Monday, July 25, 2011

Snow Progress

I'm feeling a bit calmer this week than I have been for the past month or so. It helps to have cleared some finished work out of my tiny studio into temporary storage, and very reassuring to be chewing through my to-do lists. For example, the melt water tunnel piece (Melt) is now finished and mounted. I really want to make another one, more of a straight crevasse version, but I won't have time before the exhibition, so this one will just have to represent all meltwater features for the moment.

And I'm making good progress on Stragusi (another wall relief showing wind blown snow features). Now that I've worked with beautiful ice blues of Melt, my standard white on cream stitching seems a little bland, but the textures and patterns of this piece more than make up for the monochrome palatte.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Counting down

Attatching Blizzard to its (hand-me-down offcut) acrylic mount using buttons.

Three weeks until the Melbourne opening, a month until Imagining Antarctica opens in Hamilton.

The momentum has definitely tipped towards completion. More work finished than not, more work nearly finished than merely started, more work begun now than not. But the work, both finished and unfinished, is pushing hard at all my limits; limits of time, money and most of all space available to realise my vision.

This is the point where it becomes impossible to maintain any illusions that I can operate independently or am remotely self-sufficient in my creative work. I gratefully accept all offers: storage, transport, materials, help, advice. Well, advice is always the most difficult to accept graciously, but I am trying!

The everyday challenges of life feel like an unbearable affont for slowing down the pace of my frantic preparations. Another flat tire on my bicycle, incorrect prescription in my new spectacles, damp laundry, spilled food, bills I can't afford, relentless rain or missed connections all seem disproportionally dangerous for the threat to derail my attention from the deadlines.

I'm on an emotional rollercoaster that feels rickety, precarious, desperate. But, underlying the fear and exhaustion are my memories of going through all this before. I've skidded along this same terrifying path and survived in the past. The memory of my proven capacity to do this is what enables me to sleep at night. I know the secret of success, which is to just keep going. To take the next step and the next step and the next, no matter how hopeless or pointless or useless I feel. Just keep going.

The swirly mustard beneath is an old quilt that forms an integral part of my studio equipment, propping up and/or protecting work as its made.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Melt in progress

I know, I know, the one I'm working on is almost always my favourite, but this piece, called Melt, really is my current favourite. The luscious ice blues of the glacier's melt-water tunnel are so deep, so rich, so creamy yet pure, and this time its my best yet graduation of hues. The sensual curve of the tunnel's negative space lined with satisfyingly plump layers of needle felted blanket are irresistible. I feel sure that Melt will be snapped up as soon as the exhibition opens.

There is also an elusive nostalgia associated with this piece for me. The top layer of ice blue thread on creamy felted wool reminds me of something I knew as a baby- perhaps a bonnet. That's it, a white woolen bonnet with satin ribbons in a classy 1960's style, covering my baby-head against the Canadian snows.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Open Cast Australia

The second third of the Spoil installation was completed the other day. The map at the centre and the images of flowers and animals and indigenous Australians around the outside are from a vintage souvenier table cloth. I sewed on tiny red beads to represent active mines.This piece is almost as big as the spoil heap element of the installation, over half a metre across (as the crow flies).

Stitching the rusty and golden brown threads onto orange blankets to form the sides of the mine, and beading the map reawakened my desire to someday make a leisurely roadtrip around and across Australia. My Cape York expedition a few years ago gave me a taste for the outback which has yet to be satisfied. I find the textures, patterns and comparatively limited palatte of hot desert to be as engrossing, in their own way, as the textures, patterns and palatte of Antarctica's cold desert.