Sunday, 22 November 2009
I spoke at a Pecha Kucha in early 2007 before I started Take a ball of thread... and can safely say that the experience was one of the catalysts for starting the project. Speaking about my practice for Pecha Kucha (and editing it all down to 20 slides with 20 seconds of words per slide) meant I needed to address where I had been with my work and in turn, it made me realise where I wanted to go with it - although it was some 6 months after this that the pink ball of thread came into my life...
I am excited to have the opportunity of a return appearance! I hope that it will give me the much needed impetus to get the ball rolling again (with apologies for that terrible pun...)
My work in the exhibition is not one of the pink works - I am still having a little break from this project, but it would never have happened without it! I am really enjoying pushing and exploring the concepts and work from Take a ball of thread...
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Here are some images of Unnatural, naturally installed at Metalab with the Lauren and Mel version of a well groomed hedge. For a lovely, generous review of the exhibition by the wonderful Michele Morcos on her gorgeous blog Tiny Trappings click here.
Tiny Trappings is where you can see Michele's exquisite paintings and read more of her wonderful writing about art and events and the things that inspire her.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
The Take a ball of thread... workshop I am holding at metalab is on in two weeks from today! Find out more on the Sydney Design 09 website.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Pink… You Stink
My dad thinks he’s pretty funny, and in fact he is, in a slightly absurd way. And so I spent my childhood subjected to his abstract humour, one manifestation of which was his putting on a silly voice and saying “Pink. You stink” whenever the colour was mentioned. What the hell did this mean? Pink is the colour of roses and bubble gum. It’s a girl’s colour. How could it ever smell bad? As well as being annoying, my father’s catch phrase made no sense. How could something sweet and lovely be pungent and unpleasant? How could something be beautiful and ugly?
I had forgotten all about dad’s weird saying until I was introduced to Melinda Young’s collection of pink objects. Pulsing, visceral conglomerations, they are at once arresting in their beauty and just a little bit icky. Like strange sea creatures, or disembodied organs, Young’s creations are dangerously ‘alive’ - living, growing and feeding on themselves. Rubies and pearls are swallowed by globs of wax, crystals push out of the surface and delicate fringes sprout from the edges… and all of them pink, pink, pink.
The incongruity of these beautiful/ugly works is echoed in their materials and production. Precious gems are coupled with inexpensive casting wax; and while the pieces appear roughly clumped together, closer inspection reveals them to be meticulously constructed, the products of a long process of collection and collation. Dichotomous to the last, each piece doubles as both artwork and wearable – functioning as rather pretty sculptures and, at the same time, somewhat ‘out there’ pieces of jewellery.
The titles of Young’s pieces point to a longstanding fascination with notions of abjection, referencing artists such as Louise Bourgeois, who is famous for works that both seduce and repel. So too, Young’s blog reveals a more personal inspiration for her pink series - photographs of the artist’s insides, taken for medical tests. Entries entitled Innards and Gut Instinct further explain the bodily connotations, but it’s one image that says it best – an unidentified organ, bright pink and studded with droplets of blood. It’s luminous and gorgeous and horrible too. Suddenly, “Pink. You stink” makes perfect sense.
As I have been sitting here updating the images of work made this year it occurred to me that I have not posted much writing about the project apart from my comments here on the blog. I have done a bit of writing about the work and asked two marvelous writers to contribute pieces to my exhibition catalogue. As I am posting so many images just now it is hard to think of something snappy to add, so here is an image (a detail of the exhibition installation at Craft Victoria) and some text by Debbie Pryor...
And I looked
At my big ball of string,
And I said,
NOW I will find
A thing of some kind –
Some GOOD kind of thing
To do with my string!1
When Marion Holland wrote my favourite children’s book, A Big Ball of String, she created a character (not surprisingly) obsessed with making the biggest ball of string he possibly could. He began to do everything a child could do with an incredibly long piece of string- fly balloons into the sun, construct a machine out of a bike, a trike and a toy jeep- until he was bedridden. Then he discovered he could do even more- he could rig up the entire contents of his room and continue playing without needing to leave his bed at all, all with one ginormous piece of string. But if only he had some pink wax and a few pearls…
In her self-assigned project Take a ball of thread… Melinda Young has set herself three fundamental rules: Make from the one industrial spool of pink thread until completely used. Only materials already in her studio can be sourced. Every item made must be wearable. These simple rules are reminiscent of Miranda July’s Learning to Love You More 2 project, such simple beginnings for pieces that ultimately represent very intimate concepts and experiences.
The works themselves pose questions about our notions of wearability/function (through use of materials) to wearability/classification of beauty (through the creation of alluringly grotesque forms). The curious bubbling piles look like chewed candy, or a discarded sun-melted plastic Barbie accessory, somehow finding its way into a gallery (or onto a lapel). The pieces harbour uncomfortable yet familiar feelings- candy pinks at once seduce and sweetly sicken, reminding us of childhood toys. Simultaneously, the works have a visceral quality, mimicking the body’s interiors. Linking them with our exterior, we are prompted to contemplate cultural attitudes and ideas about the abject and the female body.
I’ll be your plastic toy. 3
Gallery Director, metalab
1. Marion Holland, A Big Ball of String, Random House Inc, 1958
3. Just Like Honey, Jim Reid (Jesus and Mary Chain), 1985
Melt Brooch, 2009, NYC Pink Wax, Plastic Drink Bottle Tops, Freshwater Seed Pearls, 925 Silver, Cotton Thread, Acrylic PaintThis brooch uses a sample I made during a workshop with Mark Vaarwerk . Again, a step in a different direction with the work. I made the brooch below at the same time.
This brooch is a nod in the direction of my cowboy 'thing'. It is also a nice linking piece between this project and other found object work I was making in 2006 - 2008 using vintage plastic drink stick mascots - I still have a huge collection to be used... (my favourites are the cowboys).
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Friday, 26 June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
800g of casting wax used
115 finger pricks
130+ objects produced (there were 78 pieces shown in the Craft Victoria version of the exhibition)
70 blog posts and counting
51 wax burns (approximately)
23 AA batteries
19 months and counting...
4 metres of 0.8mm diameter 925 silver wire
1 litre methylated spirits
1 drilled hand
and of course,
1 ball of thread (length unknown)
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Monday, 26 January 2009
Here are some preparatory sketches done for the work made for the exhibition at Craft Victoria. Ever the obsessive drawer, I have begun drawing the work as a way of both documenting and planning as well as staying focussed on the project - previously the pieces were made intuitively, however now I am so familiar with process and materials I have been having ideas thick and fast - faster than I can make, so drawing has helped. It has been interesting that many of the designs that worked on paper have not been at all successful in reality. The painted drawings use the left over paint from some of the new work I have been making, I found some blocks of huon pine in a review of the contents of my studio and have started to work with this as a new material - I have been painting the backs and in some cases the front of this work. (I have also been developing a rather strong curiosity for the interior of envelopes recently...)