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AnneLawsonArt My art work

Standing before a hedge

It’s been a funny old time lately. As I have said a few times and in a few different places my creativity/art practice feels stuck. I realised I didn’t like the idea of stuck, with the image of me in mud, unable to move. My mind is happier with the image of a hedge in front of me. It’s a barrier, but even if I can’t chop it all down, I know that I can snip my way through it.

So what’s in the hedge, what’s stopping me?

  • Mess and stuff, which seems to have accumulated around me. I have begun to tidy, clean up and throw out/recycle, and am happy to take this one cupboard/box/basket at a time. (Wasn’t this what lockdown was supposed to be about ~ cleaning out cupboards?!)
  • Having enough finished works. Part of me thinks, why do I want to make more?
  • The lack of inspiration. In my life BC (before covid, of course!) I loved to meander through galleries, along beaches, in new towns and along highways. That came to a halt, and I still feel wary about getting out and about at the moment.
  • and other things that are going on in my life. They aren’t my stories to tell but still demand my time and energy.
  • Maybe too there is the general malaise that many of us are feeling. Weary, uncertain, just putting one foot in front of the other.

Then the perfect online masterclass came along. “The essence of identity” with Donna Watson. The goals of the course seemed to fit me perfectly ~ “This class is ideal for you if you are looking for clear strategies and exercises to move your creativity forward and if you are ready to go deeper, raising your level of creative consciousness.” Yep, that’s me.

Already I have insights, that arose out of Donna’s simple request to write down the strengths and weaknesses of my art. I love doing the collages of reeds, mangroves and rock pools, and I thought I was showing the fragility and importance of those habitats. However I wasn’t sure where to go beyond that. More of the same? Another habitat? I realised I had an interesting technique but that I needed to go deeper with the concept of environmental fragility that lies behind these works. I am not sure what I mean by that, but I want to find out.

At the end of the course I would love to have integrated the different parts of my art. I have a range of techniques in my toolbox. I am excited by collage and I love textile work. I want to learn how to use the different technique/element from my toolbox at the right time and in the right place. I think that will come when I have delved deeper into my art and practice and found my own voice.

As I mentioned in my SAL post, I am not taking on any projects at the moment, either textile or other. I want just play with ideas, bits of paper and stitches, to see what emerges.

However, not having a project is difficult. I am quite outcome driven, and not knowing what I want to do before I sit down can be quite uncomfortable. The mantra “Don’t think, don’t name” is useful. So is remembering that uncomfortable is good if I am prepared to work out the why’s of that feeling.

This exploration coincides with an idea I just found today ~ to go deeper not wider. It comes from David Cain, and the idea is to use whatever you have for a year, a Depth Year. Use the materials, the skills, the books, the musical instrument that you already have, and gain experience and find value in those things.

I like that idea although I am not sure about the books, especially if it includes Library books. I am attracted to the next bright and shiny thing ~ a piece of material that I might need, a pencil that will make my work sing, a new sketchbook, a new technique ~ especially a new technique. Using the skills, knowledge and materials I already have is another way of focussing and limiting my options.

So, I am going exploring. I will be fooling around and playing. I will be thinking and meandering in my own head. Also I am hoping that my thoughts and ideas will come tumbling out onto blog posts.

(I am reminded of the delightful children’s book “How Tom beat Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen” by the wonderful Russell Hoban and illustrated by the irrepressible Quentin Blake.Do you know it?)


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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My art work SAL

SAL

I haven’t been sewing anything in particular lately. Instead I have been inspired by Claire Wellesley’s idea of a stitching journal. I am just stitching, playing with stitches, with no thought for the finished product. In fact I hope there is no product, and maybe no finish.

It is on off cuts of linen from a dress I recently sewed. It didn’t matter to me that the off cuts were odd shapes, nor that the edges are raw. The seams are handsewn French seams.

I was practising how to control running stitch to get different effects.

Circles in chain and stem stitches. They were fun to do, after I had traced around a 20 cent coin.

I will happily work on this, probably adding more linen as I go. However I am not starting any other textile projects for a while. At the moment I am working out where I want my art to go. Part of that is thinking about how to meld my textile work to my collage. I don’t want to just add textile bits to a collage, but instead to have the two media work together, where it is appropriate.

So, I am doing a lot of thinking rather than much making. This will be my last SAL, for a while at least. However, the others on the list below, will still be creating wonderful embroideries.


AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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My art work Odds and Ends SAL

SAL

Last time I had finished embroidering patches on the pockets of my jacket and was eyeing off the yoke.

I have worn it a couple of times and it feels good to wear.

So, I decided to play with the yoke. The front ones seemed a bit too obvious, so I have begun the back. Another advantage of the back is that it didn’t have to be a close match of the pockets. However I wanted to keep some of the same elements.

The fabric is quite different — a mustard linen from a dress I recently made. The colours of the threads give it a different feel.

What is the same is the stitching. The outside border is coral knot stitch, then white chain stitch. The flowers are created with pistol stitch, which I think gives a funky feel.

Now I am a little stuck. It’s not finished, and needs more oomph, more wow. I tried the feathery yarn that worked so well on the front. It didn’t work on this 🤔. So I am letting it talk to me, to tell me what comes next. It doesn’t need to be rushed. I am sure there will be progress to show next SAL.

This stitch-a-long is for our own personal sewing, so all the women on the list are creating wonderful things. Follow the links to see what they are up to. I am sure you will be amazed.



Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, AJ, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Helen


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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My art work SAL

Stitch-A-Long

Three weeks ago I showed you the square I was stitching. I had no firm idea about what it was going to be as I was just playing with stitches I learnt form my stitching wheel.

At the same time I was thinking deeply about my wardrobe. The full explanation is for another post. However one conclusion I came to was that I want the things I wear to be interesting, unexpected and things that I enjoy.

My mind wandered off to a plain lightweight jacket that I should wear more often. It is perfect for cool Spring or Autumn days, where you need something but nothing heavy.

And then the question/suggestion: “Why don’t I embroider patches for the pockets?”

So I did.

It was fun to play with different threads from my stash, including one that has long pink threads embedded in it. And more coral knot stitch.

The patches are only hand sewn on, so are easily removed if I decide to go back to plain ~ or desire different unexpected patches.

It’s an odd unexpected combination, but the patches make me smile. (I am eying off the yoke at the moment!)

This stitch-a-long is for personal stitching. There is a group of us who post every three weeks. Follow the links as there is such a wonderful diversity of stitching going on in the group.

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live and sew – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

‘Between Worlds’

“Between Worlds”. That’s the title of my exhibition in Kyneton, at the Old Auction House.

If you read my newsletter* you will know that I have been offered an extension to the exhibition dates. That was such a nice surprise (although not for the artist who was unable to mount theirs after mine). In Melbourne we are back in lockdown, so visiting is out of the question. I felt that maybe my collages would be locked away in the gallery for the time.

It is now running until September 13th at

The Old Auction House

52 ~ 56 Mollison St

Kyneton

Surely in that time this current lockdown will be lifted so that I can get to see it, along with lots of other Melburnians too of course. It is already open for those of you living in regional Victoria. I was delighted to come across this on the Visit Macedon Ranges website.

A taste of some of the collages in the exhibition. These are all in the Reeds series, inspired by my local wetlands.

Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #3 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #3 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #1 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #1 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #2 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #4 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #6 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021
Reeds #6 Image copyright Anne Lawson 2021

* If you are interested in finding out more detail of my art practice, my newsletter is the thing to read. I publish it monthly, although at the moment, with the two exhibitions on the go, it has been a little more frequent. People tell me that they really enjoy reading it, which is always heartening to hear.


My blog looks different now. You may remember me bemoaning that I couldn’t type/edit/publish posts on WordPress on my laptop. That page was just blank. Advice was to change the theme, so I have, and it worked. I am happily typing with my fingers rather than my thumbs on the WP app on my phone. Bonus is that I quite like the clarity of this theme.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

The Ascot Vale Library Exhibition is up

Last Wednesday I carried my art works into the Library and met MJ, the Community Arts Officer. It was her hard work that enabled this to happen in the Library. And her hard work that made my works look great in the space. She was up and down the ladder quite a few times for each piece.

We decided to group the works thematically. Above the children’s shelves are the reeds and water ribbons.

This photo was taken before they were hung. The little blue postitnotes are gone.

The rock pools and dunes have been hung above the higher adult non-fiction shelves.

I was really delighted at the positive comments staff and library users made as we were hanging them. One staff member remarked on how soothing they were, and they all agreed that it was lovely to have art back on their walls.

I would love to show you how they look now they are hung, but unfortunately Victoria has gone into another lockdown and the Library is closed. I have to make do with peeking through the windows!

As I was walking past one of the librarians hastened to the window and mimed how much she loved the works. That cheered my lockdown heart!

So big thanks to MJ and the others at the Incinerator Art Gallery for giving me this opportunity to show my work to my community, and beyond.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.
I also acknowledge that the rock pools and dunes were inspired by places on lands belonging to the Boon Wurrung people.

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AnneLawsonArt Melbourne My art work

Three more paintings

I am running a little behind with posting my works for the exhibition, so here comes three at once!

They are still in the water ribbons series, although the first one is of reeds more than the water ribbons. I think that’s the one that will be chosen as the hero image for the exhibition.

I love that term ‘hero image’. It is the painting that is used as the image for the exhibition, on promo materials and grand banners, if I was having one of those! Instead I think it will be on the website of the Incinerator Art Gallery website, which is organising the exhibition. Maybe on the Library’s material too.

This one is cropped too tightly. While the water ribbons are close to the left edge, there are more showing than in this photo.

Tomorrow is the big day, when the works will be hung in the Library. I will have photos to show you very soon! Thanks for all the positive support and feedback you have been giving me.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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AnneLawsonArt Melbourne My art work

Water ribbons #2

The second in the water ribbons series. Water ribbons are aquatic plants that appear out of the water, away from the banks.

With this one I was playing about with oil pastel and watercolour, using the oil pastel as a resist. It was fun to move the paint around over the oil pastel, even blowing through a straw. Then I cut out around the shapes to make the thre clumps.

I like the energy in this one, and I think the background adds to it. However, it is not a favourite. In fact I wasn’t going to put it into the exhibition until a friend said it worked for her. Another example of how something appeals to one person and not another.

A reminder about the exhibition:

Ascot Vale Library

Union Rd

Ascot Vale, Melbourne

From 14th July (That’s this week –very exciting!) Until 8th December.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

Water ribbons

The more I looked at the wetlands near me, the more I saw. I first saw the reeds and their wonderful reflections, then I looked closer and saw another group of plants, the water ribbons. They have long scrappy leaves that emerge right out of the water.

I was intrigued by the seed pods that appeared, expecting them to flower. Instead, surprisingly, they stayed as berries.

With this collage I wanted to capture the strappy leaves and to show how it grows out of the water. The whole clump was created by scraping paint across the paper, and then carefully cutting out. I like the composition of the clump sitting strongly in the bottom left.

Remember it is one of the collages in the exhibition at the Ascot Vale Library, Union Rd, Ascot Vale, which opens next Wednesday, 14th July.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

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AnneLawsonArt My art work

Another mangrove collage

The theme for my exhibition is habitats that lie between the land and the sea, Between Worlds. They are often habitats that have been disregarded, so drained and built over. We have come to learn, at a high cost, how precious they are.

Mangroves fit in perfectly here. They are muddy and difficult to move through, not glamorous or beautiful, but oh so important. They are natural water filters and breeding grounds for many fish species. Ecosystems are complex.

However all along the coast of Australia–and I am sure many other parts of the world–they have been seen as wasteland, land better used as marinas and development.

The aerial photo that inspired my collages was of mangroves in Westernport Bay, a RAMSAR site. Close to this precious area is a gas terminal, which wanted to expand and have more ships come though the Bay. There was a lot of opposition, which fortunately put enough pressure on the government to stop the expansion. Fortunately we still have this wonderful area for fish and birds and weedy seadragons.

The bush shapes for this collage were created with various papers — tissue paper, photocopy paper, brown paper and the paper florists wrap flowers in. I printed the colours on the gelli plate. After I torn out the shapes I layered them to add interest and extra texture. You can see some of the layers in the photo.

For the background I scraped paint over an A3 sheet of photocopy paper. Then I tore it into strips and glued them back down. I like the sense of movement it gives.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.