Sunday 20 September 2020

Botanical drawing and memories of WOW

Last time I wrote, I was about to start my botanical drawing workshop. 3 weeks in and we’ve covered drawing in graphite, stippling in pen, and last week, watercolour. Graphite was cool, stippling was a struggle at first, but the watercolour killed me. SO precise. I just don’t think it suits this organic girl, lover of serendipity. However, I have gained quite a bit out of the experience, mainly about ‘seeing’, and processing the information that I see. It has related well to my painting experience too. This reached a point last week where I just wasn’t happy with what I was able to do with my el cheapo acrylics, and decided to upgrade to Golden Open Acrylics, which purported to offer more working time before drying for better blending. I was concerned that this might be a case of a poor workwoman blaming her tools, but am pleased to say that they have made a difference, and I will approach the painting this week with a little less fear and loathing.

My spirits have been far lighter lately, and work in StudioSvenja has been progressing. So much so that the engineering department (Matt) this weekend made 10 more frames for me! This should enable me to get most of the completed works together, and this week I started another triptych. Based largely on the colour and texture of rocks at Naracoopa on King Island interpreted through silk dyeing, these probably won’t have feature pieces on them as others do, but will celebrate the rocks themselves. Still a lot of machine embroidery to go. The offcuts were enough to make a rather lovely textured background for a feature work.

The pre-felted, needle-felted and wet felted piece was finished and dyed, with now little air bladders to make to attach. The colour turned out perfectly – a mixture of the Landscape Dyes ‘Lichen’ green and ‘Wallaby’ brown.

It was scary starting to wet felt all these fronds!

I'm getting a lot of reminders in my Facebook feed of WOW at the moment, and I am not-so-secretly glad that I am not actually missing out on the event this year. Even so, I am cognisant of missing the fun, catching up with old friends and new, and celebrating the crazy. Some years, we would already have seen the Preview show by now! These be strange times indeed.....

Wednesday 2 September 2020

TEXTILE - published work

Today I received the latest issue of TEXTILE Fibre Forum magazine – the first to include my article as a now regular contributor – yay! It also features an article on the World of WearableArt 2019, including my work Odette & Odile, as well as those of three other Australian designers. Other great articles cover a myriad of topics including the effect of the pandemic on creating and exhibiting artwork for artists.

It's becoming clear to me that many other artists are suffering in a variety of ways through the pandemic - even those of us who thought there would be no impact to their already insular lives. I initially thought I had been downcast because of my change in artistic direction.  I've also been lucky enough to become mother to two beautiful Maine Coon sister kittens during this time, so the option of burying my face in a furry belly has, at times, been taken.
I’m excited to be starting something new this weekend – a workshop on botanical drawing through the Botanical Artists’ Society of Queensland.  This is a course which runs for 4 weeks, and I’m looking forward to being in a learning environment again. Although I have amazing resources here, there’s something to be said for being in at least a small group setting, sharing enthusiasm and knowledge. Who knows what this may inspire.
Things have been looking up a bit more at StudioSvenja, as I started to gather my near completed works  – what a difference it makes to start to see them together as a cohesive group – and felt a bit of satisfaction about how it was all looking. A nice change from the doom and gloom aspect of recent times. 

A sneak peek of inspiration, experiments, drawings, and near completed works on the corkboard.

Another fresh perspective has been introduced by the 3D pen. I couldn’t face the thought of free motion embroidering all the seaweed pieces I wanted, and thought this could be the answer. It adds a great new dimension, but alas, takes just as long, although at least I am not chained to the sewing machine. 

Needlefelting has also raised its head, as I work on my series of bird carcasses (sounds lovely, I know, but really, they are). I’ve finally put brush to canvas too, and started a painting of one of my cropped-in kelp photos from King Island – I’ve been loathe to do so, in case I fall hopelessly in love with painting and want to walk away from my beloved textiles! It’s hard work, but I am hopeful that it will be successful, and that I will simultaneously sustain the passion for fibre.This is one of my 'bridging' works in progress - textile texture with paint.

The other drawcard to painting is that it means spending time with the kittens on the front verandah...