Well, this last week has been a bit of a disappointing one in that I thought I had made my first sale from my website. Great excitement initially. I had been in contact by e-mail with a lady from London calling herself Katherine Cole and asking me to send her three drawings which she had seen on my website and for which she would pay me by travellers cheques. Katherine said that she lived in London and was shifting to South Africa to live. I was also contacted by her carrier, telling me he would get Fedex to pick up the drawings. Her letters were very friendly and chatty. Luckily though, I did not send the work to her at once and requested payment first. The travellers cheques arrived on Monday last week and after being warned by my friend Brian Gartside in Auckland that this might be a scam, I took the cheques straight to the bank and asked them if they could verify that they were genuine. Of course they turned out to be counterfeit. How disappointing is that!!! I am just pleased that I had the sense not to send the work to her straight off. I find it hard to believe that some people can use others so badly.
However, on a better and more positive note, I also received this week, a letter from the Norsewear Art Award Event Coordinator, inviting me to send some work for their 21st Anniversay exhibition in April next year. They are inviting work from all past Award Winners. I would like to weave a new tapestry for this, so am now working on design concepts for a tapestry reflecting the 'City Life' theme. This new work will be in the same style as the tapestry 'Exhibition Opening' which also reflects life in the city.
Well, time to get over to the studio. I haven't spent as much time there this week as I have had a rather nasty cold, and have been feeling a bit miserable. Much better today though.
I am writing today, about commissioned tapestries after posting the image of Kevin Hickman's tapestry yesterday. This photograph shows Kevin and his wife Joanna, his father Tony Hickman and myself holding the tapestry just after Kevin had cut it from the loom. The 'cutting off' ceremony after a tapestry is completed is very special. The person who commissioned the tapestry cuts it from the loom and a small celebration follows. This is a time when the whole tapestry is able to be seen, often for the first time.
Kevin's tapestry features his little brother Paul Hickman, who was born in 1946 as a 'blue baby' and who only lived until he was three years old. A poem, written at the time of his death, and copied out in his father's handwriting, was woven around the border of the tapestry.
I have completed many commissioned tapestries over the years, some longer term, larger corporate projects and many for private homes. Have a look through the Commissions Gallery
for further info. If you are interested in commissioning a tapestry for your home or business premises, you may contact me at any time through the website or just send an e-mail
. I enjoy the relationships that develop through the process of commissioning and weaving a tapestry.
Another tapestry which was woven in the same style is the earlier tapestry 'Gianna - Portrait of a Grandchild'
featuring my son's eldest daughter at the age of nine months.
Well, here we go - my first attempt at writing a blog. Many thanks to Ian, my son-in-law
, for putting this page together for me and also for all the work he has done on my website over the years. He designed the website and set it up for me so that I could change the images and add to them when neccessary.
A week or so ago I finished the tapestry 'The Picnic'. This tapestry (sett-11epi, so quite a fine one) features my son Michael's five children as they were on a day back in February. We were visiting the Bird Garden at Katikati when I caught this image on my camera, all with hands in their mouths eating their lunch. I manipulated the image on Photoshop, came up with two slightly different concepts and the tapestry is different again. I am working on family heirloom work at the moment. Have been on a bit of 'limbo' time after my major exhibition, trying to decide what theme to work on next for another exhibition in the future. Lots of ideas and have exhibited drawings in two exhibition this year and last, but so far am still working on ideas for tapestry. See the website for these works in the exhibitions 'Sittings' and 'New Connections'.
I am back working on 'Lace 2' a portrait of Lissie, my youngest daughter. This work is a major one, 13 epi, and will be 120 x 160cm when completed. (See the website
for work in progress images). I had always wanted to weave a large fine tapestry and this one is 'it'. Probably the only very fine large one I will do, though it is nowhere near as large as the old medieval tapestries which were woven around this sett and up to 3 x 5metres in size or larger. We just can't afford to weave this size in this day and age. 'Lace 2' will take between 15 and 18months to weave and this time is spread over possibly 3 years as it is the work that goes on 'hold' if I get a commission or need to weave something else.
Last night, my sister Julie Steffens and I went over to the Christchurch Art Gallery to hear Jonathan Mane-Wheoki give a lecture on Pacific Art. 'Pasifika Rising: A Cultural Strand in Contemporary New Zealand Art'. Jonathan is a great speaker and in this lecture was discussing the tuakana-teina relationship between contemporary Maori and Pacific Art. The tuakana-teina relationship deals with the older sibling/younger sibling realtionships between tangata whenua (Maori - the original settlers in New Zealand) and tangata Pasifika who are part of the tangata tiriti (more recent settlers such as Pakeha, Pacific Islanders and others). A very thought provoking lecture. Pacific Art is going from strength to strength with artists like Fatu Fe-eu, Michael Tuffery and Shane Tuffery and many others producing wonderful work.
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