterest for yet more images of lichen and fungus, when I received a phone call from the showcase to inform me that I was the winner of this biennial event! I do believe I gasped in excitement!! For the next 10 minutes I was kept on the phone for a 'live-cross' when the announcement was actually made - this was hilarious, as I could understand nothing - it sounded like I was in a fish bowl. It was all a bit surreal.
Isolda, 2014
Lichen Morphology was created by dismantling the structure of Isolda into pieces, 5 of which were used. Using tissue paper from Reverse Garbage, I spent days covering them in papier maché, then spray painting with silver, gold and black, ending up with a lovely silvery wood colour. I was inspired by 2 photos in particular of lichen found on my travels - one in Hamilton NZ, the other in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The inspiration from these never got resolved in my Morphology exhibition in 2011, so it was good to be able to go back to it. With a requirement to be 80% paper, I had to look sideways from my usual textile materials, but found  a happy medium in silk paper, which I wet and ironed into individual 'lichen', coloured with glitz sprays, singed a little with a heat gun, crinkle ironed, free-motion embroidered (hand dyed crochet thread in the bobbin), and sewed on pieces of dyed and painted silk cocoons, before stitching onto the armature itself. Phew!

Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto

I also re-used Isolda's shoes. Then I thought about the fact that someone was going to have to wear this, and that they might want something on underneath the framework, so made a flesh coloured leotard, and printed it with a lino cut of lichen I had made as part of exhibition exploration. Lichen Morphology will be on display with other entries of paper on skin at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery 22 June to 29 July.
The morning after the big news, I hit the road with Matt, accompanying him on a work trip to Coffs Harbour and Casino. Sadly, I am a rubbish car companion, as driving just puts me to sleep -even when I am behind the wheel.... 
We  walked along the beach, discovering along the way a seagull 'Village of the Damned' - so many leg issues!! One limping, one missing, and this dude, with the leg just out airing!!
On Sunday I had a lovely morning walking along the beach, exploring Muttonbird Island, finding the perfect stick to make a staff, and finding a market with something fantastic (unlike recent travels)! I bought myself this present as it was just so appropriate - a beautiful little segment of lichen, fern, and a wee crystal - from Tasmania!! The lichen exhibits the same features which inspired Lichen Morphology, so thank you Wildwood Earth!
Looking back into Coffs Harbour from Muttonbird Island

Many thanks to all at paper on skin - I'm absolutely thrilled - and in particular, my beautiful model, Ellie Simpson.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Presents all round!!

What a lovely surprise this week when Matt brought home a tool belt for me! For many nights, he has listened to me moan and curse as I can't find the thread, the snips, the pliers, my glasses, that I just put down! It's looking pretty bare right now, but it is going to get very organised, and possibly a bit sparkly as time goes on! Who needs birthdays or Christmas - this is what real gift giving is about - 'saw this and thought of you'.

In the throes of finishing 'Lichen Morphology' for paper on skin, I needed to explore what fabrics were out there for my undergarment. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything which fit the bill, but I did find two lovely sparklies for myself - the first from Trad's, (above) which I think would make a nice dress to wear for my Alumni Speech at the TAFE graduation next month, and the second screams 'WOW'!! Two-way multicoloured sequins in a pattern on black stretch velvet!! YAAAAHHH!!!

As I mentioned, I am currently finishing 'Lichen Morphology', which involves stitching through wire/fabric/painted papier-mâché - firmly firm - involves pliers and many 'ouches' as the needle pops out unexpectedly - and a few random blood spots. Once again, I am struggling with my phone as my fingerprint can no longer unlock it!
Weird things happening with font - I cannot deal right now - at least it's English, unlike my car, which today switched to German. Perhaps in anticipation of its replacement by the kombi aka the Sturmpanzerwagen!!!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Bunnehs Dandy in the Nongs part two

As we coffee on the couches, Jenelle declares that the title of today's adventure is 'Great Expectations' - a positive move on from our Big Dreams/Shattered Dreams markets experience. It's another cold day - we're unsure as to whether it was black ice or oil on the road which made us spin about on a
On the misty road to Marysville
gentle corner!!! Siri guides us along Macclesfield Road towards Woori Yallock, which to crazy Bunnehs sounds like 'Woolly Mammoth'!. We pass more signs warning of wombats, which we have been keeping an eye out for, with no luck whatsoever. I check Google to see if there is a santuary nearby, and as I search for 'wombat', options for 'wombat poo' and 'wombat salad' come up!! Errrr, make that 'wombok salad'. Phew!! On arrival at Marysville it is a desperate rush for the facilities once again - all this coffee and cold weather!! - before heading up to Steavenson Falls.
Over-confident Bunnehs miss the Fern Tree Gully Track and end up walking up the road instead. This means that we see the confronting sight of many driveways with no houses - we assume these were lost in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, when an incredible 173 lives were lost. 
We are very pleased to see quite a magnificent falls before we find the track, which strangely seems to take longer to get us back to Marysville. Very hungry Bunnehs start looking at the wildlife - "I wonder what blue and red tastes like" - as we contemplate never making our way out, and having to eat a parrot - perhaps stuffed with the many local mushrooms? Marysville still hasn't woken up, and we find noms at the only place in town, which explains why everyone else is there. 
Corporate Bunneh - iz on the Management Track!!
A beautiful baguette stuffed with brie and local smoked trout averts my hangry! Back through Healseville, Seville, and Gruyere - which doesn't even smell like cheese - and back to Mount Dandenong, where we browse an antique shop and find a deli which provides Jenelle with a tumeric latte and a fantastic sweet pea and lemon cake. Full of confidence, I say we can get us home without Siri, and so we end up driving half way down the mountain whilst driver Bunneh mutters "I just want to eat my cake with my coffee'!! She finally does, and declares it to be the nicest cake she has had in years (despite not much cake being had over those years at all!!)
Our final morning is a cruisy pack-up, then heading towards Melbz via Warrandyte. I see goats in a field, and Jenelle almost drives us over to check if they are indeed, goats - yikes!! We navigate successfully back to Apex, where we find the bus driver much chirpier than last time, and he drives us straight to the airport meaning maximum Virgin Lounge time - hurrah!!
So, back into the studio now - and the shed - kombi painting is about to begin!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Bunnehs Dandy in the Nongs!!

Our 2018 adventure to the Dandenong Ranges begins with the Blonde Bunneh (BB) picking up a weary Pink Bunneh (PB), who stupidly stayed up watching music videos until 3am - why?! I manage to keep my eyes open during the flight to watch 'Swinging Safari', then mislead us on the way to the rental car pick-up point due to failing to read instructions... oh well, we need a bit of a walk! We drive straight to our burrow in Olinda, and find the cottage freeeeezing! Dressed in blankets, we try and decipher the heating system before heading out to obtain noms in Belgrave.
Fantastic mushies in Belgrave!
With the weather forecast not looking great, we force ourselves out once more for a walk, and explore the local roads - unfortunately for me, this becomes a road of relentless downhill (knee - ouch!) which can only mean one thing - relentless uphill on the return. Still part dressed in travel gear - dress and stockings - with some extra layers, I soon start to sweat as well as struggle to breathe. Not a good start!
Ear muffs!
We settle into our still-warming burrow, and Jenelle prepares the noms whilst I decorate my tired-looking ear muffs with felt scales. After an early night, we hit the road, stopping at the delightful King Henry for a coffee. Perhaps we can come back for lunch, or even....dinner?! HA! No way these Bunnehs will leave the burrow at night! BB has researched several places to visit, the first being Carribean Markets, which we struggle to find, (both shouting MARKET ENTRANCE when we finally see it) and are then sorry we did.  A few sorry tables of tat in a cold, cold barn... Off next to Market Fair, which was much more enjoyable, although no purchases made. We did see a book called The Bunnies in the Jam - quite fitting as we keep driving through Monbulk (although there is no evidence of jam).
Back to Belgrave for lunch, we head to a place offering 'German Deliciousness', but really appears to be sausage and sauekraut, so we head to The Blacksmith for a Buddha Bowl and Felafel Burger - happy Bunnehs. Time to explore, I ask Jenelle if she is ready, as her face 'noooo look ready'! After exploring Belgrave, we head to Sassafrass, and the rain becomes heavier! Jenelle finds a lovely pair of knee high boots to buy (yes, I was right, the first ones were better!) and some tea before we head back for a welcome shower and time on the couch. Much to my delight, the laptop rises from the dead, after a day of death screen - hurrah!!
On Saturday morning, the sun is shining and the sky is blue - although when I stick my head out the door it feels like I've stuck it in the fridge - and we head to the Dandenong Park to do the 1000 steps.

It is marked as 'steep and slippery', so we do the Lyrebird Track instead - a heck of a lot of relentless ups = Struggle Street for this Bunneh! The backpack wasn't helping, so BB took that, and we made it to One Tree Hill (covered in trees - any particular one?!) and begin the descent. Despite the whinging, this Bunneh's knees prefer ups to downs,  and for a few minutes, protested fiercely, and I thought I may have to send BB back for the car! Eventually it came right, and we picked up a coffee at the base before heading off to the markets at Mont de Lancey. BB started to have doubts, saying, 'um, doesn't it look a bit rural..?' whilst I maintained the faith with 'yes, but it is at an historic home', however, we arrived to a whole lot of nothing..... oh well....... Hangries loom for both, but we hold on for the next one, the Hills Art Market in Emerald. We encounter a sorry, cold field of pathetic stalls - disappointment has a name! Back in to town, we settle into Zest for a delicious brunch of sweet potato frittata and smashed avocado and enjoy both the food and the excellence service. Hangries suppressed, we have a wander into the Fashion Shak, where my appearance garners a  friendly but stupid 'and what are you?' When I reply with 'a Svenja', it is asked again, and starting to lose my patience, I turn to BB and say 'errrr, I'm not sure how to answer this', and she saves the day by saying merrily that 'She is a Pink Lady'. This seems to be acceptable.
This was the look, minus my big, black boots...
Driving to Kallista, we spot a Tardis, many beautiful red and yellow leaves, bark dripping off trees, and a sign for some 'Clip-Clop Plop'!! Passing Kallista, I spy a large felt Octopus in a pram, and am intrigued.

Bunneh searches, and searches for Wombats....
 We walk around the lovely Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, although we do at one stage do our usual wander down a path which peters out into nothing... After visiting the large pigs and some
The Piggery Cafe next to the gardens
newly-shorn llamas, we travel towards 'Seaforth, Shakespeare, Seascape, Sherwood' AKA Sherbrooke, and continue on to Olinda. We wander, PB gets engaged in conversation with crazy lady in craft shop - BB fails to rescue - then we head back to the burrow for the evening and a lovely antipasto platter.
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens

On Sunday, we hope to redeem our market fails of Saturday by visiting the 'Big Dreams' market at Belgrave, however, we are now wary, and prepared for Big Dreams to become Shattered Dreams. And they pretty much were, except for some truffle salami and a ginger sesame snap. OK. We remember the Upper Fern Tree Gully Markets, and as Siri is telling us to u-turn to reach them, we look over and see a coffee cart and a 'Pain Pod' tent. Worst markets EVERRRR!!! OK. Let's go to Lilydale. At least there'll be chickens!! All looks promising as we turn into the packed carpark at the Lake, and BB gets seriously excited as she sees the tents......of the Mother's Day Classic. So not markets, and we can't even walk around the lake. OK again. Let's check out Lilydale itself. Fail again. Back down the road to 'Hunted' - a warehouse of many stalls of stuff - not bad, but not fabulous, and no coffee, so PB is advised to 'eat the muesli bar' - a reference to previous travels where a hangry loomed and a muesli bar was necessary to stave it off! Back to Lilydale to go to Mt Evelyn, which has a total of 2 cafes, and this Bunneh loses her cool, refuses to get out of the car except to go to Wolies to get noms and wine then go home! BB craves exercise, and drives back to the 1000 steps, and PB gets a little therapy moulding some leather, before heading over the road to the Piriana Gardens and being delighted to find some magical-looking mushrooms and beautiful trees.  

I have such a good time moulding leather that I stay up late (also drinking bubbles) so feel a little secondhand when BB brings me coffee in bed on Monday morning!! We begin the plan of the day by driving to Grant's Picnic Ground to do a 7k walk, which soon turns into - you guessed it - relentless ups! However, I survive, and we are delighted to come across a very fat and happy wallaby, as well as a lyrebird, in the magically misty forest - bliss! This success continues as we arrive at Brunch for - brunch! BB struggles to finish her chorizo and beans, but wins in the end! It is freezing cold but I drag BB next door to the William Ricketts Sanctuary, which is cold, dark and not to BB's taste - we stumble upon a video in a hut of the man himself looking quite mad and talking about becoming 'the essence of God'....... perhaps he smoked a few herbs during the 70's?!! I crack myself up by referring to our next stop as 'not a tumour, but it might be Tecoma', and we do a little op-shopping, before I get the major post lunch + I-stayed-up-too-late snoozles. Looking for a sunny grotto, we go to Sherbrooke park - BB strolls to the falls whilst PB snoozles in the car. After a fuel and food stop, it was back to base for yet another delicious antipasto platter, and plans to visit Marysville on our final day.

William Ricketts Sanctuary

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

WOW Crate 2018

The tenth, and possibly final, WOW crate send off - an annual photo tradition with celebratory bubbles in hand!
This year we had a disgruntled Trumptopussy joining me on the crate, very upset that he is not also going to the show. After a small struggle, we made our peace. Creep. He kept singing, "What about me"......
I've spent the week making a few adjustments to the accepted work, due to it being placed in a different section to the one I intended it for. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do a new photoshoot with the changes, but that's just the way it is. If my mannequin could wear the shoes it could almost work, but she can't!
Work continues on the paper piece for 'paper on skin' in Burnie Due to my going off on a tangent towards a whole new colourway which turned out not to be suitable in the end, I had to order some more gummy silk cocoon strippings from The Thread Studio. This also gave me the chance to order some gummy silk carrier rods, and some more Starburst Sprays - I just love these! I've mainly used them on leather - this is the first time I have actually used them on paper. Look at that lovely subtle purple glow on the edge up the top there!! Of course, having just ordered, I've now nearly used that one up - it never even appealed to me before! A little bit of action with the heat gun and the whispy bits get burnt out, and a nice bit of colour appears as well. I'm doing a bit of free motion embroidery in the middle for some texture, as well as for a little extra stability. I'm using hand dyed crochet thread in the bobbin, so am sewing with the silk paper upside down on the machine so that thread sits on the surface. Then I'm stitching on some silk cocoon pieces, dyed and painted with gold around the edges, to represent the cupola shaped often found on lichen.
And here's a little taste of the silk lichen pieces pinned onto the headpiece - there's also a couple of pieces of the paper string I am using for extra texture. I'm looking forward to seeing the piece completed soon.