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 . . .