Monday, 16 October 2017

Glow

A trip over to the pretty heritage town of Devonport just across the water from Auckland on Friday night to see the 'GLOW' Festival.
More than 100 second-year Architecture students from Unitec Institute of Technology transformed Devonport’s Windsor Reserve into an outdoor gallery of light installations as part of Auckland Artweek.

The students designed and prefabricated a diverse range of light pavilions working to a zero budget, zero waste brief.  

Some were better planned and executed than others, as you would expect, but contained intriguing aspects. Cool to see the ideas and innovations developed on a zero budget.


Thousands of biodegradable cups stapled into orbs creating a tunnel of light. This was the outside.


And from the inside, no camera tricks.


Projected colour onto reflective surfaces, with shadows as people moved across the space

Bags of coloured gels sweeping over the overhead projector created the colours

A tunnel of plastic bags

From the inside ...

There was also a stage for fire dancing – ably critiqued by my son who occasionally still gets out his fire poi and devil sticks for our entertainment – though not as much as I would like. He knew names of the moves and gave a running commentary on the quality or otherwise of the performances! Performances were by Dragon Poi, Lucent Entertainment, Precision Pyromancy and Auckland Fire Dancing .
You Tube: 


And we were just about visible on the national news feature – in the background with my back turned! We were walking through a lit bamboo structure which was probably our favourite. 








Creative Construction Christchurch Quilt Symposium 2017

The Interim Cathedral, aka The Cardboard Cathedral, venue for the opening ceremony and awards night 

Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand is recently infamous for a series of devastating earthquakes. The city is still getting back on it’s feet, and so it must have taken both optimism and determination for the local Quilters Guild to decide that they would take on the mammoth task of organising the biennial national Quilters Symposium. This event is huge – not only by New Zealand standards, but for anywhere - and is run by many dedicated volunteers.

A few of the volunteer committee.

There were 57 (I think) tutors drawn from both local experts and the elite in the world. Tutors were drawn from NZ, UK, South Africa, USA, Australia, Denmark (think that was the complete list, but apologies if I missed any countries).
I was definitely one of the least ‘quilty’ tutors, so a round of applause to all who took the chance on one of my classes rather than techniques they might be more familiar with!
What a great chance for the (more than) 600 daily participants to gain experience and knowledge. It was also marvellous for me to be in the company of these inspirational mentors and teachers. The down side of there being so many tutors and courses available was that there was no opportunity to see the outcomes from the other classes, which means I can only tell you about mine, though I can show you a few images from the tutor exhibition.


Michelle Hill (Australia)

Helen Godden (Australia)

Lyric Kinnard (USA)

Judy Coates Perez (USA)

Hazel Foot (New Zealand)

Sherri Lyn Wood (USA)

Glenys Mann (Australia)

Clare Smith (New Zealand)

Charlotte Yde (Denmark)

Rosalie Dace (South Africa)

Brenda Gael Smith (Australia)
To find out about others, see @QuiltSymposium2017 on Facebook.

And there is always more to the events than just the workshop time – for instance - great shopping opportunities in the sales hall.

Shopping opportunities! Yeah!
Some of my favourites were:

Felted and Stitched 








BerninaNZ whose support lending almost 300 sewing machines to the classes, setting them all up and providing ongoing, friendly and interested support is vital to the event.
And further interest with exhibitions, entertainment nights, talks, drinks and more private get together's between old and new friends. Sadly the weather was not great and that prevented any explorations of Christchurch which would have been worth seeing, I’ll have to save that for another visit. The school 'St. Andrews at Christchurch' was a fabulous venue, just imagine being able to go to school in this setting ...

These rhododendrons had a beautiful scent.

St. Andrew's School

St. Andrew's School
St. Andrew's School


My first 2 days were a short version of ‘Deconstruct:Reconstruct’. This combines sampling many metal stitching techniques, observational exercises and mark making then developing an individual piece.
From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, and look at that expression!

Second was a 1 day, quick workshop which examined the structures of the Zhen Xian Bao thread booklets (see post) and we had time to learn how the folded sections come together and make a simple three pocket example from silk or Lutradur and a cover using gelled papers and Evolon.

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)
Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Then finally a very relaxed two days using hand needle felting, hand stitch and beading, gilding and creating a multi-part, multi-coloured and multi-textured hanging.

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

If this has interested you, the next Symposium is to be held in Auckland in 2019  from 1 -6 October. https://www.quiltsymposium2019.nz/
Expressions of interest are open if you would like to book your space anytime from now.

And then it was all over - bags packed and homeward bound ...



I am tremendously excited to have taken my first Retreat booking for the studio here at Kotare House. A group from the south will be visiting for a 4 day creative session next year. If anyone else is interested, contact me to see what we can arrange. It will be great to work in my studio with everything we could need and space to create in peaceful surroundings.



On the way home I received word that a friend and fellow creative, Liz Welch, had finally succumbed to breast cancer. Liz was determined, enthusiastic, family loving and so much more.  Read her journey at Rare Lizzie. Though we had known for a while that her death was inevitable, it was still terribly sad to hear the final news. Though treatments are improving all the time for cancers, we continue to lose friends all too often.

Liz Welch



Thank you Liz for your time with us.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Zhen Xian Bao Thread Booklets and the Great Escape workshops 2018



Antique Zhen Xian Bao Booklet

Detail of folded pocket

These delightful structures are traditionally created by the Miao peoples of South West China or Northern Thailand.

The Miao people are an ethnic group from southwest China, also found in northwest Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. They may also be called Hmong, Xong, Yao and A-Hmao. They have various ethnic origins, histories and languages.

I was first introduced to Zhen Xian Bao through the collection of Martin Conlan of SlowLoris. Martin is a collector and retailer of exquisite textiles and artefacts mostly from South West China. Many are antiques which are hard if not impossible to find elsewhere. It was, if not love, then definitely intrigue and delight at first sight for me with these objects.

The booklets are in essence travelling stitch cases. Often utilitarian and homemade but decorated inside and designed to contain embroidery threads, fabrics and stencils. Until recently these booklets have been overlooked, however we are seeing a surge of interest and interpretation. The variety of sizes, pocket designs and arrangements is huge, which only adds to the curiosity factor.

Of course, once I owned one, I had to work out how to make my own version, what types of papers and fabrics were suitable. I tried several options, and spent inordinately long trying to work out how to get the pockets to fold correctly. Having solved this issue, I moved on to how to get the overlaps attached without having messy joints and later, what could I do with the stitching and decorating to make my contemporary version of it.

My first full version was made using Lutradur, texture gels, reactive metal paints, Evolon and a lot of beads.  See posts Lots to Tell  and  Spring Prom and Intellectual Property Rights

Miao Thread Booklet by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
My favourite construction materials so far are gelled papers or Dupion silk and still the Lutradur.
Dupion Silk Miao Thread Booklet by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden


Gelled paper Miao Thread Booklet by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Since my first sight of the booklets there have been several books written about the booklets. In particular One Needle, One Thread (ISBN 978-1607021735) which describes and shows in great detail many of the stitched objects created by the Miao. And several options from Ruth Smith and Gina Corrigan which concentrate exclusively on the booklets including ISBN 978-0952880448. Look them up for more detailed information, or ....

I enjoy passing on my contemporary versions of the booklets on workshops and have another one coming soon in New Zealand. This will be at the ANZEG Great Escape Retreat/workshop weekend. It is held in Orewa near to Auckland on March 23 -25 2018. If you would like to find out more about the weekend and which other tutors are delivering classes, please look up (and book if you are so inspired) on their website

If you want to stay near to the venue, the website gives you all the info you need or the organisers will do so, alternatively, I have accommodation at Kotare House, Kaka Rooms and Ruru Room and will be travelling in daily to the Great Escape about a 30 minute drive, and am happy to work that out with you.