Monday, 21 January 2013

New Textile Links and Yarn Bombing

This Sunday was my first invited talk in NZ. I gave a short introductory talk to the Embroiderers and Lacemakers Guild of Auckland. I send them my heartfelt thanks for being so warm, welcoming and enthusiastic.We did at one point have a discussion going about what kinds of flames and heat they would be needing to colour the metals I was showing them. I now have to experiment on the ubiquitous gas bbqs to add to the possibilities, and I also came home with a bag full of foil fishes from the chocolates handed out at the end which will have to be used in a piece somewhere!

Foil wrappers from chocolates - yet another source of 'pre-loved' metal to play with!

As I write, it is a cloudy 18 C morning in Mairangi Bay whilst I am checking constantly on the Birmingham Airport flight updates in the UK to see how long a delay there will be due to the snow before my daughter and my parents can get on their plane to begin their flight to NZ. Fingers crossed that they are not stuck at the airport for too long. At least my daughter will have had a ‘proper’ winter, not the usual UK grey, wet and dreary one!

Just down the road from us is a small town called Devonport. This ‘quaint’ town has preserved much of its European heritage, with many older buildings from the mid-1800’s onwards including a great pub (The Patriot) and an telphone exchange (now called the Stone Oven) converted into a lovely cafe/deli. No doubt it also boasts other features of interest, but getting the eating places sorted out has seemed to come top of the list on our visits so far!

The Stone Oven, Devonport

More to the point, as we were walking wandering along the shopping arcade, I suddenly noticed that all of the legs of the balustrades had been covered in crochet. Each pole had its own label describing the piece and the maker. The little I can find out about them suggests that they are an art project from the Devonport Arts Festival which was in November last year, and they are called ‘the woollypoles’. Just fantastic.  

Knitting, yarn bombing, new zealand
The Woolly Poles in Devonport

I really like the guerrilla art movement, with weird, wonderful creations just appearing out of nowhere. When knitting and crochet is involved, it tends to be called ‘yarn bombing’.  Find out more about the whole idea at

New Zealand, Devonport, woollypoles, yarn bombing

Knitting, yarn bombing, devonport, new zealand

We are still waiting for the arrival of the contents of our container. We know it has docked and been off loaded, so hopefully we will be reunited with our gear soon!
In the meantime I couldn’t quite wait any longer to have fabric and threads around me, so took a trip to the local fabric and allsorts shop, called ‘Ikes Emporium’ in Browns Bay and made their day by buying huge amounts of fabrics with which I can get started on new projects. I have acrylic felt, cotton, organza, calico, sacking, threads and wool all ready to go. 

Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, fabric, thread, textile art
Fabrics and threads ready to go ...

So I intend to get onto the embellisher as soon as possible and get making – yeah! I do have an exhibition in the UK at Easter for the Living Threads group and think that these fabrics and colours will be the starting point for that. 
Do you think that my parents will mind if I ignore them for the month they are staying with us? Would that be a little rude?
As is found with other places around the world where there is strong sunlight, many of the painters and textile artists seem to be influenced by this, and indeed, vibrant colour is much more necessary if your work is not to look pale and washed out, so I have resolved to give colour a go.

I have just seen that my parents and daughter have left the ground, four hours behind schedule which may mean missing their connecting flight, I will look into it to see when they might really arrive, but the sun has come out so I am off to have a coffee in the garden, have a lovely day yourselves.

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