Artspiration

This is a post about two contemporary artists that I am currently totally loosing my shit over:

Peru born artist Ana Teresa Barboza and,  Melbourne based artist Lucas Grogan.

What I love about textile art is its ability to stop us in our tracks and look again at a work, considering not just the image but the materials, its construction, the labour involved, the way the work triggers associations in our minds. In my opinion, both Ana and Lucas incorporate textile and needlework into their practice in such a way that for me truly highlights the tantalising and sensual potential of textile art.

Ana Teresa Barboza

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Ana Teresa Barboza, who studies to be a painter, uses needle and thread as an invitation for audiences to engage with her works not just visually but using touch and memory and their imagination. Many of her works explore the body, femininity and domesticity as well as our relations with one another and with a fantastical imagining of the animal realm. I’m really inspired by the way she incorporates figures into her works alongside flora, fauna and patterns of colour and texture.

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Her bold use of colours, pattern and texture and the way she contrasts these against one another is so satisfying. Plus I love the playful way Ana incorporates her painting practice with her needlework in several of her body’s of work, such as these:

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Sophie in her Blog Le Fil Conducteur has written a great post including an interview with Ana in which she talks about how needlework is something she learned from her grandmother, you can check it out at: https://lefilconducteurinenglish.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/ana-teresa-barboza-gubo/ 

Some of Ana’s more recent work has involved taking inspiration from natural landscapes, plants and she has started to stitch onto photographs as well as canvas. You can take a look at some of this work on Sam’s post on the Textile Artist blog: http://www.textileartist.org/ana-teresa-barboza-handcraft-nature/ 

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Ana has got me very inspired to continue developing my own embroidery skills.

Lucas Grogan

Lucas lives and works in Melbourne and really likes the colour blue. Like a lot!
He works across a whole raft of mediums including quilting, embroidery and cross stitch and I just adore everything he does. His body of work is so vast that it is pretty overwhelming, but here is a bunch of his textile work for you to drool over…

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As you can see the way he incorporates text is really interesting and really compelling, for me they are little micro narratives, snippets into contemporary life, the thoughts that flash across our minds and then are gone – captured and memorialised in the use of this time consuming and thoughtful textile practice.

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So yea, inspired!

Image credits: Unless stated otherwise all images are from Ana’s Blog: http://anateresabarboza.blogspot.ch/ and from Lucas Grogan’s website: http://www.lucasgrogan.com/ – please go check out their sites and acknowledge them if you share these images ❤

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Momentary Vanishing

Okay – So, I took a month off after my confirmation presentation and went to the Gold Coast to spend some time with my partner and my family… and now there is a bit of a backlog of things to fill you in on, including:

  • How the exhibition at Emerald Community House’s PAVE art festival went
  • The final PhD confirmation report in full
  • A sneak peak of some of my most recent artworks
  • Upcoming projects with Igniting Change and Emerald Community House
  • Updates on artists and crafters who are inspiring me at the moment
  • Upcoming projects
  • Plus a bunch of thoughts about books I’ve been reading

In the coming weeks I will get to all the above, but for now let’s just focus on a bit of a show-and-tell about the opening of my exhibition at the Emerald PAVE Art Festival.

ECH-Echibition-OpeningAbove is a photo from the opening, you can see Mary Farrow pictured as she introduces our project. I would like to say a big thank you Mary Farrow and Noelene Blair from ECH – for all their generous support and encouragement during the development of this project and of course for having me at ECH. I’m really excited that we will be continuing the work we have started later in the year (more information on this will soon be anonouced).

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bruce Esplin (below) and his wonderful partner Roz for coming to officially open the exhibition and for your ongoing support of my artistic practice and my community resilience building work. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us through your unique and engaging brand of story telling at the opening. Your support is invaluable to me.

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Finally I would like to thank Katherine and Lisa who participated in the 8 week long workshops which I facilitated in Emerald and who made their own quilted hangings to exhibit as part of this exhibition. Ladies, it was a pleasure to get to know you and a real treat to see your textile works take shape week by week, keep it up! Here is a photo of what the full exhibition looked like in the space including the two works by Lisa (far left) and Katherine (third from the right).

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Below is the finished quilt I made as part of my 2 week residency at Emerald, titled “Resilience, Resistance and Responsibility” (made of new and recycled material, 2m x 2m, 2015). I officially gifted this artwork to Emerald Community House and the Emerald community at the opening of the exhibition, this way it will always hang in Emerald where it belongs and where it can function as a story telling device for passing on local knowledge about the people and events which inspired me to make it.

ECH-quilt-finishedBriefly, this work tells several stories about the resilience of the local Emerald community and its strength in advocating and preserving the things that are important to it; that is the natural and built environments that are unique to the area and which enable the community to come together and continue growing stronger. If you want to know more about the meaning behind this work you can read my previous posts about it.

tal by bruceThis is a photo Bruce took of me at the exhibition opening in front of my work… that should help you with picturing the scale of it! In summary, it was a fantastic day and I’m really humbled by the turn out we got. Lots of people came to look at the work over the week it was installed and gave lots of kind and interesting feedback to the team at ECH. Thanks everyone!

Anyway, that’s probably about enough for now… expect to hear more from me soon 🙂

Tal

ECH Residency day 7&8

Thursday and Friday were my last two days at Emerald Community House for the residency component of this project. They were quiet, sunny and warm and I was able to finish the quilt-top with time to spare. This is it:

2015/01/img_2644.jpg I worked in the Emerald Star Bush, the Helmeted honey eater, the orange bellied parrot and some bees into the borders of the hanging (the possum didn’t make it unfortunately – I tried a few different ways of doing him but he just looked like a giant mouse). Here are some close-up shots:
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The next step is to do the actual quilting bit, where you sandwich the quilt top and the backing with batting in the middle and sew it all together. I have finished off a quilt this size on my machine before, but I decided to pay someone with a ‘long-arm’ sewing machine to do it this time. I’m not sure if I’m going to like the results aesthetically as Kelly (the lady with the long-arm) is going to do a one colour thread ‘meandering’ pattern over the entire hanging… but its worth trying at least once and its saving me about three days of sewing at a time when I really need to focus on my upcoming confirmation. Hopefully it goes okay.

The second part of this project will begin in the first week of February when I start running an 8 week workshop series at Emerald Community House project. Hopefully around 5 people will sign up to participate, registrations are only opening now. The workshops are less me teaching how to make stuff (as I’m just learning) and more an opportunity/reason to get together and be crafty around a subject with an exhibition outcome. We will be working on individual, smaller sized wall hangings that will be exhibited as part of this year’s PAVE festival – a local art festival held in Emerald. The theme for this work will once again be resilience as that is the issue that Emerald Community House has identified as being of particular importance and it is also an area that I have some experitice in which is part of the reason I’m there in the first place.

These two different approaches (residency v. workshops) to working with a community around a specific theme are the beginnings of my practical/practice led PhD research. Essentially I am experimenting with different ways of engaging and interacting with community in order to explore what the practice of cloth-art can reveal about a specific site. What does the unique logic of this practice reveal about a community? what can be learned through this type of engagement? What is generated as a result of these experiences? How does engaging with community impact my practice? These are just some of the questions I am interested in unpacking as I go forward and do this type of work in different communities and contexts.

Thats all for now, I’ll put up a photo of the finished ECH wall hanging as soon as possible. I think I’m going to call it “Resilience, Resistance and Responsibility”…

When I Grow Up

Everyday I watch the news. Choking back tears. Staying informed. My faith in humanity hangs by a very fine thread. With this thread I try, in my own small way, to stitch the world back together. To mend the holes that hatred and ignorance have torn in the fabric of our society.

Luckily I am not alone.

Artists and crafts people all over the world are taking up needle & thread as a consious political act. Each prick of the fabric a provocation. Each thread a voice heard. Each stitch a proposal for change. Each knot binding us all together. This movement has reached a tipping point, it has momentum and its called ‘Craftivism‘.

This year writer and maker Betsy Greer published a book called “Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism” – an anthology that shares the work of some of the most inspiring and prolific craftivists from around the globe, in their own words. I read it in one sitting and I can finally, for the first time in my life, feel confident in answering that question adults torment us with from the time we can talk: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Answer: A Craftivist!

Now, before have the time to say that “being a craftivist is not a responsible, realistic or viable career choice” I want to take the opportunity to share a few of the gems that really caught my eye in Greer’s book, quotes which will surely be touchstones for me going forward with my artistic practice and in my PhD research on quilting as a socially engaged practice.

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“In Activism, we convince ourselves that our voice isn’t loud enough, our words aren’t important, no one will listen, people will judge… we do ourselves and others a disservice when we convince ourselves not to create and not to speak up. By holding back, we deny ourselves the opportunity to express something personal, absurd, funny, or moving. We deny others the opportunity to understand us better, to laugh, to be moved, to be inspired.” – Kim Werker

“All over the world, activists take a stand against moral injustice and social inadequacies. The very nature of fighting for justice can lead to aggression and tense situations, and artwork can bring powerful, positive messages to the community, but when craft gets involved, it seems to soften the blow so the message is both more heartfelt and quick-witted.” – Inga hamilton

“The very essence of craftivism lies in creating something that gets people to ask questions; we invite others to join a conversation about the social and political intent of our creations. Unlike more traditional forms of activism, which can be polarising, there is a back-and-forth in craftivism. As Craftivists, we foment dialogue and thus help the world become a better place, albeit on a smaller scale…” – Betsy Greer

“Traditional forms of political activism can be overwhelming, and for many people they’re simply not feasable. The fentility and familiarity of [craft] transforms political power into something more manageable.” – Jamie ‘Mr.X Stitch’ Chalmers

“Its the easiest thing in the world to create art that shocks, but [craftivism] tries to touch your heart.” – Inga Hamilton

“The gender bias [of craft] adds to its success as a political medium; one cannot help but feel kindness towards the [work], as though they had been created by a senior matriarch. Therefore, when the [work] contains a message of anger, activism, or social commentary, the impact is much greater than expected.” – Jamie ‘Mr.X Stitch’ Chalmers

“Whether expressed in craft or words, in art or on picket signs, our voice is the most powerful tool we have to effect change in ourselves and others.” – Kim Werker

“The creation of things by hand leads to a better understanding of democracy, because it reminds us that we have power.” – Betsy Greer

“…art and creativity keeps us all sane and humane. It is the most powerful tool we have to bring about positive change and social equality in society. I learned that facilitating creativity has the power to change the course of an individual’s life and massively improve their sense of worth within their own community.” – Carrie Reichardt

“Craft has the power to take down the walls we’ve spent our lives building between each other.” – Faythe Levine

“It’s amazing how together we feel when we let our guard down and talk about the struggles we have – because everyone has creative struggles, and these kinds of struggles aren’t very dissimilar to the struggles we feel when we consider speaking up about change in any area of life, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others.” – Kim Werker

“People who craft together manage to find common ground, even when it seems at first that they have nothing in common. They may come from different religions or be different ages, but crafting creates a shared dialogue between them.” – Leanne Prain

“crafters… reflect on the message they create, allowing the slowness and meditative processes of stitching to draw them into deeper contemplation of the content,” – Jamie ‘Mr.X Stitch’ Chalmers

“You are not going to take the time to stitch a text that you don’t believe in, and by stitiching it you really take ownership of the words you are creating in fabric.” – Sarah Corbett

“The fact that I make art means that I am changing the world. All of us are world changers in every little thing we do…” – Lauren O’Farrell

IMG_1215.JPG – This little guy is the work of Lauren O’Farrell, I adore him!

You can buy your very own copy of “Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism” HERE

Now get crafting!