If you're running short on inspiration just take a look outside. Last weekend it was so cold here that our waterfall froze. The plants at the base of the waterfall became encased in a thick layer of ice. My husband dragged me out of a warm bed to come and take a look. I warned him sternly that it had better be worth it! It was indeed! It was truly amazing, as I am sure you will agree from looking at the photographs.
These large icicles were about 70 cm long with a diameter of about 3 to 4 cm. I love the ridging on them.
I have been participating in a community art project, Collaborart, which is an initiative by the Youth Network of Tasmania to bring together artists and high school students from the Southern Midlands, Derwent Valley and Central Highlands of Tasmania to form a collaborative art work. The project will culminate in an exhibition showcasing the collaborative efforts of artists and students.
As a starting point we were given the general theme of "a sense of place". For me this meant both a geographical and psychological place, that is, I had long dreamt of living in a remote and rugged place, but was bound to the big city by work and education commitments. Big city life did not suit me. I felt trapped by the endless noise and chaos of such an environment. It stifled my creativity and I was not a happy person. Moving to the Central Highlands changed all that. Peace, tranquility and the mental and physical space to create has transformed my life, both practically and, although not meant in any religious sense, spiritually.
For my partner, Casey Day, her life journey is really just beginning. She lives in the lovely hamlet of Tyenna and while she enjoys the beauty and freedom of the countryside it can seem a rather lonely and remote place to a girl in her teens. Inevitably she looks towards all that the greater world has to offer.
So, how to combine our collective experience into a cohesive and meaningful artwork? We decided to do 2 separate but thematically linked works. My title: From There to Here; Casey's title: From Here to There. We then explored potential imagery to communicate our themes. Casey developed a theme of a flower growing from a large seed. After several preliminary drawings she settled on image below.
Next she dyed the fabrics she planned to use to create her image.
Casey arranges her fabrics in the order that they will appear in the completed work
Drawing and fabrics side by side.
Threads dyed and ready to begin stitching. The spots on the fabric are not very clear in this photo, but they were block printed on the fabric using gold metallic fabric ink.
Casey hard at work in my studio
Casey using the two-handed technique of embroidery that I taught her.
To depict my title of From There to Here I am working on an image of bird flying free of what is both a cage and a depiction of city skyscrapers.
The work is mounted onto a frame to keep the fabric taught so that puckering does not occur during stitching. The cage/city motif along the bottom of the work was achieved with block printing with a geometric wood block printed first in black and then turned 90 degrees and overprinted in metallic gold ink.
Work in progress. The block printing is more obvious in this shot.
Close up of the bird (in progress). Note I have used the same block that Casey used in her work to print the background of the sky (reminiscent to me of a star filled milky way.
The bird figure has been adapted from a traditional batik motif know as "the sad bird". Very appropriate to my theme. In the finished work there will be a series of tail feathers drifting to the bottom of the work, indicative that although the bird has escaped there was a price to pay.
This post has also been published on the Collaborart blog.
This piece titled "The Long Journey Home" is the most intricate piece in the flow series. The three dimensionality of the piece is achieved by careful painting of the fabric with myriad tiny stitches creating the detail.
I had a very exciting week with the Goulburn Street Gallery in Hobart offering me representation. My solo show is due to open some time in May or June 2012. I also put the final stitch into the last of the works that will be exhibited at my show. There will be 28 works on show, the Flow Series (19 works) and the Crop Circle Series (9 works). Below are more images from the Flow Series. I haven't given the work a title yet, but for those who know their fluid mathematics, it features a series of simple Von Karman vortices.
Silk, metallic thread, and sadi thread on purple princess satin.
This work is, as yet, untitled. It represents flow from a point source. The ground fabric is a very fine silk dupioni. Silk loom ends have been shaped and stitched down and the detail worked in silk thread.