Solo Exhibition at Narek Galleries, Bermagui, NSW Australia

I have been working towards this exhibition for quite some time. I’ve out in the field looking at birds making drawings, paintings as well as photographing. I have also been just observing in my own garden. In this exhibition I have combined my ornithologist interests with portraits. At first it seemed a little uncomfortable asking people if I could draw or photograph them for my work. It is very easy to do self-portraits - I only have to deal with myself. With portraits I have to deal with the sitter’s self consciousness as well and I had to learn how to give directions to get what I needed. Some portraits just didn’t seem to work and I would like to pursue those still. Others were very easy. In fact, the first one of my niece Heldi took a long time to construct but it seemed to work well. I made numerous studies for this work and lots of samples so that by the time I came to make the final piece it was relatively easy to stitch.

first sketches

first sketches

final design before stitching

final design before stitching

first study stitching

first study stitching

Heldi Study 50 x 50 cm

Heldi Study 50 x 50 cm

I found that by not rushing into things this time, I had a much better success rate as it were. In the past I rarely made samples. I had watched a promotional video of an online course by English artist and embroiderer, Sue Stone. She advocated making samples after samples to avoid the ‘hit and miss’ approach of making art. While I couldn’t come at making lots of running stitch samples, I decided that as a new year’s resolution that I would make more samples. sometimes I would have already started and realised that I had no sample - I hadn’t worked out the technical aspects of something - and I would break of and make samples. I now have a sample port folio, although I must admit at times I have used the samples in finished pieces if things hadn’t gone quite according to plan.

I was able to send the study of Heldi to the NSW Embroiderers’ Guild exhibition, Thread Stitch Cloth, this year. It was a great way to figure out how to hang the work rather than just pinning to the wall as I usually do. The finally piece can be seen on the home page Bird Portraits