Friday, November 25, 2016

Textile Commissions, earthquakes and travel

Its about 4 weeks since I got back to New Zealand from India. Its taken me a while to process everything and also to catch up on various projects which I couldn't work on while I was away.

Since I got back we have had a large earthquake. Our house has suffered a few cracks which weren't there before, and my husband has been working from home as his office is closed until they find new premises. The day after the earthquake we had heavy rain which followed a few weeks of steady rain. the ground was waterlogged and that meant we had water leaking through the back wall of our garage so we spent several hours sweeping water out of the garage and trying to get things dry. A lot of horrible fabric was thrown away that day. It was all stuff which should have been sorted and thrown away years ago.

It was lucky that we don't live near the coast of New Zealand. In what the newspapers called 'the perfect storm' we had a strong earthquake followed by heavy rain at the time of the Supermoon. There was a tsunami then high spring tides because of the supermoon and the heavy rain. No wonder the roads were flooded especially around the coasts and there were land slides, and fallen trees. Its taken a while to get back to normal, although there are still a lot of government and private buildings in Wellington closed due to earthquake damage. One of our friends has been evacuated from their apartment in central wellington and has been unable to get anything out of their home for nearly 2 weeks.

Bitter Harvest 3. This is a wallhanging currently hanging at Pataka. Water has been running down the front  from the cups to make the dye in the blue patches run. It looks quite blurry now.

This small quilt is travelling with the OzQuilt exhibition in Australia.

This life-size model of a weta (a New Zealand grasshopper)has been at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in London, Dublin and Harrogate this year with the BugLife exhibition curated by Ann Kelly.
Its not easy to make money as a textile artist in New Zealand. I am usually working on a lot of different things at once. As well as making quilts I also make their costumes, tech quilt making and surface design, do commissions and complete projects for people.
Before leaving for India I was making costumes for the show The Merry Widow almost up till the day I left. I still have a lot of the costumes in my garage , I brought them home to wash, and I haven't been able to take them back to the costume store because no one knows whether the building is safe. Luckily the costumes were up on a table or they would also be wet.

Most of the time I work from home and it can get a bit lonely. So I also do 'finishing' for a shop. People bring in their completed tapestries and I make them up into cushions. Sometimes I get to make up beautiful needle cases or quilt shop samples.  I get to have some social time with customers and staff at the shop and the bonus is that I get paid.

I have been working on several collage litter bins for a commission and I recently completed a Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt for an elderly lady who is in her 90's.
No sooner had I handed over the first quilt than I got another half finished hexagon quilt which is almost identical to the first one.
The Grandmothers Flower garden quilt top when it arrived

The quilt after I moved some of the rosettes around and turned it into a single bed sized quilt
Lastly, some pictures from India

Gorgeous step well near Jaipur

Woodblock printing at Anokhi Woodblock museum

Elephant near Jaipur

Traffic on the way back to Delhi

View from the hotel window in Delhi. Cows, ice-cream vendors, cars and chaos

Beautiful architecture in the Lodi Gardens, Delhi

Coloured chalk for making rangoli patterns for Diwali
India was inspiring as well as confronting. 2 days after I left, Delhi had some of the worst pollution days ever, caused by Diwali fireworks and farmers burning off stubble in the fields. Then the large bank notes 1000, and 500 rupee notes were withdrawn suddenly over night making it very hard for tourists and locals alike. At the end of my holiday I would have loved to have stayed in India for longer but now I am very glad I left when I did. Maybe I will get a chance to go again when things have settled down.

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