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

WANT Exhibition at Ellenbrook Gallery, WA

Exhibition

Spanish Whispers IV by Katrina Virgona 2017 – included in WANT exhibition at Ellenbrook Gallery 2017

I spent quite some time today viewing “WAnt: contemporary jewellery from WA”, the current exhibition at Ellenbrook Gallery. For those of us that relish detail and art on a tiny scale, WANT is well worth a visit. All works are by members of The Jewellers and Metal Smiths Group of Australia – WA. I knew my friend Katrina Virgona had work in this exhibition (that was why I went in the first place) so I was expecting to see equally quirky and innovative works by other artists using unconventional materials. The work of Fatemeh Boroujeni, an artist that had caught my eye in the Made in Making Central TAFE exhibition 2015 (because she used brush bristles) also caught my eye in this. Overall, traditional precious metals and gems are well represented along with other unconventional materials such as silicon, silk, photographic paper, shakudo, polycarbonate, and paper. Techniques include metal-smithing and gem setting, but also crochet, felt, stitch and even charcoal drawing. The catalogue is well-produced with each artist having a 2-page spread comprising an artist statement and CV with a full page colour image on the facing page.

Katrina is also teaching a 1-day workshop “Felt and Textile Jewellery”  ($75) – for venue, other details and to book call Julie at The Gallery (08) 9297 9940. I have attended workshops by Katrina and know that this will be a fun filled day.

Details of exhibition: WANT, 14 March to 15 April 2018, Ellenbrook Gallery, 34 Main St, Ellenbrook WA 6069. Gallery hours: Closed Mon & Tue, 10-2 Wed-Fri, 1-5 Sat & Sun

Artist Talk – Thursday 23 November 2017

Artwork Finished, Exhibition
Secret Cove was inspired by a 2011 news item about whaling.

Secret Cove was inspired by a 2011 news item about whaling.

The Gallery Manager (Mathew) here at The Basement Gallery has put all my works from Reef – A Fine LIne on their website as an online catalogue. There is still time to see the exhibition “for real” as the exhibition runs until 4pm on Friday 24th. I am giving an artist talk on Thursday 23 at 10am so if you would like to meet me and ask questions about my work please come along – I’d love to meet you and explain my techniques, materials, inspiration and discuss what it’s like to be an emerging artist. The exhibition comprises drawings, embroidery, textile jewellery and collage – all related to the reef theme. Oh, and don’t forget that I am giving a short drawing workshop tomorrow morning (which you need to book for by emailing basementgallery@colosoul.com.au )

A Solo Exhibition – Woo Hoo!

Exhibition, Uncategorized

Sometimes everything comes together to create an opportunity you just cannot pass up. That’s how come I am having a solo exhibition next week….

A friend noticed a Facebook post by The Basement Gallery asking for emerging artists who might be interested in holding an exhibition in their new premises (241 Hay Street, Subiaco) to attend an open viewing time. We both went along to find out more on behalf of a newly formed group that may be interested in exhibiting together – possibly next year. The gallery and associated Pop Creative graphics design are run by volunteers (mostly uni students) to gain work experience in the arts. During our discussions with the volunteer gallery curator we learned that there was a vacancy in November. We knew the group would not be ready by then (we haven’t even had our first meeting yet!) and I realised I already had enough work with a reef theme to fill the space. I have lots of pen and ink drawings, some collages and several textile pieces – all inspired by coral reefs and their inhabitants. I submitted the application and paid the hire fee so I will be exhibiting Mon 13 Nov to Fri 17 Nov and Mon 20 Nov to Fri 24 Nov (open weekdays only 10-4, closed weekends).

This is the invite to my first solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line

The invitation to my solo exhibition "Reef - A Fine Line" at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

The invitation to my solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line” at the Basement Gallery, 241 Hay St, Subiaco, Western Australia.

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 – Intentions Go Awry

Artist in Residence

The Artist in Residence Brief

As part of the “interaction with students” in the brief for the WAFTA Artist in Residence we were encouraged to give talks to groups of students and WAFTA members towards the end of the first week, and another talk towards the end of the second week.

The AHA Moment

Early on during the residency I realised that I couldn’t really create “an exhibitions’ worth” of necklaces, bracelets, brooches, etc. Two weeks simply wasn’t enough time. This was just prior to giving the first talk. I started thinking “if that’s the case, then why am I here” – and completely changed what I was thinking about for the remainder of the 2 weeks.

The First Talk

I decided to give my first talk as I had prepared it – describing what I thought adornment was, why we adorn ourselves, what types of adornment there are and the methods/techniques used to create them. I showed slides and talked about the type of imagery that inspires me – coral reefs, sea slugs, micro/macro images etc.  Then I showed images of works by artists that inspire me: Mariko Kumusoto, Nora Fok and Arline Fisch. These 3 artists inspire me because their work is delicate, transparent, and either depicts or interprets natural elements. Nora Fok also makes some work that is her interpretation of mathematical concepts – which I also find inspirational (even though I am hopeless at maths!).

In-between the 2 Talks

I was nervous right from the start about talking to the students – that I wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively with them. I don’t really know why – they are people (just like me), they speak English (just like me), and we had a common interest in art. I kept telling myself it should be a breeze. In an attempt to reduce my nervousness I started making a mind map on the wall on the afternoon of the very first day. The artist in residence mind map was partly to show how I planned and recorded my research, and partly an artwork designed to prompt discussion between the students and myself. This took me a couple of days and then I started doing some planned experiments with thin interfacing.

Mind map for WAFTA Artist in Residence 2017

Mind map for WAFTA Artist in Residence 2017

I did a lot of the research in the 2 weeks prior to the residency so that I would be free to “make” and talk with visitors while I was there.Somehow, while I was sitting making (very repetitive, meditative work – spinning, wrapping) my mind wandered onto the questions of “what would be a big issue for young adult students?” and “how can I tailor my talk to include those issues?”

The Second Talk

I “sort of knew” that this talk would be completely different to the first – even before I gave the first talk! The second talk was supposed to be more about what the experience of being AIR was like. But I had started to think about the many media reports I had seen about Youth Suicide – and that this would be a relevant topic to weave into my second talk. So I included slides of my own work such as this one of some Shibori,

and this “Whirl” drawing, that related to being in a bit of mess.

Whirl 1 (detail), 17 Nov 2013, 58cmWx84cmH

 

I didn’t want to get really morbid – so mentioned some of the organisations that are around to help such as Youth Focus, Beyond Blue and LifeLine, as these seemed the most appropriate. If I’d been a bit better prepared I would have got hold of some brochures – but this all seemed to come “off the cuff” at the time. I wanted these young people to know that there are people who care what happens to them and are trained to help – and they are only a phone call away.

My final slide was of some work in progress.

Some paper-mache works in progress based on diatoms and radiolaria.

I got lots of hugs from fellow WAFTA members at the end of the talk, which was great because it made me feel that maybe I had communicated well with the audience. I felt really glad that I had tackled this difficult subject rather than taking the easy path and just talking about the creative side to the residency.

The Biggest Surprise

Soon after our talks, the Manager of the North Metro TAFE Shop Front Gallery asked if Robi Szalay and I would like to stay on for another week. We were thrilled and soooo happy we immediately said “yes – we’ll do it” 🙂 So then I got to thinking – well, maybe during this third week I’ll make lots of necklaces, bracelets, barrettes, brooches, anklets, ear-rings, cuff-links, bangles, beads, lariats, hair-slides, toe-rings, cuff-links, ear-cuffs, rings……

 

 

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.

 

Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence, Artwork by Liz, Exhibition

Today both Robi Szalay and I set up our Artist in Residence spaces in the Shopfront Gallery, 149 Beaufort St, Northbridge. We were ably assisted by Gail Hawes (WAFTA AIR Coordinator) and Margaret Ford (a very willing friend). WAFTA have done a great job with the publicity – posters and postcards. Robi and I are both very excited at the prospect of 2 weeks to concentrate on our creative work and we look forward to visitors popping in to see what we’re up to and discussing our creations. The shopfront is open from 10-4 (weekdays only) from August 8 to 18th.

The brooch featured on the poster is prominently displayed in the shop window. Other finished items are displayed in the front half of “my” space and the other half dedicated to making. Margaret assures me that it looks like an atelier 🙂

Adam tagging electrical equipment prior to use.

Red Glove Brooch and Red Ripple Necklace by Liz Arnold on the shopfront mannequin.