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.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Rythm and discipline of creating

My time in the studio is limited, fiercely guarded and akin to a religious experience. A cup of tea is brought to me before sun up and that's the fastest way I know to get the eyes to catch up with brain activity.  (It's not the ideal time to warm up with free motion quilting practice, but that's a topic for a different post). Dad found me this dental tool at his local flea market - it's such a useful piece of equipment for working corners and coaxing threads to their rightful place. I use tape to secure an edge threatening to fray itself to oblivion under the hectic pace of stitching, get lots of cardio opportunities moving between machine and design board while strength training comes from camera work and repositioning the tripod (strength training actually derived from lessons learned  and philosophy behind Jane Dunnewold's Artist Strength Training). It's now dark.  The rythm slows.  Another day tomorrow.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Textile Trails of the Scenic Rim - this May

If you love textiles then we've put together a Textile Trail of the Scenic Rim to coincide with Open Studios in May 2015. Artists include Patena Moesker, Bec Anderson, Erica Bates, Betty Bull, Margaret Smit, Wendy Trulson, Robyn Christoffel, Meredith Stone, the BASi group in Boonah, as well as Rebecca Staunton Coffey and me at Aliquilts Studios. Thanks to Scenic Rim Regional Council for ongoing support - full details of when and where to find us can be found at Open Studios - click on an area or weekend for dates, opening times and facilities.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

After the Jump - growing an online presence

Grace Bonney, of Design Sponge fame, hosted 100 radio programs about making the most of your arts business through sharing the experiences of working artists and artisans. My favourite episodes deal with generating content for your online presence - including how to use the different platforms of newsletters, print media, social media such as Facebook and the wordless imagery of Instagram or Pinterest. Plenty of ideas and practical "how to"s. For those of you who familiar with Grace and Design Sponge - well I wish you had shared that knowledge before now. For the rest of us, there's no time like the present. Grace, with her keen sense of knowing what to say and when - leads us through the" everything you need to know"; "might want to think about" and "need to start doing that now!" in each episode which lasts around 30 minutes. Success, failure, planning and persistence - these are, for me, the key themes. Great to download and listen to multiple times - the first for pure interest, the second because I usually miss something the first time around, and the third with a very specific purpose of identifying what I can use to improve my arts business and practice. Business changing. Life changing.