Inspiration, Quotes, Stocktaking, Studio practice

Thinking, reflecting, digging

Sometimes it’s good to revisit favourite or resonant quotes when in contemplative mode or in the thick of studio work. You can get lost in your own world when busy in the studio but it’s good to remind yourself why you work there in the first place.

Searching for your voice, the tweak that will give the work its edge, the reality of what you’re trying to say: these are the things you dig for, work for, explore for.

You might already be familiar with these but it never hurts to read them again:

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Hmm… thanks Georgia.

 

Art is a way of recognizing oneself.

Louise Bourgeois

Agreed Louise.

 

Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented – which is what fear and anxiety do to a person – into something whole.

Louise Bourgeois

Yes. I like this.

 

Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.

Agnes Martin

Of course.

 

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.

Twyla Tharp

Thank God for escape routes.

 

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

Martha Graham

I just love this one Martha.

 

And here are a few images of works in progress. More old stuff, memories, trying to make sense of things…

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These are some of the works I’m getting ready for my solo show in September. I’ll let you know the details in a later post.

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Rhonda Pryor, Reminders, installation
Art classes, Exhibitions, Textiles, workshops

Reminders resurrected

I’m delighted to re-exhibit my 2013 work Reminders in the Inside Outside Sculpture Plinth in North Sydney’s Civic Park. The work is now configured differently inside its new glass display case: less that half its original size and without the rusty wire roses.

This piece, originally made as a site specific installation for the Hidden exhibition at Rookwood Cemetery, employs the concept of the veil, alluding to the crossing from life to the state of death. The film of sheer organza is embroidered with handwritten words and phrases, obtained from the personal correspondence of various members of my  family, that relate to the loss of loved ones.

Here are some day and night photographs in its new display location.

The original work wrapped around a tree and was staked to the ground with rusty wire twisted into the shape of roses.

The newly configured work will be on display in Civic Park for the next few weeks.

On another note: the Public Programs for my residency at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability have been finalised. You can click on this link to see when Open Studio days are scheduled, and check out the free workshops I’m offering for adults and children.

For a more comprehensive update on planned classes and workshops at various locations please check out this link to the News section of my website. I’m now offering an adults’ term class in creative processes at Ku-Ring-Gai Art Centre, as well as an assortment of stand alone workshops.

I hope you get to see Reminders while it’s on show in North Sydney. I’d love you to get in touch and let me know what you think!

 

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Residencies, Studio practice, upcycling, workshops

The Coal Loader: industrial artist studio residency 2018

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This week I begin a ten month artist residency at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability at Balls Head, Waverton in Sydney. A beautiful industrial site overlooking Sydney Harbour and situated next to HMAS Waterhen, it’s a tranquil, lush and inspiring place to work and explore.

If I don’t get too distracted by the views.

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I’m looking forward to exploring the industrial remnants and history of this unique site that serves as a much-loved community resource, in what has to be one of the most incredible locations for an artist-in-residence studio. The industrial features are everywhere – even the studio floor.

I’ll be working with old, used fabrics and other materials, reflecting on the influences of the site’s industrial and commercial history, its surviving architectural elements, and the juxtaposition with its current use.

There will be a public program including a monthly open studio and several workshops throughout the year, so the public can pop in for a chat and see what I’m working on, or learn some new skills if so inclined.

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Here’s a link you might be interested in with some details of the site. In a future blog I’ll add another link to the public programs page when the workshops and open studios have been finalised.

So drop around and say hi, and check out the community vegetable gardens, beautiful harbour views, great cafe (opposite the studio) and the chicken coop.

And don’t forget all that rust, those evocative tunnels, and that crumbly wharf – all begging to be photographed and explored.

 

 

 

North Sydney Council are gratefully acknowledged for the provision of the Coal Loader Artist Studio.

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Art spaces, Kids, Textiles, upcycling, workshops

New classes, new art centre

It’s been a full-on start to 2018. New workshops are planned, a refurbished art centre I’m involved with is nearing completion, and I have new work in development for exhibitions in the second half of the year.

Firstly, its amazing to see the progress of the refurbishment of a building in my local area (Lane Cove in Sydney) for a creative art centre where both practitioners and community can make,  practice, and  explore their creative potential. As a member of the Centrehouse Management Committee and its refurbishment sub-committee, it has been a bit of a long slog getting the new Gallery Lane Cove + Creative Studios building happening.

But this week’s site visit has made it all seem within reach at last. (Big pats on the back for all the fantastic committee members and Lane Cove Council staff who have made this happen!).

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The huge, light-filled painting and drawing studio.

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The textile studio.

With studios that will accommodate painting and drawing classes, textile practice, printmaking and ceramics, as well as space for practising visiting artists, the new centre will replace the old Centrehouse Community Art Centre facilities and be located on two floors beneath the existing (and recently renovated) Gallery Lane Cove.

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One of the artist-in-residence spaces.

On track to open mid year, the centre will be a welcome addition to the fast-developing northern Sydney region. Stay tuned for news about all the opening events!

I also have some new workshops coming up in the next couple of months I want to let you know about. Click on the links for more information and bookings.

Friday 23 March

Stitch Drawing on Fabric and Paper

Creating Wellbeing Program (free workshop), North Sydney Community Centre

 

Wednesday 11 April

Looking at Water: Memory Loss and Dementia Art Session

Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre

 

Thursday 12 April

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Boro Bag Workshop for Adults

Workshop Arts Centre

 

Monday 16 April

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Slow-Stitch Apron Workshop for kids (course #95)

Ku-Ring-Gai Arts Centre

 

Wednesday 18 April

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Making Memories with my Grandchild Workshop

Art Space on the Concourse, Chatswood

More details to follow…

 

Thursday 19 April

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Slow-Stitch Tote Bag Workshop for kids

Workshop Art Centre

 

Monday 23 April

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Slow-Stitch Apron Workshop for kids (course #108)

Ku-Ring-Gai Arts Centre

 

Thursday 26 April

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Slow-Stitch Tote Bag Workshop for kids

Workshop Art Centre

 

Can’t wait to see you or your kids at one of the workshops!

 

 

 

 

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Books, Exhibitions, Inspiration, mending, Stocktaking, Textiles

Reflections: 2017’s good stuff

The kids are back at school, I’ve had a massive clean-out in the studio, and I’m gearing up for some long studio sessions to make work for some exhibitions that are coming up later in the year. I’m just putting the finishing touches on workshop plans for children and adults so will let you know about those soon.

Over the Christmas break I have been doing the usual reflections on the previous year, taking stock and planning for the next. So … I thought it timely to share a few of the highlights and interesting things I’ve encountered before launching into 2018 proper.

EXHIBITIONS

Some standout exhibitions from 2017. So different but so good!

Piksa Niugini, Stephen Dupont: Darwin Museum and Art Gallery; The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture: National Gallery of Victoria; Interior Landscapes, Elisabeth Cummings: Orange Regional Gallery.

OTHER ARTISTS, AND OTHERWISE GENERALLY INTERESTING PEOPLE

Darn and Dusted

Check out the video of Luke Deverell’s fantastic mending enterprise.

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Tom of Holland

Another mending guru. Self-taught but with a penchant for the very precise.

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Hanne Friis

Norwegian textile artist extraordinaire. Oh my God. So beautiful I think I’m going to die.

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UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION

From nature – of all places.

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Kosciuszko National Park, long (v.e.r.y. long) walks amongst the wildflowers and lakes. The price you pay for silence and serenity…

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Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory.

BOOKS

2017 books

Working Class Man (and its prequel, Working Class Boy), Jimmy Barnes

Oh my God! These books are a compelling, gutsy, and raw insight into poverty, violence  and neglect, and the possible consequences for those caught up in that web. A brave revelation of the reality so many human beings face. Much food for thought.

The Last Girl, Nadia Murad

Another Oh. My. God. account of life from another world. Nadia’s story is a seriously courageous one, describing the murder of much her village’s population, and her kidnap and sexual slavery along with all the young girls from her village. Her account of her escape is chilling, and all the more haunting as few of her peers have been as lucky.

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

I loved this and couldn’t put it down, but was ever so slightly underwhelmed at the ending.

Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada

An insidious and chilling account of life in Berlin during World War 2: trying to live your life while trust and humanity evaporate around you at a rate of knots.

The Art Rules, Paul Klein

Some pretty decent, practical advice for artists here.

The Good People, Hannah Kent

An absorbing story about rural Irish farmers and their beliefs, although I didn’t find it quite as thrilling, or as heartbreaking, as her first novel, Burial Rites.

First We Make the Beast Beautiful, Sarah Wilson

An inside view of living with anxiety. Pretty compelling, especially if you know someone who is dealing with it. Quirks, weirdness and acceptance all thrown together.

Practical home Mending Made Easy, Mary Brooks Picken

Said to be a mending bible. It’s certainly thorough! One for my textile reference library.

Fashion and Orientalism, Adam Geczy

Meticulously researched history of oriental influences on Western clothing. Authored by my old lecturer!

The Textile Reader, Jessica Hemmings (ed.)

This is a gem. I’ve only just started it but am thoroughly fascinated by it. Recommended to anyone interested in textile theory.

Now I’ve got all that off my chest, and the decks are almost cleared, I’m looking forward to getting down to work in the studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Artists, Inspiration, Studio practice, Textiles, upcycling

Fragments and Patches

I want to share with you visual art and textile lovers a couple of intriguing articles I’ve come across of late.

The first is a piece in issue number 77 of Selvedge magazine, Keeping Body and Soul Together. If you don’t have access to a print copy you can see an abbreviated version of the article here, under the title Going Going Ge Ba. With the most beautiful photography by Mark Eden Schooley, the article by quilt expert Dr Sue Marks outlines the old Chinese practice of making ‘Ge Ba’, a type of textile collage. With up to 15 fabric layers held together with rice glue, the resulting pieces (roughly 40 x 60 cm) were pretty tough, and were cut up to sole shoes!

All kinds of fabrics scraps were used to make Ge Ba, anything worn out or no longer of use, old embroideries and even propaganda cloth. Perhaps they can be seen as a Chinese version of Japanese boro.

I think you’ll see why I love them. The compositions are striking textural abstracts, in much the same vein as boro.

Ge Ba collage

Image: Selvedge blog, Going Going Ge Ba, 27 September 2017

The other article I wanted to mention is also a Selvedge one. Painting with Wool, on their blog of September 27, features American textile artist Channing Hansen‘s organic knitted works. This guy is wild! His complicated compositions are made of various natural fibres he dyes himself, patch-knitted in rambling formations. His work process must be so frenzied!

Channing Hansen Marc Selwyn Fine Art

Image: Marc Selwyn Fine Art

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Image: Selvedge blog, Knitting DNA, 16 June 2017

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Image: Selvedge blog, Painting with Wool, 27 September 2017

Feeling inspired? Pretty amazing work, don’t you think?

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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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