Sunday, May 24, 2020

Where is beauty? What is beauty?

Chameleon rose from my garden. 

The answer to "where is beauty?" seems  easy .... beauty is  all around us, but do we all see the same beauty ?  There is a Chinese saying, "Flowers look different to different eyes" Yes, we've all heard that before ..."Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." 

Contemporary artists worldwide often challenge our notion of beauty and many celebrate the ordinary and the familiar, making comment on daily rituals and consumer items.  None of this is very surprising since early man recorded every day life in cave paintings  and it has been happening in the art world ever since.  Up until 1960s, household items often appeared in still life paintings, but it was the contemporary pop art movement where artists sought out the commonplace to elevate artistically. What could be more "everyday" than Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell Soup Tins ?

All sorts of useful mundane items have been celebrated in art - I am particularly intrigued by artists who transform everyday items not only into subjects for their art works but use them as art materials. It is as if they see beauty in the every day object not as it is but in its transformation. This sculptured tyre  has been created by contemporary artist, Wim Delvoye.. "The artist hand-carves rubber car tyres with motifs whose curlicued florals and sinuous vines recall Art Nouveau decoration."
These artworks by  French artist, Albert Legrand are amongst my favourites as he seems to be able to inject emotion into these commonplace  found objects.

In my recent  series of little wearable art pins, I have been trying to depict  the very ordinary, the very everyday and  to capture daily thoughts or ideas which are not momentous or genius but things that we all wonder about from time to time. Most of the beauty I see around me is in my garden or close by, but even so, others may not think what I use as my inspiration as particularly beautiful.  so ... is this the answer ? .... 

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.”  And then is it possible to interpret in art the beauty one perceives and does it retain its beauty? ....

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Close to home

For all of us, being close to home is not an option currently. There are many positive ways to think of being close to home -  one, of course, is to find inspiration and make art . Recently, probably in the last few years, the sights and sounds in my neighbourhood have provided me with enough material for a lifetime of art making.... and I don't live in a magical place, just a simple ordinary  residential suburb in a regional city in NSW,  near some dedicated bushland, walking tracks, a village shopping centre and a hospital. 

On daily walks in the neighbourhood, I have picked up sticks from the ground to make hundreds of "stick" dolls,  fallen leaves to dye and print cloth and paper, flowers and other plant bits  for  various artworks. 

I am very grateful to have so much to work from so close to home and as I complete my second #the100day project - 100 small wearable art pins, I have tried to find a new way each day of expressing the everyday ordinary  ... #100pinpoems - a pin with a haiku ( or at least a pseudo haiku). 
Here are the last eleven ... and they all based on  being in my neighbourhood ,  "close to home " ... "Home is where you start from"  (TS Eliot)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Haberdashery - Vintage Find

When I heard the theme for Tag Tuesday this fortnight is "Haberdashery", I rummaged in my sewing drawer to look for "vintage" items of haberdashery which I knew I had in my stash. I was particularly happy and surprised to find a number of cards of press studs, buttons and hooks and eyes. These brought back such great memories of the haberdashery shops which I used to frequent years ago when we lived in small country towns. They seemed to stock whatever you needed. You can tell the age of some of these items in my "habbie" stash as Australia changed to decimal currency on 14 February 1966, and the button card quotes a price of 1/3d... 

As I have been making little wearable pins for #the100dayproject, accompanied by a haiku, I thought that Day 30 had to be about haberdashery ... hence my tag within a tag for Tag Tuesday.... 
"Just a word recalls
Sewing notions long since used: 
This is a cloth /mixed media collage with stitching, complete with its own haberdashery -  press studs, some of the packaging  and a safety pin 

I was so excited to find the cards of hooks and eyes and to see the range I had kept and their age.... one of the cards boasts by appointment to Queen Mary, and the others by appointment to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. My vague memory is of purchasing at least the oldest card in a general store in a small town in the 1970's - I remember it was "discounted old stock" but I can't remember how much I paid!  Thanks Tag Tuesday for this vintage rediscovery. 

To see the whole series of wearable art pins - please follow the hashtag #100pinpoems on Instagram or on Facebook 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Default : TV +

Samples of TV viewing activities.

With an audience captive at home 24/7, it would be expected that TV viewing numbers would increase. Quartz reports in USA that it took social distancing restrictions to stop the decline in broadcast TV viewing. " The pandemic has been especially good to reality TV, medical dramas, and shows about first responders."  I was surprised at this because I thought there was enough  medical content in the news to avoid more in fictional format.    Of course, higher ratings for popular shows does not mean that the long predicted demise of free-to-air broadcast TV has been arrested.... during the last month, Netflix reported that it had added 16 million new subscribers. (ABC News)  It seems that whatever our choice, whether it is free to air  or streaming we have been "glued" to our screens during   stay-at-home , work-at-home, and school-at- home. 
If TV is our default activity during the social restrictions, I see one of the advantages of watching TV shows and movies is completing other projects at the same time... I plan my projects for seasons of my favourite programs. For example each year, I prepare small uncomplicated stitching or other craft projects ready to be done as I sit and enjoy Masterchef Australia - this works out to be approximately 8 hours per week where I can complete small tasks. ( see photo above)  Besides craft activities I sometimes do other tasks while watching TV, like cooking, folding /ironing clothes and general tidying....  However, I couldn't think of  many more activities than  a few , so I consulted  other bloggers , like  KelleyNan, Gracious Living, who have addressed this topic - I think the list of 75  below has something for everyone.  Enjoy your favourite TV show....  

  1. Organize paperwork/mail
  2. Pay bills
  3. Laundry/iron
  4. Cook and prepare a meal  
  5. Plan your menu for the week/month  
  6. Pin recipes on Pinterest  
  7. Delete emails and organize your inbox
  8. Organize your address book
  9. Play a card/board game  
  10. Pull out a junk drawer to organize  
  11. Online shop  
  12. Knit/craft/DIY  
  13. Organize photos on your computer – delete and sort into folders
  14. Catch up on social media
  15. Make to-do lists
  16. Update your planner 
  17. Sync your calendars
  18. Clean out your makeup bag/brushes – toss old/expired makeup 
  19. Work out
  20. Clean out your wardrobe
  21. Make your bed
  22. Create/refine a budget
  23. Mend holes and tears in your clothes
  24. Colour in an adult colouring book  
  25. Paint your nails
  26. Make Christmas gift lists
  27. Edit photos  
  28. Make music playlists – road trips, workout, chill, and party mixes
  29. Write thank you notes
  30. Clean out your purse/handbag
  31. Scan your receipts and sort into electronic files
  32. Clean up your phone apps
  33. Dust/sweep the room you are in
  34. Switch out and update photos in frames
  35. Groom your pet
  36. Organize food into pantry boxes  
  37. Arrange flowers 
  38. Create an inspiration board on Photoshop, PowerPoint, Pages, Olio Board, etc.
  39. Organize your jewellery
  40. Polish jewellery/silver  
  41. Take photos of magazine inspiration and toss old stacks cluttering areas around your home
  42. Browse real estate
  43. Drink wine/coffee
  44. Make list of home improvements and prioritize
  45.   Brainstorm themes, menus, and guest lists for dinner parties. 
  46. Update your Christmas card list. Bonus if you address the envelopes.
  47. Come up with a list of date night ideas and make online reservations
  48. Gather gift cards and find out balances 
  49. Pace the floor to get in your FitBit/Apple Watch steps
  50. Style a tray or shelf 
  51. Order groceries/household essentials  
  52. Fill out a birthday calendar  
  53.  Count out change
  54. Shell nuts
  55. Brainstorm and create a blog content calendar
  56. Plan a vacation
  57. Make goodie bags
  58. Sign up with websites who offer surveys for cash and take them as you have time
  59. Wrap and organize loose cords
  60. Touch up paint/remove wall scuffs
  61. Find printables for wall art ( 
  62. Clean out your “Notes” on your phone
  63. Complete a puzzle
  64. Update your resume/credentials/media kit
  65. Test out your pens and markers and toss those which are dried
  66. Add physician and email addresses to your phone contacts
  67. Match socks and toss those without a mate
  68. Superglue discarded chipped items
  69. Put something together  
  70. List items on EBay or other online sites. 
  71. Portion bulk Costco/full sized bag snacks into single servings in baggies
  72. Re-lace/change laces in your sneakers
  73. Add key tags to your keys
  74. Organize medicine and first aid- discard expired 
  75. Wrap gifts

Sunday, May 3, 2020

An ambush of abstracts

During the last week,  I think my #100pinpoems have taken a definite turn towards the more abstract. There have been a couple of days when I was prompted to convey a more direct representation of a moment in the day , but generally, I have moved towards stitching and collaging in a more impressionistic way. For example, on day 22, I tried to convey the feeling of waking up early for a Zoom meeting.... and ended up with what looks like sound waves representing electronic communication ( not the sound of me snoring through the meeting!) 
"Alarm too early
Sleepy nods in agreement 
Meeting via Zoom." 

 stitched wearable art pin 

 stitched wearable art pin 
Some of the tags although abstract, describe actual occurrences .... 

Day 23 : I watched rainbow lorikeets flying into our garden to land on some tall grevilleas... I reproduced only their colour and a stitches a sense of the quick movement.  When they open their wings, the flash of red on their underwings appears dominant. 
"Welcoming the day
Brightest colours on display 
Lorikeets in flight"

 stitched hand dyed silk wearable art pin 
Day 25 - I used the meteorological symbol for wind tin stitch to make a comment on the weather. 
"Ignoring sunny skies, 
Chilly winds whisper 'winter'
Nature's own debate." 

stitched fabric and paper collage wearable art pin 
 Day 26 - While walking in my neighbourhood I looked at a garden from a distance and saw rows of flowers amongst the green stretching the length of the block. 
"Like musical lines
Gardens stretching in the sun 
Colour symphony."  

 Day 25 : It was a dull morning, and I made a hot breakfast to try to raise my mood.  This one was the only "pictorial" pin I made this week - with some fussy cutting from fabric designed by a friend for the flower and bowl. 
"Grey clouds, storm looming
Take comfort from the simple 
Hot porridge breakfast." 
applique, stitched collage wearable art pin 
 And here's the last for the week... an abstract.  I think today's shows that I have been watching too many commentaries and reports on the COVID 19 and its impact. 
"Uncertain questions
Experts debate and differ .
It's not black and white." 

stitched paper and fabric collage wearable art pin 
To see all of the wearable art pins in my project,  please follow me  on Instagram or on Facebook ( as linked) and follow the hastag  #100pinpoems