Stubborn cloth

You often hear writers talking about how characters in their novels develop a life of their own during the writing process. That I can understand. What has surprised me is that a piece of cloth I am currently stitching is exhibiting the same tendency.

After my exhibition in September 2020, I remembered some advice from a fellow artist, that to lessen the post-exhibition low he always painted a yellow painting. Good I thought, I have an old yellow microfibre cloth I can stitch on.

I had visions of all the shades of yellow blending harmoniously together …. the cloth had other ideas.

I learned quickly that this faded and pre-loved cloth had an amazing ability to absorb almost all varieties of yellow. It could suck in sunshine yellow, daisy yellow, and some tones disappeared into it’s surface completely. Apart from contrasting threads, the only thread to boldly resist this challenging cloth is an equally recalcitrant hi-vis yellow stranded thread I bought on a whim some months ago.

20 JANUARY 2021 – Still a work in progress. My post-exhibition piece started last year, de-railed by Christmas and other projects. So much stitching even in a piece 39 x 39 cm. And the back, more gloriously feral than ever, when I realised that the hi-vis threads were too slippery to stay firmly attached without additional stitching. So lots of ripping back and re-sewing.

Front side
The Feral side.

8 FEBRUARY 2021 – At last the end has been reached! The final lines of hi-vis yellow are in and I even stitched my name onto it. Resistant to the last it has developed a belly in the middle and refuses to sit flat.

Done and displayed over a cushion to hide it’s belly.
The ever feral side.

Various salvaged, donated and bought embroidery threads on found microfibre cloth.

Blown away

It was very sneaky of the organisers of the Dobell drawing prize to tell me that I got a mention in this review, but not let on what that mention was.

All good!

The full review of the show by Tracy Clement can be read in the May/June print edition of Art Guide Australia or it can be read online here. The installation photo was taken by Peter Morgan, the in-house photographer at the National Art School in Sydney.

Oops, I forgot to mention the Dobell Drawing Prize!

At the Dobell Drawing Prize announcement with my work ‘365 Days’

Looking back on my blog I just realised that I hadn’t posted about the Dobell Drawing Prize 2019, which includes my work ‘365 Days’. Spoiler alert – I didn’t win the $30,000.

The big announcement was made two weeks ago, at the end of March and I went up to Sydney for the event. I always find openings and suchlike quite intense experiences and this show, being the most prestigious I have been selected into was no exception.

The 2019 prize panel called for, among other things, drawings in non-traditional media. This resulted in a wide display of techniques and materials across the 58 finalists. It appeared to me that this was a key element of the selection criteria where the public might have been a bit better informed. There was lots of “but how is this drawing” remarks floating around in the gallery on the night. I certainly had that asked about my work and Justine Varga’s winning work using paint into wet photographic medium also copped a lot of the same.

Justine Vargas winning work, ‘Photogenic Drawing’

I think the gallery might have also increased the understanding of the works by including the artist’s statements in the wall text. I doubt that anyone would realise that my work was made over the course of a year, just by looking at it. When I did look at works with the catalogue in my hand l really came to appreciate a many works that had previously appeared quite difficult to grasp.

With such a broad range of styles on display it must have been a challenge for judge Ben Quilty to make a final choice. There is both seriousness and fun in this show. Chris Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa) certainly got my prize for the best use of glitter in a drawing.

Chris O’Doherty, ‘Robot Priest with captured Australian’

There were also a number of exquisite pencil drawings and this wonderful landscape by Western Australian artist Sonia Kurarra.

Sonia Our area, ‘Martuwarra’

The Dobell Drawing Prize exhibition is being held at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney and will run until 25 May 2019.

PS My work is featured on the inside back cover of the catalogue!

Opening Stitches, so far

Since I launched the Opening Stitches Project at the end of January this year, I have had 15 people sign up to the project. I also have a couple of family and friends who keep telling me they will be coming on board sometime soon.

While many of the participants come from Australia, I am also really excited that I have a number of contributors from overseas. Indeed the first person to sign up lives in Japan. I also have two contributors from the UK, one from Scotland and one from the Czech Republic.

So far I have received 11 squares from 7 people. Yes, some of you are sending more than one square and that’s fine by me. I have completed working on 6 of those squares. This photo shows you what I have done so far.

I am still not completely clear where this project will lead me/us. Until I get a good idea of what squares people are sending in I can’t really decide how I might combine or display this work. But one of my goals is definitely to show this work in an exhibition.

If it seems odd that I am thinking about exhibiting at such an early stage this is quite necessary as most galleries advertise a year out for future exhibitions. I continue to look for exhibition opportunities with the idea of showing the work in 2020 or 2021.

I can also tell you that your stitches have already started me off on several new pieces of my own, which I also hope will be part of a larger exhibition. Here’s a current piece I am working on, alongside its inspiration, a square contributed by Catherine Stern.

CSternLAndrews


I am posting updates about the project both on my Instagram page @leonieandrewsart and also on the blog on this website https://leonieandrews.wordpress.com. You are most welcome to re-post from my Instagram page or link to my blog posts.

I AM STILL LOOKING FOR MORE PROJECT PARTICIPANTS.

Please feel free to promote the project to your friends, family or followers. The best way to link to the project is via the dedicated project page on my website. https://leonieandrews.wordpress.com/gallery/opening-stitches/

 

The Dobell Drawing Prize 2019

I’m thrilled to share the news with you that my work ‘365 Days’ is one of 58 finalists in the Dobell Drawing Prize 2019. The Prize showcases the expanded field of drawing, celebrating innovation, technical skills and diverse media.

The National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation will present the Dobell Drawing Prize on 28 March 2019.

Over the course of 2017, I used a simple set of rules to generate a work where my hands and my memory made marks, without the intervention of my sight. The rules were stitch daily and stitch with my eyes closed. The year’s marks read as a map of my mind and hands finding their way across a bounded space.

The judges, Michelle Belgiorno, Simon Cooper and Ben Quilty, said of the submissions:

“We were amazed not only by the number of entries, but by their quality and sheer variety of approaches to drawing. It’s clear that today’s artists explore drawing’s full range of possibilities – from sculptural, performative and digital drawings, to extremely skilful works using classic materials such as charcoal and ink. We’re thrilled to see such technical talent and innovation reflected in this year’s shortlist.”

The exhibition of finalist’s works, will be held at the National Art School, running from 28 March – 25 May 2019

National Art School | Forbes St, Darlinghurst NSW