Monday 25 June 2018

Medieval makings

This fabulous weekend past began with a 'Squeeeee' with Janet de Boer on Friday (AKA a bubbles filled lunch of hilarity, textiles, and way too personal gossip - a much treasured event - of which I am yet to get a photographic record). Saturday saw a revamp of my Dressing Room, starting with an epic extraction from Matt's ute of my new storage unit courtesy of Facebook Marketplace and $20. Several bruises and a dance around domestic disharmony later, it was installed, and after several hours, filled tidily with garments - with an important spare cube for a light, a tissue box, and a wine glass/ stubbie resting stop!!
Sunday was filled with studio serenity - both Matt and I were busy creating - me, washing, ironing, and cutting material for shirts for him, he, attaching my tooled leather to the wooden base of his targe ready for the Medieval festival at The Abbey next month.
Although it is my first attempt at tooling leather in a structured design, and is far from perfect, I am still very happy with the outcome, especially after Matt has turned it into the actual targe. It has been glued to a plywood base, backed with leather, handles and pockets riveted on, and the entire diameter fastened with studs. The spike has been made from steel rod, hammered into shape blacksmith style, and sits in a base created from an aluminium washing machine drive pulley which Matt has machined into this authentic looking piece!
The beautiful silver plaid pin is on loan from his brother, and his 'bastard sword' tucks in behind the targe, ready to stab the enemy!
 His shoes are done, his plaid fabric is hemmed, his sword scabbard is under construction, and, oh yeah, my sack dress and apron is nearly done - just awaiting the arrival of my Scandinavian braid to complete my outfit. Yes, this Bird of Paradise will be going undercover in a linen/cotton blend of beige dullness, with even the hair under wraps. Beige dress, grey apron, grey woolly wrap and headcover, blue suede tool belt, and brown leather shoes, this colourful chick is covering up to become a Norse woman of the Medieval Age. I am a descendant of the Gyllenspetz family, recognised in the Swedish House of Nobles. I also have Scottish heritage, like Matt - mine is MacKenzie - but as "I don't do tartan', I thought I'd go with the other half.... Swedes have style....We are being hosted at the event by Matt's talented brother John, also known as Jean the Hornmaster.
Other projects are also on the go, including embroidered yokes for kaftan shirts - bling and colourful flowing textile goodness - what's not to love?!!

Monday 18 June 2018

paper on skin - Winner 2018!!

Ellie Simpson modelling Lichen Morphology. Photo: grantwellsphoto
Those of you who follow me on social media will be familiar with a lot of this, so please bear with me! On Friday night I had been sitting on the couch, fully aware that my work was on the catwalk in paper on skin, in Burnie, Tasmania, feeling edgy, and trawling Pinterest for yet more images of lichen and fungus, when I received a phone call from the showcase to inform me that I was the winner of this biennial event! I do believe I gasped in excitement!! For the next 10 minutes I was kept on the phone for a 'live-cross' when the announcement was actually made - this was hilarious, as I could understand nothing - it sounded like I was in a fish bowl. It was all a bit surreal.
Isolda, 2014
Lichen Morphology was created by dismantling the structure of Isolda into pieces, 5 of which were used. Using tissue paper from Reverse Garbage, I spent days covering them in papier maché, then spray painting with silver, gold and black, ending up with a lovely silvery wood colour. I was inspired by 2 photos in particular of lichen found on my travels - one in Hamilton NZ, the other in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The inspiration from these never got resolved in my Morphology exhibition in 2011, so it was good to be able to go back to it. With a requirement to be 80% paper, I had to look sideways from my usual textile materials, but found  a happy medium in silk paper, which I wet and ironed into individual 'lichen', coloured with glitz sprays, singed a little with a heat gun, crinkle ironed, free-motion embroidered (hand dyed crochet thread in the bobbin), and sewed on pieces of dyed and painted silk cocoons, before stitching onto the armature itself. Phew!

Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto
Photo: grantwellsphoto

I also re-used Isolda's shoes. Then I thought about the fact that someone was going to have to wear this, and that they might want something on underneath the framework, so made a flesh coloured leotard, and printed it with a lino cut of lichen I had made as part of exhibition exploration. Lichen Morphology will be on display with other entries of paper on skin at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery 22 June to 29 July.
The morning after the big news, I hit the road with Matt, accompanying him on a work trip to Coffs Harbour and Casino. Sadly, I am a rubbish car companion, as driving just puts me to sleep -even when I am behind the wheel.... 
We  walked along the beach, discovering along the way a seagull 'Village of the Damned' - so many leg issues!! One limping, one missing, and this dude, with the leg just out airing!!
On Sunday I had a lovely morning walking along the beach, exploring Muttonbird Island, finding the perfect stick to make a staff, and finding a market with something fantastic (unlike recent travels)! I bought myself this present as it was just so appropriate - a beautiful little segment of lichen, fern, and a wee crystal - from Tasmania!! The lichen exhibits the same features which inspired Lichen Morphology, so thank you Wildwood Earth!
Looking back into Coffs Harbour from Muttonbird Island

Many thanks to all at paper on skin - I'm absolutely thrilled - and in particular, my beautiful model, Ellie Simpson.