Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mosaic of Arts

This weekend festival was October 31-November 1 and Off the Rails Gallery featured works on the Golden Sun Moth and the environment. I showed the two completed tapestries togather with the finished designs.

The work was not hung in the 'moth' template but in a sequence across one wall of the gallery. This was to give viewers an idea of each tapestry and potential tapestry as an individual work. I plan eventually to sell the tapestry as 16 separate works (unless I can find a patron who will buy the whole).

It went well, lots of visitors and lots of comments, so I was pleased. It was written up with a preview in the local paper, which I hope encouraged visitors to the town and the gallery.

I have now started my third tapestry and am about a third of the way through it. This one has more single weft wool weaving than the other two. It is number seven.

What I enjoy about weaving is creating the colour effects as I go. I use my paintings as a guide only, and select the thread and techniques as I go.
I never seem to be able to work two pictures at once. The top one was supposed to be larger and centres and the bottom one was supposed to be smaller and to the left. Oh well, at least you can see how the tapestry was hung and the other is me with the regular tapestry display outside Off the Rails gallery as it appeared in the paper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I have almost finalised the design, in that I have a complete design, but will adjust the colours - mainly background ones - as I weave. The tapestry was not exhibited at the October exhibition unfortunately, but look out for it at the Dunkeld Mosaic of Arts exhibition on October 31 and November 1. I will not be exhibiting it as it is seen here, but will separate out all the individual designs and tapestries to display in a single line. This will give me an idea of the continuity of the piece and how the abstraction hangs together. If you can get to Dunkeld on that weekend, please call into the Off the Rails Gallery. I have been concentrating on other weaving projects in the past few weeks so still have only two completed tapestries, but the rest will be unveiled as they and the new year progress.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

(Non) Exhibition 3

Third time I try to edit this blog as the pics won't go where I want them.

No exhibition this month because the Off the Rails Gallery was showing railway memorabilia for the Discover Dunkeld weekend.

I will post a longer blog to describe my weaving techniques another time (when I have the strength to deal with stubborn blog posting formats that cannot be changed without re-doing the complete blog.

For now, here are my two finished tapestries - one of the pupa and the other of a portion of the Golden Sun Moth's wing. I use bias-cut material strips for texture and interest over double warps with woollen thread over single warps for the moth itself.

Next exhibition - and hopefully an actual rather than virtual outing - on October 3 & 4 at the Off the rails Gallery at the former Dunkeld Railway Station.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

(Non) Exhibition 2

This is only a non-exhibition because I didn't show my work at Off the Rails Gallery this month. We had a tree drawing competition instead. However, I have painted some of my canvases, and couldn't resist starting a tapestry. More has been done since this photo was taken. I love working with fabric strips which I am using across double warps. The moth will be woven in yarn across single warps, which I hope will give the completed work a nice textural feel. The two pics here are of my design (left) and its progress as a tapestry. I have pictured them both side-on (as I am weaving the tapestry on its side). Final hanging will see it (them) rotated to the right, so the pupa is upright in its silken tunnel.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

First Exhibition

This weekend has been the unveiling of my very fledgling project. I hung the 16 works on a 1.2m x1.2m board - so the hooks are ready-made for each tapestry and I only need one hook to hang the whole thing.
Of course, knowing next to nothing about physics, I attached the wire tightly across the board near the top - only to find the whole thing crashing to the (concrete) floor when the (very thick) wire snapped. When we asked a framer about it, he said it was a matter of physics that a tight wire across the top of a picture placed too much strain on it. Apparently there is a formula for how far down the frame you attach the wire and the degree of tension across the back of the picture.
So instead I stood the board on a table against the wall. I may have to trim off the damaged bit along the bottom of the board after the exhibition. At least none of the works were damaged.
I showed all 16 designs - 11 canvases and 5 cartoons (not yet transferred to canvas because the shop ran out of them and is ordering more). I had started painting the background of four canvases, so it was a real mixture which looked odd because of the dark lines on the cartoons and pale lines on the canvases. I found myself explaining it to visitors.
Another thing I have decided to do is change the woven name to 'Golden Sun Moth'. Too many people were asking about 'Synemon plana' and I now feel that using its Latin name will negate the strength of its common name, which I think is great.
But the main thing is, the project has had its first 'airing'.
Now I need to paint up each canvas ready to weave the first tapestry.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cartoon time

I am planning to create a square tapestry, which I've divided into 16 20cmx20cm squares. Each square will be woven separately but hung together - a bit like a jigsaw - to create the finished product.
I am doing this because:
a) Each tapestry becomes an abstract work in its own right. Only by linking the squares together in a certain order, will be complete moth become visible.
b) It is easier to weave on my smaller loom which is portable, meaning I will not be confined to my studio to weave.
c) As I finish each tapestry I will mount it and be able to show it. Weaving tapestries is a long, slow process and this sense of achievement gives me the satisfaction of finishing something while allowing people to see the work as it progresses.
d) It enables me to hang the tapestry in a variety of ways, not necessarily relating to the original design concept. For example, it could become a long horizontal line of 16 works or grouped in different ways relating to the colours or shapes of each abstact tapestry, rather than being confined to hanging as the 'moth' tapestry.
[Just an aside - moths are the enemy of tapestries. The wool I use is from the Victorian Tapestry Workshop which has already been moth-proofed. Luckily this little blighter eats roots not wool.]
I plan to exhibit the work as an ongoing project, filling in the completed squares as I go.
Today I have completed the full-sized black and white line drawing (pictured) - called a cartoon - from which I will weave.

Friday, June 26, 2009

GSM Life Cycle

Golden Sun Moths (Synemon plana) live most of their lives underground as larvae. The little grubs develop an extensive tunnel system beneath the roots of the plants they feed on. And they're not ordinary dirt-lined tunnels, these aristocratic grubs line their tunnels with self-spun silk! No wonder they stay down there for two to three years.
They pupate in vertical tunnels open to the surface before they elbow their way out as moths.
And this is when the fun begins.
Golden Sun Moths are all show and sensual pleasure!
They're stunning little critters with unique colour patterning on their wings. Both males and females have bronzy-brownish forewings with white-grey patches, but while the males have brownish hindwings, the females have bright orange hindwings with black spots - nothing like a bit of hindwing sparkle to attract a mate!
They emerge in December-January and live for only two days!
They don't even have mouths because they don't live long enough to need to eat - they're too busy doing other things.
Basically, the male spends his life flitting around the top of the native grasses, peering down trying to find a female to mate with.
She rarely flies, but waits on the ground flashing her black-spotted orange hindwings to attract his attention.
They copulate. She lays her eggs into the grass tussocks. They die. End of story.
New life cycle begins.

Golden Sun Moth

The Golden Sun Moth is a strong name for a tiny endangered grasslands moth found, among other rapidly-shrinking areas, near my hometown of Dunkeld in Victoria, Australia.
I am a member of the Off the Rails artist-run gallery (see and we are involved with an artistic venture to highlight the situation facing this tiny moth by involving the whole community -there are about 450 people living in Dunkeld - in a learning-though-art exhibition at the 2009 Dunkeld Mosaic of Arts festival in November with an ongoing major project culminating at the following festival in March 2011.
I am a tapestry weaver and I'm using my blogspot to detail the process of my art from conception to finished project.
Today is the first day of the rest of the project.
More later . . .