Archive for the 'MMT 3 – Exhibitions workshops etc' Category

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions in Wollongong

Sculptural Felt International: we felt like Crossing borders…
At Wollongong Art Gallery until late November, this travelling exhibition goes beyond traditional technical boundaries to include wet, needle and industrial felt, often combined with other media and techniques. Twelve artists are included, and a particular pleasure is that multiple works by each are shown, allowing the viewer a clearer appreciation of the explorations and interests of each artist.

Chung-Im Kim - exhibition view

Chung-Im Kim – exhibition view

Seven pieces by Chung-Im Kim are displayed along one wall. Dated from 2009 to 2014, these demonstrate an on-going exploration of the artist’s chosen medium and techniques. Chung-Im Kim has cut pieces of industrial felt, then hand-stitched them to create a new whole. A number of the works have been dyed in whole or part, others have been screen-printed. The breaks in pattern and the shadows, lines and dimension produced by this process, combine harmoniously.
Chung-Im Kim Tumsae

Chung-Im Kim

Chung-Im Kim detail

Chung-Im Kim

I found Tumsae particularly effective, the glow of the Lac natural dye and the movement of the loose hanging threads creating interest without disguising the stitched texture. I felt the complex screen printing of some other works competed with the lines and shadows of the stitching.

Rebecca Howdeshell detail

Rebecca Howdeshell

Rebecca Howdeshell Geomorphology 2

Rebecca Howdeshell
Geomorphology 2

Rebecca Howdeshell also uses industrial felt, and in the example shown small areas of paper. The felt is machine stitched with varying density, producing a trapunto-life effect. There was a touch of colour in the paper on two small works (unfortunately my photographs are badly blurred), but most of the work is a plain cream, putting all the attention on the lines and areas of stitch. In her artist statement Howdeshell explains that her study begins with drawings which are developed into patterns. This may have been clearer in some of her other works – I chose this example because of the use of space and the varying densities of work including quite large areas untouched. The inclusion of paper is also interesting, adding an extra texture and helping to guide the eye around the work.

Jantine Koppert The Essentials I & II

Jantine Koppert
The Essentials I & II

This large work by Jantine Koppert dominated one end of the gallery space. The intense colours, dynamic lines, large scale and overall energy and vitality command attention. The linear ridges of the stitching and the crumpling effect catch the light and create still more interest. It really does look like a penciled line in space.

Anita Larkin Cradle

Anita Larkin

Anita Larkin was well represented by a range of her quirky, clever, beautifully crafted sculptures. Unfortunately I missed her artist floor talk by minutes. Larkin is a sculptor who treats fibres in her felt-making as a modeling material. She mixes her felt with a diverse range of found objects, and she mixes techniques as well, joining by stitch or screw as needed by the work, whether metal or fibre.

I was able to hear the final few comments in question time, when Larkin explained that her work always starts with the idea, the message, and she approaches her materials as a sculptor, selecting the materials and techniques that best serve her need.

Kitty Korver Large wall object No 7

Kitty Korver
Large wall object No 7

Kitty Korver detail

Kitty Korver

Techniques used in this work by Kitty Korver are described in the catalogue as “wetfelting, carving and needlefelting”. The precision is just amazing. Highly refined felt, incredible crisp carving (apparently using scalpels), absolutely no apparent mixing of the two colours of fibre. In this work that small blue dot on the left fascinated me. It brings the whole composition to life – something a little unexpected, a little different in that controlled, perfect world.

The felt has been molded and stiffened into a bowl shape, and behind is a wooden support or “foot ring”. This is a reference to Korver’s past work in ceramics. I felt a personal resonance in this – how will my past work as a weaver appear in my future?

Meri Ishida Pappagallo neclace and earrings

Meiri Ishida
Pappagallo neclace and earrings

This work by Meiri Ishida actually has a direct link to my current project work. She treats her felt material with resin to harden it without altering weight or shape. A number of the artists had provided small “touch” samples, and Meiri Ishida’s treated felt was firm to the touch with no visual sign of the treatment. I’ve included a small sample of felt in my latest session with resin (still curing), but suspect I used too much and the resin will be apparent.

Karen Richards Flora non Evidens

Karen Richards Flora non Evidens

Karen Richards
Flora non Evidens

Also at the Wollongong Art Gallery was Karen Richards’ installation Flora non Evidens. This was in a darkened room, with headlamps provided for use by visitors. The display was machine embroidered in reflective thread, sometimes cut out in shapes, sometimes supported on falling lengths of black tulle. It was a little like walking into a cave of phosphorescent fungi. The elusive quality of endangered plants is reflected in the uncertain light of the torches, their fragile existence in the fragility of the lace.

Presentation of work, ways of engaging with the viewer, has been of growing interest to me. Richards’ work really engaged and involved the viewer. It became an entire, enveloping experience. Another innovative presentation I’ve seen in the past was The Weeping Dress, a performance and installation by Martha McDonald in Sensorial Loop, the 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial exhibition. I didn’t see the actual performance, but the remains of the dress worn and a video loop. More information is at In the 2nd Tamworth Triennial, Group Exchange, Anita Larkin’s felted piece was displayed on the wall, and also played in performances by the Australia Piano Quartet – see I’d like to collect more examples.

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions in Wollongong
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Exhibitions in Wollongong

T1-MMT-P3 Melissa Silk: Lightfold workshop

Paper folding and light – this workshop at the Art Gallery of NSW seemed made for my current course. Melissa Silk guided our exploration of “ideas related to biomimicry, elementary symmetries, iteration and illumination while learning about structure, strength, stability and translations” in making a lamp using “origami sekkei (mathematical paper folding)”, to quote from the class blurb.

Melissa is a school teacher who has been developing classes that cross curricular areas, finding the creativity in mathematical theory and its use in an aesthetic form. It falls within a movement or approach with the acronym STEAM, which is STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – plus Arts.

Basic unit

Basic unit

The class began with a brief overview of the concepts involved, and introduced us to a basic unit. This has internal symmetries that will provide strength and flexibility. For our project a glide reflection transformation of the basic unit was used. Melissa made this easy for us, providing paper that had been embossed by a printer, with hills, valleys and the very important flats or gaps.

We embellished the sheets of paper, using a variety of drawing tools or simple piercing. There followed a period of very careful pre-creasing, then the actual folding. “Folding” is such a benign term for a very frustrating process.
20150101aI had done a little folding at the beginning of the year while waiting for the OCA Mixed Media course to arrive, and as the final pattern looked familiar thought I had done it before. In fact that had been fishbone folds from “Folding Architecture: Spatial, Structural and Organizational Diagrams” by Sophia Vyzoviti (see 9-January-2015). It turns out I remembered the new pattern from the cover of “Folding techniques for designers: From sheet to form” by Paul Jackson.

Finally the folds fell into place, we glued the results into cylinders, and used battery powered LED submersible lights to finish our lamps.

Lightfold lamp

Lightfold lamp

The lamp is around 16 cm high and I chose a very simple piecing pattern as my embellishment. I also chose a white light. Some colours were available, and at the end some students experimented with using a different colour at each end to create some really lovely effects.

Everyone used the same basic fold structure, but got quite different shapes and levels of structural strength and flexibility based on dimensions of the original page and direction in which the cylinder was formed. Mine is very flexible, curved, and can be manipulated into a ball shape. If rolled perpendicular to this, a straight and rigid cylinder is created. If rolled against the natural curve of the folds other shapes emerge.

I would love to experiment more with some of those variations, or at different scales, or some of the more complex folds included in Jackson’s book. A fellow student and I speculated about textile techniques that could take advantage of the structural possibilities. I also want to get some more of the little LED lamps and learn more about other new lighting options. Given simple backlighting can be so effective with course samples there must be wonderful opportunities to exploit with varied light sources.

More information about Melissa Silk’s explorations:

T1-MMT-P3 Melissa Silk: Lightfold workshop
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Melissa Silk: Lightfold workshop

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibition and book: Julie Paterson


julie_paterson_01julie_patterson_05julie_patterson_02julie_patterson_03julie_patterson_06The exhibition was Cloth: Seeds to Bloom at the Australian Design Centre. The book is ClothBound. The artist’s website is and the shop is There was also a Designer in Residence gig during the State Library‘s Australian Inspiration exhbition. Julie Paterson has been a designer and printer of contemporary textiles for over 20 years, and it seems that this year was her time to share her journey, process and work.

The exhibition was a series of vignettes, themed to display significant textile collections over those years. Seeds was the earliest – overlapping squares based on studio colour exploration, a curly design developed with brush and ink direct on fabric and a third design coming from dye experiments by Paterson’s then business partner.

Paterson’s book is beautifully designed, richly illustrated and full of insights on her processes. Founded in a printed textile design degree in the Midlands of the UK in the early 1980s, her evolved approach has many parallels with what I am learning through OCA today. This is process driven design, based on experimentation, prototype with play and experimentation and “seeing the richness in the small details that I might previously have overlooked” (ClothBound page 33).

Sketchbooks are constant travelling companions, filled with words as well as sketches as Paterson gathers notes, stories, motifs, inspiration from her life and travels. She welcomes mistakes, dead ends, responding to results of process, while also recognising the need to “balance our intuition and spontaneity with time for reflection” (page 59).

A recurring approach is torn or cut paper used to make stencils. In one collection ripped strips of cartridge paper were used, giving “nice and fuzzy” edges to create stripes. The striped design was joined with one of discs or dots, another of irrregular checks, and finally a coordinate, busy and at smaller scale. A stripe, a dot, a check, a co-ordinate – a collection. Each collection displayed formed a cohesive group, and many individual designs have continued to be produced and work together in the wider range.

For many years Paterson has worked with the same printer to produce the commercial range, and the relationship and trust built has allowed even more creative flexibility and innovation.

Considerations in design I want to remember – proportion, not too predictable, a natural rhythm, variation in scale, negative space, flow. Multiple elements can be built up into a complex design, or broken down into individual parts that once again provide cohesion, interest and variety.

I was surprised by how appealing I found these textiles. In general I am not very interested in interior design. However there appeared to be a warmth and honesty in this work, a timelessness rather than fashion approach. Most of the materials are natural, hemp being a particular favourite, and there is texture and substance. The “simple” geometric designs have a quirky independence, and the bush and tropical motifs are both familiar and fresh.

A lot to enjoy and a lot to learn from.

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibition and book: Julie Paterson
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Exhibition and book: Julie Paterson

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA

Light Show
Energies: Haines & Hinterding
It’s almost two months ago that I saw these exhitibions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney. They’ve stayed in my mind not so much because of the works, but because of the visitors, their reactions, and my reactions.

Haines and Hinterding

Haines and Hinterding
Geology, 2015

Geology is described on the MCA website as “an amplified cinematic experience”. That is such a tepid description of an enveloping experience that assaults eyes and ears, with deep harmonics that vibrate inside your body. There are headphones and records on turntables, a large photographic work that linked to the screen images, I believe aromas although I didn’t detect them. But the main show was on the screen, flying through an alien terrain conducted by the movements of one of the audience.

I was there during the school holidays and the gallery was enormously popular, with children and adults patiently awaiting their turn on the conductor’s rostrum (well, mat). Clusters sat in the darkness, absorbed in this gigantic video game.


Haines and Hinterding
Geology, 2015

Towards one side of the huge room was a triangular chamber, Telepathy. Lined with rubber and foam, reminiscent of the lining of the interior of the drifting cubes in Geology, it is intended to insulate from external noise, allowing the occupants to reflect on their inner energies. This was less successful for me, with any inner energies still disturbed by the penetrating external harmonics, and sharing the small space with two strangers, one of them a young, curious, vocal child.

Overall an interesting experience, and as I’ve mentioned very popular with the holiday crowds. Holiday entertainment. Suitable for all ages. On the harbour, close to the wharf, you can catch the ferry to Luna Park or the zoo to complete a great day out.

I am such a snob. That is a totally unfair and unjustified reaction. These are serious artworks, with aesthetic, philosophical and conceptual concerns, underpinned by years of experimentation and science. I watched everyone having fun – and that really is a good thing. Go to an art gallery, see and experience things you’ve never imagined, be taken out of your everyday world, experience art as positive, meaningful part of life … but I felt the art I love, slow, contemplative, quiet, often small, getting lost in this whirlwind of noise and light. People are flocking now to the annual Archibald Prize exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery (also the Wynne and Sulman Prizes). “The art Sydney’s talking about” says the gallery website (link), and it’s true, I overhear random conversations “have you been yet” at work and on the bus. I don’t feel snobbish about that – it’s great to have the crowds and buzz and excitement in my “home” gallery.

Perhaps it’s because of the video game feel, the interactive element, that it could actually be a ride at Luna Park.

Light show was also on at the MCA. No photos allowed – the best web images I’ve found are from the Hayward Gallery ( and exhibition guide). Anthony McCall’s ‘solid light’ installation You and I, Horizontal (2005) was an enthralling, immersive experience, and yes it appealed to the kiddies (no complaints from me on this except when the “little darlings” put their hands over the light source and entirely blocked it). I happily queued to stand in Iván Navarro’s Reality Show (Silver), a phone box of infinitely reflecting mirrors – one way, so we each in turn stood blind under the surveillance of those still waiting. I’ve written briefly before of the fascinating Slow Arc inside a Cube IV by Conrad Shawcross (22-July-2015). The absolute stunner for me was Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation – white walls, ceilings and floors, separated but connected chambers flooded with red, blue and green light, solid, saturated, rich and wonderful, blending at carefully controlled edges, small white panels let down from the ceiling to create more mixes. I stood in drenching red until my eyes were overwhelmed and the red seemed almost white. The kids were in there too and some stood in awe like me and it was wonderful. And perhaps it could be in Luna Park too.

Am I an elitist snob? Almost certainly I fear. It’s also true that I found the noise and internal vibrations of Geology unpleasant, and the huge, zooming, swerving image did not sit well with my poor balance and chronic vertigo (BPPV). It’s made me think a lot about what art means to me, what I like and why, what I want to make – but no conclusions.

T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Exhibitions at the MCA


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