An exhibition of work from 7/8ths: a group of textile artists who have explored the idea of transparency in a fabulous range of textile mediums and forms.
Alison Durham, Brigitte Haldemann,
Annette Jauhari, Laura Power-Davies,
Sarah Louise Ricketts, Jane Robson, Robyn Steel-Stickland
7/8ths have been meeting and working together as a textile mentor group for 5 years. Having met through the Victorian Feltmakers Inc, they recognized a kindred spirit in each other that needed to be nurtured. The girls work with a broad range of mediums (including felt) and as a group they set art and textile challenges for each other, and push and prod to help each one achieve the most from their artistic life.
In “Transparency” each artist creates their own response to the theme and where that sits in their lives. A special feature of the exhibition will be the “drawer challenge” as a tribute to their first exhibition at Opendrawer. The challenge is to use an actual drawer and the idea of transparency to make a piece of art.
Transparency – the physical property of allowing the transmission of light through a material.
For transparency I responded by selecting fine merino wool, a variety of exquisite hand knitted yarns and silks. Through felting I transformed them into wearables.
Inspired by the textures, translucency and uniqueness of each of these materials,crafted with passion, each piece is as individual as its owner.
One of the most difficult things for me so do –
An “Artist” statement – about me!!!!
I come from a family of dressmakers and knitters, so the idea of “make it yourself” was ingrained.
My husband and I operated an Art/Craft School supplies business for 33 years, surrounded by art supplies, art teachers, new art products, teacher training workshops and 3 very talented and artistic children.
My husband is a singer and guitarist, artistic with his music, even though being encircled with all of this, I never considered myself artistic!
My journey into the textile world and the amazing forums and workshops I have attended, also being a member of my very talented 7/8th’s family has lead me to this phase of my life where I now consider myself creative!!
So my first ever Exhibition – Transparency
Windows are transparent and allow me to look out from within!
The windows I have used in my exhibition pieces have been taken on my travels and have allowed me to view the world.
From the beauty of the stained glass windows of St Peters in Rome and York Cathedral to the bathroom window in Vietnam that would not close and allowed other window viewers to look in!
Windows frame the art outside and are a never-ending source of entertainment and inspiration wherever I am.
Laura Power Davies
The story of Mr Augustus, Cloudsmith.
The figure of the Cloudsmith first made himself known to me in July 2009, a solitary figure holding a cloud-kite. He was standing on a peak with a bronze rod anchoring him to a cloud. He had a bucket at his feet, hopeful of catching some information from the cloud about the lost weather.
He gave me his name, Mr Augustus, Cloudsmith, in April 2010. He is concerned with mapping the clouds, and is a fisherman of sorts. His cloudship and bucket are made from recycled transparent materials handstitched with fishing line. A skyhook forms the keel of his vessel and sometimes rainbows can be seen in his sails. He journeys the cloud routes, mapping, and searching for the lost weather.
The Cloudship Project is obviously about transparency – the transparency of political systems, the transparency of personal motivations, and transparency in interpersonal relationships. It also references the impotency felt by individuals in the face of massive global events catalysed by the changes in our weather patterns, and the apparent inability (or again, impotency) of our political systems to address climate change in any meaningful manner.
It is sheer synchronicity that this exhibition occurs precisely when much of Australia has been severely affected by the wind and water of Cyclone Yasi, and that the opening of this show was delayed by flooding in our own home and local streets.
Initially a textile artist, Laura Power Davies is currently focussing on developing skills in portrait painting and printmaking.
Sarah Louise Ricketts
Like most Australians, especially the non-indigenous, I am a fringe dweller. We hug the coast, living for the summer and the glow of the beach, the glint of sun on the surf’s glass. I live in inner-city Melbourne, pulled by the excitement of people, the bright lights and energy of the crowd. Nearly four million of us, seemingly huddled together against the vast red emptiness at our backs.
Like many Australians, I seldom see the real bones of the landscape of my country. Sometimes, perhaps, from the window of a car or a plane or on the screen of movie. Only very rarely do I look at it with my own eyes. And yet, like most Australians, I am filled with great love for this place. It is a love carried within, a part of us. A layer of transparency we all have in common, if only we knew it.
Drawing, creating and fiddling with reclaimed objects, occupies most of my time. Felt making in all its forms has become a focus in the past few years. Progressing from flat felt scarves, wraps to large garments.
I like to create detailed portraits using the wool fibre as my paint palette. I have incorporated portraits onto garments and I am inspired to focus on this path and explore the possibilities. I create work from people within my local community. I tend to be drawn to the finer detail of faces and expressions. I take pride in producing work that shows realistic details.
I interpreted the theme Transparency, as transparency of thought.
I wanted to show thoughts bursting out of heads.
I used felt as my medium as it has beautiful warmth and moulds to all shapes.
The faces of the heads do not depict emotion, the emotion is provided by the thoughts represented bursting out of the top of their skulls.
There are many types of thought and I chose to show twisted thoughts, empty thoughts, errant thought, transparent thoughts and hidden thoughts.
The beautifully turned wooden bases which support the thinking heads were generously crafted by John Anderson of Warrandyte. The wood used is Blackwood and was sourced from the University of Melbourne Botany Department, it had been the Botany Demonstration bench in the main lecture theatre.
Robyn Steel-Stickland (Robette)
Being an “Ette” as we 7/8ths sisters refer to ourselves, is one of the most important things in my life. We are secure in the knowledge that our Sisters in Ette will give us a push and a shove, or a hug and some soothing words when needed. It is wonderful to create art in an environment where I get support from my family and support from my friends who “get” what I’m doing.
My biggest challenge right now is the balance of creative work life and creative artistic life. I wonder what it’s like not to think for a while?
Human behaviour is transparent and has been throughout history.
Good and happy people exude positive vibes, while subversive behaviour is like oozing slime – it works its way in.
Sexual relationships through the ages have been concealed behind, a knowing look, the wave of a fan, fluttering eyelashes, “sweet nothings” and provocative attire. We make garments from beautiful fabric and lace as a body covering, even when the very fabric itself is transparent. We cover the female body in glorious almost there fabrics, which shimmer and shape the form which they conceal, but is this just for titillation or is there some deeper purpose. Protection maybe – but from what – the human male?
Emotions can be transparent, especially when one wears one’s heart on one’s sleeve. Liars are only transparent when the cover or the mask slips. Thieves wear a mask or balaclava to conceal their identity.
So is Transparency the opposite of concealment – the time when the mask falls, the cover slips off, and truth is revealed. Is transparency another form of truth?