Tuesday, 18 July 2017

consistently me, regardless....

I was looking at 3 of my pictures hanging in a row on our parlour wall a few weeks ago. The one on the far right is from 1985 and one of the earliest of my artworks I’ve kept. The one in the middle is a petit point embroidery completed in 1996 (from a vintage printed canvas, not my original art) and the one on the left is a collaborative work done with my husband in 2012 (Rodney did the face, and the surrounding decorative work is a combination of painting, stenciling, applique and embroidery) I was struck at the consistency of the aesthetic linking them over 30 years+. Most people would observe the pictures to left and right have similarity but I also see it with the embroidery….

art on the wall in my parlour - doll on the mantelpiece to the right is from 1995, Petrouchka
"All the grey people", 1985, gouache on paper, by Pearl Red Moon

"Queen of Byzantia", 2012, mixed media. Rodney Swansborough and Pearl Red Moon.

Sometimes it’s interesting to reflect on ones journey as an artist and see the way a deeply unconscious, internalised aesthetic gives a lifetimes body of work visual consistency. Even people who know hardly anything about art, if they were presented with 10 pictures each by 10 artists, could probably pretty credibly group the collections of 10 together.

the large cushion is a wool tapestry worked by me. Inspired from an illustration in a Kaffee Fassett book and drawn directly onto 70x70cm canvas.

I’ve been wondering about this because I often feel compelled to engage in that thing described as “marketing” as I always need to sell more patterns or adornments from my internet shops. One of the principles marketing advice encourages is to create a consistent style aesthetic in which to present your product. Looking around at lots of internet stores apparently the contemporary “look” is PALE, PALE, PALE. Clothes in shades of white, beige, grey or pastels worn by models presented on whitewashed backgrounds. Not just clothes, but homewares, jewellery, etc….To me, it is all so bleached, limpid and clinical. As an artist I’m bemused and dismissive of all that but as a potential “marketer” I’m dismayed! This is totally antithetical to my innate inclination as an artist.

This Pearl Red Moon logo is all wrong to attract customers in 2017

The upshot is – I have no intention of compromising my internal aesthetic for the sake of marketing. I’ll continue to use brightly coloured and non-consistent images in my internet stores. In the end, I know all that “branding” consistency arises from contemporary fads that are continually evolving. One day, maybe in a few decades, it will roll around again to florid, colourful chaos and people will say “gee, you were ahead of the times”….when the truth is, I have always been like that and can never change!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

all good news here, except for the chook....

Some things to report...

Firstly, I'm gazing out the window and seeing my pet rooster, Roger, happily munching on broccoli growing in the vege garden...sigh, now I know what inspired the insult "featherhead"...as in stupid. I have tried to explain to him that that kind of behaviour will expedite his journey to becoming chicken pot pie....

teasing Roger, he wants the wheat sprinkled on my work in progress, but he's wary of that strange tablecloth!

Secondly, and "second" is appropriate here, because I've just been notified of the thrilling news that my entry in the Australian Sewing Guild competition "Castaway to Couture" has been judged second prize winner. Yippee! $250 voucher to spend on fabric. Thanks to all those who voted for me online.

my Castaway to Couture entry

My third announcement is that after a 2 year hiatus I'm going to be regenerating the newsletter I started publishing a couple of years ago. I'm presently doing a fabulous online course which is teaching me how I can be friends with Mailchimp instead of wanting to kill it.....horribly....
I really look forward to this as I'm always brimming over with enthusiasms and creative ideas I'd love to share with other women who have an avant garde sense of personal style. When it gets closer to the time I'm ready to send it out I'll restore the joining up button on the side bar of this blog and let you know what will be coming up.

One special thing I'll offer to newsletter subscribers will be my new pattern, Aurana. This pattern will be $1 for a week using the special voucher.....

Pearl Red Moon, new PDF sewing pattern "Aurana"

And shortly after the publication of Aurana this new dress - "Pheenie" will be in the shop.

two versions of PDF pattern Pheenie

sample of dress Pheenie in black and white
Lastly, I know many people have been excitedly waiting for the publication of the Marama Jacket. I am still working on it, I just had to take a break from it for a while as the whole thing was getting too intense and I was in an obsessive spiral. It will definitely happen before the end of this year.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

special commission garment

 A few weeks ago I was commissioned to make a garment for one of Australias most well known textile art patrons. My friend had seen pieces of felt and nuno cloth laid out on my work table that I'd made in a workshop a few years ago with Catherine O'Leary and asked if I would use them to make a garment she wanted to gift to her friend Janet de Boer. Janet is one of Australia most high profile personalities in the textile art scene so I felt a bit daunted.....but one is seldom in a position to knock back an opportunity for an open ended commission that will be rewarded with cash payment!

BTW, Janet de Boer was the founder and editor of the magazine "Textile Fibre Forum" and convener of numerous art retreats around Australia for decades. I can't even begin to list her numerous achievements and accolades in the textile arts, except to mention she has been recognised with an Order of Australia (OAM) award....

front of Janets coat


button detail
 So, shown above is the finished jacket created to fulfill the commission. It includes not only some of the felt and nuno pieces Charlotte saw, but is almost a sampler for every fabric embellishment technique I know....stenciling, applique, sashiko stitching, applied machine embroidery stitches, fragments of crotcheting and knitting...

I hope Janet likes it....what do my readers think? Would you wear a coat like this? Would you enjoy to make a coat like this?

Saturday, 10 June 2017

good stuff and bad stuff....

Heres some items I've finally got around to listing in my Etsy shop...and a photo of another pile of stuff which is about half of the other things I haven't gotten around to listing.

These new pieces show images arising from my usual interest in the female figurative. They are all taken from early to mid European paintings (C15 - 16th) I'm really enjoying cutting, fabricating and patinating the brass and copper metal parts of the pendants.

If you want to see other views and prices of any of these necklaces click on the Etsy shop
icon in the right hand side bar.

Some of the numerous pieces that haven't been listed in the Etsy shop
A postscript moan....
I get really frustrated that by the time each item is photographed, the pictures downloaded and edited, then a detailed description written and all the information uploaded to the internet store it adds at least an hour to the making time for each item. For a low price item, like earrings priced at $20 or less, this makes it ridiculously un-economic to list them.....
.....then I start to beat myself up about how I can only lead this life where I have the privilege of not having to do a "work activity" that brings in sufficient income to pay for my living expenses because this happy life artmaking in the studio is only facilitated by a generous and supportive husband. Sometimes I can just count my blessings that this is the fortunate situation I'm in but when there are long spells of not making any sales from my studio or Etsy shop I get feeling anxious and guilty about this dependence.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Castaway to Couture

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a blog and heard about an intriguing competition. It sparked my interest because the brief was to recreate a new wearable garment by recycling 1,2 or 3 second hand garments. As an enthusiastic supporter of my local St Vincent de Paul I often buy interesting used clothes to re-make. During this Winter I'd collected a 100% wool mans jumper with a great ethnic abstract pattern and and put it aside just for this purpose.

I only heard about the "Castaway to Couture"competition 4 days before it was due to close so I had to work fast. Here are pictures of the jacket I made from the mans jumper plus 2 knit t-shirts.

You can go to the Australian Sewing Guild website and see the other entrants and vote for your favourite up-cycle at this link

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Going to San Francisco....!

Congratulations to Nicky Elliot, who heard a few days ago that the short film she made about me last year has been selected as a finalist to be shown at the San Francisco Documentary Fest in June.

Well done and Yay for Nicky and cameraman Pete Delahunty!


And here is the link to the film....


Monday, 1 May 2017

Our garden lately

The garden at Murrurundi. Various pictures from the beginning of this year.

...and I'm wishing I was there rather than day 5 in hospital. Doc says I can go home tomorrow, yay!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Marama Jacket

Last month I was all enthused with the "Rings of Saturn" dress and did a whole lot of work on beginning to digitise the design for publication. Then....as ever....I got side tracked by the excitement of creating a new pattern and whipped up a shirt, then a jacket. The Jacket was so good I decided to rearrange the publishing schedule to do the jacket first, then the shirt and finally, go back to complete the Rings of Saturn. That lot should keep me occupied until the end of June or July....so long as I can keep disciplined enough to stop myself wanting to do something new....

I don't have a jacket or coat in my catalogue of designs, so I used that argument to justify abandoning Rings of Saturn. A lot of my blog readers are in the northern hemisphere and may not realise we are at the beginning of Winter in Australia so my thoughts are turning to cosy wear and the need to stock my little atelier with clothes more suitable for cold weather.

These are the first samples for the Marama Jacket

the print on the left and right side fronts is one of my original designs and available at Spoonflower. For this jacket it is printed on linen. The fabric is called "Green dress, red roses" and this is the link to it in my Spoonflower shop - https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3452923-green-dress-red-roses-by-bohobanjocloth

reversible Ponte knit,  stripe one side, spot the other

The Jacket will have options for button closures or these arty ties

Marama at the back has 4 outside darts that make lovely shapeliness to the back

Marama Jacket in an ethnic referenced  heavy woven cotton  

The design is heavily influenced by my love of Asian style, with its asymetric hemline and crossover front. On the left side front there will be options for 1, 2 or no pockets. The picture doesn't show it well but the black and white Ponte jacket is a 2 pockets version. The pockets are huge, overlaid on each other and the top openings slant upwards diagonally.

I've found this design very gratifying to work on at a creative level and look forward to publishing it to see how other makers will interpret.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

astral journeys

Heres pictures of the first sample garment for what will be my next pattern.

Due to the surface applique of spots and rings it's called "Rings of Saturn"

first sample garment for "Rings of Saturn"

The electric colours of this version make it rather theatrical so the next samples will be toned down! For the next combination I'll use a lovely dark plum background with black appliques, and after that I'm thinking white on beige and grey on black....

Of course the design doesn't have to be made with the applique embellishment. It has 3 panels across the back and 5 across the front which makes it wonderfully fitting around the upper torso and flared below the waist. I did make another prototype before this with printed fabric in the middle and plain black at the sides. However as I then finessed the pattern to improve the fit it isn't quite exactly the same as this second sample.

side view of Rings of Saturn

back view of Rings of Saturn

When I publish the pattern, hopefully around the end of April, there'll be 3 Views to choose from. View 1 will have straight flared sides, View 2 has the curved out sides, as in this garment and View 3 will be how to make either version with a tutorial on doing the applique surface embellishment.

Today I really should have started on making that plum and black version of Saturn but I got pleasurably side tracked making the textile necklace shown with the dress.

textile necklace for Rings of Saturn

The necklace is a melange of knitting, crotcheting, machine embroidery, hand stitching and stenciled fabric with #6 green beads and black lava beads dangling along the bottom. It took me all day to make and costs a mere $75 if you want to buy this fabulous one of a kind piece of textile art!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Art workshop for chooks

Early tomorrow morning I'll be heading off to the lovely town of Merriwa to teach some art workshops. Like most artists I need to supplement my income with any sort of teaching work that comes my way. This one will be lots of fun as I have 2 groups of senior citizens for a couple of short workshops of 2 and 3 hours.

Inspired by our pet rooster, Roger the KFC, it occurred to me to create an art lesson based on drawing/painting a chook. For many elderly people keeping a flock of hens in the backyard to provide eggs and meat was something they did themselves or grew up with. In the 8 months since Roger chose our back yard as his territory I've learned what charming and delightful pets chooks can be. I can completely relate to why people who've kept domesticated chickens are so fond of them. We've found Roger to be a lovely and entertaining fellow, his only downside being his operatic ambitions that he wants to start exercising from 4am in the morning. Reluctantly, after the neighbours organised a lynch mob, I had to apply a permanent velcro collar to his neck. The consequence being he can only make very sad spluttering squawks of acceptably low decibels.

This is the type of chicken  picture I'll be guiding the students to make in class
the real KFC Roger, at home in our back yard