Friday, March 7, 2014

Sigh no more

This post is dedicated to the memory of Carol.

And while you read it and look perhaps you might like to tune into this gorgeous song Sigh No More with the beautiful lyrics by Shakespeare. I can't get it out of my brain at the moment, it appears to me in dreams and in every waking moment ever since I heard it on Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. 

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, everyone does it in their own fashion. For me, I like to pour it into an artwork. I find the process of making something truly therapeutic, it gives me time to reflect and something to give away at the end. A kind of symbolic letting go.

This is a fabric book I made for Carol's partner to use as he wishes, and in some small way, help him process his grief. It's a bit girly, well, VERY girly. But hey ho, so was Carol, so let's acknowledge that beautiful feminine person with something equally feminine.

Recuerdos - mixed media, vintage fabrics, eco dyed mull, found objects.

The brown fabric is mull, eco dyed with NZ harakeke seed pods. Embellishments are vintage beads, buttons and lace. The pages have been left plain, ready to fill up with memories, photos and stories. Binding is simple long stitch.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


One thing I've learned from assemblage artists is that you can pretty much use anything to build your assemblage on.

Take Ron Pippin for example, an artist of genius proportions. He created an entire work built on a Kayak And here's one from Michael Demeng from, well you can see what he uses. Seems like you are limited only by your imagination.

So here I took an idea from a Michael Demeng workshop entitled Good Brushes Gone Bad and created 2 small assemblage pieces from used-up house paint brushes, you know the ones where the bristles are so stuck together that painting is impossible anymore. Anyone with the right sense of mind would chuck them in the bin. OK, so anyone in their right sense of mind wouldnt' chop the faces off baby dolls either! The old layers of paint create a natural start to the assemblage and I retained some of this in the work. 

Bad-Ass Baby

A Brush with Bling

Both pieces are up for exhibition this weekend in the Martakana Art Show, another fundraiser for Warkworth Wellsford Hospice at Matakana primary from Friday  24th to Monday 27th January. Come along if you are local. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pickled cabbage is alright.....

While boiling up this red cabbage to make dye I can't help singing in my head an old song from the English music hall days about cucumber by Harry Champion. Anyone know it? No, I thought not. A hangover from my early childhood when the family used to gather around the piano at my Grandad's house in Charlton, and have a good sing-song over a few pints of ale. Parties would last all weekend, and us kids would get to sleep in the 'good' lounge chairs or in Nana's bed.

Anyway, getting back to the red cabbage. I had thought it would make a blue colour, but my batch turned out purple as you can see. I used rain water in a stainless pot with a dash of alum crystals for mordant. Although it's not blue, it is a beautiful dye colour.

I tested it out on silk. Funny tho', while the silk holds the colour well, after a couple of days in the jar the liquid colour fades, even in a dark place. And by god it gets really stinky. I'm too scared to take the lid off!

In search of the elusive blue, and for my next trick, I'm going to try dyeing with black beans, which you can still eat after you've used the soak water. My son tells me they make really good brownie....who would have thought?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Discover Me

I've recently joined a NZ on-line shopping community called Discover Me and am hoping I might sell a few of my hand-made things. You see, I keep producing stuff, of which some I keep and some I give away as gifts, but often I make more things than I need to keep or giveaway. But yet I still keep producing because, after all folks, it's the journey rather than the destination that is the important thing. And to be honest, financial income doesn't really play a significant part, it's just a bonus. So now I have the option of listing some of my work for the Kiwi market on-line.  Check it out!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Shrine to Rust

A competition and fundraiser for Hospice, to decorate a mannequin in whatever way you want, inspired me to make "Our Lady of the Divine Rusty Junk".

Our Lady of the Divine Rusty Junk
The body has been rusted using the technique outlined here. The elements used to embellish her were all salvaged from the Hospice rubbish pile. One man's trash ....... as Macklemore says......

Our Lady is rife with symbolism of fertility and re-birth. She is a shrine to honour the beauty that can be found in aging and decay. Rust is a beautiful mark that time leaves behind, a symbol of a good life. The repurposed junk reminds us that 'useless' is a subjective term and that everything continues to have value.

The mannequins are on display at a local shop window, and people are invited to vote. Then they will go to auction and all proceeds donated to the local hospice. Where I work. Another example of recycling I guess. 

When I made her, I had trouble getting the rust to stick to the mannequin. In the end, I painted her with gesso mixed with binder medium, then a second coat of gesso, then the rusting chemical. Finally I sprayed it with fixative spray.

 I'm not a catholic but I love the iconography of catholicism. The virgin Mary is a favourite of mine.

Not all Mums would spend their weekends drilling holes in boobs, my daughter says that's because I'm wacky, not like the other Mums. Thank goodness for that.