Sunday 30 March 2014

second skin, another chance another dance

there's something purring in my lap

one of the [many] things i really enjoyed about the second skin class last week 
was that by Sunday afternoon 
each participant had a beautiful and unique SilkyMerino dress 
as well as a rather gorgeous infinity scarf which wouldn't fall off 
in a stiff winter wind
and that most people went home already planning their next dress 

one of those present [who goes by the name Mazzaus on her blog] 
has kindly written two posts mentioning the class

and then
and here's another story
from a little further along the table

anyhoo given the Mansfield 'second skin' class filled quite quickly
Sally Harvey [proprietor of Crockett Cottage Studio] has suggested 
that it would be a good plan to offer a second sitting

such a good plan i don't know why i didn't think of it myself.

so there you have it me dears

second skin will run again on November 11, 12, 13
at the same venue in Mansfield, Victoria
four places have already been snabbled...
please drop me a line if you'd like more information
 and in case you are wondering what these pictures are about
i shot them on the way home from Murray Bridge 
[whence i had driven for the opening of
"How does your garden grow"]  

i love the road that curves below the hills from Palmer to Murray
it makes me want to sing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" on repeat, all the way home
[and i did]

"Heart Of Gold"

I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean
for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind,
it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

Keep me searching
for a heart of gold
You keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm growing old.
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.


Wednesday 26 March 2014

how does your garden grow?

yesterday i drove down to Murray Bridge
to install my pieces for the exhibition

How Does Your Garden Grow?
glimpse of the catalogue
 i was accompanied by my "assistant"
who voraciously consumed quantities of milk while busily charming the socks off the gallery crew
glimpse of the cat
 but fortunately fell asleep long enough for me to paint my poem on the wall
[using an indigo-flavoured milk and lime mix]
nightsongs [text]
 when not otherwise occupied, Yoda practiced yoga
here's what the rest of my work looks like

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [installation view]

please join us there on Sunday March 30 at 2.30 to see the work of Dana Kinter, Petrus Spronk, Morgan Allender and Matthew Bradley[and mine in reality as opposed to batfone-snaps]

at the end of the day my assistant was exhausted

me too.

PS the bones were donated by Ginger, a jersey cow who died from natural causes [i think snakebite counts as natural in Australia] some years ago and who was buried respectfully but whose remains were exposed after a vicious north wind that blew the mound away.

Monday 24 March 2014

the answer to yesterday's question

where should i have begun?
at the beginning.

last week i flew home, changed my socks, polished my boots, cuddled my cat
patted the dogs, had a quick gin with my family, blew some notes on the tenor sax
and then
flew to Melbourne

to teach the first of what is rapidly becoming a series of second skin classes

Sally Harvey [proprietor of the gorgeous Crockett Cottage] kindly met me at the airport and took me straight to Brunetti's on Lygon Stree for a delicious iced coffee.
it was one of those rare moments when i actually thanked the Dogs Above that i am wheat intolerant otherwise i think i could cheerfully have eaten my way through that establishment.
wall to wall cakes of every description
with a goodly percentage of them loaded with cream and chocolate [two essential daily vitamins so far as i am concerned]

that was a fine beginning.

next morning i tottered across Johnston street and up the back lanes for a bit of a wander
and a quick reconnaissance of the green trash bins outside the flower store Vasette

and lots of it

i found nerines, tiger lilies [stamens intact, thank you], gardenia, magnolia, oak, three species of eucalyptus [i found even more wandering back down the laneways], lotus, roses, orchids, cotinus and more

in short, i found abundance

which reassured me that the maxim i live by

"everything we need is here"

still works very nicely, thank you.

for this trip i tried to keep my luggage compact, taking the smallest of work kits [spectacles included in photo for scale] although i did rather kick myself for forgetting to pack my singing bowl. unlike Stuart Kestenbaum [Director of Haystack Mountain School of Craft] who commands an expectant hush just by walking to the front of the room

to get attention i have to ring a bell [better still, a bowl] or resort to making a loud "coooooeeeee" noise. so it was the latter [that, or unpack the soprano sax...which might have had the opposite effect and cleared the room]

 i could do this of course [travel lightly, i mean, not clear the room] because i was coming to silkcentral
Beautiful Silks
where we were going to be working with the most luscious of materials

SilkyMerino and #5silkcotton stitching thread
i think this combination is my all time favourite. i'm the original sensitive princess when it comes to cloth against skin.

polyester brings me out in a rash [my son says it is psychosomatic but that is nonsense.]

the itchy wool trousers of my school uniform in the '70s had me in tears [although now i am sure the dyes in that cloth were as much to blame]

but i can even sleep in SilkyMerino [purl side inwards is best of all]
 we began by making a super-simple garment that doubles as a sweet top and as a scarf [even a hoodie if you're clever] so that we could get something into the dyepot and have a present to open next morning
and then we moved on to making one of the most important tools in dressmaking
no, not forging scissors [though that would be exciting]
but making string

and then on day two we started work on our beautiful second skins, exploring almost-no-waste cutting techniques and delighting in the fabulous drape of the cloth as well as the joy of handsewing,
simple running stitch and flat fell seams...strong AND beautiful

but we needed another present to open on day three
we took advantage of the sucrose indigo vats that had been brewing happily [nurtured by Naomi] since Aboubakar Fofana's workshop there in November last year [which i sadly missed because i was happily in Portland]
rebundling those simple ecoprinted garments, to add patches of blue...
totally gorgeous.

i had such a splendid time and everyone seemed so happy [and the wait list for Mansfield is bubbling over] that i really think there will have to be more second skin classes.
stay tuned for an announcement later this week...

Sunday 23 March 2014

Where do I begin ???

I am sitting in an airport once again
heading home after a fabulous three days  at
Beautiful Silks

Thank you my wonderful class 
(some of whom even came over seas to join us...from the South Island, Tasmania)

As well as from my home state South Australia 
Newcastle on the east coast. 

We sewed (by hand) and dyed
and sewed and dyed some more

Posting just a few pix via my Batfone 
more tomorrow
there are a couple of places left in some fabulous workshops coming to Beautiful Silks very soon

World leaders in pattern cutting Shingo Sato and Julian Roberts 
[the calibre of people you would expect to be invited by RMIT's Fashion Department]

Visit to sign up - i know Julian puts on a fabulous performance!

thank you so much to the handful of kind folks who have ordered a copy of fieldnotes
i am truly grateful

Thursday 20 March 2014

notes on fieldnotes

i've put together a pocket sized [but quite fat] catalogue for 'fieldnotes', 
the exhibition currently showing in New Orleans
it weighs in at about 5200 words
no academic essays, just me telling stories about the work

you'll find it on Blurb

and thank you everyone who has sent pix for the student book
i will respond to you personally soon
meanwhile i have a bit of sorting to do!

Saturday 15 March 2014

With a bit of luck

with a bit of luck
I shall survive the pond-hop
and make it home
so that
I can type up my notes
edit the pix of the work "in place"
(ie where it is hanging now in New Orleans)
and offer a catalogue for 'fieldnotes'

It won't be a traditional catalogue
though I will include the usual statistics
year of making, dimensions, materials, title
It will be a series of stories
detailing how and where the pieces were made
with locational photos and pix detailing progress
to supplement the pix of the finished work

Sorry I can't give you an image here
am trying to post this via my iPad
for some reason best known to the ghost of Steve Jobs
Won't let me post a photo from anything other than the internet

Except that with rat cunning I have circumvented blogger by adding a pic from my phone...

Thursday 13 March 2014


as I walked to the Bywater yesterday evening
for the opening of my exhibition


I heard music coming from this house

somebody was practising the Bach piece that my father played every night when he came home from his work at the university
as a child I lived to sit under the piano to be enveloped in the music
This evening I had to be content with standing on the street

Thank you everybody who came last night
I had no idea I had so many friends in New Orleans!

And thank you NOCCA and particularly my friend Nikki Jackson for the exhibition opportunity 
thank you too, to my friend Shelley for simply being. 

Thank you Frank from the Joan Mitchell Center for schlepping in my "twig" collection (and going back for another load)
and also the JMC for once again hosting me here in beautiful New Orleans 

And thankyou Christine
for sending me beautiful fragrant flowers 
an unexpected joy. 

,,,sorry about the lack of links, I shall fix that when I arrive home in a few days. Haven't quite worked out how to do that on the Batfone !

Sunday 9 March 2014

Magnolia heaven

New Orleans is known for her magnolias
usually though, we think of the evergreen kind
the appropriately named grandiflora

this is the first time in all my wanderings that I've been here in spring

and it's simply glorious

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Chillsome breezes and pretty beadses

I'm in New Orleans getting ready to install 'fieldnotes' 
by happy coincidence it is Mardi Gras time
And there are fascinating costumes everywhere

and lots of beads
But I wasn't expecting it to be quite so cold
Good thing I found a coat at a thrift store in Hollywood