Artists, Exhibitions, Galleries, Inspiration, Studio practice, Textiles

Flowers on the brain

Some new work on the go in the studio. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s spring or I’ve been gripped by Modus Operandi Flora, but flowers have definitely caught my eye these past few months.

I’ve been playing with making flowers with velvet and voile which I’m in the throes of experimenting with in an en-masse kind of way.

The two images shown above are studio shots. Everything is very much in the development stage. Studio updates to follow.

Meanwhile – enjoy the view…

Below are some of the floral distractions I’ve loved of late. From the top: Hiromi Tango, AGNSW, kids art installation at Gallery Lane Cove, Sarah Contos, MAASKosuke Tsumura, H&M, and Juz Kitson.

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Hiromi Tango at the Japan Foundation’s Eco-Anxiety – Holding a Deep Breath

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Embroidery details from the Asian Gallery at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

 

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Kids art installation at Gallery Lane Cove

Detail of a Sarah Contos work at Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Sydney


 

 

 

 

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Beautiful details at Love Is…Australian Wedding Fashion at Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

 

H&M advertising poster

 

Juz Kitson at Sydney Contemporary

 

 

 

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Art classes, Japan, Kids, repair, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

New Workshops for Kids

I just wanted to let you all know about my upcoming kids’ school holiday workshops. Book your crafty, stitch-crazy kids in for some imaginative and skill-building creative time!

STITCHDRAWING: 10-4, Friday 29th September or Friday 6th October, Ku-ring-Gai Art Centre

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This is a new workshop that will build manual and imaginative skills. Here’s what we’ll be up to:

Share in an imaginative day of stitch drawing: making marks and drawing on cloth. We’ll use some basic hand stitches with different thread to create texture, line and pattern. Use your wild imagination to make an experimental abstract or figurative picture. Take home your own original cloth drawing.

Book here

JAPANESE BORO CUSHION WORKSHOP: 10-4, Thursday 5th October, Workshop Arts Centre

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This is a really fun workshop. Like collage with stitching. And the kids will get lots of recycling ideas!

Ideal for ages 8+ years. Spend a day making hand sewn Japanese boro style cushions! We’ll use reclaimed Japanese fabrics, denim and reused cloth to stitch our creations. Cost includes all materials.

Book here

I’m always developing workshop ideas, so if you’re interested in other workshops or have ideas of what you’d like to learn, please get in touch.

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Artists, Exhibitions, Galleries, Textiles, upcycling

It’s a wrap

Well, Sighting Memory has finished and its time to head back into the studio. The exhibition, with Sepideh Farzam at Gaffa Gallery in Sydney, was a fantastic experience. The gallery team at Gaffa are great to work with, and it was a real pleasure working with another artist who has such an affinity for cloth and feeling, and who produces such sensitive, unique work.

For those of you who were unable to make it to the gallery, you can see images of the works below. Most of these were taken by the very talented Marty Lochmann.

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A Close Marriage, 2017, reclaimed clothing, silks, pearl beads, thread, 203 x 110 cm. Photograph: Marty Lochmann.

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A Close Marriage, detail. Photograph: Marty Lochmann.

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Sighting Memory, installation view. Photograph: Marty Lochmann.

As mentioned in my previous post the exhibition focused on textiles and their ability to store and convey memory, a theme characterising both our practices.

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Familial, (detail), 2017, Belgian linen, reclaimed textiles, thread, hand painted timber frame, 45 x 35 cm. Photograph: Marty Lochmann.

My framed works were representations of people and relationships close to me. Using old textiles that struck me as meaningful and memory-charged, together with thread or yarn, I stitched and abstracted ‘portraits’. The combination of Belgian linen and hand painted frames make specific reference to the tradition of portrait painting.

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Verandah (detail), 2017, Belgian linen, reclaimed textiles, thread, hand painted timber frame, 45 x 35 cm. Photograph: Marty Lochmann.

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A Close Marriage, and Sepideh Farzam’s Principles, 2017, fabric, vest and thread, 91 x 114 cm.

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Sepideh Farzam’s Don’t Leave Me Alone, 2017 (left), fabric, pullover and thread, 58 x 148 cm, and Insomnia, 2017 (right), doormat, fabric and thread, 60 x 56 x 53 cm.

Sepideh’s work concentrates on female perspectives and extensively uses hand stitching. Her amazing work, Insomnia (pictured below), is an incredible piece – sadly, my photograph doesn’t do it justice.

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Sepideh Farzam’s Insomnia.

If you’d like to be informed of upcoming exhibitions and events please get in touch via the link at the top of the page. I’d love to meet you at one of these events.

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The artists. Photograph: Jon Johannsen.

 

 

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Artists, Exhibitions, Experiments, Studio practice, Textiles, upcycling

Sighting Memory exhibition

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After several months of experimentation, studio rearrangement and all kinds of work disruption my new exhibition is about to open. It’s a joint show of textile based work with my friend (an amazing and very sensitive artist) Sepideh Farzam.

Sighting Memory will be opening at Gaffa in Sydney’s CBD on Thursday 17 August, from 6 to 8 pm. I hope you’ll be able to drop in and have a look if you’re in town. The show runs from 17 to 28 August and is open Mondays to Saturdays (Gaffa: 1st floor, 281 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000, T: 9283 4273).

SIGHTING MEMORY invite 2 copyHere is a bit of info about the exhibition:

Identity and relationships, memory and emotion: some of the most explored themes in contemporary society. Observations of human relationships: deep, body-embedded memories of personal experiences. Combine these subjects with the re-use of old textiles and you have a contemplative and sensitive appraisal of life.

Sighting Memory is a joint exhibition of new work by artists Rhonda Pryor and Sepideh Farzam.

Human beings long for connection. The ability of cloth to hold traces of direct personal contact make it perfect memory stuff. It can hold traces of body shape, show unique signs of wear by its user, even bear an individual’s DNA. It’s a fascinating substance to work with.

While working across several disciplines as artists, we’re drawn to the significance of textiles and their ability to trigger a memory response. Fragments of old, worn clothing combine with other materials to draw attention to the uniqueness and intimacy of human ties and the feelings they spark. With a keen sensitivity to observation, Sighting Memory explores these themes in an abstract way, addressing identity and referencing portraiture.

Here are a few images of my experimentation and process leading up to the exhibition:

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Each work has been developed using Belgian linen and old textiles, in a reference to painting, relationships and personalities embedded in memory. I like to think of these works as ‘portraits’. Not everyone’s definition, I know, but I think its time for an update.

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Each frame has been individually hand painted to tie in with their ‘portrait’.

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Please pop in to see the show if you get the chance. I’d love to know what you think.

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Art classes, Japan, repair, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

Workshop wonders

IMG_5700I gave a one-day Japanese Boro Bag Workshop to some really delightful and enthusiastic kids this week at Ku-ring-gai Art Centre.

I was amazed at how quickly some of the kids grasped the concept as well as handling needle and thread.

One little grade three girl did the neatest backstitch for the seams (have a look below)!

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fullsizeoutput_cf4We used denim from old jeans, calico, old Japanese indigo-dyed cotton, an old indigo-stencilled yukata and a few other bits and pieces, and stitched with linen thread, sashiko thread and fine string.

They were very receptive to the idea of using old clothes in this way, and we talked about the aesthetic appeal of combining these fabrics with a limited palette and varying patterns and textures.

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fullsizeoutput_cfaI pre-sewed the bag linings to save time, and sensibly, brought the sewing machine so I could hurry things up towards the end of the day, but the kids were keen to hand sew the side seams.

I’ll think I’ll need to make the workshop a two-day one next time.

fullsizeoutput_cf6The results were just beautiful!

And the kids learned so much too.

Always a bonus!

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Stocktaking, Studio practice, Textiles

Studio (dis)organisation and other questionable habits

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So when did a tidy studio become a thing? I’ve tried, believe me, but just can’t make it work. All those blog posts and magazine spreads that show studios looking like they’ve just been painted, pimped and primed for ‘work’ do my head in. Little snippets of showpieces, that’s all they are…

Mine, on the other hand, simply operates around a kind of chaos where I can generally find everything (thank you visual memory) but can’t seem to negotiate the time to put everything away before starting something new. In fact, I frequently work over the top of things because I haven’t cleared a nice, inviting horizontal surface first.

I can confidently say I have nil clear horizontal planes anywhere in my workspace. This is, of course, exacerbated due to preparing for an upcoming show in August, and an influx of more pre-loved clothing I’ve been taking apart, but I’ve come to realise – only lately – that I really don’t care. That tidy desk tidy mind stuff just doesn’t match my brain. Whatever works.

These pictures are of some of the tidier bits of my studio. Full of promise and wonder.

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In fact, the whole chaos thing seems to suit me. I love finding bits of cloth/paper/yarn/photographs/wood/clumps of tangled thread/hair around the place and allowing them to suggest form for another work. The process can take a while though… like years.

And while I’m at it, falling prey to chaos has been the reason for my non-blogging of late. My apologies to anyone expecting the regular fortnightly thing I promised earlier in the year, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

So my advice to you all is this: don’t even think of trying to conform to the expectations of others (within reason I suppose I should add); just get on with your thing, and; believe in yourself while you’re going about it.

 

 

 

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Experiments, Paper, repair, Studio practice, Textiles

Studio work: chaos, conflict, and the path to resolution

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I’ve been spending time in the studio working on some paper pieces – with cloth and text   too, of course – reflecting on chaos, conflict and resolution.

It seems to be part of an evolving theme I’m exploring about my dad. Always having thought of him as a fairly difficult man, with moments of intense love and attachment, I have for many years thought about examining his relationship with his family and his love of the Papua New Guinean people – his comrades during World War II.

Dad trained members of PNG police force during the war, and recorded, in Pidgin English, testimonies of the native people affected by Japanese war crimes after its end. You’ll see some of his handwritten and typed records in these photos.

Rather than embarking on a comprehensive analysis of his life, I’m finding myself drawn to examining bits, vignettes if you like, that catch in my memory. And the more I do this the more I see parallels with contemporary life, and sometimes specifically with my own.

In the contemporary world Japan is a major trading partner and friend of Australia; a remarkable contrast between Dad’s memories and mine. I love the Japanese, their culture, art practices and traditions. And the contrasts between the WWII era and now are both strikingly different and proof of the possibilities of reconciliation.

Having dug up some lovely vellum I bought in New York twenty years ago (in my painting days – and I’d always thought it too beautiful to use), I’m combining it with a variety of rice papers and vintage threads.

A selection of stitches that have their own particular meanings in this context: a ‘mattress’ surgical stitch, running/sashiko, and the stitch method used to repair Japanese sake bags (I don’t know if it has a name, but please let me know if you do) are really important to the work.

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Vintage Japanese rice paper from notebooks and ledgers.

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Burnt Arches paper, surgical stitching in vintage linen thread, handwritten text.

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Placement of layers of hand dyed muslin, like bandages, over the work, ready for stitching.

An attempt at mending.

I’m hoping to get at least one piece completed this week, so will show you the results in due course…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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