Saturday 17 September 2011

Brazing, pop riveting - awesome times!!!

I have had just the best time today! Dearest darling boi let me loose in HIS workshop, and I had so much fun! To start with, there were some empassioned moments, as I tried so hard to explain what I was actually trying to do, and cursed my inability to draw in 3D. Later, there were moments of understanding, as I finally realised the engineering principles Matt had been trying to explain to me. I'm a visual learner; unfortunately I have to see it to understand it. 3 hours were spent riveting a framework together out of steel strapping, before I understood the design and weight were not going to work. But what the hey, I have learnt new skills and understand more. (I am almost embarrased at how long it took me to understand which way to put the rivet in - I just couldn't get it! Luckily, they are also really easy to drill out.)Then came the second framework in steel plate and wire - and this is where I got to braze! Awesome fire stuff and melting metal!!! Bear with me engineers, I normally just sew and paint. Can I also add that in between supervising me, Matt was overhauling my Dad's old bandsaw, ready for me to cut some steel sheet for the back and shoulder piece. New rubbers, new blade, and wow - thanks for making the stop button work hon - think that will be mighty handy!! To make things even better, it was the hottest day in ages - 31 degrees. Bring it on! Makes my beer feel even more well deserved! I am tired, sore, and oh so happy, and I hope tomorrow I get to play with fibreglass! Thanks for letting me play in your space Matt, errr...... get used to it!!!!

Friday 16 September 2011

TAFTA Forum in Geelong

Just over a week and I will be off to Melbourne for a week of felting at the Geelong Forum! I am really looking foward to this, as I have never been to a Forum before, and it is a long time since I have done any week-long workshop. I know it's going to be great to be immersed in such a creative environment, and I'm aso looking forward to wandering around and seeing what the other classes are doing! I will be taking a class with Irish felt maker Helen O'Hare, with a special Design Focus element to it. There will also be lots of fun stuff, including an end of week Fashion Parade on the Friday night, and Heathen Bazaar on Saturday, so I will be taking lots of my work down for this.
Boas and scarves

Packing and pricing of works currently in progress - always a big
job! This is why nothing is up on Etsy yet - I thought I'd best wait until this event was over. StudioSvenja should be stocked up in early October after my return from Melbourne. It has to be done by December, as the fabulous girls at ArtWear Publications Embellish Magazine are doing a profile piece on me, and I have listed this blog site and my Etsy shop in it! So, no pressure then......
The other thing looming large on the horizon is my 2012 WOW entry. Due in April next year, I have a good amount of time, but my design this time is pretty complex, and again takes me outside the realm of my textile skills - something I swore I would never do again after BioLumina! I'm not sure whether I have really gone nuts this time and have set myself an impossible task, or whether it's a brilliant idea that I really can do. Well, we'll find out, 'cause I'm going to try any way!

Tuesday 6 September 2011

The Brancott Estate World of WearableArt 2011

Cliché as it is – WOW!! My third year as a viewer and as a participant, and it was the best show ever! I was certainly glad I got to see it twice, there was just so much going on. Every year the quality of the work and the show itself just gets more and more impressive. In 2008, my first year, I was gutted not have received an award, in 2010 I was elated to get my moment of glory, but this year, I can honestly say that I felt I had achieved just by being in it. I used to hear people say that and secretly thought ‘you’re just saying that, you can’t really mean that’, but now I understand!!
The WOW week has now become a time of reflection for me – each year it is the culmination of many months work, and a week away from everyday life, then a crash back to reality. It seems the perfect to time to reflect upon my work; what I have achieved, what I want to achieve, where to next? It’s both an exciting and a relaxing process, as I consider my art practice and question myself on its future. The only sure thing is that I am already working on next years entry!
Licorice outfit
So, a brief run through of the week: arrived late on Monday evening, woke late on Tuesday and headed down to my usual coffee window on the corner for a fix. Weather gorgeous, as indeed it was all week. Spent the day walking around the town, ending up for lunch at our favourite French restaurant in Cuba Street, Le Metropolitain. Was a bit disappointed that Wellington hadn’t really dressed up much for WoW – there weren’t many signs or shop windows decorated as usual – but these did turn up later in the week, including a fabulous outfit made out of licorice, one out of dried fruit, another out of white chocolate. Yum!

Wednesday was Dress Rehearsal day – I went to pick up the tickets and was thrilled to find a picture of last years entry BioLumina in the new book of wearable art ‘Off the Wall’!! The programme was still unavailable – kept tightly under wraps until 5:30pm! I raced down then to get it and digested it over some lovely Passionfruit Cosmopolitans at One Red Dog (affectionately known to me as the Dead Dog). On seeing the 28 or so entries in my section, Under the Microscope, I didn’t feel at all confident! One thing I noticed after seeing the show was that it is incredibly hard for photos to do justice to the works. It was an amazing show, and it was wonderful to see Fimbria Figura looking lovely up on stage! Everything was beautifully choreographed and stage, and the ballet and opera just blew us away!
Lunch at Zealandia
Thursday was International Designers Day, where those artists who have travelled to see the show are shown around by Wellington City Hosts  Lauren Fantham, Kowhai Montgomery, and  International Designer ‘Wrangler’ from WOW, Esmé Palliser. It was great to see familiar faces there, and meet those I have been communicating online with, like Norelle Kendrick (NZ) and Sadhana Peterson (Aus). During our backstage tour it was also lovely to reunite with Heather Palmer (WOW Manager) and Ingrid Peek, our beloved Wardrobe Mistress!!
Lovely Lichen at Zealandi
 We had a lovely lunch at Zealandia, where we also enjoyed seeing some of NZ’s rare birds, then in the evening were hosted by the Mayor of Wellington at a cocktail function in a spectacular new building on the wharf down near Te Papa. Here it was great to get to speak with Suzie Moncrieff, creator of WOW, and her sister Heather Palmer, who manages it, as well as catch up with many other artists. We were also treated to some previous entries walking amongst us, one by this years Supreme Winner Mary Wing To, and last years’ International Winner by Christine White and Bonnie Begg of Australia. It’s just such a superb creation, I will never tire of looking at it! After this, we trotted back up to Le Metropolitain for jazz, and more food and wine that we didn’t really need! I indulged in some spectacular stinky cheese for dinner!

Friday morning and my eyeballs were out on stalks, I was so tired! I was devastated to have accidentally set the alarm clock for 6:30 am……..  Off out again, this time to the Australian Embassy for Breakfast with the Deputy High Commissioner Amanda Gorley, who hosted us the previous year. Here it was good to mingle with the other Oz designers, and I met Sharon Baccus, who had entered a fabulous work in my section.  After a relaxing day, I managed to have a nanna nap before getting ready for the big night, with some bubbles, of course! I joined Janet De Boer, Susan Holmes, Bonnie Begg, Christine White and their students for a cocktail at the Intercontinental before heading over to the TSB Bank Arena for WOW 2011.
Ecdysis, Bonnie Begg & Christine White 2010
With Bonnie Begg, Susan Holmes and Janet De Boer

TSB Bank Arena pre-show
It’s always interesting to see it from another angle, although I think our seats at the front for dress rehearsal were probably the best!! After the Awards Ceremony, it was back to the Intercontinental for the post show function, where I met some great people, including a stockbroker who had made an entry for the first time! After managing to say a quick thank you to Ingrid, my fabulous shooz said it was time to head home, where upon removal of shooz (in the lift) I discovered some purple toes….ouch!!! So worth it
With Norelle Kendrick on The Night!

Saturday morning – media breakfast at the Oh So Lovely Museum Hotel, this year at the much more civilised time of 9am! It was good to again catch up with Julie Brawley, designer of  winning Man Unleashed entry, and last years Supreme Winners, Manas Barve and Yogesh Chaudhary, amongst others. Then over to Te Papa for the Judges Forum, which is always interesting, and I do feel I once again picked up some good advice.  After final goodbyes, it was over to Mac’s Brewery for the afternoon for their fantastic Great White cloudy beer, and fish and chips. Although I never managed to score my table in the sun, I was comforted by Janet De Boer and cohort Peter arriving with a bottle of Mumm to share on the wharf – just the ticket!! More cheese for dinner in our room and an early, early night!
Fantastic student creation from weed matting
in Te Papa store window
Beautiful coloured water and major mussel growth in the harbour

CHHHEEEEEEEESE!!!! And that was only half the table!!
Beautiful unpasturised French Cheese!
Sunday I headed out for a coffee on the wharf (it came with a jaffa!!) and discovered a lovely farmers market with such delights as smoked garlic (!!!) French patisserie and bananas for $1.99! I also enjoyed watching the fishermen in their boat tied to the dock filleting and selling their fish, for what looked like the most amazingly cheap prices! After a walk out along Oriental Bay, we picked up some delicious cheeses, blue cheese and walnut bread, and some venison salami for lunch with the rest of our wine in our room. Whilst waiting in the foyer I got chatting with some ladies who had been to see the show, and I ended up signing my page in an ‘Off the Wall’ book – thanks for making me feel like a celebrity!!
So that’s my WOW 2011, thank you to the WOW team who make this amazing creation happen, without which we would have no reason to make the things we do.  As an International Designer, I also really appreciate the way we are welcomed and made to feel so special. I hope to do it all again in 2012! I am already well in to designing something very different – 7 months to go, I believe?!!
Fimbria Figura - Model: Magdalene Bufalino, Photo Paul Hagger

Fimbria Figura Detail

Fimbria Figura - Under The Microscope Section