Sunday, 15 November 2015

Still threads ...

I've been sorting through samples of rusted and tannin dyed fabrics, one or two over-dyed in the indigo vat; others folded, squeezed and dipped in different ways and combinations of iron, tannin and rust. Their earthiness is reassuring. The differences in hue and tone ensure the beauty of each piece is not lost - each remains distinct from its neighbour. Some have areas of light and dark; some are stained; each has different strengths, textures and flaws while others appear amorphous. In spite of and perhaps because of these attributes, the group is better and stronger than the single samples of cloth, even when an element at first appears incongruous. In spite of and perhaps because of these differences,  removal or exclusion of a piece that doesn't fit neatly into the prevailing colour scheme risks a collection that is vacuous, indifferently beige and uninformed. Vive la diffĂ©rence.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Back from where ever

Arrived back in blogland after a break of some 5 months. Actually I was curious to see if anyone noticed. I questioned how many people still use blogs as a primary source of information over, say, instagram or Facebook or Twitter or YouTube ... or insert name of whatever is coming next.  Also, it's easy for life to get in the way.  It's easy to release the vigilance and commitment required to keep providing words that are of interest to others. I find it challenging to be in the moment and stay long enough to find meaning - not getting caught up in the paraphernalia of smart this-and-that,  pick me, pick me. So I  stopped taking so many photos that I forgot to pause and drink in the view simply because I  could. I took a break from a brief romance with instagram to taste an idea. Finally, I got to Adelaide  last week and be with my South Australian tribe. Surrounded myself with givers and lifters - of quilts, stitching and ideas.  Bathed in the smiles and laughter of dear friends and generous spirits. Somewhere in the midst of day 3, someone asked what had happened to my blog.  Nothing, I smiled.  Absolutely nothing.  And that's where I needed to be so I could come back. And it feels great.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Textile works by Eko Mugroho

On a recent visit to the Queensland Art Gallery I came across the works of Eko Mugroho, an Indonesian textile artist and machine embroiderer. I like the subversive political elements of his works, his use of colour and stitch and how he creates texture. Great use of contrast and I find it interesting to see how visual balance has been achieved in each piece. His cartoon like speech bubbles deliver a shared irreverence for the political elite. Eko's use of rayon thread gives each piece a sheen and always invites closer inspection. A visual treat around yet another corner of another gallery in the QAG ...

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Meaning and context on paper

Brown paper bag - it's common and everyday and possibly overlooked once the objects it carries have been consumed.  So instead of heading into the bin or perhaps a compost site  ... I'm turning this little packet into fabric.
From carrier and protector of mushrooms - breaking down the fibres through scrunching, folding, unfolding and repeat.  It now has a velvety quality when held  .... just like the mushrooms before they too were transformed.   And now for the yum part  ...

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Layers of meaning - inspired by Martinitoren, Groningen

One of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands is Groningen, and Martinitoren is a most beautiful church. Inspired by a photograph of Martinitoren from the early part of last century, I've made a series of fabric prints referencing the church's beautiful architecture, the patterns created by the paved walkways and street entrances (similar to that adjacent to present day 2 Sint Walburgstraat or 5 Martinikerkhof) and the intricate patterns of Groningen's streets.  I have created two separate linocuts of  Martinitoren - a large one very detailed and intricate, the other smaller and less detailed - both provide the opportunity for changes in scale when printed onto our hand dyed fabrics. The stonework over which life has passed since the 1600s is represented by my hand cut spiral linocut and finally, excerpts from an unusual woodblock provide convey a bird's eye perspective of Groningen's streets. I am yet to find the exact location of the photograph - I suspect somewhere near the marketplace but that's a post for another time. Meanwhile, Groningen's fresh and youthful presence continues to feature in our Aliquilts hand dyed and printed fabrics.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Open Studios of the Scenic Rim 2015

We're about to have two busy, fun days of Open Studios again - this weekend - along with other artists in the Boonah part of Scenic Rim Regional Council we're buddying up with Days for Girls - Hazel will be here most of the weekend and all proceeds from our tea, coffee and bikky sales will go to Days for Girls. Might also be some sausage in a blanket contributions too - it's windy and a bit chilly this morning so rug up and come on out. We're open Saturday and Sunday - plenty of parking too! Don't miss out on the textile art circuit - with Patena Moesker and Sally Hart at Bunjurgen and the BASi group at the Boonah Cultural Centre. A fabulous day in the Scenic Rim.

Shooting a perfectly good quilt

The past few months has been invested in my entry for the 2016 Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition next April. The brief requires consideration of the environment, the degradation of the planet and species, and asks artists to consider a restorative aspect - not able to make it all better but perhaps an acknowledgment that we must be part of  future-focused solutions. Part of that process was documented for me this week with an interview by Alice Gorman, a community correspondent with our local ABC radio - 612 Brisbane. Alice's expertise as a journalist created a relaxed environment that made the whole interview process fun. So why shoot a perfectly good quilt? Actually, the whole idea was confronting. I'm not a "gun" person and not comfortable with the idea or logic of willful destruction.  But how to represent degradation of species and damage to the environment linked to the activities of humankind? Shooting the quilt seemed a dramatic, cataclysmic and a totally appropriate response. I mean, what's to understand? In this context, it is an expression of power, damage and destruction and the almost instantaneous action of the shotgun pellets to do their thing sits comfortably with my understanding of our impact on the earth. I found a procion mx dye - oxblood red - which has helped show further layers of loss. Tomorrow begins the restorative process - the repair and nurturing that hand stitching brings. You can listen to the interview here. More from Alice and our interview (I think it's called the cutting floor ....) can be seen here. A big thanks to our friend, neighbour and local butcher who was able to assist with an unusual request.