Archive for April 24th, 2016

Weekly roundup 24 April 2016

Mixed Media for Textiles
A big step forward this week was finalising the Part 5 sketchbook (17-Apr-2016) which will be included in my box of goodies for assessment.

I’m also finally clear on what my final piece is – a group of objects installed in a space. Only some of the objects are post-able, and the space isn’t, so I am documenting the final piece in video and photographs.

That shift of the video from “final piece” to “documentation of final piece” makes me much more comfortable. I’ve done lots of re-filming with the new video camera, then piecing half-way decent fragments together, but the result is still shakey and unevenly paced – not “final piece” quality. I’ve got the length down to a hair under five minutes, which I see as the upper limit for a thing like this.

Paper yarn project

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  • 17/4 Working with a property flier did not go well. I cut it thinner (2cm strips instead of 3) and worked it to be more solid than flat before beginning. It just kept breaking plus I couldn’t decide which direction to go Plus it doesn’t balance and sit properly. Time out.
  • 18/4 Cutting collage pieces for the sketchbook cover, I cut some strips for spinning. Bulky, soft, uneven – quick and fun to work with. Joined in yesterday’s unsatisfying end and all set to swoop down to earth.
  • 19/4 I so enjoyed the work yesterday – paper soft yet strong, growing quickly, gentle on the wrists – that I decided to bend my rules and use it again. I’m still working on the cover collage, so there is a link to today.
  • 20/4 Some tissue paper from the collage was sitting on the worktable, and became today’s paper source. I spun it loosely. The waxed thread provides a lot of support and the work from the last few days is easy to shape into slightly different forms. Fast and easy on the wrists. It might be interesting to make a large tissue piece then form it into a shape. Could plaster or resin be used on it???
  • 21/4 The sketchbook took longer than anticipated, so no progress here.
  • 22/4 A piece of newspaper that had been used for packaging took my eye. Pleasant to work with. I’ve started spacing out my stitches more. I find them quite distracting on the piece. It could be the relatively thick thread, originally purchased for book-binding.
  • 23/4 Some crumpled paper left from the sketchbook cover was used today. Tried going back and forward in a zigzag rather than in circles.


Exhibition and half a talk
Thread + colour exhibition

Jacqui Fink Knitted and Knotted (detail)

Jacqui Fink
Knitted and Knotted (detail)

I went to the opening night of this exhibition, but unfortunately arrived late for the talk by Jacqui Fink. The part I heard was more a conversation, with different members of the fairly small group sharing stories about their work, the balancing act but necessity of maintaining their art/craft practice, how to make a living, their inspiration and process, their challenges. It was a very supportive atmosphere, but also overall upbeat, positive, confident. Unapologetic.

Instagram was seen as a basic, an essential. Get your name, your work, out there. Craft is great, art is great, call it what you like. It’s hard, but I (the speaker) can make this work, can make a living with my hands and my eye and my body and my energy. Listen to yourself, listen to the divine force, keep working.

It was very personal, very heartfelt.

thread+colour opening

thread+colour opening

Then time for the opening. Drinks and canapes arrived. People arrived. It’s a narrow but very long shop, and it was packed. Moving was a matter of negotiation. Some people were actually managing to shop (really lovely yarns) – it hardly seems possible in that crush.

A highlight was catching up with Jane Bodnaruk ( She’s currently doing a graduate certificate in textiles at ANU, with a fascinating project in progress looking at the experience of women convicts sent to Australia in the first fleet. Jane’s creating a rope, twining with 11 strips of torn fabric, working over 289 days (the time the ships took) and documenting with a sketch each week, mindful of the progress of the original journey. A very big sister to my little paper yarn project!

It’s quite a time since I’ve been to a textile-focused exhibition, and this one was different – not museum-like, not academic, not traditional guild. I was amazed at the amount of weaving – I’ve been used to weaving being the poor, aged cousin, one or two pieces tucked in the corner. Here weaving was dominant. Just some are shown below (it wasn’t an ideal situation for photography 🙂 )

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Two artists I found particularly interesting.

Maryanne Moodie made great use of scale and texture, used an attractive and slightly unusual colour palette, and a technique that was new to me. A very effective dimensional move.

Genevieve Griffiths creates geometrically complex designs very accurately. Her work reminded me of Gunta Stölzl. I find Griffiths’s work impressive.

However I felt a strange disconnect. Nothing there made me want to rush back to my looms. Instead the works had me asking “what else is there?”. I want to weave, or include weaving elements in my work… but nothing had that gut pull for me. I’m following a different path.

I finished On abstract art. Some of the material, particularly around Eva Hesse, I want to keep to one side. There’s surely a future research piece that will need it. The thing of most interest to me at the moment is the use of collage, which Fer discusses in connection with a series of artists right from the early days of abstract art up to recent. I took a small idea from there when creating the cover for my sketchbook (21-Apr-2016). I’d like to go back through the book in association with sketchbook work, trying to bring more collage approaches into it.
Fer, B. (1997) On abstract art New Haven and London: Yale University Press

I’ve put Eva Hesse 1965 to one side for the moment. I’ve read the text and was looking through images, then realised I wasn’t paying enough attention. I’ve been reading and thinking fairly intensively about Hesse and her work recently, and it needs some time to settle and develop internally. A final (for now) note: I find the idea of a pivotal year seductive. A year that connects everything that came before with everything that came after.
Rosen, B (ed) (2013) Eva Hesse 1965 New Haven and London: Yale University Press

Grishin, S. (2015) John Wolseley: Land Marks III Melbourne: Thames & Hudson Australia. I’ve been leafing through this book, sticking to images rather than words. Graham Marchant suggested I look up Wolseley, and this book in particular, during the class I took with Graham earlier this year (24-Jan-2016). I need to spend some quality time with it, perhaps create some sketchbook challenges related to it.

Sketchbook day
Today Claire came round for a day of sketching. The plan was to loosen up – maybe work with non-dominant hands, maybe with long sticks… Full disclosure – I think we spent more time talking. There was show and tell from Claire’s recent book binding class – I covet the pamphlet stitch book using her own handmade paper, the original paper coming from the offcuts from her OCA printing module. We then went through my submission preparations and Claire gave some really pertinent advice based on her recent tutor and assessment feedback.

After lunch we did get out to the garage, experimenting with liquid graphite and some inks Claire brought. I worked on quite large cartridge paper – all around 63 x 83 cm – messily.

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Sketch 2, Left hand garage, Sunday afternoon, is my favourite, some interesting lines in places and not my standard motif. Really the point was to be out and doing.

Claire’s writeup of the day is here.


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April 2016

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