Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 wrap up

It's always nice to remember and reflect on the year gone by, and 2023 has been a busy one. A constant throughout has been the creation of new works for my next exhibition DistoMorph. Alongside that goes the shopping for materials, the sampling of said materials and techniques, and the constant wrangling of the creative mess. Although not at it's finest, I am happy with the state of my little creative cave as I venture forward.

The year began with photographing some works in readiness for applications to galleries, competitions, and call-outs. Many of these were unsuccessful, so I'm taking a break from the time, frustration, and expense of the latter.

Some of these were a step away from my usual work, especially in colour palette. From now on, I will only create works that can be included in my exhibitions if unsuccessful in these ventures.
My exhibition Algalrhythms opened at the Lockyer Valley Regional Art Gallery in February, and finishes its final leg of the tour at Dogwood Crossing in January 2024. Each time I unbox it, I enjoy seeing the work again, and hanging it in different ways. I've learned a lot about how things can enhance and change the way works are viewed. 
Opening at Lockyer Valley Regional Art Gallery

Installation at Dogwood Crossing Miles Art Gallery
Janet de Boer (above) was finally able to perform the opening at Lockyer Valley, after the crazy post-Covid times. We have continued to meet throughout the year, enjoying a catch up with some food, always bubbles, sometimes cats, and even at our favourite surgeons rooms!
At the opening of Australian Wearable Arts Festival

Pre-radiation 'medicine'

Ah, yes, the surgeon. Mid-May I had a rhinoplasty, which had more of an impact than I'd anticipated, especially after a five-hour nosebleed led to a very traumatic night in Emergency a week later.
Luckily I recovered well in time for the drive drive down to Police Point, Mornington Peninsula, for my two-week artist residency there. Matt and I spent a fun couple of days on the road there, before parting ways in Sorrento, with him returning home by air.
The residency was fantastic - you can read about it on my website here. The highlight was definitely the snowy wonderland of Mt Donna Buang, but I certainly loved walking the wild and windy peninsula.

Having learned that I was mere hours away from the Gippsland Art Gallery, home of the Annemieke Mein permanent display, after leaving my cottage I detoured out to visit it, and was rewarded with the site of familiar works - and new ones! It was pretty magic. I can't wait to see her new exhibition next year, and meet her!
From here I drove into Melbourne to spend a few nights before making my way to Fibrearts Ballarat and running into these two.

It was great to settle into the now completely renovated Ballarat Grammar digs, and prepare for work in Alysn Midgelow-Marsden's class. My classmate and neighbour was the fabulous Jane, and we had an excellent time together, along with more old and new friends.
Jane and Christine
The workshop was on working with metal cloth, and I absolutely adored colouring it with flame, although many other techniques were explored.

Then came the long drive home by myself, which I was very proud to have achieved, as I have a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel.... I started off by getting bogged, when I pulled off the road to admire a creek near a deserted old mill. After very fortunately being helped on my way, I made quick stops in at Bendigo and Wangaratta to view textile art exhibitions.

I was very keen on seeing the Wangaratta Gallery itself, as I was putting in an application to exhibit there, after being encouraged to by staff after my last submission. Having left it until the final deadline to submit ( I had been trying to complete as many works as possible to photograph for the submission) there was a technical issue trying to use their official portal, so I let them know, and sent them via Dropbox. To my utter dismay, this was deemed unacceptable, even though they were aware of my intention to submit, and I had sent emails to explain the situation. It was suggested that my browser was out of date - I would have thought that in the circumstances, with technology itself clearly being the issue, some compassion would be shown, but no. But I digress....
Back in Brisbane, it was almost immediately off to Warwick for the Jumpers and Jazz Festival, where I had been invited to display some of my wearable art works, and judge their inaugral Warwick Wearable Art Awards. We had fabulous accommodation in a tiny house on a property with Alpacas, Highland Cows and goats!

The following month saw us up on the Sunshine Coast for our second Australian Wearable Arts Festival, where I was representing Textile Fibre Forum, the magazine I write for, to choose and present awards on their behalf. The show was of a great standard, and I hope it continues to grow to support and showcase the amazing artists.

Life continued to roll on as I flew to Townsville, to be a part of the Wearable Creatives Showcase, their exhibition at the Pinnacles Gallery, and present an artist talk and workshop on Wearable Art Concept Development.

The instigator of all this was Christina Papadimitriou, a passionate supporter of wearable art, and I was chauffered about by her affable son, Thomas, just one of many great people I met there. One of these was Denise Lamby, a fellow artist, who I was able to catch up with properly when we organised a day of studio tours with visiting World of WearableArt artist Vicky Robertson. We drove to the Sunshine Coast first to visit with Heather O'Flaherty, then onto Denise, with a spontaneous return visit happening the next day!
Vicky and Heather


A fabulous canal-side lunch
Denise meets Trumptopussy
Just before this, in September, Jenelle and I headed off for our first sojourn together to Geelong Fibre Forum, to make felt hats with the delightful Dawn Edwards. What a prolific, happy class we had!

As mentioned before, November saw us on the road again, delivering Algalrhythms to Miles, where I was pleased to sell a work on opening night!

The star triptych of Bluebottles was sold during the year to the lovely Jann, and I believe is headed to live, fittingly, on Stradbroke Island.
The series of six embroidered digital prints shown on the black wall below were sold at the Lockyer Valley exhibition, and we will deliver those when we bring the rest of the exhibition back home next month. And where does it all go, you ask? I don't know. I just don't know. All I know is I have to keep making.
So I'm looking forward to another year of designing, making, writing, experimenting, learning, sharing, and enjoying all things textile. I have met some fabulous people through my textile adventures this year, and had some wonderful experiences. Thank you to all those who support me, who read my articles, who come to my exhibitions, who buy my work, who visit my website and blog, who comment and share on Instagram and Facebook, who gift me fabulous treasures which find their way into my work.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Dogwood Crossing @ Miles

Last week we strapped on the big pink box for the final trip with Algalrhythms, and probably the final trip for the box itself! Since Matt built it in 2010, it has shipped many WOW entries back and forth, and taken Algalrhythms to five galleries. Shipping is a brutal practice, and there have been many repairs, but the last run-in with a forklift is almost fatal.

We arrived just before midday and got straight into the unload, then placement of works. We went with the mobile wall set-up as it was – it created some nice separate spaces. 

Easiest of all to place was the Kelp Cluster digital print series, which I knew were going to look absolutely lush on the black wall.

This whole little ‘room’ became quite rich, as lots of greens ended up there as well. There were a few moments of having too many works, then not enough, then it all came together! Prints were last, as always, and I used the other black wall to showcase my plain, inked, lino prints for the first time. This open back corner had three walls of prints, and one back wall of textile works, as well as housing the screen of photographic images of the King Island Residency. It was actually pretty lovely to see all the work again, as they have been packed up since earlier in the year. By the end of Thursday we had most of the works hung and levelled, and by then I was desperate for a cold beer – in my defence, I think that controlled temperature in the gallery really dries you out! We enjoyed a few at the bar, where a local won the $700 jackpot on the wheel, and had to buy the bar a round – don’t they look thrilled about that!

  The Australian Hotel was by no means salubrious, but I actually really enjoyed it’s dinginess! Before heading to bed I enjoyed some time on the verandah watching the trucks passing on the Warrego Highway.

In the morning I had planned to go for an exploratory walk, but it felt so hot in the hallway when I got up that I didn’t. My loss – it was actually just the hotel, and outside was beautifully cool and breezy. Unlike many of our travel destinations, caf├ęs in Miles open at 4am – and this one had Merlo- YASSS!
Back at the gallery, staff and volunteers were back in action and we sorted out labels, and getting the prints up with the fabulous Magnart system ( which I have now purchased).
 It was great for me to learn the technique for using templates to assist with easy, correct placement of a row of prints. I’ve never done so much in an install before! Dogwood Crossing @ Miles had also put together a wee catalogue, as all my works are for sale at this final exhibition – it was much appreciated.

I was able to get away for a bit in the afternoon to do a little writing work, and may have shut my eyes for a few moments…. Then it was time to glam up and start the show! There was a great crowd there, no doubt mainly for the community exhibition in the foyer, but I’m not complaining. 

With the main gallery, they keep it shut and covered up until all the official speeches are done – it’s great, it really feels like an ‘opening’! I enjoyed chatting with people, some who were even familiar with King Island, and others who bought some work! It is lovely also to receive appreciation for your work, and I love explaining my materials and techniques to people.

It was a great night, and all who made it happen are to be congratulated and thanked for their hard work. A big thanks to my driver and companion Matt, who also made it possible for me to catch a few more zzz’s on the way home on Saturday morning!

Algalrhythms, for the final time.