Monday, September 27, 2010

Toxic tailings

More stitching... this was inspired by an aerial photograph of the tailings lake of a open cast copper mine in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The byproducts of such mining operations are sludges of poisonous chemicals so nasty they won't even blend together but instead sit on top of each other in pretty patterns.

This will be part of a larger, more complicated, work concerned with mining. I'm a bit ambivalent about the mining project so I'm also making a lot of lovely icebergs simultaneously, to balance things out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Birdie Bowers' Hat

I've written another poem about an Antarctic hero and Harvey Molloy has published it as his Tuesday Poem this week at Molloy Notebook. I am honored to be included in the Tuesday Poem project (for the second time), and to be invited by Harvey, who I respect very much.

I was also pleased to see my name included in the Tuesday Poem roll call on Beatties Book Blog, but not so pleased that Graham Beattie managed to spell both of my names (and one of the names in the poem's title) incorrectly. Sigh.

Birdie Bowers' Hat

Birdie Bowers was universally loved
for his old-fashioned virtues:
hard-work and loyalty, the most
stoic and cheerful member of Scott’s party,
he was the kind of chap the Empire needed
and chewed up
and spat out.
Read the rest here.

Also, while you are indulging in some poetry, check out this poem I really like by Olivia Macassey called They Say In a Healthy Economy There Should Be 5% Unemployment, or What Has Social Welfare Ever Given You?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Making icebergs

I just can't find the motivation to write at the moment. All I want to do is stitch. So here's some photographs of my icebergs to keep you going.

Iceberg #1

Iceberg # 2

My foam work surface, just starting the second iceberg. Needle felting and embroidery

Almost finished second iceberg. See the fleece being needle felted onto the circle of blanket- its the softest thing in the whole world just before I sandwich it with another blanket and sew it all inside.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Careful Considered Production"

Rachel Kent, judge of the Bold Horizons National Contemporary Art Awards, speaking about her selection process. I was so thrilled by what she had to say about the place of craft in contemporary art, that I didn't mind not winning.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Tip of the Iceberg

Four months ago I dreamed about making an iceberg in the form of a tiara, or maybe a crown. In my dream it was twilight shades of blues and purples. Subsequent research identified my iceberg as a combination of the types called "dry dock" and "pinnacle", fanciful fairytale ice structures sculpted over time by wind and waves. Unfortunately my dream didn't include directions for how I could make this wondrous object. Would it be embroidered, quilted, felted or crocheted?

I have imagined all of these possibilities, rejected most, and trialled a few. Finally I seem to have found the method which will work: a variation on My Antarctica technique which favours height over breadth with substantial needle felting and loose embroidery. Its taken quite a bit of unpicking to get this far, but I finally seem to be back in the zone.

Reluctantly I abandoned my dream colour scheme and reverted to the white on cream materials that are left over from my first Antarctic projects. I have a policy of using the materials I have on hand rather than buying new where ever possible, and the blue/purple spectrum is almost entirely absent from my floss stash. Besides, I'm confident about my white on cream scheme, and think it worth forgoing the risks and uncertainties of experimenting with colour at the same time as experimenting with technique.

I'm using my beloved Kaiapoi blanket and with every stab and stitch this weekend, my thoughts are with the town of Kaiapoi just north of Christchurch, evacuated after yesterday's earthquake. My dear friends Sharkey and Sean live there in a little old house which has miraculously survived, when many of their neighbour's homes haven't.