Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Absence from the studio and the gallery.........but I'm back.

 One of the occupational hazards of being both a floor loom hand weaver and an organic gardener is that wear and tear on the body accumulates. How thankful I am for medical interventions that have given me a new level of mobility without pain........ NOW it is time to get back into the looms and start making my way through the long dreamed of fabrics. 

There has still been some happy making happening in the studio - a little bit of tapestry weaving and quite a lot of botanical dying because it is that season. 

These new works have been put together with some older makings for The Cupboard Collection 2022. This exhibition will run until the end of the Taranaki Arts Trail. 

I have been, as you all know, exploring my "place"; where I am on the globe and what it offers me to create with and to desire to create about. 

The small work shown above hangs on the glorious piece of driftwood harvested from Middleton Bay, just metres from my home and studio. The frame-loom woven tapestry is created using a commercially over-spun single that I over-dyed with kawakawa plant colour. 

It speaks of how the sky and the land merge across the coastline and the feeling of vastness and my own personal reaction to being able to call such a place home and such an experience as a daily option. 

I am surrounded by this visual richness and cannot help but be inspired by it to find a way to create evidence of my emotional reaction to such an environment. My hope in creating such an intimate work is that someone will find a place to position it so that it can become a recharger, a healer, a dream site for them to see and enter in their imagination often and repeatedly just like I am privileged to be able to do. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

A new space

 I have been in my new studio and gallery space for nearly two years now. So technically it is not really "new" anymore. 

However I am still learning how to use the spaces and, not surprisingly, still setting up equipment and unpacking long stored stashes. 

It has been a slow period of reassessing my practice - what has been urgent for me to get up and going?, what has dragged on a bit?, what do I walk around all the time and not really"see"?  In many ways the arrival into this space has marked the start of a new stage in my practice of 45+years.  Is it the start of moving to an old age practice? It does certainly involve letting go of things that might have excited me in a younger body with a sharper set of eyes and more nimble fingers. I am struggling through this process of letting my expectations embrace the realities of my physical existence.  Alongside that change is the reality that different things capture my mind now and excite my creative juices.  How lucky I am to be experiencing this revitalisation. It is true that something dies to enable new growth and this has been the process in my setting up of my new studio space.  

There is now just the final letting go to happen, perhaps not just yet but gradually and soon. 

What will emerge once the letting go is done? 

That is the great unknown that makes it worthwhile entering the making space every time. 

I am working for the annual Taranaki Arts Trail coming up at the end of the month. The workbenches are covered with botanically dyed elements for bookmaking. I have been busy dying across the winter months when the woodfire could provide a free heat so there are many new pieces of delightful goodness to work with. 

The looms are threaded (nearly) or will be in time for the Arts Trail. I am on a roll to finish the many partial projects I have scattered amongst the chaos, so I can create order for studio visitors. I am trying not to panic too intensely when that task seems overwhelming. Just do one thing at a time, complete it, label it, have it totally ready for the busy time that is coming along. 

The interruption of Covid lockdowns has very mixed impacts on how I feel about spending time in the studio. But I am grateful and consider myself very lucky that my work place is not inaccessible by lockdowns. That would be very hard to handle. 

So slowly and steadily working towards the future. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"This Week" series, "A Fortnight"- Diaristic works.

"This Week III"

"This Week" Series. 
Aspects of the work:
1. Materials used are: 
a. warps -silk that has been dyed in the eco-dye baths used for the picket fence explorations.
b. wefts – cotton fibres ‘unwoven’ from the eco-dyed calico used for the picket fence explorations.
These materials were all in studio stock – ready – at – hand.

2.Weaving is a repetitive activity. The stitching used is based on variations of knot making, drawing through various loops at various frequencies.

3. The pieces are created with one warp sett per day; each sett containing 8 warp ends – referencing the eight hour mundane day (If you sleep eight hours, work eight hours there can be only eight hours left for the everyday). They are built up to a seven day composite or a weekly unit.

4. It is planned to make these on an ongoing series across a period of time.

5. The fineness of the materials used and the unevenness of the subtle colouring is chosen to make the thread work existent but illusive. Shadow created by the mounting of the work amplifies as it masks the actual work. This resonates with mundane work that often only has its visibility in the effect it has of maintaining a functioning existence.

6. The fineness of the materiality and the small scale of the thread work evidences maker commitment or an intensity of emotional investment, reflective of the large part of mundane work being emotional labour.

7. The scale of the created work and the form of presentation are designed to stage an intense viewing experience. The details are incrementally perceived on close inspection. This relates to the micro-detail level of care the mundane is mostly involved with.

8. By creating these works with the concepts behind them I feel I have given a materiality to time.

9. The pieces are inspired by the ephemeral nature of much mundane activity – the tales of the work are loose, often unsecured. The passages of the weaving or stitching are mobile on the warp threads – they are not totally fixed or permanently located on their warp setts.

10. The warps used in these pieces are high value Cambodian raw silk. This is life – valuable, hard to come by. The wefts are recycled threads taken from other projects and reworked in a new nature so instead of being hard packed into a tightly woven pragmatic calico fabric – good for lining curtains but very cheap to purchase – they are treated with delicacy and high regard to create networks of beauty and individuation of each strand.

11. The overall impression created in these pieces is of fragility but they also have a tension and resilience in them with the warps being maintained under tension. This reflects the nature of everyday life – fragile but surprisingly resilient.

12 It is widely believed that the everyday is a set of habituated practices. This description implies things are monotonously repeated identically over and over but in fact that is never the case in the human process – there are always nuances of variation. The weaving and stitching is using a very limited vocab of automatic or habituated activities but every expression is subtly different from all others

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hoarding for the future

Absolutely scrumptious dried grasses, collected at the start of our present drought, hung to keep intact. Waiting now for inclusion in my paper-making and botanical contact printing for the next round of mindfulness books. Excited. 

Establishing the Weavery 01/01/2018

We have been working hard on the new direction for my creative business and the last few days have seen the first stage reaching a conclusion. We have refitted and extended an exisiting structure on our property ready to house some of my weaving equipment and supplies. Here is the grand old lady Sunflower loom that has been my creative mainstay for nearly 40 years. She is a glorious 8 harness Swedish style counterbalance floor loom, 48 inches weaving width, sectional beams - a main and a supplementary. She does the works. This loom was individually made from reclaimed native Kauri timber taken from an old freezing works that was being demolished. I love how this once mighty tree has walked with me so far and through so much adventure of the mind. There have been times when I have felt owned by this loom and the work it empowered me to do. Times I have had to step aside and refresh body and imagination beyond the horizontal and vertical grid. However, I always return to here. The rhythms and the flows of process anchored me in challenging times, focused my fraught body and soul and rewarded my attentiveness.
Now I am preparing to share my beloved Sunflower with others desiring a unique creative encounter. This new space for Sunflower is going to be renamed The Weavery.Included in The Weavery will be a range of tapestry looms as well as Sunflower, and it is also a set up photographic booth ready to record all the creative makings that will be generated here.  It will be the initial focus of our creative retreat campus called Puka Place.
Puka Place will be a creative retreat not just for people wanting to weave. My own making practice is wide ranging and eclectic and anyone who wants to pause their lives in a relaxed, environment close to nature with access to all kinds of making equipment and processes will be most welcome.
The location of Puka Place is Opunake, Taranaki, New Zealand. I record images of this location most days either on my blogpost https://mornings-viv.blogspot.co.nz/ or on my Facebook posts where I often label the images as Taradise.....a small piece of Taranaki paradise. https://www.facebook.com/viv.davy.5 . We strive to live an organic, mainly self sufficient lifestyle here with a few ducks and chickens and lots of garden for veges, dye plants, herbs, flowers and beautiful trees. Sometimes I post about the garden just really for my nephews and friends. https://www.facebook.com/Vivs-Garden-1439883882756066/  .
I must admit I am still constructing my portfolio website but this blog does has quite a-lot about my own making practices, including my weaving.

You are welcome to look at any of these links to see why this makes such a fantastic creative locus to offer to other imagination wanderers.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Reflections and Observations on "Her Room" - The Creating Process.

The following notes were made during the course of the year it took to create "Her Room". They are part of my private digital research record. I have chosen to record them here as they add a more intimate and reflective context to the work.

Update on Text-based Practice 22/09/2014

The actual text as it appears on the fabric at present is very legible on the household face – that written by black ball point while the writing on the reverse done in HB pencil is less legible as the trace of the pencil is softer. The lines are staggered as much as is possible so they don’t really overlap although the rows are not consistent but vary as unguided writing does. I write on a table surface with a positioning guide fixed to the table but there are no ruled guide lines to follow. The ball point side is written first as it is more robust to further handling than the pencil side which is delicate and easily smudged. The finished work is rolled up as it is done to keep it stabilised and protected.
My evaluation of this:
The liminality of the everyday is expressed in the selection of the substrate media – the fabric –  with its porosity from face to face, allowing the symbolic ‘read’ of the external and the internal reportage.
The diaristic content explores how my ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ world as a working artist and main household caregiver are connected but distinct, private but public, unique but universal.

Pen Face. Text-based Diaristic Practice.
Pencil Face, Text-based Diaristic Practice.

The level of consideration of the mundane required for this practice is more intense than that required for the making of the assemblage diaries with their symbolism. This is partially a time thing – the text-based practice taking considerably longer to engage with the making. There is then, of course, a discussion to be had about the complexity of visual language as opposed to written symbolism.

The essential reality of this text will be that unless the observer chooses to examine it carefully, there will be a high degree of difficulty actually reading the content. This creates a mystery – The fabric is obviously covered in a random kind of graphic pattern made of letters but what?, why? how? To me, this speaks of the way we don’t ever really know each other, and especially we don’t really know details of mundane existence as they are not worth observing or sharing. Most of the thoughts I have about my mundane remain private for me except as they direct actions of which there is evidence.

Both Faces of text-Based Diaristic Practice.

As part of this text-based practice I have been maintaining a written record of the making – not the content but the time spent:
Time record of text-based practice.

The theoretical elements of the mundane that were under special focus with this aspect of my research practice were the way we ‘perform’ or work in our mundane – we do things habitually and we do them driven by necessity. This research was covered earlier (May 26 summary) but I need to recheck it against the actual expressive practice now I am in an execution mode rather than an experimental mode. As a literate adult the action of writing as a mode of recording is habituated in my life. It predates my training in most other aspects of my mundane, or in my studio practice. Apart from the spoken language it is my principle form of communication. The maintenance of a written format diary either as a stream of consciousness or as a pragmatic record and evaluation of my daily existence has been part of my life episodically for many years. The use of writing to process life is habituated in my life. From my personal perspective this practice should have been very easy.
 Issues have arisen:

1. The decision to not use specific people’s names has had a significant impact on how I record. One day I was very tired while doing this practice and I constantly slipped back into the ‘natural’ way of naming the people I was writing about. It took an enormous amount of focused effort to make sure this didn’t happen.

2. The actual nature of the script that is on the substrate is not anything like how I personally write but in this format this is how my hand flows and shapes the letters, without concentration or sustained focus. I have never been trained to write like this either. Very strange.

3. Because of how the actual letters are shaped, the capital ‘I’ is large and overflows between lines. This has made me incredibly aware of how often I write ‘I’ and has had the effect of making me desire to find other expressions rather than the fall back ‘I’ so the sentence structure has shifted and the vocabulary more wandering. What remains unknown is if this would happen if the writing was not going to go on public display in a possible readable environment, or if it would have happened if my hand had settled on a different actual shape of writing that did not use the flowing capital ‘I’.

4. These awareness raise the arguments around self censorship. This last month I have spent a lot of time absorbing Lejeune’s collection of essays on diaristic practice. He talks about self censorship in depth but he also describes his practical experience in reading other people’s diaries which is his academic speciality. He observes that even if the diarist does not deliberately self censor, the way of writing is a coded description of what has occurred as it is impossible practically to record everything. So even if there is no conscious filtering process the reader comes to the diaristic record without the lived experience that has informed that record and it is very hard to fill in the gaps, imaging the unspoken contexts and histories. This, Lejeune claims, also explains why for the diarist themselves rereading their own old diaries is like reading about someone else doing something that is different from the retained lived memory. At the start of this part of the time-based art practice for recording the mundane I made the conscious choice to be as honest and uncensoring as I could be whilst making the respectful decision not to name others involved in my world in this ‘permanent and public’ observation. At times, during the act of writing, I have felt like not writing something that is really on my mind or that has occurred and is not a happy or proud thing to record, but I find these observations of Lejeune’s supportive in enabling me to be direct and non-screening of the topics I cover.

5. There is such a repetitive element in the everyday that a lot of the writing echoes as cyclical and repetitive in content as I perform it but then there is also the aspect of problem solving and processing difficulties which have been given outcomes through this reflection and observation.

Having reached the decision on the media and the execution of the text-based practice the issue of the presentation of the work had to be resolved as well. My mundane that is underpinning this research is a domestic, home based everyday. The idea of the home as the site of the everyday is pervasive in most of the reading I have undertaken but I keep looking at more ideas to see if ‘Home’ can be more clearly defined. Coolen & Meesters, (2012) explain a construct of people-dwelling relations to analyse complexities associated with the idea of ‘home’ from a built environment perspective. They talk about the difference between an environmental object and the affordances attached to it. This phrase ‘The affordances’ refers to ‘the meanings attached to the house, as well as …the process of homemaking. ..’Home’ is a complex, multi-faceted and multi-layered concept whose different connotations are often used interchangeably and/or simultaneously’. (Coolen & Masters, 2012, p. 1-2). Rapoport (1990) looks at the home as a dwelling in a systems approach where the systems include eating, sleeping, and socio-psychological functions such as family life, safety and privacy. As the locus for these systems to be performed, the dwelling assumes the  importance of a primary anchor in the total environment. ‘The term primary anchor indicates that a dwelling is the operating base that provides shelter and concealment, and the place from which most people undertake activities, explore and experience the world and where they return’.(Coolen and Masters, 2012, p. 2) This dwelling is considered by some researchers to be set in a dwelling environment which includes those ‘settings that afford functions which the inhabitants want to be realized in the immediate vicinity’. (Coolen & Masters, 2012, p. 3). Other researchers consider ‘home’ to reference the social aspect of family or household or common community rather than a physical construct. But the variety of interpretations of ‘home’ is endless and reflects the complexity of the concept for each of us as individuals. There is however widespread support for the belief that the everyday or mundane aspects of our lives are anchored in the ‘home’. Home as the dwelling will hold our objects that we need to perform the activities of our existence as well as objects of non-physical value – emotional or spiritual objects. My personal take on what the home is, is complex, modified by having been a migrant, and I want to take a separate space to explore this but for me home is increasingly focused in the dwelling, whereas when I first migrated home was source nation. The realisation that home is increasingly focused in my dwelling, especially as my children have their independent lives and my parents are dead or in care the creation of a room form rather than hung wall panels seemed to be more resonant with my mundane.

Coolen, Henny and Janine Meesters. “Editorial Special Issue: House, Home, Dwelling.” Journal of Housing ad the Built Environment 27, no. 1 (2012): 1-10.

Reflections on text-based practice up to 08/11/2014

The past three weeks have had a significant impact on this project. Firstly I needed to visit Auckland for nearly a full calendar week, removing myself from my normal domestic mundane and its locus. I made the decision that I could take the project with me and use it to record the everyday as it was in Auckland. I did this with no difficulty and it was a breakthrough for me as it was the first time I had moved the production of the work from the setup site. This was brilliant in that it triggered a redesign of the work site at home to provide slightly more stability to the fabric’s passage from start roller to finished roller. So that was very positive.

On returning from Auckland I became incredibly ill and was unable to do any real making at all. Over the days that I was most ill, all that I could manage was a rote type of writing of the day and the fact that I felt sick. I was basically unable to do any other activity so there was nothing to record on the studio reflections side. I made the decision to leave it bank. This of course generated a glaring shift in the appearance of the fabric but I want this piece to be as close to ‘true’ as possible.

Once I started to write both faces again I was reflecting on this break in the flow, break in the life, really, and I also noticed that the content of my mundane writing about the practical world had shifted with time. I am now around the 60+ day mark in this undertaking. The comments had become increasingly introspective and personalised. This had not been my intention at all and was not the concept I had had for the work when I planned it and started on making it. I reflected on this and decided that I was going to re-focus the recording away from this onto a more pragmatic, dogmatic technical type description of the actual undertakings of the day – minute details of a task could fill the day’s space allocation. This would be far more helpful to me in considering what it is about tasks of the mundane that I could show has value. This is what I want people to read if they choose to read this work, not my personal generalised stuff.

So I am now back to being able to create my double surfaces and it will be with this sharpened focus in the mundane.

The other thing I notice as I write is how limited my vocab is. Often the same words appear in about the same place on sequential lines of text . The word ‘I’ dominates and causes me to try and rephrase the text as it is irksome and seems to be really evidence of navel gazing which is not what the piece is about.

I am not far off finishing the first wall which will have the doorway in it. These first three panels will be rough compared to ones made later on in the year as they have had teething problems.

I want to set up a hanging wire like we plan to use for the gallery in my office and hang these sections once they are finished so I can check and see what is happening and record that and think more critically going forward. I realise that I had become uncritically uncontrolled on this project in terms of content and I need to keep the process of assessment and refinement going all the time or the work will be crappy at the end.

The permanent link to my Exegesis in Scholarly Commons is   http://hdl.handle.net/10292/9755.

[1] Michael E Gardiner, "Bakhtin's Prosaic Imagination," in Critiques of Everyday Life (Taylor & Francis Books, 2000). 52. Quoting Bakhtin 1993: 56-7.
[2] Janet Holland, "Timescapes: Living a Qualitative Longitudinal Study," Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research[Online] 12, no. 3 (2011).
[3] Lefebvre. 84.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"The State of Play - Exploratory Makings"

A montage of images of part of this exhibition.

Here is a record of the label info for this exhibition:

"The State of Play - Exploratory Makings" Viv Davy October 2017.

The Landscape Series.
These works were inspired by the variety of landscapes around the coast in Southern Taranaki - the volcanic jumbles of differing types of rocks and soils that have been exposed to the action of the ocean. Such a wide range of differing evidences of previous formations that have been exposed to resorting and re-depositing by geological and man made events remind me of earth's fragility and fugitive nature. Evoking this through the use of "soft" materials has been for me, as an artist, an exploration in emotionally imbedding personhood into a geological context. All the materials used are natural - wools, silks, cottons, jutes, papers; they have all been coloured using locally sourced botanical and metallic dye extracts. This has provided an "organic" and living palette and texture to the making. 2017

1. "Cliff"
Wools, silks, cottons, hemps, papers, conservation grade adhesive and mounting systems, Museum glass to provide UV protection ensuring pigment stability.

Price: $480.00.

2. "Topography"
Wools, silks, cottons, hemps, papers, conservation grade adhesive and mounting systems, Museum glass to provide UV protection ensuring pigment stability.

Price: $420.00 
The Spring Series
In spring the continuous rapid growth of plants in South Taranaki constantly impresses me. Despite storm battering and volatile conditions there is a great power of growth. The new growth can appear in random places and take unexpected forms but will evidence the softness of the new. Buds and shoots emergent, changing form and colour in rapid flow. 2017

1. "Delicate"
Papers, silks, botanical extract dye washes. UV protective glass.

Price: $200.00

2. "Emergent"
Papers, silks, botanical extract dye washes. UV protective glass.

Price: $200.00

3. "Transitory"
Papers, silks, botanical extract dye washes. UV protective Conservation glass.

Price: $200.00
The Ephemera Series
Mists, low clouds, sea sprays, sea fogs, soft rains. The light and the moisture is so fugitive and volatile on the coast of South Taranaki, especially early in the mornings when the world is still to be truly coloured in by the daylight. 2017

Ephemera I - V
Handmade silk and cotton rag paper, silk cocoon. UV protective Conservation glass.

Price: $160.00 each.
A response to the colours, contours, textures and organic forms in the bands and layers in our landscapes. 2017
Silk Voile, wool flannel, silk threads, contact botanical and metal dyes. UV protective Conservation glass.
Price: $250.00.

The Sequential Series
These pieces reflect the transition of our world through time - the imprints that are our existences that gradually evolve and fade, leaving a greater or lesser imprint on the surrounds. The botanical contact printing method is used to describe the uniqueness of each contact, creating a memory statement. 2016.

"Sequential I".
Silk, contact botanical printing, felt,

Price: $380.00

"Sequential II".
Silk, contact botanical printing, felt,

Price: $380.00
"Day Break"
The sight of the new morning golden glow is the occasional reward for being an early riser, the light bringing the warmth.
Handmade Indian Cotton Rag Acid Free Paper, other handmade papers, floral extract washes.

Price: $210.00
"Old Remains"
Evidences are left in the landscapes, especially on the cliffs and beaches where old rubbish dumps existed. The passage of time uncovers their existence, exposing the remains. Like letters from the past these relics evidence us.
Handmade Indian Cotton Rag Acid Free Paper, cartridge paper and envelope, botanical contact print with metallic elements.
Price: $210.00
"Loose Leaves"
Cherry trees provided the print and colour for this collection of unbound pages. I have left them loosely bundled to resonate with the wind shaking these leaves free once the tree is done with them. They are our autumnal treasures, to be considered in their unrepeatable individual beauty. A site for contemplation.
Papers, botanical contact printing, silk voile and silk ribbon.

Book Collections
All the colours and materials used in these book forms are natural, capturing life essences.

"Hand Books"
These tiny "Hand Books" have been created as mindfulness vessels. Carry them with you, open when needing to find stillness, contemplate the pages, perhaps record on the pages or just allow them to refocus your thoughts, feel, relax, embrace.
Individually priced on items.
"Wild Ones"
These vessels are inspired by the vigour and energy of the physical environment in South Taranaki. We, as occupiers and custodians, constantly strive to impose a sense of containment and order in this place, to be repeatedly thwarted. The elements are powerful - the winds, the rain, the ocean, all exert their natures in multiple manifestations. Our efforts are so often overlaid or redefined by this power.
The book form has traditionally been tightly bound, restrained within covers. These "Wild Ones" reconstruct that premise to speak about South Taranaki - unrestrained, spontaneous, and resolutely wild.
Use a "Wild One" to refocus on nature through visual engagement or use it to create a record. Be free.
Individually priced on items.

"Practicality Series"
Human life in South Taranaki is informed to a great extent by practical pragmatism. In honour of the ordered and organised nature of this aspect of life in this region I created the "Practicality Series". These booklets are easy to recognise and use while allowing for distinctive creative expressions. Individually priced on items.

"Landscape Series"
The feature pages in these books are small scale collage 'landscapes'. These are intimate works arising out of creating "Cliff" and "Topography". Individually priced on items.

Light Catchers
Created to hang freely within a space or window, these copper wire forms will move with air currents and capture light, then create shadows. These pieces embrace the richness of the light in South Taranaki, which is so striking and changeable.
Price: $100.00 each. 

Spending time this afternoon preparing my speech - presentation for this, tomorrow.
Here are the notes I have made - they hold important thoughts about the botanical pressure or contact printing system as well as the handmade books.

Speech notes.
Talk Notes for 14 October 2017. L W Gallery

Good morning everyone, thank you so much for coming and also thanks to the Gallery and its committee for facilitating this exhibition and talk.

My recent practice research has looked at the domestic, especially investigating the idea that our homes are the liminal sites that enable us to incorporate the public world into our individual or private world. In doing this body of research I came to a realization of how profoundly the surrounding physical environment influences this liminal process in the home.

In the work on display here I am exploring my immediate physical surroundings - allowing me to reflect more intimately on aspects of that environment - such as waves, clouds, soils, landforms, tides, plants and light.

The wall notes that sit beside the exhibition pieces contain brief descriptions of some of my thought processes informing my exploratory makings. I thought, this morning firstly I would briefly describe how the colour used in my materials has been derived, then I will talk about book making and we can finish up with consideration of the works in their groupings. I am happy to answer any questions or fill in any details that interest you so please feel free to interrupt at any time.

I have on the bench here a collection of some of the materials I use in my botanical contact print process. I have become captivated by this process as it resonates with my emotional exploration of my physical context for creating my place called home. The delight of this process is that it is connected with physical materiality - the results go beyond what I can control and are about what happens when materials do "their thing". This is the reality of the South Taranaki landscape. For all our efforts to control it, the climate and the geology are beyond our power so we are surrounded by the results of materials doing "their thing".

Unfortunately I am unable to generate all the materials that I use, partly due to my skill set but also due to time restraints. This practice is definitely defined as slow making with many stages involved and one of the key agents being time itself. So my raw materials, except for occasional hand-woven fabric or handmade paper are all purchased. I only use natural materials such as silk, cotton, wool, jute, flax and linen. Some of these are on the bench in various manifestations.

The transformation from the white or natural coloured unmarked materials that I have put out into the materials you see in the art work, is achieved by the use of water, including steam, salvaged plant and mineral materials, heat, pressure and time. Through the alchemy of these elements the materials transform. It is often described as an eco-dying process, which it is - no commercial dye or mordant chemicals are used. All the pigment and mordant elements are found locally, extracted from a sustainable, bio friendly source. The plants from my own property, the mineral sources primarily found on my walks with the dogs around South Taranaki.

Leaves are collected, cooked in copper or stainless vessels to release their pigments. More leaves are interlaid with the chosen materials, embedded with mineral sources. The contents of the bundles are held together under pressure, then placed in the pigment baths, cooked slowly, air dried, steamed and ironed. The result is a form of archival preservation as each impression captures a plant at a specific time. The natural ink maker Jason Logan states that his plant colours are a language - it is the plant telling its story. This description resonates for me as I consider my makings in this exhibition are all narratives about South Taranaki.

Of course the creating of the coloured materials is just the start of the practice - these materials are then assembled in differing ways to create the layered works that are exhibited here. All the attachment of these materials is done by hand stitching or by archival adhesive.

Now to just talk briefly about my books.

The books are small moments - sites where the beauty may look simple but when you look more closely it is always layered and it is the layers and the consequent complexities that create the beauty.

With these books my aim was the enrichment of material in a form that can be portable, intimate, personal, reflective, introspective, grounding and centering. This is what I experience as I make them, my dream is to create such experience sites for you as a user.

The books mark the passage of time by the processes of slow making involved in creating and embellishing the individual elements. Then time as an active agent is invoked again as you hold, open and use the book - turning the pages. Focused stillness could come or invigorating stimulus for engaging with the natural world.

Please pick the books up and intimately engage.

So why the title of the exhibition?

Every time I engage in this art practice the creating of the materials is the fundamental part and as already described this is largely controlled by the source dye and mineral materials, the time of year, the amount of time invested in the dying process, the way the bundles are created and the combination of elements put in any dye bundle. Even having knowledge of likely outcomes for example knowing that kawakawa will give a green dye bath if cooked in copper vessel, the process I use cannot control the exact results. Elements work with each other yielding sometimes happy surprises and sometimes disappointment. This has to be approached as a practice of play in order for it to be sustainable; it is a matter of letting go to a large extent.

Any questions?

Now we can look at the works themselves. Where would you like to start?

Well the best thing about this speech was that there was just an intimate group of people at the opening so we just chatted asking questions and handling the raw materials. It was really positive, they were all very engaged and I felt that my work was reaching people in a meaningful way which is really all it is about in the long run. So the speech notes will live as a record of my conceptual thinking around this installation of works. 

Another note to this post is that the colours in the images are not true. These photos have been taken off LW Gallery's Facebook page as a way to keep that record. When I revisit the gallery this weekend I will rephotograph with my big camera and make sure the colour record is accurate.