Saturday, 25 February 2017

Inspiration for new projects.

This week, I thought I'd revisit some early influences and some recent art crushes too, to get me inspired to begin new projects. Each of these artists come from different backgrounds and produce work in vastly different styles. Although I am obviously drawn to their work for very different reasons, their use of irresistible colour combinations and the tactile nature of their work is common to all of them. I love studying the images of their gorgeous pieces for visual inspiration, and also reading about their processes, work practices, studio spaces, and indeed what inspires them.

I hope these artists inspire you too!


Deb x

(I take no credit for the images)

Annemeike Mein is one of my earliest influences in textile art. My Mum gifted me her book "The Art of Annemeike Mein" in my early 20s and my mind was blown! This Dutch-born artist resides in East Gippsland, Victoria. She creates incredibly lifelike 2D and 3D representations of Australian flora and fauna using primarily machine embroidery on silk and linen based on her equally impressive sketches. 

Tiny Red
Tilleke Schwartz is another textile artist from the Netherlands. She hand embroiders on linen in a  contemporary, rather illustrative style, often using text in the design which is reminiscent of graffiti. When viewed closely, her work is made up of traditional embroidery and cross stitch, but the style is anything but quaint! 

Welcome To The Real World

Beware Of Embroidery

Detail -Always

Natalie Miller is an Australian fibre artist who creates beautifully textured and colourful macrame and tapestry pieces. Her work spans from decorative domestic to commercial installation to couture fashion with some impressive commissions and collaborations.

The biggest macrame chandelier in the world! Installed at Pacific Place in Hong Kong.

Collaboration with fashion lable Romance Is Born.

Jessica Grady is an artist I've only just come across through social media. Recently graduated from Norwich University of the Arts, Jessica's work has a fresh, flamboyant style that oozes youthful energy! Her textile art pieces feature hand made sequins individually stitched into floral motifs in vivid, contrasting colour combinations. She also uses found objects to great effect. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

All set up!

Some of my most inspirational objects including a pair of shoes from a  NYC Ballet Co ballerina.

Well it took me a little while but I've finally set up my new studio!
It's a long narrow built in space under my house which unfortunately lacks strong natural light and the pretty outlook I enjoyed in my previous space. To be honest, I doubted whether I could ever ignore the white floor tiles and security screen doors to create an inviting space I look forward to working in. But I believe I've done it and now I can't wait to get in there and start a new project!

Following a few interior design principles, I added a turkish rug to the floor, artwork to the walls, some extra lighting and of course, plants. I researched warm climate shade loving plants and returned from Bunnings with a green and yellow leafed Pothos which I hope will trail down from it's shelf and take over the studio before too long, and a gorgeous native gardenia which stands tall on the floor. I also pinched a couple of others in cute vintage containers from around the house. I'd love to add more plants, but in the interests of practicality and the limited space, I shall refrain.

This decorating phase was relatively quick and simple. The difficult part of this set up began at the unpacking boxes stage when I came to the shocking realisation that I have kept some materials and old clothes with the intention of "using them for something" for decades. This stash has been packed up and unpacked with each house move over those years (and there have been several) and yet I never seem to use them. It dawned on me that the fact is, I actually didn't/don't do the projects I predicted I might do. The fact is, I now work with eco-dyed silks and luxe vintage fabrics. So there's really no need to keep the eight pairs of denim jeans a generous colleague once donated. Or the old ready-made curtains I used before we had proper ones made. Nor some items of my late Nan's clothing I kept for sentimental reasons but would never really make the cut for an artwork. So I bit the bullet and re-homed them. And now I have a stash of material I'm actually likely to use and enough room to store it.

This exercise was beneficial in a couple of ways. There was the obvious feeling of lightness one has when de-cluttering.  But more than that, getting real about the work I actually do now was very powerful. It felt almost like a "coming of age" to acknowledge to myself that after all the dabbling and experimenting in different media, materials and styles, that now I know what it is I like to do artistically. I have a direction and a focus... and old jeans and curtains just don't have a place in that.

I will admit that I experienced a small amount of inner turmoil letting go of my idea to reduce landfill by creating artwork from discarded clothes/fabrics. I will continue with this quest, but the reality is, it would take several lifetimes for me to create works using all the fabric I had. Hopefully someone else can use my deleted items and save them from landfill for another 10 years! This process of letting go has given me a new energy to surge forward and create the work I'm dreaming of now, not 10 years ago. And it's rather liberating!

Here are some images of the new space. I'd love to hear your feedback...


Deb x

Ok so I'm sharing my studio with the piano!
It's a bit of a jumble but it all fits!
Mt new fav plant and a collection of rusty objects for natural dyeing. The trolley was a roadside find.
This clear desk space is beckoning me to start something...

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Back to reality.

Firstly, I do apologise for missing my last week's post. You guessed it… I was in that pool. Also, I had not yet set up the technology because I had spent soo much time in that pool (indoor plants and artwork were clearly the priority in my new house set up) If anyone who lives or has lived in a hot/humid climate could please leave tips on how to be creative/productive when the body and brain are saying "make yourself an icy drink and just get in the pool!" I'd be very appreciative…

Anyway, I'm back on-line and back to reality. But before I move onto new creative projects I'd just like to share the body of work I created and exhibited last year. It was actually the first time I had created work in a series of this size, building on techniques I had used on previous work but with the luxury of time to really explore and take the concept to another level. I entitled the collection "Tears of Joy" as it relates to difficult emotions I was experiencing at the time and how the creative/making process provided grounding focus and actual feelings of joy. I still feel joy when I view each piece; it's a feeling I hope to share through my work...

Here's an excerpt from my artist statement:

"….This collection explores the relationship between the random and the orderly. I love working freely, without a set plan for the finished result, allowing the work to develop organically. I begin with a colour scheme and a motif or shape in mind, and let the work dictate its direction from there. I experiment and move things around until my gut tells me to stop. For this process to be successful I need have a clear, open mind and be in touch with my intuition and I find the activity to be both stimulating and meditative.

Using individual quilted pieces to create an harmonious vignette, the process became an exercise in design problem solving. My aim was to achieve the illusion of randomly placed shapes and embellishments while maintaining balance of scale and a flow of line which is pleasing to the eye. (This is where my artistic intuition comes in) The juxtaposition between the softly quilted naturally dyed silk and the bling of the beading also creates a nice tension. I imagine the finished piece to be akin to a princess who arrives home from the ball after a big night of fun and dancing; still wearing her silk gown and jewels but disheveled, and a little frayed around the edges!

Techniques: Natural-dyeing, quilting, machine embroidery, hand-beading.

Materials: Silk, silk organza, bamboo batting, cotton, thread, sequins, beads.…"

Details and prices can be found in my online shop.

Flora 1
Flora 3
Flora 4
Flora 2
Tears of Joy
Moon and Stars
Heart's a Mess