Archive for the 'Projects' Category

Germination I and II – in Basketry NSW Transformation exhibition

Next Sunday is Basketry NSW’s annual Exhibition and Open Day. See details on the flyer to the right (click for larger view).

This is the first one I’ve participated in. I saw last year’s exhibition (see 10-July-2016), and as I wrote back then it influenced me to make basketry part of my creative practice and indeed to join the group.

I’m showing two objects in the exhibition, and will also be one of those demonstrating on the Open Day.

Germination I and Germination II

In early 2016 I decided to change up, transform, my creative practice. Previously textiles-focused, I undertook a week’s Creative Research Masterclass with Ruth Hadlow (13-Nov-2016), other weeks working on Welding Sculptures with Paul Hopmeier (22-Jan-2017), Basketry with Brooke Munro (15-Jan-2017), and a week with Keith Lo Bue exploring forms with steel wire and the poetics of found objects (23-Apr-2017). All this plus shorter classes in life sculpture, drawing, basketry, wearable technology, a sculpture conference, and of course joining Basketry NSW.

Germination I

The first growth from this intensive period is seen here. Germination I melds wire-forging skills from Keith with basketry’s random weave, informed by my loom-weaving background. The steel is construction wire, the same used in Germination II, and with hammer and hand-polishing explores the mutable qualities of this wonderful material.

Germination II Sideview

Germination II was begun in the class with Paul Hopmeier. Scrap metal and factory floor waste combines with construction wire in a tangle of growth, expansion, transmutation.

Trial and error

… although all is trial and learning, nothing is error when playing ??

Sugar tong and resin

The sugar-tong-end earrings seen last week got new inserts. These started as sample p3-45 in the Mixed Media for Textiles course (23-Sep-2015), threads partially embedded in a thin sheet of resin.

Sample p3-45

It turns out this stuff is easy to cut, sand and drill, and as I noted back then the thread effect is particularly effective when backlit.

I wore the earrings in this form for a day, but they still looked like wearing spoons. Shortening the stem has helped, and this may well be the final version – although it’s a powerful realisation than anything can be taken apart and used as components elsewhere.

Sugar tong ends and resin – final version?

Agapanthus earrings

These agapanthus earrings aren’t going anywhere in this iteration. They’re based on a component in a proto-neckpiece done in Keith Lo Bue’s class (23-Apr-2017). They just look clumsy and lumpen. Less energy, less joy. The idea’s time will come, one day.

Finally a piece in progress. It’s a larger, hopefully refined version of a sample seen 23-Apr-2017. Almost all the material is in there. Now it’s a matter of finessing the form, doing a little more forging, and then major polishing. Hours of fun ahead 🙂

Cold forged and random woven steel in progress

Making and unmaking

After

Before

A potential joy of my current type of making is the unmaking. Who knew a redundant electricity meter had such interesting and very nicely made things in it? Most of it went into the stash for now, but a few components have been re-purposed…

New stand, reworked earrings

… into a new stand for earring photography.

Ceramic and steel earrings – previous version

The earrings shown have been seen previously (23-Apr-2017), and since then have received smaller jump rings and a good polishing. The details make a big difference.

Welded and random weave

Oddly, when I enrolled in Keith Lo Bue’s classes (also 23-Apr-2017) I was focused on learning more about the reo wire I was already using in random weave (the ongoing welded and woven piece) and other basketry projects, and to develop some comfort using found objects. It was a surprise to see the class signposted as “jewellery”. As luck would have it, I am a long term wearer and collector of dangly earrings, and earrings are a great subject for practicing my new skills. Happy days 🙂

Earlier sugar tong earrings

The next making is on-going. This started as the end sections of some sugar tongs (the handle section has been seen previously – yet again 23-Apr-2017). A long process – so a short photo essay. I’m still mulling over the final inserts – the photo looks better than life.

Next up some wire work, inspired by a spiral pendant by Alexander Calder (pictured here).

The version on the right is the basic form. The one on the left has been cold forged (so slightly more polished and faceted, catching some light) and the lower section twisted to enhance three dimensionality. A bit heavy, and neither is good enough to become jewellery – maybe tree ornaments. More practice needed, and perhaps a finer gauge wire.

Exhibitions
Briefly…
Textiles out of Context, Braemar Gallery Springwood
This was a varied exhibition, showcasing a wide variety of textile disciplines.

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Ellen King’s Etosha was inspired by her travels. Great expertise shown in this work, the felting, the intricate dyeing. I like the way imagery has been abstracted, such as the tracks of animals to a waterhole, and extending the work to include both wall-hanging and bowl.
Variation in technique, and so scale, creates interest in Jillian Culey’s piece. One of the aspects I appreciate about basketry techniques is the opportunity to play with shadow, giving depth and richness.

Saskia Everingham
Light Seeds

Saskia Everingham’s Light Seeds has an elegance and scale that attracted a lot of attention at the opening. The work was serene on its low plinth, with no evidence of the practical issues of how the lights were powered. It simply glowed.

Sadhana Peterson
By The Water Hole

The combination of ceramic and basketry techniques in this work felt unforced and fully integrated. Colours and lines complimented each other, creating a complex and satisfying whole.

Pam de Groot
Fully Charged

The bright colour and lively movement of Pam de Groot’s felt work brought a moment of joy.

The National 2017
This new biennial survey involves three major Sydney galleries and aims to present the latest in Australian art. In initial visits to AGNSW and MCA I was attracted to some works which used repetition and variation on a massive scale, underpinned by serious symbolism.

Yhonnie Scarce
Death Zephyr

Yonnie Scarce’s installation references the Maralinga atomic tests and the displacement of Aboriginal communities. The hand-blown glass forms, suggestive of people or bush food, move slightly in random air currents, gently clinking – so fragile, so precious.

A midden, sign of long residence of Aboriginal communities, in a bed of copper slag, sign of the mining and commercial activities given priority today, tainting and destroying the land. The “myths and methods of colonisation” (quoting from AGNSW signage) continue.

Other works that grabbed my attention claimed space, approaching an idea from multiple directions.

Found rubber, galvanised steel, and bark – all incised by Gunybi Ganambarr in intricate patterns based on sacred clan designs. Forms echo. A history of use and misuse of the land.

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Gary Carsley’s installation was complex and included sound and video. Signage at the MCA references the artist’s investigations of what he regards as the artifice of European-Australian culture. I’m still thinking about this, wondering how it fits or challenges my understanding of my own heritage. A quick internet search turned up the definition “clever or cunning devices or expedients, especially as used to trick or deceive others”. Is my culture more rapacious, more contrived, less valuable than any other culture? I don’t want to accept that, and I don’t think I would want to categorize another’s culture in that way. Deep, ongoing flaws – yes. Dreadful damage done to others – yes. Artifice? Artifice as the sum total or dominant element of a culture? No.

I was very taken with a mixed media installation by Nell at MCA. No photos yet.

There have been a couple of lectures, bits and pieces, but I think that brings me as close to up to date as I’m going to get.

Weekly roundup 25 September 2016

Lecture: Glenn Barkley The Laverty and Ann Lewis Collections (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).
This was a heart-felt and very personal lecture, as much about people and relationships as the art. Some staggering images of homes filled with mainly Australian art. Glenn Barkley’s musings as a curator about the combinations of works were particularly fascinating.

Exhibition: Jonathan Jones barrangal dyara (skin and bones)
This Kaldor public art program provides an amazing and varied experience. It’s impossible to sum up, I don’t have words – yet language is one of the most moving parts.

Jonathan Jones has reminded Sydney of its history – the 19th century Garden Palace building in our Royal Botanic Garden, built to house the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879, burnt to the ground in just a few hours in 1882. Among the losses was a huge collection of indigenous artifacts as well as early records of European Australians.

jonathanjones_01Jones has recreated the physical footprint of the building. Aerial photographs here show the massive scale of the project. At the heart of the space, where the dome once soared, is a circular garden now planted with kangaroo grass. A soundscape suggests the grinding of seeds into flour, voices of women teaching children, then a whoosh of fire. Most of the artifacts lost were related to men, presenting an image of savages overcome. Here women are the core of the community, peoples who cultivated land, made bread, used controlled fire as a means of rebirth of plant-life.

jonathanjones_02The perimeter of the building is marked by thousands of white shields. Made of gypsum they suggest ceremony as well as war. There are a variety of shapes, reflecting many clans, but they don’t have individual markings.

jonathanjones_03I particularly liked areas where the shields had grass growing up around them, and where they balanced at all angles on enormous tree roots, becoming an integral part of the land. It was such a powerful statement of place – this exhibition could only ever be here. There was also a powerful sense of being welcomed – by the elders of the Gadigal clan to Gadigal land, Aboriginal land, and also by the many invigilators and volunteers, some of whom share that heritage.

jonathanjones_04With one young man with a personal connection we discussed the importance of language. He was so proud and happy to share with us. There are eight soundscapes within the area, and Jones collaborated with various language groups, contemporary Aboriginal voices in the landscape.

There is an extensive range of talks and events included in the project. The breadth and depth of thought and attention is impressive. Also impressive is the positive vision shared. While traumatic, the devastating fire can be seen as a cultural burn, cleansing, providing space for regeneration of a more complex, inclusive culture.

Other art I’ve been seeing lately I’ve ended by looking for learning for my own work. This event is so far beyond that. My lesson is not to always analyse, glean, plan, take inspiration. Experience, feel, live.

Practical project

Kangaroo grass

Kangaroo grass

Early reading and experiment with collage was recorded 22-Sept-2016. I planned a mono-printing session, building a collection of related patterned papers for future collage use.

While exploring barrangal dyara (skin and bones) I collected some pieces of dried kangaroo grass that had fallen on the path, thinking they could be used in the printing.

Knotless net

Knotless net

Thinking of the dilly-bags that might have been used to collect seed heads, I wanted to try knotless netting again as another texturing device for mono-printing. The net would have to be quite open to ensure the pattern printed and didn’t create a total resist. It would also need to be flat. A recent experiment with that didn’t go so well (11-Sep-2016). This time, rather than trying to modify the stitch to go backwards and forwards across the work I attached the centre of a new length of thread every second row and worked in my natural left-to-right direction for every row. The ends of the thread were worked into a thick braid down the right-hand side, although perhaps in a future attempt I will try creating a fringe. I used a commercial waxed linen thread, which is very obedient and easy to use.

monoprint_20160924_01Mono-printing, all sorts of oddments of paper were used – paper bags, tissue, coloured card, various weights… I used the gelatin plate, akua pigments, the kangaroo grass, netting, a couple of texturing things. Ink colours were lamp black, red oxide and burnt umber – they seemed to fit with the fire and earth of the Garden Palace.

The prints are still drying, but the next and very big question is will I be able to make sense of it all in a collage???

A few closeups:

Reading: Laura Breede “ArchiTextile: Clothed walls from the middle ages to today” In Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Art & Textiles: Fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present Art & Textiles Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag.

There is reference to Gottfried Semper in 1860, placing textile art as a primeval art, a source for all other arts. Yurts, tapestry wall coverings, curtain walls of glass.

Most of the modern examples are use by artists of Jacquard weaving. I always have trouble with this – what does weaving bring to the artwork beyond the original source painting or photograph? Here at least part appears to be the deception or surprise at close examination. Still, I want textiles to have some unique edge or reason, not just a double-take by the viewer. It shouldn’t be a simple translation – and from the photos it’s hard to tell what transformation the weave ha provided.

Collage: Not mine. Some wonderful examples of digital collage with a surreal edge at https://lemanshots.wordpress.com/.

Finally I went to the opening of another exhibition today, Tracey Deep’s Shadow Poem at Sturt Gallery. A wonderful exhibition and experience which needs its own post.

Collage

Collage. The very word makes me nervously check my fingers for stickiness.

Some initial reading and investigation has broadened my understanding of the widely varying ends supported by collage and assemblage.

A whole range of materials, real world elements – fabric, paper, bits of ephemera – all arranged and glued on a surface. The potential for invention. Transforming. Tension of previous and changed states.

Mary Delany Poinciana Pulcherrima (Decandria Monogynia) © Trustees of the British Museum

Mary Delany
Poinciana Pulcherrima (Decandria Monogynia)
© Trustees of the British Museum

Examples known from 12th century Japan, crafts and folk arts, the garden of Mary Delaney (see 28-Aug-2016).

  • Used by cubists to emphasise the flatness of the surface. Incongruity – serious art using folk art technique. Breaking boundaries.
  • Picasso, Braque, Juan Gris.
    Eric Wilson.
    What would it be like to play with a non-flat supporting surface – corrugated cardboard or an apple tray?

  • Dada – absurd, satirical
  • Kurt Schwitters
    Raoul Hausmann

  • Surrealists – a strange new reality. Chance, juxtaposition, unfamiliar
  • Max Ernst, Roland Penrose
    James Gleeson
    Sidney Nolan, quilted engravings

  • Pop art – exploring imagery of popular culture, parody
  • Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton (note later digital work)

  • nouveau rĂ©alisme – torn poster technique. Layers. Compositional unity. Capturing a place and time. Typography. Of the street. Spontaneous. Link to readymades. Anonymous public expression (in tearing of posters). Implicitly political.
  • Jacques MahĂ© de la VilleglĂ©, Raymond Hains, François DufrĂŞne, Arman, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely

  • Contemporary. Approaches include altering to challenge assumptions of viewer; a formal exploration; political.
  • Formal exploration:
    David Aspden. Colour and shape arrangements. Use of torn edge – three dimensional quality.
    Rosalie Gascoigne (assemblages). Imaginative associations, evocative.

    Spiritual realm:
    Rose Nolan, Eugene Carchesio

    Political themes:
    Katherine Hattam (autobiographical, feminist), Tony Albert

    Layla Curtis

    Barry Martin Movement Collage (1965) Representations of movement – selection of images, orientation and placement circling the centre, torn edges, angles all build speed and motion, sculptural potential of the surface. links to pop art and nouveau rĂ©alisme.

    Nigel Henderson http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/henderson-collage-t01915. Really drawn to this work, and to the explanation of the artist’s process and ideas in the full catalogue entry. Scrutinising or looking into something that has caught his attention, disturbed him. Building up fields of interesting visual data from which you may assemble later. Enlarging, stacking, linking up lines in oil paint… Fits with my intention of creating base materials with printing, but with additional depth of relationship.

    Robert Klippel. Sculpture and collage symbiotic.

    Response
    I’m definitely drawn to the more abstract formal explorations. Nigel Henderson’s work and that of Elwyn Lewis which I saw at AGNSW last night particularly excite.

    To break the ice I decided to use known source material and focus on pattern. A plain background with textured but flat collage materials.
    * Base: a large buff yellow envelope, opened out.
    * Collage materials: mono-printed brushmarks on newspaper. Painted lines based on previous nude sketches. Lines cut out with a scalpel (I briefly tried tearing them out, but with all the texture of the newsprint and the brushmarks a crisper line looked better).

    collage 20160922

    collage 20160922

    I like the flat texture. Much time was spent trying out arrangements and there was some unintended shifting during the pasting process. Overall it’s quite lively and some interesting shapes created. There’s some flow and movement. I tried an overall arrangement but marginally preferred leaving that area on the left so I could move up to the right. Not entirely successful.

    There is some lifting in a couple of places creating shadow lines which detract from the flatness. Some of the combinations where different pieces of paper overlap are clumsy. That piece of coloured newsprint centre right was unintended. I quite like it – just wish it was intentional.

    collage 20160922 detail

    collage 20160922 detail

    The nude sketching lines and monoprinting process produces very attractive texture. I’ll use this idea again.

    Having an initial overview of the terrain, I’ll start researching artists whose work particularly attracts me. I’d like to devise a brief based on each, making my own explorations.

    Resources
    Helen Campbell (2016 a) “Stuck on you” In Look Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 0916
    Helen Campbell (2016 b) Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection Art Gallery NSW [online] http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/artsets/6mga1g
    Tate Collage http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/c/collage

    Taking stock

    Back in November 2009 I did a roundup post of my first two years as a weaver. Just shy of two years later and at the beginning of a new venture with OCA it seems a good time to take stock again. What have I been up to?

    More huck lace and bellringing

    Experiments with silk chenille

    woven shibori in silk chenille

    A start on colour work, unfortunately not long continued

    Warp painting fun with Linda Coffill

    "Freestyle rosepath" runner

    Detail

    Rosepath for travelling exhibition

    Backed fabrics

    More painted warp woven

    A brief play with crackle

    luscious waffle

    Imagery in Fabric class with Kay Faulkner

    Oatmeal, dice and texture sampler

    Fun with colour

    More fun

    The occasional disaster

    And still more colour

    Resulting in huck lace colour!

    Supplementary warp bellringing samples

    Doup leno

    Braiding and backstrap loom distractions

    A class with Jason Collingwood

    Bristol Maximus in supplementary warp

    A return to my favourite rosepath

    4 block summer & winter on 4 shafts

    "fake ikat" with a commercial yarn

    P2P2 pics sent...

    ... and received

    A little paper-making

    and bag-making

    not so successful ikat + shibori

    A P2P2 sample

    P2P2 bead leno

    A class with Claire Brach - paper...

    ... and stitching

    and there you have it. A round-up of almost two years of fun, learning, experimenting, and the occasional disaster. It doesn’t seem much, though I suppose you have to add in various textile gatherings, gallery visits (Pre-Raphaelite drawings with Des and Claire today), lectures etc (plus just a little family, friends and work!).
    While I was writing this my package of materials from OCA arrived. I am really looking forward to the next 2 years.

    Bead leno detail

    With seven wefts tried on my leno sample there was a clear and totally unexpected winner. Which will remain unseen until the Big P2P2 Reveal.

    In the meantime I have a few detail shots of the bead leno setup.

    In leno warp threads swap positions instead of running along neatly beside each other. Check my photo in this post from February to see a diagram. Back then I used “doups” to get the swapping. This time it’s “beads” – or pieces of a drinking straw in this instance. The first photo shows the setup between the heddles (at the top) and the reed. I used a straight threading for the warp – that is, starting from the right, a thread on shaft 1, the next on shaft 2, then shaft 3, then shaft 4, and repeat in sets of 4 threads, so looking at the loom from the front you have 4-3-2-1 – 4-3-2-1 – 4-3-2-1… Note that each set of 4 go together through a single dent of the reed – very important because otherwise the swapping wouldn’t work.

    Here’s a closeup of a 4-3-2-1 group (click on the photo to see bigger). The threads on 4 (beige in this example) and 1 (light blue) are threaded through a piece of plastic straw underneath the threads on shafts 2 and 3 (both dark blue). Underneath – another very important detail. This is still with the shafts behind and the reed in front. (I just put a pickup stick under warps 2 and 3 to make it easier to see.)

    While weaving leno the threads on shafts 2 and 3 just sit there – the world revolves around them.

    The third photo shows what happens when shaft 1 is lifted. The light blue thread on shaft one goes up (yellow arrow). This pulls on the straw. The beige thread on shaft 4 is pulled over because it is threaded through the same piece of straw. The red arrow points to where 4-beige has been pulled across under the dark threads on shafts 2 and 3 and up. The photo is still between shafts and reed, but in front of the reed the order of threads is now

    3 (down) – 2 (down) – 4 (up) – 1 (up)

    I put through the weft in front of the reed and that order is captured. Thread 4 has swapped position.

    Next (photo 4) I put down shaft 1 and lift shaft 4. The beige thread on shaft 4 goes up (yellow arrow). The light blue thread is pulled across, under the dark threads (red arrow), and up. In front of the reed we have

    4 (up) – 1 (up) – 3 (down) – 2 (down)

    A pick of weft captures that swap.

    Repeat those two picks. The warp threads on shafts 1 and 4 appear first on the right of the group, then on the left, then the right, wobbling their way down the length of the cloth. You can see it a bit on the loom in the last post, but you don’t get the full wobbly goodness until off the loom and wet finished.

    I think it’s amazing – magic! Easy to set up, not too tricky to weave. The shed is not as good as standard weaving – after all the warp being pulled across is pulling down on the straw, and also pulling up on the stationary threads as it goes underneath them. Plus in this particular example I am using textured yarn with blobs of cotton and I have to be gentle given the abrasion of all the warps rubbing as they are pulled around. So I am gently separating and spreading the shed with my pickup stick every single pick. This sounds slow, but the main work has already been done automatically by the bead setup and there are so few picks per inch that it’s wizzing along very happily.

    Information sources:

    • notes from my weaving teacher, Liz Calnan.
    • “A new twist on Bead Leno” by Kathryn Wertenberger. Handwoven November/December 1989.

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    Germination II
In Basketry NSW Transformation exhibition Sunday 2 July. More info fibresofbeing.wordpress.com

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