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.

Friday 10 November 2023

Studio Tours

With fellow World of WearableArt artist Vicky Robertson from New Zealand in Australia for a short time, she was keen to meet other wearable art  artists in the area. In September she met Sunshine Coast artist Denise Lamby at the WOW event in Wellington, whom I had met at the Wearable Art Creatives event in Townsville the month before, and after a flurry of messages, it came to be that we were to visit her studio on the Sunshine Coast and stay for lunch, after visiting Heather O’Flaherty on the way through.

After a very smooth drive to Heather, I for one was in awe of her very neatly ordered room, with images of my chaotic space in the back of mind for comparison! Her beautiful work ‘The Storyteller’s Muse’ from this year’s Australian Wearable Art Festival was there, and it was great to see it on display, and appreciate all the great detail. And how groovy is the walrus made from denim?!

Milk bottles at their finest

Vicky and Heather
I was also wildly impressed with her record keeping – she had a neatly ordered folder documenting the entire journey including processes, samples, and inspirations. She was also kind enough to open her current sketchbook for us, and I was captivated and inspired by her stunningly drawn designs. That, combined with the excited chat about wearable art got me a tingling….and missing the ride of the wearable art magic bus!

Onwards to Denise, with yet another sleek house and studio - on a canal, no less! The house was like a gallery, filled with her large works in aluminium can tabs, tea bags, and melted trophies. Her studio was incredibly well ordered, with colour coded jars and labelled drawers – and a large, clean work surface! ‘How do they do it?’, I wondered to myself. Her current works were on display, although I believe works in progress were moved to the bedroom to keep them out of sight, a completely understandable move.

Denise Lamby

Following the tour, the girls put together an amazing spread which moved outside where we nestled into the lounges, and were soon joined by photographer Barry Alsop and Larissa Salton, photographer and wearable artist. We all got on famously, and entertained each other with stories of our experiences in the arts, and there was much hooting and cackling! I left Vicky there for the night and headed home later than I had planned, with my mouth sore from grinning.

We’d had such a good day that when I found out Densie would be driving Vicky back to Brisbane the next day, and visiting Reverse Garbage, I offered for them to visit me. I no longer felt self-conscious about the contrast between our studios, mine is just – different. Again, there was much laughter as well as sharing of thoughts and ideas, failures and successes.

Vicky at Reverse Garbage

Denise wrestles with Trumptopussy!

There's always something fun to stick on your head around here!

For someone who spends most of their time alone, it can sometimes be daunting to spend long periods of time with people, but it turned out that this was the kind of interaction I had missed, the mad, ‘talking to your tribe’ kind of vibe I used to find with other designers at WOW. It made me realise how positive it can be, and how it would be nice to foster these creative relationships – I just wish they were a bit closer! Still, who doesn’t want an excuse to spend time up the coast! Thanks for bringing the sunshine to my week, ladies. See you soon.