Friday, 13 April 2018

Contemporary Knitting and Crochet

I am currently teaching an intensive Fibre Arts four week course as part of NSCAD's Extended Studies program, which offers a wide range of short and long term course, workshops, open studios, certificate programs and online course to adults who wish to learn, improve their skills, and have fun!

In week 3 of the program we are learning knitting and crochet skills, recycling fabric and plastic bags to use as our 'yarn'. We also looked at some artists who have appropriated these skills and created large scale installations.

Crocheted playspace by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam

Japanese fibre artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam uses knitting, crochet and knot making techniques for her work. Most popular are her "textile playgrounds” for children with their characteristic brightly-coloured net-like structures made of crocheted and knotted nylon, that are found installed in various locations worldwide.

Orly Genger yellow roped fiber installation

Orly Genger and her unique sculptural installations completely commandeer both indoor and outdoor spaces. Her installations are built entirely out of recycled rock climbing rope: stacking and knotting the fibre to transform large spaces and engage viewers.

Orly Genger gray roped fiber installation

Whilst learning the skills of knitting and crochet my students are sticking with smaller, domestic sized objects, however it is always great to know that these skills can also be applied to large scale outdoor sculptural objects too. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Intro to Tapestry at NSCCD


The year is off to a good start as we gathered for my Introduction to Tapestry weaving 2 day workshop. 


Tapestry is a fun, portable and expressive weaving technique with endless possibilities. Its also a fabulous way to use up small lengths of yarn.


Once you master the basics, you can paint with wool - the only thing that limits you is your imagination!


During the course I demonstrate how to blend colour, learn different weaving techniques including the slit and dovetail methods for creating a design, build geometric shapes, weave circles, and make waves.


Once you can create these shapes you can weave any design you wish.


Weaving a circle is by far the trickiest thing to master, but even the youngest in our group picked it up pretty quickly. 

Some were even bitten by the bug and did extra work over night to complete their design, and ended up completing 2 small tapestries by the end of the class. 


Sample by Charlotte

Sample by Teresa incorporating her hand spun yarn
Sample by Charlotte


Thursday, 4 January 2018

Lucky the Cat

Lucky the Cat by Sam
12 x 16"

I have started teaching private art lessons to children where they learn the concepts of colour, texture, composition and technique. Art is a fabulous way to develop fine motor skills whilst developing problem solving skills.

We have been learning colour theory and applying this knowledge to our images, using complimentary opposites to create a colourful image with depth. Working from images of their favourite pets, I encourage the use of our imaginations whilst assisting them to really observe the world around them.

We also touch upon Art History and in this project employ dynamic brushstrokes and colour mixing on the canvas in a similar style to Vincent Van Gogh. 

The above image was painted by Sam, who is 10 years old. I think she has done a fabulous job painting her cat Lucky! 



Thursday, 14 December 2017

Furoshiki: one day workshop at NSCCD


On Saturday I held my final creative workshop for the year: Furoshiki. This workshop is incredibly appropriate for this time of year as we created reusable and sustainable gift wrapping using shibori resist techniques, indigo dye and cotton fabric.


In 6 hours we covered a variety of techniques including stitched resist designs, asashi (using a tube to create a pattern) itajime (folded) and tesuji (pleated) shibori. Whilst there was a lot to learn, the output was incredible, with many beautiful fabrics created in the process.

Honeycomb shibori

We marvelled at the magic of the indigo dyeing process, watching it change colour from green, to turquoise, to indigo.


Simple things such as bamboo sticks can create delightful patterns, like the one above. 

We were far too busy trying to squeeze as much in as we possibly could that I totally forgot to take a group photo of our happy creatives. But rest assured we all left tinged with blue and bitten by the indigo bug. ;) 


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Indigo Magic at NSCAD

Our five weeks of Indigo Magic held as part of NSCAD's extended studies program wrapped up this week. 



Over the five weeks course participants learnt and explored:
  1. How to make an indigo vat
  2. Stitched shibori resist designs 
  3. Asashi shibori (using a tube to create a resist)
  4. Itajime shibori (folded)
  5. Tesuji shibori (pleated)
  6. Other natural dye methods including rust and turmeric


Gwen's shibori explorations hanging out to dry

turmeric makes a delightful contrast against the deep blue of the indigo

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Isness : Winter is Coming


Winter is Coming - AIR group exhibition

At the end of my residency at SIM all the participating artists showcase their work in a group exhibition.  


Within the Isness is where your experience lies.  

During the residency I was exploring digital media and created the above animation. Isness is inspired by my time in Iceland: the Northern Lights and the vastness of the winter skies. Music is created by John Kennedy in response to the imagery.

Together there were 13 artists who participated in the group show. We are an international bunch coming from all corners of the globe, working in a variety of different media. Participating artists included: 

Adam Sébire : https://www.adamsebire.info/#contemporaryart
Anna Emilia Laitinen : www.annaemilia.com
Catherine Canac-Marquis : catherinecanac-marquis.com
Daniel S. Streck
Gabriel Gold : www.gabrielgoldmusic.com
Jonathan Lipkin : www.jlipkin.com
Kate Ward : www.kateward.com.au
Katrin Keller http://katrinkeller.ch/
Kim Mirus : www.kimmirus.com
Lisa Rosenmeier : www.lisarosenmeier.info
Marcel Tarelkin : www.marceltarelkin.de
Richard Spiller
Sigbjørn Bratlie : www.sigbjornbratlie.com

Thursday, 23 November 2017

SIM residency wk 3 : Adventures to the East

It was my last week in Iceland and I wanted to make the trip to Jökulsárlón, the Iceberg Lagoon, about a five hour drive from Reykjavik according to Google Maps. As it turned out, the drive took a lot longer than that (slow snowy roads and a maximum speed of 90km is guaranteed to lengthen the trip) not to mention allowing for adequate time for stopping at interesting places along the way.  

View through the mud splattered windscreen

The large expansive skies are a continual source of inspiration and I have made a note to self that next time I come back I will be bringing a much better camera, rather than relying on my phone. 


We stopped at Hjörleifshöfði Cave (also known as Bull Cave due to its silhouette) and watched the clouds rush by in the sky, propelled by the strong winds. Iceland is enshrouded in folklore and you can easily see why. It is believed that the lava fields, eerie natural formations, and large expanses of isolated wilderness is populated by hidden people and ghosts.  

View from Kálfafellsstadur Bed & Breakfast

Jökulsárlón is in the middle of nowhere, the closest hamlet is 13 km away and due to its popularity can book up quickly. I was lucky to find Kálfafellsstadur Bed & Breakfast, which was a pleasant place to stay and not too far away from the lagoon. The view of the church was a delightful way to end the days journey. 

Jökulsá beach

Thank goodness the sun rises at 10am here at the moment, which allowed time for a leisurely breakfast before our drive back to Jökulsá beach to watch the sun glisten on the icebergs that have washed out from the lagoon and onto the black sand. It was a stunning moment as the warmth of the sun painted the snow capped mountains pink and gave everything a warm glow. 


Moments later the warmth of the sun was overshadowed by dark, heavy, snow clouds and so we saw the monumental glacial icebergs surrounded by swirling soft eddies of snow. This quickly turned into a blizzard as Iceland issued a yellow weather alert. Moments of the drive back to Reykjavik required 'active driving' due to the high winds and swirling snow. Beautiful. But also terrifying. Making me think of Sublime and its 18th century meaning relating to our awe of nature. Later we found out that they closed sections of the road - so we were very lucky to make it back before the weather closed in. 

By Olafur Eliasson

Catching up on cultural sights around Reykjavik we discovered Studio Olafur Eliasson, who just happens to be one of my Art Heroes. His studio is open to the public, and whilst not a working studio as such, the space displays many of his designs and creations. 

For more images of my adventures find me on instagram 

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