Progress of Lace 2 
Since my return from up north I have been working on 'Lace 2' again and am progressing well. I would love to have this tapestry completed this year if possible.

I have been working in this right hand corner - a lot of colour blending and doesn't the little bit of red look good.

Here is a close up view of this section. It took me the best part of four days work to do this small section on the right - probably about 16 hours work over the four days.

A Neat Surprise 
Before I came home from Auckland two weeks ago today, I attended the Professional Weavers Seminar which we have every year. The Professional Weavers Network of New Zealand Inc, has been going since its inception in 1991 at the International Weaving School in Picton where myself and Birgite Armstrong started the group. We have a seminar every year holding it one year in the South Island and the next year in the North Island. This year we stayed at the St Francis Monastery and Retreat Centre in Auckland, a lovely calm place to hold a weekend seminar. Our first visit on Friday the 5th March was to meet at the Auckland Museum where we were to see the Research Centre and Library and also the Textile Collection. What a surprise I got when the group I was with went to see the textiles. There, lying on the top of all the other works was one of my very early tapestries. I had not realised that this work was in the Museum collection, so it was a big buzz to see it again. It was woven in 1980, probably at the end of the year, as my very first works were textural, using rya knots and soumak, and this work was one of the first true tapestries that I wove. Inspired by the work of Alec Pearson it is an abstract landscape. Here are some of the PWN members looking at the tapestry.

And here am I, looking very pleased to see this work again after almost 30 years. Luckily we were allowed to take photographs and Wilson took this one on my camera.

Back in Christchurch 
Well, here I am, home again after three and a half weeks away in the North Island, visiting my kids, the four of them that live up there, visiting friends, Ross and Anna and also visiting galleries with a view to being able to show my work in Auckland. I am pleased to say that at this stage three galleries are interested in having my work so I now have to make contact with them again and put things into motion.

I took my sketchbooks with me and managed to do a drawing almost every day though I did miss a few days. There was a lot of travelling between Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, and Reparoa where Kellie lives. My kids were so good about taking me places and taking some time out of their busy busy lives to spend the time with me.

I took a new sketch book with me and this drawing is over two pages in the book. It features the chook house in Krista's garden. They have three chooks named Henrietta, Harriet and Ella and they are very tame and friendly, laying an egg each most days.

Last weekend I attended the Professional Weavers Seminar at the St Francis Monastery and Retreat in Auckland. We had a wonderful inspiring weekend. Both mornings I got up before breakfast and went and sat outside sketching the grounds and the view over Auckland.

Two more sketches and a small tapestry 
Here are two more pen and ink sketches, drawn the last two evenings. I made plum chutney the other night and this first sketch shows the jars of chutney sitting on my table.

I was chatting to my eldest daughter Nicola while skeching these jars so they are almost a doodle.

And here are the last of the plums in the fruit bowl alongside some bananas.

In the studio I have been working on a small tapestry 'Forest Floor' The design for this wee work came from my trip to the West Coast in November. We walked through the native bush past Karamea on the way to see the Oparara Arch and I took heaps of photographs of the forest floor and the big trees etc etc. The design is a composite of a number of these photographs, scanned and altered to fit in with my concept.

The red represents the danger that we are in because of our lack of care for our environment and the black squares represent the void, the emptiness, the possible loss of humankind from the planet.

A Sketch a Day 
This year I made a New Years resolution to try and do one sketch every day so I went out and bought myself a small sketchbook and so far I have only missed two days, so feel that I am doing quite well. I decided to draw whatever was on my kitchen table each day. Some days there is not much on it so I have to bring something to the table to draw, but mostly there is something interesting there for me to draw.

The two mandarins were looking lonely in the large fruit bowl but were nice to draw. I am practising my skills with watercolour which I haven't used for a long time, and am finding that the more I do the better they get, so hope that continues. I still don't feel hugely confident with watercolour yet.

There are nearly always flowers on my table, either what my friends bring me when they visit or something out of my very small garden. In this sketch I was trying not to use an outlining in ink as this is what I usually do. I was quite pleased with this image of the lilies that Rose brought me when she stayed during Peg's exhibtion.

I did this quick drawing of bananas at my daughter Krista's place in Hamilton. I had to dash up there as my third daughter Kellie, was in hospital having heart surgery which was really successful, thank goodness. The drawing was done at ten o'clock at night when I was more than ready for bed.

When I arrived home from Hamilton this is how I found the lilies - most of the leaves had fallen on to the table, but they were good to draw.

'Colour and Light' An exhibition by weaver Peg Moorhouse 
Last night was a very exciting night for my 92 year old friend and weaver Peg Moorhouse. Her exhibition 'Colour and Light' was opened in the Mezzanine Gallery at CoCA (Centre of Contemporary Art). Peg has been weaving for many years and at the age of 75 purchased an Oxebeck damask loom from Sweden. Since then she has woven many colourful abstract and textural textiles in both damask weave and in her own technique which she has developed on this loom.

Here is Peg at her opening. She is a lovely vibrant lady who gets every enjoyment out of her life and work. She weaves most every day and produces a lot of wonderful, colourful hangings in her own technique using her damask loom.

Peg puts a lot of novelty yarns into her hangings, using colour and texture as a focal point for her work.

Four of The Professional Weavers Network of NZ Inc. Here we are, Wilson, me, Peg and Rose Pelvin. Rose stayed with me over the last couple of days and it was great having her here. She brought Peg down to Christchurch from Blenheim and has always been a wonderful support person for Peg.

Tapestry completed and other stuff 
The small tapestry 'Sentinel' is now complete and ready to put in its frame. It will sit in a box frame which is how I usually mount the small tapestries.

Last week I travelled up to Blenheim with Penny Orme, a local arts writer, critic and curator. We visited Peg Moorhouse to choose her work for her exhibition at CoCA next month. Peg is 92 years old and is still weaving every day. Her exhibition will be held in the upstairs gallery at CoCA. I will post images of her work when the exhibition is hanging.

On our way home from Peg's place last Thursday Penny and I stopped off at the Marlborough District Council offices as I wanted to see the tapestry that I was commissioned to weave back in 1994 for the Women's Suffrage Committee. It had been hanging in the entrance to the Council office for over ten years and was spelled for about two years and put away in a cupboard for that period. It is now back in place but hanging away from the light coming in from the front door and is placed in a special alcove behind glass to protect it. Here is a photograph of the work in its new spot.

It is good to see that the tapestry is really appreciated and cared for by the people of Marlborough.

My latest small Tapestry 
I have now started working on a series of small tapestries featuring birds. I am about halfway through the first one. This tapestry is of seagulls swimming in the pond in the North Quad of the Arts Centre. I was out on the balcony one day when I noticed the seagulls swimming in the pond and then flying up on to the ledge near where I was standing. Heaps of them!! So out came my camera and I took many photographs which I then cropped and played with on the computer to come up with the final images. I decided to weave this one.

The sett on this tapestry is 14epi and the size is approximately 32 x 24cm. I can't quite remember the actual size - will have to measure it when I get back in to the studio. The work is progressing well. I have done just over a week's work in this tapestry and I am now about half way through it.

The last photograph shows where I was up to yesterday at the end of the day.

Drawings I have been doing this year 
I love to draw and have been doing so a lot more lately, working in my wee studio at home in the early mornings and evenings when I am not on my computer. My recent work is a series of conte and charcoal drawings on New Zealand native plants. The drawing below started me off on this series of work. Ghastly photo of me!!! But not to mind that, it's the drawing that matters. I just give the scale of it. This drawing was accepted in the Margaret Stoddart Award exhbition at CoCA in March of this year and I enjoyed drawing it so much that I decided to continue with the series.

The next works are the same size 100x70cm as one section of the first drawing 'Marlborough Rock Daisy 1' which consisted of four sections to make one work. Here is Marlborough Rock Daisy 2' which I sold last weekend to people from Sydney who were visiting my studio. That was a big buzz for me as it was the first in the series to sell.

I will finish posting new images tonight as time has caught up with me and I need to get to the studio right now. Well, it's now Monday morning and I am again sitting in front of my computer after my shower so here goes with more images of the drawings.

This image shows the generic native manuka which has a small white flower that is about half the size of my little fingernail. This is what manuka honey is made from.

This is the Koromiko which is the native New Zealand hebe I think. It has great medicinal properties and I remember my dad picking the leaves of this plant and chewing them whenever he had a stomach ache. Seemed to work for him.

This drawing was the first one I did after the large Rock Daisy work and it has now been framed and is at the Two Rivers Gallery in Cheviot.

This last image is a close-up of a section of the drawing 'Iris Berries' The drawings are all the same size and the variation in the images here comes from the size of the photographs. Somehow I can't seem to get them to be the same size. But never mind, they are all pretty easy to see. These works are all for sale. If anyone would like to purchase one, just send me an e-mail from the Contact section at the top fo the blog.

More of Threads of Light - Last day of Exhibition 
Yesterday afternoon Wil, I and Koji took the exhibition 'Threads of Light' down after three weeks of its showing at Form Gallery. It is always a bit sad to see an exhibiton come down but we had lots of good feedback about the work and lots of people made special trips to see it. Wilson sold one work and I sold two so that was great even though it wasn't exactly a sellout exhibition. Here are some images of three more of the works, 'Illuminate 2' Illuminate 3 and 4' and 'Regency' Wilson's lovely delicate hanging. Note the detail of this piece which was woven in rayon and cotton I think.

And now for us! We decided to have our photos taken in front of the title of the exhibition and here it is.

And lastly! Showing off!!

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