Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Golden Orb Spider and Magpie Nest

Close up of the bits and pieces that went into making the nest and then  the Golden Orb spider and his web. Photographer Bev Moxon

Golden Orb spider and his web. Photographer Bev Moxon

Golden Orb spider and his web. Photographer Bev Moxon

Monday, March 20, 2017

Magpie Nests at the National Arboretum ACT

Magpie nest at the National Arboretum ACT, Photographer Sharon Peoples

Magpie nest at the National Arboretum ACT, Photographer Sharon Peoples

Some of the Magpie nest inn the collection at the National Arboretum. Made from natural and man made materials

Thursday, March 16, 2017

1 Year of Stitches

Day 57, Self Portrait Sharon Peoples
Sharon Peoples has been participating in a project called 1 year of stitches with Sara Barnes (see below). This project focuses on doing a stitch a day and that could be one stitch, a new stitch type or maybe a flower. What ever the participant wants to do in one embroidery hoop.

From Sharon Peoples blog  
When I began this activity of posting my stitching each day on January 1, I didn't realise how consuming it would become. The rationale was to make sure that I revive my hand stitching as I have become a machine embroiderer over the years. I had made a list of rules for myself which have generally been broken. I wanted to try a new stitch each day but rather than the stitch itself the priority, the image became more important. 
Other rules included: only using materials in the studio - no new threads ; posting on Instagram each day (@peopsh); (I have upheld these two rules); only the colour range set out on the first day (nope); only DMC stranded cotton (nope) and only one piece of fabric (I foresee this will be broken). One of the questions in my journal is "But content?" Full Post

 I have been following Sharon's progress of her portraits since the beginning of 2017. It is easy to see her image in the embroideries and the variety of stitches used truly show the texture of hair and skin, shadows to give shape and always her amazing glasses frame her face.

The idea of  1 year of stitches fascinates me and I wanted to start this project as well at the beginning of  2017 but traveling over seas and then returning to intense work for an exhibition opening I gave up after about 5 days (and not consecutive days either). I am about to run away over seas and will be back at the beginning of April so I am aiming to try and stitch each day working stitches the will look and feel like bark, trees, leaves. It will be a good way to get inspiration for our concept of trees. Let me know if anyone would like to join me in this little experiment, I will not be as disciplined as Sharon but will give it ago. If you read Sara and Sharon's blogs you can also post photos of your work to Instagram and Facebook if you want to. By chance I see a tree in the image below.
My list of rules will be no new threads, will post an image each day @bellejane60 and try stitches to represent my concept trees. I will try writing in a  journal weekly and keep a list of stitches I have tried. First stitch will be Bullion stitch. 
DMC embroidery stitches 
(by Belinda Jessup)

 Sara Barnes embroidery ( I think)

Lauren Ridgwell

From Sara's blog 
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Hannah Claire Somerville’s ambitious 365-day project called 1 Year of Stitches. The name says it all—each day, she adds at least one stitch to the same embroidery hoop. Throughout the year, the design grows and grows, taking on a life of its own inside of this circle. In addition to the stitches, each day is chronicled via Instagram and includes a short post. It’s a compelling public diary of sorts.
I’ve thought a lot about Hannah’s project and decided that I want 2017 to be my 1 Year of Stitches. Hannah has always invited people to join her, and yes—I will take her up on the offer!

Lauren Ridgwell

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


An exhibition of mineral erosion, vegetable degradation and cellulose disintegration


Image from left to right: Cara Johnson, Heathland, 2016, paper, mild steel, linen dimensions variable, photo by Jeremy Dillon, Thomas O'Hara, Greg's Pergola, 2016, oregon, 420x360x360mm, photo by the artist, Ruby Aitchison, Untitled, 2016, eggplant, mild steel 102 x 105 x 95mm, photo by Jeremy Dillon.

Opens 6pm Wednesday 22 March - Sunday 9 April 2017
  ELAPSE at ANCA Gallery in March will feature Ruby Aitchison, Thomas O’Hara and Cara Johnson. Three artists who connect art with their environment by utilising unique processes of dehydration, erosion and degradation to offer an exhibition of sculptures that explore the changing characteristics of materials over time. Each artist has developed individual techniques that essentially speed up the effect of time to balance control and chance in material explorations of form. The result is an exhibition of small sculptures by each artist that are commanding, intriguing, and as complex and intricate as nature itself.

ANCA website

Growing memories

Growing Kowhai - Sharon Peoples

Earlier this year my extensive and extended family posted family photos on a closed social media site. Many of the photos were taken in front of a tree that grew in our front garden. Someone commented that the tree on how much the tree was used. The tree had wonderful yellow flowers and the leaves were small and circular, and pared up the stalk.
The tree was removed when my brother-in-law re-landscaped the garden in the late 1970s.

I had forgotten about the tree, until a black and white image in a photographic exhibition at the NGA, showed the image of the flower of a kowhai tree. Until then I had no idea of the tree’s name or that it was from New Zealand. I bought a postcard and pinned it up in my studio.
I have never seen another tree like ours. I often wonder how it got to be in our suburban garden. The other tree was a lilli pilli. How strange it is that southern hemisphere native trees were in our garden.
The post on social media prompted me to search the internet to see if it was possible to buy a kowhai in Australia. Nothing appeared except there were seeds for sale on E-Bay. I checked and they were from an Australian source. I ordered 20 for $4.00 Two weeks later they arrived with no instructions. Back to the internet and found a NZ government agency site with instructions for germinating kowhai.
I had to sand one side of the seeds six times. The seed coating is hard. I got out an emery board and tried to sand each seed. It was no mean feat. I lost two seeds somewhere in the carport. I filled a seedling tray with potting mix, planted out the seeds and waited for the four to six weeks suggested by the government instructions.
Five weeks later one little shoot appeared. The instruction suggested keeping them out of the sun until they sprouted. Slowly over the next four weeks eleven seedlings more appeared. It was time for the sun when we had some fierce 40 degree days. I put them in the morning sun for a few days and they really responded well. I had not realised how shady my garden had become over the years. When the weather cooled a little I put them on my studio steps for the morning, then onto our outdoor table. Each day I have been following this route.
The larger seedlings are now about eight centimetres high and their growth has slowed a little. The instructions indicate that the plants can be potted up at this stage. However, I think my germination process is quite late and should have started back in spring. Although the website says that the plants grow in the South Island, I am worried about the Canberra frosts. So no doubt they will be cossetted over the winters.
I am not even sure if it is the same variety. However, the idea of growing memories is the thing that appeals to me for this Nets project. How it will manifest in an artwork is still to come.
Sharon Peoples