At the end of May 2013

May 29, 2013

This month started with a flight out of Brisbane and an arrival in Toronto, Canada where spring had not quite arrived. I had never been to Jette and Harry’s place outside Barrie at this time of year and it was a totally different visual: bare trees and I could see their house from the road. And then the next day, a hint of what was to come: this patch of yellow in a sea of grey bare trees.

 Not a leaf!

 A splash of yellow

The weekend was spent at the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Conference teaching. I have very fond memories of OHS as I have had a connection with them since the mid 1990’s with their home study program. It was great to catch up with friends and it was by all accounts a successful conference. I know I certainly enjoyed it. Here is a snapshot of three of some of the very diverse work covered in my East Meets West class.

On the way back to Jette’s place we stopped off in Toronto. No visit to Ontario is complete without a visit to the Textile Museum. There were two exhibitions on. Marimekko, with love “is a retrospective look at Finnish design company’s role in shaping a new aesthetic through printed pattern and textile production.” It was founded in 1951 by Armi and Viljo Ratia. The exhibition has fabrics, swatches, fashion and archival material.

Marimeko retrospective exhibition

Shine, is an exhibition drawn from the Textile Museum’s collection and curated by Natalia Nekrassova and Sarah Quinton. “For centuries, the light and lustre of materials have captivated cultures, artisans and artists, attributing to even simple objects an allure of beauty, power and opulence”. A wonderful collection of ethnic textiles formed the core of the exhibition.

Chinese textiles

And then there was green…and a week spent with Jette and Harry watching the amazing transformation.

A carpet of terrilium under a canopy of green.

Time out to visit McMichael and an exhibition Changing Hands: Art without Reservation 3. “contemporary and compelling, touring from New York- 130 mesmerising works ranging from intricate beadwork and video to sculpture and jewellery”. The work was all contemporary native North American art. My favourite piece was a large scale sculpture of fishing net hung in rows. It gave an interesting visual experience as you walked past. There were a number of pieces that really spoke. What a shame I can’t share any visuals. The exhibition is on till 2nd June.  But, I can share this amazing totem.  I just love the new age influences.

Totem in Foyer

Montreal and the Centre of Contemporary Textiles.   I spent the week working on some jacquard designs. I can’t speak highly enough of the help that was given to me during the week. Thank you Adrien and Lheila! It was a wonderful experience and I am absolutely delighted and excited with what I achieved.  This work will be shown as part of my solo exhibition in August. Here’s a hint of what I worked on.

 My first warp woven.

The Montreal experience wouldn’t be the same without charming streetscapes (I just have to walk back to the apartment in spite of the weather.) and the fresh food market round the corner. Here are some of my favourite things.

Early morning in the market

My favourite bread shop.

Montreal and it's staircases right on the footpath.

I was also fortunate to see an exhibition: Peru: Kingdom of the Sun and the Moon. It is on till 16 June at the Museum of Fine Arts

Inca feather weaving

Inca gold

Inca pottery

New York; there’s much to see and do. I met up with my friend Judith for this adventure.  Here are the top three highlights.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was visited twice. (I’m counting this destination as one highlight.) The first was to see two exhibitions: Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity and PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The former had large scale paintings of, in the main women, accompanied by actual garments from the era. In fact in a couple of instances, the dresses were those worn by the models in the paintings. It was delightful to be able to see in detail the fabrics and construction details. The punk exhibition I found rather frustrating. This exhibition seemed to be focused on the experience… the lighting effects just made examining fabrics and detail just too difficult. Unfortunately neither of these exhibitions allowed photography.

The second visit allowed me to find treasures in the collection. I revisited the medieval velvets in the European galleries. Some of these I had seen before while there were some new pieces.

FFlorence second half C16. Cut,uncut and voided velvet with metallic thread.

This time I discovered velvets and other textiles from Turkey and the Middle East….and pattern. MET:

Egypt C17-18. Silk doubleweave.

Turkey mid C16. silk, metallic wrapped thread, taquete.

Velvet, silk and metal wrapped thread Turkey C16

In Madison Square Park there was an installation by New York based artist Orly Genger. Red, Yellow and Blue has “1.4million feet of undulating, layered nautical rope covered in over 3,500 gallons of paint”. The rope had been collected from the Eastern seaboard and was knitted into long strips.

It seemed that I had come full circle when I came across the retail outlet for Marimekko. Here was the current work of the same designer whose retrospective work I saw in Toronto.

From New York to Atlanta and a visit with Judith at home. She took me to her delightful cabin in the woods. Some scenery:

Sunset across to the Appalachian Mts

White water rafting. This was the location used for the Atlanta Olympics.

And an afternoon making books.

Making books with Judith and Tricia.