Wednesday 14 November 2018

Up the Zambeesie

Today I've finally finished and published the Zambeesie Jacket PDF pattern. It was almost finished 5 months ago when I discovered I was developing cataracts in both eyes. 2 weeks ago I had my second eye fixed and I'm now able to work on the computer screen again without going cross eyed.

Here's some more pictures to remind you of what it looks like. And if you love it heaps here is a 15% discount code for my Shopify Store. It's only good for one use for a week, until Nov 28 and will discount only the Zambeesie Jacket. Full price is $18.00 so the discount will leave you paying a mere $15.30.


Saturday 10 November 2018

second make for November

I've just finished this jacket literally a few minutes ago. It started off as a black polyester waist length waterfall front jacket bought from the local charity shop for $5. I turned it inside out and with a combination of hand and machine sewing appliqued fabric pieces all over the outside, now become the surface. The sleeves were cut open along the underarm seams to facilitate working flat on them.

For the appliques I raided my big collection of indian textiles and chose lots of lavish silk fabric and embroidered braids. A lot of the embroidered pieces are embellished with metallic embroidered thread along with glass beads and shisha mirror details. Most of the fabrics I collected myself in India in 2001 when I spent 8 weeks travelling all over on a solo backpacking tour.

The original light polyester fabric of the jacket has become the inside lining and the finished jacket has become heavy with the amount of metallic thread embellishment and glass beading that has gone onto the surface. I added a lot of sashiko hand stitching to "integrate" the various multi coloured pieces and the jacket took 3 days, or approximately 24 hours of labour intensive work to complete.

Sunday 4 November 2018

November Kimono Coat

Monday I was at Muswellbrook Hospital again getting my right eye poked by the fabulous Dr Eugene Hollenbach. His deft prodding with the scalpel has restored 20/20 vision to it, so it's acuity now matches the left side and I'm no longer the visually challenged artist....Cataract surgery is a modern, everyday miracle being achieved for thousands of us that I'm so grateful for. 50 years ago I would have endured a fairly rapid decline into blindness and lived several decades in sorrow for my lost ability to be a VISUAL artist.

I went back to work in the studio on Friday and this lovely full length kimono is my first make for November. It's completely made from upcycled fabrics, many which I've stenciled. There are also some elaborate patches with reverse applique motifs.

Thursday 25 October 2018

a little help from my friends....

My dear friends! I woke up this morning to an inbox full of messages of caring and support! Thank you, I love that so many of you took time to share my pain and then send lovely words expressing your admiration for my art and encouraging me to keep going. I have tears pouring down my face at the moment. There are so many of you whom I know are "out there" but I haven't heard from for perhaps years....thankyou for letting me know you understand and care about my despondency.

Do not worry - I'm not clinically depressed or anything terrible like that! - just going through a spell when I feel the world is either indifferent or negative to my art. Because so many of you are creatives yourselves, I imagine many are nodding sagely and have experienced being in this place yourselves - which seems to me like just treading water with one nostril above it and feeling like the life raft is too full to bother picking me up....!

Honestly, I'm just too emotionally exhausted after taking that blow in the guts after being rejected by the Hunt and Gather Markets (they took 2 hours to assess and reject my emailed application) to go into the 10 year travail of how I've tried to get into a good Newcastle based monthly market. Except to make these brief comments that over 10 years the 6 applications I made to the Olive Tree Market, the other quality curated event, have also been rejected on the nebulous basis that I "don't fit". This can only be because my "product" is the wrong look, as on every other basis of being hand made and artist designed I exceed the criteria. Somebody once intimated that my stall set-up looked a bit messy and uncoordinated....but sheeeesh! everything I make is one-of-a-kind! I don't manufacture 25 beige skirts,18 brown jackets and 20 white shirts that hang on rails with their hems matching in beautiful minimalist perfection....

Dear friends, I will be fine, and I've truly had much worse disappointments!...and in reality, its hard to stay in the shit for more than 48 hours in a row, unless you really work on keeping yourself in the toilet bowl....heh. But the lovely heartfelt support and reach out so many of you have given is helping me understand I can put this minor set back behind me quickly and keep moving forward doing the work I love and that gives my life purpose and meaning.

Meantime - has anyone got any suggestions for an urban based gallery/shop/market in the Newcastle/Maitland area that would be happy to take some of my "product" on commission....?

Wednesday 24 October 2018


Hi again that I've had my big sob, sob breast beating, rejected hurt child who nobody will play with spazz out....all to no avail of course except to make myself feel even more shitty and decrepit.....a bit of a round medley up of some current makes.

Y'kno,  there is a new cafe opening in town in 3 weeks time and I think I'll pack up the studio, toss all this shite below in the rubbish bin and apply for a real job waitressing. Fuck you, dear world....especially that woman who came into the studio a few weeks ago, quacked a shrill shriek of laughter and backed out the door squawking, "nah, nah, nah, nah...." May you rot in your Target tracksuit.

I'm unravelling

Sometimes I get so despondent. I need to sell more stuff but all the "quality markets" within a few hours drive are controlled by teams of "event managers" and "product marketers". The markets in my local area that I might have attended have been cancelled due to the drought and I'm trying to get into some alternative venues pre-Xmas....
Obviously this kind of unleashing isn't going to get me anywhere....

Hi again Hunt and Gather team
Thanks for processing my application for a market stall yesterday super fast (2 hours!). I was, of course, incredibly disappointed that you didn’t find my art a good fit for Hunt and Gather. As I spent a couple of hours preparing my application I hope you won’t mind spending a few minutes to help me with advice about some questions it raised….?
-          Does this mean I shouldn’t apply for any other Hunt and Gather markets in the future, such as the Christmas one? I’m unsure if yesterdays assessment was a blanket rejection or just for the specific November market.

-          Can you outline what your preferred aesthetics for a product are? I live in very small rural town (pop. 900) 3 hours drive from Newcastle so I’m very out of touch with the current trendy look. However as every item I make is one-of-a-kind, and if it’s OK to make a second application, perhaps I could present a range of clothes that’s a better fit for your vision of the style of the market.
In concluding here’s a reflection, sorry it’s a bit long and probably too ranty….it is hard to make a living as an artist. In the bush town where I live I depend on travellers from the New England Highway stopping and calling into my open studio and making an impulse buy. This leads to a rather peripatetic income. The friend who recommended I apply to you was the director of the Michael Reid Art Gallery here in Murrurundi until a couple of months ago (Reids other galleries are in Double Bay and Berlin. I would have gone to his December market but it was cancelled due to the drought in this area) and she understands the struggle I have trying to retain “integrity” with my art practice and not let it devolve into formulaic production of commodity. But at the same time, because the clothes I make are utilitarian – intended to be worn – they don’t qualify as gallery “high art”.  So my situation is very frustrating to be caught in this netherworld of not quite art and not quite the suitable product. My husband is 72 and should be retired instead of supporting the child bride in her prima donna endeavours…. I need a more reliable stream of income to support myself into the future so the poor bugger can be freed to tend his roses and snapdragons. The 2 markets in Newcastle who comfortably adopt the term “curated” from the art world seem to have more interest in presenting a marshmallow version of consistency and pastel. It really irks me that you pompously apply the term “curated”, hoping to garner some of the splendiferous glow of being a bit art educated, when in reality you are fostering a kind of commodity uniformity which promotes blandness rather than truly supporting the unique vision of genuine artisans.
Well, heh, there you go….I have perfectly illustrated here why I have no style at all and as a person so lacking in humility I'd be a terrible fit for Hunt and Gather. So I might as well roll my integrity ridden art practise into a great big poop cigar and swallow it.
     All the best, I return to my studio to labour uselessly
Pearl Red Moon

Saturday 28 July 2018

Zambeesi Jacket

Here's pictures of the "Zambeesi Jacket" which will be my next pattern to publish.  I was hoping it might be finished in a week but now I'm doubting it. Monday week I'm due to have surgery on the cataract in my right eye. I wish it were tomorrow as my sight has become so challenging it's getting  harder and harder to do the work that needs to be done. I had to stop beading 2 months ago because I couldn't see well enough. I'm just coping with sewing and stenciling but its gotten to the stage I know I'm not able do it to the usual standard. Seams are getting stitched all wobbly and I have to squint to make sure my paintwork is the right colour and density. Looking at the computer screen is giving me a literal pain in the neck as I have lean forward, squint and angle my glasses with one hand to get enough visual "clarity" to read and type......

Zambeesi, knit version

Zambeesi, denim and cotton fabrics salvaged from thrift shop clothing, stenciling

Zambeesi, this jacket a mixture of knit and woven fabrics, stenciling

back of the Zambeesi Jacket

This version of the Zambeesi Jacket is made entirely from a $5 bundle of upholstery scraps I bought from a thrift shop. There is enough fabric left over that I could make 2 more!

line drawings for the Zambeesi Jacket at present I can't predict when I'll get the Zambeesi Jacket published except that if all goes well with the cataract surgery my eyesight should be vastly better by the middle of August so perhaps it will be by the end of that month.

Sunday 1 July 2018

another upcycle

I bought a jacket for $6 from the local Vinnies 3 days ago (for overseas readers that is the "St Vincent De Paul Charity Shop". A Catholic Church business chain that resells donated clothing, furniture and household goods)

Here's pictures and some brief explanation how it was altered. I've displayed it over my dress design "Rings of Saturn", a pattern I haven't published at this point (along with 50 others....drat)

front of upcycled jacket by Pearl Red Moon 2018
Firstly, I stenciled and painted directly onto the jacket with florescent green textile paint.

I wanted to make the jacket wider in the torso because I like garments with lots of swing, so opened up the right side seam from cuff to hem with the intention of adding a triangular gusset from underarm to hem. This was quite challenging because the jacket had channels at the hem and waist for drawstrings making it very tricky and messy to unpick them.  So I decided not to open the left side and to add the width gusset only in the right side.

stenciled fabrics

The picture above shows fabrics I stenciled to cut patches to add to the jacket. The large top piece is a coarse cotton calico printed with lime yellow and black. This fabric has a coarse weave and frays very readily. Lots of the natural fabric was allowed to show through the prints. The blue below it is the same but I painted the background all blue and stenciled with red over it. The picture below here explains how I embroidered over the red print with red stitching to make it very textured. The intention was to use this piece in moderation as a highlight to break up the predominant black and green.

top of the jacket showing large patched that were applied

In the picture above you can see how I used a strip of the red blue over the top of a large patch and buttoned it down with a red button. All the stenciled patches were appliqued on with red stitching.
I also made the bead embroidered necklace.

right side


Back of the jacket showing the width gusset sewed into the right side. A number of large rectangle patches are appliqued to the back above the hem and a red/blue patch in the bottom corner. The stencil with the squares is a hand cut, so simple. Its about 6 years old and originally cut for when I stenciled the verandah floor in my house. Multiple uses heh! In between many of the squares I appliqued little square patches. The paintwork is intentionally crude as I wanted to create a sort of "graffiti" spontaneity in the finished effect.

left side, white thingy dangling off the cuff is my sales tag which I should have taken off

Left side of the jacket. A thin strip of the red/blue stencil to accentuate the cuff edge. Note the red stitching around the pocket bag on the side front and red button on the vent pocket opening.

Saturday 30 June 2018

Murdering Hut Gully

 Ive been going to Merriwa once a month since January to teach an art class for senior citizens. It's a long drive of 100kms (each way) from Murrurundi so I've enjoyed looking at the landscape and bush along the way. On my way home last week I finally stopped and took a picture of this incredibly intriguing sign. There must be a gruesome story behind that name....surely! I asked the people in my art group but no one knew why it was named that.

These amazing ancient rock formations are about 10km outside of Scone. I love caves because I can fantasize they will be full of old bones, artifacts and cave drawings. Thats not entirely far fetched as there are some very old drawings made on rock faces by the Kamilaroi (local indigenous aboriginal people) around the area.  However those places are protected and regarded as sacred by the Kamilaroi so I don't go searching for them.

These two pictures show how parched the country is. 

This road kill kangaroo was just a few feet from where I pulled off the road to take the pictures of the "Murdering Hut Gully" sign. In the rural area where I live this is a common sight. I roughly estimate on the trip last week there would have been about 10 dead kangaroos either on or off the road. I also saw 2 road killed wombats.