Sleepless in Perth W.Australia


Suffering a little jetlag still, possibly, today I found myself awake at 4am, thinking about my current work and where that might be going….. when suddenly I thought of these two embroidered panels, which live on one of the walls in our living room here. Made for my solo exhibition “Sunburnt Textures” in 1987, I recall they are titled “Behind the Scenes”, although I can’t confirm that since I can’t lay my hands on a catalogue from that show, but know there are several upstairs somewhere in my sewing room. Every time I come back to Perth I think I must go through all the stuff in that room… but somehow never have the time or the mental energy required as it’s going to be quite a job, involving lots of trips down memory lane, for one thing.

Back in 1987 I was preparing pieces for the exhibition and my son commented as he watched me lacing a panel of fabric over a board by zig-zagging the lacing back and forth, that the back of a piece was interesting in its own way. Taking that observation as inspiration I came up with these, with stitchery wandering over the detached framework of such lacing. I have always been keen on various kinds of needlemade structures, and hugely inspired by the book on needle lace and needleweaving by Jilly Nordfors which I bought in 1977. I haven’t done any of this stuff for 20 years, but find myself thinking of it more about these days. Come to think of it, I do know where that book is, and might take it back with me…. or at least flip through it while I am here.

Talking of things in books, I have had an Agnes Martin catalogue out this week, ready to lend a friend. I had not read it since I was presented with it by the gallery owner at La Spezzia Cultural Space in Pocitos, Montevideo, way back in 1999. In his talk at the opening he not only thanked me for bringing my locally unknown art form to Uruguay, but also presented this book to me with an expression of appreciation pasted inside. That totally blew me away, and with my friend Laura beside me translating each sentence, I was able to think very quickly on my feet and respond suitably to such an unexpected gift. Having just re-read it, well the english bits anyway, I now have an even greater understanding of why that particular book was given to me – not only are her observations of life and art fascinating reading, but several of the pieces pictured bring to mind contemporary variations of some of the elements of traditional geometric patchwork. I do not recall consciously feeling inspired to follow some of these ideas or even remember them since 1999, but perhaps I have without realising it, or perhaps this is the way things sometimes come together after seeming to have no previous connection …. anyway, my friend had better hurry around for a quick borrow because I think this book might head out of Perth with me when I leave here next tuesday.

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One Response to “Sleepless in Perth W.Australia”

  1. margaret says:

    Thanks for the reminder about Agnes Martin. I love her quiet colours and understatement, and would love to read her observations of life and art. How wonderful to have been presented this catalogue so unexpectedly!

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