Monday, June 27, 2022

Not Good Enough Australia Post

 Some of you who follow me on Facebook know this story but today I am so angry  that I just cannot keep quiet. I have written before how I have written another book on Tifaifai- and that in  rewriting a book I published in 2001 I actually  made all new work which incorporated all the things I have learned in teaching the tifaifai course since the beginning of the 2000's. I also created new work to be in tune with work I am currently making. To create the work and rewrite the book has taken a significant number of man hours- close on a years work as I created 12 new quilts for the book. I had a signed contract with Editions de Saxe which was supposed to have been completed last years but due to Covid restrictions and my heart attack we reached agreement to delay publication until this year. Due to ongoing covid impacts I have not travelled overseas  and had no plan to travel overseas, and so I decided to commit the quilts to International Express Pos with Australia Post for delivery to the photographer in Paris . I had inquired with another courier earlier in the day but got no reply so decided to opt for Australia Post  ( I also live in a regional small city so things you take for granted in cities are not always so easily available in the country).

The quilts then took more than 2 weeks to have attempted delivery in Paris ( they spent the whole weekend sitting in Morwell despite my having posted the parcel around lunch time in order to capture the express post out pickups) It cleared customs in France and delivery was attempted but the recipient was not at home. He was not left any notification and only became aware of attempted delivery when tracking notified me and I alerted the recipient. He then attended the french equivalent postal service and was told they could not find the parcel or that he had the wrong number. In any case the parcel was likely not there as it had been returned to Australia after only 5 days of being held and not the usual 10 business days. The parcel was then in transit for some 2-3 weeks . I was advised by tracking that it was in Sunshine sorting centre on 25 May after having cleared customs and the next day it is in Somerton Sorting Centre awaiting delivery- that was on the 26th of May and that was my last tracking notification. After several weeks of complaining on their social media as well as using all the avenues for complaint  and repeating myself over and over despite having furnished the information multiple times with the appropriate channels ( internet/email/telephone) and finally lodging a complaint with the Postal Services Ombudsman ( who have a backlog)  and after again  complaining on their social media today when they are chortling about how supportive they are of small business , I was notified that they cannot locate the parcel and that they are willing to compensate me $111.80 which is the reimbursement of postage- and basically the parcel is lost. They have been told  the importance  and value of the parcel ,the fact that a small value was put on the parcel due to the work not being for sale and that the works were to be returned to me, that I am in default of a publishing contract and this is what they offer me?????

These are some of the works that are missing

A years worth of work- so much work. It's what kept me going during isolation, knowing I had to make the work.

To say I am heart broken is an understatement and I consider Australia Post's offer to reimburse the postage to be an insult. It is appalling service.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Gathered Threads

 There is some terrific work in  Gathered Threads an exhibition I have curated at ArcYinnar. It would be great to see lots of visitors, though I realise Yinnar is a little bit off the beaten track , but not that far  and certainly not as isolated as Gellibrand used to be. These exhibitions can only ever be as good as the number of visitors that visit and in my experience over all of these years it is word of mouth that is one of the best spreaders of information and exhibition news. A flyer, a poster or an instagram post can only do so much- what we need is foot traffic and for people to be amazed by these wonderful  works!

So I share some of the work here: Gathered Threads

Work by Lynette Weeks- the piece on the right inspired by the Grampians- Gariwerd and the ridge lines visible as you spend time in the Grampians. Lynette uses ecodyeing techniques and is inspired by the natural environment and also uses breakdown printing to create water effects inspired by the sea environment near her home. I have known Lynette since my Geelong years and have had our hand at organising a few things here and there.

Work by Beth and Trevor Reid. This couple have worked together ever since I have known them ( which is quite a long time ) and I have shown off their work  in  a few exhibitions over the years, and continue to find new ways to  express the quilt medium even using very traditional piecing methods which shine with originality and  clever use of light/dark. All of the pieces in the exhibition have been made using the nuances of denim to create these contrasts.

Work by Fiona Wright using the khadi fabric which has become synonomous with the Stitching Project a venture by Fiona and her partner Praveen Najak. This project employs dozens of women on a fair trade basis which sees those women being able to send their children to school and purchasing small amenities to improve their lives - even such things as toilet buildings. I met Fiona when I was doing my Masters degree in the very early 2000's and she was the recipient of the Henry Foyle scholarship for recent graduates which saw here venture to India and so onto the creation of the Stitching Project. Her work involves finding inspiration in words of encouragement and words of courage- In the Words of Ghandi " be the change you wish to see in the world" and of course using khadi.

Work by Sue de Vanny, a very painterly effect achieved with fabric and thread and a bit of paint. Sue is also a painter but her textile pieces bring another dimension- the textures are luscious and create images that beg to be touched- though we can't. These portraits of animals have all been inspired by Sue and her husband Carl's travels in Africa and as with all portraits it is the eyes of these great creatures that capture the soul of these wondrous animals and of course  the textures. I marvel at these works.

Works by Carolyn Sullivan whom I have also known for a long time and who continues to surprise me with the  finesse of her work and the wonderful explorations of macro views of natural objects. These two pieces show the gamut of Carolyn's work which includes machine stitching and applique and incredible hand  stitching on naturally dyed silks.

Work by Sarah Louise Ricketts  some with Alice Nothe. I can't remember when I first met Sarah but I do know I have toured some of her pieces over the years and we have hatched some crazy plots the most recent was her support for a project to bring 4 of the women from  Boneca de Atuaro in Australia in  2019. Sarah's pieces are felted, layered and stitched and no photograph will do them justice .

Gosh- how long have i known Robina Summers??  I think it goes back to 1995 when Robina was exploring transferring digital photographs onto fabric, that eventually led onto study at RMIT and really combining her great loves: photography, fabric, digital manipulation ,stitch, dye and exploration of the environment near her home at Kangaroo Ground and  the larger urban area of Melbourne. Over the years we have hatched many plots- Robina and Tony have been my sounding board for the exhibitions which I have  curated and toured since 2000 when Australian Bounty toured in France and Europe ( the only travelling exhibition of Australian art in the  Sydney Olympic year) and was instrumental in opening doors for Australian textiles to be shown in Europe- they have encouraged me in my crazy dreams and together we have created 3 catalogues of work by Australian quilt artists- the only  such works available in actual book format.

Cheryl Cook is a recent encounter for me- but when I first met Cheryl at a printing workshop at Arc Yinnar I was straight away enthused about how she was using felt, dye, ink and the natural environment in her work. She creates many of her own inks and uses texture  in such a free and interesting way that you almost want to dive into the works. I am sure we will hatch plots in the future!

And finally my own work, some of which I have shared here before but one new piece with the badges ( which are for sale - each badge is $60 AUS)- message me if you are interested.

As i write this I realise I have had a rare privilege that I would not have thought possible twelve months ago.  I have had to privilege of inviting old friends and new to show off their work, to show off their skill, to show off their passion  and create a beautiful exhibition altogether.  And my goodness we have had some adventures over the years! In becoming the very part time gallery coordinator at Arc Yinnar I have been able to put together a curated exhibition of art textiles of work by people whose work I admire, who show great diversity in the practice of textiles and embraced the challenge to create small bodies of work within the exhibition. It was a wonderful bonus that quite a few could attend the opening last Saturday.