Saturday 6 December 2014

Call for testers!

The momentous moment has arrived and the Zelda Top pattern is ready to be sent out for testing..(phew) ...HOORAY!!!

I've worked so hard for 2 months to learn how to set up the pattern as a pdf download. It meant learning to use the Adobe programs Indesign and Illustrator, which were entirely new to me. At the beginning of starting this mission - waaaay back in September I'd optimistically and ignorantly speculated I could pull it together in a couple of weeks. Ha de harredy hahaa....the bliss of ignorance indeed!

Though (so far!) there are no regrets at plunging into this journey. Despite moments (days..!) of intense frustration it feels worth the blood, sweat and tears to acquire all these new skills. Naturally, I hope the long term result will be to make some money back out of the product that so much time and effort has been invested into, but frankly, I feel so elated at all that has been learned and achieved I think it has been worthwhile whether or not there's financial success. On reflection, that is actually a good attitude to have as an artist or you'd never start that journey!

The final stage of developing the pattern before it can be released to market is a very interactive one. I need to get a group of people together who are willing to "test" my pattern by receiving the pdf package, printing it out and making up the garment. Testers will join a closed FB group to give me feedback and share their ideas and experiences with the other testers. Through this process I can find out if there's any faults in the way the pattern is constructed and get advice with the best user friendly way of publishing the instructions.

If any of my blog readers are interested to join in please go to this document to find out more information about what is involved and decide if you want to return your details to me.

click on link to register interest:

Wednesday 26 November 2014


Hi, I'm back after a long quiet spell. However, my inactivity in blogging works in inverse proportion to how busy the rest of my life is....and I have been beavering away like the veritable headless chook (I love mixed metaphors)

My enterprise in setting up an independent clothing designer business is progressing...I've just been sidetracked down the long and winding road. Months back I explained that I felt daunted by the task of grading my clothing patterns (drafting into multiple size fittings) and had sent them away to a specialist company. Six weeks later they had done only half of one pattern so I got them back. The business couldn't be based on a turn around like that!

During my researches on the internet to find a company that would do the grading I discovered an excellent online course that would upgrade my rusty skills and knowledge to the digital era. So I took on the "Pattern Workshop" and for two months have been educating myself in the programs Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign, specific to designing clothes patterns for publishing in PDF format. It has been both frustrating and elating.

I'm now within a week or 2 of putting out my first design for "testing". This is the last stage of the design process where the pattern and instructions are sent out for checking to people who sew them up and give feedback.

This is the pattern cover I designed for the womens top I call "Zelda"

Zelda pattern cover

a version of Zelda

 Despite the challenges I've had a great time pulling this design together and can't wait to start on the next one. I have at least another 15 patterns that are already styled in my workshop and another 50 ideas that are niggling to be made real, so now the greatest frustration is where to start and not having enough hours in the day!

Friday 5 September 2014


Violetta, digital image by Pearl Red Moon, 2014

This newly created image will be developed into a textile soon...The face is taken from a painting I did in 2002.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Green dress, red roses

A new image "Green dress, red roses"

Green dress, red roses; digital image by Pearl Red Moon, 2014

And the image below is the repeat to be printed on fabric. Very large at 160 wide x180m long.

Green dress, red roses; digital image by Pearl Red Moon, 2014.  Repeat on textile

I haven't posted much lately but various projects are still coming together. I'm looking forward to launching my range of womens clothing patterns and, as ever, I'd optimistically speculated a few months ago that I'd be able to do that by the end of last month....heh.

In a May post I talked about my uncertainty of taking on the task of grading the patterns into multiple sizes. Though I trained as a Patternmaker in the late 1980s and know the theory of grading I haven't done it enough to be confident of doing it well and properly. I let my indecision over this paralyse me for several weeks, then came to terms with it and sought out someone in the industry to contract to do it.

I'm waiting on getting back 4 designs and in the meantime are writing up the making instructions. I'd like to be able to say when the designs will be ready for marketing - but having already let my enthusiasm suggest wrongly! - I'll just settle for predicting "as long as a piece of string"

My patterns will be different from the old fashioned, established commercial companies (you know who they are!) I still remember my very first school sewing project back in 1972. I made a little sleeveless blouse with darts and facings, from cotton fabric with little pink flowers (ick! is everything designed ever since a reaction to that pink flowered fabric?!) What a shock to open up the Butterick pattern instructions and try to decipher the weird and arcane method of making up. We were actually taught how to do something called tailors tacks (don't ask!) Within a few weeks I was purposely sticking pins through my cheeks so I could get detention and be sent out of the "Home Economics" class, I kid you not....

My distaste and aggravation for the making up instructions of the commercial pattern companies has only intensified over the years. For the short period of time that I bought commercial patterns (until at age 23 I went to TAFE and became a trade certified Patternmaker and Sample Machinist in 1987) after opening the packet I would simply discard the instructions unread and figure out how to do it through my own system of logic.

I'll be applying that same system of logic developed over the last 40 years in the patterns I design. No ridiculous 5/8" seams! phooaar!! for tailors tacks, haha harreddy haha! Patterns will be really simple too, so far of the 15 patterns I've developed none of them has darts or zips, I even hate using interfacing!

Wait and see...coming soon!... when I get to the end of that piece of string...

Wednesday 13 August 2014

more Lucy

"Lucy loves Paisley" digital image Pearl Red Moon, 2014

I've been using a face I call "Lucy" for about 5 years in my art. To date I've made about 15 different versions. Here is another digital interpretation that will be printed on fabric soon. The repeat will be very large, the image above being 142cm wide and 170cm long when printed.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Wear my Art exhibition up and running...

Yesterday we were in Sydney setting up the show at the Breathing Colours Gallery in Balmain. My amazing husband constructed a fabulous frame to enable the clothes to be hung in the middle of the room and walked around. The 9 large digital prints were displayed on the walls.

I was incredibly pleased and proud of the finished result and the display immediately drew attention from passersby. One lady who came in off the street had lived in the area for decades and hadn't ever been in or noticed the Gallery for the 5 years it has existed!

We only stayed around for about an hour after the installation was finished as we faced a 4 hour drive home. In that time more than a dozen visitors came in and were already making sales! ....perhaps I'll become an overnight sensation after 30 years making art and exhibiting!!!

Rodney took these great pictures....

Blue Tattoo dress and digital image on the wall behind

The front row of the gallery display

Showing the 3 rows of garments on display

view from the front window of the gallery

from the footpath outside Breathing Colours

second hanging row of the installation

just inside of Breathing Colours front door

Sashi tunic and digital image "Carbon Sisters" on the wall of the gallery

"Chrysalis Woman" painting on the gallery wall behind tunic featuring the same image

from left to right - Sashi tunic, digital image "Pussy Whiskers" on the gallery wall, Sunspot Daisy tunic, and part of the digital image "Blue Tattoo " on the wall

Pearl peeping out from behind Sweet Leah tunic

The exhibition is open normal working hours until 5pm on Sunday 3rd August 2014. The Gallery address is 442 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney.

Rodney and I will be in the gallery on Saturday 2nd August between 2 - 5pm and would love to invite everyone for wine and finger food.

See you there!

Saturday 26 July 2014

more art to wear

A day and half until setting up my exhibition in Sydney. We are all packed and ready to go tomorrow on the 4 hour drive.

Here's some more pictures of the art and dresses....

Sunspot Daisy tunic, 100% cotton knit and my artwork for the print on the wall behind

Blue Tattoo dress, 100% cotton sateen. On the wall behind is my shop logo "Boho Banjo" which also features the Blue Tattoo image

The Blue Tattoo, digital image, 120 x 81cm, on high gloss archival photo paper

On Monday 28th July Rodney and I will be at Breathing Colours Gallery setting up the exhibition and it will be open until the following Monday 4th August.

The gallery is open 7 days during normal working hours.

Please call in and see the show and let me know what you think!

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Legless in Murrurundi

Less than a week to go before my exhibition "Wear my Art" opens at Breathing Colours Gallery in Balmain, Sydney and I'm working hard to get everything prepared. Yesterday I picked up the large digital prints of my art work and spent this day mounting them for display in the gallery.

To give an impression of the scale they are printed at this is me standing next to the largest print - "Siamese Pussy Whiskers"....I am 1.6m tall and so is the print....

Pearl standing next to the image "Siamese Pussy Whiskers"

Unfortunately there is a lot of glare across the middle of the picture, that is sunlight, not the print.

I mounted all 9 of the images for the exhibition ready to take to the gallery this coming Sunday.

(the light is so weird in that photo I look legless and floating in a disembodied sort of way....!!!)

Friday 18 July 2014

Spoonflower competition and voting

I get my textiles printed by an American company called Spoonflower. They run many competitions and promotions, some of which I've entered. The one I most recently entered was the annual fabric design competition "Fabric8", sponsored by textile company Robert Kaufman. There were well in excess of 600 entrants and I was unsuccessful with the design below to be selected as a finalist.

"Planets Swirl in the Solar Wind" textile design by Pearl Red Moon, 2014

In the last few weeks 100 semifinalists were selected then 8 finalists from that pool. Spoonflower has now opened the competition for the final round of voting for the winner.

Perhaps I'm biased (!) but I really loved the work of the Australian finalist, Ali Benyon from Melbourne. So I voted for her. All the entries were fabulous but her collection really stood out to me - and that was before I realised she was Australian.

This is the link to the voting page at Spoonflower

Spoonflower Fabric8 - vote for winner

Ali Benyon, textile designs for Robert Kaufman Fabric8 2014

Have a look and vote for your favourite design collection

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Pussy Whiskers

Pussy Whiskers, digital image by Pearl Red Moon, 2014

Two weeks until the opening of my Sydney exhibition and I'm working hard on preparing digital images for reproduction at large scale on photographic paper. The art will be on the walls along with the clothes that have made from the textiles printed with my art.

This image is called Pussy Whiskers and will be 50cm x 160cm when reproduced.

Monday 14 July 2014

Lucy tunic

Lucy at Dawn, digital image, Pearl Red Moon 2011
I created this image "Lucy at Dawn" in 2011 and have applied it in numerous ways in my art. The latest incarnation is as this textile "Lucy Illuminata". Printed on polyester knit the image is 150cm wide and the repeat 130cm.

The textile repeat "Lucy Illuminata", 150cm wide x 130cm long

This is the tunic top I designed for the textile. The green and orange print on the facings, sleeves and sides is cotton voile and another of my designs

Lucy tunic, front

back of Lucy tunic, which features the larger version of the image

Saturday 12 July 2014

Exhibition previews

"Orange Shift" is another of the garments to show in my exhibition - "WEAR my ART" - opening July 28th, at Breathing Colours Gallery, 446 Darling St, Balmain, Sydney.

Cotton knit with appliques and hand stencilling. The mauve/orange cotton voile fabric used for the appliques, facing and hems is one of my original prints. The florescent pink patterns are hand printed by me.

Its a bit African inspired I think....

front of Orange shift

Friday 11 July 2014

Tuesday 10 June 2014

new designs in my prints

I've been working away steadily for the last few months making new clothing designs and getting fabric printed with my art. Heres some of my recent creations

Green Woman tunic with my painting shown behind it

Sashi tunic. The beautiful image of an Algerian woman is an archival photo, late C19

Sunspot Daisy, with my original artwork on the wall behind, acrylic painting/collage

There are another 12 designs I haven't "revealed" yet.

My plan has been to publish and sell the patterns as pdf. But its been about 30 years since I did my trade certificate in patternmaking and though I've continually kept designing and making since then I haven't done much size grading. I keep prevaricating because I feel so daunted to take on that technical task.

I hope something will push me to "bite the bullet' soon!

Any comments on my designs are very welcome!

Saturday 24 May 2014

Tessuti Competition

Today I sent off pictures of two garments I designed for a sewing competition. The fabric shop Tessuti sponsors an annual competition where you can make anything you choose, but everybody has to use the same fabric. The  fabric offered was a knit in either a black/white or beige/white stripe. I decided to go with the beige because it would be more challenging for me to work with.

The Tessuti fabric shop has outlets in Melbourne and Sydney, according to their website, but I have only ever made purchases from their online shop. They have a wonderful range of fabrics and the service is very prompt.   go to the Jaywalk competition to see the entries

I really hate being photographed, so this is likely the only time you'll ever see me modelling my own designs in a picture! It was a condition of entry that the garment had to be photographed on a person.

Trinity tunic, showing fullness and cut

back of Veronica tunic, the cut is the same at the front, just a lower neckline

Trinity tunic

Veronica tunic, sleeveless but shown worn over a top

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Rhonda's Creative Life: Monday Morning Inspiration

Rhonda's Creative Life: Monday Morning Inspiration

Posting this link to a blog I follow. These are truly awesome creations by iconic designer Issey Miyake.

design by Issey Miyake, 2014

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Wear my art is no empty slogan...

I read this a few days ago and it really resonated.

Its hard to make a living out of art and hard to make a living out of designing or manufacturing clothes. So being one who has more optimism than good sense I have combined these 3 really hard things into the one thing I'm striving to make some sort of  "living" out of.

Being 55 now I've seen the effects of globalisation on the fashion industry in Australia and New Zealand in the last 30 years. I trained as a pattern maker and sample machinist in 1984 and made an adequate living out of designing clothes, manufacturing, running a small retail outlet and wholesaling for a couple of years after that. After moving to Australia in 1986 I decided to stay home and do outwork sewing so I could be a better single parent to my 6 year old son. Initially I made good money doing patternmaking, sample making and short runs for small fashion companies in Sydney but by 1992 I was struggling to make an hourly rate of $10 because so much of the manufacturing had relocated to third world countries where the rates of pay were inconceivably low - the $10 an hour rate of pay which put me into (genteel first world version) poverty was more than most of those workers earned for a 50 hour week!!! Can you get your head around that...?!

By the turn of this century women workers in the clothing manufacturing industries in Australia/NZ were disenfranchised in droves and left the industry. Hundreds of years and knowledge and skill left with them....

In the next few decades things will gradually regain a better balance as overseas third world workers overcome in a struggle with those who exploit them to gain decent working conditions and wages....however, thats no great solace to me at this point as I'm intensely negotiating my own struggle to create some sort of sustainable "business model" which combines the things I love doing - art and clothing design. After years of inchoate longing to do this I finally started taking the risky steps late last year, when I cut back my working hours to only 10 a week. I've been really happy and satisfied these last few months going as often as I can to my design studio and making things for sale. The local Murrurundi women have been immensely supportive and buy items from my retail shop often enough that the business costs break even. THANKS!!! My wonderful husband is the one who enables all this to continue for a while longer because he is prepared to support me financially while I try to figure out and instigate a profit making business model....

That process of creating a more secure and consistent way of generating income is still unfolding. Its very tough trying to compete with a K-Mart or Millers style that sells for $20-50 when this is frequently more than the cost of the fabric for me!

The latest concept I'm working toward is to set up 3 tiers of product. I will market a range of my clothing patterns (1) offer kits that have my original textile designs sufficient to make up the design plus the pattern (2) and offer clothing made to order from either my textile design or other fabrics (3). Its taking a while to develop the patterns as they have to include detailed instructions with photos and diagrams so I think it will be about another 2-3 weeks before I'll revive my Etsy shop to market this newly conceived range of items.

These are 2 of the designs which will be the first I'll be offering...

Close up of "Domino" showing my textile prints

Domino tunic

Green Woman tunic

New textile designs

Some of the new fabrics I've been designing lately....

Golden Sashi

Stripes and spots contrast for Sashi

I did well in the Murrurundi Art Show. I won the section "Fibres and Textiles" with my dress featuring the digital image "Petal". My acrylic/textile painting "Chrysalis Woman" achieved a Highly Commended (this artwork is featured in my textile "The Green Woman")

Friday 2 May 2014

Sandra Pearce workshop soon!

Tonight the Murrurundi Art Show opens 6pm at the RSL Hall so I hope all my local blog readers will be able make an appearance and enjoy seeing the fantastic efforts of our local creatives. Huge thanks to our generous sponsor Peter Norvill who stumps up the $2000 first prize. If you can't make it tonight the exhibition will also be open next weekend.

I entered 4 works - a miniature, a large painting in the Oil/Acrylic section and 2 garments in the Fibre/Textiles. Rodney also entered 4 works.

We have a fabulous workshop coming up on the weekend of May 17-18th. Sandra Pearce is an enormously talented Queensland printmaker who will be our tutor for 2 days of instruction in gelatin printmaking. The workshop samples will be done on paper but the techniques can also be done on fabric. You just need to use textile paint instead of inks. Heres some examples of Sandras exquisite monoprints done by the technique we'll be learning.

Visit Sandras website for more  ....though I don't think you'll need much more convincing how wonderful the work is. This workshop is incredibly cheap at $70 for the 2 days because the Arts Council is subsidising her visit. It is limited to 12 places so get in quickly by phoning Love Appleby at 0431 398833 to book your place and get the requirements lists.

Personally, I'm very excited! see you there....