Monday, September 17, 2012

Google Earth art

I have 6 weeks to come up with a second 'body of work' (i.e not just one piece) on my theme of water pollution, for the end of year show which is a group exhibition at Pataka in Porirua.

I've been so busy writing essays that I haven't had a chance to think of what to make but today is the day for brainstorming and making some samples - which i have to show on Friday.

In the meantime I am getting distracted by pictures.

The Yangtse river in China has been running red this week. Apparently it often has an orange or brown silty colour but this is a much more unnatural red. Check out the pictures in the Telegraph and BusinessWeek

There is speculation that it could be illegal dumping of dyes, some say it is just natural rusty water from iron ore and some think it might have something to do with the major earthquakes that happened just before. No one seems to know whether this is a natural phenomena or something synthetic but I'm glad I don't have to drink the water or eat the fish. This article in the Huffington Post is sensible.

Now I am getting further distracted by art which uses Google maps. This website by Jenny Odell led me to the carved books of Guy Laramee.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The departmental phonebox

Now that Whitireia Polytech has fancy phones linked to computers, the art department is a bit short of phones. I suppose everyone has cellphones these days.

We did a class with Gabby O'Connor. Have a look at her website, she does big sculptures with tissue paper.
The brief was to interfere with a space by making an installation, we had about 2 hours. Our group made a phone box.

I might have to go and take some more photos today as these don't really show the shape very well. It is a red wool old fashioned English phonebox with cone phone and vandalised phone books.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trip to Christchurch

I visited Christchurch over the weekend. My son went down to look around the university as he is interested in studying engineering there. It was the first time I had been there since before the September Earthquake in 2010. It is over 2 years since the first earthquake and the rest of New Zealand doesn't hear much about what is going on in Christchurch unless something big happens like another after shock or demolition of a big office bock using explosives. It was a real eye opener to see what Christchurch people are putting up with; the dreadful potholed and lumpy roads, broken bridges, shops inside shipping containers, huge areas of rubble and lots and lots of vacant land where shops used to be. I got very disorientated and couldn't work out where I was as all the landmarks I knew from previous visits were gone or blocked off by wire fences. I was amazed that the roof and ceiling of  Knox Church is still there, you can see right through. The people I was visiting try to avoid the centre of the city as much as possible so hadn't seen how much it had changed since they were last there. There are road cones and piles of bricks everywhere. Here are just a few of the photos I took.

 This bridge has been squeezed in the middle

 Knox Church

The picture above is the house next to where my husband's grandparents lived. Looks like the chimney fell off.

I was sent the link to this video by Dave from Christchurch. It is called 'There's a fraction Liquifaction'


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kete show dye 'event'

Here are pictures of the latest vertical dyeing 'event'. It definitely got a lot of attention. It was hard to take photos as there were always people in the way so some of them are from odd angles.

The above photo is my favourite. I love it that  the guy is looking the the other way!

I got some really good feedback from all sorts of people including some gallery owners and craft collectors. Although most people didn't know what it was about as there were no artist statements.

Here is my latest stab at an artist statement for the Watermark panels.

Spring 2013

Cotton fabric and thread
Hand-guided machine applique and embroidery
Fabric Dye

Size 220cm X 150cm

My work investigates the relationship between commerce, the environment and the damaging effects of ‘the race to the bottom’, where the consumer and importer demand the lowest price and the manufacturer is forced to cut corners to secure a profit.

Water treatment is expensive and rivers in textile manufacturing countries,  run blue or pink or turquoise with waste-water run-off from the textile industry. The dyes are so strong that it is possible to predict fashionable colours for the seasons ahead by looking at Googlearth. As consumers, how much responsibility do we have for environmental destruction in a far off land, ‘out of sight, out of mind’? Do we have any right to even comment when our own rivers are polluted with invisible contaminants; fertilisers and bacteria from farms and heavy metals as run-off from roads?


The hardest part is moving on. Now the work for this show is done, I need to start thinking about what I do next. We have a group show at the end of the year with approximately 1.5 m each so not much space. I don't think I am going to come up with a new idea before then so will see whether I can come up with a variation. All ideas gratefully received!

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Watermark wall-hanging

I've just spent the weekend making a 6th wall-hanging to be 'vertica0lly dyed'  this weekend at a show called Kete. It is on Friday 7th  - Sunday 9th September at The Academy of Finearts in Wellington. I finally found time to make it over the weekend after getting all the other essays, presentations etc out of the way.

There are also talks over the weekend. If you go to the website you can see who is on

The latest wallhanging is the flattest yet. All the others had to be tweaked while they were hanging to try and get them to hang straight without wavy edges. This latest one is pretty flat (at the moment). Hopefully it will hang nicely in the gallery but a lot depends on humidity. Does anyone else find their quilts curl up at the bottom when hung in a gallery?

After this show, I need to start working out what I will make for the end of year show. At the moment I have very little idea what I will be making as I haven't had time to think, I just need some down time!
 I took this shot of the new wallhanging on the lounge floor on top of a grey blanket. I haven't got time to take before and after photos with special lights or anything so this maybe the only before shot I get.

It is similar to one of the ones i made for my last show but I have altered the outside border to make it more like the willow pattern plate. I think when the dye runs through it it will drip very nicely from the wider border.

I won't be able to fill the dye cups all weekend so it will run during the opening and then be allowed to dry. I'm down in Christchurch all weekend but will get back just in time to take it down on Sunday evening so it will be much less 'hands on' than my solo exhibition.