Saturday 29 December 2018

2018 in review

As the year draws to a close, I start wondering where it all went, and what I did with it. This is more for my own benefit than anyone-else’s, but some of you may enjoy my summary.
I began the year deconstructing my unsuccessful WOW entry, Aotearoa, into components, and working on a sample of the shoes for Matt’s medieval costume for the Abbey Festival.
Aotearoa reduced to rubble!
As usual, the first three months were largely occupied with making the 3 WOW entries, involving as usual, a high degree of intensive handwork including beading, before photographing and documenting them, and finally, packing off one.
Sadly, our chooky Sheena didn't make it any further into the year, 'falling off her perch' in March.
The other chooky Ginger didn't like being on her own, so now lives down the road with a gaggle of bantams (floofs!), and stays in regular touch on Facebook Messenger. Here is a selfie she sent me at Christmas, looking rather magnificent!

The second quarter of the year began with more deconstruction – this time of the wire armature of my 2014 WOW entry Isolda, who was transformed into Lichen Morphology. This was quite a time-consuming piece to make, as every piece of ‘lichen’ was created by wetting and ironing gummy silk fibres into organic circular shapes, dyeing and painting them, singeing the edges a little with a heat gun, free motion embroidering each one with hand dyed crochet thread in the bobbin, sewing on dyed and painted pieces of silk cocoon, before stitching onto the armature itself. All the hard work was rewarded though, when she won the major award of paper on skin in Burnie, Tasmania.
Before that, I managed a trip away with Jenelle, where we set off for a week of hilarity and relentless upz in the Dandenong Ranges.
On my return, I was invited to give the alumni address at the TAFE mid-year graduation.
The rest of June was filled with preparations for the Abbey Medieval Festival and making all the accoutrements for our outfits, as well as working on 3 different embroidered kaftan yokes.

 In August I continued working on the kombi, as well as branching out into a new field – acrylic painting on canvas – making a portrait of Matt as a gift for his 60th birthday in September.
That busy month began with a wonderful week in Caloundra, before our annual WOW/ Birthday/ Wedding Anniversary trip to Wellington, where there was much partying, as well as the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on wearable art hosted by the Australian Embassy, and a third place for my work, Coccinelle.

October was filled up with a lot of writing – my first application for an Artist Residency, result to be announced late January 2019, and another article for TEXTILE magazine, to be published 2019. It is amazing how long the process takes, from dredging up the actual facts and dates, to fashioning an engaging and effective article. Work continued on the kombi in November, and I was fortunate enough to have another wee holiday, this time accompanying Matt to Melbourne for a weekend, as well as dressing these two gals for Melbourne Cup.
At the beginning of December, I was again invited by TAFE to have three of my works modelled at the graduation parade, and the month continued with work on my entry for Wearable Art Mandurah, as well as a few other designs.
Yesterday, the kombi was unwrapped from it’s masking, as I decided not to cut and polish it, and all the extra bits are being bolted on – it’s getting a bit exciting!

Along the way there has been much time spent designing and making pieces that never came to fruition – yet.
Thanks for indulging me in my justification of the year, I think I’m feeling okay about it. Add into it the many social events with the people I enjoy spending time with, and it’s been pretty fabulous. See you next year, thank you all for your support and inspiration – you know who you are!! XXX

Thursday 13 December 2018

Dress Code - an MoB Exhibition

Today I ventured into the city to attend the curator's tour of Dress Code, an exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane. It's always a bit of a weird trip down memory lane going there, as I was a part of the MoB Store team when both it and the gallery were being created in 2003! 
Comprised of the work of 5 artists, 2 in particular resonated with me. The first was Hannah Gartside's installation of repurposed animal-print clothes and scarves, hauntingly wafting in the breeze created by three mini-fans. I liked it. It made sense to me. It pleased my eye.
My eye was also very pleased by the work of Grace Lillian Lee. In a small room, these five wearable works rested, whilst a video of them created an atmosphere with sound and imagery of the pieces being worn. Fascinated by the colour and texture of the work, it was not until I was taking photos that I really appreciated the effect of the shadows as well.

The technique to make the pieces was referred to as weaving, which confounded me - it looked like a wrapped/stitched/shibori type technique! Weaving?! I think the curator referred to it as 'caterpillar' weaving, but searches this afternoon have thrown up the term 'prawn' weaving, a traditional Torres Strait Islander palm weaving technique. I have only just begun my investigations! The tight and sinuous structure reminds me of the work of R.R.Pascoe, an Australian designer I have met at the World of WearableArt over the last few years, who uses hemp braid to create these award-winning sculptural works.
Mollusca, 2017,  International Award, Australia and Pacific

Absinthium, 2018, International Award, Australia and Pacific
Back to the studio for me tomorrow, perhaps even a little more stitching tonight!

Wednesday 5 December 2018

TAFE Graduation Parade 2018

Last night I was invited to have three of my garments showcased at the TAFE Fashion graduation - I can't believe it was only last year that I graduated!! My garments were worn by three beautiful models during the pre-show exhibition of work, and started the runway show. Matt did me proud by turning up in one of the waistcoats I have made him - kudos to him for his dedication, as it was sweat city up there!! The models were fantastic, all of them, and my congratulations to all those behind the scenes for creating one of the best parades I've seen at TAFE.

Thanks to Ann Armstrong for this photo
Connor and the Avatar!
During the break between dress rehearsal and the opening, I was able to have a private demo of the amazing new design software being rolled in to TAFE, demonstrated by IT dude Connor. I was passing the room when I saw him directly sketching onto the screen with a stylus, and immediately diverted. As someone who spent the weekend cutting, stapling, and sellotaping cardboard together on a mini-mannequin, I felt pretty outdated, but then I also recognise that whilst these kinds of programmes may be wonderful for industry, they're not always going to be that helpful to the one-off designer, or she that is struggling with the basics due to unruly computers!

One of the exercises the first years have to do is make a calico apron and use fabric embellishment techniques on them, also keeping a journal of the process (a very valuable tool which I hope they all remember to keep up along the way). I loved the intricacy of this shibori dyed and embroidered one, with extra draped and pleated layer included, 

as well as this one utilising beetle wings and gold embroidery. Another was a textural delight of heat distorted fabrics, one of my favourite techniques.

Then of course, there was the accessories display, of millinery, belts, and bags.

Here's a wee video of the start of the show featuring the undergarment of Euphony Iridacaea from 2012, Undulation II from 2011, and Lichen Morphology from earlier this year.

Monday 12 November 2018

Melbz, WOW, still love you

A whirlwind weekend in Melbourne saw a visit to two WOW Designers that I have spent time with in New Zealand but not on home soil. Firstly, Natalie Hutton of the label Claudia Savage, winner of the Avant Garde Section at WOW 2018. I got to see these amazing pieces in the flesh - so excited was I by the spikes, the glitz, the silk, and the corsetry within my view - that my boots and I heffalumped over a pattern layout on her floor! Mortification! I think I largely behaved myself after that, and managed not to maul the amazing pieces...

Echoplex, Goddess of Reverb, Avant Garde Section Winner, WOW 2018
Sadly, it was on the train back into the CBD that we learned of the attack on Bourke Street. 
The next morning I met up with Sharon Bacchus at the NGV, designer of this amazing work based on hair follicles in the 2011 World of WearableArt show, and we nattered away for some time before I then went to see the Designing Women Exhibition, where I saw my first Iris van Herpen design in the flesh!
Sharon Bacchus, Under the Microscope Section Finalist WOW 2011

The Yarra River, on the way to the NGV
Iris van Herpen
Comme des Garçon
Outside the NGV, some fabulous moss in the water feature.
Feature wall of upcoming Archaeology of Light Exhibition.
Also at the NGV, I really enjoyed my travels through the European Art section, in particular seeing the Montmarte Boulevard by Camille Pissaro - having recently read 'Renoir's Dancer', about the life of artist's model and artist of the time, Suzanne Valadon, it had new meaning for me.
But I digress - the textile goodness began as soon as we hit the CBD, where we met up with Phyllis Hoffman (for those who follow the SvenJen/Bunneh adventures - the very first tutor we did a workshop with!) who was looking to re-home her smocking pleater, The Sally Stanley! How serendipitous! I had always wanted one. I saw Phyllis's post on Facebook that she was about to give it away, postage only. I was coming to Melbourne that weekend!! First stop from the Skybus was Southern Cross Station, where we met up for a bite to eat for the hungry travellers, a catch up on the years, and the transference of a magnificent machine.
Phyllis and I at handover!
 Phyllis also gave me the hot tip to visit 'Darn Cheap Fabrics' at Port Melbourne, so the following day I caught the tram out and and got myself this bit of lovely. After a big day of walking, I was happy to return 'home' and watch the Crown Casino fire display in our cute little balconette with some bubbles, of course.

Opposite our abode, and Batman Park, was this fabulous tram sculpture! On our final walk through SouthGate, we were intrigued by this ingredient at a Middle Eastern takeaway - so confident was the lady that we couldn't guess what it was, that she offered us a free coffee! Even after tasting, we couldn't guess - pickled turnip coloured with beetroot! So, so, salty!! So, so, pretty!

Melbz, I love you as ever, even though I didn't venture into your CBD streets this trip. However, I am not afraid - I'll do it again.