Sunday 19 January 2014

WOW 2014 works in progress

With only two weeks left of my first summer holidays in years, I have made a lot of progress on my two entries for the World of WearableArt this year. Originally, I thought I might be able to do another trio as well, but as usual, the pieces have grown, and grown, and still require many more hours work. I know that I will have plenty on my plate at TAFE with four subjects and the amount of work they will generate, as well as the contact hours. Although I can't really show you the pieces as a whole, I have taken some close-up shots which will show you what I have been doing without giving too much away!
The first piece is again made with moulded leather. This time, I have used a few more techniques - a little tooling for some texture contrast, some knife cuts to make feathers, and a lot more painting. Jacquard Lumiere paints are just gorgeous on leather, and they are topped off with some two-tone Starburst Sprays. A little stencilling through sequin waste has created a nice sense of scaliness, and livened up some large areas of leather which were in danger of looking rather dull. Today has not been the most exciting day in the studio, with a lot of repetitive work happening,  but I am most pleased with the results!

Another process which has gone well has been the application of gold foil to the silk organza that I have dyed. ( I love organza - either silk or synthetic, it has nearly always been a part of my WOW entries!) I used a lino cut pattern (I think it I based the design on cell structures) and printed binder medium on the organza before ironing on gold foil.
 The wonderful thing about having worked with so many different materials over the years is that I now have a wonderful stash of techniques and materials to draw upon when required. All those years of researching and playing, investing time and money, it all starts to pay off in the end!
The other piece I am working on is inspired by the room full of bridal off-cuts that I can't bear to throw out! I am usually a bit of a fabric snob, preferring to use all new materials. The experience of working with scrap pieces has been an enjoyable challenge. (The fact that I am working with high-end silks, satins and french lace has also softened the blow!) What has probably been the most interesting part has been being directed by the shapes that are already cut into the materials. It's a most liberating experience, because you'd never cut these shapes into the many metres of fabric you had bought - it would all be planned.
The other benefit is the ability to go over-the-top in material usage - instead of trying to be economical, I am trying to use as much material as possible! What luxury!
To the left are some embellished shibori spikes in tulle, and to the right, some tulle wrapped wire with luscious lace pinned on - I have a lot of sewing to do!
I can't wait to see these pieces come together after once again, months of work and thought. With the way I work, there is a lot of time between conception of the idea and realisation. But what else would I do if I were not doing this?

Wednesday 8 January 2014

New Year in Tasmania

As this is supposed to be a textile blog, I will try and limit my references to cheese and wine consumed on this trip, but make no guarantees that the odd reference won't slip in... Our first afternoon was spent at Port Arthur, where aged beams with lichen caught my eye, as it also did on the brickwork of the buildings.
From here it was back to Hobart, stopping off at the famed Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck on the way.

This was a most enjoyable experience, with many photos taken of the amazing sea flora growing on these geometric rock formations. Also of great interest was the kelp wash up - and these suckers weigh quite a bit!!
 In Hobart we greatly enjoyed our stay at Hadleys Hotel, which had a number of these amazing chandeliers in the foyer and bar. The TASTE festival was on, which provided a lovely sense of atmosphere and constant tapas bar for us! One of our first day trips was out to Grandvewe where we enjoyed a cheese platter for breakfast, with some seriously good Manchego style cheese and pinot paste as a superior quince paste alternative - made from wine-making waste! We found conversing with the lambs quite hilarious - I think some may have been going through puberty as their voices were breaking! Baaa-aaaaaaaa!

Whilst in Hobart we of course had to go to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. It was an impressive building, reaching into the depths of the earth. Perhaps not the best environment for someone with claustrophobia issues... Not a fan of most modern art at the best of times, combine this with compressed spaces, dim lighting, lots of people and the sensory assault of many screens, audio tracks etc,  - I nearly had a panic attack! Really, does modern art have to be this nasty?!!
Leaving Hobart, we went through picturesque Richmond (main objective - cheese!) Success! Another cheese platter breakfast at Wicked Cheese! Om nom nom!! This is the life!! ( Apologies, gratuitous cheese reference!) After an enjoyable walk through the town in fabulous weather, we headed out towards the East Coast, towards Bicheno. Here we found a fabulous rocky coastline in freezing cold winds (people, it's January - why am I wearing two coats and earwarmers?!!) Loved the grasses - very New Zealand - and was captivated by the kelp beds once again.
We ended up in St Helens for the night, and drove out to Skeleton Point at the Bay of Fires. More rocks, more fabulous kelp! Lying on the coastline, moving softly and slightly creepily in the tidal wash, they looked like a magnificent bed of Triffids! The colours were amazing, and photographed really well with the kelp being glisteningly wet.

 We found a lovely spot to stay in St Helens, and I enjoyed a late evening walk along the mudflats, gathering windfall leaves to use in eco-dyeing/printing. It reminded me of being on biology field trips with father, tramping through mud and revelling in the glory of nature. Wish you were here, Dad. Here is my haul - I can't wait to try them out!
On our way from St Helens to Launceston, we stopped off at St Columba Falls, where we really enjoyed the magical forest walk to the falls. We also stopped off at - surprise! A cheddar cheesery! Pyengana cheesery. Grilled cheese on toast this time, finished off with a honey ice-cream in delicious waffle cone. Oh yeh.
We ended our journey in Launceston before wending our way home. I think I will remember Tasmania as a place of cheese and kelp, which looks like New Zealand. It was an action-packed week, and I have left a lot of it out here - but that's called editing.
Returning to real life, it's back to working on my  2014 entries for the World of WearableArt in 40 degrees Celcius plus! Yahooo!! I'm already quite excited, and well on the way with two outfits for sure - hoping for more. We'll see what my study schedule allows this year....
All the best for 2014 Folks!