What's New - November & December 2023
I have continued to explore my "Sketches in the air" series. On one level these are hand drawings but using wire, not pen or ink. The "stitches in the air" reference is to the first needle lace pieces which were worked without an underlying fabric (Italian). I envisage these on glass windows or door with the light shining through - just as with the original lace. (They also work well on transparent smokey glass). If you think that my art has evolved from sculpture it makes sense to see these as outlines of sculptures seen from above.
The first piece is evokative of shapes in a landscape and their connectivity but it is experimental, playing with wire stitching and patterning on plastic. The second piece is based on the ripples that the wind makes in the desert. The floating pieces are just that- floating debris and vegetation. The third piece is a more intimate view of a enclosed environment - protected but not captured. I called it "Pond life". The fourth piece is an exploration of the intertidal zone where water and the sand meet. In the last piece, the wire only "sketch", sand and wind interact. The middle zone was filled with clear, misshapen circles reminscent of wind swept rubble. The finished (minus the outer frame) wire sketch is shown against a white wall as that is how it would normally be displayed in a gallery. The wire sketches photograph with a hard edge which is not apparent with normal viewing.
The pieces, with the exception of the outer frames, are made from recycled material.
December weather made markets a very variable experience- one week we shivered and sheltered from the rain while waiting vainly for our customers. Other days were sweltering and we slathered on sunscreen. However, as usual we enjoyed chatting with you, our customers, and our friendly fellow stall holders. We have stopped markets for the year and don't start again until March 2024.
Christmas earring and ornaments made their appearance - I had fun using my new skill at wire wrapping to turn unpopular but beautiful pendants into Christmas ornaments! My wire technique, having much improved since I last made wire chains and earrings (2012) resulted in a whole display of chains and earrings. I wear a pair 24/7!
CStudio in Hunter St, Newcastle held a group exhibition. I had 6 pieces included. This series of sculptures, at one level, are hands holding spongey sea creatures made from wire , but on another level they explore the contradiction between appearance and reality- between perceived movement and the rigidity of the underlying medium. They are currently at Tinkat Alley Art Studio in Toronto, NSW. Tinkat opens after the Xmas break in late January
What's New - September & October 2023
Tinkat Alley Art Gallery
Kate Bolton and a select few local artists have been running popular art classes and a small gallery in a small heritage listed building next to Fassifern railway station. It was the station master's cottage and, at one time, there was a extension running to Toronto (NSW). This year they welcomed more artists, Yvonne and I among them, to exhibit at the gallery on a regular basis - it is run like a co-operative and we have to look after our own exhibits. I assisted a fellow artist to install a totem in the grounds and I contributed a limestone sculpture. We both spent a while selecting, and de-selecting pieces for the gallery. My early choices were too "edgy" and were quickly replaced with pieces that were compatible with the paintings surrounding them.
Yvonne and I were artist's of the month in October and we laid out a wall in the front room with our art. Some pieces have stayed!
Sculpture on the Farm at Mudgee
A journey and a half took me to Mudgee to delivery my copper sculptures to Roxby Winery. A beautiful setting and a very successful exhibition although small items, such as mine did not sell well but we all enjoyed the experience.
Exciting new project 2023
I have been working with my friend Ondine to instruct Zimbabwean ladies to create earring (initially) out of discarded plastic drink bottles. Here are a few images that have been sent to me. The leaflet and makers in training. I got to see some of the early creations while in France in July 2023. There is a lot of excitement as how far this project can go.
New in August 2023
Sculpture. I completed my entries for Sculpture in the Garden in Mudgee and was delighted that they were all, three, accepted. Details are on "Market Dates"
Market. I want to create more home decor items for market selling but vases, bowls get lost on the table and I reaslised I was going to have make some wire flowers - copper because I found a source of recycled scrap copper wire locally and because they don't have to be picked every market. I added some coloured plastic drink bottle pieces and the result are good enough that they are selling themselves.
New in October 2021 to May 2023
This is the year I branched out into mixed media sculpture - ceramic and copper with a bit of recycled plastic for a burst of colour! I completed a few ceramic installations I had been incubating for a while and in the recycled, sustatinable range I started instructing some Zimbaweans on how to make recycled jewel for sale. I had a "whoppee" moment when I realised that recyled plastic, particularly if textured/coloured/deformed, was a legitimate art material.
For my markets, I made some swirl or wave necklaces in different colour ways/textures/materials. They are time consuming but they attract attention to the stall. I am suprised at the number that sell! (Not in quantity but the fact that they do sell!). I developed a range of "cookie cutter" earrings but instead of commerical shapes I made Matisse cutouts and shapes inspired by an on-line earring maker "WSS". I used a new modelling clay with a ruberized component - it gives thin slices a lot of strength and flexibility.
Sculpture. Exhibitions are the driving force that makes me create sculptures. Early August was a Hunter Wetlands (Shortland, Newcastle) exhibition for which I produced a bowl with a drowning "scream". It was lovely idea but I was not that happy with the ceramic portion of the sculpture. Later, for an exhibition at Back-to-Back Gallery (Cook Hill, Newcastle) I made a number of ceramic and wire sculptures that spoke to the need for "habitats" for the little things in nature. Two of these sculptures were "meadows" which had ceramic bases and brass flowers and grass. I primed drink bottle plastic before coating in brass. The result was harmonious and led me to see plastic as sculptural material.
In March 2023 I joined a group exhibition in CStudios in Newcastle and exhibited a number of sculptures. Two of these were abstract wire and ceramic sculptures- in spite of the rigidity of the material, the sculptures evoke movement. I felt for the first time that I had reached into myself for the creativity (rather than been inspired by others works). Another of the sculptures was a ceramic installation of 5 mannikins- they speak for themselves- see the image below. In the same month I exhibited at Gallery in the Gardens (Myall Lakes, NSW) - older sculptures reworked for this interesting exhibition - both pieces sold.
In May 2023 I exhibited at the Sculptures@Scratchley - on the headland in Newcastle. The sculptures combined ceramic hands with large knitted copper tubes and were enthusiastically included in the exhibition. It was an unexpected and delightful sculptural experience. Both pieces sold. In May I joined Tinkat Alley Gallery at Fassifern, NSW and many of my smaller sculptures found a loving home. The sculptures will be rotated regularly.
Bottle Art. During the year I added scrap copper wire to my recyclable material and mixed media sculpture became an exciting new direction. At some stage I realised that the fine wire could be used to lace together shapes cut from plastic drink bottles and I created a number of bowls wholly made from recycleable materials. My mind explodes with shapes that could be made this way but, more exciting, is the use of the plastic to form spaces in sculpture.
New in October 2021 to May 2022
This period signalled a maturing of some directions and the initial blossoming of some new work which slowly dominated the following 12 months.
For my markets, I developed a design for flat necklaces that could turn tight corners without the beads flipping. This meant long necklaces would lie flat - an achievement in itself. As a maker, it gave me great delight to create kaleidoscope designs - each square flat bead full of intricate patterns. Once I understood the implications of designing "tight turns" I created my first "heart" necklaces and these were launched for our Valentines market Feb 2022. The square flat necklaces really came to maturity in May 2022 with improved technique and sophsticated patterns.
In October 2021 I spent some time developing adjustable costume rings - they were very successful as a design but sit on the market table unnoticed. Shame really!
In march 2022 I made a range of ceramic jewelery using porcelain and a sgraffito surface design. I loved taking advantage of the weight of the porcelain to make dramatic pendants that sat on the stomach (the material I usually use is light weight and classic designs that rely on gravity for functionality have had to be re-designed).
Sculpture, during this period was a bit itty-bitty. In November 2021 I made some lovely hands using my own glaze but felt a little whimsy and painted the nails bright glossy red. Fun!
In December 2021 I molded some figures (with a nod - more like a bow - to Aubrey Beardsley) for a ceramic group show titled "Art Nouveau". In October 2021 I sculptured a Mario Bros Piranha plant - a cartoon icon which challenged my skills . (It was a gift.)
In May 2022 I completed a 4 part ceramic desk lamp. It was to be a marquette for a bigger limestone carved outdoor lantern - Japanese style. It was my first multi-piece ceramic sculpture and required me to take into account shrinkage. I cheated a bit and fired the legs before shaping the top 3 pieces. But it fitted!
In March I tried sgraffito - a technique which involves scratching/carving designs through the surface colour to create paintings. I played with the technique on Ikebana vase shapes - I like this technique a lot but the lack of an outlet for these creations meant that when other projects came along, I was distracted. Sgraffito also requires (I found out) a smooth clay body and I was working, at the time, with gritty clay suitable for sculpture. I will get back to it!!!
Knowing I was not progressing in ceramic handbuilding I took a turn on the wheel - I wanted smooth edged containers which I would then modify by squashing, twisting or expanding. My concept was the contrast between the smooth wheel walls and a definitely-not-smooth shape. At heart, I like functionality, so I added holes so I could attach some weaving. My mind exploded with the concept of treating the ceramic as a gourd and adding explosions of .... anything. Unfortunately they were not fired and I missed deadlines for my sculpture exhibitions. These containers became the basis of the following year's exploration of combining ceramic with wire.
Bottle Art. My skill in handling pre-molded plastic improved and I created many "flowers" and necklaces. In March 2022 I ran a workshop for the local creative hub. It was very successful and all the participant wanted a follow up workshop.
New in August 2021
The main difference that COVID lockdown has made to my life is the lack of markets: I miss the easy comradery of the stall holders. I also miss my weekly pottery workshop. Lockdown did, however, give me a chance to re-build this website. I certainly find it easier to navigate, more relevant to viewers and generally, less busy. I hope you do, too. I always say I love learning more than anything else, but JOOMLA 4 (web building open source software)????
I have been working on two main areas: soft drink bottle art and experimenting with CosClay.
The recycled soft drink bottle pieces were for submitting to the "Waste to Art" exhibition that is opening on 23rd October. My pieces will be exhibited in Toronto library. Here are a few examples of the new pieces. You can see more in the Recycled menu.
CosClay is a synthetic moulding material somewhere between rubber and plastic. I tend to push the limits of material with which I work and the thin pieces of small figurines were too fragile for the rough and tumble of the markets. I had stopped making them because of the damage. CosClay, on the other hand is flexible when thin, and rigid where thick. It can be used with an armature and the "figure" posed after curing. As you can imagine it has it quirks but I am building up my knowledge. Here are a few of the trials
New in July 2021
My largest ceramic sculpture, "The Wave" got accepted into the Sculpture on the Farm and will be on part of their on-line exhibition. Pity about the exhibition being cancelled due to COVID. The online catalogue is now available. The Wave is Cat no 086.
Our markets have had a bit of bad luck with gale force winds (or that is what it seemed like), rain or COVID lockdowns causing cancellations. I have taken the opportunity to re-string some pinched petal necklaces. I have found that customers find that necklaces using the petals as beads are more compatible with today's fashions. It isn't as straigtforward as it sounds as the colour blending is critical and the shape of the new bead that separates the petals has to work with the petal shapes. I did about 8 necklaces: here are a few examples using the same petals with different colors and shapes. I found short barrel beads were my favourite and they became basis of a series of winter chockers. The chokers are low key but still bring a bit of color into a drab winter outfit while sitting softly on the neckline. I made some to go with 2021 winter colour trends but others I just played with colour gradations. I am wearing one day and night at the moment.
Also for the market, I played with a few new shapes for soft drink bottle earrings.I think I had blue on the brain! They are interesting but I think a geometric shape with an intricate pattern of holes is my favourite.
During July, I exhibited 2 sculptures at the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Shortland, NSW (Newcastle). The theme was "Unfurl - sculpture and ink in the Wetlands" and was a collaboration between The Hunter Sculptors and the Newcastle Printmakers . My entries featured the drosera spathulata, a carnivorous plant that lives in the wetlands. The plant, at twice life size is held in a ceramic hand. The other ceramic sculpture features 5 enlarged fronds of the sun dew which sold to a local artist during "set up". I had to make 400 beads for the "dew" spots! Both sculptures are about 35cm in their largest dimension.
At the same time, in July, my sculptures, "The Gossips" and "Four face totem" were on show at 'NOT EVERYONE LIKES PRETTY WATERCOLOUR FLOWERS', a Group Exhibition at The Hunter Artisan Gallery & Cafe 48 Melbourne St East, Maitland. The gallery is open 9-3 on Thursdays to Sundays. A really nice spot to have a light lunch and view the latest exhibition. Nikki, the owner, is passionate about giving new or local artists a chance to show their work.