Saturday, 31 March 2018

Tea time and a stiff drink.

As part of the 'Fabricated Narratives' exhibition and collaboration, each of the group shared with another an object pertaining to our own, personal work and asked the other to develop a piece from that starting point. It could use a concept, an object, an image etc. in whatever way desired. Once this first 'passing on' is completed, another group member will receive this outcome and work with it in their own way, and so on.
I received a tea cup and a poem from Di. Her theme is 'storm in a tea cup', revolving around climate change.

Di's tea cup

And the poem:

Cup by Di Halstead


Her finger curls
as she sups her tea

She’s classy but not posh
an old fashioned girl
with a modern twist

A styly version of homely
hearty
almost every day

BUT definitely not a mug!

 Di's words definitely caught the character of the tea cup.  The shape of the cup is quite traditional (especially the handle), it is made from china clay, but the colours and patterns are from a different period - what do you reckon? Early 70's? 
How to respond? I cogitated for a while, and initially I was very keen to smash the cup, then use the pieces in some way. However, before this, I wanted to record the design on the cup.

Beginning to draw the patterns from the cup 

Beginning to draw the patterns from the cup

After spraying and washing over with iridescent paint

After spraying and washing over with iridescent paint

Armed with these, was I ready to get out the hammer? Well, having read Di's poem, I was thinking about all of the other changes which that era brought. Modernisation was a key influence. Modernisation, mechanisation, change ... And if she was a modern tea cup, would she have preferred tea leaves or tea bags? Would she have been displayed on a tea tray with doilies or not?

Thinking about the tea leaf vs. tea bag conundrum and as a continuation of my 'Stains and Discards' work, I stained papers with tea bags and with tea leaves, I made ring marks from the various circular rims of the cup. 


Splashing, staining, dribbling tea.

And subsequently stitched into some of the stains ...

Ring marks and stitch.
The interlocking circles started me thinking about the doilies with lace edges we associate with tea pots and cups, but at the same time, perhaps, this cup is too modern for that - she wouldn't have been displayed on an embroidered cloth, or one with a lace edge. She's retro not vintage! And then, whilst teaching at the weekend, two boxes of old linen and cotton from the 'op shop' (charity shop) were brought in for us to delve into and there was a plain tea tray cloth sitting waiting for me! Serendipity at play. My paper stains and drawings I decided were going to be added onto the tray cloth to create a place to display the cup -  stained, dribbled, and patterned.

A pile of papers with patterns and stains, ready for assembly
Patterns assembled and ready to stitch on the embroidery frame

Here she is -a tea tray for a styly lady, classy but not posh.

Detail
And now I have to pass on the cup (not yet smashed), the tea tray and the remaining drawings and stains which I didn't use. And with my heart in my mouth, allow the next iteration - which might mean that the cloth is painted over, chopped up, anything. Oooh ... a stiff drink of something is called for I think.



Monday, 26 March 2018

Weave and twist, fold and cut.


A flurry of workshop weekends just past, the first being the Kowhai Mixed Media Craft Group who wanted to weave with metal and wire to create textured, sculptural forms.

Starting out

Almost finished

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Wild Wire Weaving with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden


The Embroiderers' Great Escape, the annual retreat weekend organised by the Auckland Embroiderers was held over the weekend.
It is always gratifying to see the results of previous workshops, and in September I got 'Hot, Wet and Sticky' in Rotorua.
Hot Wet and Sticky with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hot Wet and Sticky with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

I have taught at the Great Escape event before and it is interesting to find myself as the 'odd' tutor, surrounded by very high quality, fairly traditional handstitch based tutors, rather than as a mainstream textiles artist which is how I conceive of myself. At least there are enthusiastic participants wanting to work in the way I do and keen to try out my ideas!
We were spending time looking at the construction of the Zhen Xian Bao Folded Thread Booklets, but bringing in materials such as silk, bonding, gel medium, kraftex paper, Lutradur and spray paints.
After some trials in plain paper, we worked into the alternative materials, developed the design and by the end of the weekend, all projects were well underway.

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Folded Thread Booklets with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Great Escape, Orewa, 2018

Great Escape, Orewa, 2018
If you are interested in other workshops and exhibitions coming over 2018, here's the newsletter link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CmGulixvvA3yYQKwGYeXRTvMs1ebTnQsFSLKz85UQJk/edit?usp=sharing

Ah well, back to paperwork for a day or two, and I suppose I'll have to get on with finishing the toilet facilities at the studio too!

Whatever else, make sure you get time for creating and for enjoying your environment.

Sunrise at Kotare Studio

Thursday, 8 March 2018

All washed up

Whilst I hear on the news about the depth of the winter in the UK this year, New Zealand (at least the part I live in) has had a mostly glorious summer, which means surfing, swimming and generally enjoying the outdoors. Though I have loved all of the amazing images on Facebook and Instagram of the snow and ice - just gorgeous.
It has also been a busy and productive start to the year in textile terms for me, which I have enjoyed very much. It takes a while to adjust to a new place of work and so having a few deadlines to force the flow has been good for me.
Samples for the Autumn Knitting and Stitching Workshops were needed pronto. This year I have offered two classes, hope to catch you there:

Scraps to Fancies - Using coffee pods, baby wipes and cardboard 

Squiggles, Giggles and Hammers - no more needs to be said!

I was delighted when Maggie Grey contacted me for a chapter in her next WOWBook. But the exact details have to remain secret until publication, though to whet your appetite - it includes printable surfaces, metal, wire, alcohol (ink), beads, heat and more!

Starting Points

Sneaky preview!

I was sent a yummy little package of locally made, handmade papers in papyrus, flax and zizania to create anything with for an exhibition. As ever, you start off with one idea and others happen as you go along, so there are three pieces based on drawn forms off the beach - stones and roots. Then I wanted to explore the idea of found objects from the beach, which I am always acquiring, and the flow of the waves on the sand. The contrast between the natural and the discarded. This led to a small series in it's own right. And finally I asked for more paper to create a little maze book using words and oddments.
The exhibition will be on at the Muddy Waters Gallery in Dargaville, NZ from 13th April to 8th May. If you happen to be that way - do go in. It is a small, community run gallery and deserves support. But as you may not 'happen' to be in the area, here are a few images, the rest will work their way to the website later when my Photoshop stops playing around.

Dune Grass Study by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Dune Grass Study by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Beach Pebble Study by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Beach Pebble Study by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Now it's back to working on my 'Fabricated Narratives' pieces.