Wednesday, 11 April 2018

WOW Preselection 2018

Having completed my three entries with time to spare (due to the decision not to attempt the fourth!) I assembled the faithful team for the photoshoot.  A week later, I submitted the photos for preselection, a preliminary step for International Designers before we ship the pieces for initial judging. Another week later, to my utmost horror, I received the first email beginning with the fatal words "Thank you for entering...". ( The good ones begin with "Congratulations!") Okaaaaay. The next one was a good one, but with a change of section, but to my further horror, the third was yet another rejection! Nooooooooo!! I was truly stunned, as I honestly thought the pieces were very strong.  The one entered in the Avant Garde section was a reprisal of my first entry, 10 years ago. Same concept, of a beautiful moth emerging from a cocoon, just interpreted differently, utilising the many new skills I have acquired over that time period. It's the most couture piece I've ever done - I really nutted out


the patternmaking, made toiles, and hand finished lining. The wing pieces were made by painting gel medium onto organza, then painting, then free-motion embroidering. The 'window' panels are a textured cellophane. The tunic (created from 5?6? layers) is covered in motifs that have been created the same way, before being cut out and applied to the bodice, then hand beaded. The chestpiece of the tunic has been tambour beaded - it's been a few years, but it was great to practice it again - and includes cellophane pieces, large rhinestones and ostrich feathers. The shoulder and head pieces have wire bases, moulded leather covers, painted and embellished with rhinestones. It is a personally significant piece, so it was a bit of a body blow to not have it accepted. I keep questioning if it would have made a difference if I had sent more detailed shots, but I figure if they wanted to see more, they would have asked for it to go through to the next stage. These are just the basic shots - I hope to share the more quirky ones sometime soon!
The second entry was a Bizarre Bra that I thought would be greatly appreciated! The description of my work 'Trumptopussy' read: 'Originally just a quirky idea for a bra based on a beautiful octopus, the surrounding political climate offered an alternative story. The 2016 Trump campaign became notorious for the phrase ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’, and searching the phrase ‘‘hands like an octopus’ online now leads straight to articles on Donald Trump. His presidency has sparked an incredible protest movement, with women finally taking a stand against sexual misconduct. I have always thought of the Bond film Octopussy in connection to the animal (the character actually a powerful, impressive woman). Trumptopussy of course, had to be orange.'




His awful hair is made of felted merino wool, his body is satin off-cuts stuffed with pillows, his suckers are made of window blind material from Reverse Garbage. He too, sparkles with rhinestones, and has a creepy, beady eye, which looks at you whilst one of his tentacles creeps down to the groin area.....
I'm sure Trumptopussy has a future out there....
Many thanks as before to Matt, Jenelle, Chantal, and Edwina.
Fingers crossed the third makes it on to the stage!!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Introducing Mama Banana


The WOW 2018 Shoot was pretty epic – 4 solid hours of hard work, teamed with a fair bit of frivolity!! We were all exhausted when it finished. Big thanks to Chantal Brennan - photographer, Jenelle - helper Bunneh, Mama Banana AKA Edwina Tait- model extraordinaire who also provided great atmosphere with her music and her banana, and of course, Matt Pettigrew - Patron of the Arts, for providing the venue and oh, gee, the unwavering support over the last 6 months, living with beasties all over his house!
Introducing Mama Banana modelling my Bizarre Bra, with her banana!
Amazingly, after a very looooong lie-in this morning, I unloaded the car, made lists of things to do, and tidied both studios - the post-WOW creation cleanse is complete! I have to admit, I was inspired after seeing Mama Bananas' under-the-house-open-studio, which was so impressively clean! It also sports a pool table as well as an amazing fabric stash, and I hope to hang out there and do a post on her fabulous space to share with you.
 As always, the studio is that little bit fuller, but I am blessed to have so many materials and inspiration around me. Now to complete the online entry with the photos, and hopefully pass the first round and pack them all off to NZ! Matt picked up the returned crates just this week, and there are a few repairs to be done, as well as the extra little stencils representing this years entries that I like to do. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will continue the journey and ship them off!
Thanks again to all who have been part of this annual adventure!




Sunday, 4 March 2018

New Horizons

The three WOW pieces fill the dining room, awaiting only small finishing touches before the shoot, then of course all the labelling and wardrobe touches like hanging loops, then dressing instructions, and packing. However, I have already mentally moved on, and today spent some hours cleaning the house and actual studio of bits that are no longer required (AKA the permanent chess game that occurs here in every corner of the property!) It's been a stinker of a day, which can help when tidying, as you get so shirty that you actually throw things out! It might not look much better to outside eyes, but it sure feels good!
The overlocker corner, utilised to hang samples
 By 1pm I had to retreat to the Oasis (upstairs, in the cool air) and Matt slithered in from the shed shortly after, having also achieved good work. My next priority was sorting out my entry to the Burnie Paper on Skin Competition, which closes tomorrow. However, as I don't have to have made the piece and send a photo yet, I could submit a sketch and description, along with images of supporting work. I was so pleased when I realised I could do this - a new goal in the calendar to work towards!
Recognise this lady? Isolda, my WOW entry from 2014 enters a new phase of her life! And what a long life it has been - WOW, a tour around Australia as part of the Craft & Quilt Fair in 2015, long holidays at TAFE, and most recently displayed at Reverse Garbage. Now, she has been cut down into a number of pieces which attach to each other - as the competition is in Tasmania, shipping is a very important consideration. Whilst walking one morning I had the epiphany of using Isolda as a base, then the shipping conundrum hit me. It felt a little weird to cut into her, but to know she will have a new life (and get the heck out of the house again!) is totally worth it!
It has led to me revisiting my old sketchbooks from my Morphology exhibitions - there are always many ideas which didn't have time, or sometimes, the skills to get explored. So it's back to lichen - here is my experimentation with making a silk paper piece, embellishing it with free motion embroidery, and silk cocoons, resting on the wire armature covered in tissue paper mache. The sketchbook underneath shows a lino print of lichen which may also get utilised.


 I dug out these silk cocoons which I have had for years, and sorted them out - cocoons, silk waste, bug waste, and the circles which have been cut out of them to let the moths out (clearly didn't work in many cases!) These little circles perfectly mimic the cupola shapes in the centre of many lichen. This picture I took 10 years ago of lichen in Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand is a major inspiration.
Speaking of New Zealand, this lovely 7 page article on WOW 2017 turned up in TEXTILE Fibre Forum Magazine! Oh hello, Spike!! (Official name, Cordycephila!) And hello Organ Farmer by Fifi Colston - here's a happy memory of her win over me last year!!

Another piece is already evolving as an off-shoot of a WOW idea, and whilst I still want to pursue that one, this one could be fab for Wearable Art Mandurah 2019! All of these new creations however are relegated to 'after hours', as my main focus is now to finish working on my much loved and missed kombi, Storm.
Never a dull moment at StudioSvenja!!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The almost final throes of WOW journey 2018

I can't believe it's over a  month since my last post - it seems like no time at all! There have been many long days of hand stitching and beading - probably the most I have ever done - in fact, I no longer have finger prints! I am very close to finishing - but only 3 of the four pieces I had planned. I'm quite fine with that, as there is a lot of work in the pieces I have made, from pattern making, to a great deal of handwork. I have made two which I hope to enter in the Avant  Garde Section of the 30th Anniversary World of WearableArt competition and show, and one for the Bizarre Bra Section - a political statement in art! Made of satin and venetian blind material, painted over, and over again, finished with mica paint and dimensional fabric paint, the final touch was this bead as an eye.....
The two Avant Garde pieces have unintentionally ended up sharing the same colour palette and therefore some fabrics, as well as some insect characteristics, although they are quite different in concept and construction.  People say when they see them that they can tell that they're mine, that they're always pretty, (not actually a good thing) and I know that they all come from the same well of inspiration - a fascination with the beauty of nature, and a penchant for intensive work! A lot of my material this year has come from either my stash, or Reverse Garbage - the biggest outlay I think has been on sequins!
Leather, rhinestones, metal earrings!


Leather with rhinestones, gel medium on organza

Sequinned shoooooooez!!

Gel medium and free motion embroidery on organza, with cellophane, and sequin material
The piece that won't be finished for this year is the one made of plastic drink bottles. Although I received a large donation of bottles from Karoline Cumming, many have resulted from the large number of mojito's drunk here throughout this hot, hot summer! I rinse, remove the label, use orange oil to remove the glue, cut off the top and bottom, and cut along the seam, then iron it flat - ish - it creates quite a bubbly texture. Then I make some cuts, shape it further with a heatgun, and spray paint a base colour. Others are cut into graduated scale shapes. They will be sewn onto a base made of yoga mat foam. It's too good to rush, so I guess we'll be living with this in the lounge-room for another year (studio is not high enough for mannequins with headpieces....) I don't know... maybe I can get it done...?!!

PET plastic scales on yoga foam bodice

The WOW photoshoot has been booked in for March - International entrants have lost a month due to the reinstatement of preselection (which I totally understand) - and if there is a tall, thin, model with attitude out there who wants to be a part of it - please let me know!

Monday, 1 January 2018

January 1st, 2018



Today has been filled with destruction and creation - all inside in the air-conditioning, of course! It took several hours to turn Aoetearoa, my rejected 2016 WOW entry, from this

into this.

Metres of plastic tubing, a pile of LED light strips, a bag of sequins, 4 wire structures, a pile of silk and sequin fabric, and disturbingly, 13 pins! I've never de-constructed one of my pieces before. It wasn't too sad - I think because it was largely made from scrap satin and tulle, the fabric loss didn't break my heart - I just won't think about the hours. I was impressed with my construction - some firm stitching there, and the tubing joins were excellent! I had put it up as our Christmas decoration, the first time I had touched it since it returned, but was saddened to find that none of the lighting worked. There was a stripped wire, a missing connection - it was a mess. Matt couldn't get one bit to light up. So I'm guessing that's the reason it didn't make it on stage in 2016 - I just wish they'd have said.
The rest of the day was spent working on some iron age leather shoes for Matt's next  visit to the Abbey Medieval Fair in June. Thanks to a brilliant 'Instructable', it was pretty simple, and the sample was successful.
 Every New Years Day I felt a new cover for my diary - I laid out this one yesterday whilst Jenelle was researching our Bunneh Adventure for the year. No textile workshop options appeal to us this year, so we're just going to have a holiday! In the Dandenongs!! We'll miss catching up with our textile friends, but I'm sure we'll be back - until then, we'll keep in touch on Facebook. This 'cracked earth' technique was featured in the latest FELT magazine, in an article by Dawn Edwards.
I'm very happy with the result, and it was great to be playing with wool again. There are some ideas bubbling away, and over Christmas I ordered some delicious English Leicester fleece - 3kg in fact - so there's a great reason to re-connect with wool. Just got to get through the next 3 months of WOW creation first!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 - What I did - the highlights

In the wee hours when I couldn't sleep, I started to worry - what had I achieved this year? Had I done enough? So began a slightly desperate search through the diary and the year's photos, in an attempt to mollify the questioning beast inside.
January:
Completed Anthozoa

Liam's Family Crest Leather book cover

Felt photo shoot
February:
Display in TAFE windows of WOW garments




















Continuing work on Cordycephila and Freyja until shipping in April

Work on Bubble Drift - unselected for WOW
Studies at TAFE in Digital Design and Swimwear resulting in Fighting Fish outfits for graduation parade, and two commissioned watercolours of design.






March: TAFE photoshoot for marketing

March 12 - Matt's son turns our world upside down by landing in Intensive Care for several months......

April: Jewellery Workshop at Fibres Ballarat, working with Aluminium and Titanium

May:  Flamingo Kit dress pattern drafted and made
Begin making 4 top hats, two out of hand made felt.

June:China holiday
Graduation, and display of Return to Earth at TAFE
 Felted wrap made for Beatrice for her 80th birthday, out of silk shibori pieces she had gifted me
Experimented with making several half scale mannequins
 Dress altered and headpiece made for Miss Chrissy
Dress made for Matt's grandaughter
 August: Ekka Natural Fibres Market - some new works made

New website created.
Practice painting for Traffic Signal Box before actual painting in September

 September: World of WearableArt
Jimmy Choo Symposium and ABC footage - Fimbria Figura and Forest Floor paraded at 2 events

Seat covers for Ziggy and Bruce the Studebakers made
October: Leather cover made for nephew, Antony
Odalisque on display at TAFE graduation
 Work begins on new WOW pieces Emergence and Coccinelle
November: Isolda on display at Reverse Garbage Queensland
Work continues on WOW 2018 pieces