Friday 20 December 2013

All you need is wings

Hooray! last day at work then I have a couple of weeks off.

As ever, I'm trying to juggle a zillion creative projects. Still trying to build up the Boho Banjo stock to make a trip to Paddington Markets in January.

I've started to make a lovely mosiac benchtop in the bathroom, about a third of it completed. Doing that sort of fiddly collage is heavenly fun to me.

In between work, sewing and mosiacing (and because there is so much repeat crap on TV at this time of year) I whipped a little digital manipulation last night.....

..."All you need is wings" (and perhaps a dozen hands...?)

Rodney has me committed to stitching an annex we are making which attaches to the side of our van as we're going up to Queensland to camp out at the Woodford Folk Festival....a busy weekend coming up

Sunday 8 December 2013

at the HAN Xmas Market yesterday

Rodney and I set up the Boho Banjo marquee at the Hunter Arts Network (HAN) Christmas market in Civic Park, Newcastle yesterday. It was a glorious sunny day and the market was very well attended. There was a great selection of high quality arts and crafts on display. The HAN markets have a selection process for choosing traders for their superior quality of artisanship.

I had a fabulous day! Many thanks to all those who gave me positive, enthusiastic feedback and a big hug for all those who loved my garments so much they bought them! I came home feeling elated and with considerably less stock than was hung on the racks in the morning.

Boho Banjo marquee at HAN Market, Newcastle, December 7, 2013

observe our furry sales staff Oscar and Honey, lying down on the floor at the right, after an exhausting day charming the customers

I sold so much stock yesterday I've decided to postpone going to Paddington Market, probably until January 2014. I'll need 10-14 days sewing full time just to catch up to the quantity of stock I started out with yesterday.

We decided to go ahead with our booking for Mosman Market, in Sydney, next Thursday evening, December 12th.
Then Rodney will lock me into my little one woman sweatshop and not let me out until I've made at least another 20 items! (BTW, I call this a blissful confinement - not slavery!)

Friday 6 December 2013

many successes!

Lots of good news lately....I applied for casual trading at several markets from Newcastle to Sydney.

I dont know whats up with the mob from The Olive Tree Markets, they are frankly bizarre to deal with. They called for applicants to attend their market three months ago and never acknowledged a single piece of the correspondence I've sent over months. I presume they got my application as they selected me as a finalist in their Xmas poster competition and that entry was sent to the same email address....???

Pleasingly, professional responses from all the others. Boho Banjo has been selected as a trader at Bondi, Mosman and now PADDINGTON!!! I'm so thrilled to be accepted there. Their selection process is rigid and sellers must prove they are genuine artisans (not manufacturers, importers or resellers). It is probably the best high quality art market to be represented in in Sydney. Rodney and I hope to make our first appearance there on Saturday 14th December. A day before that we will be at the Mosman Twilight Market 4pm-9pm on Thursday 12th.

I heard from USA artist Lesley Riley that the book she edited "Quotes Illustrated" will be on the market from December 6th - today. My work "The threads that run through" is in the book. With Rodneys help I'll put a link on the sidebar soon for those interested in checking it out or buying the book.

Last, but not least, the next issue of Downunder Textiles will publish a 2 page spread about the cloth cuffs I've recently been making, with references to my mixed media art.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Win some, lose some,,,,

Newcastle City Council selected my digital image "Fly with Peace, Love, Goodwill" as one of the images they will be illuminating city buildings with from the 29th November through to Christmas! I'm really thrilled as I love making digital manipulations but often struggle with using Photoshop, so this is a huge affirmation.

Digital image by Pearl Red Moon, "Fly with Peace, Love, Goodwill" 2013

Then shortly after hearing that delightful news I received a phone call from Paddington Market in Sydney. Paddington is renowned as possibly Sydneys most high end art and craft market and is notoriously difficult to get accepted into. An application I made about 6 years ago was rejected. A few weeks ago I girded my courage and put in another application to become a trader there.The phone call today was an invitation for an interview to show my I'm hoping and hoping they will find my Boho Banjo womenswear a desirable commodity to include in the market.....

Down Under Textiles magazine asked me to submit an item about my art so I've been busily writing that up all morning. I think it will come out in their January 2014 edition.

The only indifferent news I've had today is that the poster design submitted to Olive Tree Market wasn't selected as first, second or third placegetter.

Sunday 17 November 2013

weather ...or probably not...

Rodney and I drove the four hours to Sydney yesterday, planning to set up our marquee at Bondi Markets today. The weather forecast was looking dubious all week and the day has turned out worse than predicted. It is cold, windy and constant we will probably not unpack our woeful caravan to set up shop. Not only will patronage be significantly down at the market but theres the risk of getting the stock wet and damaged.

So we will try to make the most of the day while in the "big smoke" and have a drive around to check out some of the undercover markets.

This is a picture of another tunic dress I made recently. The fabric of the bodice is a hand block printed cotton voile from a vintage indian saree. The skirt is a polyester lace repurposed from skirt that I spent a lot of time appliqueing with raw edged strips of the cotton print. It has an irregular hemline. A picture of Frida Kahlo is the focal on the bodice. The garment is Australian size 14-16-18

Tunic "The leafy shade" by Pearl Red Moon

The bodice with image of Frida Kahlo

A close up of raw edged printed cotton strips that are appliqued over the lace

Wednesday 13 November 2013

I'm a finalist!

whoop whoop!!!

The poster I submitted to the Olive Tree Market Christmas poster competition has been selected amongst the finalists.

Check out all the finalists and vote for your favourite -

new cuffs

New cuffs made a couple of days ago

Mixed media cuffs by Pearl Red Moon, 2013, opened out
Mixed media cuffs, by Pearl Red Moon, 2013, standing upright

The cuff with the Frida Kahlo image is sold.

Rodney and I will be setting up the shop at Bondi Market, Sydney this weekend. The market at Bondi Primary School is every Sunday.

Sunday 10 November 2013


I still haven't found time to photograph all the new clothes!

Then the last couple of days I got engrossed in making some wearable adornments. Below is a picture of a mixed media necklace. The lovely focal picture is a miniaturised version of one of Rodneys portraits - "Violet". The dangling motifs are hand embroidered as is the larger one above the picture of Violet. I've forgotten what the polished stones are the necklace is strung on.

mixed media necklace by Pearl Red Moon with face by Rodney Swansborough 

Then I made three cloth cuffs.

Cuffs standing upright

3 cloth and mixed media cuffs by Pearl Red Moon, 2013

In another week or 2 I'll open another section in my etsy shop for adornments. The cuff in the middle featuring the image of Frida Kahlo has already been sold. The other cuffs are $55 each. The necklace is $95.00

Tuesday 5 November 2013

One image can go a long way....

Newcastle City Council are also having a Christmas competition for artworks to display in the shopping area. So I pulled up "Aussie Icon" again and did some more manipulations in photoshop.

The original work was intended as an ironic interpretation of traditional european virgin icon images. The "virgin" figure was overlaid onto a lavishly warm backdrop resembling the brilliant rust orange colour of the australian desert. The little paisley motifs drifting around the central figure sort of vaguely resemble aboriginal motifs....

Aussie Icon 1, mixed media canvas by Pearl Red Moon, 2011

The Newcastle Council are calling for images that refer to Christmas. As a secular humanist there is no religious iconography that would be meaningful for me. I came up with this which is called "Fly with peace, love and good will"

Fly with peace, love and good will

Monday 4 November 2013

Olive Tree Market Xmas comp

I designed and entered this poster in the Olive Tree Markets Christmas poster competition. The "Virgin" figure is taken from my mixed media work "Aussie Icon 1"

Saturday 2 November 2013

more lovely things

I have been really busy. So busy I keep putting off showing the new creations on the I have a backlog to blog about....

I've made about 10 new garments in the last couple of weeks that haven't been seen here or put in my etsy shop. Here are 2 gorgeous tunics from my "Celebrate India!"series that are made from vintage sarees. The green one called "Green fields" is pure silk, the grey one called "Beautiful Horizons"  is a polyester georgette. Both are beautifully hand embroidered and beaded.

Green fields tunic

Beautiful Horizons tunic  SOLD

The items haven't been put in the Boho Banjo etsy shop yet.

I'm keen to get into my sewing room and keep working on what was started yesterday. Working in some of my favourite colours - bright magenta pink and purple.

I hope to find time this evening to show more of the work

Saturday 26 October 2013

new wearable art

New clothes made in the last 2 weeks!

I call this dress "Denim Vines" because the blue of the print looks exactly denim blue to me. The grey appliques of squares resemble a lattice that the vine grows on.

The dress above is the "Flowers and Stripes" I just finished this this afternoon. Mostly printed cotton homespun except for the gored parts of the skirt are repurposed from a second hand viscose skirt.

See my etsy shop for more detailed information about sizes and prices if you want to know more.....

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Who pays for your clothes?

For nearly 30 years it has been my habit and pleasure to read the Sydney Morning Herald every weekend.  This weekend I was saddened to read the item “Darkness behind white walls” by Ben Doherty in the news review section.

Doherty outlined the situation of exploitation many young Indian girls get drawn into by the clothing manufacturing industry. From ages as young as 11 they become sweat shop slaves indentured for 3 or more years living inside locked compounds working 7 days a week for the promise of a meagre “dowry” reward. The illegal dowry they eventually become entitled to after thousands of hours of labour is equivalent to about AUS$85
Don’t be deluded that that $5 tee shirt from K-Mart is a bargain. It is costing somebody - elsewhere – a great deal. At the beginning of this year many people in the first world were horrified by the disastrous collapse of a six storey building in Bangladesh which contained a clothing manufacturing business. More than 600 people died. There was a brief flurry of concern to examine the ethical sourcing of clothes by the big retailers here…which soon petered out…

The truth is the clothing manufacturing industry is one of the most resource wasting industries on our planet. The vast quantity of clothes being produced every day requires enormous amounts of labour and energy.
People in the first world are the ones generating the demand for this constant choice of new attire, through our na├»ve participation in the intellectual construct “Fashion”. The western clothing and advertising industry has created the idea that we need to constantly update and acquire new clothes several times a year to remain in conformity with what is being deemed as currently “fashionable” or risk being denigrated as dowdy, dated or outside the peer group.

So it might seem rather strange that as a person who makes and designs clothes – and wants to sell them to you! – and ultimately make a living from this endeavour;  that I write a critique severely criticising the clothing industry.  I like to think of myself as a person who examines choices and tries to live a life, as far as realistically possible, guided by moral and ethical principles. It is guided by those beliefs that I never shop at the big retailers for clothes, that most of my clothes are recycled second hand from charity shops, made by myself or bought from local boutiques and chosen from their range of small Australian designer labels.
I have been making and designing clothes to sell since my early 20s and the joy of creating something to wear that is arty, quirky, unique and different from “fashion” is still motivates me to keep doing it.

There are still a lot more things I could reflect on, and might say, another time. But there are no pictures in this blog and don’t want it to become a great big, boring looking piece of text…

I have actually been working hard ….in my personally chosen, solitarily womanned “sweat shop” … and have 5 new creations to show you in the next few days.

However, reading that piece in the Sydney Morning Herald gave me cause to think about my own place in this industry and how so many women in our culture unknowing participate in this system which is exploitative of third world cheap labour and young women in particular, damaging to the environment and benefitting very few financially except for the capitalist owners of large retail chains.

I would be really interested to hear the comments and thoughts of readers!

Friday 4 October 2013

Celebrate India! new clothing series

"I've never really understood why women are so timid. For me, only someone with a powerful look -- Diana Vreeland, say, or Minnie Mouse -- is a person worth emulating. Because -- and here is a big secret -- if you construct an eccentric look and make it your own, you will be forever insulated from the world of fashion, a place where, let's face it, you can never be lissome enough, your hair never curly (or straight) enough, your chest never full (or flat) enough. And here's an added bonus: Truly wacky style doesn't date, so all those worries about wrinkles leave you blissfully unaffected. " – Lynn Yaeger

I acknowledge nicking that quote from another designer I admire and follow - Helen Carter of New York label "Secret Lentil" who has that quote in her etsy shop.

I just couldn't work out a way to sum up my own philosophy better.

I describe my personal "style" as a mashup of hippie, bohemian, tribal/eastern/ethnic. alternative arty with a bit of goth thrown in.

My lust to possess wonderful textiles took me on a solo backpacking tour of Nepal and India for a couple of months in 2001. I collected about 200 kilos of sarees and embroideries that I imported back to Australia at greater cost than my return airfare! What a delight that the internet has shrunk the world in the last decade and I can now sit at home in my PJs and buy gorgeous stuff that gets delivered to my door in a week or 2.

I've just been going through an "eastern" phase and bought 18 fabulous silk and cotton sarees that I'm remaking into womens casual wear.

These are the first of my creations, you can see more views, descriptions and the prices over at my etsy shop....

close up of a bodice on a dress that I've appliqued and stencilled

the full length dress with exquisite printed and embroidered vintage silk saree fabric in the skirt

a crepe de chine silk dress with beautifully embroidered bodice

a shift of printed silk georgette, light as feather, perfect for Summer wear

Sunday 29 September 2013

Happy 100th blog birthday!

Today I'm posting my 100th blog! The first was back in December 2011 so have managed to average about 1 a week since then.

Today is another special birthday....My etsy shop "Boho Banjo" is up and running now and featuring 16 of my original clothing designs. There is another half dozen more garments to put into the shop in the next few days.

I invite all my readers to have a look and let me know what you think! Either click on the url in red in the paragraph above here or the Boho Banjo graphic on the sidebar to the right. Please let me know if you have any problems linking or viewing the website. Also any comments or feedback are most welcome.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

New designs for Boho Banjo

I have a really hard time being patient....and this month has been testing me to the limit! So many things I'd like to be doing, making and getting under way. As from next week my (real job) working hours fall back to 16 a week, allowing me at least 2-3 more days for Boho Banjo. I will soon be launching the Boho Banjo etsy shop - by early next week I HOPE (or will surely explode with frustration!) - it has been a huge job to photograph all the clothes - front, back, close-ups, all the necessary angles - then upload each item to the shop with all the necessary descriptions and measurements. There are still about a dozen more items to add before that job is "done". After that it continues to be an ongoing task with each new item produced.

Heres some of my new creations....

"Pink Swirly Girly" shift, lace and ornate applique

detail of applique on Pink Swirly Girly

The top below is one of my "repurposed" designs. Its a recycled top which I've stencilled and added the lovely digitally altered image of Frida Kahlo 

"Terracotta Frida" repurposed knit top with stencilling and image

Tuesday 17 September 2013

New clothing designs

Here are some of the clothes I've made recently.

A bit of background about how they came to the last 12 years I've made 5 trips to the United States, spending most of my time in the south west states. I visited cities such as Houston, Dallas, Albuquerque, Miami (Florida) Lexington (Kentucky) and my most favourite place of all - the lovely and extraordinary city of Santa Fe, in New Mexico. In the southern states I encountered the Mexican traditional celebration known as Dios de los Muertas, or "Day of the Dead". American culture adopted the concept as "Halloween" - a sort of mashup from the ancient English celebration "All Hallows" and the spanish/mexican "Dios de los Muertas". Initially I felt quite confronted by the imagery of skulls and skeletons, it was so alien to the culture I've grown up in where we have virtually no acceptable symbology of death, except perhaps lilies and crosses. Growing more familiar with it over time I came to understand the folk traditions of the iconography.

Dios de los Muertas Frock, 100% ivory coloured cotton knit with stencilling and appliqued with sugar skulls

Dios de los Muertas Happy Coat, 100% cotton knit and voile, stencilled and appliqued

Dios de los Muertas Happy Coat shown full length over a jersey tee shirt dress

Friday 13 September 2013

Boho Banjo

Last weekend at Art Bazaar Singleton market went well.

I'm actually having a hard time keeping making enough stock to replace what is selling!

This weekend Boho Banjo will be going global! Rodney and I plan to set up a website for the shop and from early next week I'll be linking an advertisement for Boho Banjo to my favourite bloggers website - edenland

Knit tunic with renaissance girl face

Green cotton knit singlet dress with red zigzags

I'm so busy the last few months working on getting this clothing business established and flying that my blogging has become very sparse and brief. The low activity here is completely at odds with what is happening in my real life! I'm a whirlwind of activity and every waking and sleeping moment is dedicated to Boho Banjo.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Art to Wear by Pearl

reverse applique, red and green zig zags

Applique and stenciling

"Sandgate Angel" 

Pictures of some of my "art to wear"garments available in my shop.

Rodney and I will be at the "Art Bazaar" market in Singleton this coming Sunday. Civic Park from 10 - 4pm.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Tah dah-dah!!! Fanfare for shop opening!

Pearl outside her shop, on the New England Highway, Murrurundi

I'm back after another long non-blogging sojourn.... 
....BUT! a lot of art has been happening!

With very little fanfare I opened a retail shop in the middle of Murrurundi village a month ago. It is at 71 Mayne St  -  or more simply in the middle of Murrurundi township, directly opposite Dooleys Store.

I'm making womens clothing. Original one of kind items - hand painted, dyed, stenciled, appliqued and embellished. 

At present I'm only open Saturday and Sundays 10am - 4pm. Next month opening hours will extend to 4 days a week.

The room behind the shop is set up as my studio where I sew, paint and print in the room adjacent to the retail area and can therefore look after the shop at the same time. My fine art canvases are also on display and for sale.


Friday 12 July 2013

What she saw

Another digital image

"What she saw"  digital manipulation, Pearl Red Moon, 2013

Sunday 30 June 2013

Head Nest, tired and heading home

Textile and Art Academy finished yesterday. Rodney and I both did great classes and enjoyed our time away immensely. This afternoon we start heading home.

I received some images from the photographer Sally Alden of the lovely young model we styled and photoed a week ago. I had a quick play with photoshop this morning and produced this image. These digital manipulations will be used as the basis for pictures ....yet to be made

Saturday 22 June 2013

Jade Lace

HUZZAH!! Rodney and I set off to Brisbane tomorrow to have our annual holiday at Textile and Art Academy. We will both be doing 5-day workshops. Rodney is doing a mixed media drawing class and I'm doing nuno felting with Catherine O'Leary. We spent many hours packing up the van this morning. I'm always anxious I may have left a kitchen sink behind....

This afternoon we did a photo shoot in collaboration with professional photographer Sally Alden over at Willow Tree. We had a most extraordinary young model who was fabulous to style and work with. We look forward to getting some great source material for basing new artworks on. I'll share some of those images eventually and show how we use them as the basis for imagery to develop into new pictures.

Meantime this evening I had a little fun playing in Photoshop to create this digitally manipulated image I'm calling "Jade Lace" I send the two original images it was evolved from just to give you an idea to what degree it is altered. The face was taken from my work "Out of the Violet and Blue" (2011) and integrated into a picture of a piece of lace made in 2008.

"Jade Lace" digitally manipulated image. Pearl Red Moon, 2013

Thursday 13 June 2013

Visage book sent to Brisbane

Over the long weekend I finished the container for the visage book and the whole thing was sent off to Brisbane on Tuesday. I'll see it again at TAA after the 24th when the whole collection of Project 22 books will be on display.

I made a container of painted, stencilled paper which was hand stitched onto a wire frame I constructed. two flaps close over the cover of the book.

Looking down on the book in the container, flaps closed
Book in the container, shown from the back, flaps opened

Book in the container, flaps opened