Monday, March 26, 2012


Hi anyone who reads this occasional blog. I go through spates of writing lots and then write nothing for weeks. I think it is time for a catch up.

I have a mixed media piece in the "Changing Threads' exhibition  which is on in Nelson at the moment.  It is called Tsunami (II) and commemorates the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. My sons and I had been travelling in the area that was hit by the tsunami only 6 weeks before.
The layers are kimonos stacked on top of each other.

I mentioned in the last post that I am doing research on cotton production. Mostly I have been looking at the pollution that results from dyeing cotton. Most of the pictures unfortunately come from China. Greenpeace has been doing a lot of research on textile pollution in China and has targeted some of the big sportswear companies to show them what is really happening in their supply chain. I watched some videos from the Greenpeace website and I came very close to tears. We can pat ourselves on the back and say how 'Clean and Green' we are, while China is trashing it's environment to bring us cheap goods. The big chainstores have demanded cheaper and cheaper clothing and to do that, manufacturers in China have had to cut a lot of corners in order to make a profit. It makes me look at cheap jeans in a very different light. Ok so I know there are a whole lot of other factors at work and I don't want to get too much into that. As an artist I'm more interested in showing rivers which change colour depending on what the next season's fashionable colour is. Pink is the new black etc.

I have tentatively chosen the title 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' for my project/solo exhibition which has to happen some time before the end of July even though I haven't booked a space and don't really know what I will be making.

In the meantime, here are some of the experiments I have been doing. I'm playing with 3 dimensional shapes instead of quilting for a change. Perhaps it is time to move away from 2d into mixed media, but it depends on what works.

 These are experiments with plastic bags when I thought I might like to have a look at plastic in the oceans and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
 Here are some strange things made in a hotel room on the weekend I had to drive to Auckland to drop off my son's drum kit. I got bored with plastic bags and changed to an old wool blanket I found for $2 in an op shop. Mostly I made sort of worm shaped things.
 Then when I got back to a place where I could work with messier stuff, I tried dipping wool in wax and plaster of paris. The red ball of wool dipped in wax is great because it looks so soft but when you pick it up it is hard.
 Then I started doing research on jeans. Stone wash and sand washed jeans are very unfriendly to the environment and also to the health of the people working in the factories.

I had fun with satay sticks and a hot glue gun until I found I was on the same path as several other students without knowing it.

More to follow...


  1. Oh my gosh - your experimental work is close to the bone.

    I love the top piece. A sad yet beautiful , multi layered metaphor.

    And the information about China and the clothing factories - has been haunting me too. I resist purchasing clothing - but still do so. I made a piece about women's fashionable clothing that was about this issue about a year ago -

    Chanced upon your blog today for the first time, but would come back. I hope you continue to post.

    1. Thanks for your commentsJudy
      I am so used to talking to thin air that I don't check the blog very often.
      Its such a can of worms with cotton, see my latest post for my latest conundrum :-(

  2. Hi Claire

    You might be interesting in reading book by Lucy Siegle called To Die For - Is Fashion Wearing Out the World.

    It examines all the issues you have raised and many more. It horrified me and has really made me stop and think about the clothing and textiles I buy.

    If you can't track down a copy I have one you can borrow.


    1. Thanks Philippa
      I'll see if there is one in the library. At the moment I am reading 'The rivers run black' Elizabeth Economy and a Fred Pearce book 'When the Rivers Run Dry'. The fred Pearce one is particularly scary.