Textures and threads draw me in. Seeing the composition of fabric and feeling it's textures is appealing. My mother was a milliner and the threads she used about 80 years ago are still in perfect condition. Seeing her handwriting is a special bonus.
June 1st signals the beginning of winter in New Zealand. Here is my 43rd ‘Cushy number' celebrating the colours of Autumn.
Everyone sees colours differently. You know the old fashioned saying, ' blue and green should never be seen.’ That plays to the rebel in me and for years I have mixed all colours together.
I like the deconstructed look of making my own fabric where the fibre and threads are randomly placed and then stitched together.
When I did my Diploma of Visual Art and Design at the Eastern Institute of Technology, it was all about the process. Take one stage at a time and develop that with drawings and once you have achieved multiple drawings choose one to develop into an artwork.
My brain works in a different way. I’m more an intuitive maker and don’t like the idea of a ‘onesie.’
To make many, is to give strength in numbers. A large picture of many parts that the viewer needs to keep visiting to understand and see the progression of my work. If it’s cohesive it flows and therefore there is more understanding about it. Most of my ideas come as I'm making one. The next idea develops and this progressive approach gives the collection. There is no distraction and the high level of focus and engagement usually results in a successful body of work. That's my goal anyway. Maybe its called obsessive art but for me its enjoyable.
‘Cushy Numbers’ are a collection of pin cushions that make craft into art. I was aiming for 20 but have produced so many more.
This wee beachcomber has been in progress a long while. I started her in 2015. Then as my husband and father passed away that year, my creative nous disappeared. Over the last three years I have spent many times looking at her and feeling remorseful that she lay in pieces. This is her journey to completion.
Introducing Mary O’Reilly.
Some friends and family have heard about the small artwork I'm creating out of blankets. I have been on the receiving end of exciting donations.
Some have been a challenge as not quite to the colours I had in mind. I'm always up for a challenge so the colour palette of these individual artworks is about to make a rainbow jealous. Expect to see some more Cushies on here.
Oh the possibilities.
One of the ladies in my exhibition "Ladies a Plate,” had a blanket dress. The threads unravelling to show the wear and tear of time. My latest project is using these blankets with different designs for an artwork of pin cushions.
Making books is fun. As a diversion, our group decided to each name a title for a book and swap pages. Each month we sent a page with our title to a group member. The titles ranged from flowers, my kitchen, birds, seasons, pathways and dreams. I chose Outside the Box. That created a bit of a dilemma for some as I cut a square out of the page.
I've always enjoyed gardening and creating something different and colourful. In my present garden I have 2 raised vegetable beds. They are easy to plant and easy to weed. My one chilli plant is flourishing and today I made chilli jam using 8 of my very own chillies. It's hot stuff and in our family we love it with chicken, pork, toast with cheese or crackers and cheese. It's a great substitute for tomato sauce too.
For a year I lived in Invercargill. Bluff oysters live close by and are prized for their delicacy. They are in season March till about August and taste delicious. They can be cooked in different ways but are best eaten raw. There are food festivals and shucking competitions where the oyster is the centre of attention.
This mini book was made using the shell as the cover with the pages dyed and painted.
I’ve always been interested in taking fragments from the past and integrating them into the present. Flour bags have been used by previous generations.
This pair of size 1 shorts were made by my mother for my brother. She has used a pair of my Dad’s cut down trousers and the lining is an old flour bag. Such versatility and the price, nothing.
This pile of flour bags are about to get a new life.
Making a baby blanket from homespun wool was a challenge and I thought about it for a while. There are no patterns as the ply of the wool can vary according to how fine the spinner spins it. My mother was a fine spinner.
All patterns recommend a test square to get the right tension. I'm never a fan of that so I cast on 150 stitches to see where that led me. The wool still has the sheep's natural oil and is easy to knit.
The result is the blanket below. Trust my cat to get in on the picture. She loves art and wool.