Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Holland and Form and Variation

I am back in Holland after teaching at the textile festival in Leiden.
I will also be teaching a masterclass ( dye , print and creation) at  Essen, Belgium ( there are still a few places available and you can do one day if you  do not have the time for 3 whole days) at the Colours of Africa Textile Event ( Essen is very close to Antwerp/Anvers). There will also be wonderful exhibits in conjunction with this event  including the auction of the small textile pieces created to fundraise for a children's creche in South Africa.  various artist including Laura LiebenbergAnnette Jeukens,Hella Sluyters ,Texui, Sandy Marcoux and myself will be exhibiting ( I will have at least 20 pieces on display)

It has been busy and to add to the business was the fact that i had a small car accident- which immobilised my car- no one was hurt and you would not think such a small bump would immobilise a car- but it did. Fortunately i am mobile again!

I finally feel as if I can get some work done and put the creative thinking cap on.

The image below is of bobbins I had wound as i was working on another piece for Southern Lands- I was so busy sewing that the motion of the fabric on the  plastic table created friction making the bobbin threads look as if they were dancing!

I am renting another artists'  apartment and studio for a month in Kolderveen, near Meppel and Giethoorn ( just above Zwolle in the region Drenthe) whilst the owner, does an artists' residency in Portugal.I discovered this opportunity on the Transartists website.The apartment and studios are part of a factory complex where other artists also live and work. There are  two huge studio spaces- I only intend to use one- after all I haven't got so much stuff with me, but the studio is big enough to  have some workshops if anyone is interested. The workshops would have to be the weekend of 22- 25 April. I am thinking of doing one with Lutradur, one with Form and Variation and maybe one with Linocutting. If you are at all interested , please email me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Southern Lands at Quilters-Insel Atelier

Finally I have some time to share some photos of the Southern Lands exhibition which is presently being exhibited at Quilters-Insel Atelier. You still have time to go and see it but please contact Quilters-Insel first. The atelier is not far from Cologne ( Koln).

 Southern Lands is an exhibition I have curated representing the work of 7 Australian and New Zealand textile artists.The artists are Robina Summers ( who has built the website- thank you), Felicity Hopkins, Sarah Louise Ricketts, Olga Walters, Fiona Wright, Clare Smith and myself . if you go to the website there is biographical information, images and links to each artists' web presence.

This is my Curators Statement for Southern lands:

Southern  Lands

For hundreds of years sailors dreamed of faraway lands in the great ocean on the other side of the world, myths grew up about this strange  place . Cartologists drew strange  maps of the undiscovered southern land which was thought to balance the world. Dirk Hartog set out in his small ship and found some of its shores, other ships foundered on its reefs and rocky shores, Abel Tasman found a southern island and then some more islands even further to the east and south and called these last discoveries after his native homeland Zeeland. However it  was Captain James Cook, adventurer and navigator who put Terra Australis and New Zealand on the map. These masters of the sea found what they considered primitive life in both lands but despite that they  announced terra Australis to be Terra Nullius- uninhabited- ignorant of a rich cultural heritage spanning 10,000’s of years and ignoring the fact that the people defended their land. In New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud, they also encountered tenacious resistance which ended in Waitangi Treaty and the proud cry of the Maori that they were never defeated.

The English deposited their convicts and soldiers on Australian shores- setting up harsh forbidding prisons, then  sent its squatter settlers to race across the land in search of grazing, and Europe sent its displaced people from two world wars to discover new futures. Yet the land maintains its hold on the people. The desert is harsh and forbidding and startlingly beautiful, precarious rivers feed the towns and cities, fires create havoc and destroy communities ,flora and fauna, yet each time the land regenerates .The land cries to be treated gently and with care- the land cries for the insights of the aboriginal people who sang their way for thousands of miles to water and places without maps. The land cries for us to stand back and look, and to slowly absorb the earth, the trees, the hills , the mountains, the rivers  and to treat it with respect, for when we don’t the  elements are fierce and unforgiving.

I have looked for work from Australian and New Zealand artist  to  bring the spirit of our Southern  Lands to you- to speak of its mysteries , its settlement, its nature and the transgressions we as inhabitants make, and the steps we might take to  protect the future of our land our people and our children.

From 15 May 2010 until July 2010 the quilts can be seen at Centre Europeen du Patchwork at Salleles d'Aude in the South of France

And on another note- as my daughter is not enjoying school in France and it is too difficult to get a good exam result to get into a good lycee- we are looking at England as a place to live for awhile- any recommendations of good places would be much appreciated as I am investigating what would make a good place to settle for awhile.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting very Little Done

I made this little horizontal piece with one of the linocuts I made for my on-line course. These little trees are proving very popular and these particular ones, I printed onto Lutradur with  Shiva sticks. I then stitched them with Aurifil Lano thread ( wool machine stitching thread)- which i love, and you can even buy wool machine needles to stitch the lano thread with. it is a little hard to see the result on the photo- but the contrast of the shininess of the lutradur and the kind of flatness of the wool create a really nice contrast- plus the thread is thick so it creates a nice line.

If you are interested - we have just started the new lino-cutting on-line course- you can still join if you hurry. Cost is 40 euros ( US $54) for 3 fortnightly lessons, which contain  a lot of exercises to build up your skills.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Scene this Morning- and some thoughts form Rainer Maria Rilke

When i got up this morning- this was the scene. It is the South of France , not far from the coast for heaven's sake- what is happening???

So, being confined indoors,  without a sewing machine which i desperately need, I have been reading one of my favourite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke- his voice seems right for being kept indoors and watching the snow melt. I am reading his Letters to a Young Poet- finally, after having read most other things written by him. But I wanted to share some of his words, for whether you aspire to poetry or any other art making his words ring true. We all  seek approval and positive critique of our work, or even less than positive critique- but it is ultimately when we draw deep within ourselves that greatest expressive power is reached. I don't pretend to have reached it , but it has reaffirmed what i have been thinking for some time- to see, to really see, to come to grips with  something is to go down to the very depths of yourself, even the mundane and everyday and come back again- with something gained, a new insight, a new way of seeing.

From letter 1
Paris, February 17th  1903
“ In making contact with a work of art nothing serves so ill as words of criticism: the inavariable result of more or less happy misunderstandings. Things are not all so  comprehensible and utterable as people would mostly have us believe; most events are unutterable, consummating themselves in a sphere where word has never trod, and more unutterable then them all are works of art, whose life endures by the side of our own that passes away.”

“ You ask if your verses are good. You ask me. You have previously asked others. You send them to journals. You  compare them with other poems, and you are troubled when certain editors reject your efforts..... You are looking outwards, and of all things that is what you must now not do. Nobody can advise and help you, nobody. There is only one single means. Go inside yourself. Discover the motive that bids you write; examine whether it sends its roots down to the deepest places of your heart, confess to yourself whether you would have to die if writing were denied to you. This before all: ask yourself in the quietest hour of your night: must  i write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this solemn question with a strong and simple “ I must”, then build your life according  to this necessity; your life must, right to its most unimportant and insignificant hour, become a token and a witness of this impulse. Then draw near to Nature. Then try, as if you were one of the first men, to say what you see and experience and love and lose. Do not write love poems; avoid at first those forms which are too familiar and usual; they are the most difficult, for great and  fully matured strength is needed to make an  individual contribution where good and in part brilliant tradition exist in plenty......”

Monday, March 08, 2010

Back in Le Triadou

Le Pont du Gard- a remarkable feat of engineering- still standing  majestically after 2,000 years, and not far from where we are staying. I had been to Nimes before but never to Le Pont du Gard. The mistral was blowing straight down the river valley and it was freezing, which to some extent accounts for the whiteness of the light.

This is the Roman Arena in Nimes- said to be the most complete arena in the world. In a way it is disappointing as there is lots of steel scaffolding and wooden and steel seats and rails ( it seems we need to be more contained from falling these days)- yet on the other hand it is an arean that is still actively used 2,000 years after it was built. I wonder what structures from our times will still be standing and be used 2000 years from now. The stone steps of the arena were so cold today( and yes the snow followed us down south- so the arena looks coldy grey because it was cold)- I wonder if the watchers of the gladiators and later corridas, took their own cushiosn to sit on? Can you see a super big installation with hundreds of beautifully embroidered cushions- wouldn't it look grand!

The Arena is now used for concerts and corridas - and of course there was a small display of the embroidered garb of the torreador- i like that the photos on the oppposite wall of famous torreadors reflected in the glass case protecting the suit.

This is the outside of the Arena- you would think that they could have found a sligtlymore complementary light pole, or perhaps I expect too much?I didn't notice the round shapes in the road until I  saw the photo- they almost look like pomegranates!