Monday, January 30, 2012

Music clip inspiration: Arcade Fire

I'm in love with this song and music clip by Arcade Fire.  The song is called Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains).  As a bit of a shopping theory geek, the lines:
'Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They're calling at me, come and find your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights
These lyrics remind me of feeling lost and completely overwhelmed in large shopping malls in the USA.  I would love to go there alone and just wander around, like a flaneur, absorbing all the information, lights and bigness that they had to offer.

It also reminds me of visiting weird and small towns in the USA and seeing deserted shops and fast food chain stores.  Their decaying aesthetics had a quiet beauty to them.  They were kind of spooky as they were so isolated but I loved looking at the faded signs, just a shadow of their former glory.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flashback: Tapestry style

Mardi Nowak Shopping 002
Tapestry by Mardi Nowak, Twins shopping for Runway Bargains.

I thought I'd share another slightly older tapestry with you all.  The tapestry above is one of the works when I first started to experiment with shaped works.  The idea of the shaped tapestry does appeal to me as it keeps the feel of the collage, making the wall the paper that the collage is applied to.

This work is woven on a heaver gauge, with about 10 threads to the weft.  I now weave with 7 threads.  Although I do like the chunkiness of the thicker woven tapestry, I find that my works are stiffer when I weave on a smaller gauge, therefore work better as shaped works.

Mardi Nowak Shopping 004
detail of tapestry.

One of my favourite parts of this tapestry is the combination of font styles in the work.  They range from a fluid, graffiti style to newsprint, to large bold text.  I played with this combination because to me, it gives that graphic design feel of a magazine layout.  It relays the overload of information that we get from these pages.

original collage by Mardi Nowak.

I have submitted this work to be considered for an upcoming group show.  I hope that it is well received as I haven't really exhibited this work, I think it's only been shown once before.  I enjoy seeing my work in group exhibitions and how it relates to others works.  It's like the work is meeting new people and having new conversations with them.  Fingers crossed it gets to meet some new people!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dress Inspiration


As I am trying to bust my fabric stash this year (seriously, there is soooo much!), I am attempting to put together some key pieces to make up that I think will get worn over and over.

The new range from McCalls was quite exciting for me.  They have some cute, simple pieces and this collar-less shirt dress with pockets (pattern M6520) had my name all over it!  I have quite a few meters of a lightweight wool flannel (see top right corner), which doesn't appear to crush which I think will be perfect for this pattern.  I also think that this will make a great travel dress for our New York City trip, teamed with warm tights, boots and knitted accessories.

Don't worry, I will post a photo once all completed.  Though with Melbourne in a major heat wave at the moment, I will be waiting until it cools off before I start sewing this up!

To keep me inspired in getting back into my sewing the following blogs are ones that I follow at the moment!

Grainline Studio
Clever Girl
Jamie Christina Designs

You should check them out too, they are full of great inspiration and tips!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Round Up: My Fashion Loves!

Marimekko n polka dots
2011 was about polka dots and stripes.

I'd like to think that I don't really follow fashion trends, well, I don't fully follow them!  I thought I would share some of my favourite fashion finds, loves and trends that 2011 gave me.

My crazy colour combo kicks for tonight! #vans
crazy colour tights

2011 was definitely about colour for me.  However in saying that I did have a huge Marimekko shopping frenzy in Boston where I managed to buy only black and white clothing - weird huh?!  I did love mixing this with super bright coloured stockings though which got alot of comments and played on the colour blocking trend.

marimekko grid
Marimekko goodness.

I was very naughty and did not sew nearly as much as I would of liked, I think I was so busy with my artwork creation that all spare time was put towards this.  I did however pick up lots of Marimekko dresses and new stripey tops which have been getting quite the work out!  So, 2011 was really about the Marimekko dress for me!  I can see that 2012 will have me making up some of my own with the collection of Marimekko fabrics that I have.

Another #marimekko and clog combo... Thanks @ugglebo_clogs!
Ugglebo Love!

I discovered Ugglebo Clogs! Oh my, how did I live without these in my life?  They are so comfortable and cute and they custom make them for you!  I have been living in my clogs and sharing the Ugglebo love where ever I can.  I'm just trying to decide what colour I am going to embrace for 2012.

The great yellow cowl
handknitted yellow cowl.

In 2011 I gave up scarves and embraced a handknitted cowl!  I went a little crazy knitting these beauties on circular needles.  I love that I didn't have to sew anything up and they knitted up quicklly.  Also the beauty of the cowl is that it can't blow off in the wind and you can pull it up over your ears to stay warm. My prediction is that the cowl is here to stay for me!

What about 2012?  Well, I have decided to get back into my sewing as much as I can.  I have a stack of fabric in my stash that really needs to be made into a variety of dresses and skirts.  I want to try and de-stash some of my clothing and send it to charity or try and sell it.  I would also love to knit up a great cardigan or jacket for Winter too but I guess, let's not go too crazy huh?!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Round Up: all things art and tapestry!

Tapestries on their way to Vilnius, Lithuania
Tapestries getting ready to go to Lithuania.

2011 was a year that I made a very conscious decision to really rev up what I was doing in terms of my art.  I moved back into an artist studio, away from my house.  I find that when I work in an external studio, I seem to get heaps more work completed.  It's like going to your job.  You clock on, work your butt off and then clock off.  Having a studio means that I have a space that is just really about creating tapestry and that has been great for me in 2011.

Studio shots
My new studio... a little bit of organised chaos.

So the numbers!  I had works in 6 exhibitions in 2011, which is the most in close to 10 years!  I also had a partnered solo show (with Adrian Conti) in my hometown Melbourne which was the first one in about 3 years!  I also had a small series of work show in Vilnius, Lithuania, first time I've shown there.  I'm so proud of the exhibitions that I've been involved in.  All of them have been very different and the response to the works has been fantastic.

I spoke about my work in 5 different presentations in 2011.  I toured with the About Time: Studio Tapestry 1975 - 2005 exhibition to present these talks.  I visited Horsham, Maryborough and Swan Hill and spoke to a huge variety of people.  It was the presentation to students that I love doing the best and I hope that I've inspired some of those students to keep going with their artworks.

2011 small tapestries by Mardi nowak
Some of the small tapestries completed in 2011

So how many works did I make in 2011?  I can't count the number of collages and works on paper that I made as there were too many!  I feel that these works found a strong direction with their use of stickers and envelopes and the aesthetic aspects have changed, meaning that this will flow into the tapestries as well.  In terms of tapestries, I was on a roll!!!  I completed and exhibited 5 smaller tapestries works and completed my large work 'Stop and Listen' which was also sold at the Piecework show.  Throughout 2011 I've been working on a much larger tapestry while doing these other works.  I would of loved to have completed it in 2011 but it looks like it will be in 2012 now!

Collages... Trying to work out which to weave #collage #art
Some details of collages made in 2011.

I also bought a new loom, making the commitment to continue weaving and also to have the ability to weave on multiple tapestries at once.

So what does 2012 hold for me and my artwork?  Well, About Time: Studio Tapestry 1975 - 2005 will be touring to a venue in Melbourne which I'm quite excited about.  I'm also planning to show some new works in another solo exhibition, hopefully in a venue that I haven't exhibited at before in Melbourne as well as being part of group shows.  Well, that's the plan and I've been on such a roll that I can see 2012 being productive too!
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