Wednesday 24 June 2015

Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair

My flight to Sydney was uneventful, and I was most pleased to receive a polite welcome at the airport by the shuttle organisers. There was a little bit of a wait, and all the other hotel stops were before mine - but I enjoyed the cook's tour of Sydney I received, via The Rocks, King's Cross etc. It's a longer ride, but great when you're new to town! I was able to check into the Oaks Goldsborough straight away, and was extremely pleased with my apartment - I even had a bath!!
With the new exhibition centre under construction, I wasn't sure how to get to Darling Harbour - so close, and yet so far!! After a bit of a detour I asked some road workers, and soon found my way there. So many restaurants! Eventually, my basic needs led me to the beer and burger special at Toro, which did not disappoint. A very meaty patty, served with sauce and onion pickle on a brioche bun, accompanied by the most perfectly, fatty, fried chips I think I've ever had. Bliss! (I also saw real, live yuppies - the original kind from 1989, with moleskins and a sweater draped across the shoulders - wow!!) After getting in supplies, the afternoon was pretty much spent on the couch, digesting the burger, watching trash, and doing an art nouveau inspired sketch.  I didn't find the heating switch for several hours, and snuggled under a towel, before I figured it out, shortly before an unrequested delivery of a teapot...... and a blanket!
Tuesday I woke shortly after six, and was devastated to not find a coffee plunger! Whaaaat?? Surely that's standard?! I'll swap the teapot?! (I mentioned this to the Expertise Events folk, and they kindly lent me one for the duration. Thanks guys - it really helped!) 6:30 and it was still dark, so I left nearer to 7 for a walk, still with my Toro burger inside me! I walked across to Darling Harbour, past the Chinese Gardens, up through China Town, ending up in Hyde Park, and heading home via the Aquarium. I left home around 9:15, thinking to catch the 9:40. I hadn't realised that the ferries were only running limited times that morning - one was never going to show. Fortunately, I ran into Gary from Expertise Events down there, who soon realised he too was stranded! How fortunate that I ran into him! He called one of his staff, who came to pick us up and drive us to Glebe Island - what luck!!
My stand was right at the front doorway, and I got straight into it, although was held up by the fact that my table did not turn up till 3:30!! I left without quite finishing in order to catch the ferry back, and got to see this amazing double rainbow and this magnificent light on the city - magic! I was glad to get home, where I found my dishes had been done, and my bed had been made, with Shaun carefully placed in between the pillows - awww!! This absolutely made my day each night as I came home to find him like this throughout my stay.
How Shaun was left....
The Shaun I came home to....!
Wednesday there was no time for walking, as I needed to catch the 8:20 ferry to finish off my setup. I waited until 7 to go and get coffee - turned out Joe's opens at 6, and he makes brilliant coffee!! Wednesday was quite busy, although not so much for me. I had some very excited admirers - I think this was the day I met this lovely lady, who had come in 
especially to see me! She bought a magazine from my neighbour Can Do books which had an article on me in it, and she and her friend got me to sign it for her! I don't know which of us enjoyed this more!!
I caught the first ferry back after closing, straight into the bar Cyren for a happy hour mojito! I was on my way to find some noms when another ferry pulled in, from which I collected Kerrie Gurney, and we went to an Italian place to have goats cheese bruschetta. Goats cheese has never done this before, but I proceeded to have a ghastly night full of nightmares.
I was up at 6am and down to Joe's for
Winner of Art U Wear competition themed 
coffee and a quick walk around to find the Powerhouse, my plan for the following Tuesday. For once, everything is closer than it looks on the map!! I decided it was a 2 coffee morning and stopped back in at Joe's! I left around 8:15, and must have got the 8:30 ferry, but just missed the days' opening - oops! It was a busy day, and the Art U Wear competition was announced - hardly anyone was there to hear it, but at least the winner was! The theme was Iconic Australia, and young designer Bolor Amgalan did an amazing job of it with this intricate design, 'Surfing Kangaroo'. See more about the competition here - great cash prizes - well done Expertise Events for supporting Wearable Art!
On Friday, I enjoyed demonstrating leather moulding and tooling, which people always seem to find quite fascinating. I had limited paints with me, so decided to try the Gem metallic fabric paints from Dyed and Gone to
Heaven. I ended up buying another 5 over the weekend, as they are just gorgeous. The big downside to the day was Kerrie Gurney, fellow guest artist, having 6 card-making kits and the card sample for her mini workshop stolen off the table right behind her! We are both so trusting, it's something we would never expect to happen. In the evening Kerrie and I stopped at Cyren for happy hour after another big day, and watched the city turn to sparkles. There was a large Asian group there, and as I passed one man at the door he said Ni Hao, and I instinctively said it back! He then followed me back out to get a selfie!! Later on I was mobbed by a group of them, again in the doorway, with a selfie stick!!
Saturday night we missed the first ferry and didn't get to the harbour till nearly dark. We thought we'd go for a drink, but the bar was sectioned off for eating - all too hard - so we left, but not before I had taken a spectacular tumble down the front stairs, with zero drinks to blame!! I crashed straight down on to my knees, and although I could see and feel it all happening in slow motion, there was nothing Kerrie or I could do - owwww!! Luckily, hardly anyone saw this. I hope! I blame Kerrie - I have worn my giant boots for several years and all around New York, yet twice with her this week I have fallen over! I went home and spent the evening on the lounge with a can of coke between my knees!
By Sunday I was pretty exhausted, but the crowds remained steady, keeping me occupied right up until the end. I even sold my slate blue nuno felt wrap to a lovely lady - I was almost sad to see it go, but was thrilled to see it go to a good home. We did get a little stir crazy by the end, and I enjoyed
running around to make my silk flap like wings. Yes, it had been a long five days, alright?!..... I packed up in just over two hours, wondering at some stages if it all really did fit in there! Poor Isolda gets shoved in right at the end any which way as she is the last piece to go in and by then I am getting a bit impatient - I hope she survives this tour! I was so lucky to finish when I did, as I was able to get a lift back with Judy Newman, otherwise I would have had a long wait for a taxi. So I was a happy camper to be home by 7:30pm!
Monday dawned gloriously sunny, as I found out to my surprise when I ventured out for my coffee from Joe's Cafe Chino before I set off to see Sydney by foot. Over the Pyrmont Bridge, through town, through Hyde Park, up George St, and very soon happened upon The Rocks.  I enjoyed the three floors of the Billich gallery, an artist with a very dynamic style which seems to have elements of Cubism, Futurism and Art Deco. The resident cat was a magnificent beast, and wanted to run out the door with me, which I would have loved!!

Next I stumbled upon Craft NSW, and in it, Mr Jude Skeers! What a fabulous place this is, and I am SO jealous that NSW artists have this venue for their work. This is the shop I look for everywhere I go, the one full of quality, handmade, local items, and we certainly have nothing like it in Brisbane. There was some very lovely work there, but by now my tummy was grumbling, so it was time to find some noms. I perused many menus but found little to attract me, so ended up with a pub special of pulled lamb shoulder burger and a beer, in the sun, with a view of the bridge (my main requirement for lunch being sun on this chilly day!) It certainly hit the spot, and can I just say that Sydney sure knows how to do the fattiest, crunchiest, yummiest chips!! The seagulls sure think so!
I walked around Circular Quay to view the Opera House, which truly is a magnificent building,
before walking through the gardens (finding this fun Satyr on the way) to the NSW Art Gallery to visit some favourites, such as William Dobells' portrait of Margaret Olley. I also enjoyed the embroidery  installation in the foyer, which referenced the roles of women in China today, and had an audio-visual component. After a big day, I was happy to return to base for some bubbles and some feet up time!

My last day, and I woke early, dressed with eyes still closed, and went downstairs to get a coffee from Joe. By the time I had consumed that and woken up, it was still only 7, so I got dressed in my gym gear and set out for a walk, which turned out to have quite a lot of running in it. It was such a beautiful morning, I was out for over an hour and a half - through town, (where I saw this gorgeous theatre cafe) the gardens, back to the opera house and The Rocks, and back through the morning commute in town. Perfectly timed, it was home to finish off my eggs and pack, to check out 10am on the dot.
It was a short walk to the Powerhouse where I endured loud school children throughout - whatever happened to a bit of respectful quiet?!! Loud, obnoxious creatures - they made it difficult to hear some of the video presentations. Hmmm, must be getting old - I also found it difficult to see a lot of the exhibits in the dim lighting!! Loved this Victorian prosthetic arm!The jewellery exhibition A Fine Posession - Jewellery & Identity was lovely, with some really inspiring modern pieces made from interesting materials. I also really liked the video intro footage, with the scrollwork '&' character of the title used as a travelling dynamic line to cross and then adorne bodies in many forms, with powerful 'WOW'-like music.
The jewellery exhibition Included these hair decorations made from PET bottles, others made from sushi soy sauce bottles, as well as classical metal working techniques - love this beautiful choker, and this necklace made from metal dragonfly wings.

After around 3 hours I was starting to fade, but decided to skip the cafe there in order to escape the children. I went to what looked like an interesting pub across the road, but there were no interesting noms to be had. I had a local beer instead- The Hangman Pale Ale - as good as a meal!
And here I am - back home, unpacked, washing done, and ready to hit my studio! I'm so glad I left it tidy. So thanks Sydney, for a wonderful time - I really enjoyed it! Next stop - Launceston! See you there!

Sunday 14 June 2015

Round Two of the National Tour starts early tomorrow morning as I catch a flight to Syd-a-ney! It seems like ages since I was in Perth, and I am quite looking forward to exploring another city.  Oh, and working hard at the Craft & Quilt Fair! I have renewed my supplies of leather to play with, and packed some other time consuming projects - it's the perfect place to get these things done! Here is one of my little leather moths moulded from scraps in Perth - with a few feathers added for his body, and sitting on some eco-dyed paper.
One of the other tasks I will be doing is painting and trimming lace motifs for this special piece I am making. After about 5 or 6 toiles, I think I know what I am doing with it now - I would have like to have had it made so I could be placing the motifs at the show, but sadly did not quite make it that far.
Last Friday, we celebrated my sister's birthday, and Jacqueline created a beautiful monoprint on an envelope to wrap one of her gifts. We were all very impressed, and although I don't have a picture of that particular one, have one of another she has recently done - just beautiful! I love the complexity of not just making the unique print, but further working into it with pen and ink. This piece is very much my aesthetic - hmmmm, wonder where I get my creative mind from?
My gift was unusual in its presentation - as I brought up a plastic bucket, my dyeing pot made out of an oxygen cylinder (perfect for shibori poles!) and a towel, some strange looks were exchanged. I had made Kiri a felted and eco-dyed scarf, and although I could have unwrapped it, washed, dried it and re-wrapped it, I thought - why not sure the excitement of the original unwrapping, for surely this is more magical than anything, including the gift itself? (I have just received this photo from my sister, and commented to her that I look totally mad - she replied that that is the artist in me....) Okaaaay...
To finish off the weekend, I did a little ice dyeing on some rayon garments - these should be ready for me to take tomorrow!!
Hmm, I think it's bedtime for this Bunneh - big day tomorrow!