Wrybills

Been a while since I have posted, but I have been otherwise occupied with the gallery at Arts in Oxford.

No painting, no prints, no solar dyes.   Well, actually, I have done some on the odd occasion, and I had to do some mono prints for the exhibition “From the Rivers to the Shore” which was on at the gallery from 10 June for five weeks.  The show is now on at The Depot Artspace in Devonport, Auckland.  From there it will go up to the Hokianga, at Rawene,  in No 1 Parnell Gallery.

I was delighted to sell the work I exhibited in Oxford North Canterbury, which is this one below.  Wyrbills are the only bird on the planet with a bill that bends to the right – it is endangered due to habitat loss on the braided rivers of the South Island of New Zealand, where this species breeds, and on the distant shores it visits during its annual migration to overwinter in warmer climes.  It is also endangered due to predators and weed invasion of the bare rock covered areas of the braided rivers where the eggs are laid amongst the rocks.  In conjunction with Braided River Aid, the gallery hosted a panel discussion with two Canterbury University academics from the Biological Sciences department who are researching nearly everything you can think of to help these and other endangered birds.

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The rocks are coloured with pigments from the river rocks.  You can see the curve of the bill in this sketch below!

 

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Spring 2016 in Oxford, North Canterbury

Catching the spring before it fades…

A low of -1 degrees Celsius overnight, but a clear blue sky this morning means now I can get the washing dried on the line!  Snow on the mountains arrived as well.  I could not resist taking the camera out to record the plants in the garden.

I always fight between clearing or not clearing the ‘weeds’ as clearing them disturbs everything in the flower beds.  Then when the dry, hot days arrive I think the weeds would help to keep the soil moist.  But I know that the strong weeds would overtake the cultivated plants.  The vegetable and fruit trees and bushes are looking at their best just now.  Lots of Ladybirds – hope they and the birds do a good job controlling the aphids.  It is a balancing act between taking action and just observing.  A new location brings a new set of conditions.  I am intrigued at the different biodiversity existing in two locations 2 kilometres apart from each other.  We have fewer birds and habitats for them here than at the last place.  I’ve started reading my permaculture book again.  Need a jungle.

There are some lovely black blue iris flowers just opening – will they make some dye?

My painting, the last image, now looks just like Spring!

 

‘Accumulative’ exhibition Print

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Waimakariri Near and Far, mono print on paper.  Detail of one of my Accumulative exhibition prints with Waimakariri and Waikari rock paints.

Not doing any artwork …

 

***OH!   I WAS busy – just found this draft; so I thought, well, I might as not post it right now.

The show was a great success, with nearly fifty memberships for the Friends group, and all but two of the auction works passed reserve, raising some much appreciated donations to the gallery.

 

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I’ve been VERY busy at Arts in Oxford, helping out with the next show that is called

C A L E N D A R

This exhibition is to celebrate the wonderful art and craft that abounds in North Canterbury – and other places in New Zealand of course!  Last year the gallery published a case calendar which was a sell-out!   So obviously we decided to do another one – ‘do’ means my help with the design work.

I know I am being a little ahead of publication (which is on 3 September) but here is the cover image which is of one of Serena McWilliams’ machine 3D embroideries:

2017 Calendar front page

In connection with this exhibition, the gallery is also launching a group – Friends of the Gallery – and we hope to encourage more involvement with the gallery through a programme of events available to members. The gallery was founded with the intention of becoming a centre of the arts for a community that is about an hour’s drive away from the cultural centre of Christchurch, our nearest city. So this initiative is intended to represent the development that we feel we can make after five years existence as an art gallery.  To help with fund raising our wonderfully supportive artists have each donated a work to be  entered in a silent auction.

Calendar Friends 2017 email invite

Accumulative

I am part of Arts in Oxford’s latest exhibition, starting on Saturday 8 October 2016, which is a group exhibition by Stratum showing prints, painting, pastel works and sculpture as well as a large collaborative work.

You are invited to a  ‘Meet the Artists’ afternoon from 4 – 6 pm on Sunday 16 October, and four members of the group will be in the gallery working on three consecutive Sundays from 16th October.

 

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Solar Dyes: From Purple and Red to Green

Spring brought the peonies, one of which had deep red petals which went into a dye pot with pieces of silk, wool and cotton.

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Painting of Aoraki – Mt Cook behind the flowers is by John Horton.  These peonies were a gift from Viv and Nancy!

This is the amazing colour that appeared…Peony.jpg

My next test was with a ‘new’ kumara variety called Purple Dawn.  [Kumara is a sweet potato, which Maori brought with them to New Zealand.]  My friend Casey Macaulay told me how she had experimented painting with the red cooking water and how when vinegar was added the liquid turned bright green – I just had to try for myself.  The silk and cotton absorbed the red colour, but the paper was different as seen below.  I forgot to wash the kumara, and I think the ‘bits’ in the dye came from the skin.

The green-yellow fabric at the top is old cotton t-shirt rag, I had the same pink/green result when I dropped the dye onto the surface.  The dark dye brush mark is with vinegar added, the pink mark is straight out of the solar dye jar.  Note how the silk and cotton stay pink.

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For the next test I cleaned, peeled and shredded the kumara, and added some sodium acetate to a separate portion of the dye.  The vinegar (sodium acetate) did turn the dye green, but the colours were so different. I probably should not have prepared the kumara quite so much!   Casey has different water to us so that may explain the paler green results I had.

 

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By this time I was getting really confused by these results – you probably are too (!); I did a further test in my workbook to see if the paper there gave different results.  When I put a blog together I try to get the photo image colours correct (via Photoshop).  Here however,  if I alter the pink, the green is wrong.  So I would comment that in the scan of the workbook page below –

The top left blob has a distinct dark purple edges and the overall colour is slightly green with a purple tinge

The top right hand brush stroke should be pinker

Both the Kumara No 1 tests colours should be bluer

The Kumara No 2 tests; neither should be so green…the one on the left is a pale brown.

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If you are still with me, there is more!

My next solar dye was with the paler red peonies (in the photograph at the top). The silk and cotton took up the dye with no problem, but the addition of some vinegar brightened the colour on the silk and cotton.

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Hollyhock petals were collected during the summer of 2013/2014 in the old garden; I kept these in the freezer.  I tried  India Flint’s ice-flower dye method as described in her book Eco Colour whereby you place the frozen petals directly into warm water, but the water I used was hot.  The result was almost instantaneous – a deep dark red.  I put silk and knitted cotton in the solar dye.  The knitted cotton only partly submerged and what emerged was a mix of pink-red and green – again.  I also added some vinegar and salt to portions of the dye.  Images below.

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The bright green mark at the centre of the knitting was caused by the sample left to dry over a piece of metal.  The grey colour that appears sometimes is where the material was not completely submerged but some colour has been transferred by osmosis it would seem.  I do fold or scrunch up the cloth as well and for these tests am not bothered by colour variations .

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Later I used the original dye for further tests.  Just great colour harmonies here.  Green and blue-green marks made by copper pipe.  The paper is kozo.

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In these tests, all the silk and cotton was originally white and unwashed, no mordants used, just the salt and vinegar added afterwards to separated amounts of dye liquid.  The chemicals in the paper seem to affect the dyes.  I could try applying soy milk to the paper and letting it dry before painting  on the dye.

Carbon Footprint

 

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We’re all in the joke mood at the moment, that is if you are doing an assignment for Art of the MOOC.  It has been a real battle for me to think of a joke related to a social issue or a social movement.  My attempts just sounded so silly, but after going on line to find some, I thought mine were not that bad after all…

So how about:

When is a thinking person’s coal mine empty?  When it’s mindful.

When can coal see?  When it’s fossilised.

Then I thought, if I am making paint from coal (which was my intention), to sequester it, for example, I need a link to paint and pigment.  Luckily, my brain caught on, and I came up with using charcoal (which is also carbon).  Now, as there is a good possibility that prehistoric man also used charcoal to paint or draw with, aka cave paintings, I could somehow make  a joke that linked carbon, pigment and paint.  I do have some coal left over from when we had a coal fire (oops, but we only used it once and we had to travel 100 k to buy the coal)…  but the charcoal came from the woodturning stove and the tree came from the garden and it did seem a little more environmentally appropriate.

So my joke for Art of the MOOC was:  Was there a prehistoric carbon footprint?  No, they used their hands…

I made a video of the paint making process which can be found on my Facebook page.  www.facebook.com/celia.wilson.56   It is also on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/147520835, and I have a link to Twitter…

 

 

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Walks in the Waitakere Ranges

Have just found this draft which was started late last year, so I thought I should finish it.

In November I spent a week near the Waitakere Ranges just north of Auckland, and had the opportunity for some lovely bush walks.

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Paddocks and regenerating forest – Manuka a nursery species.  Ponga, tree ferns, Kauri alongside the track.

IMG_1697 IMG_1701Close up of Kauri bark.  Gorgeous!

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Crossed this stream.  Typical of the bush streams in the area.  This one is near civilisation.

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Definitely not in the bush! Planted at the entrance to a property. Looks like a Black Eyed Susan vine Thunbergia alata.

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Kawakawa , Macrocarpa excelsum– lovely holes in the leaves from it’s friendly co-habitant, the Kawakawa looper moth caterpillar.

I managed to find some pigments – mainly hard clay, and some small clay pebbles, rounded by the running stream water.  I’ve never seen these before, was quite a surprise.  Because they are wet, the colour comes off on to your fingers, and you can easily mark another harder surface.  I thought perhaps that could have started the use of clay as paint…