Thursday, 13 December 2018

Dress Code - an MoB Exhibition

Today I ventured into the city to attend the curator's tour of Dress Code, an exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane. It's always a bit of a weird trip down memory lane going there, as I was a part of the MoB Store team when both it and the gallery were being created in 2003! 
Comprised of the work of 5 artists, 2 in particular resonated with me. The first was Hannah Gartside's installation of repurposed animal-print clothes and scarves, hauntingly wafting in the breeze created by three mini-fans. I liked it. It made sense to me. It pleased my eye.
My eye was also very pleased by the work of Grace Lillian Lee. In a small room, these five wearable works rested, whilst a video of them created an atmosphere with sound and imagery of the pieces being worn. Fascinated by the colour and texture of the work, it was not until I was taking photos that I really appreciated the effect of the shadows as well.

The technique to make the pieces was referred to as weaving, which confounded me - it looked like a wrapped/stitched/shibori type technique! Weaving?! I think the curator referred to it as 'caterpillar' weaving, but searches this afternoon have thrown up the term 'prawn' weaving, a traditional Torres Strait Islander palm weaving technique. I have only just begun my investigations! The tight and sinuous structure reminds me of the work of R.R.Pascoe, an Australian designer I have met at the World of WearableArt over the last few years, who uses hemp braid to create these award-winning sculptural works.
Mollusca, 2017,  International Award, Australia and Pacific

Absinthium, 2018, International Award, Australia and Pacific
Back to the studio for me tomorrow, perhaps even a little more stitching tonight!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

TAFE Graduation Parade 2018

Last night I was invited to have three of my garments showcased at the TAFE Fashion graduation - I can't believe it was only last year that I graduated!! My garments were worn by three beautiful models during the pre-show exhibition of work, and started the runway show. Matt did me proud by turning up in one of the waistcoats I have made him - kudos to him for his dedication, as it was sweat city up there!! The models were fantastic, all of them, and my congratulations to all those behind the scenes for creating one of the best parades I've seen at TAFE.

Thanks to Ann Armstrong for this photo
Connor and the Avatar!
During the break between dress rehearsal and the opening, I was able to have a private demo of the amazing new design software being rolled in to TAFE, demonstrated by IT dude Connor. I was passing the room when I saw him directly sketching onto the screen with a stylus, and immediately diverted. As someone who spent the weekend cutting, stapling, and sellotaping cardboard together on a mini-mannequin, I felt pretty outdated, but then I also recognise that whilst these kinds of programmes may be wonderful for industry, they're not always going to be that helpful to the one-off designer, or she that is struggling with the basics due to unruly computers!

One of the exercises the first years have to do is make a calico apron and use fabric embellishment techniques on them, also keeping a journal of the process (a very valuable tool which I hope they all remember to keep up along the way). I loved the intricacy of this shibori dyed and embroidered one, with extra draped and pleated layer included, 

as well as this one utilising beetle wings and gold embroidery. Another was a textural delight of heat distorted fabrics, one of my favourite techniques.

Then of course, there was the accessories display, of millinery, belts, and bags.

Here's a wee video of the start of the show featuring the undergarment of Euphony Iridacaea from 2012, Undulation II from 2011, and Lichen Morphology from earlier this year.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Melbz, WOW, still love you

A whirlwind weekend in Melbourne saw a visit to two WOW Designers that I have spent time with in New Zealand but not on home soil. Firstly, Natalie Hutton of the label Claudia Savage, winner of the Avant Garde Section at WOW 2018. I got to see these amazing pieces in the flesh - so excited was I by the spikes, the glitz, the silk, and the corsetry within my view - that my boots and I heffalumped over a pattern layout on her floor! Mortification! I think I largely behaved myself after that, and managed not to maul the amazing pieces...

Echoplex, Goddess of Reverb, Avant Garde Section Winner, WOW 2018
Sadly, it was on the train back into the CBD that we learned of the attack on Bourke Street. 
The next morning I met up with Sharon Bacchus at the NGV, designer of this amazing work based on hair follicles in the 2011 World of WearableArt show, and we nattered away for some time before I then went to see the Designing Women Exhibition, where I saw my first Iris van Herpen design in the flesh!
Sharon Bacchus, Under the Microscope Section Finalist WOW 2011

The Yarra River, on the way to the NGV
Iris van Herpen
Comme des Garçon
Outside the NGV, some fabulous moss in the water feature.
Feature wall of upcoming Archaeology of Light Exhibition.
Also at the NGV, I really enjoyed my travels through the European Art section, in particular seeing the Montmarte Boulevard by Camille Pissaro - having recently read 'Renoir's Dancer', about the life of artist's model and artist of the time, Suzanne Valadon, it had new meaning for me.
But I digress - the textile goodness began as soon as we hit the CBD, where we met up with Phyllis Hoffman (for those who follow the SvenJen/Bunneh adventures - the very first tutor we did a workshop with!) who was looking to re-home her smocking pleater, The Sally Stanley! How serendipitous! I had always wanted one. I saw Phyllis's post on Facebook that she was about to give it away, postage only. I was coming to Melbourne that weekend!! First stop from the Skybus was Southern Cross Station, where we met up for a bite to eat for the hungry travellers, a catch up on the years, and the transference of a magnificent machine.
Phyllis and I at handover!
 Phyllis also gave me the hot tip to visit 'Darn Cheap Fabrics' at Port Melbourne, so the following day I caught the tram out and and got myself this bit of lovely. After a big day of walking, I was happy to return 'home' and watch the Crown Casino fire display in our cute little balconette with some bubbles, of course.

Opposite our abode, and Batman Park, was this fabulous tram sculpture! On our final walk through SouthGate, we were intrigued by this ingredient at a Middle Eastern takeaway - so confident was the lady that we couldn't guess what it was, that she offered us a free coffee! Even after tasting, we couldn't guess - pickled turnip coloured with beetroot! So, so, salty!! So, so, pretty!

Melbz, I love you as ever, even though I didn't venture into your CBD streets this trip. However, I am not afraid - I'll do it again.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Painting a van and a photo shoot

It’s hard to believe that exactly one month ago we were at WOW – already it seems so long ago! Since then, painting the kombi has been the priority, and it is getting very close to completion.

The house is an absolute shambles, as our bathroom and laundry remain stripped after a burst water pipe when we were in NZ, and as work begins in earnest on new pieces. With the floor covered in patterns, and with grilled cheese the only thing on the menu, I knew Matt would be well aware that the cycle had begun again! Number one at the moment is a piece for Wearable Art Mandurah, for the Movement category, the one I bought 1kg of ostrich feathers for! Also the reason I am looking at fibre optics......
Yesterday we had a photo shoot for Lichen Morphology, winner of the paperonskin competition in Tasmania early this year, and magic happened. Having met neither the photographer or the model before, it was wonderful to see how they instinctively worked together – he was able to direct her perfectly, and she had such natural grace – I was more than happy to stand back and let it happen! The light was amazing too, and I cannot wait to see the results! Many, many thanks to Athos Nisio and Ellen Linning, and of course, where would I be without my very own designer wrangler, Matt Pettigrew?! Seen below happily keeping out of the way once it had all begun. I couldn't do this without him dealing with so many of the bits and pieces, and of course, keeping me sane. Ish.
Many thanks also to Hope for letting us use her fabulous rusty shed on her property!

Melbourne Cup looms, and although I am not a fan and wish everyone would dress up every day without the need for horses running themselves ragged, I am happy to be dressing a couple of ladies for some events. Sandra will be wearing a piece from my Morphology Exhibition, and Emily has had a custom wrap and headpiece made, which includes an ostrich feather as they arrived the day before and I just couldn't help it! Photos in the next post.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Coccinelle, 2018. The Making of!

Beyond Chrysalis - Emergence, 2018 - The Making of!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

WOW 2018

Peter and Janet
As I write this draft, we're sitting exhausted, on Sunday night, in our hotel room eating sandwiches. I just trotted out to get them, and after a really windy Wellington day, it was a lovely calm evening - we've been pretty lucky with the weather, as you will see. Early, early, Wednesday morning we arrived on the same flight as Janet de Boer and Peter, where a WOW themed luggage trolley was found! After a good rest, we headed to our beloved Avida for the famous goats cheese puffs, as well as fabulous smoky spiced prawns and other delights, stopping on the way to get the photo in the Welly Loves WOW sign, before readying ourselves to meet up with our WOW family, old and new, at the Foxglove Bar.
The next day was Designer Day, but I skipped the morning intro to have brekky with the Birthday Boy at Sweet Mother's Kitchen - Heuvos Rancheros and Eggs Bomba!
 I joined the gang down at Te Papa for the talks, lunch, and a workshop in leather tooling. After wrestling everyone off the Welly Loves WOW sign on the way, (rather like herding cats at night!), it was back to Avida to celebrate the birthday! Plenty of shenanigans to be had here!
Paula Jackson, Fifi Colston and moi at Designer Day.

With WOW Legend Susan Holmes
It's youuuuuuuu!! Creator of the amazing work which scored her the Cirque du Soleil internship, Annabelle Ellebanna
After all of this, it was an early start on Friday morning at the Australian High Commission, where myself, Erica Gray, and Phillipa Stitchbury and WOW representative Ali Boswijk ,were part of a panel sharing our design journeys and answering questions, mainly from design students. It was a great way to foster conversation and sharing of information, and we thank the Australian High Commission for hosting us.
Australian Designers with High Commissioner Ewen McDonald, and Esmé Palliser
Ali, Erica, me, Phillipa
Jenny Caldwell and groovy dudes from Wellington College, I believe.
I was also thrilled to meet up with Lyndal and Pam Thorne, from Paper on Skin in Burnie - and they'd even brought my 'Winner' sign along - yahoo!! Now safely installed in the studio - thanks gals!
We then, very sensibly, went back to the hotel to rest, in preparation for another round at the Foxglove before the Big Night!
with Vicky Robertson, Lynn Christiansen and Kate MacKenzie.
I was thrilled to unexpectedly receive third place in the Under the Microscope Section. I loved the way Coccinelle looked on the stage, and the way it was choreographed - my only complaint was that none of the garments in this section came out to the revolves at the ends of the stage, so I was unable to see details of any of them. Detail images were projected onto the stage screens, but I was looking at the garments on stage, not the screen!
 Celebrations and dancing till 2am were at Dockside..... although Lynn Christiansen's Party Animal Mum, Wilma, - an absolute delight - outlasted us and was amongst those to get booted out nearer 3:30am!
Fondling the latex clad, chip eating, award winning Adam McAlavey!
New friend, Section Winner, and Supreme Award Runner Up recipient Nika Danielska, whose work it turns out I have been admiring for years, and old friend the fabulously 'outrrraaaaageous' Beatrice Carlson!
With the handsome boys Jubinav Pratinav and Shantanu Singh
 ...then it was up and off to Hot Sauce at the Museum Hotel for brunch, where there were a few pale faces.... Delicious though it was, it was all a bit loud and overwhelming for some of us, who sloped off to our usual haunt, Mac's Brewery, to debrief at a lower volume.

We also met up with young Australian designer Teddy McRitchie, whom I had only met on Facebook before he recognised me, desperately following my tongue to the bar at Mac's!! The starstruck young man met many heroes that day, from Susan Holmes, David Walker, Dylan Mulder, Kate MacKenzie, Jessica Thompson, Erica Gray, Lynn Christiansen, Vicky Robertson, Fifi Colston, Adam McAlavey, to new star Nika Danielska....!!
Dylan Mulder, Teddy McRitchie, Lynn Christiansen.
We stayed until everyone had gone, then headed home, and as we were about to head wearily into the lift, ran into fellow designer Loretta Sloan in the lobby, and so it was another few drinks.....
Sore-throat boy snored like a chainsaw all night, so very few zzzz's were to be had, and it was off to the chemist on the way to our lunch at Beach Babylon with Janet and Peter on their way to the airport. It was a very windy walk around to Oriental Bay, and the café was buzzing. After fare-welling the two, I was allowed to play on the beach amongst some rather lovely seaweed!

Our final day in Wellington dawned rainy, but we were getting picked up by Vicky Robertson to have a visit to her house, a brunch at iconic Café L'Affare, and a stop in at Fifi Colston's house on our way to the airport - a fabulous end to a wonderful week. Now I can picture these two so much better as we work and chat on-line!
We returned to a burst water line, which luckily was shut off by Jenelle on discovery on Saturday afternoon, as well as a half-defrosted freezer! In order to save things, I began cooking.... and cooking... I finished today with a well-earned beer in this glorious stubbie-holder created for me by fellow designer Jessica Thompson - get yours here at Out of My Mind Crochet! I absolutely adore it - thank you Jess! On that happy note - ciao for now!