Archive for the ‘stitched’ Category

2011 SAQA Auction Quilt

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

This 12″ square textile, just completed but as yet untitled,  is my offering for this year’s SAQA Benefit Auction  At this link you can see some of the early submissions to this year’s auction list, and find full details of how you can particpate and acquire a fine small art quilt for your textile or quilt collection  (I suggest mine of course! )

The Auction will run online from September 12th to October 2nd.

This piece fits in with the Timetracks series, and yet I think I may have another title in mind, but am thinking it over.  No rush.

Beaded Flapper Dresses

Friday, October 8th, 2010

While in Perth recently I was taken along to the WA Historical Society in Nedlands, where the display at the time was of 1920’s era beaded evening gowns,  collectively known as ‘flapper’ dresses.  I had my camera with me, of course, and was delighted with the display of beautifully preserved and conserved garments on display.  I don’t know when that display comes down but if you are in Perth you might inquire – it is well worth going to see if it is still up.I should have blogged this at the time, but time and will did not come together in a busy visit back to our home city. 

Enjoy these – and I will put up a couple more some time.  Every display I have seen there has been interesting, so keep an eye on what’s going on there.  Worth popping in if you are visiting Perth .

Two New Collectors

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

It’s always a joy when someone wishes to exchange their hard earned money for some of my art. Since I enjoy creating and making textile and fibre art I don’t think of it as ‘work’, even though it is, and as ‘work’ is occasionally frought with difficulty or stress even, between concept and completion.  Today I am hoping that my two newest collectors will have many years of enjoyment with my works in their collections.

This week I was pleased to see my 12″ square in the online 2010 SAQA Benefit Auction was purchased by a collector in the USA, Francie Gross.  I am embarrassed to say I forgot to photograph it before sending it off, but it is in the style of Timetracks 11

  a portion of which is shown here.

It is still up on the auction pages, 2b, at the SAQA online auction which enters its third week this week with the works shown on pages 3a and 3b – just click the link on the page above the pics andyou will go to each in turn.  Perhaps you’ll make a bid for some of the interesting pieces still to come under the hammer in the next few days.

A few weeks ago I sold two works to an international collector, a personal friend, who chose “Timetracks 16” and also this one:


It’s not shown in my website, partly because I haven’t ever decided just which category it belongs in, or exactly what name to settle on it.  For a long time it went as ‘Untitled’ which I always think is an artist’s cop out. 

Yet it is an important work, because it took me into the “Desert Tracks” works that followed and will probably be added to over time. It is a work focused on those aspects of the traditional ancestors of modern art quilts that appeal to me and appear repeatedly in my own work – blocks/units, repetition, and hand quilted surface patterning.  The finished edges are applied with a gold metallic fabric, double layered and cut on the cross, left ufinished – also from a time when I was beginning to consider less conventional bound edgings on my work, and burned edges appeared soon after making this one.  It has always looked good in local exhibitions here, and I know it will be well placed in  its new home.

It just occurred to me that someone with some clout in the art world should declare a day each year to be designated “International Art Collectors’ Day”.  I still have the very first painting I bought, nearly 55 years ago with 8s 6d of the 12s pocket money I was given to spend at the annual school fete.  It is a postcard-size watercolour of a landmark mountain range in northern Tasmania where I grew up, and I remember choosing it from a whole table of perhaps 50 or so little watercolured landscapes, probably done by the art teachers at the school, and certainly framed by one of the parents’ framing business – handy use for the their framing offcuts, probably!  It’s still in the original frame – I think I will do it the honour of having it framed in a more modern frame next time I’m back in Aus – I have always loved it.  In addition my parents had several watercolours painted by a cousin of my father’s, John Nixon Gee.  Dad took me along to JN’s house one morning when I was maybe 6, and I remember watching him paint a little while I was there.

A Studio visit with Margaret Whyte, Montevideo Textile Artist

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

p3190010Recently I visited a prominent Uruguayan artist, Margaret Whyte, well known for her large scale fabric and stitch conceptual installation works,  featuring extensive use of recycled and salvaged materials, particularly textile-like materials.  Just by chance I met her a few weeks ago at a gallery in the Museo des Artes Visuales,where her work was then on show.  See picture right, photographed with permission of the artist, showing part of the exhibiton ” Belleza Compulsiva”    It was the second show of hers I had seen in several years, and to my delight she seemed very interested in our meeting.   I love meeting other artists and talking directly about what we each do.   She works in a studio located in the Fundacion de Arte Contemporaneo,  in the old city area of Montevideo, in a quite small room surrounded by other artists in other rooms on the several floors of an aged apartment block.   Some were working when I visited, all doing a wide variety of very contemporary 2-d and 3-d art with  a preponderance of painting.  In addition to Margaret’s work which had interested me for some time, I was especially taken with the paintings of Fernando Lopez Lage – check the above URL – go to the list of artists and scroll to his name.  His colourful paintings comprise bands and stripes/strips of colour,  wonderful combinations, quite reminiscent of some contemporary quilters’ works, and the Australian abstract landscape artist, Jules Sher. (one of my favs)  Very large portaits are painted by Maria Carla Rossi, who was  not around, but a striking work in progress was waiting for her return.  I was however puzzled by the art of Cecilia Romero, who presents objects she picks up on the streeet, such as a cupboard door handle or a piece of cutlery or jewellery, encased in frames where they nestle into backgrounds of padded fabric looking as if they are in presentation cases, and I wonder does framing them in some way confer preciousness, value ….I didn’t come to clear terms with that.  There was another young female artist  painting  an image of a clutch purse as if seen through cyclone mesh – from the pics around her work area she has a message about women being victims of the fashion industry. I liked her work, and will try to find out her name although she did not seem to be listed on the fac website. 

But back to my visit with Margaret.  She keeps another studio space where she stores most of her fabrics and threads.   In this room at the fac  was a big work table with a mezzanine storage area above her head height – of course, older buildings have very high ceilings.  Margaret herself has done a lot of  abstract painting but is currently working in fabric.  Her sculptural works are large panels of colour, texture and shape,  worked directly onto artist canvases, or  richly ornamented 3-d  large figures.  She uses a lot of paint on the canvas and then adds manipulated fabrics and other materials, perhaps more paint and large hand stitches and coils and drapes of wrapped stuffed tubes – the whole having a rather rich voluptuousness, a medieval costume quality, and yet sudden details disturb, such as fish hooks appearing from somewhere in the manipulated fabric…. 

I meant to ask more questions about the rationale behind Margaret’s work, but we also got talking about my work, too.  I took  ‘Maelstrom’ and Timetracks, 8, to show her what I actually do since she only knew my work from the website.   She commented my work was ‘neat’ and was pleased she referred to it as ‘art’  .  Even the tracks  works such as Timetracks 8 she thought is neat, too, and I was a little taken back at that, even with all the raw burnt edges and hanging threads.  Interesting.  Should I  be concerned about this?  Probably not.  Everything is relative, and her work is definitely not ‘neat’ – it is exhuberant,  almost wild, by some measures  ‘raw’.    We had  a conversation too about mixing with and working among other artists.  I have mixed views on this, it could be interesting and exciting, on the other hand loaded with potential distractions,  and I know, or think UI know,  that I do best when working on my own.   That conversation caused me to look at the various feedback structures I have access to, and consider their importance to me.  It also set me thinking yet again about the ‘quilt industry’ and its relationship with the realities of the C21.  On that note I am especially looking forward to the SAQA conference where someone will be speaking on this very aspect – where to from now kind of thing.  Contemporary craft and art will change to reflect to some extent the pressures the world is under, I am certain.  This was a thought provoking visit.

The Fabled Bayeux Tapestry

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Decades ago when I became interested in the art of the stitch, embroidery, I learned of and became intrigued by the medieval stitchery known as the Bayeux Tapestry. Of course it isn’t a weaving, it is a stitched wall hanging in today’s terms, telling the story of the Norman duke William’s conquest over the English king, Harold at Hastings in 1066. As it is a textile, and from what we know of its peripatetic history, it is a miracle it has survived so long, but the exact details of who commissioned it and exactly where it was made are no longer clear. It was probably commissioned by a bishop half brother of William,and was completed by about 15 years after the event. Stitched in wool on a narrow band of linen fabric, the figures of men and animals in a cartoon-like sequence tell how the battle came about and graphically portray the preparations and aftermath. One of my favourite scenes records the presence in the skies of Halley’s Comet during April, 1066 – isti mirant – latin, presumably they are looking, stella, star. It has just occurred to me I could get an on-line translation of that and will re-write that bit if I am way out. Anyway I love the comet image, upper right hand corner.
So, on our last day in France we hopped on a train out to Bayeux and spent the greater portion of the day viewing the Tapestry and enjoying the rest of the small city of 15,000. The exhibiton gallery for the tapestry is in an old seminary building near the cathedral, and in a dimly lit almost dark gallery, the piece of work is displayed at something between hip and shoulder height, lit from behind. We used the recorded commentary devices and were just entralled. The stitches are simple, there are only 5 colours I think, and all the background is left plain. It is amazing the details that have been achieved with simple stem or outline stitch and the couching technique styled in what has become known as Bauyeux stitch. In just this scene alone, wonderful little details are included: the rays of the comet, the cobblestones underfoot, the different tiles on roofs of buildings, the upturned admiring or anxious faces -( is this a portent?) and hands pointing to the comet, there are some hair details and some of the men even sport horizontally striped stockings. It’s beautiful, it’s lively and it’s over 950 years old. Just the enormous age of this fragile thing gave me an attack of going weak at the knees. I was quite overcome with the the awsome way this textile speaks to us down the ages since it was made. I didn’t vote and I don’t know if it was on the recent list of what people voted for as a Wonder of The Modern World – but it should be up there. DH, who knew almost nothing about it before I started campaigning for going to Normandy to see it , was visibly very impressed once he understood its history and importance as a historic textile and as a record of an event that changed the then known world and its subsequent history.
I have already seen the Overlord Embroidery, a 1970’s applique work commemorating the Allies’ D-Day Landing on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. It’s now on show in a purpose built museum gallery in Portsmouth UK. The idea of course came from the Bayeux Tapestry – and it is utterly magnificent – textile enthusiasts continue to visit from all over the world, and rightly so, the whole work is charged with the emotion and memory laden images of that epic battle.
In the gift shop at Bayeux Tapestry Museum you can buy a scaled down kit of the tapestry, presumably the images are printed onto fabric and you can stitch your own – I must confess I din’t examine that too closely. Since our visit I have heard though, that a well known textile artist has the Bayeux Tapestry in her sights as her next project, I believe to scale. Leaving aside any discussion of whether this is to be ‘a copy’ or ‘a reproduction’ , and whether the many mends and patches now on the genuine article are to form part of this contemporary work – my only question is ‘What on earth is she going to do with it, and how will it be displayed without the benefit of a purpose built museum or gallery?’ I guess I am actually wondering why someone would sew a replica, even to a smaller scale the dimensions are impressive – if all it can do is sit in a cupboard and be unrolled every now and then on show? And yet, this is the exact purpose of the actual Bayeux Tapestry nearly 1000 years ago: most people were totally illiterate, and this work was to tell the story of this hugely important historic event in images that all could ‘read’ and understand, and for the first half of its life it was displayed for a couple of weeks each year in the Cathedral Notre Dame de Bayeux, and the rest of the time was rolled and stored there.
Dr. David M Wilson, writing in his book “The Bayeux Tapestry” 1985 (p.13) says in this introduction:
“During the French Revolution the tapestry had many adventures: on one occasion it was taken from the Cathedral and used as a wagon cover; it was saved in dramatic fashion by a lawyer, Lambert Leonard -Leforestier. Later it was nearly cut up to make a float (for the goddess of Reason) for a carnival. It survived, however, and in 1803 was transferred to Paris at the request of Napoleon, where it was exhibited in the museum which bore his name. This exhibition was mounted as propoganda in relation to the prepartions for the invasion of England, and as such was an enormous success, politically and artistically, but with the striking of Napoleon’s Boulogne camp and the abandonment of the invasion plans the Tapestry was returned to Bayeux.” It was stored in Bayeux and another rural town during WWII and in 1944 went into the basement at the Louvre, and after one or two temporary exhibition sites since the end of that war, it is now permanently housed in a converted seminary near the town’s Cathedral, back pretty well to where it started its journey.
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