Exhibitions, Residencies

Placemarking: the exhibition and workshops

Here are some of the photographs by Ian Hobbs of my Placemarking exhibition last month at Willoughby Museum. Special thanks to Ian and to Jacky Talbot from Willoughby City Council – a great art facilitator and colleague.

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These are photographs of one of the workshops I conducted in conjunction with the exhibition. Embroidering text onto photographs, we used a variety of threads, yarns and textiles to transfer handwriting onto photographic images from the museum’s lace collection. We had a really enthusiastic bunch who made some lovely works.
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Exhibitions, Residencies

Process to Placemarking: a peek at the evolution of my current exhibition

I’ve just completed a residency with Willoughby Historical Society at the invitation of Willoughby Council as part of their Visual Arts Biennial (a new initiative incorporated within their Emerge spring festival). The biennial’s theme is Imagining Place, and I was asked to look at their collection with a particular emphasis on their lace and embroidery. After several month’s work the exhibition Placemarking is now in full swing (so please drop by before Sunday 27th September and have a look if you’re in the area – details are at the end of this post).

I’d like to show you some of my process and describe how I approached the residency as I’m always interested in the working methods of other artists, and I thought you might be too.

The museum is tiny, in a 1912-built cottage, and I was allocated one room to exhibit in. My practice often focuses on personal attachment to objects and clothing, and the influences of time on them, so this criteria seemed a good match for my work.

Most of the garments are beautiful of course, but some are stained and torn (my personal favourites as I love the mending and the fact that the clothes were important or otherwise valued by their wearers). I felt incredibly privileged to be allowed to handle these precious things. I photographed some of the collection in close-up, focusing on beautiful details while allowing other parts of the image to fade away. Some garments were photographed underwater and some piled up with sunlight filtering through. These images were then cropped to square format with additional focusing on particular details.

Vintage lace and embroidered blouses, bodices and children's dresses drying after being photographed under water

Vintage lace and embroidered blouses, bodices and children’s dresses drying

I photographed documents and early 20th century local subdivision maps, further exploring links to place, with the intention of making ‘wordlace’ by manipulating the images. Wanting to activate the space more I had silk georgette digitally printed with these images to make a vintage gown that would be lit from underneath, illuminating the overlapping images in a lace-like way. But first I had to make up a toile of the dress (after getting my hands on a gorgeous reproduction 1930s gown pattern form the UK) as georgette is notoriously slippery and difficult to handle. I’m so glad I did……

The toile for the vintage dress

The toile for the vintage dress

Checking the drape of the finished fabric

Checking the drape of the finished fabric

Cutting the georgette was extremely tricky and slow as matching the print at the seams wherever possible was important. The assembly took about eight times as long as the toile because of the pattern matching and slipperiness of the fabric. But once on the stand I was really pleased with it – all flowy and light and transparent.

Cutting the digitally printed silk georgette

Cutting the digitally printed silk georgette

The almost completed 1930s evening dress

The almost completed 1930s evening dress

Installation in the museum went smoothly although the lighting was pretty tricky as the museum’s lights were unsuitable, and permanent attachment of equipment wasn’t allowed, so numerous other alternatives had to be tried out before settling on a satisfactory source.

Installing the photographs

Installing the photographs

Installing the dress

Installing the dress

One of the old mangles was moved to the museum’s front verandah and set up with sheets overflowing into the trees in its front yard: a bit of fun to attract attention to the museum and the biennial generally (although the configuration of sheets has since changed, draping down the large tree at the front rather than over the pathway).

The old mangle on the front verandah

The old mangle on the front verandah

The front of the museum

The museum entry

Professional photographs of the installation and a selection of final photographic images will be coming soon, as will photos of my workshops associated with the exhibition. I’d love to know what you think. Are you a bit textile-intoxicated like me?

Placemarking invitation

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Exhibitions

Lines of Communication opening today

Lines of Communication opens today at Incinerator Art Space, 2 Small St Willoughby.

I’d love you to drop by and take a look and let me know what you think. The show is open 10 – 4 Wednesdays to Sundays until 16th November.

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Postcard

Postcard, 2014

Tracer Bullets, 2014

Tracer Bullets, 2014

Testimonies, 2014

Testimonies, 2014

Testimonies, 2014

Testimonies, 2014

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Uncategorized

Exhibition preview: Lines of Communication

A small preview of images from my upcoming exhibition Lines of Communication at Incinerator Art Space (2 Small St Willoughby, 29 October to 16 November), opening 1 November 2-4 pm. I’ve been researching this project for quite a while now so I’m interested to see what you think.

News, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag, silk & mohair yarn, hand stitching

News, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag, silk & mohair yarn, hand stitching

Pitt St, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag

Pitt St, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag

Weep. 2014. archival pigment print on cotton rag, polyester georgette, vintage silk thread, hand stitching

Weep. 2014. archival pigment print on cotton rag, polyester georgette, vintage silk thread, hand stitching

And a little background to the work:

Like a worn and discarded garment the traces of human touch evident in a handwritten message can bear some ephemeral memory of a life. Just as a piece of clothing can take on the odour and even shape of a person, the gestures in handwriting reflect a unique individuality.

These elements constitute the starting point for Lines of Communication, a photographic exhibition that examines the combination of these two aspects of memory in another context. Reflecting on written communications during traumatic times between servicemen, their comrades and loved ones, this exhibition journeys from the First World War through to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Photography of original documents and images from the State Library of NSW and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, together with hand stitching, and vintage textiles converge in Lines of Communication to contemplate expression through hand and typewritten text, memory, life and loss.

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Exhibitions, Prize wins

International Women’s Day Art Prize win

I found out yesterday I’ve been awarded the International Women’s Day Art Prize! Thank you judges Janet Parker Smith and Katrina Cashman. What a thrill!

http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Whats+On/International+Womens+Day

The Weeping Letter

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Competition selection

Competition selection

I’ve been selected as a finalist in the 2014 International Women’s Day Art Prize for my work The Weeping Letter. The exhibition runs from Friday 7th until Saturday 22nd March (opening Thursday 6th from 6-8) at See Street Gallery, Meadowbank, Sydney.

IWDART

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