Thursday 28 February 2013





see that dark lump on the bench?
that's my sax case.
i blew some notes in the space
for my friends in New Orleans
wishing they were a bit closer.

my residency in Louisiana was initiated by
the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
and supported by the Joan Mitchell Center

again i'd like to thank 
Nikki Jackson [for having the idea in the first place] [and for just being]
 and her colleagues at NOCCA for welcoming me

Carolyn Somers, Director of the Joan Mitchell Foundation 
for letting me live there

and particularly 
Shelley Boles
Teddy Martin
Frank Gleber
Gia and Kenese
and all the others who made my stay so very wonderful.

[dang, i should have been wearing a fabulous frock to say all that]

Tuesday 26 February 2013

down by the river

i went down to the big river today
to begin installing work for  'muddy waters'

i was worried this piece might be a bit short
it isn't.

soon it will be suspended
from good sturdy snapper hooks
acquired recently in Aotearoa

then i wandered off to collect dried mud to make mud paint
[why dried? ...have you ever tried to sieve wet mud?]

a thrift store strainer made a good start
and a finer mesh was provided by a cheap spatter guard 

mixed the fine sievings with a little powdered gelatine
to give it a good 'squish' factor

letting it rest until tomorrow
the writing will be on the wall
any leftovers can be used for stenciling...

unpacking the big roll with the work from New Orleans
unleashed a tsunami of emotions

New Orleans gets under your skin
in a way no other place does

when i got home
i rummaged on Youtube
and found this.
i was there that night.

Monday 25 February 2013

in which Alabama meets the Deep South

after a satisfying morning when i realised i had "gone about as fur as ah could go"
with 'muddy waters' before the big install [which begins tomorrow]
i spent a couple of happy hours putting the flesh on the bones of an exciting new collaboration together with a Very Good Friend [expect to hear all about this in the not too distant future]

 as there hadn't been enough rainfall to even think about softening the earth
[so weeding was OUT]
i thought i would keep the hands from being idle
while the grey matter was charging about wildly upstairs

and continued on with the sample from yesterday

it was fun to play with for a while
[all the colours above are from Eucalyptus cinerea, even the grey]
but now it's back to work
someone is watching me.

Sunday 24 February 2013

day of rest? que?

it's been a rather hot Sunday here
fortunately not too much smoke in the air
i decided that the waterbag i am making for the 'muddy waters' exhibition
needed more embellishment
which [because i usually work in white] meant dyeing some thread

my little grandmother and my great-aunt Rose both stored odd lengths of thread
on paper spillikins
and so of course i did that too
my friend Roz is the clever bunny
who began slinging such thread-and-paper spillikins into the dyepot
[while i was still winding thread and leaves together around popsicle sticks or around the outside of dye-bundles]

they all four went into the same pot.
the two on the right are wool, clearly still wildly in love with eucalyptus
the far left is Japanese silk and the next one toward the middle is Chinese silk
all protein fibres but responding differently to the one brew

 to keep myself from pacing like a tiger while the dye was being absorbed
i decided it was time to start making a new cardigan
- i have a few woolly ones but need something cooler to
keep the mosquitos at bay and snuggle into on long flights

so i dug out some nice American-grown cotton knit fabric that my friend Claudia
had sent to me in a care parcel while i was enjoying my residency in New Orleans

i also ferreted out a pattern from the last century.
eighties, i think.
i wanted the cardigan to be loose and quite short, with three-quarter length sleeves

so i simply folded the papers a bit
and took a few corners wide
[and at speed]
naturally Martha decided to supervise proceedings

after all, her paws tone in so nicely with the general arrangement

 i stitched the pieces together by hand
making sure to "love" the thread [thank you Natalie Chanin]
and [perhaps unusually] using a quite thick pure silk floss [thank you Rachelle]

 it occurred to me that i could use a scrap of this cloth
to have a quick play with a stencil and some milk and that hot eucalyptus dyepot


but i am not going to stencil on to my cardigan
much as i love Natalie Chanin's exquisite work
my gut feeling is that it might be a little formal
for scruffy old me.
my friend who lives over the rainbow has shared some of her interpretations here
i think she is very brave.

for now i am adding a button or two [from a moth-compromised silk thrift-store blouse]

and what i fondly think of as an "Isobel" pocket
[in case someone needs to discreetly slip me a note while we are dancing cheek to cheek]

i shall be enjoying a few more weeks of stitching on this cuddly garment
making snailtrails with that lovely silk
before it goes anywhere near a dyepot

clearly though, this post has been far too long
so Martha has gone back to sleep.

Thursday 21 February 2013

lending a paw [and west coast whispers]

today Mrs Poo [formerly known as Willow] is helping me with my work

by drinking the last of the milk i am using as mordant
painting x's on a waterbag
for the muddy waters exhibition

why x's? i hear you mutter
i've been thinking about that tomb in New Orleans
believed to contain the earthly remains of Marie Laveau

where it's said that if you mark three x's
and leave a gift
your wish will come true.

waiting for the milk to dry
i have tweaked my website
now the details of this year's West coast Wandering
are up

[sorry to be tedious but if you click on the 'up'
and then scroll down
you'll get there....]

Monday 18 February 2013

signs and doings

being away for a week
and just sorting out work emails on the batfone
leads to a big pile that needs excision.
the delete button is useful

when you get things like this
yeah. right.

and then there was the one from 'Qantas Telephone Sales'
[i don't buy ANYTHING over the phone]
that wanted me to open a .zip file

i must look like a cabbage to some people

so much so that FaceBook
told me i was logged out
wanted me to log in again
and then
wanted to "check my computer for viruses"
er, no, thank you.

rather than take the risk and click the 'confirm' button
i'm outa there.

you'll find me in the workroom
beavering away on muddy waters
designing costumes for Company Miji

if there is a spare moment

Sunday 17 February 2013

pix from Roz's class

i didn't have much time for the taking of pix
i was in the kitchen
being a rather
s    l    o    w  

[although i managed to sneak a few play moments in the afternoons]

be that as it may
very few photos were taken

this is the only class shot i you can see everybody is engrossed in their work

this was not [strictly speaking] in class - it was part of 'after-hours' nourishment...

and this was a visually delicious [but inedible] Albizia seed pod that drifted into the garden at our accommodation

 Roz is a fabulous teacher
and her students are very very happy