Friday, 27 September 2013

Handmade books, more metal stitching and art for life.

The end of September, clocks moving forward, spring in the air and Term 3 at an end already.
It feels as though I have only just returned from the UK, only to find that I need to get into full swing for my next trip back. Some of that ‘where has the time gone??’ feeling is due to the usual family life things, including that my eldest son has just joined us in NZ permanently, so preparing his space in the house and helping him to settle has been important.  I am certainly getting more jobs done around the house and garden which has been very welcome – we now have trees trimmed, borders dug and plenty of vegetables planted, also being asked to make a ball gown for my eldest daughter for her end of school ball also took time, and I have to make a Golden Wedding present for my parents,  samples for 2 new workshops in the next 2 weeks, my final book proof arrived from Search Press yesterday in glorious technicolor for me to sign off before Wednesday (I have only noticed two errors so far). 
All of which begs the question, ‘why then am taking time to write this post??’ Well it is a lovely sunny morning, I have the house to myself for once and a coffee to drink, so a good time to reflect and write.

I  recently had a few pieces from my ‘Continuous Thread’ and ‘Restriction and Release’ series’ included in a show at NorthArt which did not achieve any sales, but was seen by a great many people and must have been well received as Wendy, the director, has invited me to have a full exhibition in September 2014 – great! I will let you know more when I have details.

NorthArt Gallery

From the 'Continuous Thread Series' by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

A thank you to the members of the Auckland Quilters who were such a delight to spend last weekend with. They were taking on board some of my ideas and techniques for manipulating and stitching into metals and we all had a great time.  

Meeting with Metals at the Auckland Quilters

Meeting with Metals at the Auckland Quilters

Meeting with Metals by Jean Singleton

Meeting with Metals at the Auckland Quilters

Meeting with Metals at the Auckland Quilters

Auckland Quilters - heads down and hard at work!

During Term 3 I have been teaching an enthusiastic and patient group at the Mairangi Arts Centre. The subject has been handmade books. We touched on a few book structures which need only minimal measuring  - I am not by nature a pedantic person (unless there is great need in order to achieve the best outcome), and love book structures which allow for some personal expression. So we started with 2 versions of ‘piano hinge’ books and included some mixed media paper decorating techniques for the covers and leaves, then moved to a slightly more traditional ‘concertina spine’ book with a hard cover and some simple stitched signatures, and the last week we had fun with folded books, including a ‘maze book’ and a ‘lotus flower’ book.  As I am in the UK for most of Term 4 the course can’t continue for a while, but I have suggested lots of options for 2014 which I hope will be of interest.

Handmade books at Mairangi Arts

Handmade books at Mairangi Arts

Handmade books at Mairangi Arts

Handmade books at Mairangi Arts

The Mairangi Art Centre has hosted a couple of exhibitions during this term, the latest of which I definitely wanted you to see. There was such fantastic expressive work created by people who attend the ‘Spark Centre’ for creative development. The centre offers visual arts and art therapy programmes for people living with disabilities, impairment or other social and personal need. To find out more about the Spark Centre click here or visit
There were statements by each artist near their work which explained what they loved about art and why it was important to them, but even without the ‘back story’, seeing work by this diverse group of people was wonderful.  It was full of expression, liveliness and energy and was a joy to view. It was also gratifying that many of the pieces had big red sold stickers next to them. The exhibition really lived up to their motto ‘art is for life’.
I offer apologies for the reflections and shadows in the pictures, lights and windows did not allow for perfection, and I am not sure that the work and information boards are all in the correct order, but I hope you get the idea.

Spark Centre Exhibtion at Mairangi Bay. Looking very professional.

Chris Baxter

Work by Chris Baxter

Pearl Schomberg

Work by Pearl Schomberg

David Candy

Work by David Candy

Matthew Tucker

Work by Matthew Tucker

Robin Lockwood

Work by Robin Lockwood

Thiona Brooks

Work by Thiona Brooks

Salome Moeauga

Work by Salome Moeauga

Halina Janiszewska

Work by Halina Janiszewska

And finally, the outdoor sculptures for the Kiapara Sculpture Park are coming along nicely – pictures next time.

Monday, 16 September 2013

100 days are ended

Day 100

Saturday was Day 100 of the 100 day project. It culminated in a celebration of work by around 160 of the participants at the Nathan Club, Britomart, Auckland.
To see the individual images of my work and more detail about the project go to the 100 Day page

I stitched all of my pages together and pinned them to the wall as an unrolled scroll, a little more fun than just stuck on to the wall individually I thought:

Adding Day 100

There were many of the other exhibit with intriguing, fun, daft, clever, thoughtful ideas.
Jo Dixey's stitched spiders jumped out at me as soon as I walked through the door (fortunately only visually rather than literally):

I wasn't the only one having a close look at Jo Dixeys work

To find out more about Jo's work, go to her blog:

My daughters' favourite was a parody/homage to the Miranda series, my son liked the bike rebuild project and the lazer cut wooden toys, so there was something for everyone, and a glass or two of wine to go with it.

Many thanks to Emma Rogan who was the extraordinary instigator and organiser.