Oct 31, 2013

A Sassy Girl Collage.

At last I finished one of my collages, purposely made for one of my best friends. I put in lots of symbolism, as it was all about her. It was a very belated birthday present, and also a housewarming gift.

I found the quote on the web, and had to think of her. The quote inspired the rest of the collage.
 I use many magazine pictures for my collages, and alter, add and subtract at will.

There is the sassy girl, all confident and open, and being just how she should be.
She has wings to go, wherever she wants.
She wears an apron for practicality, and green for new beginnings. 
White innocence is still underneath, covered by the red of womanhood.
The cage lies discarded behind her, empty with the door shut. 
For the bird has flown. 
It sits atop the mirror tree of growth.
 I think they look at each other knowingly, so now and then.

I framed it as well, recycled of course.
With a lick of paint.
She really liked it!
New Zealand Kingfisher.

I heard this kingfisher one sunny morning. It was in the oak tree outside, I managed to snap its' picture before it zoomed off. All lemon-yellow fronted. It didn't turn around to show its' greeny-blue back unfortunately. 
Off to find someones' gold fish in their pond, a juicy big insect, or (I heard a neighbour report) to spear a fantail bird......! Horror!

Oct 29, 2013

Hobbit Teatime after Hard Tidying.

My hobbit cup.
My favourite afternoon tea cup was given to me by my Wellington daughter. It was made by the same pottery studio that provided the crockery for the Hobbit film. It is nice and chunky with a birds egg-speckle. And together with some home made cake, I feel very hobbit-like.

Studio all tidied up.
In the end it only took 2 of my holiday days to totally tidy up my studio. And everything was put away in the proper place too, downstairs in the storage room, and even that looks tidy; all boxes labelled on the shelves and tags hanging of zip storage bags.
Even my spinning wools and felting wools are separated.

The cutting table bared of mess.
Some of my tools and tool bags are quite retro. That is my parents' old bread box. Full of papers.
I also use quite a few old suitcases, and paste pretty papers onto large shoe boxes.

Painting station cleared for finishing work.
Fox in his box next to my table, he likes to be close. 
He is 17 years old and can get a bit confused sometimes.

Sunny corner in the new laundry.
In the mean time, my Love has finished the laundry and it is now fully operational.
It is very compact, and clean and practical.

The tub.
There is a small tub with a swivel tap, big enough to stand a bucket in.
It's all I need.

And I can close it off with 2 folding doors. These now have white frosted glass in them, so the light comes through but not the view of 2 big machines.
What a handy guy I have! Thanks Darling, you are the best!

Oct 25, 2013

Masks and Mess.

Wolf fingerpuppet.
Remember I told you I had performed the story of the Wolf and the three pigs with finger-puppets for the class a while ago? Well this was the wolf finger-puppet I needle-felted. He looks nicely wild with shaggy bits of gottland wool curls as his coat.
 Hungry eyes and a teeth-filled open snout. 
He'll huff and he'll puff!

My paintings for the school production masks.
Speaking of puppets, year 3 and 4 had to produce a variety show, and a Pinocchio readers theatre was chosen by our teacher for her group. That means that a bunch of kids are Pinocchio, and a bunch are Gepetto , with one of the bunch being the actor, while they all speak in unison.
The teacher was able to find some character faces for masks on the web, which needed modification, but I painted  6 of the characters masks ( incl. Jimeny Cricket, not shown). We copied them and glued them on to cardboard, they sat above the childrens' mouths, so that we could hear their voices. 
It went very well, they lasted 4 performances, produced very cheaply!
I am an awesome teacher aide!

All the magazines and books for ripping up.
You know how you see photos of these beautifully designed and decorated studios of multi talented artists? You even have whole magazines devoted to "studios" and "where women create".
It's very inspiring, and makes you drool at the mouth of course.
Then reality hits.
Do they actually get used?
Where are their piled up books, spare bits of paper, the dried up paint spills?
The coffee cup with half the contents, from last week?

My cutting and laying out table is somewhere under this.
The sewing project that utterly, I mean Utterly Flopped.
Left in a corner. Together with that basket of threads that just can't be classified and therefore has no real place.
Do they have a cat that might have pooped under the table?

My felting table...yeah,right!
And all those things that these artists had taken somewhere, perhaps to work on at Club, and coming home they "just for now" popped on to the table.
Did they find that the tube of glue had leaked and left a rock hard puddle on the cutting sheet?

And my painting station: un-usable.
Cause I have all that. 
It just happens.
By itself, honest.

Oct 22, 2013

Spinning in Springtime.

Sunshine on the table.
Not having a big budget for flowers, I often buy flowers from a roadside stall. $3 for a bunch of cheer is awesome, and these daffodils were often replaced in the early spring.

Breakfast table.
We are an old-fashioned family, we set the breakfast table the night before, and always eat at the table. Stops you from rushing with your food, and is a great slow start to the day.
I love creamy porridge with dried fruit in cold weather.

Last September I attended a Spinning Workshop in Woodville, a one and a half hours drive south from here. The tutor was Suzy Brown, a.k.a. Woolwench . She is an amazing art yarn spinner, who lives in The Netherlands. She is a kiwi however, from Hawkes' Bay, so kind of the opposite of me!

Suzy and Tracy have their thinking faces on...
The workshop was held in Tracy Whites' Studio and shop in Woodville. I learned at least 5 other spinning techniques and Suzy helped me with some trouble shooting of one of my yarns as well. It was lovely to meet her face to face, as we had already messaged each other through her blog.
 I had a go at a Majacraft prototype carder, that we had to test, as well as using a blending board for the first time.
One of my fellow students trying hard to not control the yarn.
Tracy had some delicious fibres for us to play with, and I brought some of my own as well.
Suzy made us spin our first crazy multi-fibre batt with our eyes closed! This was to stop us controlling the fibre going into the wheel, because when you have spun for a while, spinners' hands want to make the thread fine and even. Art yarn can be bulky and full of irregularities.
Of course some of the fibre got so bulky, it wouldn't go through the hole, and there was some swearing in the room! Unfortunately not everyone had a wheel that could accommodate bulky bits.
Thanks to my new flyer and large bobbins I was fine with that.
It was a really good exercise.

A fine combed merino and silk mixture from the blending board.
At home I spun up my fine combed merino and oodles of silk rolags from the blending board, I managed to make 3 of those rolags. The thread I made was fine and even, because I wanted it to go a long way. I could use it by itself or as a wrapping yarn or as a plying yarn.
Who knows.
I'll show the other yarns I made in another post soon.
My favourite elmtree .
I drive by this marvelous elmtree every day I go to work.
 It is massive!
And has the perfect shape.
Oh I love it!
Free free!
This winter an escaped cockateel has been circling our street. The neighbours across the street have 1 too, in a cage on their porch. They screeched to each other often and the free one would circle their house.
Until one afternoon the cage door came unstuck, and our neighbours' bird joined the free bird.
We haven't seen either of them since...

Oct 2, 2013

A Dainty Drawing with a Slightly Significant Connection.

Greetings by E.K.Robison.
A wee while ago I went op(portunity)-shopping, as I do.
That day I found sweet, lolly coloured items, in pinks, light blues and bright yellows.  A 70's bedsheet in pink pop-art flowers, I am sure you'll remember the kind!
 A vintage souvenir tablecloth from Australia, and an old tea-towel with yellow roses and smothered in a white crocheted edge.

Sweet thrifting finds!
Tiny childrens' books with animal pictures, an old print of a church, a chinese good luck rabbit, crumpled embroidered linen with little flowers.
A vintage japanese eggcup and tiny glass buttons in blue and white. 
And amongst all the 20cent junk in the bin that gets emptied each night into the rubbish skip, a sweet little drawing done in waterpaints and pencil. I thought it charming and instinctively pulled it out from amongst the plastic bowls, broken vases and ripped books.
I took the little treasures home and had a good look at them with a cup of tea.

I used to put my little girls' hair up like this too.
The little face was painted so simply, but very effectively. 
I could see the brushstrokes in the waterpaint.
There was a bit of dried up plastic sticky tape attaching the circular drawing to the bottom page. It had left a yucky bright red mark on the paper unfortunately. On the paper attached was written "Get Well Soon", the signature on the drawing was E.K. Robison 59. And on the back it said in the same handwriting: "original of one of my cards worked for reproduction E " I was getting curious. Cards? She/He produced greeting cards?
So I googled it. "postcards E.K.Robison". Hmmm can't find the name on the page, but I'm in the national library archives of NZ. Was the artist a NZer?
Just the name in google search then: right, some auction houses, an Australian art auction house has sold 8 works , there is 1 photo, and the painting is a similar style of a maori boy, also circular.
Well it is looking promising.
Another work is dated 1918. So the artist has been doing this for a while .

E.K.Robison signature.
I search for the name again in the National library of New Zealand.
It comes up under a heading of various artists collection: Robison, Edith Kathleen 1879-1986.
Aha, a lady artist and goodness me, she lived to the ripe old age of 107 years !
The heading underneath says:  Bendall, Edith Kathleen  1879-1986.
That must be the same lady, but perhaps her maiden name?
Yes, a description of the drawing in the collection follows and is credited to Robison, E.K.
I click on the names record.
A list of references comes up, also 3 mentioning Katherine Mansfield, one of NZ's most loved short story writers. I click on 1 of those, and I find out Mansfield wrote Miss Bendall a letter. It's in a collection in the national library. Cool.
 However this doesn't tell me more about the lady artist.

Her scribble on the back making me curious.
I go back to google search and find a mention of 2 more artworks in an exhibition write-up from 1908.
But no more photos, so I search google images 
Hmmm, that's a lot of pictures of Katherine Mansfield. Weird.
But that picture on the 3d row is not Katherine, maybe Edith?
I click and get to the wikipedia page of Francess Hodgkins, a prestigious and influential landscape and still life painter.
On the third paragraph it says -"among her pupils was Edith Kathleen Bendall, lover of Katherine Mansfield".

A sweet maori boy, sold at an auction.
 I don't know that much about Katherine Mansfield: wonderful NZ writer, had a tumultuous love life, lived overseas a lot, and died young from tuberculosis. I did know she was bi-sexual, it must have been difficult at the time when one was expected to marry and you couldn't even vote as a woman yet.
But now I am learning fast.

Photo from auction catalogue.
During my later detective work I have since found out, that they were involved during 1906-1908, when EKB (as Mansfield called her in her diaries) would have been 26 or 27 years old. Mrs. Edith Robison has never admitted there was a lesbian relationship between them, but they did have plans to produce childrens' books together, Edith doing the artwork and Katherine the storywriting. However this never came to pass.
Auction catalogue photo, by E.K.Robison
And I am sorry about that. Because looking at these gorgeous artworks (that I have found on the international art centre auction site) I am sure their books would have been a huge success.

I feel very lucky to have found this raggedy piece of paper with that sweet dainty drawing on it.
I will find a frame for it, for it is my little connection to New Zealand Art History.
And I just managed to save it from the rubbish bin, for the price of 20 cents!
Auction catalogue photo, by E.K. Robison.