Before this piece went to its rightful owner, I made a little film....
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Thursday, 22 January 2015
I am fascinated by the idea that my portraits may be living. Do you remember the bit in the witches where the little girl trapped in the painting moves around and ages? My nine year old eyes were wide.
I think out of all my embroideries Cordelia has lived the most, she has personally travelled to Mexico, made friends, had a lesbian experience, contemplated death and been a grownup rainbow bright.
Below we have The Nine Lives of Cordelia....
In the Skylight of Dalston Superstore with Tear Chandeliers
Meeting Mia in the studio
In the window of The Hospital Club
Conversing with Liquid Lucy
In the Jungle of Mexico
Spreading her wings for Gem & Bolt
Talking with Maria - Photo by Jessica Lutz
Playing with Death
A little film...
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
This year I worked on some portraits for Vestoj a beautifully curated magazine. This issue is on Slowness and as you know, I am a fan of slow! I have made a number of Englishmen uncomfortable by forcing them to Slow Dance this year as well as my profession!
I got to sew some great faces and they were picked up in a taxi to be photographed by true professionals, So I haven't actually seen how they have turned out yet, because when we were supposed to pop some champagne and swap magazines and stand around in a circle patting eachothers backs, we had to cancel, because everyone was sick, crying or scared. Ha ha
Here is an idea of what is in the issue, and if it appeals you may just click on the link above to purchase.
This issue explores the politics of time in dress - from our on-going infatuation with nostalgia, the current focus on craftsmanship and all the 'slow movements' that are gathering force in culture to the importance of technological advances in capitalist production and the constantly accelerating pace of society today - something which fashion is right at the centre of. Amongst much else, it contains all from anthropologist John Barker writing on mourning rituals in Papua New Guinea and Anabaptist scholar Donald Kraybill describing Amish fashion to interviews with designers Dries van Noten, Hussein Chalayan, Margaret Howell, Christophe Lemaire and Nigel Cabourn, image portfolios by Mark Borthwick and Justine Kurland and short stories by Lydia Davis and Hortense Calisher. In addition, 300 specially commissioned hand embroidered bookmarks made by Jupe by Jackie have been distributed at random - maybe yours will be the golden ticket!
Me actually being slow
After I got back from New Orleans this happened:
I literally just wanted to do 5 portraits and put it behind me, but in the end 40 people got in touch, because 30 people had shared the post that reached more than 7000 people (whatever that means in fb language).
It really cheered me up! Sometimes the internet is quite amazing.
So here are some of the ones I have done so far...
This is Allison Bell an Opera singer that I met in New Orleans shortly before, who originates from Tasmania and lives about 10 minutes down the road from me! I got a chance to very quickly take a picture of the shadow before she came to pick it up, lovely and spooky isn't it?
Next up we have
The Golden Girls
I went to school with twin sisters Allison and Mary Golden, although Mary is now Ayers.
Anyway, Mary is a bit of a hero of mine for various reasons and I look forward to sewing her larger when I have a nice big meaty show to produce for!
This the very handsome Thomas, a friend commissioned it for their anniversary and it was the first one I had framed, which actually turned out to be a disaster as when I picked it up, there was something about it making me uneasy, it wasn't quite right, so I had to get the guy to do it all over again and we tried quite a few things out to get it right. I am not usually so fussy,but once I had the idea in my head, I had to go with it. It turned and was part of the many many lessons I have been learning while working on this project.
This is Joey. He is my School friends husband. I was a bit pissed off, because she had a baby just before Christmas and totally overshadowed my imitation mini me with a real mini me! haha. He had really good hair and the lovely colours of the sunset on his face were a joy. really vibrant. I also added just some simple net layers to set the scene a bit more as it was really breathtaking. Framed it differently, in a box frame and in relief rather than behind a matt. It worked as this one had more relief sewing and I wanted it to be free as the image had so much freedom within it.
This is the first portrait I have done of a kid, I was nervous, hoping that it didn't look like Benjamin Button, but she came out very sweet. That colour and texture of blond hair that only seems to exist in the under fives was just beautiful to sew and her Dad was clever to pick a picture with interesting shadows and colour tones. I stretched it over a mushroom colour board to bring out that glowing halo, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture and this picture is just with my phone, sometimes you just don't get the time to really sit down and photograph things and experiment with light, which is really sad, as once you hand it over that is all that is left for you....
My work station du jour
I shall write about this beauty later as it hasn't quite reached its destination, but I had to share it...
Just getting the next batch ready to sew.
Back to work!
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Kirsha Kaechele and her husband David Walsh, the owner of MONA, in Tasmania, put up $100,000 for a Gun Buy Back in the 8th Ward in New Orleans. I was part of this show, my piece was actually in the Gun Buy Back area, so its audience were solely the people who came and gave up their guns. 500 were brought back and I am pretty sure that means lives were saved.
A recording studio was built around the corner, open to anyone who wants to come in and record some music, run by and technically supported by Mr Serv On, who I had the delight of teaching a bit of English slang to, which he turned into a rap instantly, can't quite wait to hear 'Get Your Snog On' ;-) and Sess 4-5, who continues to make me crack up when I remember him telling the in-house Kambucca maker that his concoction tasted of shoe water. The artist Lisa Lozano is going to stay and rally at their request, she is from New Orleans and you can see the roots growing out from her feet.
Here is some reading....
Here is the piece!
I could not have done it without the amazing kindness of Alex at Rubarbike, an incredible initiative right in the middle of a pretty difficult neighbourhood. It gives kids and locals a chance to earn bike dollars, by working to repair bikes, they knowledge the kids get from working allows them to build their own bikes, it was such a great atmosphere and Alex let me take 14 wheels for my piece, in return for the insides which I removed and returned to be recycled.
Truth is, I didn't make the piece I intended, I learnt a lot in the process and had to make some quick decisions since the space available changed and the impossibility of conveying the message intended dissolved at the 11th hour. Setting it up was harrowing, the police were milling around and the atmosphere was morose, plus I was pretty much crapping myself, never intending to ever go near a gun, suddenly they were all on their way to me! But at the end I was happy, thrilled, relieved, grateful, I hung the piece at the moment the cellist, Helen Gillet began to play and the guns began to roll in.
This is a bit about the piece that didn't get hung...
The Cycle of Perpetual Reciprocation
The piece came to me like a big bang. I have been making bicycle wheel pin art for 5 years now and it always amazes me, that with placement and colour you can tell a different narrative, even such contrasting ones as this piece, I usually use this model to describe some kind of creation, like the creation of the universe bursting from its embryo, the bicycle wheel representing the cycle of life and continuum of evolution. It is amazing that gun shots are there own kind of big bang and creation, the creation of a void.
The piece is reminiscent of a perpetual motion device, the back and forth, through the barrel of a gun. It removes the people entirely, since it is the device alone that makes killing so easy.
It has been difficult to work in such stark representative colours, the urge to tone it down, soften it up has vibrated my very being, but there is no softening possible and there is no sweetness about it
The blood drop came to me in the taxi deflated from an unsuccessful hang, but bolstered by Cat Glennon, who did some great last minute Art Mumming on me, further confirmed by talking with a friend John Orgon and came together when artist Daphane Park awoke from a nightmare after 3 hours sleep and all three of us set off at 7 o clock in the morning and showed it who was boss. I am so indebted to these two and VOILA! Isn't it beautiful!
Monday, 3 November 2014
This is my most recent embroidery. I have been working with this technique for a while and it has taken time meditating with it, light, slightly different materials, ways of framing it, to figure it out. I was happy with this photo, it was a perfect play on light and this 2 1/2Dness I am always seeking my work to exist within.
It started with a kiss, ended in divorce,
although it didn't exactly end.
This embroidery is of my ex-husband, he really worries about growing older and I wanted to give him immortality for Christmas. Just small gifts this year..
If his effigy is always moving, then it is never the same and always in the present, free from aging, but also living.
Now all I need is a bigwig art tycoon, to buy it and make sure there is always a fan on it for eternity.
(or until the cleaner unplugs the fan).
Ok, now that is immortality taken care of, NEXT!
Here is a little film of it in action, though this was only the beginning of what became of it, after a very inspiring film-making day with artists John Orgon, Lisa Lozano, John Norwood, Cat Glennon and Tom Beale. But that will take quite a bit more editing then this little nugget.
A few other photo's taken along the way...