Wednesday, 20 August 2014

nine years later





back in 2005 i had the absolute joy of undertaking my first [formal ie paid for] costume commission.
the production was 'petroglyphs - signs of life' and the company Leigh Warren + Dancers

i designed and made the costumes, twined a large ball of string that became a key prop and devised the poster image.

it was a wonderful experience.

working on 'petroglyphs' led [in 2007] to creating costumes for the West Australian Ballet production 'debris'...dancer Frances Rings [who had joined LW+D for 'petroglyphs'] had been commissioned to choreograph the show and requested to have me as costume designer

now nine years later i have the delight of working with Gala Moody and Michael Carter who were also members of LW+D back in 2005

both now live in Spain but have been in Adelaide this month working with Leigh Warren and State Opera on the Philip Glass Opera trilogy, Leigh's last production before he hands the dance company that he founded some twenty-five years ago to a new artistic director and heads for fresh fields

the morsels on their bodies were part of the blue series i began in New Orleans and continued in Portland [last year]

kicking myself that i skipped taking a photo of Michael in one of these shirt collar pieces


but am hoping that [sooner or later] a moving image will appear on Michael's website

&

my favourite production so far for  Leigh Warren + Dancers

two bodies dancing

about Frances Rings

lastly, clicking on the photo below will take you to a link with more images from Debris

http://www.artfulmanagement.com.au/_/html/forseen.html

photo above by Jenni Large, borrowed from the Artful management website for purposes of tempting readers toward the link

Monday, 18 August 2014

in the air and on the ground

silkymerino rolls looking much like bread dough

 last week i followed an old marmalade stain on the map
and found myself back at lovely Glenmore House

it had been a long day so i was particularly happy to be lulled to sleep
by the scent of my favourite jasmine [polyanthemum]
thoughtfully placed in my room by Mickey, bless her


a sniff and a whiff of that particular flower and i am seventeen again
at least
on the inside

we had a glorious sunshiny bluesky day for our "heart and hand intensive" 
botanical alchemy workshop
during which i was so busy that i hardly managed to take pictures
fortunately Mickey [and Alex the kindly gardener]
took lots. you can find them here
i did manage a happy snap of the cumquat icecream and rhubarb compote
swoonworthy deliciousness. 
and of our cooking fire

had there been time we would have stitched the glowing morsels [below]
into tsunobukuro bags
but by 4pm everyone was worn out



the next morning i prised myself out of bed
and hit the road for Tamworth
where I had been invited to come and inspect the gallery
prior to my exhibition there in December
the plan was to arrive on Friday evening, in time for the opening
of the 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial

unfortunately
the inadvertent slashing of a tyre
caused by avoiding a close encounter of the unpleasant kind
with another motor vehicle
delayed my arrival until well after ceremonies had concluded
it would have been cheaper and faster to fly
even without the added cost of a new tyre
but the four hour wait was good writing time
and the five hour + drive was good thinking time
even if i did have to drink an awful lot of coffee





wandering around Tamworth on Saturday morning
i found a lot of men in hats



a rock from which someone had chipped all the bits that did not look like snake



an old friend far from home
[California poppy in a dry creek bed]



some stones to play with



and some rather too friendly seeds
Bidens pilosa
which had to be individually removed
NOT something i want to take home to the farm
even if they do resemble tiny stitches

after i had picked my dress clean
and had some breakfast i betook myself to the gallery



my favourite among the works in the Triennial
was that of Ilka White



the work below, by Gillian Lavery
based on a simple premise
of timed daily sitching
10 minutes with a piece of thread that measured from her
mouth to her belly button and back
needle in, needle out
breath in and breath out



every day for one calendar year
remarkable in its dedication and execution

there were others too
that i would have liked to have shown here
[but did not want to embroil myself in Viscopy issues]
including Kate Campbell-Pope
whom i had last encountered when we were together in the 'Seven Sisters' exhibition curated by Kevin Murray in 2004

it is an exhibition well worth seeing...and as it is touring Australia for the next couple of years many red island readers stand a good chance of finding it not too far from home.


Monday, 11 August 2014

happy [and dreaming of another roadtrip]



today is one of those days
on which i really really love my day job
doing what makes me happy


even if it does give me cracked hands
and appalling fingernails

the thing about my day job
is that it funds the indulgence of exhibiting
and
to a certain extent
my teaching

travel does not come cheaply
and workshop fees do not always
cover the spaces in between engagements
but [despite bringing me into disfavour in some quarters]
i love to wander
being
a wanderbear at heart


i had such plans to take a sabbatical
but teaching is fun
and
so is wandering
and wondering

and so is
patience with bundles
taking time to open
is rewarded


with slow magic



which leads me to think
that 
while i really love teaching four or five day retreat classes like 'being (t)here'
perhaps it is also time to offer some one-day workshops
because not everyone has the time
to take the time
and
as my friend John Parkes so beautifully writes

"strange that time is more uncertain than water"

+

so
i am considering offering a retreat
that would begin in the early afternoon
which would mean that
the dyeing has the benefit of a restful night
and
we can share a leisurely evening meal
which i will very happily prepare
also
the cocktail hour can be appropriately acknowledged
without having to rush back to work

and then
next morning
not too early
allowing for a lovely walk after breakfast
[and time for yoga]
we would gather again
to open the bundles
and wonder at their beauty

+

the benefits of this structure
would be many:

less rush to get to an early-start class

one night of retreat away from home
in the company of like-minded souls

not having to forage for supper in a strange place

and

going home with something beautiful to remember it all by

+

i can think of quite a few places i would like to take this...
among them
lovely Lopez Island, that magical wee house in Inverness (California)
Fort Bragg (in the same state), anywhere in New England in the fall 
riverside in New Orleans, outback Australia, an Oregon beach
Tayside in Scotland, on an island off Tasmania
somewhere up near Cairns (Australia)
as well as possibly

Germany, Austria (in which case the workshop language will be German)
and Japan (where the workshop language might have to be sign language)
oh and i'd love to visit Ireland too
and that is just the very tippity tip of the iceberg
but 

i would also be happy to hear from any kindly souls 
who would like to host this kind of retreat
 because
i think i feel another roadtrip coming on

+

did i mention that i have been working on a new cocktail too?
allow me to present my
'ginger bear'

ingredients :
gin [preferably that nice one from San Francisco that has a bear on the label]
ginger beer [in Australia, use Ginger Joe]
some fresh ruby grapefruit juice
and the zest of the fruit also
freshly grated ginger root
wild strawberries
  
method :
shake gin and ice and grapefruit juice
strain into well chilled glasses over more ice
dilute slightly with ginger beer 
garnish with grapefuit, freshly grated ginger and some slightly crushed wild strawberries


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

and the winners are



thank you all 153 of you who wrote to enter the tsunobukuro give away

the three lucky winners personally selected by Yoda-san [above] were: 


Monique Risch, Violeta Calzada and Kirsty Faulds


and afterward he very helpfully did this [below]



i have tried to answer all of your emails individually but about half a dozen bounced back for various reasons and some wanted me to register as an acceptable address [too much registering!]
but
i have done my best
so if you didn't hear from me
it was not for lack of trying!



Sunday, 3 August 2014

only a few hours to go



if those of you who purchase the bundle book
[and those who have already bought it]
then
i will make a lucky dip
choose three names from a tsunobukuro bag
and send a hand-embellished ecoprint tsunobukuro bag
to each of those three people
if you happen to mention the book on your blog or facebook
[and send me the link]
you will receive a bonus entry for each separate site on which you do so
entries will only be accepted via this email address
wanderbear[at]gmx[dot]com

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

shapeshifting in September



i am teaching a 'shapeshifter' class near Bunbury, Western Australia that never made it to the website because it was fully booked from the moment it was conceived last year.

but now it seems a couple of spaces have become available : life happens and people's plans change

so if you can see yourself wanting to spend five days in the wildflower glory that is the West Australian spring, hand sewing a celebration dress from a collection of pre-loved articles weeded from your wardrobe

September 1-5,  2014

please contact Jane Flower for details

Sunday, 27 July 2014

reflecting on deep things



i had an email this morning from someone who required to know whether my books were printed on recycled stock.
she wrote :

"I am curious. Are your books printed on recycled paper and with other eco-friendly materials? I have Eco Colour but borrowed Second Skin from the library. They look like they were expensive productions. Please tell me they are produced with recycled paper and earth friendly inks and materials."

i wrote back and explained that the Australian edition of Eco Colour and the first edition of Second Skin were indeed printed on recycled stock and with vegetable inks but that the United States edition of Eco Colour wasn't [it was out of my control along with the advertising that appeared in the back of the book much to my surprise : for the record i do not endorse any of the advertised products] and that the second edition of Second Skin wasn't either [due to management changes at Murdoch Books]

but afterward i wondered whether she was typing her message on a computer made from recycled parts and using only earth-friendly energy? hmm.

and is there a reason why a book made from recycled paper should not look sumptuous?

that would imply that those of us who choose to wear environmentally 'friendly' clothing should perhaps dress in sackcloth so that we don't look too elegant. [admittedly my family too frequently observes that i look as if i am wearing a sack but that is another matter. entirely.]

the Blurb books are not printed on recycled stock. nor are the inks made from plants. i accept this is a drawback. on the bright side, though, the "print on demand" platform means that there will not be warehouses full of remaindered books rotting away because nobody wants them.

i've had that problem before, having overestimated the catalogue numbers for the exhibition 'watermarks' back in 2008. fortunately they were printed on recycled stock with vegetable inks so the box of extras [which nobody wanted at the time] made environmentally friendly [if expensive] weed suppressants in the garden.

i was hoping that 'shapeshifter', the handbook about clothing that i am preparing to publish in the Australian spring could be printed using as environmentally responsible means as possible.
that it would be a limited edition available by direct subscription, even if that meant i had to package them all personally [unlike Blurb which has printing houses dotted around the whirled and does all the packaging and mailing]

i'm still debating whether i will be able to fund it myself or whether to dive into something like Kickstarter. or whether i should go that road at all.

the cold hard fact is that though it's really exciting for me each time some kindly person buys a book, total sales [of all titles] through Blurb so far this month number only 352 and 30% of those were 'e' books or PDFs.  in order to keep the unit cost reasonable [so that with postage it is affordable as well as returning something on the investment of my time] i would need to have at least 1000 printed. and there wouldn't be an 'e' version. the thought of investing it what may become yet another pile of unwanted weed suppressant is somewhat dispiriting, so in the interests of market research...

what are your thoughts, oh gentle readers?

make a huge financial investment in eco-sustainable printing the hope of breaking even?

or stick with Blurb?

neither way is perfect. neither am i. but as i wrote to the correspondent above, i'm doing the best i can.



+

don't forget folks, those of you who have bought the Bundle Book still have until August 3 to enter that lucky dip for one of three ecoprint tsunobukuro bags, details
 here


 PS this dam was constructed by bulldozing legend Sam White for my father back in 1997. the bulldozer is not, in all honesty, and environmentally friendly tool, but in the hands of those above it created a very beautiful place for quiet reflection...even if that goat insists on coming along for a walk.





Thursday, 24 July 2014

last two chances to fly


i love it when somebody puts their hand up to organise a workshop
it means i don't have to do it
my skills lie elsewhere, though i'm getting quite good at finding reasonable value airtickets

having already embarassed myself by emailing someone from the waitlist twice
and being slightly pink around the gills
i am not going to attempt another rummage there
but simply tell you that

a couple of places have become available for the Second Skin class at Mansfield, Victoria [Australia]
in November this year

November 11,12,13, in fact.

here are the details


-->
Join me at Mansfield in Victoria’s beautiful High Country for a three-day retreat during which you will make and dye a beautiful and versatile Silkymerino  secondskin to keep you warm while wandering, together with an exquisite hand-stitched bag in which to carry it with you on your travels.

Each participant will receive an  ecoprint silk goodie bag containing several metres of fabric and a selection of beautiful threads as well as a signed copy of India’s zero-waste dress-making workshop handbook ‘shapeshifter’ and a few surprises. Aesop, bless them, kindly provides us with fragrant cream to keep our hands soft while we sew.

A delicious gluten-free vegetarian lunch [dairy components kept separate to allow for dietary considerations] served with your choice of wine, juice or water will be provided each day, together with morning and afternoon tea and coffee, supplemented by fresh fruit and Haigh’s chocolates.

please send your carrier pigeon through the looking glass if you are interested in securing a place [it will be the last time i teach anywhere this year]


+++ update added July 26 : thank you my friends, the class is full again!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

sockbundles

tis a fine thing
when the infants take an interest in the construction of things
especially when those things are warm and comfy
and are given to me

my Wild Rose [aka the Eldest of the Three] who has a B.Sc Hons and was recently awarded her wool classer's stencil
is not content with being able to do clever things with statistics and fling fleeces on tables
and [thanks to instruction by great-grandmother] churn out exquisite tatted lace at machine speed
has now turned her hand to knitting
and discovered a passion for socks.
- unlike me she can actually make two objects that are exactly alike.
 
the first pair went to her beloved.
i scored the second lot.

so of course
i bundled them up with some eucalyptus leaves
i love my socks

and was tempted to sling them in here as well

but i was firmly restrained.
they said enough was enough.
sigh.

guess i shall be wearing contrasting socks.