Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tokyo Quilt Show 2012, Bernina NZ icons challenge

Sadly I didn't go to the Tokyo Quilt show this year but someone else did and has posted their photos on Flickr.
Tokyo Quilt Show 2012  . My personal favourite is 'Born Free' by Miyoko Miyata, the quilt which is grey with a green seedling. Looks a bit like the idea for the movie WallE.

Here is my entry for the Bernina New Zealand Icons Challenge. I had real problems coming up with an idea for this quilt challenge. I felt I had 'done' New Zealand icons already, NZ cabbage trees (Cordyline Australis), lancewoods, Nikau palms etc. In the end I made a quilt because I had told Mary from Nancy's Embroidery shop that I'd enter. I had to make it in the time between getting back from Hong Kong and going off to the Coromandel on holiday with the family. I didn't bother about housework or anything anything for that week even though we took down the Christmas tree and the floor was covered in bits of Xmas tree plastic.

While I was away I got a text from a friend saying "Thankyou for telling me about the Bernina challenge, I entered and I made a bach quilt". Groans from me, as I made a bach quilt too!
Congratulations to the winner of the sewing machine,  Rosemary Rush from Auckland for her Tuatara quilt.

Which brings me back to the idea of Challenges and theme exhibitions. Are they a good thing? They break you out of a rut, get you making something and get your stuff out there and on show.  OR do they take you off track and distract you? I'm not sure myself, all I know is that my quilt will be a useful image for this year's Christmas card and I finally got around to making a quilt with a picture of a pohutukawa tree on it (the tree with the red flowers).

Well, back to work. 2 things to work on - an entry for the Nelson exhibition 'Changing Threads' due on the 17th of Feb and getting my eldest son organised. He has been accepted for music school in Auckland so will be moving out of home and into the student residences for a year.

Last thing
I went to the wedding dress exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington and it is great. Take your friends (and  your Mum).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Holiday in the Coromandel

Just a few shots of the Coromandel area of New Zealand for those who live outside of New Zealand and are interested. The weather is warmer than Wellington, the vegetation can be quite tropical looking and there are lots of holiday homes for those from Auckland who can afford it. We just borrowed a house in Whangamata for 12 days and used that as a base to see the rest of the peninsula.
 This tree was laden with epiphytes (plants growing from the branches)
 Punga (tree fern)

 Froth on the river, possibly caused by pollen as we all got hayfever that day.

 View from the top of Driving Creek Railway, Coromandel Town.
 Driving Creek Railway
Waihi Open Cast Gold Mine

Friday, January 27, 2012

The New and the Old - Macau side trip

I am writing this retrospectively because I didn't have time before I left for a 2 week family holiday in the Coromandel .

Anyway I'd heard a lot about Macau from a friend whose daughter worked there for 6 months as a singing gondolier at the Macau Venetian Hotel. I thought the idea of a singing Gondolier in Macau was so incongruous that I had to see it myself.
It is true! they have made Venice inside the hotel except that everything is way cleaner than in the real Venice and there are lots more fancy shops. I think the sky changes colour from day to night as well, like Venus Fort in Tokyo, very disconcerting.

Check out the blue water in the canals.

The Venetian Hotel/Casino was bad enough but the Galaxy Casino and Hotel was just completely over the top.

The main audience is Mainland Chinese and the shops are very fancy brands. Loved the gold and red tiled floor though.

The other casino that I saw was the Grand Lisboa.

It was like the architects were able to go with their wildest design ideas.

However I was really more interested in the older historic parts of Macau but I don't think I found what I was looking for. Maybe I would need to more time to find the heart of Macau.

 Spiral incense burning slowly
 Older style letterboxes in a crumbling apartment building
 Narrow streets with local shops and apartments, a far cry from the glittering casinos.
 Caged birds taken out for an outing in the park.
 Incense sticks sprouting from a crack in the pavement
 A poster for an exhibition that I would love to have seen, except that I never found the gallery
 Christmas decorations in the older part of Macau
What happens to Christmas decorations on about the 4th of January. Poor old santa...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hong Kong Shibori Symposium

The first day of the Symposium had registration, an exhibition opening and welcome speeches etc. The second day was pretty much all the talks in 2 concurrent sessions. Luckily we were all issued great big conference proceedings books because we missed a lot. Most speakers tried to do their talks in English but a large part of the audience were Chinese or Japanese. Simultaneous translation was too expensive so there was a little catchup at the end for non-English speakers which must have been very frustrating for them. A few talks were in Mandarin or Japanese and it really made me realise how important it is to have great images on the screen if you don't understand any of the talk. One speaker did his whole talk in Mandarin and his only image was the title of the talk (also in Mandarin) so I still have no idea what he was talking about.

I enjoyed most of the talks but the demonstrations and mini workshops were my favourite. Unfortunately I missed most of the demonstrations as they were the same day as the trunk show.

My favourite was a mini workshop on Lazer engraving on fabric. This was lead by PhD student 'Carson' (Guoxiang Yuan). Carson also won at least 2 prizes in the exhibitions for some amazing work using the laser engraving. Here are some images.
 The jpg image is loaded into the laser computer and re-sized then the piece of clothing or fabric is put onto the bed of the laser 'cubicle?'. In this picture the laser is engraving the jeans across both legs at once. It is removing the colour from the fibres rather than the top layer of fabric.
 Here is an example of a students laser engraved design.
Here I am with Carson in front of his winning work in the Energy Nexus exhibition. The paler areas are made with laser engraving. This method can be used to simulate worn areas on clothing such as jeans much quicker and without use of so much handling, water etc. Look out for Carson I am sure he is going to go far!

Another workshop I really enjoyed was with Michel Garcia. He teaches natural dyeing from a chemist's point of view. He explains why you need certain chemicals and uses non-toxic (often plant based) replacements for most of the dangerous chemicals used previously. I highly recommend his class to anyone who gets a chance to attend one of his classes on indigo or tannins.

I love the idea that I can make an indigo vat with indigo, fructose and lime. Or Indigo, natural henna and lime. Or even indigo, ripe bananas and lime.

Michel Garcia demonstrating how to make two different Indigo vats using henna powder in one and fructose in the other.

 Demonstrating the mixing of mordants which were then printed on white cotton cloth (see below)

Then over dyed with crushed, cooked pomegranate flesh and skins. Each mordant takes up the colour from the pomegranate differently. I will make a link to some websites for Michel Garcia's workshop when our internet is not as slow. I think the kids have pushed the broadband over the limit for today!

I also went to a demonstration/talk by Mr Hiroshi Murase,  about Persimmon juice which is used in Japan as a dye and is called kakishibu. It not only fixes to the fabric with no mordant but can also be used to waterproof things. It reacts to UV so instead of going paler in our high NZ UV, it would go darker. So if anyone in New Zealand - probably in the North - has a  source of green persimmons (maybe they fell off your tree in a storm) please let me know!

Lastly for the day - WOW is going to Hong Kong. A highlights show is going to the Hong Kong Arts festival. The posters were up in MTR stations.

Trip to Hong Kong retrospective...

I've just got back from Hong Kong and had to fly back via Bangkok which added on quite a few hours.  Hong Kong was fascinating and exciting. I've never been there before, my stopovers to Europe have always gone via Singapore before. I look forward to going back to Hong Kong some time but maybe avoiding the both European New Year and Chinese New Year as the accomodation prices skyrocket at those times. We ended up staying in a small apartment in an area called Mong Kok which is the most densely populated area on earth (or so I am told). I can well believe it as it was a struggle to walk back to our apartment at night through the crowds. We booked the apartment through WIMDU after finding all the hotels and hostels put their prices up 80% over New Year.

Hong Kong is a shoppers paradise especially if you are a size 8-10 and have small feet (which I don't). Fabric is very cheap and I bought mostly silk to keep the bag weight down. Silk organza was about NZ$7 a metre as opposed to $20 + in New Zealand. The area for fabric, sewing supplies and trims is Sham Shui Po. In the same area is Dragon shopping building which was great for shopping and had wonderful gibberish t-shirts for kids.

 On my first day in Hong Kong I was struck by the contrasts I saw in different areas of the city.
Down near the Star Ferry there are lots of very expensive shops, and this Christmas tree made of Fererro Rocher Chocolates. The attendants were replacing a few that must have been broken or eaten the night before.
Tiny old ladies pushing heavy carts along the roads on Hong Kong Island while fancy cars whizz by.
Snoopy bike leaning against a wooden carving made of what looks like a gnarled root.

Man Mo temple seen between older apartments with new apartments towering above.

In fact many of my photos over the 10 days were taken of apartment blocks.

At New Year we attended a banquet for the shibori symposium then watched fireworks from the roof of a large hotel. It was a good way of avoiding the huge crowds of people on the streets that night.

A few days later a group of Shibori Symposium people went on a boat trip around the harbour to see the nightly light show.
This was the best photo, most of the others look like I was a bit drunk but it was a sailing junk so I have an excuse :-)
Imagine the amount of electricity used in this nightly light show, not sure why I bother going around the house turning off lights each evening.
At the end of the symposium we went on a walking tour of an area of Hong Kong lsland. Hollywood Road and some of the market areas. The most interesting bit for me was the shops where they sold paper food and money to buy for the dead so they will have stuff in the afterlife. At least I think that is the story.
 Paper cakes
 paper seafood
 Paper gold bars
 Paper meals including tofu blocks
Paper ducks and chickens.
There were also paper Ipads, Ipods, cellphones, cars and much more. I did think about bringing back some paper Ipads for my sons but thought that would be a bit mean.

 Above - Chinese New Year decorations including Dragon Puppets as the new year will be the Year of the Dragon.
A market stall in 'Cat' Street which has many years of items piled on top of each other. Would make a good archeological dig.

The next post will have more about the Shibori symposium itself.