nb: click on this invitation to enlarge for viewing!
For several weeks now my studio has been covered in cloth, paint and seedpods as I worked on my contributions to Botanique:Wearable Art Show at the Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, 13th of October and Bazaar Botanique - the follow-up event which runs from Wednesday, 14th through to Sunday, 18th of October at the Randall Studio in the Garden grounds. Organised by the wonderful and capable Bettina Palmer, Botanique has become a popular feature on the Garden's annual calender of events. Those unable to come to the Parade tuesday evening have a chance to visit the 5 day Bazaar. Guest speaker on the night will be Diane Moon who curated the immensley well received "Floating Life" exhibition at GoMA. With about 9 days left to go its a MUST SEE. Even the catalogue produced for this show has sold out .
For the fabric I spent considerable hours printing on cloth straight from the seedpods. In the past I might have worked with Lino-printing or a mono-print surface, but since collecting pods on my walks over the past year or so these have ended up in my work one way or another.
My first real purchase on commencing a proper job as a 22 yr old just finished study was a sewing machine. For about 6 years I exhausted the possibilities with this trusty machine then it got shelved as I went OS to live and travel. A few years later, settled in Melbourne, I picked up again...but not making wildly creative clothes as I once had, instead concentrating on producing textiles for table cloths, wall hangings, cushion covers etc. I lived in a wonderful 'decaying mansion' of a house with enclosed verandahs where I could spread out long tables to work on fabric when I wanted a change from the more detailed and much smaller drawing and painting I was doing.
Fortuitously meeting Bettina Palmer when volunteering at the Gardens months ago (on the 'Seeds for life' project) coincided with starting to look again at the textile work I'd once done. I was quite excited when Bettina mentioned her project and invited me to participate. This project has allowed for a fresh approach to subject matter and and opportunity to play with and extend visual ideas that feature in my painting practice. Below are some printed fabric works, some of which have been fixed to canvas stretchers. The process was so enjoyable that some developed quite unintentionally into paintings. I have (tentatively) added my 'Poinciana seedpod dress' here - with front and back views - which will be worn by someone suitably gorgeous next week at the parade in the Japanese Garden. I imagine there will be some seriously accomplished pieces keeping my little poinciana frock company. What fun!
section of printed work
Image above from an ABC TV gardening show (07.10.06) where presenter Colin Campbell referred to Poinciana trees as as the most defining tree that's shaped the character of inner Brisbane's oldest suburbs. Native to Madagascar, its bright orange flowers herald the beginning of summer and the start of storm season. The large bean-like seedpods are presently hanging in masses from trees all around where I live. I have been watching for changes to occur for some time...seeing the green pods turn a leathery brown and before too long transform yet again! When the pods start to open they can be prised apart and some can be used for printing, but many are far too curled up to make that feasible. The seeds are relatively small for such a large pod. I have seen jewellery made from them, but printing with seeds would pose a challenge!
These photos above are a little unreliable colourwise. I was avoiding posting a larger image which would have actually been a far more sensible thing to do as all the details are not evident here. The collaged fabric pieces...all the torn edges and stitching as design feature, subtle colour variations in parts...and the large oval shaped pocket for seedpod collecting! The beads also feature 3 small pods from another local tree. Oh well... if you click on the image you will perhaps see more detail! A few pieces to complete...and then it is done.
Two of the six fabric printed works I've mounted on stretcher frames. Other works have employed quite different colour palettes.