where have I been?

I haven’t been anywhere . . . I was here all the time, sometimes working and sometimes just lolling around, however a lot has happened.

I’ve made lots of seed pods . . . a metaphor for a promise.  There are many promises made, some kept, some not.  Some promises are made unconditionally, others have strings attached or their fullfilment withheld for various reasons.

A Fragile Promise. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Fragile Promise.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Apart from making some the seed pods, I have had some minor surgery on my nose and acquired a puppy and she’s unbearably cute.  Here’s the puppy, but I’ll spare you the nose.

Meet Uschi.  She would much rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn't always possible so in from of the fire with a soft tow will just have to do.

Meet Uschi. She would rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn’t always possible so in front of the fire with a soft toy will just have to do.  Right now she’s curled up on my lap, exhausted from her second walk on the beach where she discovered just how interesting rabbit droppings are.

That’s it for now . . . I’ll try to post more often now that things are returning to normal but you know me, it may or may not happen so it’s best to subscribe for updates.

is it beginning . . . or not?

This Diploma of Art and Creativity I’ve enrolled in, the package for distance students arrived and I avidly went through book that accompanies the DVDs.   To my dismay there was little there I wanted to do, I’m not really interested in drawing or painting people, landscape, or a still life and these aspects feature heavily.  Please don’t misunderstand me, this is not a criticism of the institution and the quality of the materials is great . . .  it has nothing to do with that . . . it is their relevance to me.  I’m a maker with a primary interest in textiles, a mixed-media person who enjoys exploring the qualities of a material (even paint however I’m not particularly interested in creating representational paintings)  Perhaps I should have known better after I left the end-of-year exhibition underwhelmed and disappointed that there was little that interested or intrigued me.   Some lovely artwork but the only textile in sight was a piece of hessian stapled in folds, ‘last minute’ to quote the artist, to a wall as an exploration of the fabric’s qualities and that type of installation art just, well it does nothing for me and has little to do with textiles although that was indeed the medium.

There were plenty of forms to fill in and I do hate forms, and, horror of horrors, a questionnaire.  I loathe and despise and will resist filling in questionnaires to my last breath.  Fill your life in on this form, put yourself in a box on this questionnaire  . . . no thanks!   So much rebelliousness has surfaced, it’s never far below, and I’ve once again had to stop and look at the driver.  I’m the driver, never the passenger, in my life so I need to look at this rebellion surging up with objectivity and talk it through with a friend . . . who fortunately for me rang when she read my mini-rant of an email.  In this instance my Inner Rebel has an investment in the things as they are.  The Inner Rebel is emotional while the Questioner is objective . . . and I wonder and question a lot!

Now I need to say at the outset that there is no compulsion to use any of the resources I have been sent on DVD and in the supporting book.  I can work independently, set my own goals, do the work, record my hours, keep a visual diary or workbook, work through the creative process and send it all to my mentor who will do what good mentors should do . . . give me constructive and supportive feedback based on my goals (which he might have helped me formulate), maybe challenge me, offer some guidance.  I’ll need to be accountable for putting in the hours, conducting my own research and arranging and any tuition I might need.

Giving that I will be finding instruction elsewhere, books, courses etc., and the word ‘textiles’ does not feature anywhere in the literature, my question is, is access to a mentor all I’m going to gain from this?  It’s not entirely about the money however the fees do represent a return flight to Europe!  From New Zealand!  The longest distance possible!

Or I need an accountability partner?   Someone who has the similar needs, form a reciprocal  relationship where we make goals, work to meet them and then report back . . . we’d give each other constructive and supportive feedback, maybe challenge each other, offer some guidance.  Hey!  Did that sound familiar?

I will have 8 days to become convinced that this Diploma is good value and right for me.

A little something I've been playing with . . . local stone, harakeke/flax, pearls and silver crimps. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A little something I’ve been playing with . . . local stone, harakeke/flax, pearls and silver crimps.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

 

a change of direction

I’ve tidied away the paints and I can see flat surfaces.  Now it’s time to get back to this . . .

9 in 9 Wendy @ Late Start Studio

9 in 9
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Which led to this and then . . . stopped.  Or maybe some of this although it’s too windy to harvest today.

Harvesting harakeke/flax. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Harvesting harakeke/flax.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I need to use my hands again rather than brushes . . . to get in close contact with the materials.

a shift in the wind . . . and a giveaway

At one time I earned a living working with cloth but it was work and not love although the reason for doing it was love . . . now I’m returning to it, slowly.  I can still make things to sell but it’s ‘work’ and not so much pleasure as satisfying seeing the results.  There’s a shift in the wind though and I think it’s taking me to places I have only sighted, landed lightly and not explored . . . in my mid 60s this is exciting.  Jude Hill‘s recording on Small Journeys is an echo of how I am thinking . . . something new, or master one thing I do now . . . I think I’m about to be blown off on a tangent.

I should be content dabbling in all the crafts that give me some satisfaction but I want something more and I think it’s excellence or perhaps a way of drawing everything in together.  Rather than being, as I was labelled when a child, a ‘Jack of all things, master on none’ I want to master something . . . but I have no idea what.   There is a rant in that ‘Jack . . .” phrase but I’ll save it for another time.

Last weekend was the last big workshop for the raranga/weaving course I attended.   It was a wonderful experience that has left me with stronger hands, new skills and new friends.  Wednesday night is the Christmas Cottage sale at my grandhearts’ school that I’ve prepared for (still preparing for) and then . . . what next?

My question is, how do I bring everything together?  How to I muck around to my heart’s content and tie it up into a package . . . yes, it’s true, I want to be appreciated as an artist and not just a clever creative woman to seems to be able to do pretty much anything but is sometimes overwhelmed by variety that she can’t make a choice and just get started.

I just noticed that this is my 100th post so I will give away one of my kete to someone with a thoughtful response . . . this one I think . . .

Dyed harakeke container with dyed dry flowers and beads. 16 x 19 cms

Dyed harakeke container with dyed dry flowers, silver crimps and beads. 16 x 19 cms

A decision will be made on Sunday (NZ time).  I have already successfully sent one overseas (USA) and there didn’t seem to be any problem with customs as everything has been processed in some way and I’m sure I can package it so it doesn’t get crushed.

but is it art?

Hanna Andersson’s blog iHanna is one I enjoy dropping in on and today she asked the question “What is art and who has the right to call themselves an art?”  I think the questions “Is what I create art?” and “Can I call myself an artist?” occur to most of us at some stage.

Recently someone has called what I do “your crafts” and another referred to “your art” and I guess they’re both right in some respects.  When I was buying some art supplies at a big stationery shop I was asked if I was an artist and I said I was just to try the label out for size and for me, I don’t think it fits yet. If someone else considers my work art, fine and I’ll happily accept it but really, what I do is just muck around with art supplies (and other bits and pieces) because I can’t not . . . it’s in the blood.

If I know what I do is rather mediocre compared to what I envisaged or some (achievable) pinnacle to which I aspire, it’s mucking around . . . but sometimes, just sometimes, I am well pleased. So I’ll continue with the crafts and create a little art from time to time as well but as for calling myself an artist? I’ll leave that to others and continue to be gainfully unemployed and make lovely things. Like this wee gem.

I am well pleased . . .  even though my perfectionist self is saying "Damn, why didn't I notive I hadn't done it up straight!"  Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?

I am well pleased . . . even though my perfectionist self is saying “Damn, why didn’t I notive I hadn’t done it up straight!” Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?  Made from harakeke/flax, dextrals dyed two tone turquoise and green, driftwood closure, 12 x 14 cms or approximately 4.5 x 6 inches.

time is of the essence

This morning I was reading a post on Diana Trout’s blog about Golden sending her nine of their new QoR watercolors.  She also talks about her recovery from her first eye surgery . . . it must be a very fraught time for an artist!

Any way, I started rabbiting on in the comments that I’d like Golden to send some paints to me as well but a little voice says “Don’t you think you should use some of the paint you have first?” And I agree, but I can’t sew,

More mended knees for Meg

More mended knees for Meg

and weave,

Dyed harakeke container

Dyed harakeke container

OC Detail

Detail of shredded harakeke, dyed flowers, beads and silver crimps.

and make thingies (very technical term that) out of shells and rocks

A beginning . . .

A beginning . . .

A shell mandala . . . a temporary sculpture, unfinished.

A shell mandala . . . a temporary sculpture, unfinished.

Centrepiece, prior to decorating with pearls and crimps.

Centrepiece, prior to decorating with pearls and crimps.

Plus small green pearls and silver crimps.

Plus small green pearls and silver crimps.

IMG_2580

A beach is to walk on.

and plant some veg and walk on the beach, AND paint . . . something’s gotta give!

Remember when I bemoaned a lack of time because of the day-job? Now that I am gainfully unemployed, it’s got worse, not better!  I shall simply have to rise earlier because Baby, as a fully fledged, pioneer Creative Leisure Consultant, I have plans!  LOTS of plans starting with sorting out all my travel photos, from the quirky,

Taken at the end of my street in Tokyo. Dispensing machines for anything and everything are everywhere but the advertising on this one got me every time I walked past it.  Smoke and you'll turn into a muscled westerner?

Taken at the end of my street in Tokyo. Dispensing machines for anything and everything are everywhere but the advertising on this one got me every time I walked past it. Smoke and you’ll turn into a muscled westerner?

. . . to everything else.

Children of the Mekong

Children of the Mekong

a serendipitous mistake

Learning a new  craft is teaching me more than a new set of skills.  It is teaching me about my attitude to learning, creativity and more importantly, making mistakes.

I set to work making another kete/basket.  Each time I set myself a new challenge while trying to improve on the basic techniques.  On this one I was wanting to make a ridge at the base and near the top with a horizontal twill between.

It all went well until near the top when it quickly became clear that I should have done one less row of twill as I was runing out of material.  As I tried to finish off I pulled the ridge too tight in one place so that when I completed the kete and turned it right side out . . . bugger!   There were the offending tight bits right in the front.    Now aside from saying “bugger” I found myself thinking about what I could do to use this mistake . . . I did not berate myself, the IC (Inner Critic) did not even get a say!

So what to do, what to do?  It should have looked like this on both sides albeit with a wider band at the top.

Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Using the principle of enough of anything can look good it now looks like this on the front.

Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Wendy @ Late Start Studio       Beaded Kete

As if it wasn’t enough to add the fringing (shredded harakeke/flax) I broke out the beads that have sat in a bag since I left Thailand 5 years ago and went a little bonkers . . . and I think putting the beads in took almost as long as weaving the kete.

Wendy @Late Start Studio Beaded kete detail

Wendy @Late Start Studio       Beaded kete detail

So what did I learn?  Yes, enough of anything can look good (but I sort of knew than already), a mistake can lead somewhere interesting if you embrace it, time is of no consequence whan you’re having fun and I know to do another round of taki tahi (one under, one over weave) before I finish off.

Often times I’ll ask, “what’s the worst that could happen?”   The answer, in this case was I might need to undo some of it it and the weave up the last few rounds however my mucking around worked . . . a treat . . . even if I do say so myself.

Learning is such a pleasure when we choose to participate.