Saturday 30 December 2017

2017 - What I did - the highlights

In the wee hours when I couldn't sleep, I started to worry - what had I achieved this year? Had I done enough? So began a slightly desperate search through the diary and the year's photos, in an attempt to mollify the questioning beast inside.
Completed Anthozoa

Liam's Family Crest Leather book cover

Felt photo shoot
Display in TAFE windows of WOW garments

Continuing work on Cordycephila and Freyja until shipping in April

Work on Bubble Drift - unselected for WOW
Studies at TAFE in Digital Design and Swimwear resulting in Fighting Fish outfits for graduation parade, and two commissioned watercolours of design.

March: TAFE photoshoot for marketing

March 12 - Matt's son turns our world upside down by landing in Intensive Care for several months......

April: Jewellery Workshop at Fibres Ballarat, working with Aluminium and Titanium

May:  Flamingo Kit dress pattern drafted and made
Begin making 4 top hats, two out of hand made felt.

June:China holiday
Graduation, and display of Return to Earth at TAFE
 Felted wrap made for Beatrice for her 80th birthday, out of silk shibori pieces she had gifted me
Experimented with making several half scale mannequins
 Dress altered and headpiece made for Miss Chrissy
Dress made for Matt's grandaughter
 August: Ekka Natural Fibres Market - some new works made

New website created.
Practice painting for Traffic Signal Box before actual painting in September

 September: World of WearableArt
Jimmy Choo Symposium and ABC footage - Fimbria Figura and Forest Floor paraded at 2 events

Seat covers for Ziggy and Bruce the Studebakers made
October: Leather cover made for nephew, Antony
Odalisque on display at TAFE graduation
 Work begins on new WOW pieces Emergence and Coccinelle
November: Isolda on display at Reverse Garbage Queensland
Work continues on WOW 2018 pieces

Thursday 30 November 2017

TEXTILE Fibre Forum #128 Cover!!

November has been a fairly consistent month of working on WOW pieces. Funnily enough, the two details here are from two different works, yet they have ended up sharing the same colour palette, and therefore quite a few paints and materials. Lots of leather, beading and irridescence, but no feathers this time. Oooh, except for a few floaty purple ostrich feathers!
 And because I clearly don't have enough sequins and beads, I simply had to visit Bead Trimming and Craft this week for more - funnily enough, managing to duplicate some!
 These are the inspiration boards for some of my current works.
I was delighted to receive an email in late October advising me that my garment Anthozoa was to be the cover image for TEXTILE Fibre Forum magazine Issue 128. What an honour! Although no longer edited by founder Janet de Boer, it is currently safe in the hands of Moira Simpson. TEXTILE Fibre Forum has always been a huge inspiration to me, and at a time when we didn't have the internet, was THE place to find out about workshops, suppliers, and inspiring artists and exhibitions. My copy arrived today, and I am still grinning!
Last night I attended an induction at The Edge for using the Laser Cutter.
"The Edge’s Fabrication Lab is an open access community makerspace with equipment and tools available to anyone with a creative idea. If you have a hobby, project, assignment or an idea for a business that requires specialist tools like a laser cutter, soldering station, 3D printer, sewing machine or CNC Routers, The Edge’s Fabrication Lab can help".
That's pretty awesome. I don't have any particular project in mind, I just thought I'd check it out - and it turns out that you can use Illustrator files - yay!

I end this post with a very sad picture. This here is the tragedy of a broody hen, which I get to see every time I walk downstairs to the studio. It's pathetic. She has spent more time like this than she has as a normal chook this year! Oh Ginger, what are we going to do with you?!

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Mirror Mirror at Melbourne Cup

Nearly a month since my last blog, when I announced I was back on the WOW hamster wheel! That month has gone quickly, as I have indeed been treadling hard, making the foundations of many components, moulding leather, and sourcing materials for the four garments I have settled on making. Reverse Garbage has been brilliant for this, especially with my limited travel options  - however, the licence is back in action as of tomorrow!! Apart from having the ability to visit Trad's again, I'm also really looking forward to accompanying Matt on a job to Maroochydore this Thursday, and spending time at Johno's Fabric Centre! Better check the bank account has available funds....

Gel medium and paint on organza - the starting point for Emergence, the evolution of Beyond Chrysalis, from 2008

Textured and painted leather to match fabulous fabric!
Wet-look lycra over a boned and padded foam understructure. Countless hours, many more to go.

The studio is an absolute mess, of course! MUST tidy up!!
This morning I dressed the amazing Sandra Girvan for a Melbourne Cup luncheon in my Mirror Mirror outfit, a finalist in the 2012 Art U Wear competition themed 'The Fairest of Them All' and later exhibited in the ATASDA Palmhouse Exhibition themed 'Fragment'. Mirror Mirror was inspired by the idea of a shattered mirror, and the dynamic and explosive lines  and fragments it creates. This was expressed through silver lamé crush ironed onto interfacing, crushed black organza and wired pieces.  

Monday 9 October 2017

Back on the hamster wheel...

Beyond Chrysalis 2008
Beyond Chrysalis worn by Larissa Lal-Ponini in 2008
Two weeks home from WOW 2017. Last night was the final show for the year. It's always hard to imagine that after the big Opening, Awards Night, and the incredible party we have there each year, after we return home, it continues on for several weeks! The post-WOW slump did not last too long this year, as I had already been working on quite a few designs, and as of now, have completed fabrication of one Bizarre Bra (ready for painting and blinging), and have 3 others on the go, with pattern making largely done. And all with the blessing of Beloved, who is once again dealing with a house covered in sketches, mannequins, soaking leather, and drifts of stuffing.....
One of the pieces is quite important to me in that it marks my 10 year anniversary of WOW, in what will be its 30th year. My first piece was called Beyond Chrysalis, in 2008. This one is currently called Emergence, and continues the theme, but, I believe, demonstrates my progression as a maker over the subsequent years.

Although I was inspired by the workshops on Worbla that we were treated to at WOW Designer Day, and subsequent research into it, cosplay costumes, eva foam, and resin,  I decided that I already have such an extensive range of techniques and materials to work with that I don't really want to stretch my studio space and budget to include more! I spent a really enjoyable afternoon yesterday riffling through all my samples and reminding myself of all the techniques I can do -  even coming up with some original pieces from Beyond Chrysalis which gave me direction on working with the new version. Colour schemes are now the hardest part to settle on - although my huge stash provides a great deal to start with, I need to find a few key materials and settle it all.
Designing in progress - another year of secrecy and hints only!
Goodnight, Freyja and Cordycephila - I hope you enjoyed your time in the spotlight! Don't hurry home - there's no room at the inn!

Tuesday 3 October 2017

WOW 2017 - The Making of

This is the fungus that started it all. Cordyceps. Spores from the cordyceps fungus infiltrate the body and mind of an insect, instructing it to climb to a suitable height and grip on. They die, providing a home for the fruiting body, which forces its way out of them in long spikes, which will release spores and start the process again. I can only blame my Dad, a passionate biologist, and David Attenborough for this kind of interest! My creation, nicknamed Spike early on in the process, was imagined as sprouting out of a beautiful green/blue metallic insect body. For many months though, he was all white, as he is made from bridal satin off cuts! Originally, there was only a minimum of spikes, then it was agreed that more, more, more was required! Here you can see the different sections in progress - main torso, legs, and headpiece. There are also arm pieces. You can see that the mannequin base is weighed down to balance the weight of the sculpture - eventually the glass base broke, and my sooper-dooper on-call engineer-in-residence made a brilliant and suitably weighty replacement from a car brake drum - Studebaker, of course!

 Although the white is very effective, and I can imagine a relative of this making an appearance in the UV section, it was always meant to be coloured, and an experimental piece was done to confirm. The base was spray painted to create initial coverage, then hand painted with beautiful metallic acrylic paints. Texture was created with heat distorted satin - you can see here how much a shape shrinks down once subjected to the heat gun. Continuous sequin trim was also applied, as well as fragments of mesh and sequin materials. I found the perfect sequinned lycra for the bodysuit, but it wasn't very stretchy, so I ended up making another two to send over with him - I'm still not sure which one was worn on the WOW stage!!

There were definitely a few WTF moments as I dressed Ciera - things you thought were all resolved suddenly become an issue when dressing an actual human!! Thanks to Kiri for running out to buy emergency socks to cover Ciera's feet, and I was very glad to have my pins!
Freyja was at the same shoot. The brilliant fit of the dress (if I do say so myself!) was nutted out with teachers at TAFE Brisbane - in particular, Janice Mengerson and Anne McManus - in my 2014 project for 'Studio'. I used its sculptural, foam supported base to apply feather strips to. These were bought as loose feathers, and I sewed them into strips, before painting each with a base of gold paint.
Photographer Angelina Raisa, model Heidi Sun and myself.
When the dress was assembled, colours were applied to each individual feather. Most of the painting took place in what is now known as the deck studio! To create a really stable but light-weight headpiece, I riveted strips of aluminium together, before covering with foam and fabric, then adding the leather pieces. The reticule was made by making a simple stuffed satin shape, before covering in fabric and moulded leather pieces.
Freyja's story only came together after her creation - sometimes this happens. With her goddess-like appearance, and the abundance of feathers, she became Freyja. Drawing inspiration from global myths involving feathered entities communicating with the Underworld, Freyja is named after the Norse goddess, who possessed a cloak of feathers allowing her to fly between different worlds to those. From ravens as messengers of deities and as omens of death, misfortune and war, to the Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Justice and morality, Ma'at, weighing up hearts and souls against feathers to decide fate in the afterlife - feathers are strongly symbolic.
And here are the beasties are on stage, almost 6 months after I packed them in crates and sent them off!