Wednesday, April 1, 2009

collections and treasures ...

i heart ... collections and treasures
What is it that compels us to pick up that piece of glass sanded smooth and tossed ashore, to put it in our pocket and bring it home? Obsessive compulsive behaviour can be a disorder in some and a strength in others. I believe creative people almost need to be compulsive and obsessive - to get through the mundane bits and be driven towards the end result. I cannot without great difficulty walk past a secondhand shop, garage sale (yard sale for Americans), or fleamarket without having a scout around. Even worse, to have no money or little time where treasure abounds. That's what I love about the beach, my treasures are free, abundant and always, there's an element of surprsie - like my button collection that has come from the sea alone. I have over a hundred buttons, beads and oddities that have come from the sea.
Imagine my pleasure when a friend rang this weekend and told me she had an old printers tray that needed a home ... could I find a use for it perhaps? Could I! I have always loved anything with little compartments, little secrets, cubbyholes, drawers, small places for little things. And now I have one. Lucky me. It came with a piece of sea glass shaped like a heart, for this person knows of my little heart stone collection. And a vintage crochet lace collar - for a textile girl like me, it was really precious.
a 'treasures' box for me
i heart sea glass
A quick trip to Trash Palace last week rendered some old vintage embroidered cloths and doileys plus nearly two dozen vintage wooden hangers, a handwoven fan from the islands and this neat cane basket. Cost: $5 total.
trash treasures
What I am reading at the moment ...
Friend who brought me a printers tray also suggested I have a look at this artists work. India also refers to her work over at her blog. As I looked through this catalogue (printed by Wellington City Gallery in conjunction with an exhibition a few years ago) my heart leapt. It appears to me that Ms Gascoigne was an artist who loved to use things she found and collected. Worn, overlooked, everyday things ... her work is exciting because it is instantly familiar and evocative. We know these things, we live with them everyday, and yet she has taken them out of context and made such beautiful works with them. I would love an iron curtain and I'm sure I could find some old rusty nails at Trash.
a collection of nails
A corrugated curtain
a few wooden crates
a few road signs
white corrugated sheets of iron
enamel ware, rusted and worn
What else am I reading?
It's funny, but I purchased this book (to cheer me up) from Minerva last week because it features a few of my favourite craft-based artists who are all collectors at heart. Check out some of the collections and other eye-candy. If this is your thing, collecting and artmaking from collecting, then I highly recommend this book. It's awesome. Lynne has done a great job and gathered some wonderful artists in it. I could think of a few more (including Robyn from South Africa) that would make a great second edition, and I would've loved to have seen more studio and home photos, because often our personal environments reflect what we love too.
"Art Making: Collections and Obsessions"
by Lynne Perella

A printers tray filleed with stones, nests, balls of thread, etc ...
a gorgeous display of someone's treasures and finds...

A basket of lace, trims, threads, linens and a tiny wooden hand - be still my heart!
A rather poor photo of an antique French wedding dress saved and adored just because.
Another little dress with memorabilia.
(I have a thing for little baby dresses at the moment).
Gail Reike - google her and check out her amazing studio full of collections and amazing display ideas including a wall of cubby's filled with vintage leather suitcases, each containing travel journals and handmade books.
Gail's interesting drawer ...
Tiny cardboard boxes housing treasures.
Handmade books by beloved artist Nina Bagley
Nina's heart stones
Seeing one of my favourite artists, blogger and now friend was so exciting. I keep encouraging Nina to write a book but then I have echoes like that all around me too, and like me, I have a feeling that blogging is our main written form of expression for now. We were to meet last year but complications with my pregnancy coincided with her visit to Aotearoa. So for now, it is email and blogs. She has a generous soul and has inspired and encouraged me from afar. She's like that with lots of people. Her section is called "Follow Your Heart" and it's apt we have become friends, because that is exactly how I live my life, as best as I can, following my heart and teaching my kids to follow theirs. Some call me a dreamer, and I am. It's a wonderful thing to be a dreamer.
"Follow Your Heart - Nina Bagley"
Ahipara Girl's random bits and pieces ...
My house is full of odd things. Nothing makes sense really, it's all kind of random. Little girls (and big ones too) are oft found gazing and stroking strands of beads and felted stones in my bedroom. I love surrounding myself with beautiful ornamental things - all precious to me. I just wish I had more room. It's interesting being the only girl with four guys - I have to make my girly-spots between playstation, big screen tv, giant couches, spiderman and batman toys, computers, musical instruments etc. I can achieve it and to be fair, the boys just aren't interested in buttons and lace, although they are aware that it makes me happy. que sara ...

Dressing table treasures ...
Pink haired dolly waiting for Phoenix on a pile of things behind my bedroom door
My precious little dress from India Flint ...
dyed, stitched and beautiful.
One of my favourite pieces.
My cloth, home from the art gallery and back on my wall to stay.
"on the mend"
silk, cotton, wool (repurposed)
natural dyes, felt, stitch

What I am making right now ...
I have been busying myself stitching while I am immobile. My husband is still home caring for my son and I. Some days I cannot walk without great difficulty - I get both good and bad days. Just very thankful for a husband who cares and is not bothered by little things. Here are some things I have been working on. With Pacific Island bark cloth in mind, I have been playing with motifs and some of my dyed sample cloths. Here are my results thus far. Excuse the poor photos, I am lying down and this particular cloth is quite long ...
wool, repurposed cloth, silk, old wool blankets,
bone buttons, mother of pearl buttons
felted, natural dyes, hand-stitched, applique.

details of "X"

harakeke print
A piece old wool blanket with print of flax / harakeke stalk

- gift from Imbi at Summer School 09 .
Hand-stitched onto dyed vintage cloth from
Asia Gallery and blankets dyed in harakeke and iron dye bath.
Thread: 30/70% silk/cotton
I am trying to teach myself how to write in stitch and get some of my poetry onto cloth but I am failing miserably: one, it takes too long, and two, it looks crap. So I am almost at the point of just grabbing a pen and writing straight onto the cloth. Any ideas anybody?
Here is my second cloth. It's called "Rainmaker" but has halted until I can work out how to write in stitch or something. Still I like the 'x's' and the shiny pearl buttons. I like "x's". To me they symbolise so many things - our freedom to make our own choices in life, and the cross that Jesus died on are some of them.
Did you know that the Treaty of Waitangi which is the founding document of race relations between Maori and the English settlers was signed in many places with an "x" as Maori did not have a written language (I think, but don't quote me on that).
silk, mother of pearl buttons.
natural dye, hand-stitched

My favourite treasures are ...
I have been so blessed to spend time with these two guys especially. Not being able to care for my children, my home and my family has been a very frustrating experience. I seriously would've lost my mind had Richard not been so supportive. Not easy, his job is important and he has had three weeks off, not counting all the days I was sick during pregnancy and then my post-birth complications. Today he cleaned the loo and bathroom, the kitchen, rearranged my litttle space where I am holed up and bought me flowers, plus went and sang at a church meeting. He cooked tea, sorted the kids out this morning and got them off to school, made me cups of tea, and sat and listened to my very important conversations, bought Marcus lollies and a drink after school, took me to the Physiotherapists, waited an hour in the carpark with two kids, went shopping for groceries after church meeting, helped me shower and dress, did laundry. And that was just today. And I probably forgot some stuff. He is my rock. We pray together, we laugh together, we offend each other and we forgive each other. This situation we find ourselves in is growing us even closer together. I am so grateful for that. And we get to do it with the cutest baby and bestest big boys in the world. So here is my little photo tribute to an amazing man, well two of them actually. One is just three months old.
Dad and our adorable Knuckles.
A cute hat made by Cleo and check out those shoes!
A smile for me
Knuckles shoes, made by ME!
One of the many cool things about wee babes ...
dressing them in cutes-y hats like this one with ...
teddy ears
And this photo had us in fits ... I couldn't have said it better myself.
"Enough already!"
I hope you are all well. Sending warm love and wishes to Chrissy, and Katrina from our home to yours. Betty-Ann, your generosity and friendship is appreciated, valued and noted. And my South African friend Robyn, who inspires me with both her work and her life - you have been in my thoughts and prayers. India, take care and loving your adventures. Your itinerary gets longer each time I visit your blog. Imbi, you are too cute for words. Congrats on the exhibition. Mum, looking forward with all the joy and glee I possess to you and Dad's visit next week. I am praying for my miracle. Legs to walk so we can have some adventures. Happy days all.
Big love,
... that girl from Ahipara.