Here are a number of photographs showing the progress of the Maureen and Tony tapestry from its start to its almost finish. Since my decision to shift from Christchurch to Hamilton I have been working very hard to try and complete this tapestry before I leave Christchurch at the end of February. This week it is on hold as I am in Hamilton until next Sunday, so I will really have to work very hard to get it finished. Lucky the most difficult sections are done and it is just a matter now of finishing Tony's jacket.
This first image shows the beginning of the work. The cartoon shows Maureen's face well. The rest of the cartoon is rolled around the baton at the top.
Maureen's face is developing well.
The face is pretty much finished and I have been working on the flowers on her dress. The dress was so complex that it took a long time to weave - lots of small shapes and many colour changes, but I love weaving detail like that.
Tony's hand is finished and I am almost ready to start weaving his face. This was a challenge as I really wanted to capture the wicked look in his eye which was a characteristic of his mischievous personality.
Hoorah! I think I have achieved what I set out to do! I started weaving his face just after the new year.
Tony's tie took a lot of weaving - five days altogether. I thought it was never going to get finished.
And this is where I am up to now. I introduced the bright green background the other day and am pleased with how it lifts the wole work. The finish line can be seen in this photograph so still quite a bit to weave.
I haven't done much weaving over the last couple of weeks what with Christmas happening, then a trip to Westport to stay with my sister Yvonne for a week. I have had a lovely break, and now it is time to get back to work and also to make another huge decision for the rest of my life. I have to shift house in early March as new owners have bought this lovely house I have been living in for the last 12 months and I have to find somewhere else to live. I am seriously looking at going back up north to settle in Hamilton. I need to make that decision in the next week or so.
Anyhow, here are some photos of the last couple of weeks. Christmas Day with family at my little sister Veronica's place. My grandaughter Jenna who will be presenting me with my first great grandchild in March came down from Hamilton with her partner Brent to share our Christmas day. This photo shows Jenna with her cousin Callum. Callum is Veronica's eldest boy.
And here is our Mum on Christmas Day. She hadher 88th birthday yesterday, 4th January.
Boxing Day morning and I was travelling to Westport with my brother Tony Rea. A very early start and here is a lovely pink cloud over North Canterbury, just past Culverden at about 5.30am
And driving through the Rahu Saddle - lovely beech forest in the rain.
My sister Yvonne and I went for a lovely walk along the cliffs from Cape Foulwind to Tauranga Bay. I took heaps of photos of course, and Bruce, Yvonne's husband took the car to the Bay so we didn't have to walk all the way back.
A superb walk with beautiful vistas everywhere we looked.
And now I am home again and back at work. The tapestry is going well. I am now finished Maureen completely and have started work on Tony's face - hoping to catch that cheeky look. My brother Joe took this photo.
"Riding the Waves' An exhibition of new work by Maxine Burney
Last weekend we had the opening of Maxine Burney's exhibition 'Riding the Waves'
Here is Maxine with the painting that provided the title for the exhibiton. The inspiration for this work has been the loss of her studio in the Arts Centre of Christchurch after 14 years working there, and since then Maxine has had to reassess the way she can go about her artistic life - the ups and downs of the past two years since the earthquake have challenged her to produce the work for this exhibition.
A few weeks ago now Janet de Boer, her husband Peter and Garry Benson came to stay on their first night in New Zealand. They were travelling around the South Island and had a great time. Garry and Peter stayed another night before they left to go home as Janet had gone back to Australia earlier. We had a lovely visit. I took them on a bit of a tickey tour out to Sumner and around the city to see some of the damage that the earthquake has done to our lovely city. And a lovely meal at a Thai restaurant.
Me with Janet and Garry.
And with Garry. It was Garry's birthday on the day they returned so we celebrated with a tiny birthday cake.
An Exhibition at the Hallway Gallery
This weekend I hung an exhibition of lovely abstract paintings by two artists Kay Hunter and Susanne Van Tuinen. The works went up very easily and they look great in the space. Here is a lovely image of Susanne hanging one of her small abstract paintings with Kay standing at the back of the Hallway.
And here are Kay and I with two of her works which has just gone up on the wall.
Last evening we had the opening and a lot of people attended. Three of Kay's paintings were sold. This photo shows the table all set up just before the first guests arrived.
For the last few weeks I have been working on two commissioned tapestries. The first one is a portrait of my Uncle Tony and Aunty Maureen. This work has been commissioned by my cousin Kevin Hickman and will be an heirloom work for his family.
The photo below shows how the tapestry is looking this morning.
I am really enjoying weaving this tapestry. It is very fine, 11epi with the 12/6 Cotton warp. There is so much detail in the work that it needed to be fine. The finished size will be 105 x 95cm.
I usually work one week on the portrait tapestry and one week on the landscape tapestry which is the one below. This tapestry has been commissioned by Barbara Allen and shows the view from her home at Duvauchelles on Banks Peninsula. Barbara will be moving from there sometime soon and wanted a tapestry that would remind her of her time living in such a lovely place. She also wanted me to weave some of the things that she was very fond of such as the pohutakawa flower, the Boatsheds, etc. I decided to include these as inserts into the main landscape. The tapestry is warped at 12 epi and I am weaving the inserts at 12 and the main landscape over two threads giving a sett of 6 in this area. That enables me to weave the finer detail in the inserts. I have noticed also that 6epi I am capturing the essence of the place. Both tapestries are being woven on their sides and as they are such different designs it does take me a wee while to get back into the flow of each one once I start to weave. So week about is a good way to go.
Photos of the Opening of 'Synthesis'
Last Sunday was the opening of our exhibition at Arts in Oxford. It was a lovely event, lots of people came and it all went off without a hitch.
Speech time! Wilson explaining his love of weave structures. Brent Firken the Gallery Director at left.
Talking with Judy Rodgers.
Wilson with Ria van Lith and Valerie Osborn, both wonderful fabric weavers.
A view of my triptych painting looking through Wilson's scarves
Hanging the exhibition "Synthesis - The Links Between"
Yesterday, Wilson, George and I had a very busy day hanging the exhibition 'Synthesis - The Links Between". I first visualised this exhibition of my paintings relating to Wilson's work over two years ago and it has taken us this long to get it all together. We were first booked to show it last year at Arts in Oxford, but earthquakes interfered with our ability to do enough work in time to show the exhibition then so rebooked it for July this year. It has been a lot of work, especially for Wil as he has had to weaver over 40 scarves and heaps of fabric to make his wall hangings and woven panels. I had to paint 8 large paintings all around 2 x 1.5metres in size and I finished the last one about two weeks ago.
The exhibitions explores the connections between the two mediums - fibre and paint - creating works that at first glance may seem to have little or no connection. With deeper scrutiny though, the parallels between the two become more obvious.
Paint needs to have structural support of some sort be it a wall, wood, paper or canvas. I chose canvas as the support for these paintings and worked in acrylics. Canvas is a textile, created through warp and weft using either cotton or linen - a fibre. I treated theses paintings as textiles, letting them hang free in their own space on the wall. Cutting into the canvas created new structures forming within the paintins. By using the canvas itself as warp and weaving strips of painted canvas in as weft, three dimensional elements were introduced. The imagery in the paintings was inspired by the structural elements of Wilson's textiles. By taking the woven structures out of their normal small scale and enlarging them hugelhy, new structures and abstractions were formed, thereby creating images with power and presence.
Wilson's weaviang shows a journey about weave structure and colour. Black and white particularly highlights structure and the contrast shows the interaction between line and form. the interaction of colour is evidlent in manhy of Wilson's hangings. When they move, and when viewed from different angles, the colour can change to give a different perspective.
The back wall was the perfect spot to hang this 14metre fabric length and doesn't it look stunning with the orange length in front. Wilson and George had to run wires across the gallery from wall to wall, above the lighting system, so here they are, ready to start putting in the first hooks for the wires.
I'm up on top of the ladder - birds eye view of Wil and George down below.
And here I am, still on the ladder, hanging the scarves.
Don't they look good. Note my paintings on tg=he floor - still to go up on the wall.
Sill on the ladder! This time making sure the painting is straight.
The painting 'Synthesis 7" seen through the hanging scarves.
The triptych 'Synthesis 4" also seen through the scarves. We had a lot of fun putting this exhibition up. It took us all day, but was worth it. Next Sunday 8th July is the official opening of the exhibition. If there is anyone reading this who hasn't received an invitation and lives in the Canterbury area, do feel free to come to the opening. We will look forward to seeing you there.
My First Live-in Student at 74 Edward Avenue
My first student since I shifted into this house, arrived Monday a week ago to stay for ten days and learn to weave tapestry. Ngaire comes from south of Canberra in Australia, and has been a lovely student to work with. She has picked up on the techniques of tapestry very quickly, woven a sampler and has almost finished her first small tapestry.
Here she is at the end of her third day weaving the sampler which teaches many of the basic tapestry techniques.
On her fourth day here, Ngaire started to work on her first small tapestry which featured a gum tree from one of her own photographs. We scanned the photograph and cropped it on Photoshop. Ngaire then added more colour into the image with oil pastels. She drew the cartoon, warped up the frame and commenced weaaving, learning to mix and blend colours, figuring out the changing sheds as the weaving developed. This is always a challenge for a new weaver as the sheds can change with the taking out and adding in of new weft yarns as the colour needs change. Ngaire is also learning how to build up shapes as well as colours.
A close-up view of the prgress of the tapestry. Ngaire has added in small inlays of orange/pinks into the background.
A lovely happy photo showing further progress and development of the tree trunk. Note how the tapestry is being woven on its side. This is because it is much easier to weave vertical shapes across the warp rather than up the warp.
The work bench showing the range of yarns used in the tapestry.
'Four Directions in Tapestry'
Last April I travelled to Blenheim with my friend Serena to hang the exhibition 'Four Directions in Tapestry' in the Marlborough Art Society Gallery in High St. The exhibition featured the work of four New Zealand tapestry weavers - myself, Trish Amour, Elizabeth Arnold and Stephenie Collin. We are all members of the Professional Weavers Network of New Zealand and this is the first time we have exhibited together. The exhibition was held at the same time as Creative Fibre the annual Festival of the Spinners and Weavers in New Aealand and was very popular with Festival participants.
Here I am - up the ladder - with Stephenie helping from down below and my ex husband Dave Menzies watching on.
Stephenie and I sitting in front of her tapestries after the hanging was completed. Steohenie's work is very contemporary, and strong in concept and colour.
This photograph shows the wonderful tapestries woven by Elizabeth Arnold. Elizabeth's pieces tell the story of the Burgess Gang who were bushrangers back in the 1860's, holding up coaches in the Nelson area. They were vinally captured, faced a trial and three of them were hanged for their crimes.
Trish Armour's tapestries on the back wall are part of her series "Windows of the Soul". They are based loosely on the myth of Psyche, using contemporary imagery. Skymbolish and human emotions are revealed through a collage of scenes overlapping each other as if they are pasted on a billboard and being torn away. The moth represents the soul. Three of these tapestries were exhibited earlier this year in New York.
My tapestry 'Lace 2' is in the foreground on the left wall and features a portrait of my youngest daughter Elissa. The magnolia tree just coming into bloom was a metaphor for her life at the time of designing the tapestry.
The only new works on my wall were the tapestry based on native New Zealand plants. Because of my committment to weaving the Government House Tapestry Screen, I had been unable to weave very much new work, so most of the tapestries on display in this exhibition showed a variety of the tapestries that had been wovlen over the last few years.