Saturday, August 30, 2014

Exhibition Countdown 19 : Grumpy Old Men

Only 19 days to go.... Old Men somehow have taken over this exhibition.... they and their cups of  tea.
Here is one of them and he has become the " pin up boy" , appearing on the gallery invitation and media release.
There once was a man from Vienna 
Who lived on a tincture of senna 
When that did not agree 
He drank camomile tea 
That nasty old man from Vienna. ( Edward Lear)
Mixed media art doll,  polymer clay a wrapped wire armature clothed with a machine and hand stitched tea bag paper vest and  upcycled fabrics.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Exhibition Countdown 24 : Tea Bags and A Frog

 One of the more enjoyable aspects of  the preparation for this exhibition has been drinking tea and hence, the most labour intensive aspect has been drying and emptying tea bags. Just when I needed more tea bags to choose from, I received this wonderful parcel from my Aunty Jeanie. A lot of people might not appreciate this gift, but this made me very, very happy - lots of dry, clean , flattened tea bags. In almost every piece of work I have included tea bag paper in one form or another.For example, the art which Timeless Textiles chose as the invitation image is a photograph I took in 2012 in Finland  - digitally manipulated and printed on organza embellished with hand embroidered tea bags. At first, I tore quite a few tea bag papers with heavy handed stitching,  but  I have now developed a technique which makes it a most enjoyable and relaxing activity. However, hand stitching on canvas is another matter - yesterday I broke three needles!
But there is always some fun... I had left a few sample pieces of fabric soaking in a cold dye bath of tea, iron sulphate and some banksia cones in the garden Today, I decided a few days was enough, and tipped the dye bath into a  pot plant . I almost dropped the whole pot when I noticed something moving  - and out jumped this little frog. It didn't seem to be adversely affected by the dye elements, but its skin did look quite black. I think the frog looks much better than the fabric! Eco dyeing at its ultimate!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Exhibition Countdown 31: Tea Art Dolls

Rose Keemun, Masala Chai, Lady Grey - art dolls. 
In my exhibition I have a series of art dolls/mixed media sculptures which personify teas. Here are three... not quite finished but just needing some finishing touches.
All the fabrics are either tea dyed, overdyed with tea, or dipped in tea.
Rose Keemun tea is Keemun black tea with rose petals - a lovely delicate blend .
Masala Chai is black tea brewed with a mixture of Indian spices and herbs - green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger and black peppercorn.
Lady Grey is a tea scented with oil of bergamot, with hints of lemon peel and orange peel oil. It is a very "young" tea, first being produced for the Scandanavian market by Twinings in 1994.

Exhibition : " Leaves of Distinction" 18 September - 12 October 2014
Timeless Textiles, 90 Hunter Street, Newcastle East. NSW
Opening 6pm - 8pm  THURSDAY 18 September. 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Exhibition Countdown 34

Too late to back out now - the invitations have been printed and are now being distributed at the gallery. 
PLEASE NOTE - the opening is on Thursday 18th September - not 19th! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Exhibition Countdown 40 : Cloth

Very busy in the last few days - needing more tea dyed fabric to "dress" three dolls . The cloth had already been dyed, most of it was silk and had been folded in my box which has been sitting permanently on my work table. Today I have put pieces together, ironed them again and given them a little airing in the sun. They look almost too good to cut into ... but back to work with scissors, needle and thread.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Exhibition Countdown :43

 No progress on my exhibition pieces in the last few days, as I had another deadline to meet today. I am one of the artist contributors to a book which is being published at the end of the year. The "coffee table" book will have amazing artistic photos of beautiful meals created by a chef accompanied by images of textile/fibre art inspired by the relevant fruit or vegetable . As you can see, I was allocated 'mushrooms". I had all sorts of great ideas of art dolls with mushroom hats and I made a number of drawings and patterns.  However, when I made a sample mushroom cap to practise the "hats", I liked the little mushrooms.... so, in my workroom, just on the shelf above, I spotted a small gourd. Surely everyone has gourds on their shelves just waiting for  an opportunity to be used in an art project? This gourd became the base, on top of which I created a rocky earthy surface with air dry clay, with the addition of embedded pockets of handmade felt. The embedded felt resembles mossy patches.  I poked small pieces of wire into the clay and built the mushroom on them. The mushrooms themselves are  machine and hand sewn eco-dyed cotton fabric, with a  pleated silk polyester mix.  Then a few tufts of wool and fibre stitched to the mossy patches for grass.... done!
 Forget the flowers... what about  mushrooms as a table centrepiece for the next dinner party?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Exhibition Countdown : 47

tea bag vest in progress... 
 It is now 47 days until the opening of my "textile and mixed media art " exhibition - so really I have only about 40 days left to finish pieces. Am I panicking ? YES!  So much still left to create.... Today I am putting the final hand stitching to a tea bag vest for one of the sculptures and sorting and stitching my collection of tea bags.
tea bags being sorted. 
 Last weekend, I scoured second hand shops for the last of the props and found some fairly ugly tea pots,some beautiful teapots and all with character. I am sure you're wondering what I'm going to do with them - watch this space!
A "cosy" of teapots?
This close to exhibition deadline, I have now taken over the spare bedroom for finished items for the exhibition , cataloguing as I go... It is still rather bare, but I have packed up a box of samples, as the exhibition will also feature a glass case of  experiments, samples, drawings, plans and prototypes.
samples of work 
While I can't show you what I've finished yet, I sneak into the room just to see what I've created and seeing them gives me  a little motivation to keep going with what is on my work table.
some finished art works 
As the days go by, I will post more as I prepare for the exhibition opening night....