Saturday, October 1, 2011

woolly exhibition

Last night was hanging for the joint exhibition "Past + Future" where I'm showing my textile/fibre art alongside my friend Lynn's gorgeous drawings on canvas. The exhibition is in a gallery called Momentum which is tucked away a bit on Church Street in Nelson. It's in Equilibrium which is a chiropractor, they also have yoga classes in the same space. Anyhow it's an amazing space, long with fresh white walls, polished concrete floors. Lynn hung her works on one side, and mine are on the other, which is a concrete wall, I think the woollen blankets work well against the industrial strength walls.

"Re-discovered" is the first piece, that is on the wall that you see when you first walk in. This is based on the actual map that Captain James Cook made of NZ in 1769, complete with errors! As my grandfather used to say "New Zealand was built on the back of the sheep", well I did it literally! It's hard to show the scale in the photo, but it is large, almost 2 metres wide. It was the first piece I ever did, needle felted wool onto the blanket, which I then made into a cloak for a wearable art costume, which won two awards!
This shows the other five pieces in the show.
 Here's "Clip Art" and "An Apple a Day" side by side. "Clip Art" was done in memory of my father who used to show sheep and would spend hours trimming them with a pair of hand shears. To dad a well presented ram was a piece of art! "An Apple a Day" is based on the signs that orchardists used to have when just about every orchardist used to sell fruit from the gate. So it's the older varieties from my childhood, I'm not that old but only two of these varieties are now grown commercially, Granny Smith and to a lesser extend Cox's Orange. An added twist is that it's an old hospital blanket that it's felted onto! All the blankets I use I've rescued from op shops, alot are in the "dog blanket" pile, so really were doomed, I love giving them a new lease of life and appreciate the holes and flaws for what they are.
Here's "Back to Home", "Lurking Discontent" and "Heather and Fern".
"Back to Home" is about emigration and playing on words that relate to it. I've been thinking alot about my ancestors that left the UK in the 1840-1880's and sailed away for 3-4 months to arrive in a "new" land. My great, great grandfather John Liddell Kelly was one such pioneer, and he was also a journalist and poet. I have a copy of the book of poems he published in 1902. "Lurking Discontent" is two lines from one of his sonnets;
"And yet I note, with lurking discontent;
The dark bush dwindles, the golden gorse spreads free."
How right he was, much of the native bush in NZ was felled or burnt to make way for farming, but the gorse brought by the settlers took hold and flourished and spread.  
"Heather and Fern" is his 'signature' poem, and is very moving. I've already posted here about this poem as used it in one of my art jars.

And here's Lynn and some of her lovely pieces, which are about emigration and belonging. She emigrated to NZ 6 years ago, and we met almost 2 years ago and hit it off straight away.

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