The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

Blue Brooch in Progress

Artwork by Liz, Artwork In-Progress

The photos below show the various stages of creating a felt brooch. Except that I forgot to take a photo of the wool fibres with the silk bits included prior to felting. I will get better at this “in-progress” lark – I am certainly getting lots of practice 🙂

I made a “sort of” new year resolution to use what I have in my various stashes (yes, I have more than one stash – one of the penalties perks of working with mixed media). I have quite a lot of embroidery threads – some purchased, some gifted, some hand dyed by me or friends. Embroidery threads tend to tangle and knot and this tendency can be tamed by winding onto bobbins. There were quite a few in the stash that I had been reluctant to use because they were “untamed” and I spent quite a bit of time getting them under control so that I would at least consider using them. This was an enjoyable task sparking lots of ideas as I wound, and wound, and wound.

This blue brooch is now almost finished – it just requires another piece of felt to cover the thread ends and a brooch pin to be stitched to the back for it to be wearable.

A picture of embroidery threads being organised. Some wound onto bobbins so that they are easier to use.

Chaos tamed. Winding threads onto bobbins so that I actually use them. When they are not wound onto bobbins I tend to avoid using them because I know they will get tangled and knotted.

The threads chosen for embellishing a felt brooch. Not all were used.

I forgot to take a picture of the un-embellished piece of felt with the threads that I chose so I took the photo once I had finished. You can probably tell that I didn’t use all of the threads.

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

Fully felted piece of felt ready for embellishment to make a unique brooch. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the "barnacles" ended up looking more like flowers - mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I'm still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

The finished embroidery on the blue felt with silk inclusions. I was aiming for a coral reef look but the “barnacles” ended up looking more like flowers – mainly because I added an orange centre to them I think. I’m still pleased with the final result though. 8 x 7.5 cm

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

Altered States – Giving an Artist Talk

Artwork by Liz, Exhibition

I was one of several artists invited to give a 5-minute artist talk on Thursday 21 September about how it felt to take part in the WAFTA Altered States challenge exhibition. See below for the notes I used to jog my memory as I spoke.

Alpaca fleece stitched into net bags, pegged onto line "hammock style" for drying.

Alpaca fleece stitched into net bags, pegged onto line “hammock style” for drying.

Initial reaction

What a hodge podge of materials! How on earth do you marry up a beaded cocktail dress with smelly alpaca! And a guitar string with Watsonia leaves.

I think I’ll just put the whole lot back in the bag for now and leave it out of reach of my dog who is showing an unhealthy interest in the contents.

Initial Ideas

  • Make a triple-humped camel-like animal with a yellow beak wearing snow shoes and dressed to party.
  • A book of caricatures of the people who dreamed this challenge up. I didn’t like my attempts to create a scroll from that ridiculously stretchy cocktail dress.
  • It has a sort of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” feel to it – maybe I could sculpt or collage a scene from the novel. Mmm maybe not – this is going to be a public exhibition.
  • What is the smallest possible thing I could make? If I cut just a snippet from everything and roll it in glue I could a make a tiny fabric marble.

Adornment – that’s the direction I want to go in generally. Can I make a jewellery item from this lot?

Necklace

At the very least I can make a bead from everything else and string it on that carpet yarn. Ok, let’s go with the necklace idea.

I didn’t want to destroy the “good” things like the magazine and the pattern that had never been used. So, I trimmed all the excess paper from the pattern so that it can be used to make a very flattering prom dress and bolero for someone ¼ my age. And I used the Subscriber Newsletter to make some beads rather than cut into the mag. Free to any taker….

I decided I could cut into the dress (it had been repaired several times already) and use the doily as embroidery thread (as it was unravelling all by itself).

And me being me, I carded ALL the alpaca over a period of 2 days. My dreams of whiter than white, snuggly soft felt evaporating as 90% of it ended up either on my black apron or all over the house.

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

The state of my apron after spending 2 days carding all the alpaca fleece by hand.

Washed and carded alpaca fleece.

Washed and carded alpaca fleece.

The challenge is supposed to be confidence-boosting so I went with that as my theme for the necklace.

The Benefits

I found making paper beads and embroidered beads very relaxing.

I enjoyed the designing – for balance, comfort, weight, fastening.

I enjoyed keeping it “secret” – after my initial blunder of posting about it on my blog – but I did show one or two people (hands up who didn’t show anyone!).

I learned that there is such a thing as a “closed” FB group and enjoyed the camaraderie of that – making friends with people I’d never met.

I really enjoyed the associated Textile Technique Toolbox workshops – thank you to all the tutors.

I “pushed through” the “OMG – everyone else’s is much better than mine” barrier.

It was more FUN than I expected it to be.

 

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Altered States – A WAFTA Exhibition

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Finished, Exhibition
The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

The contents of my bag (number 30) for the WAFTA Altered States Challenge

Altered States was the title of the exhibition challenge set by WAFTA. Buying a bag full of “bits” was the entry point for the exhibition launched in April 2017. The bag contained: A magazine, a dress pattern, a synthetic and very stretchy cocktail dress, 2 lots of wool carpet yarn, sea-grass rope, a piece of cotton fabric, a piece of yellow embroidered and beaded sari, some Watsonia leaves (a noxious weed here in Western Australia), and some unwashed and smelly alpaca fleece (my dog was very interested in that!), We could also, if we wished, use the bag itself.

Making an artwork from said “bits” to be shown in an exhibition at the Perth Town Hall from 16-25 September 2017 was the challenge. There were only 2 rules: One – to use a little or a lot of everything in the bag, Two – the finished item must fit inside a cube 30x30x30cm (if flat, 30x30cm).

I made a necklace titled Artists Amulet. The statement for the piece read: “This necklace has affirmation beads which the wearer may use to alter a negative state of mind by drawing on their courage and inner resources to meet the challenges of creating and exhibiting work. The amulet bead protects against those individuals that contribute negative energy.”

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Artists Amulet as displayed at Altered States Exhibition, Perth Town Hall, Sept 2017

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the affirmation beads in Artists Amulet.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of the amulet bead made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

Detail of some of the paper beads made for the Artists Amulet necklace.

I was invited to give a talk about the making of my piece, including how I felt when I first saw the contents of the bag. I’ll put the notes that I made for the talk in my next blog post.

Artist in Residence – I intend to…

Artist in Residence, Uncategorized

As Artist in Residence I set out to:

  • Research ethnic body ornament and contemporary personal adornment created with textile techniques prior to the residency.
  • Design and create items of personal adornment such as necklaces, collars, bangles, rings, anklets, cuffs, brooches, ear-rings, and hair ornaments inspired by the research during the 2 week residency.
  • Have the research material and work in progress available for viewing by visitors and to present a lunchtime talk about the experience.

The brooches and hair barrettes in this photo are the type of work I was producing just prior to the residency. I knew adornment and/or jewellery was the general direction I wanted to go in for the future but these works were “safe” and “known” in terms of technique, materials, colour, and form. I needed to research, explore, and experiment in order to produce more exciting work.

Clockwise from top left: Hair barrette (machine & hand stitching), brooch (wrapped wire, stitching and crochet), hair barrette (hand embroidery), loom-woven beaded brooch backed with leather, experimental paper beads, brooch (wrapped wire with beads and embroidery), brooch (crochet and embroidery), felted brooch with embroidery.

Clockwise from top left: Hair barrette (machine & hand stitching), brooch (wrapped wire, stitching and crochet), hair barrette (hand embroidery), loom-woven beaded brooch backed with leather, experimental paper beads, brooch (wrapped wire with beads and embroidery), brooch (crochet and embroidery), felted brooch with embroidery.

 

Note: The residency was a collaborative affair between the West Australian Fibre and Textiles Association (WAFTA) and North Metro TAFE, Perth. It was held from 8-18 August 2017 at The Shopfront Gallery, 149 Beaufort Street, Perth.