Saturday, 23 January 2010

Easter Art in the Conservatory

Like this patchwork? I just love them. I discovered them in a library book I recently took out and was delighted the direction they provided me for my first 2010 commission with the City of Greater Bendigo - Easter Art in the Conservatory.

They are images soured from Quilting, patchwork & applique : a world guide by Caroline Crabtree and Christine Shaw.

The idea of the commission is to create an installation of new work that celebrates Easter Bendigo style with a Chinese influence - in this case coming through the use of the colour red.

The circle is a found piece of paper from a recent workshop my kids did at the local Chinese museum - but I believe the curved form plays a major role in Chinese culture.

Both patchworks are Chinese children's hat - the first being a three dimensions fierece tiger face to protect the child. The second being a festive hat; the red colour, the fish, the pomegranates, lotus and gilded toad are all auspicious symbols.

The work I have said I will make is a "decorative patchwork quilt featuring the colour red draped across 5 to 6 chairs in a row. The work will be playful and cubby like - invoking thoughts of handmade and creative childhood play and imagination."

The work represents a mythical creature, transformed into life by imaginary play and joy. Its soft decorative red dragon body is hand stitched (gee don't think I will be hand stitching any more!) fabrics using English Paper Piecing - actually I am thinking of machine sewing using a rectangle pattern that has flaps of curved shapes that I will hang tassels off.

I haven' drafted up the pattern yet - but have drawn up many times in my head.

So these patchwork masks at the top of the blog are the lanching point for the head of the creature I am making - I am yet to nut this out.

I have collected the fabric for the dragons body - this Wednesday evening I am taking the PLUNGE and starting.

Will keep you up to date.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Introducing the Enlightenment Project

This year I am working as an artist on a variety of Central Victorian Projects, including the THE ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECT, with the Kyneton Museum and Macedon Ranges Shire Council

On Sunday I made my first visit to the museum and was taken by their amazing collecting of objects and also textiles. (not to mention the wonderful staff who I will really enjoy working with) This post documents the very beginning of my research and relationship with this venue.

The Enlightenment project is about creating interpretive material to tell stories triggered by the museum site of the old bank building and significant collections and objects it holds.

I was fortunate to be approached by another local artist Tara Gilbee to work on this project,.

Through collaboration between Kyneton Museum and the artist the Enlightenment Project 2009/2010 aims to;
• use multi-media to provide a more lively engagement with the museum site and its collections, rather than simply static artifact displays
• make Kyneton Museum collection and stories more accessible to the community
• increase Kynton Museums engagement with its local community

I think the staff at the Museum are doing a pretty good job engaging the local community - the day I attended the museum was very busy with lots of people of varying ages coming and also an exhibition taking place as well as a garden party. The collection is well displayed, with a variety of existing interpretation materials for adults and also children.

The first object that stole my heart was this lamp shade. I was taken by its whimsical shape and daring nature.

This shape has completely made me smitten and I can see it coming into another body of work I am creating at the moment for the City of Bendigo Art in the Conservatory Project - but more about this later.

My role is to create textile shelters and surfaces. I am hopeful that this form and method of construction might some how feed into this process. My sister gave me a book on making lamp shades from wire - I wonder if I still have it or did I pitch it in the move to our new home?

I am booking in more time to go through their catalogue cards for textiles, however I was fortunate to view their signature quilt, made back in 1905. This quilt is huge, perhaps 2m by 3m white thread on white linen with hand made lace. Completely breath taking, and I am looking forward to researching all the stitches used in this work. Stitching words, can seem to be very easy, but it isn't and I have always struggled with choice of stitch.

The signature quilt was made by the women on Kyneton as a fund raiser for children in India. Local families purchased squares of the quilt, then the women donated their time to make the work.

I think this method of representation, piecing of fabric together to make a whole is also something I would like to draw from as well. Interestingly the local milk bar facilitated the donating of money and documenting people's names to be embroidered.

A blind took my fancy too for its pattern and use of mono tone and shape through light play.

I liked also the picnic rugs and blankets in the cabinet about Picnics at Hanging Rock. I believe the final work will be exhibited outdoors in the evening - kinda nice idea of people sitting on textiles as well and also reflecting in the mystery around famous picnics at Hanging Rock.


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