As I am about to head off interstate - this time to Western Australia - for a stint of teaching at an event called FibresWest, I have been busy preparing for my class and for my slide talk presentation........but I've still managed to get some of my own work done as well as completing orders, like this one. This was how they looked nestled in the box of padding before I sent them......cloudbabies!
And here is another mixed-media piece, which I've called "My Back Pages" (yes, I stole that!)
And with Spring coming on, there is lots to do outside in the garden. At least I am mostly on top of it!
It's amazing how a very small thing can trigger an entire body of work, or an artistic detour.......for me it was this birthday card ("Baby and Zebras" designed by Suzan Visser for Edition inkognito) given to me recently by one of my sisters:
I love zebra patterning, but what triggered something and set the thinking-wheels in motion was the tiny child on the zebra's back. A series of anthropomorphic animals! The first would be a zebra: here is the planning drawing and the head I made for it:
I made a cloth body with hip knee and shoulder joints - it needed to be as well-made as I could make it, as the doll would be unclothed and the fabric body would be on show, albeit with a striped livery that might disguise a few flaws! Here is the doll assembled before painting:
Then I went to town painting the stripes - that was fun! I used lots of zebra pictures as references and made a bit of it up as I went along. I cut a slit in the top and the back of the head to insert alternate pieces of black and white fur fabric for the mane......I never realized before that a zebra's mane follows the stripes in colouration.
I've been experimenting a bit just lately with cloth-covered paperclay birds. This is the same technique I use to make many of my dolls' heads and in this case, for the hen, I used a woven cotton fabric that was fairly open, to give an almost canvas-like texture. This is a lovely surface to paint onto.......and as you know, I love to paint! This little hen needed a human companion, so I gave her an egg-loving little girl. The girl is a 12" (30 cm) jointed cloth doll with a cloth over clay head painted with acrylics. Her wig is hand-knotted Lincoln wool and she wears a cotton dress and pinny. I knitted her cardigan using 4-ply cotton yarn and her sun-hat is crocheted from cream and blue cotton. Her sandals (which were very fiddly to make!) are leather and I had to make the buckles, because I haven't been able to source tiny metal buckles for quite a while. And she has a little basket for the eggs. Brown ones, of course!
The time is almost here: next week I'm loading my ute (truck) onto the TT Line ferry and heading over to Melbourne. I'll be driving east to set up my exhibition in Meeniyan in South Gippsland. After the opening, I'll be setting off to Canberra via Bonang and Delegate, where I'll be spending a few days with a friend who has a cattle property in the high country. In Canberra I'm teaching at the Canberra Contemporary Craft Retreat for a few days, before setting off back down south to catch the ferry back home. It's been so long since I've had a ROAD TRIP, I'm excited and really looking forward to it! And the back of my ute is large with a rigid canopy, so I'll be able to take everything I need for a comfortable trip. Meanwhile, I'm still working away in the studio, kind of waiting for the weather to warm up and dry out, so that I can really get stuck into painting and tidying up around here, because I'm planning to sell my house and five acres in a month's time. In some ways it's a reluctant decision, because Bob and I built this place literally with our own hands, but I'm finding there is too much to do to keep everything in order with such a big property when my priorities are tending to be elsewhere...........of course, when I relocate, I'll need another studio of some kind. I've been spoilt by this one - I know I'll never have another like it, but c'est la vie! Time to move on.
I've had this piece in the back of my mind for quite some time.....years, in fact, but I never quite found the time to realize it.
This is the initial watercolour sketch.....three frogs on a log with the colour successively fading from them.
I decided a couple of months ago that I wanted to make this piece (finally!) for my exhibition in August, so I knuckled down and got it done in the past week. First I had to make three fabric frogs:
Since these are quite small, this is tricky and intricate fabric piecing, and they all needed to be in slightly different poses.
The frogs were then arranged side-by-side on a piece of wood that I have had set aside for this project for ages..........I painted the fade into the wood as well.
Of course, it is fairly obvious that this piece has a strong environmental message: frogs and amphibians generally, are "canary-in-the-mine" species.....their sudden decline and disappearance from many habitats indicate that all is not well with the ecology of these habitats. Presence of frogs is a strong indication of environmental health.