Tuesday 27 August 2013

Ombré dyeing

This is a wee process I have had to play with for my folder of textile processes for college. It's something I've always wanted to do, and I consider the results of today to be quite successful!
 Thanks to some great instructions from Dharma Trading Company, it was pretty simple. I went with the option of  leaving the top of the silk scarf white, and doing the lightest dye first. I used a pool noodle to suspend the fabric as I was able to easily pin the scarf to it. I was also able to pin a stocking to each end and vary the height of suspension from the roof as I dyed each layer.
 There was a little uneveness in some layers where I should have moved the fabric around more in the pot, but overall I'm calling this a win.
 Below is a nuno felted dress I made last week, encorporating the Wendy Makin lace scraps, some techniques from last years workshop with Vilte, and techniques from the recent Pam de Groot workshop. Well, largely, I remembered something Pam said at the end of the felting process that would have really helped, but at least I had the thought at all! I plan to use a ribbon to gather and tie the high halter neck. With the large wrap I recently made with the same materials, I think it would make a lovely bridal outfit! Perhaps I'll revive my poor neglected Etsy shop and put it in there!

Monday 26 August 2013

Another week, another weekend, and hurtling through another week again! It has been a weekend of treasures. From picking up some marvelous screens on behalf of my mother, at a most beautiful apartment at Wellington Point (wish I had taken my camera - the most beautiful outlook onto a gorgeous cove, a divine terraced garden leading down onto a mangroved beach with gentle lapping waves - a kind of Paradise!) to scoring an amazing drafting table from my next door neighbour (I have always wanted one - great for the fashion sketching now!), it was a most successful few days. In a way. It was, however, not one of my better weekends of personal achievement! I had a lot of tasks to do, including preparing a lot of assessment work for TAFE, of which I did NOT do! Instead, I helped Maman with the aforementioned tasks, then spent the afternoon chilling with Jenelle aka Janine, when we decided it would be an awesome idea to go to the FibreArts Australia Winter Felt School in Ballarat in July next year - brrrrr!! Check out the link for some great available workshops! Yes, it's going to be a lot of hard work, in possibly below 0 temperatures- felting workshops are always pretty hardcore - couldn't we just do some dyeing?!! But we are going to be making fabulous garments with Tatiana Shervada, nuno felting with jersey, and using shibori techniques! Delicious, no?!!
This time I hope to be an actual travel companion for 'Janine' (and I'm Sonya - we are both victims of name buggerisation!), not one passed out and in danger of throwing up at any minute (see last years blog!!)! 
Saturday I enjoyed an impromptu deck party with  Jenelle and Sarah, then spent an enjoyable evening on my own, ending up watching RAGE until 3am! This meant I slept in until after 11am on Sunday- OMG, unHEARD of!! However, the weekend has been an emotional turning point for me as I finally admitted to myself that I had been made a fool of by someone I had thought was genuine and real. I let my passion for art be manipulated. This realisation has taken some time to come to terms with, because I think I am a reasonably naive and trusting person who believes the best of others. More fool me. I always want to believe the best. Back to the cave – it’s just not safe to come out into this world.
So, my emotions have copped something of a beating, but are sustained and revived by the unending faith and devotion of Matt, the amazing rock of my life. His support is all I need to succeed in this life. And I will.

Sunday 11 August 2013

2 galleries and a quiet weekend

It has been a beautiful weekend in Brisbane - blue skies and warm weather. After the usual domestic duties on Saturday morning, we spent the afternoon at Gallery 159 for the opening of a beautiful exhibition by artist and art educator Patena Moesker. I enjoyed her opening speech, during which she showed the audience the tools she uses to create her work - a lovely touch, I thought.
Abstracts from the Negative: This exhibition focuses on the negative and positive spaces found within the environment which can be used as a design source. Batik with stitch is the medium, combining wax with natural and synthetic dyes.

Janet and Patena
The opening was combined with barman Peter Wojciechowski's birthday celebrations. As I admitted to him at the time, life isn't fair, as Janet got a present instead of him! I presented her with my 'Hedonista' hat above, as a thankyou for opening StudioSvenja. It was a most enjoyable afternoon, and a chance to catch up with some of my favourite ladies who were unable to make it to the StudioSvenja opening, such as Phillipa Rooke and Cathy Moon.
Sunday morning it was off to the Caboolture markets, then on to see the QLD Spinners and Weavers exhibition at the Bribie Arts Centre. 


Look - it's a Lili Haas spectacular of eco-dyeing - just beautiful work! The camera does not do the wonderful colours justice.
I thought this piece was beautifully striking.
A lovely piece by Wendy Bailye

The Bribie Island artspace is amazing - I wish we had something like this in our neighbourhood. Sometimes I get a bit jealous about the funding that regional areas get - I live very close to the city but feel distinctly disadvantaged when it comes to these things!
My own artistic endeavours only went as far as tidying the studio, doing a bit of leather moulding, preparing my portfolio for my design subject at TAFE, some fashion sketching practice and some work on my dress from Pam de Groots' workshop.
'twas a blissfully relaxed weekend.

Friday 9 August 2013

Hakaturi World of WearableArt™ Media Release

Beyon Chrysalis

Local textile artist Svenja, of Hawthorne, is one of eight Australian designers to be selected for this year’s prestigious Brancott Estate World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Awards Show in Wellington, New Zealand. Her entry Hakaturi is entered in the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
The WOW Awards competition this year is extra-special because it marks WOW’s 25th anniversary. The proportion of entries from around the world and from within New Zealand has almost reached a perfect half-and-half, with 45 per cent having come from 15 countries around the globe. Of 370 entries, 220 were pre-selected, with the final number of entries reduced in a second round of judging to 160. These garments will compete for 39 prizes, over seven different categories, and a share of $165,000 in prize money.
This is Svenja’s fifth year as a finalist, and marks the first time she has created a three piece entry. The bodices, headpieces and staffs of Hakaturi have been moulded in leather, then dyed and painted. This is also the first time the designer has worked with the material, and she describes the process as “absolutely fascinating. I played with cutting out flat shapes from leather, wetting them and moulding them, and it’s just extraordinary what you can do!”
Euphony Iridacaea
Her first entry, Beyond Chyrsalis,  was accepted in the 2008 Avant Garde section, won the Supreme Award at Fashion Fantasia held in Hobart, Tasmania in 2009, and was purchased for their collection. BioLumina won International Runner Up at the 2010 World of WearableArt, was bought by the WoW Trust for the collection, and was featured on Air New Zealand advertising campaigns throughout New Zealand and within the airline, as well as being used as the ‘hero’ design on all street banners and venue decoration in 2012. Her 2011 entry, Fimbria Figura, was on display throughout the 2012 show season at the Intercontinental Hotel, Wellington.
Fimbria Figura
Euphony Iridacaea was a finalist last year in the Visual Symphony Gen-I Creative Excellence section for 2012, which had music composed especially to highlight the sound-making garments. This entry conjured up a vision of delicate iris petals morphed with a gilded harp to become a Musical Iris Goddess -  part gleaming, metallic, musical creature and part ethereal, exotic flower. Fibreglass petals were moulded, textured, painted, gilded, and strung with music wire, with four separate petals available to be played by picking or strumming.
The WOW® Show season opens on Thursday, September 26 and the winners are announced at the Awards Night on Friday, September 27.
Where:    TSB Bank Arena, Wellington New Zealand
When:     26th September – 6th October 2013

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Tuesday 6 August 2013

StudioSvenja Opening!!

On the 27th July, the wonderful Janet de Boer O.A.M cut the pink ribbon across my studio door to officially open it. She arrived in style in the 1941 Buick 'Wendy-Jo', driven by Matt.

Matt the chauffeur with Janet
I am very grateful to her, and to all those who came to celebrate, but particularly to my dear Matt for building the beast! Here are a few progress shots from along the way....
The beginning! This was where I used to hang the washing!

I would also like to thank the magnificent Callum and Liam Pettigrew for their bar tending services on the night, and my mother Jacqueline for womaning the kitchen on the night, and geez, for putting up with me all these years!
Schweppervescence? A particularly good year, my fellow!!
Me, very excited, Lyn Baxter, Sharyn Hall and Jacqueline.

With sister Kiri and Mr Max, and Trish, the lovely lady who has freed me from the office! Myself and Janet de Boer O.A.M enjoying drinks on the back deck.
Janet sees the revamped wet studio and loves it!
Talking to Chris Twine and Robyn Smallhorn, my fabulous TAFE teachers.

Not the most glamorous of entrances, but beyond......
The wet studio decorated for the night
Enjoying catching up with Sharyn Hall

It was a hugely enjoyable night, and a wonderful start to this new era in my life. Thank you all for helping me celebrate.

Monday 5 August 2013

Freedom Construction - creating a felted and eco dyed dress with Pam de Groot

What an amazing four days!It's always a pleasure to drive out to the lovely Samford Valley to Wendy Bailye's studio. You can feel everything else get left behind as you take time out to just be. After a relaxed start chilling on the couch outside, it was straight to work, and we spent the first day making 5 metres of prefelt on tissue silk.

Cutting into the prefelt!
The final corner!!
The layout
The pattern piece
These two pieces were sewed together to create large metreage, which on Day 2 we placed our bodice templates on, ready to cut! This was no normal pattern - just the bodice (on opposite sides!) and then wooooah!! Crazy swirling shapes and a hole to boot! You can see how impressed I was at having to cut into my massive piece of prefelt! But I was here to trust and learn!

From here we stitched the
sides together, then hung our ghostly pieces up from dowels to start adding offcuts and other pieces of fabric.
At times this had to be done from inside the dress.....!!

Pams' Freedom Construction' technique is related to Julian Roberts' "unconventional garment pattern cutting method  called Subtraction Cutting. It is an approach to garment pattern making that incorporates chance discovery, distance, gods-eye views, and the ability to cut fast and inaccurately without too much reference to numbers, fractions or mathematics.The basic premise of Subtraction Cutting is designing with patterns, rather than creating patterns for designs. The name derives from the fact that you reduce space to increase outward shape." I was aware of this method, but just looking at it blew my mind, and I think starting to play with it in the incredibly forgiving medium of felt was a great way to begin.

Oh Wendy!!
Day 3 was another early start to catch up - Wendy kindly allowed us to let ourselves into the studio whenever we arrived to start work, and both she and Pam were out soon after! The morning was taken up with sewing (and caramel tarts!) and the afternoon was the felting of the beast.
Maggies' lovely lumps!
This was when I started to lose my s%#t!! I could not comprehend how to deal with all the areas that needed resists - surely this thing was all going to felt together?!! Honestly, it just did my head in! There were strange pockets of felt and so much silk to deal with! Determined not to fall behind, I pressed on, at some stage telling Pam that I didn't think I liked her any more!! Desperate to finish, I gave no thought to any embellishment, unlike Maggie who managed to put some lovely bumps in hers - jealous!!
This strange beast is what I brought home on Saturday evening - an oddity in felt and silk! I was gratified though that Matt seemed to see the work, and the potential in this creation. I was very glad he could see it before dyeing!
Day 4 was dyeing day! Pam inspired and amazed us with her wonderful samples of natural dyes and eco prints. Eager to begin, we  soon found it harder than it seemed, as we laid out mountains of leaves, petals and onion skins on our dresses and folded them in on themselves.

Strawberry leaf print !
For me, it was into the onion skin dyepot for four hours. To entertain us whilst we waited, Pam put on several pressure cookers for us to do some quick samples in.  After lunch we chillaxed for a bit - until we got to see the results of these sample pots! I was thrilled to see the result on my sample piece of milky merino - look - a butterfly!! After the excitement of all this, we were galvanised into action, and quickly bundled up some more samples!

The chrysalis
Unfurling in process!
Then it was time for the big reveal - and I had quite a chrysalis to unfurl! Steaming, burning hot- it did not deter me! At one stage Pam advised that it might be good to be a bit methodical in unwrapping for identification purposes. Having no idea what I'd put in, this did not not inspire me to slow down at all! And here was my reward.....
 It was like Christmas as each parcel was unwrapped, and those that had put their bundles in the dyepot later than others felt like the kid without the present as they waited for their turn! Although not participating in the workshop, Wendy was thrilled to pop some samples in the dyepots, and here she is revealing the results of the onion dyebath on some silk to Pam.
Wendy and Pam
Wendy's sample

Rhonda's fabulous dress
My dress and samples

 Here is my dress, unironed and just pinned together to give you an idea of where it might be headed. There's a bustle to be sewn at the back, and I need to shape the long pocket shape into an interesting shape on the front right hip. The camera really does not do the colours justice!

I worked my butt off, I had a great time, I learnt a great deal and met a fabulous lady - 4 days well spent! Honoured to be in the first group to do this particular wokshop, from creating the felted dress to dyeing it! Thank you Pam for a wonderful journey.