Work in progress

I am settling in for some long stitching sessions over the coming months. In September this year I will be having a solo exhibition at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka.

The show is inspired by ideas that were developed and photographs that were taken during my Asialink Arts Residency at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo in 2016.

Today I have a bit of a teaser for you from the piece I am currently working on. I am focussed on framing those in-between moments of our daily life.

In the  Moment

I will be having an open studio to mark the end of my residency at the Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo. My residency has been made possible through the Asialink Arts Residency Program, supported by the ACT Government and the Australia Council of the Arts.

The studio will be open from Wednesday 26 October from 12.00 noon until Sunday 30 October, 17.00. 

The  opening is on the evening of Friday 28 October. Everyone is welcome!

Youkobo Art Space

善福寺3-2-10 Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan 167-0041

Access details can be found here.


After a long days stitching I decided to take myself to the local park for a bit of relaxtion. Of course my sketchbook came along, but I did forget my paintbox. These sketches were done with some water-soluble pencils that I did remember to take. 

The egrets were most obliging, standing so still waiting for their dinner

Black Cormorants, a Great Egret, along with a Grey Heron

These birds were roosting near to the small Shinto shrine which is situated on a small island in the upper pool, or Kami-ike (which roughly translated means the Shrine pond). 

Pencil sketch with colour added after I got home.

First week in Tokyo

You may be thinking that Japan is the land of rickshaws and ninjas but that’s only in the tourist areas.


A rickshaw passes as the ninja watches from above. Asakusa is tourist central in Tokyo!

Out here in the suburbs life is quite different.

I am on a two month Asialink artist’s residency in suburban Tokyo. That means I get to make art, whatever art I like, and go to exhibitions, lots of them, in one of the most interesting cities in the world. My partner is also here and we are ready to explore the city!

I’ll just do a little introduction to our part of town. We are in Suginami-ku, a city in it’s own right, which has been swallowed up by greater Tokyo. Suginami-ku is 15 minutes by train from Shibuya, you know the place with the busiest pedestrian crossing in Tokyo, the one that you see in all the movies. 

Out here the pace is slower and there’s not much by way of highrise buildings. At the corner of our street is a small shrine with a number of jizu statues. Jizu is a (Buddhist) being who chose to help people on the earth after attaining enlightenment. He is considered to be the protector of many people including travellers, pregnant mothers and, in particular, very young children who have died prematurely. As one of the most popular Buddhist ‘saints’ statues of him are found all over Japan.

shrineoncornerJizu statues on the corner

Ours is a pretty normal street. Quite narrow by Australian standards with a narrow footpath indicated by the white line painted along the side of the road. ourstreet
The powerpoles are masterpieces of contemporary installation art, draped with wires and additions sprouting from every direction. powerpole

The powerpole outside our window

Our building was in a former life, a sanatarium for tuberculosis patients. It has now been repurposed as an arts residency that houses artists from Japan and around the world in a number of studios. There are another two adjoining buildings in the complex housing two more studios. On the ground floor of this building is another space which currently houses two young Japanese artists. Youkobo

My studio and our living space occupies the entire top floor of this building. There is plenty of light and space in the studio. the living section is more compact, but not bad compared to other places we’ve stayed in Japan.

The biggest difference we are finding here is in the amount of noise and light. Our place back home is on a quiet street so while our the studio looks like it’s on a back street this actually a main route to a nearby station. The traffic is busy! Plus we have a large primary school next door. Yesterday I realised I was hearing the school assembly, which sounded just as long and boring as any I sat through as a schoolkid. The single light pole outside our house has been replaced by 5 or so as this building sits near two intersections and apart from the living space the studio has virtually no window coverings (the glass is frosted). These aren’t complaints rather it just shows what we take for normal until shown otherwise.

Nearby are restaurants, quite a good supa (supermarket) an electronics and a hardware store. There’s even more interesting shops a short bus ride away. It’s quite a dense landscape compared to an Australian suburb, but the locals are friendly!Friendly local