Thursday, 20 October 2011

Geelong Forum and Melbourne, September 2011

Already it seems a lifetime ago! A week spent at Geelong Grammar School on Corio Bay, classes every day, design presentations by fantastic artists each morning, slide presentations each afternoon, plus exhibition openings and merriment opportunities! Not quite the relaxing sojourn I had envisioned, but an inspirational, enjoyable and memorable time. The school grounds were amazing – something from another world, perhaps related to Hogwarts – at least the dining hall was!

TAFTA Fibre Forums have been happening for many years, and amazingly, this was my very first one! I chose to enrol in the inaugural Design Focus group – 5 of the classes offered were part of this special programme with its emphasis on design aspects of our work, not the practical aspects of making.  Each morning we were enthralled (whilst coming to terms with the day sipping on our coffees!) with presentations from Wendy Lugg, Tony Dyer, Helen O’Hare, Akira Blount, and my brand new hero, Lissa Hunter.  Something about her work really struck me – I’d seen it before, but didn’t really relate to it – suddenly, I ‘got it’, and was moved, and in awe and incredibly inspired. Akira’s presentation was also notably impressive – initially unimpressed by her title of ‘dollmaker’, I was astounded by her fabulous sculptural works. Definitely not matching the picture of ‘dolls’ in my head!
The exhibition of Jiyoung Chung’s Joomchi  exhibition on site was another inspiration – see the work of this charming artist here:  Joomchi is a traditional Korean form of papermaking with similarities to felt-making –several layers of mulberry fibre paper are combined by agitating them for hours by hand – a true labour of love resulting in some very beautiful and surprisingly strong paper pieces.
Of course, some evenings ended up in far too much wine being drunk, leading to scenes like this in the common rooms….  It was here that Martien attempted to remove my last eyelash extension, and succeeded in removing a large chunk of my own lashes, which I miss daily. The morning after this one was tough.

I also met some great ladies in my class – Pam Hovel who is a wonderful felt maker creating beautifully fine felt garments dyed with plant material – see her website here RawEdge Textiles

I greatly enjoyed mad times with Meryl, a first-time felter who adapted to the class beautifully, bringing her many artistic talents into play. Our class was housed in a biology classroom, and in the corner we discovered a large jar of whale eyeballs, inspiring Meryl to make her own felted ones. Much hilarity ensued. Thanks for keeping me'sane', Meryl.
Many thanks also to Meryl for being a model for me in the final evening fashion parade. I had brought down many of my garments from Morphology II to showcase at the Friday night party, and to have a stall at the Heathen Bazaar in the morning.  Here I sold one of the two devore velvet dusters made for Morphology II to a New Zealand participant. It’s very fitting that it is going to NZ, as the bracket fungi design I made for the devoré  pattern came from a photo of an amazing growth of bracket fungi in my Aunt’s garden in Tauranga!

After the Heathen Bazaar it was back to Melbourne to reunite with my true love, who indeed lived up to this title by having already stocked the room fridge with bubbles and wine. What can I say, the man knows me.  Having quenched our initial thirst, we headed out into the city, where we ended up in Hell, an upstairs alley bar where they made a good Moscow Mule and had some seriously good nibbles for not much dosh. Never managed to find it again though……
Another highlight was rum out of a jam jar on a bridge pylon in the Yarra, as we discussed our future and had arguments for nothing over the WoW design...note the pen and paper for 'visual discussions'.....

Our 3 days in Melbourne involved a lot of walking – through Collingwood, Fitzroy, Prahran,  and a lost afternoon/evening in St Kilda, where we made new friends, danced to techno music (go Matt!!), lost my wallet, and found it again. The thing we noticed about Melbourne shops is that they really go to town with their names, and we found one we particularly loved…..
After a week and a half of catching up on everything I didn’t do, it is great to be back in my life, and working hard on the next WOW creation. Update on that and other recent events soon.

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