Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Foaming Nanas

It will be no great surprise to many of you that Nana and I have become very close over the last year. Very close indeed. Something which has meant that she has really been able to open up to me, and visa versa.

In one of our recent conversations she mentioned a very personal problem she has been experiencing. It concerns her trademark glasses.

They have begun to foam. Yes, foam.
You can see the transition from the mid to late stages as the virus makes it increasingly difficult for Nana to see. The ravages of this illness are set to take their toll on Nana, who has sold more records than Celine Dion and Madonna combined, but we pray that it will not affect her forthcoming show at London's Royal Albert Hall.

We cannot explain why it has been happening and it is something that has Europe's finest pathologists baffled and scared. Could we be experiencing the beginnings new viral pandemic? Fortunately it has not jumped from Nana into the general population but as we know, with viruses it is only a matter of time before the mutations cause this devastating leap to occur.Seriously though, before you make the switch to contact lenses, these new works do come with a warning for members of the Nana Mouskouri fanclub: MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NANA. They are made from old vinyl records and were a few experiements from my NANA range of pins that got a little overcooked. Recycled for the Fabulous Foam exhibition. Each has a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist herself.

Fabulous Foam

Have you ever noticed how the invitations for shows I'm in all seem the same? Well the reason for this is that I design the damn things for free! And the reason they look the same is that I have no graphic design training and only a small box of tricks in my photoshop repertoire! But as we are often reminded by our arts organisations, beggars can't be chosers so I get stuck with me!

This show, Fabulous Foam organised by Dan Cox opens next friday and I originally wasn't going to be able to put work in - running out of time etc. However, I made a supremo effort and have some truly special pieces for it. Rules are that it has to consist of 80% foam. Yay!



May 4th - May 30th 2007

Brisbane Square Library
Brisbane Square
(Opposite the Treasury Casino)

Opening: Friday 4th May 5pm - 6:30pm
phone: 07 3403 4166 email:

Miriam Carter Dan Cox Renee Dillon Branka Doncevska
Clare Dyer Kylie Gartside Elizabeth Gray Hannah Kelly
Kath Kerswell Bibi Locke Sue Preston Elizabeth Shaw
Joan Teo Rebecca Ward Patsie Wishart Susie Woodhouse

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mr Mcleod's Lucky Strike

Above: David Mcleod's Matchstick Brooches- st silver and red gold

At this end of this week I’ll be winging across the Tasman to find out what has been happening since I was there last in 2003. I intend to construct extra large pockets in all of mine and Mr Accordian’s clothing to maximise pebble collecting capacity!

I will also catch up with David Mcleod, Dunedin jeweller and sculptor who I did a mentorship and residency with. His beautiful stone, bone and shell work with Japanese alloys drew me at the Jewellers and Metalsmiths conference in 2000 and I was lucky to be able to work with him for the 3month mentorship and afterwards in his collective studio, SHED. I’m looking forward to hearing about a new 3d gallery in the pipeline that he is involved with and seeing he new directions in his practice.

David’s latest work uses matchsticks as concept and material - matches can be interpreted in all sorts of different ways. As shorthand symbols of transience, survival, safety/danger, warmth, light and sustenance. Destruction and a chaos; disposable, stored energy. He has remade matches in sterling silver and red gold (above) as well as many other materials and also used the burnt matches themselves:The piece that inspired the collection was a paua shell inlaid box made from matchsticks – I suspect he picked it up in one of his favourite second-hand shop haunts. David is one of those people who cannot walk past a secondhand shop without stopping for a look-see.

Matchstick crafted objects remind me of prison art. Constructed by desperate men with time on their hands for repetitive, tiny work that is not highly valued by society, though gaining recognition by collectors under the banner of Tramp Art. I appreciate the wrecking aspect – the pointless and nihilistic activity of going through matchbox after matchbox lighting and discarding matches. Then the rebuilding into decorative objects expressing some scaled-down emotion - hope cloaked irony? Maybe part of a deeper need just to create and build that comes out in odd ways when suppressed. Tinderbox was an apt name for the show he presented last year at Quoil Gallery.

The ownership of materials, native to New Zealand and introduced through colonisation and their adoption by different cultures is explored in the flag-like brooches. It picks up on a theme resonant in NZ contemporary art here as in Ralph Hotere’s work exploring the British Union Jack flag that we cannot seem to move past in post-colonial Down Under.

As a gift, I can imagine these matchstick brooches ($75AUD) will be ideal markers for women or men (yes boys, these would look great on a lapel) celebrating significant birthdays and events and am already taking orders for them from Brisbane friends! I wonder if he sells them in matchboxes. I cannot wait to see one close up so I can find out what tricky hinge and catch mechanism he has worked out! And I want to team one up with one of my Flatliner firemen pins!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Save the Wayneforest

It seems that global warming means that more than our effluent lifestyle is under threat. One of our most fragile and rare ecosystems is endangered: the Wayneforest. Deep inside this unique habitat you will hear the wheezing of accoridan alternating with the sound of one hand clapping as the Wayne switches between music practice and deep meditation. Current drought conditions have caused leafdrop and insect attack in the Wayne habitat and this (below) may soon be what I see when I look out the back window: Where is Wayne? I can't even find Wally.
The solution?
Effluent. We need your pee.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lepidoptera Week

I thought I would join Shannon Garson on her Lepidoptera week celebrating butterflies and moths.

As I had spent most of the weekend trying to eradicate the moths that had been steadily chomping through my woollen jumpers over the summer, I felt I owed it to the furry menaces to write something positive. And it is not the moths themselves that eat your clothes - most moths barely eat at all and some don't even have mouths and digestive systems. The moths exist for one reason only- to reproduce and it is their 100s and 1000s of offspring that do the damage.

I am fascinated by casemoths and have based some jewellery designs on them in the silver earrings and glass shard necklace you see above. These are the little agoraphobic grubs that build their homes out of twigs, lint or whatever comes to hand. If you find them in the garden they may look like a bundle of twigs which suddenly comes to life as the grub inches along only poking its head out when it finds something juicy to eat. They always have perfect camouflage as they make their cocoon homes out of whatever is in their immediate environment. I found the one above on my mailbox. The silly thing was no longer camouflaged and had been eaten out by ants. It really should have used junkmail for its cocoon.

A friend told me a wonderful story about casemoths. She used to keep peacocks and had a large box full of their beautiful tail feathers stored under her house for some time. After she had liberated the peacocks (that is another story), she went foraging for the feathers as she rather missed the noisy, smelly birds. All that remained were the stalks of the feathers and hundreds of beautiful jewelled casemoths what had made their cocoons out of the feathers!

Another example of these resourceful creatures is a casemoth found in a bushire devastated forest that another friend presented to me. The little grub had no sticks or leaves to make its cocoon out making do with little bits of charcoal so that it resembled a victorian mourning jewel made out of shiny jet.

The behaviour of casemoths which hide and protect their vulnerable bodies is rather like the way we wear clothes. Only the bravest or stupidest of us shed the cocoon and run around in the open drawing attention to our predators! I cannot think of any other creature that makes a structure to walk around in and protect their soft grublike bodies. Come to think of it, I think casemoths might be our closet cousins so we really should stop killing them and learn to share our clothes nicely!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Possum goes beserk and destroys eggcup collection

A deranged possum destroyed my egg cup collection, delivering a blow to ceramicists worldwide. The nasty egg-stealing home invader made short work of the cups that had taken years to collect from auction houses and dealers.

Though I have to admit it is giving me some new wrecking ideas.

Foxy loxy is now guarding the survivors from indigenous wildlife attack.

Mangrove monday

I finally joined Shula in her Mosaic Monday.
Photos from my flickr favourites, credited below: