Sunday 28 April 2013

The Annual WOW shipment

Here it is folks - the original pink box off on her third trek to The World of WearableArt in New Zealand, with one happy designer on it! Yahooo! Good Luck, Hakuturi!!
 It's always good to see them go, and to start the next fresh project, especially after the drudgery of labelling each and every item and packing them! This year it contains three outfits made of leather, bound for the South Pacific Section - first time in that one! Already the house seems so much larger.......

When we brought the box out of storage, she looked a tad sad, and even though I should have been finalising the works themselves, I couldn't resist tarting her up a bit with some doily and lace stenciling! I'm so pleased with the result - I think she came up a treat!

Liam & Callum Pettigrew & myself
This Papua New Guinea National was a crowd sensation!
Last week was of course ANZAC Day, and with two young cadets in the house, it was off to the big parade in the city.

It was moving, as always, to see the old guys and gals marching along, some with assistance via friend, framework, or jeep, and I enjoyed making the more sombre-looking ones smile as they saw my hair and my big grin. Mind you, it was in my mind how much they had to look sombre about. I'm not sure it was pride - perhaps more a recognition of the sacrifices they made - that made me look so many of them in the eye and make them smile as I clapped, making a connection to acknowledge what they have been through. Of course, my grandfather, recipient of an MM, was at the fore of my mind...
As I said, it's time to move on to the next project, which is making an ensemble for Nan Bray of Whitegum Wool. I'll be sending my Nuno Felted Bridal Party, but want to make her something new and special out of the lovely Superfine Merino she sent me last time. These will be paraded at the Campbell Town Show.

I'll be working on this during my week of solitude at the Sunshine Coast  - a much needed opportunity to de-frag!! Seeing as I just can't NOT do things at home, I need to escape even that lovely oasis to let myself truly relax. I have almost finished moving into my new purpose-built studio, and I'll be sad to leave this new toy for the week! It will be featured in a blog soon - I have to get my industrial machines serviced before they grace the studio with their presence. Here it is about a week ago - already it has been completely transformed, and now almost everything is in there!!

So it's me, the coffee machine, my sketchbooks, and the makings of Japanese Slippers, off to the coast for some quiet beach time and soul searching. See you on my return!

Sunday 14 April 2013

Fibres Ballarat – a class in sculptural felt experimentation with Marjolein Dallinga – an annual SvenJen adventure

Thursday April 6 dawned with much excitement as I stuffed the last thing I could fit into my suitcase. 
I can fit another shoe!!!!
Thank you for flying Bunway Airlines!! Your pilots are Bunnehs Jenelle & Svenja...
On with the bunneh ears! Bunway airlines was ready for takeoff to Melbz!!
 On arrival, we went exploring Melbz, and discovered a few interesting things. Firstly, this amazing sculpture made out of plastic bottles at the rear of a building near Chinatown. 

Covered in Beeeez!!!
Later, this building covered in gold bees - fantastic! 
Liquid relief was found at the Ludlow Bar at Southbank, where a rather appropriate ‘White Rabbit’ ale was sampled. 
Mmmm, White Rabbit!!

Shortly afterwards, there were cries of ‘Bring the Noms’ from some hungry (not quite hangry!) bunnehs. We selected eggplant chips with yoghurt dip, expecting thin oven baked crisps, but received deep fried creamy wedges of crumbed eggplant! Delicious, but not quite on the approved food list!! Strolling home, we witnessed Elmo playing the trumpet, and then Cookie Monster playing the bagpipes! 
Early to rise, the streets of Melbz were dark and quiet as the bunnehs emerged from the burrow to set off for their morning exercise. Coffee was found at a lovely little cafĂ© called Stalactite, then it was onwards and upwards to the cemetery for a run around the sleeping folk. 


Breakfast noms were taken at Seasons Providore in Lygon Street, where I had possibly the best scrambled eggs ever! Not to mention good coffee, AND lovely service! I think our waiter was fresh blood, as yet untainted by the misery of serving and ungrateful general public....
The rest of Friday was spent at the Queen Victoria Markets, where we very much enjoyed the shopping. Tired out, we headed home with some sushi for afternoon noms and a much needed rest. For the evening, we headed back out to SouthBank, but being a Friday night, it was too busy too accommodate us, so we ended walking back to the Hairy Little Sister, right opposite our hotel! Here I indulged in a ‘Passionate Kiss’ cocktail, to celebrate the news received earlier that morning that my entry had been accepted for the 25th World of WearableArt show.
Saturday dawned early for me, as I soon realised that my sensitive tummy had been disturbed by something. Four hours and inumerous trips to the bathroom later, Jenelle packed us up, checked us out, and escorted me to the local GP. After a short wait in a room, the Dr arrived just as I was giving a demonstration of what was wrong with me. Jenelle and I have now shared so much……
Sick Bunneh!
 Having had my shot of Maxalon, it was off to Southern Cross Station to catch the train to Ballarat. I never could have managed this day without Miss Jenelle. We arrived at Ballarat Grammar and checked in straight away. Imagine our horror when we had to pick up our bedding and cart it as well as our suitcases across the gravel to our rooms! Me because I was so ill, Miss Jenelle because she is used to staying at the Hilton, not making your own bed at a boarding school!!
I’m afraid I made my bed and crawled into it, leaving Jenelle to walk into town and collect our supplies needed for the week, like pillows and bubblewrap. Again, couldn’t have done it without her. I surfaced for dinner which was hardly worth it – a hideous ‘ravioli’ in true boarding school style. Not impressed.

I awoke the next morning feeling much closer to human to find this delightful note popped under my door from my ‘kompanyun bunneh’! 
I had also received a lovely note in my room the day before from its usual occupant, welcoming me to her room and giving some handy hints. It was a lovely touch.
Hi Nadia - loved your room!
Breakfast was disappointing – no eggs, no porridge – no protein!! Bunnehs grumbled their way to class, where J Bunneh was further disgusted to find that talking was out, and that we would be ‘Tasting the Silence’! Of the three categories of people that attend these events – those looking to grow artistically, those there for therapy, and those wanting to just have fun – she was the latter, whilst I was all three, and felt kind of blissed out with Marjoleins’ rather spiritual approach. Her restful voice and musical accent resonated in my head all week, and I found myself even thinking in her delightful speech patterns!

J Bunneh losing her s#$t.....!!

The first day was a rather hard slog of layouts, and I was glad to get moving again with a walk around the lake after class. The lake has a circumference of 6 kilometres, and has a beautiful wetland area and parkland named ‘fairyland’. We were amazed at the amount of water birds, many of which looked related to the NZ Pukeko.
There were very small ones there with lovely velvety looking heads that I suggested could possibly be strapped to my head as earwarmers on one cold morning. Instead, I wore an ever changing array of head attire, ranging from a jacket wrapped around it, a large pink silk turban, to a small purple top…….

An acorn!

Each morning started with a walk or run around the lake, after a surprisingly good macchiato from McDonalds, followed by another caffeine boost on the return trip. The crisp mornings and the beautiful tree lined streets were lovely, as were some rather run down old buildings complete with lichen which I fantasized about having a     lakeside studio in!

Having confirmed that neither eggs nor oats would ever be produced at breakfast, we would pick up bread from the dining room on our return, and boil up eggs in the common room each morning, with many a jealous glance from our housemates!

One lovely thing about the event were these delightful book sculptures which popped up all over the place, and moved during the week. Often found outside doorways, their simple yet striking forms would be in a different formation every time I saw them, as if they were like hermit crabs, slowly moving their shells in slow yet systematic dance....

During the class, we explored the use of resists to create sculptural works. I was familiar with the concept, having used them to make hats, but I certainly learned a lot about how to extend their use by layering. I learned how to make neater seams, and many different ways of doing things, from wetting down the wool to massaging the felt through the bubblewrap between rolls and patting it down to further assist felting. I also learned to keep going until the felt was really hard, and had shrunk a lot!

Stage 2 -  stitching on prefelt

Stage 1 - prefelt

Stage 3 - Sea Urchins!

I quite enjoyed Marjoleins’ method of teaching - she didn’t show us how to do exactly what she does, but she taught us to think our way down the same path. We were working blind in the most part, not knowing what we were making at all, and I understand this was because explanation would no doubt have led to mass confusion, however, it would have been nice to have a visual idea of where we were going.
Before we knew it, it was the end of the week, and it was time to dress up in our matching glitter lycra frocks, which stimulated a round of applause as we entered the dining room!

Pink & Purple Bunnehs!!
The tables were charmingly decorated, and everyone scrubbed up to a very different version of what we had seen during the week! 

Dinner itself however, was unspeakably bad, being a choice by the time we made it to the kitchen of veal, veal or veal, which was a hideous concoction of some kind of processed meat in no way resembling veal, with a different kind of ‘meat’ placed on top, with cheese, and covered in breadcrumbs. Thank goodness for roast vegies!

After this, it was time to see the results of all the weeks’ classes in a display showcasing all. There were some lovely examples, and this one from Ann Small of the UK displayed the concepts behind her workshop Stack, Stitch, Slash and Show. 

There were some less spectacular ones too – like ours!!


However, hideous as some of our samples may be, it’s all about the concepts that they represent, and the journey of discovery that we took to explore them. Yes, Jenelle – the Journey!! Thanks for sharing it with me, and for looking after me when I was incapable of pretty much anything. 

Tired Bunnehs board Bunway airlines for the last leg in this adventure.We’ll do it all again (well, maybe not all!) in next years’ SvenJen adventure #3!!