Art and the Beach

It’s rather embarrassing but I have just found this post from early February 2016 which I forgot to post, so somewhat belatedly, here it is.

I love visiting the city of Adelaide and a trip to the Art Gallery of South Australia is always on the ‘to do’ list. On this visit I wanted to see The Power of Pattern: the Ayako Mitsui Collection, which highlights kimonos and the stencils and techniques used to decorate fabric. While there I also took the time to do some drawings of some of the sculpture in the main gallery.


Statue of Eros, 1892-93, by Alfred Gilbert, new casting in aluminium, 1986-88; and Torso by Jean Broome-Norton, 1935, painted plaster. Pencil on grey-toned paper 5 February, 2016

After a bit of culture it’s also good to catch a bit of nature, in the form of one of Adelaides beaches. Saturday was near perfect beach-going weather with a clear sky and very little breeze. The water was crystal clear over a white sand bottom so visibility was excellent. After quite a bit of decadently floating around, my nephew and I started looking at the various things we could spot underwater. Apart from ‘the usual suspects’, seaweed and razor clam shells, we found a big chunk of smoothed bottle glass and somewhat unexpectedly a large piece of an old LP record. The latter had also clearly been in the water for quite some time so I couldn’t say exactly what music had been entertaining old Neptune.


Sea ‘treasures’, pecil on grey-toned paper, 6 February 2016

See my work over summer

To those of you living on the east coast of Australia, there are two opportunities to see my work during December and January.

Firstly I am exhibiting my textile work at the Gosford Regional Gallery, along with two artists from my home town of Newcastle (NSW) Eleanor Jane Robinson and Mandy Robinson. If you can make it to the opening on Friday 4 December at 6.00pm I may see you there.

Well Worn
4 December 2015 – 13 January 2016

Leonie Andrews, Eleanor Jane Robinson
and Mandy Robinson


36 Webb St, East Gosford NSW

Otherwise you can see one of my textile works that was selected into the Gold Coast Art Prize. The opening is on 5 December also at 6.00pm, but sadly I won’t be able to make the event.

Gold Coast Art Prize
5 December 2015 – 31 January 2016


135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Something and Nothing

The most recent design exercise set for the textile group I belong to was on the theme of ‘Nothing’. It was an interesting concept to try to express. I had recently re-watched the documentary ‘Herb and Dorothy’ about the American collectors of minimalist and conceptual art Herb and Dorothy Vogel. A favourite scene in the documentary is where a visitor attempts to get to grips with a piece that consists of a short length of rope, nailed to the wall (apologies I can’t recall the name of the artist).

So I thought I would also work with a small piece of unravelled rope that I had, clearly in the scheme of things this could be considered ‘nothing’. I sewed it onto a small scrap of fabric left over from a sewing project.

Something, small rope work, February 2014.

‘something’, small rope work on found fabric, 29 cm w x 4 cms h, February 2014.

After finishing this I realised that by using the bright red thread I’d created ‘something’ rather than nothing.

I think I fared better with my second attempt, a row of even smaller sections of rope sewn down with a more neutral coloured thread.

'nothing', rope sewn on found fabric, February 2014,

‘nothing’, rope sewn on found fabric, 30 cm w x 4cms h, February 2014,

This piece also brings to mind inland clouds – these picture-book clouds float by them selves in a summer sky offering no prospect of rain.

To shamelessly borrow from one of the other artists participating in this exercise “nothing is defined by something.”

The A4 Project

I’ve been doing quite a bit of sketching and painting lately so I thought it might be time to get back to stitching. I’m trying to develop a more sketch-like approach to my stitching.

I’m pulling together random scraps of fabric, which can be found lying around all over my house. The scraps are being assembled to an A4 size (roughly), without dwelling too long on composition and attached using simple stitches. While these take a bit longer to make than drawing a sketch, I’m trying to develop a similar approach by limiting my modifications of the fabric.

Here are the first two:
1 October (front)


1 October (back)


3 October (front)


3 October (back)


Sensorial Loop

The 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial exhibition, Sensorial Loop, is currently on at the Goulburn Regional Gallery until 19 May 2012. This is the premier exhibition in the ‘world’ of Australian textile arts, having been around since 1975, (despite the current title). The exhibition’s current change to a three-yearly event is, I understand, designed to enable the Tammworth Regional Gallery to  better resource (both dollars and personnel) this major national touring exhibition.

This latest re-invention is certainly maintaining the high standards of previous shows. Two weeks ago I travelled to Goulburn to see the exhibition and specifically to hear a floor talk by Michele Elliot. Michele’s presence at the gallery was more than just a talk by a visiting artist, she was in the process of installing her work hemisphere’s:drawn to you still, 2011. The work consists of two paper pulp disks between which are strung some 1,000 red threads, tied to small hand-made pegs about 3 cms long.


Michele Elliot working on the Goulburn installation

It may seem odd to still be installing a work once the exhibition has opened, however the installation process is itself a major part of Elliot’s work. Time, as she explained in her talk, is of interest to her in both the making and the representation of her work. At each of the nine exhibition venues Elliot will remake this work with the assistance of local artists. At the end of each showing the work will be cut and returned to Elliot.


A close-up of the pegs that Elliot has made as part of this work.

The fact that Elliot is able to travel to each venue to install the work and that the show includes other large-scale contributions such as Carly Scoufos’ Interlaced Manuscript, 2011, which replicates the onsite installation of her work onto her grandfather’s dairy shed wall, demonstrates that moving to a three year schedule is allowing resources to be directed with good outcomes for both participants and audience.

Apart from Elliot’s work I was most interested in a large sculptural work by Lucy Irvine, Continuous Interruptions, 2011, which writhed its way around three sides of an exhibition wall. This was an intricate weaving of irrigation pipe and cable ties. It became the target of my drawing for that day.


I would strongly recommend that you see this exhibition. The strength of the works, both materially and conceptually, will certainly dispel any preconceived ideas you may have about textiles as a ‘nanna’ craft’.