Well, it is finally 'done'. The shift into my new studio is complete and yesterday was the first day that I could actually sit down and weave for about three weeks. It has been a long hard job with ten years of 'stuff' having to be sorted in my old studio, shelving units all painted up nicely and everything that would not fit into the new studio has had to find another home and be stored. But it is all done now and I can finally get back to normal. It will take a wee while to adjust to the new space. It is much smaller than the old studio but I should soon get used to that. I will have to be much tidier I guess, and try not to accumulate too much more. I should have more flexibility about my hours of work as well. I am sharing the space with Anne Field whose studio it has been for the last 20 years, and Wilson Henderson, for whom this studio is his first public space. A new venture for him too.
Here I am, looking all forlorn and small in a big empty space!
As you can see from this photo my section of the new studio is definitely smaller but I do fit in quite nicely. The guys who helped me shift managed to carry the big light table up the stairs and that was a bit of a mission, but I was so pleased that they were able to do that. It was very heavy but it fits nicely into the far corner. I have the two Lapponia looms in this space and my big loom has gone into storage in a shed out at Wilson's place.
This view shows my tapestry 'Lace 2' which is still a work in progress and Wil's jack loom with some of his work around it is in the background. Anne's big AVL loom is to the right behind Wil's loom but is not visible in this photo.
My studio is in a state of chaos at the moment as I am in the middle of shifting it all into another space. I am moving with my friend Wilson Henderson into Anne Field's studio space and will be sharing with them. It is all a bit of a mission as this new studio space is smaller than what I have now, but this means that I have to organize my space better and store some of my ten years of accumulated 'stuff'. The last few days I was painting my shelving units etc and that was also rather difficult as we have been having temperatures up past 35 degrees centigrade, so the paint was drying almost as fast as I was putting it on. The benefit of that was that I could do two coats in a very short time. These photos show that state of chaos that I am in. Yesterday I shifted a number of my yarns into the new storage for them, and today will be back into painting the rest of my studio furniture.
In this second photo you can see the tapestry 'Lace 2' still in progress. I have been working on it since my exhibition work was completed and have woven about 10cm all the way across since the end of November. On Monday my big loom will be taken down and will go into storage out at Wil's place as he has lots of big sheds out there in Loburn where he lives. We will also take the other two looms to the new space and all my shelves and drawers etc. so hopefully by the end of next week I will be settled again. Next weekend I also have to help set up the Professional Weavers exhibition 'A Common Thread' at The Chamber Gallery in Rangiora, so it is a busy time for me, and not a lot of weaving is being done. However, I am working hard at home drawing a large work for the Margaret Stoddart Award at CoCa next month. The theme for this award is New Zealand flora, or plants, flowers etc, and I have chosen to draw the Marlborough Rock Daisy and the New Zealand Iris. I took photographs of these plants in the Botannical Gardens, manipulated them on my computer and am drawing from the resulting image. So the work metamorphoses from one medium to the next.
This photo shows the first drawing of this work which consists of four drawings put together to create one work. I am drawing with conte and charcoal, and these are very much like paintings with a drawing quality about them.
This photo shows the work in progress. To the right are the first two completed drawings and the one on the left is the third work. I have now finished this one too and started work a couple of days ago on the last one. These last two drawings will hang to the right of the first two. I will post images of the work when it is completely finished. Each section measures 1metre x 71cm so it will be a large work altogether.
Well, it has been quite a while since I put my last entry into my blog. My main focus over the last few weeks was getting my work completed for the exhibtion at CoCA. It is all now finished and the work is hanging in the exhibition. The opening was just over a week ago and it has taken me all this time to get on to putting up the photographs etc. The opening was a very nice event with a number of my friends and family attending. I was so busy talking to people all night that I quite forgot to take any photographs of the opening, so was rather annoyed at myself for that. However here are some photographs of the work. I was really pleased with how the exhibition has come together.
The photographs shown here are all dealing with things like cracks in the pavement, little dead birds, fallen leaves in the gutters etc etc. I am attempting to show beauty in the things that we normally do not see, or walk over unaware of how they look.
The tapestries were hung on the back wall and the drawings to the right.
This drawing was the second one of the fallen camelias. I draw with the coloured conte crayons and charcoal and the end result is a work that is somewhere between a painting and a drawing. I love drawing the fine details and am sure that my tapestry practice has influenced the way I draw.
I loved working on this drawing. It is very detailed and took me about two weeks working in the early mornings for about 2 hours and again in the evenings for another two hours, so a lot of work but I was very pleased with the result.
This last image shows two of the 'Undefoot' photographs. For the last few months I have been walking around with my camera and my eyes glued to the ground and some of these photographs have turned out very well. I print them up on my Canon Fine Printer on to Fine Art Arches Digital paper and then they are pasted on to a board and framed in a box frame in the same way that I frame the small tapestries. They are then sprayed with a UV filter spray which helps to protect them. They are in an edition of 5 so can also be sold unframed.
Tapestry workshop in Palmerston North
Last week I was in Palmerston North teaching the Manawatu tapestry weavers colour and design in tapestry. We had a great week, very full on, and the students produced a lot of work and hopefully learnt a lot. They were quite out of their comfort zones with some of the design exercises that they had to do, but were pleasantly surprised that they could actually achieve good design concepts to weave. My goal was to teach them that they could use their own images as a starting point for something new. We also worked on colour blending exercises, learning how colour works in weaving and finding many ways to mix and blend the yarns.
Beth, Jeanette and Joy working on their colour exercises.
The group discussing their designs
Some of the designs and weaving that was produced during this workshop.
This was Gwynneth's design that was the result of a line drawing of vases and pots, which was then cut up into strips and rearranged and glued down on to a fresh sheet of paper. Gwynneth then drew into the shapes and finally used colour to create an abstract composition
In this design, Beth placed a grid on acetate over a portrait photograph and then drew into a grid on her paper, using colours chosen from the corresponding grid space on the photograph. A lovely abstract drawing resulted.
This workshop took place at Heather Adlam's home and I would like to thank Heather for her hospitality and warmth which rally made my stay so enjoyable.
Work continues and Paradise ducks
I have been working hard in my small studio at home on the small tapestries for my exhibition in November. These small works are a spinoff from my 'Beachcomber'tapestry which was in the 'Land' exhibition in Canberra last May. Beachcomber has sparked a whole new series of work, my 'Underfoot' series. The first small tapestry is 'Small Blackbird' and is 10 x 16cm in size. I completed this one about two days ago and have now started on the secoond wee work 'Two Sparrows'.
I am not using realistic colour as you can see from this photograph which was taken when I had just started the row of sumak before the top heading. The design for 'Small Blackbird' was very complex and I have simplified it a lot though it still looks very detailed. It actually seemed to take an age to weave though I was only working on it in the early mornings and in the evenings while the light still held.
I started 'Two Sparrows' yesterday morning and completed the heading then, and last night continued on the main part of the tapestry. This one is also 10 x 16cm so I turned my frame upside down and am working on the same warp as 'Small Blackbird'. So they will both come off the frame together. You can see from the cartoon how I have simplified this image. The colour is a little more realistic, but is still not wholly natural. I am enjoying weaving these wee tapestries but am finding that my body is complaining a little, as I am still working on the larger pieces during the day in my studio at the Arts Centre. But when a deadloom looms, one has to keep on working!!
I took a break yesterday at lunchtime and wandered around town with my camera and took this photograph of the Paradise ducks and their babies. This is the first sighting for this spring of the baby ducklings. The mum, the one with the white head, was hugely fractious and actually attacked a seagull who dared to fly a little too close to the wee ones.
The Paradise ducks are Pasture birds but the last two or three years they have colonised the city, and there is a pair roughly every 50 metres along the banks of the Avon river which winds through through Christchurch. This pair live between the bridges on Worcester Boulevard and Hereford St. and this is their second year breeding there. The ducklings are lovely little black and white striped creatures and their parents are very good parents. They are shelducks so are slightly larger than the grey ducks and the mallards and they pair up for life. I am hugely entertained by their antics on my way to work each day.
A Tapestry in the Contemporary Art Collection
Last weekend I went to a breakfast given by the Friends of the Christchurch Art Gallery where Julia Morison and I talked about our collaborative tapestry 'Raiment'. The tapestry has been put up in the Contemporary Art Collection at the Christchurch Gallery and it looks really great alongside the works of Christine Webster and Bill Hamond. Our talk went very well and everyone was very interested in the concept that Julia designed and the interpretation that I put on her work. A lot of interest was also shown in the techniques of tapestry and they were all amazed at how much detail could be achieved in tapestry. I pointed out the different setts in the work which created a lovely contrast in textures. Julia said that she was really happy to see her work developed in ways that created something new from her first concept. Together we were able to make a work that neither of us would have achieved on our own.
Here the tapestry is hanging alongside Christine Webster's large cibachrome photographs. The top photograph shows the tapestry alongside Bill Hamond's painting.
I have been working on the second 'Underfoot' tapestry for two weeks now and it is going quite well, though not as fast as would like it to. The most complex part of this tapestry is in the beginning of it so hopefully the next sections will go along a lot faster. I did not cut 'Underfoot 1' off the loom as I had put on enough warp for the two tapestries. The second tapestry is being woven above the first one. I unwound the two works so that I could photograph both of them at one time.
I am having to pace my weaving time as I am having a lot of problems with my neck. It has been really sore this last week as I have been working far too hard, trying to get all the work compelted for the exhibition.
These two tapestries will be shown in my exhibiton at CoCA in November along with some small tapestries on the same theme, some photographs and some drawings. Here is an example of one of the drawings. It is not quite finished as yet. I am using coloured conte crayons, pastel pencils and charcoal in the drawings.
Somce the cutting off of 'Musicians in the Square' I have been working on a new series of tapestries, drawings and photographs. I have an exhibition booked at CoCA for the end of November so am working hard on this series entitled 'Underfoot' to produce enough work for the exhibition. The first tapestry has been going very well and I wove two thirds of it in the first three weeks. Unfortunately I have been ill with a nasty flu all this week so the tapestry has come to a full stop for the moment. The tapestries are smaller than the 'City LIfe' series being about 92 x 70cm in size, sett at 8epi and woven in the same style as the 'City Life' works. The theme is dealing with the 'Underfoot' the sections of the city that we all walk across and hardly ever notice. I love some of the abstract patterns and designs that can come from a rough section of the walkways, gutters and streets of the city - finding beauty in the ordinary and unnoticed.
This first tapestry is of a section of the pavement showing the autumn leaves and I added two little sparrows into this work as I felt it needed some life forms. You can also see the tips of my shoes which I decided to leave in the design. Here are some photographs of the work in progress so far.
This photographs shows the first two or three days weaving. It took me two days to warp the loom and I put enough warp on for the first two tapestries. I created four different images from the same photograph of leaves and a thrown away bottle in a gutter, which you can see to the right of the tapestry. They are all slightly different in colour and I am working from all of them, making choices as I weave, so the tapestry will be different from any of them.
The first little sparrow is woven and on to the next one.
This photograph shows that I have woven the leaves and the bottle and am not too far away from finishing. It would have been finished this week if I had not caught this ghastly flu bug. Not sure just when I will get back to work, but hopefully in the next day or so. I can't remember when it has taken me over a week to get over am illness like this flu, but I am still not feeling as if I can go into the studio yet. However, I am managing to work on a drawing in this series at home, in dribs and drabs as I feel up to it.
I hsve printed up eight potographs in this 'Underfoot' series so far, and I am really pleased with them. The drawing is coming along quite well too, so hopefully the exhibition will be interesting. The tapestries are much more decorative than the photographs which are realistic and show images that I probably would not weave.
Last week saw the last of the weaving of 'Musicians in the Square'. This tapestry had been on the loom for quite some time as I had to stop working on it to weave 'Mysterium'. 'Musicians in the Square' is the fourth tapestry in the 'City Life' series and features very abstracted images of young people playing their musical instruments in Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch. This tapestry was a lovely one to weave, lots of interesting shapes and colours and very little hatching so it was really quite quick to weave. It is a large work being over 2 metres long and almost 1 metre wide, pretty much the same size as 'The Exhibition Opening' tapestry.
Don't I look sad! Don't believe it though, it's just one of those moments that the camera caught, not the best photograph of me at all. The tapestry is now hanging across the top of the loom waiting for me to start work on the finishings. The slits are all sewn, as I do that as I weave. Discussions on the tapestry list talked about Archie's method of 'sewing as you go' and I always do that too. It does help to keep the tapestry strong and sturdy, and helps to stop buckling especially when there are a lot of colour changes and small shapes etc. I now have to tidy up the back of the tapestry, cutting all the threads to the same size, usually a bit over an inch long, darning in all those threads that are near the edges and those that I feel might come through to the surface, though that rarely happens. I always weave a hem at each end of the tapestry, and then when it comes off the loom I sew bias binding or a tape across the warp threads and fold the hem to the back and then handstitch the tape to the tapestry using a zig zag stitch which stops it from showing at the front. And of course, the velcro has to be sewn at the top of the tapestry for hanging, so lots of finishing work to do yet.
However, I have now been working for just over a week on a new piece, still 'City Life' but the 'Underfoot' part of our city. As I walk about the city I notice the small things, the things we walk over and don't usually see. I take heaps of photographs of these lovely little compositions that are all around us, and I have started to weave the first one of this new series. These works are smaller, 92 x 70cm and will be woven in the same simple techniques, colours mixed on the bobbins but not during the weaving, and abstract shapes etc. I am hoping to show these works in November at my exhbition at CoCA, along with the other 'City LIfe' tapestries. I am hoping that Warren will let me show a couple of the ones that have been seen before, as I would like to show all of this series together. It is sometimes a problem when the process is so slow, to be able to save the pieces for an exhibiton at the end of weaving a series. I am always tempted to show them at other exhibitions and at any opportunity that comes up. I actually think it is a shame to always have to show 'new work' only at an exhibition, as there are always different people seeing the work at any one time.
Lightwaves Exhibition at Pataka Art Museum
The Professional Weavers Network of New Zealand's exhibition 'Lightwaves' was opened at Pataka Art Museum and Gallery on Sunday 29th June. Here is a sample of some of the works on show in the exhibition.
Photo 1: Trish Armour's lovely tapestry 'the Dance of the Pleiades'. Photo 2: A view of the exhibition with Wilson Henderson's double weave 'Windows' hanging in the forefront and Elizabeth Arnold's tapestry 'On Reflection' in the background. Photo 3: My monofilament work 'Mysterium'. Photo 4: Betty Booth's lovely work 'Lightwaves and Pathways' shines in the flash of the camera. Photo 5: The colour in Bridget Howitt's weaving 'Midnight Sun - Whiti Te Marama i te Po' also shines in the light. Photo 6: Diane Dudfield's work glows in the dark section of the gallery.Photo 7. Peg Moorhouse's work 'Colourfall' features novelty threads that catch the light. 8. Rose Pelvin's lovely piece 'Litehaus' shines colours.
The exhibition is on show along with three other textile exhibitions at Pataka until the 5th October