Thursday, 5 March 2020

Friday the 13th is coming

Two more coats to be seen in "Thirty Coats"

The exhibition opening night is Friday 13th next week... perhaps I should offer as an inducement to attend a free roll of toilet paper and facemask to everyone who comes? In the last few days the run on toilet paper has made it a valuable commodity. I am honestly gobsmacked over this. Stupidity is apparently as contagious as diarrhoea. BTW, for those who were late to stockpile and might be anxious what to do should they be caught in an awkward situation - I read with amazement in the latest issue of Peppermint magazine that you can buy "reusable toilet paper", see page 131 to order.

Perhaps I should have had less indifference to superstition and not scheduled the opening for Friday 13th....?

front of Romance is Lace coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

back of Romance is Lace coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

detail of Romance is Lace coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

The image of the Japanese woman on the back of the coat is from a vintage 19thC postcard. I altered and enlarged it in Photoshop and sell the printed cloth by the yard/metre in my Spoonflower shop...there is a link to the on the right sidebar ....Boho Banjo Cloth
front of Spirogyra coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

back of Spirogyra coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

detail of print on Spirogyra coat

Monday, 2 March 2020

Golden Bird winging it

front of Golden Bird coat by Pearl Moon 2020

back of Golden Bird coat by Pearl Moon 2020

detail of Golden Bird coat by Pearl Moon 2020
Above are pictures of Golden Bird, another coat to be seen in my Thirty Coats exhibition. The main fabrics used have been upcycled from 2 doona covers and a remnant piece of crimpilene fabric found at the Aberdeen community shop. The crimpilene is that beige piece with the spots and crosses. Those of us older than 60 would remember crimpilene. A horrible man made fibre that didn't breathe - it was like wearing a plastic bag - but had the upside of never needing to be ironed. I've only used small pieces on this coat so the wearer won't feel like they are going around wearing a mobile steam bath.

I was thrilled to receive these pictures a few days ago. In October last year I taught a class about stenciling and embellishing fabrics in the techniques I've developed. The fabulous jacket above was made by a student with the fabrics she made in class. The pattern is my "Zambeesi Jacket".

I'll be teaching this class again on the last weekend of my exhibition in Newcastle, in the workshop area of the Newcastle Art Space gallery, except this time students will make a skirt rather than a jacket. All the information is on this poster below.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Nirvana is blue polka dots

Though I'm reluctant to show any more of my art to wear on this blog into the future feels like throwing my house open and inviting the thieves in to help themselves...
I really love this coat that will be in my exhibition next month and wanted to share it with people who appreciate textile art.

"Nirvana is blue polka dots" coat by Pearl Red Moon 2020

Like all the coats in the exhibition this one is made entirely from thrifted and used fabrics. I only bought the fantastic blue polka dot cotton seersucker from the thrift shop at Aberdeen 3 days ago. It was a donated textile remnant, about 2.5m, costing $2. I had made the fairly intricate patchwork piece with the emerald/grey/red from polyester cotton sheets about a month ago. As sometimes happens I got stuck with where to go next and set it aside.

upper left front of "Nirvana is blue polka dots"

close up detail of large patchwork section on the lower back of the coat

back of "Nirvana is blue polka dots"

I hope some people will come to the official opening of "Thirty Coats" on Friday 13th March at Newcastle Art Space, 6 pm. I'm greatly honoured to have Anne Kempton, the owner of Timeless Textiles Gallery, give the opening speech.

There will be 28 more spectacular coats along with the 2 shown here today. Also, they are all amazingly affordable if you actually want to buy and wear one these pieces! Prices will be between a mere Aus$200 to $500! (though of course, if you wait a month, you'll probably be able to buy a crappy ChicV fake ripoff for US$48)

Be kind to Aspies, we struggle...
This morning I heard from somebody who recently purchased the Sencha Kimono PDF pattern and she wrote to me with some kind comments about her interest to read about my one sided debate where I refuted the contention that using "kimono" was an offensive appropriation. As all that happened about 6 months ago I was surprised to still feel so emotional that remembering made me cry. I am quite prepared to acknowledge that my position may have been wrong(?) - that is why I wanted to talk about it!!!! - but what really hurts is the way all the people who publicly called for making it an issue of action and recognition not only totally ignored my desire to discuss - I was actively censored and ejected from various FB groups, blogs and Instagram followings. Even called a troll and a racist. As an Aspergers person who has been regularly bullied in workplaces when I query stuff it just confirms that withdrawing to my default comfort zone of non-communication with NTs is the safest place to be. 
I remain baffled why questioning was such an outrage....

Friday, 7 February 2020

Thirty Coats exhibition

I regret having to deface my poster in this way, but if I don't every picture of my art I show here is an item the Chinese manufacturing ChicV feels entitled to steal.

My exhibition of art to wear opens next month in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. I'm heartbroken not to have been able to regularly blog and show pictures of the fantastic work I've been producing to exhibit in the last few months.

In my last blog post, on New Years eve 2020, I was sardonically wishing it would be "interesting times" (this sentiment comes from ancient chinese curse)....and sheeeesh, with the bushfires, drought and now a worldwide pandemic possibly looming I truly hope I had no influence with heaven.

As much as I've been infuriated by the Chinese manufacturing company which has been stealing and faking my artistic production (and defrauding 10s of 1000s of innocent customers to make their illegimate profit) I bear the Chinese people no ill will and I'm horrified at the situation they are in. Being exposed to the Coronavirus and millions of them quarantined in their homes and cities. It is dreadful and I dearly hope they, and all the rest of the world, can return safely to normal life soon.

I wish ChicV had acted honourably and negotiated for legal permission and a contract to make copies of my art to wear. They could have paid for that right and I could have ensured high production standards and it would have been a win/win for all.

Friday, 27 December 2019

May you live in interesting times, here comes 2020

Happy Christmas everybody.
May 2020 be a wonderful year for everybody.

A number of kind and concerned readers have contacted me to find out why I don't blog much lately. I am well, just still in a state of outrage over the appropriations of ChicV. They obviously watch what I show on this blog and feel entitled to steal whatever they fancy might make them $$$.


I do have to move on because so much energy has been wasted on trying to stop it. If I could stop using Facebook, Instagram and Paypal I would....these companies don't uphold copyright laws and their complicity in enabling the scammers makes them culpable.

In early March 2020 I'll be having an exhibition at Newcastle Art Space. Imaginatively titled "Thirty Coats".

This is my current work in progress

The face is hand painted and measures approximately 28 x 38cm. The headdress is applique, the fabrics of the neck and shoulders are more hand painting and stenciling.
The coat fabric is cotton/polyester from a used, salvaged doona cover and all the other fabrics are also sourced used from thrift shops.

This kind of image has been very consistent in my art for decades. Below are paintings from 2006 and 2014.

2006, mixed media and acrylic on board. Pearl Red Moon

2014. mixed media and acrylic on canvas. Pearl Red Moon

I used the painted image of the Green Woman to make a digital image that I had printed on fabric and used to make some garments.

digital image from my painting that was printed on fabric 

Tunic I made using the Green Woman image. The stripe and spot fabric was also designed by me, intentionally using colours that coordinated with the face print. Made in 2015

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Mona Lisa for sale

Mona Lisa arrived in the mail yesterday. This is another fabric print I set up in Photoshop and had supplied by Spoonflower.  The 3 different colourways are now for sale in my Spoonflower shop, bought either by the metre or yard.

Spoonflower Boho Banjo fabric prints

I had it printed in the natural colours of the original Da Vinci painting and in a blue and monochrome versions. The blue will be used to combine with denim upcycled garments.

Below is a picture of an upcycle skirt made about a month ago, featuring a large decorative Frida Kahlo image on the left side. I bought this fabric from Spoonflower too but its a design by somebody else. The reminder of the skirt is patched from several used poly/cotton doona covers. So I intend to cut up my Mona Lisa prints into the various size patches to use in a similar way on future makes. The patches vary in size hugely from about 5cm x 3cm to the biggest at 31cm x 45cm.

I won't be able to play around using them until next week as I'm preparing to teach a workshop at the Tamworth Art Gallery this coming Sunday, Sept 22nd, from 11am - 2pm.

Darning and Reclaiming clothes workshop

It is free and everybody is welcome to come along and enjoy learning some simple skills to darn and patch clothes to greatly increase the long term wearability of them.

the left leg of the jeans are patched, the right leg is darned and darned/patched.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Distant Places

This is the "Distant Places" coat finished yesterday.

front of the Distant Places coat
It's made from 100%  upcycled and vintage fabrics. Most of it is from an embroidered doona (quilt cover) I bought for $4. The middle section has the embroidered areas of the original cover and I used the plain red poly/cotton fabric of the back side of the cover to fully line the coat.

front of Distant Places after the first day

back of Distant Places, showing the stenciling just after being applied

I had a beautiful 1950s silk charmeuse scarf in perfect condition that I cut up to add the sections of paisley print. Initially I felt quite reluctant to cut it, as it was so perfect in itself, but talked myself into it because it was unlikely to ever get much wear unless upcycled into a garment like this.

The striped and spotted sections - upper right front, lower left front, right side back, principally - were a heavy cotton weave from a cushion cover. The spots and stripes had been opposite sides.

back of the coat after adding the mauve stenciled triangles

at the sewing machine

Recently I had decided to try to spend less hours making each garment. Its difficult to get even $10 an hour for the labour hours put into each garment. Selling work that gets a reasonable price paid is always a conundrum for us ordinary artists to weigh up. Few of us ever reach the pinnacles of success and recognition where we can ask prices that equal anything like the average legal hourly rates of pay.

I had it in my head that I wouldn't spend more than 12 hours on this coat, in the hope I could price the finished piece around $200 - $250. But, as ever, I struggle to relegate anything I'm working on to become a "product". After 12 hours work and only being half way through I just had to abandon myself to the process knowing it would have to take as long as it was going to take.

I was very honoured to be included in the latest issue of Studio La Primitive ezine this month. Here is the link to it. My article is on pages 46-65.

Studio La Primitive arts ezine, September 2019

left side of Distant Places

back of Distant Places

a close up of the collar showing the reverse side

I'm very grateful to my husband who urges me constantly to worry less about selling work and just to luxuriate in the pleasure of having the freedom to allow myself to make the art while he can support me financially. Hopefully that future time when I have to go back to scrubbing toilets and changing beds is still a long way off. Somebody has to do it to support the less abled so I suppose it might as well be me.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

I am whanau, like it or not

A lot of people may have hoped I’ve moved on from blogging about kimonos and chinamen so I’m going to disappoint….

Reading Ijeoma Oluos “So you Want to Talk About Race” 6 weeks ago I was intrigued to find, due to the geographic region where I’m born, she described me as an Asian. I’ve been turning it over for weeks with bemusement, not sure how it fits.

I was born in Asia. My ancestors emigrated to New Zealand at least 120 years ago. I’ve never been to England or Scotland where they came from before pre 19thC.

I’ve decided it’s true. I am an Asian.

I’m not English. I’m not Scottish. I’d be kicked out of those countries if I went there without a Passport and travel documents.

I am Asian.
….but to most of the rest of the world I’m white and wouldn’t be recognised as Asian. I was born 4th generation in New Zealand but to others my first identity will always be “white” and by technical inheritance – racist.

patches sewed to the skirt top are images reproduced from vintage Japanese postcards that I had printed by Spoonflower

A Fuck You to American Racism

I was born in New Zealand and lived there until I was 26 when I went to live in Australia. 
Today New Zealand is a country of less than 5 million people and is a proudly multiracial country.

British colonists took over the islands by overwhelming mass immigration and aggressive force from the 1790s. By the time my various European ancestors arrived a 100 years later the military and settler hostilities with the indigenous Maori were largely over. The Treaty of Waitangi had been signed between Maori leaders and Queen Victoria in 1840. In modern day New Zealand that treaty is still legally upheld and has formed a strong foundation for the empowerment of the Maori by upholding their rights in perpetuity to large tracts of tribal land, control over rivers, coastlands and beaches. In NZ Whanau is strong and "white" descended NZers are welcome to become iwi. 

Americans have an ethnocentric view that their particular version of racism is the same everywhere in the world. American BIPOC campaigners seem to arrogantly disregard that outside their borders there might be different experiences between indigenous and colonisers. Racism is a many headed hydra that presented different fangs in every culture. The American type of racism is particularly vicious because of its entanglement with slavery over hundreds of years. American slavery started in 1619.

In the country of my birth and dual citizenship a much softer version of racism was perpetrated. There was no slavery, no reservation lands that the Maori were forced to live on, no miscegenation laws, no segregated education systems, no lynch mobs or versions of the KKK. 
How many Americans have ever met a Maori, visited New Zealand or know where Waitangi is? On one of my American trips I went to Gettysburg because Lincoln and the American civil war is fascinating.  I read numerous books about American history and racism. My 2 favourites are – “The Hemingses of Monticello” and “White Fragility”. Are currently reading “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X Kendi.

But the infuriating thing about American racism, like so much ubiquitous American culture, is that the concept has permeated everywhere internationally and has become the stereotype lens that many people interpret what racism is. Americans will always assume if I talk about racism that I’m talking about their version of it. Such an insular country that they cannot conceive of vastly different histories elsewhere. Black American social commentator Aja Barber said she moved to England to live because she felt safer there, so that implies she acknowledges there are less virulent versions of racism in different nations of the world.

How many Americans have ever been to New Zealand where I was born? I am proud to come from a nation which is highly integrated with its native Maori people. My experience is that the American assumption that all racism is just the same as what they created is wrong. I may be a racist by technical inheritance but I love the Maori people and numerous of my close family relatives are Maori identifying people.

It seems I’m a racist, inherited from my white ancestors 3 generations back - but I’m a Kiwi kind, not an American racist.

My problem with Chinamen

I’ve been amazed how many people took offence at my use of the word “slitty” to insult the Chinese people who are appropriating photos of my work to sell their fraudulent products. In truth I find Asian features very attractive and the characteristic slanted eyes are especially beautiful.

It was rude and offensive and intended to be so. But it didn’t spring from racism. It got attention and censure because it’s the kind of thing that racists say. It came from childish outrage at my powerlessness to stop their criminal fraud. I said it because I knew the workers of ChicV that read my blog and check in regularly to see what they can appropriate would find it offensive. The truth is, they hate me too. They are apparently quite comfortable doing a job that requires them to raid and steal images of other peoples work to use as false representations of the products they sell.

Racism is a system that upholds and perpetuates the belief that an identifiable group of people is superior to another group that is discerned to be inferior. It becomes a cultural, social and political set of ideas that is supported in law, rights and regulation favouring the superior group over the inferior.

I am anti-racist. I don’t believe I’m superior to any other race of people on Earth. I especially admire the indigenous Asian people of the Pacific – the Maori, indigenous Australians, the Japanese.

I am deeply fearful of Chinese racism and their imperialistic objectives to control the Pacific. While I acknowledge the awful crimes my English ancestors committed through colonialism I don't think The Peoples Republic of China will treat the native populations of the Pacific in any more of an enlightened way than the English did 250 years ago if they were to achieve power in this region.

Racist behaviours and beliefs aren't owned just by people of "white" ancestry.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

some art for a change

Necklace of cloth beads. The focal pendant is a patch cut from one of the images on my cloth "Nippon postcard fabric". The cloth is printed with numerous images from vintage 20th century tourist postcards.

Spoonflower - "Nippon postcard fabric"

the 1 yard repeat of Nippon postcard yields over 100 patches

the focal pendant is a patch from the Nippon postcard fabric

the whole necklace has several cloth beads

I've been using individual patches cut from the same cloth sewed to many of the clothes I've made lately. On the dress in the picture below the small patch on the left pocket is from Nippon postcard. The large patch on the bottom right of this dress is another I've designed that is also for sale in my Spoonflower shop. That one is called "Faded Japan".

This is one of the upcycled dresses I've made to sell at Newcastle Craftfully Market on Sept 14/15. The bodice is a knit singlet, the centre is a section from a pillowcase, the skirt is made from a cotton doona cover. 100% upcycled fabrics except for the patches.

And another necklace of cloth beads made by me shown with it.