Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Botanique at Mt Coo-Tha Botanical gardens next week

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

Colin 1

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.


Novi On The Go said...

What gorgeous colors Sophie! Your printed fabrics would make beautiful scarves, I think. Seeing the picture of the Poinciana tree reminded me of lovely Singapore again. I think they call it a different name there, I can't remember, but are the seeds small, red and shiny?
I hope you have a great show!

Nicola Moss said...

Your drees looks wonderful Sophie, I look forward to seeing it on the night.

speak soon.


Thanks Novi! Its lovely to wake up & find one's had lovely visitors leaving heart-warming comments.
You've referred to Singapore before which must have been a vastly different experience from where you are now In Vancouver!
All that heat of Singapore...I could imagine trees like Poincianas doing well there! The seeds are a little over 2 cms long and as I hold one in my hand - colourwise it is 'streaked blonde and brunette' or I should say beige with brown markings - like certain varieties of beans.
good luck with your project and thanks for the encouragement!


Hi Nicola,
thanks or popping by with a sweet message! I'm tentative with the frock...stepping out of ones comfort zone... but it was fun to try something I'd abandoned long ago all over again!
See you next week!

rachaellee9 said...

Hi Sophie,
I love what you have done with using the pods to print on the fabric. The dress looks great, clever idea to have pockets so you can collect more seed pods! I would love to see photos of the model wearing your dress as unfortunately I cannot make it on the night.
Best wishes

Katrina's Blog said...

Hey Sophie, amazing work, what a wonderfully diverse and creative person you are!! I will see you there at the opening for Bontaniques 09 on Tuesday, can't wait! I was out at the Gardens yesterday with Candy delivering her felted hat creations.


Hi Rachael,
thanks for your affirming thoughts on this busy week when you are getting ready for your show friday night! My eyes widened with delight to find the "traffic' image amongst your new works.
Glad you like the pocket idea....I put it to a family member who looked at me with that"your'e mad" look!
When I go walking i like to pick up seedpods and other things that grab my interest...occupational hazard as you know...and its a problem when not carrying a bag or such!
Photos will be taken...I heard a rumour the talented Nicola Moss will be carrying a camera!
See you at your show this friday!


Hi Katrina,
thanks for the warm response...much appreciated! Very glad to hear you'll be there, no doubt with camera capturing those fabulous hats on parade for Candace!
I'm keen to see the dress ups...thats what it felt like yesterday when I was at the gardens and had a peak at the hats all waiting for next week and the imaginative
touch of those staging the parade!
See you,
ps just saw you had blogged about Botanique as well...thanks for the mention too!

Jay Dee said...

Sophie - love your seedpod images! And thanks for championing the Poinciana! Although I do like the Jacaranda, whenever I think of Queensland memories they are filled with images of the Poinciana and its bright red flowers. Can't wait to see your dresses in person - am going to book a ticket for the Tuesday parade tomorrow :)

Curlyhead said...

I'll be there! Can't wait to see it.


Thanks for kind words Jay Dee! I do hope you can get a ticket as it sounds as if there's has been a great response!
These trees bring so much colour to the streets. This year I have to get my camera out right when they are at their peak! One gets so used to looking at the branches with dangling pods...quite sparse looking really with little green leaf...its an amazing transformation when they finally bloom!
Fingers crossed so you can get a ticket!


Curlyhead...you are no doubt coming with Thea. Should be a great night. I just realised how many of my local connections in the creative community have broadened through blogging. It does have a way of fostering familiarity and connection. For someone who has only lived here a year or so that's invaluable!

Chrissy Foreman C said...

Cool Soph! I'll be there on Tue night to support and encourage your beautiful work. xx


Thanks Chrissy...so lovely of you! Look forward to seeing you there,
S x

Susan Buret said...

The dress is so beautiful. i wish I could be there to see it. Congratulations


Thanks for the wonderful comment Susan.
I fretted so much more over this frock than I do over a painting ironically! So positive feedback is a relief.

Sanne said...

Very Very beautiful! i love your colours too! :-) nice to see your work here! I also love that you designed a pocket for collecting the seedpods :-)


Lovely words from you this morning... thank you Sanne! The seedpod pocket is so necessary for us collectors I think - especially on walks of discovery!

I have to tell you that a drawing you did for your 23-7-09 post ... I sent it with a reference to your blog to the dearest friend whom I wanted to find words of deep solace for...and that day couldn't ...the drawing was so delicate, so beauteous and yet so modest that I felt it could speak so finely to my friend's heart.

best wishes,

Candice Herne said...

fantastic Sophie see you there!


Hi Candace... you must be excited about seeing your wearable 'sculptures' - otherwise known as wonderful hats - walking down the catwalk.That will be a highlight for me..seeing them on the models coming to life so to speak!
Thanks for visiting and leaving a lovely comment!
see you Tuesday,

Kim Carney said...

I am IN LOVE with those!

Sophie Munns said...

Thankyou Kim for the lovely compliment!
Its was fun to do and a welcome departure from the usual preoccupations of my studio!