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 :
Anna Emilia Laitinen :
Catherine Canac-Marquis :
Daniel S. Streck
Gabriel Gold :
Jonathan Lipkin :
Kate Ward :
Katrin Keller
Kim Mirus :
Lisa Rosenmeier :
Marcel Tarelkin :
Richard Spiller
Sigbjørn Bratlie :

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 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

SIM residency wk 2 : in the studio and some culture

This past week has been less about touring and absorbing the sublime scenery (because I returned the hire car) and more about studio time and enjoying the atmosphere of the residency. 

We had a cultural day in Reykjavik where we enjoyed some fascinating exhibits, all for free thanks to the generosity of SIM who provide a card which allows access to the galleries and museums in the city. First stop was the Reykjavik Art Museum which had an inspiring exhibition by Anna Lindal - an artist who is interested in the private life and expectations of society; and the human desire to understand nature and analyze it through measurement. She limits her resources to what she can find in the home, making home the habitat of creation. 

Anna Lindal - embroidered cloth on buckets

Anna Lindal - suspended threads

Anna Lindal - wrapped rock
The Art Museum is in three different locations in Reykjavik (just to make it a little confusing). In another location was an installation of rocks covered in salt that had a coloured solution dripping on them. This was by Anna Run Tryggvadottir - unfortunately there wasn't much information about the exhibit - but it was visually fascinating!

Anna Run Tryggvadottir

Anna Run Tryggvadottir
We went on a day trip to Vik - a black beach in south Iceland, famous for its basalt columns rock formations. 

These images were taken during the middle of the day, around 1pm, although it feels more like late afternoon. Daylight is from 10am to 4.30 pm at the moment and it changes dramatically on a daily basis by about 3 mins. When we first flew in sunrise was 9.20am and sunset was 5.03pm. Amazing how different it is in just 2 weeks! 

In the studio
Meanwhile, in the studio, I have been experimenting with time-lapse photography, capturing the marks left behind using water colour. I have been manipulating it in After Effects. Im not exactly sure what the end result will be - but it is certainly fun to have the time to play and explore. 

Island in the fjord near the residency

Heavy clouds in the fjord

Studio breaks include walking in the fjord - the lighting and weather is fleeting - and the scenery is captivating. It reminds me of an old Queensland advertisement 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next' with its ever changing colours and moods.

Ombre snow on the beach
We also had the opportunity to meet with the other 11 artists who are on the residency and who are staying in central Reykjavik at an artist talk on Wednesday night. It was fascinating to see their work, which varies from illustration through to music and performance.

patterns in the snow
It is sad to think I only have one more week in this beautiful place. Do you have any suggestions on things I should see and do whilst I am here?


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