Monday, 5 September 2011

Crows Nest

I went up to Crows Nest Art Gallery yesterday and installed 4 of my works for their latest exhibition, Something Only We Know. Some of these works are a bit older, and I was astounded by where my head was then, and how connected these works are to periods in my life. 

I don't think I have mentioned these works at all so far, but this is some of the soft sculptural work I just love to do:

A collection of cups and bottles, 2009

A collection of cups and bottles, 2009

Background: works by Chelsie Luck

Family, 2009-2010

Family, 2009-2010

Family, 2009-2010

Fairy-ring 1, 2010-2011

Fairy-ring 1, 2010-2011

Fairy-ring 1, 2010-2011

Fairy-ring 2, 2011

A moment of install, in the background, works by Ester de Boer

The works of Ester de Boer

And a little bit more Chelsie Luck

The ladder was in front of Danish Quapoor's works, so, here's Danish with some of mine. What's he so mad about?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

In the interim...

It's been awhile. I have some study commitments, and like most, have to hold down 'a real job'. Fortunately, it's one I love, and I'm learning new things every day.

I haven't stopped though, just slowed to a crawl. Here's what I have been up to in the meantime:

150+ mushrooms, slowly, slowly.

So, I have talked about this one before:

I have done a couple more, and here they are in order of production:

Those ones have been created on some hand-me-down cross stitch material I have had lying around the house for years. Now, I am starting to think about what else I can cross stitch on. It just needs a clearly defined and evenly spaced weft and weave, right?

Raffia placemat from the best op shop I know (you know who you are) 
And to top it all off, I am expanding my stitch repertoire:

Stitch types: Long stitch, back stitch, running stitch, cross stitch

Trying to be artsy with the detail.
So there you go. Works in progress and recent experiments. I have also been delving into macrame, and wearable art. More on those later.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Crafternoon, July.

Every afternoon this last week has been a crafternoon, and it has been fabulous.

After finishing a major work, I was having trouble starting anything else. That was fear of commitment, and a fear of the ol' blank canvas. How about some low-key, minimal risk pieces to increase my confidence, and re-focus?

Back to some kind of drawing board...
Here are a pile of my favourite books, depending on the's search was 'cross stitch', so we have Beeton's Book of Needlework (1870), Goldenhands no. 3 (1972), Best of Handmade by both Woman's Day and Woman's Weekly (1974 & 1991), and a book on calligraphy. I want to do some things with words.

Can you read this? So far, it says 'Pubic hair' 
So far in cross-stitching, I have discovered about myself one new thing; stitching the words adds weight to the statement. As a reader, and a wishful member of the intelligentsia, I can use words liberally to express meaning, and verbosity can be an issue. If you are going to spend 5 minutes picking out each letter in tiny stitches, what is said needs to mean something, at least to yourself.

For my first stitchery, I chose the phrase 'Pubic hair is normal'... There were other contenders, but when looking through one of the Best of Handmades I found a 'delightful monthly floral calendar' to stitch, and one of the flowers was the Thysanotus, commonly known as the 'Fringed Lilly'. Double entendre, anyone?

Left to right: the plan, the work, and the book I sourced the plan from.


The studio space, i.e. the floor directly in front of the couch.
Nearly there....
Done! Now I just have to finish it off...

Altogether, this took a couple of hours an afternoon, for four afternoons in a row. I think this was a good way to end this visual version of writers' block. I have a bunch of new ideas, and a new way of making.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Pimp My Dress #1

I altered this dress for my birthday. I found it for $3 at an op-shop called the Good Samaritan. It is one of my favourites, as they have a $2 costume bin I dive into every time I am in the store. Costumes....more like every day casual wear! Also, the dress did not have a tag, and the woman asked "Is three dollars o.k....?" 

While it fitted well from the waist down, it was obviously sewn for someone with a smaller rib cage and breasts. I do not have any photos of me wearing the dress in this state, but imagine 10kg of potatoes in a 5kg bag. That is what I looked like in this dress.

So, then it was time to unpick the seams on either side of the back zipper, and attach two lace inserts. There was a little bit of lace left over from some other thing, so I measured two isosceles triangles and sewed them into the space where the seams were. It's hard to see, but I added approximately 10cm to the bust by doing that. I hand-sew everything, and looking closely you can see a pattern of Xs along the lace and down to the start of the tulle of the skirt. I did that because I thought running stitch would be boring, and I didn't have any thread in Insipid Pink.

Lace inserts and stitchery
So, then it was time to alter the bottom. Using lengths of tulle approximately 15cm wide by 1.5m long I made concertina folds 5cm long to add more volume to the bottom of the dress and sewed those firmly to the hemline.
From a distance

Front view

Back view
For the most part then I was done. I thought the uninterrupted pink material of the bodice was unflattering to my skin tone, so I sewed a length of lace around the top of the bodice, to break it up visually.
Finished dress modelled by the ever patient Puzzletits

Back view
Back detail

Lastly, there were a few rips in the pink tulle I needed to patch up. When you wear only secondhand stuff, mending is a permanent fixture of the landscape and finding a balance was hard with the tulle. How to mend the rips without destroying the delicacy of light pink mesh? Make it part of the detail of the skirt! I used a special swirly stitch* to make it look like everything I did was on purpose. Which it totally was.

So, there is my birthday dress. 100% secondhand and reused material, maybe...20 hours work altogether? Worth it.

*button stitch, or blanket stitch, if you want to be precise.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I have recently been thinking about playing on words, visual puns, and just being clever in general through skillful appropriation. This is in relation to textile works, and my creation of them. I am tentatively working towards something, but let's see where this goes.

A mighty woman with a hooked needle, whose thread
Is imprisoned patience, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her left hand
Glows world-wide skills; her blue eyes command
The air-bridged walls that her living room frames.
"Keep mass-produced articles, your storied consumerism!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your fibres, your threads,
Your huddled linens yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming closet.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my scissors beside the golden door!"

Adapted from 'The New Colussus' 1883, by Emma Lazarus

No artist is an island, entire of itself; every one is a piece of The Scene, a part of the main, if a part be washed away by the sea, it is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a house of thy friends or thy own were; any artist's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Making; and therefore never send to know for whom is about to make it big; they make it big for thee.

Adapted from John Donne, Meditation XVII
English clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631)

The path of the craftsmanwoman is beset on all sides by the size inequities of secondhand fabrics and the tyranny of Lindcraft. Blessed is she, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the rags through the valley of darkness, for she is truly her house's keeper and the finder of lost opportunities.
And I will strike down upon thee with great veloutine* and furious angora those who would attempt to pervert and disrupt their artworks. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my velour upon thee.

*velvety corded wool

adapted from the 'Ezekial 25:17' spiel by Samuel L Jackson, Pulp Fiction 1994.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Crafternoon, June.

The ingredients

Old shoulder pad + scissors = cut up shoulder pad and a piece of foam for an ink pad.

Milk bottle lid...and there's my ink pad.

Got my letters lined up and ready to go.

This afternoon I was lettering some 6cm x 4cm tags from a recycling paper experiment from a few months ago.

Needles Hooks Pins

Adding images to the opposite side of the tags. 
About a year ago, I hollowed some books. The paper I made was from those recycled scraps. That paper was made into tags. I had saved the most interesting images during the hollowing out process, and I used these in the tags.

This was the wee store I had on the 25th at Metro Cafe. If you look closely, you can see the tags made from hollow books, on the hollow books. I love circles.