Looking Ahead!

I am very excited about next semester in Studio, where we get to choose our own brief and project. I have been thinking  about all the things that inspire me, and bring me joy, and all the media I love to use. I have been thinking about all this a lot… even when my mind should be elsewhere, like the local Pool team commitee…


I came up with quite a list…


The sheet has a story…


Last Sunday of summer… well, it is to me!  Next weekend the clocks go back and my favourite time of year begins :) I must remember that there are now 12 hours difference between us and the UK, as their clocks went forward in the early hours.

So… today I worked some more on my Identity project, after I had finished my catalogue review and my visual analysis and comparison for other parts of the course. The image analysis and comparison was very enjoyable, I tend to go off on all kinds of tangents.  It amounts to adding more stuff to the vast and disorganised library that I call my brain. I love libraries.

I cut some bamboo for my Tower of Strength, but then I decided not to cut anymore as I want the tips,  (which will be at the top of my tower), to keep growing until the last minute. This is part of using bamboo, to have the tops still shooting, because the tower is still getting taller. It may be tricky getting them to stay together while I stitch the panels. I think I will lay them flat on the ground and stitch all the panels on, and then stand them up and stitch the last two corners together.

I have done a few trials of getting the images onto fabric. I tried citrus cleaner but that didn’t work. I then tried acetone but it was too smelly. Finally I decided to iron the fabric to wax paper and risk feeding it through my old black and white laser printer…

and it worked!

Initial prints were too dense so I turned the toner down as much  as I could and also lightened the photos in Photoshop.

So I now have two photos and two fragment panels ready to go! Now I know what I am doing it will be a faster process I hope. For the fabric that I print the photos on, I am using one of my bedsheets. The sheet has a story…

When I first came to New Zealand, and I got my bed, it was very symbolic. This was my bed, and mine only, for years I had shared a bed, but now I had my own bed, just for me. I used to walk past the bed and get this big grin on my face! What I wanted most was Egyptian cotton sheets, but I couldn’t afford them at the time. A few years later I got some, and my bed dream was fulfilled, although by then I had a partner sharing the bed.  My partner wore a copper bracelet which left green and blue marks on my gorgeous cotton sheets… and they wouldn’t wash out. In the end I tried bleaching them, but sadly it weakened the cotton, and the sheet got torn and full of holes in no time. I am using the bits of that king size sheet, stitched and layered, with my fragments and photos. It holds history of my bed, my dreams and a long and intense relationship, which although tough at the time, did make me stronger.

I will take some photo’s of my fragments and panels as I make them, but meantime, this is how I often work. Check out Blue, my gorgeous new grandson asleep on the bed :) No wonder I am single!





Thoughts of Forts


I have just finished speaking to Kay, one of our tutors, about my identity project. Kay liked the idea of keeping the ‘box’ idea as a part of my final presentation, and the more we talked about it, the more I liked the idea.

And then a whole journey of new and recycled thoughts began… I was wondering about the context of the box, and what it would mean for me to have my images outside the box, having grown too big for the smaller box, as it were. And then it came to me. Four walls is like a fort, or a strong hold, four represents strength and stability in the Tarot. Thinking of the box as a kind of stronghold gave me a meaning to the concept, and so I decided to construct my identity in the form of a big box, approx 1.2 x 1 x 1 metres. The other fragments of my exhibition could go in the box, or be scattered around the box.

Well, I was really into this idea and couldn’t wait to get started… but I kept on thinking…

Thoughts of forts led to thoughts of towers. Now I love towers, I have a real thing for them and I built one in England. So before two long my stronghold and fort had  turned into a Tower of Strength. And that is it… No more changes! I have followed the creative thinking process through from that original Dilmah teabag box and these are the heights it has reached!

Here are some pages from my sketchbook, illustrating my thought process… albeit rather roughly…


The tower will be constructed from four lengths of the bamboo that grows in my garden. I will leave the shoots growing out of the tips as this will symbolise that my Tower of Strength is still growing.  The footprint of the tower will be approximately 35cm square, to make it portable and strong.

The sides will be filled in with the images that I was originally going to make into giant cardboard posters. I am printing the photo’s onto fabric and these will be stitched to a backing fabric which will be stitched around the bamboo. Among the photos will be my fragments, (ie the one of the jug and spotted cup, shown in a previous post). The fragments are things that are part of who I am now.

This will project will indeed be a constructed identity on more than one level. What would be nice is if I still liked it once I have finished. I have issues with stuff I make. I love the process but as soon as it is finished I cannot wait to see the back of it!


And just to finish off this post I will leave you with a sketchbook page featuring a photocopy of one of my almost finished ‘fragment’ panels. This has some favourite china, including a cup, cups and mugs are very much a part of my everyday life, and I am sure my body 25% black tea! Also in the layer are old baking paper from England, and part of an antiquarian book which was  given to me by my in-laws when I was married. The embroidered words are part of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.




I don’t sew, but…

I had a great conversation this morning with Colleen, one of our technicians at college. We talked about the textile art stuff I did years ago, and what she does etc. It reminded me that although I don’t sew, thread and needles and fabrics are a big part of who I am.

When I say I don’t sew, I mean I don’t sew curtains or clothes or anything that requires straight lines or precise corners, unless it is art. I like to use my old Bernina, with the feed dog down and the foot off. Together we whiz our way, through paper, card, all kinds of fabrics, tomato puree tubes, you name it! I enjoy recycling stuff, adding layers to it’s life, and more words to it’s narrative. Even if the original is painted over, it is still there, and that matters to me. There is much more to history than we can see.

The previous sentence reminds me of another talk I had today with Klaasz, one of our tutors. I had an idea for a series of screen-printed T-shirts, for the Identity project. It was inspired by my thoughts of everyone else defining me. The concept was to have a silhouette of myself surround by images of others, other parts of my life, so that in effect, the images were defining my outline. The silhouette would be left unprinted. This series would slowly have the empty space that was me, fill up with new things about me as I discover them. I chose T-shirts because they are something most of us wear, and we also use them to identify ourselves, and what we believe in.

Anyway after talking to Klaasz, I think I have decided not to go ahead with that idea. I have somehow lost all the notes I made last week, they are in none of my sketchbooks or notebooks, so I am going to find them and go through all of my ideas and make a decision by tomorrow. We only have 3-4 weeks left and in that time we have to present stuff and do the PowerPoint etc.

I have my other courses just about in order I think… although I have the exhibition for Professional Practice and my seminar presentation for Visual Culture 3 to think about, and then there are two essays… de dum de dum de da…..

On that note, I will leave you with an image from my ‘learning to draw’ digital sketchbook…!


by raggedpoet



I am made of polka dots…

I had a brainstorming session in my sketchbook, about who I am and what defines me. What a lot of labels!

I have decided to do most of my brainstorming on this blog, and although I will use my sketchbook as I always have I will probably just photograph the pages and put them on here, rather than handing the lot in. The tutors are more than happy with that, and things don’t get lost etc…!



The above page was made with letters cut out from a photo of me that I converted to half tone and blew up until it was just dots. Like putting my identity under a microscope, and seeing all the tiny parts of my life  that make me who I am today. I6 woud be very cool to make a huge image with a dot for each minute or day or hour of my life. But I have neither the mathematical genius nor the time to work this out right now!





Some sketchbook pages

Just some thoughts and scrawlings from my working sketchbook for our mural project.