Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A visit to the unit

The first action on visiting is always to move the spinning wheel and tapestry frame out into the hallway so I can access what I need. I share the rental on the storage unit with a friend who rarely needs to access his excess household possessions, so his bits are all at the back (top layer of mattresses visible). 
My studio flat is too small to contain me, all my possessions and all my home and studio activities. One of the ways I manage around this is by renting a storage unit about five minutes bike ride away.  Everything that is not in at least weekly use lives in the storage unit. I visit the unit once every week or two. I pick up and drop off what I can fit on my bicycle (or persuade someone with a car to help me, if there is too much bulk for my bike). I spend time there working too: packaging pieces to send to collectors or galleries; photographing work against the big bare walls of the corridor; and sometimes even doing the odd bit of stitching.
Note the green forks on the front of the bike which has lost its some of its glamour since the original forks had to be replaced in a hurry recently.
The list of things to do at the unit this weekend included packaging up a framed work to send to a collector. You can see it squeezed into the saddlebag on the back of my bike above.  I was also going through my fabric stash to choose fabric to sew a dust cover for my new sewing machine.  The vintage curtain fabric below is very funky and fun but also too ugly and weird for me to want to use in something decorative or sartorial. The yellow ground is printed with images of playing cards, smoking paraphernalia, coffee and booze.  I don't share any of those addictions, but making things is my addiction so I finally feel like I've found the right purpose for the cotton.

I learned how to use my new sewing machine on the dust cover project.

The most important task was to get into my Box o' Bergy Bits and prepare some for sending to an exhibition in Auckland next month, at Sanderson Gallery's new Paper/Project space.  The exhibition is called 'Object' (opening 6 March) and I am sending up four of my icebergs, including Big Berg.  When Big Berg was dis-installed from the Imagining Antarctica exhibition last year, someone cut short the fishing line used to suspend it. Since getting the fishing line into the Berg in the first place had been a long morning of tears, bad language and several broken needles, I've been postponing this repair task for months.  Now the time had come, but within the first five seconds, my only big needle broke.  It will have to wait a few more days while I re-equip.  (Lesson learned: provide dis-installation as well as installation instructions).

Iceberg resting on exhibition details
I finally got round to another long procrastinated task, to sew printed cotton labels onto the bases of the smaller bergs.  I've been frustrated with my previous labelling system for a long time until I came up with idea of getting labels printed on cotton that I can sew discreetly onto pieces. At least those pieces that have backsides or bottoms. It makes me cringe have my labels visible which was a problem with my old labelling system, as curators seemed to love to show them off and I would have to go around my exhibition trying to hide the labels, only to find them dragged out into view next time I visited.

What better to have on my label than the URL of my brand new gallery website ?

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