Wednesday 26 October 2016

Svestival continues in Melbz

Fifth Province / Second Home
The unwanted large birthday continued to disguise itself in other activities as we headed to Melbourne for a weekend of art exhibitions. One was particularly meaningful - that of Annemieke Mein, whose work has constantly inspired me since I first saw it. More on that soon....
We arrived to some pretty miserable weather, but found refuge in an Irish pub just a block from our apartment, as we waited for it to be ready. We were to return here a few times, as it was right beside the tram stop to the city, full of friendly Irish people, and as I said, a block from home. We settled in to our very handy abode before heading down Ackland Street, enjoying some amazing old buildings along the way, enjoying the crazy vagrants (many shouting, and some with large sticks) and the rain somewhat less.
Kirra Gallery
Buttons and mushroom
We  met up with fellow WOW folk, Phillipa and Mark Stitchbury-Cooper for dinner and a diagnosis of this years WOW show, as we never managed to catch up with them afterwards in Wellington. It's always good to talk WOW!
Federation Square Atrium
Arintji lunch
The next morning dawned with some charming wind and driving rain. We
wandered down to the markets anyway, but ended up catching a tram into town for a wander around, stumbling into some lovely markets inside the atrium at Federation Square, where I couldn't resist some unique buttons, as well as  a visit to Kirra Gallery. I managed to sneak a wee photo from the side, with elements of the amazing chandelier visible behind the bowls in the window, but I think I got fairly frowned at for this from the counter. However, I went in and enjoyed the display of both retail and exhibition work, and decided to purchase a wee memento of the weekend in the shape of a pink, orange and purple glass mushroom (we have a family history of being vulnerable to glass and ceramic mushrooms). By now we were ready for brunch, and I was thrilled to be taken to the lovely Arinjti at Federation Square.  It was a tough choice, but I was very happy with the decision I made, with the guidance of our helpful waitress.
Road texture
We caught the tram back to St Kilda to transfer to the bus to Brighton - oh no - we have half an hour to kill! Hello, Irish Pub! (Did I mention that the roadway where we crossed to go to said pub/tram/bus stop was quite lovely, and I'm happy with the way the photos turned out - Matt did not enjoy the process - get OFF the road, Svenja!!)
We caught the bus alright, but it did not run to
Annemieke Mein exhibition, Brighton
St Hotel
the route I had researched, and slightly too late I questioned the driver, who advised us to get off then and there. Unfortunately, this meant a walk of around 4 kms back to Brighton town centre, with me stressing about missing the Annemeike Mein exhibition, and Matt grumping about having to walk so far. However, we made it in the end, much to my relief and my absolute delight. Unfortunately, as with many textile exhibitions, the lighting was negligible, which, as I get older, bothers me somewhat! Also, photographs were not permitted. I gazed in wonderment at works I have drooled over in a book for  years, and got to see the stitches in the flesh. Some works were bigger than I had imagined, which afforded me an even more detailed view than I could have hoped for. Some had sparkling threads and beading that I had been unaware of.  Did I say photographs were not permitted? There was no way I was going to be denied this once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn't use flash anyway, so I don't really see the problem. I was sad not to get one of me with a work, but Matt not only snuck some on his phone, but acted as decoy whilst I took a few! Bless! We left, and trudged the streets of Brighton for a while before realising that a bus back into town on a Sunday was not terribly realistic, so bit the bullet and called a cab.  Traffic was shite, so we got out as soon as we could.
Melbz laneway
Desperate for a beer, we headed to get some takeaways at Woolies, but got drawn into the St Hotel, which had some live music.  We only had a little time before our next activity - dinner with a work colleague of Matts, who took us up some high-rises he does the  water treatment on, for some fantastic views of the city and surrounds.  Then it was off for dinner in Hardware Lane, where we sat outside because it just felt a bit groovier, although it was quite chilly!!
Monday morning was Melbz CBD day, and we set off leisurely, arriving at the NGV just in time as it opened, so it was off to the Viktor & Rolf Exhibition for this happy little Bunneh!! Ohhhh, sparkly, sculptural deliciousness, where photography was most welcome! And photograph I did. This is but a taste of what I acquired. I loved the row of the 'Russian Dolls' series, displayed on slowly rotating mannequins - so often we are stuck looking from only one angle - and the sparkles looked almost electric
as they caught the spotlights. There was also some fabulously atmospheric music, setting a real scene for the works.

Next stop, the pure fun of Kylie costumes, certainly a very different genré, however, I couldn't help but boogie along to the video footage! Goodness, those mannequins were tiny!
From there, it was off to visit the creation of a friend, no, not some wearable art, but some engineering art. Matt's mate Steve made this impressive smoker, now in residence at San Antone at Crown Casino. It was just before lunch when we visited - then we saw they had Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu, so we just had to stay.  They were fabulous, as was the brisket burger that we shared.
Rolex shop window - beautiful leather work 
Fabulous lighting in Crown Casino
We rolled out and trotted through town, to visit Tessuti fabrics, as well as stopping at Quick Brown Fox along the way (lusting after a green rabbit fur coat so tempting but so unnecessary in Queensland!) We also enjoyed a play in RetroStar, a wonderful vintage shop.
Then it was back on the tram to - ooooh, the Irish Pub (Fifth Province for those who are interested) for some drinks, conversation, marvelling at the blue sky, and another shared meal.  My first ever chicken parmigiana, with Napoli sauce - quite fabulous! 
Our last sleep in the fabulous bed of our abode and Matt woke me with a frightened 'did you set the alarm?!!', as it was already quite light outside. Heart attack over, I packed up as Matt picked up coffee and croissants - what a man!
View of The George from our pub

Back home, and I have relished getting straight back into work -  I enjoyed a bit of design drawing whilst I was away, and was totally inspired by things I saw - but nothing replaces the feeling of sewing and cutting leather, and pinning it into a foam head to create something rather lovely.  Happy to be home, but love you Melbz.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Scattered Arts and a large birthday weekend ....

The lovely Penelope Gilbert Ng and myself
Happily receiving bubbles at Scattered Arts!

This week I had the pleasure of co-judging the Scattered Arts Competition, themed 'Transformation', with the lovely Penelope Gilbert Ng. It was a great experience, and an interesting exchange between painter and sculptural/textile artist! Fortunately no blood was spilled, and we agreed in the end, much to eveyone's relief! I think we bonded over the experience, and Penelope wanted to take a photo of me to do a painting from - I said, "don't bother with a photo, I'll come and sit for you!". Stay tuned!! We were rewarded for our efforts with some lovely bubbles, which will certainly be enjoyed over this celebratory weekend.

Yes, I have a big birthday on Monday, but who wants to celebrate on a Monday, so I started the celebrations on Friday with lunch with my mother and sister, on what would have been my father's 78th birthday. We went to La Vue at Riverside, and had an absolutely fabulous time with the exclusive attentions of Ronaldo! Not only was the service and accompanying repartee fabulous, so too was the view, and wonderfully, the food! I fit right in to the restaurant too, as it was decorated with paintings decorated with Swarovski crystals, also in my colours! Maman also continued the sparkle theme, bringing along sparkly shoe, crown, and heart motifs with which to decorate my place setting!
The lovely Ronaldo!

More 'sparkle-arkle'!! Shoes, crowns and hearts in metallic foil

Princess Svenja had a lovely time, thank you dear Maman and Kit - and Ronaldo! And it's only just begun!! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday 9 October 2016

Fun at the Craft & Quilt Fair 2016

Keeping busy at the ATASDA stand
My soft sculpture sample piece
After a post-WOW week of  establishing a solid relationship with a heavy headcold, it was nice to be heading out into the glorious spring day, and catching a ferry to Southbank - it made me feel like I was on holiday! (I'm still sick, but I can't miss out on everything!) I was off to the Craft & Quilt Fair to attend the ATASDA stand, deliver the Common Threads Banner, and of course, do a little shopping. I also took a tour around the quilts - some were truly mind blowing in their size and intricacy, others challenged me - as in how is it a quilt when there is no stitching at all apart from the binding? Similar issues with others that seem to be simply a photographic digital print onto fabric, and.......well, that's it. Really, people?
Show me you can do something apart from hitting print from Photoshop. Show me you have the skills to interpret an idea and render an image using some talent with whatever materials you choose..
Some awe-inspiring quilts. OCD always comes to mind....
A detail from In Weaving Picnic Love and Landslides
On Thursday I caught up with Janet de Boer for a post-WOW squeee, where we discussed many aspects of the show, and I came away with this lovely painting as a wedding gift to Matt and myself. It's called "In Weaving Picnic Love and Landslides' and was painted by Annemarie Santorik. It's huge, and probably too modern for our house, but I loved it as soon as I saw it - not only for it's colours, but its glorious texture and ethereal cloudiness. It's too big to put where I had planned, but it is actually sitting really well in the hallway opposite our 'office' - it doesn't afford a long distance appreciation, but it gets close up admiration every time I leave the room, and gets highlighted by the afternoon sun down the hallway to show the texture in all its glory.
Crystal Waves

On Friday I headed back to the Craft & Quilt Fair - this time with nothing to occupy my hands for the afternoon, which was quite challenging! There were many tasks to be done, but none which could be easily transported. Saturday however, brought the opportunity for those, and I finished the beaded element to finish off my Crystal Wave piece, in regards to both structure and aesthetics. In order to sit pleasingly, a little weight was required at the front, and I found the perfect glass beads at the Bead Trimming and Craft Company to finish it off. It took hours to finish, then more time to photograph, edit, and upload. The other task that was started today was the metallic foiling via my new Hot Foil Pen, applied today to silk paper panels for a skirt, and soon to be applied to some leather bodice pieces. I had a play in the morning on some sample leather pieces lying around, and love it!  I don't have to apply adhesive before hand, I just draw over the foil slowly with the heat pen. Brilliant!