Friday, 28 June 2013

Last day of my Winter Residency

And the sun comes out! It's all finished, we've cleaned up and prettied ourselves up and ready to share our work during the Open Studio happening this weekend.

It's been an interesting month and I feel quite pleased that I nearly managed to do all the work I set out to do. I didn't quite do enough drawing, but I did complete two BIG works, now called Cavern and Tower. Crocheting video tape is not easy and I was worried about my hands getting tired or sore, but all is well.

The only two things I would make sure that I do if/when I do another residency is:

1. as much as possible, check out the surrounding area. I wanted to interact with my little bit of Abbotsford, but really needed to do a few good walks to see if I could find good places to sketch, any businesses where I might find materials and anything else of interest.

2. take the weather into account. I know it's Winter, but didn't really plan for the reality that I wasn't going to sit in the sunshine and sketch.

Minor issues really, so it's been FUN!

Hope to see you at the Open Studio.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

On the nature of inspiration

Artists are often asked about their source of inspiration, often, the response is to make a detailed, wordy and esoteric artists' statement or else something along the lines of  'the world around me' (a response I tend to favour!) Neither go to the heart of what can explain the source of an artists' inspiration.

I often think it's a collecting thing. We collect ideas, words, pictures, swatches, anything and everything. There's nothing so dangerous as an artist with scissors! But it's also drawing, writing, generally recording something that you like. As we collect they link. They link our personality, our current interest, the idea that's been sitting at the back of our mind.

We go look at other artists': friends we admire, great artists that appear at our galleries...don't forget Monet at the NGV....but it's not to copy them, it's to take on more information. Colour, technique, subject and what we dislike, all come together.....eventually.

As I'm coming to the end of my month of being an artist in residence at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery I've been thinking about the artists that might be called influences, except I don't quite think of them as influences, more as supports. Often the renowned artists give us permission to do the outrageous, because they are more so. They allow us to use materials or work in a way that is odd, because they do. So, to that I give you:

Fiona Hall, she's currently showing at the Heidi Museum of Art and is well worth seeing. She often works with textiles in a very political way. I've known about her and seen pictures of her work, but this is the first time I've seen it in the flesh! It is quite overwhelming and I must admit to not feeling very comfortable with the exhibition. This may be what she wants as there are some very strong messages. It's good to be challenged.

You can see why I like her work!

Another artist who always crops up is Andy Goldsworthy, Melbourne currently has two on Herring Island, where, during the summer you can catch a ferry onto this man made island in the middle of the Yarra in the heart of the city. There's also a gallery there!

His work is often ephemeral, allowing the work to disintegrate or change due to the forces of nature.

I've obviously picked out works that directly relate to my own current interest in the building of nests. I don't want to copy, just that other artists think nests are important too!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Taking Shape

The second week was an example of concentrated effort, no thanks to the weather. It's been rainy and cold and I haven't managed to do much/any drawing of my local neighbourhood. I'm glad I set myself a target of having the first work in its final form by the end of the second week. There are still bits to add on, but I feel I've achieved something. It is also the halfway mark and the emphasis will change as we head towards the open studio weekend.

There is alot to be resolved in something this big. It still seems to need more and also how to get it to hang right. It does sort of look like a big black blob! Would you want to live there?!

I'm being sustained (food and coffee) by the guys at the Bomb Cafe in Johnston street. It's nice to get out have a bit of a walk and grab a warming lunch.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Emerging shapes

Working on a large scale and the attending problems was one of the aims of my artists' residency at the Yarra Sculpture gallery. As my shape gets bigger, I have had to rig it up just to make it easier to handle. It also gives an idea of how it is going.

This week has been a bit tiring as it has been all about getting to the end of the first shape. At its largest part, it took half an hour to do one row. Today, I should be going in and getting close to finishing the basic shape. The major issue that seems to be emerging is how to get it to keep the shape and how much is needed to be added on, but that's for the ongoing weeks.

I've started my second shape and am glad I had a bit of a go. Hopefully some good photos today!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The neighbourhood

I thought I'd like to tell you about the neighbourhood, starting with my artist neighbour, Taka, who shares the Yarra Sculpture Gallery with me. He is Takahiko Sugawara and is working with very simple materials and building the most etherial work.

The skyline is also dominated by the Public Housing highrise over the road. It does make some interesting contrasts with the older housing surrounding it.

Monday, 10 June 2013

First week roundup

Well it's been an interesting first week of my artists' residency at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery, and I think I've learnt a few things:

Firstly, I like this! Going into your studio and working each day is a real luxury. Perhaps a little unsustainable in the very long term, already jobs are being put off till 'after June!'

Secondly, you get faster and faster at crocheting! Videotape is not the most forgiving medium to crochet with, it's sticky and awkward. I am glad I chose a larger crochet hook than I've worked with before.

Thirdly, you get time to think about other projects, problems are thought through and hopefully solved.

Fourthly, I do miss being at home when the boys get home. Not that much is said, or great problems solved, or they need me to, I just miss it.

And lastly, there is alot of bits and pieces in a videotape, many of which don't seem to be able to be used for anything else! I am playing with some of the bits and pieces, but even so glad they aren't used anymore.

So, on to week 2!

Friday, 7 June 2013


Abode was the theme for my work last year and relates to the structure we live in, not really referencing the idea of home, which is not necessarily a physical place. As I look back over the last twenty years and the journey that started with the Cerificate of Art in Studio Textiles at the Melbourne College of Textiles it's interesting that the theme crops up in a variety of work. (By the way neither the course or college existed when I finished the course and now the course also doesn't exist in any form..all a bit sad, really)

I've been pondering this, and have come to no conclusions. I've never been particularly attached to a house, even my parents' home which I grew up in and where my parents still are. 'Home is where the heart is' really rings true for me. My parents, husband, children, sisters, wherever they are, are the places in my heart. So this preoccupation with the physical reality of the home is interesting.

I'm now aware of it, so it comes into my drawing:

And what I'm working on:

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Catching up!

I've spent this week trying to catch up with all the 'other' work that I had, so I can be the artist for the month. One of the last jobs is a set of hats for a friend. She bought one, black with buttons that she's ordered four more, in the colours of her choice.

As you can see they're a fairly simple hat, it's the embellishments that make it a little different. I've had fun playing around, so much so, I might just make some for the stall.

Oh, and if you say there's only three, she already has one, it is Winter!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The first day of work

I am intending to treat my month of Residency at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery as a full-time 'job', the first I've had in over 20 years! The family have been told, though already failing as no-one is taking ownership of the growing mountain of dishes! To that end, yesterday was my first big day! It did involve getting there late and a lunch with my husband, but nobodies perfect.

I did do some sampling. I have to try and work bigger than usual so brought in some big crochet hooks to work with and tried using the tape doubled.

I finally settled on which crochet hook felt and looked best. Unfortunately, not the biggest one, but big enough. I've already started on a rough circle for the bottom of my first 'nest'. It needs to be about the size I need to sit cross-legged on and is about the size of a seat....getting there.

I did my first drawing, it is tiny, but it is a nest! And I settled in a bit more.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Yarra Sculpture Gallery - Winter Residency

I was going to get all serious and talk about opportunity and risk, but....I'm just so excited....I am going to be a full-time artist for the month of June!

To explain...the Contemporary Sculptors Association runs residencies over the Summer months and Winter months at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery, in Collingwood. They've offered them again this Winter, the first being for June, and I'm one of the artists! You can see the previous residencies and see how much work they've done. Basically, you get 24 hour access to your studio/gallery space for the month. There is an open studio weekend and that's about it really. As I said, I get to be an artist for the month.

Here's my space:

 The aim of my project is to develop my High Rise works to life size. That's why I want the big space. I have no idea how much work I'm going to be able to get done in the time, but looking at the previous artists work, it seems quite alot.

I hope to get some drawing done, further explorations of ideas and materials and I hope to blog, more consistantly, about the whole experience.

And, here is my studio, ready to go!