Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wellington Christmas

Hot weather

Christmas lights

Fake snow

The jelly melted

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

It is 7 minutes into Christmas day in New Zealand. It is very warm and it will probably be hard to sleep.
I hope everyone has a good Christmas and right now I envy anyone who is experiencing a white Christmas.

Here is a card from New Zealand.

Best wishes from New Zealand

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bitter Harvest dyeing

Last Thursday was the opening of 'Wind it Up' the Whitireia student exhibition. Here are some pictures of my pieces as the dye starts to travel through them. I really hated the lurid colour of the turquoise in the middle one so went back the next day and added extra dye to the cups which changed the turquoise to something less nasty.

The bowls at the bottom of the panels contain from left to right: Barley, Wheat and rice.
The barley and wheat are not human food grade and were sold as animal feed , anything not contaminated will be recycled as wheat bags or given to chickens. The rice was from a damaged bag begged from the supermarket. They were going to dump it in the skip. So I don't feel like I am depriving anyone of food. I am a bit worried that the smell of the grain might entice rats/mice/sparrows into the gallery though - so far its been OK.

 Day 2. I added extra dye to all the cups. The two on the left are made of pre-washed fabric. The one on the right is made of unwashed fabric.

At the opening of the exhibition there was a prize-giving. I was taking photos as 'official photographer' but had to have the camera taken off me when I won 'Best in Show' which was a big surprise.
I am in the centre, with the joint course coordinators, Chris White (left) and Deb Donnelly (right).

This is work by Kerry Reddy who was in my class. She is also a quilter, and there is an article about her solo exhibition work in the latest New Zealand Quilter magazine.

Below is a detail of work by Chloe Reweti. It consists of hundreds of laser cut screenprinted moths attached to wire stalks which are drilled into the wall. It is very time consuming to put together but very effective. It is on the feature wall of the exhibition at Pataka.

To see more of all the students work go to

Sunday, December 9, 2012


If anyone would like to see another example of vertical dyeing, my work will be on display at Pataka Museum in Porirua (New Zealand) from 14th December to 14th January 2013. The work will be dyed during the exhibition and the dye will follow seam lines into bowls on the floor. If you would like a preview of the whole group exhibition please go to this blog for 'Wind it Up' .

As my work is already showing on the group blog, I think I can safely show it here too.

The pieces are based on Korean Pojagi and the first two I made used up the scraps left over from the previous 'Watermark' exhibition.

 These are the three which will be in the exhibition. The dye follows the lines down into the bowls at the bottom which contain grain. Wheat, Barley and rice.

Here is my artist statement

Bitter Harvest
Clare Smith

Sometimes it is possible to forecast  fashion colours for the season ahead, from the colour of rivers seen on Google Earth.

This is a spare wallhanging that I made, I tested how the dye would run through it and it wouldn't be as effective as the three chosen so I will keep it to show separately.

I hope some of you will be able to see the exhibition while it is hanging, if not, I will put pictures on this blog after the dye starts to run.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sydney and Hobbitville

I've been back from Sydney for a week and haven't had a moment to write on the blog. The house seems full again with tall young men home from university and school. They have been for a catch up round of doctor appointments, opticians, etc and I'm making a vest/waistcoat for one to wear to a school formal. We've had to hire a 'tux' and I'm making the vest. Yesterday I spent rather too much time making welt pockets which were successful after I fixed them when the welts didn't meet in the middle. I could have left the welt pockets off but I was challenging myself. I felt that my year learning costume construction should be put to the test!

Next year I might be studying again. I have applied to do a Postgraduate Diploma next year at Massey University so some of this week has been preparing a portfolio. The course is billed as part time with block courses and late classes which have to fit in with people who are working. At the moment it looks like I won't be working next year , which is a shame as it would have helped to pay the fees.

Wellington is in the grip of Hobbit fever. My kids went to see the parade of people on the red carpet for the movie opening, but I was in Australia. However on the way back I noticed the bag collection area at the airport has become 'Bag End'. They have built up the centre between the conveyor belts and it looks like windows in the Hobbit village with the lights on. Very cosy looking.

Now I realise I should have taken a longer view of the whole set up so that it was easier to understand.
Here is a link to a website with a selection of photos of Wellington in full 'Middle of Middle Earth' mode.

Other than coming back to Hobbit mania, in Sydney I really enjoyed the lace exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. It is well worth seeing. The theme was lace but any media could be used from paper, steel and wire to video projection. I have been pondering whether the same could be done with quilting? Instead of specifying 'quilts should be made of two layers of fabric or fabric like materials' , the exhibits could just be an impression of a quilt in any media. I know that Quilt National has had some wood quilts in the past but most exhibitions do specify fabric somehow.

The lace exhibition talked about the importance of interconnections and how negative and positive space was just as important. With a quilt are we just talking about 'cosiness'?

Anyway, that is what I am thinking about at the moment.

I really took very few photos in Sydney but here are a couple of things that caught my eye.

I did a little shopping, walked through Newtown and Surrey Hills to look at the quirky shops. I enjoyed spending time in an anonymous room at the Travelodge where no-one asked me to take them anywhere in the car and I didn't have to cook meals.

I went to the Francis Bacon exhibition and was very taken with the photos of his incredibly messy studio. It makes my studio look incredibly tidy in comparison - I really must pick up all those pins that the cat knocked over by walking on the bookcase and finish off James' vest.