Submerged at Off the Kerb

October last year I was lucky enough to have a solo show at one of my favourite Melbourne galleries, the amazing Off the Kerb

It was called Submerged and included my jellyfish forms with some crochet coral floor pieces into an encompassing space that viewers seemed to love engaging with.

I got some amazing feedback from this show and people saying they found peace in my work, seeing children playing in it is always fantastic.

Images by Suzanne Balding

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These are the floor pieces, each was fitted with LEDs to low softly in the evening light of the space.Suzanne Balding_6400

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Suzanne Balding_6312-2And yes I do always look this suspicious when surrounded by my work.

One night stand

And now we are almost up to date with the big shows at least!

Earlier this year I participated in a really exciting group show called One Night Stand: Transient status, This is the second iteration of “One night stand” by Coalesce ARI (which itself is on its umpteenth iteration  since I was involved with its founding what seems like forever ago)

with the first being at Donkey wheel house last year, this was a really amazing show and at the time I regretted not being a part of it, so I was very excited to see a call for application open up early in the year.

There was a great range of work on show from amazing performance pieces through to durational works such as mine and artists drawing the viewers and recording the event in text.

My work was my very first durational piece and incorporated my crochet fungus works into a larger piece called “decay”. This piece sat in a dish of black ink that gradually was absorbed into the crochet forms and moved progressively higher up the piece. Here are a few images of the transition.

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I was happy with this piece and I am eager to try this sort of durational piece again in the future.

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The Great Mandala

Another show that was quite a big deal to me was to be a part of the Toyota community spirit gallery annual sculpture show which was titled “The Great Mandala”.

This was the 10th annual show and was a bit special, Celebrating 10 years showcasing the diversity and excellence of sculpture practice in Victoria.

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You can read more about the show and some opening night images
Here

For this show I installed a new set of 121 jellyfish, these were made in the couple of months between the two shows, rather frantically. This is alarmingly how I do most my work. Despite this it was an easy install with help from the curator and a great event to be a part of.

Here are a few pics!
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Endless forms

I’m starting from the oldest thing I should have posted, I had a big solo show at D11, in the back room which was HUGE. It was called Endless forms.

The name came from this Charles Darwin quote from the origin of species: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

The advantage of this massive space is I could have all of my varied work in together, as the viewer came into the space to the left the first thing they would see is my mycelium works, with small purple fruiting bodies. This appeared to be growing through the space, starting with the incomplete walls these spread out across the floor and onto the pristine white walls.

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The second body of work shown was that of my specimens, these pieces were partially mounted on the wall and some on small shelves I made to display them. These were a collection of found objects on which I added toadstools, brackets and other fungal growths, both out of yarn and crochet and clay forms.
These are an idea of the Wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosity that I have played with off and on for years, I have moved away from it but I keep coming back and exploring other facets.

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In the centre of the room and on the back wall were my light up toadstool works, these are clay and have a wire running through the stem and an LED under the transparent cap, mounted on a canvas, the battery pack will fit inside the back of the canvas and remain hidden.  I made some to be wall mounted and some to sit on a shelf, including a couple of really large ones. I’m really happy with how these worked in the space and mounted on plinths the created islands of light and work within the space.

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The last of my series of works was my jellyfish swarm, this contained 101 crochet jellyfish forms suspended in the space from a net and they appear to be floating in the low light. I also created a video to be projected across the work, this was blue liquid being poured into a clear pool of water and gradually taking over.

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This was my biggest solo show to date and was a massive amount of work. Installation took a week and was only possible with the help and support of my friends. People loved the show, the positive feedback I received for the show was mind-blowing, and a lot of people made a decision to take a piece home with them, I was overwhelmed by the support.

Hello

Hello blog,

it’s been a long time.

I’d like to say I have sorted things out and I’m less busy now, but that’s a lie. I’m busy as ever and have a million things to do at any given time.

I have realised something though. There’s no point in working away if nobody ever sees anything, and that’s where you come in blog! I want to do a bit of a recap of some major shows I have done and some of the works I have become obsessed with and go from there.

Sound good? Thanks for your patience blog, I’m sorry I have neglected you.

Here is a rabbit.

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Debbie Harman

The next person I want to talk about in the list of inspiring and amazing people is Debbie Harman.

I cant remember where I met Debbie, I think it was through  Blacksmith Doris.

Debbie is the artist that never stops. Judging by her output I’m not even sure she sleeps!
Debbie is an artist, a ceramicist, mosaic maker, stitcher, teacher, cartoonist, mother, tea drinker extraordinaire.

I think the first work I saw of Debbie’s was part of more art many years ago when she was obsessed with chairs and was incorporating personal text into public space. I remember a chair covered in ceramic words and a wall that had text on. I remember the word “you” written beautifully in ceramic hanging on a fence. Somehow  I ended up with one (no I didn’t steal it).

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Also there is a cheeky Mary Hackett work in this image.

Debbie works a lot with taking personal text into public space, she has just finished her masters of public art where she explored this further, however she also likes things that have feet.

Here is a toadstool with feet that she gave me for a birthday once,  a TOADSTOOL WITH FEET.
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Here it is doing a dual job of being awesome and holding up my books.

Another piece I got in a trade is this,  a painted rabbit on ceramic she made, soon it will be added to my rabbit wall.
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Recently Debbie had two shows on simultaneously ,  One was the drawing show that I organised  for this I asked Debbie to submit her work “a year of envelopes”  (blog here)
This series of works is an attempt to ensure that Debbie opened her mail instead of letting it sneak away and pile up.
Its pretty impressive:

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The snails are one of my favourites

The other show that Debbie had on is  massive solo show (across two spaces) called abandoned selves, which exlored the selves we leave behind and the perception of the selves we have become as we a move through our lives.

This show was amazing, Debbie had worked with her friend  Annette Louise Signorini who had written some inspired by and to work with the pieces themselves. It was a lovely balance and it was also really great to have Annette talk about  Debbie and her generosity of spirit which is something Debbie shares with all she meets. This was shown in  the excitement of Debbies friends crowded around at the opening.

20140811_105657Abandoned selves had handmade invites (some with errors!)

Here are a few works from the Huntclub show this show had a blind bidding system which started at $30 an artwork, it caused a stir on the opening night, fingers crossed I win the works I bid on, here are some pics!

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And from the Smallpieces show at Northcote pottery

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Blog for Abandoned Selves is here
The shows are on until the 16th. you should go.

In summer Debbie has been running classes for people, me and Dan made most of a dinner set once so fancy!
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Debbie is a character who is an amazing person I’m lucky to know,  here she is serenading her unimpressed dog Lucy.

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Mr T

As a Way of forcing myself to update this more often I thought I would feature a few of my friends and colleagues work and talk about them a bit.  One of the great advantages of being an artist is knowing other artists and being in a position to trade work with them, I have a lot of amazing pieces I have traded for and are incredibly special to me.

Today Im going to do a wee feature of My friend Tull Suwannakit, One of the most talented and humble people I know.  His work uses animals (both taxidermied and illustrated)  to explore themes of dislocation and alienation from the environment in site specific installations. Here is his website: www.nomadicfoe.com

I have a few pieces from Tull the first which was a trade is this tiny bird, nestled in a cigarette tin this is not taxidermy like most of tull’s work but rather is  a created creature made from latex and modelling clay with kangaroo fur and paint for detailing, this one is from our masters year of 2011

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Tull also is a published author and illustrator with his recent children’s  book “What happens next?” winning awards and charming people worldwide (purchasable here)  I have a couple of his illustrations in my rabbit wall of artworks the rabbit couple looking at each other and the small delicate water colour “raball”

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We had the very good fortune of making a collaborative piece in a show curated by Michael Carolan (update on MC soon!), “Uneasy Truces”  this is a detail of the result :

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When I asked Tull to be a part of a drawing show down at D11 he initially declined saying he didn’t have time, I pushed him and he gave me a sketchbook to exhibit. A sketchbook that he has been documenting animals in for about 10 years, what he considers a sketchbook not worthy of white gloves in a show I (and a lot of other viewers) would consider an outstanding record of animals bot realistic and playful. Its stunning. Here is a cheeky look at some of my favourite pages

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Tull Currently has an exhibition on at Brunswick arts called Mimesis Transition (link) and I strongly recommend you go! This show incorporates both Tull’s Taxidermy work with his draws and one sets off the other brilliantly, the balance is fantastic. The work is installed carefully and thoughtfully and the lighting is very well thought out.  Here are a couple of images:

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The show is on until the 10th and I really think everyone should have a look and spend some time with the work.

Update and Sneak peek!

So little Beatrice had her operation last Wednesday, and she has been recovering at home ever since, snuggling her boyfriend Iago and getting stroppy every time I need to give her medication, which at the moment is 9 times a day, apart from being covered in scratches from the neck down I am overjoyed at how she is recovering.

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Her  eye looks clearer and less inflamed every day and she has the vision back, as she had to have the lens of her eye removed everything must be a bit blurry for her, but she hasn’t run into anything yet so I have high hopes that everything will be ok.

I finally feel like I have done everything in my power to ensure she gets through this ok, and im still in awe of the support I have been getting.
As soon as the temperature drops under 30 degrees here I will be in the studio finishing off orders for those amazing folk who have helped me and my little girl out.

In other more art related news here is a sneaky glimpse of my work for the “Men with beards” show at Off the Kerb gallery in Collingwood, show opens on the 5th of April so save the date!

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Pretty in pixels, cross stitch

This post has been a long time coming, just like the work itself.
Every year I make a work for the RMIT annual textiles show, this year the theme was ANALOGUE: Digital

I decided to use cross stitch as my medium as it converts well to digital images and the basis for this work was pretty traditional embroidery slowly becoming pixelated towards the lower end before becoming a pixelated colour bar.

I incorporated patterns that belonged to my grandmother, who was a devoted cross stitcher, and I have happy memories of her helping to teach me to stitch, I even used some of the threads I inherited from her.
These patterns were incorporated into a larger pattern I drew up myself on grid paper with much more simplified forms.

Suffice to say this piece not only took a while to make, it also means a lot.

here is a detail of it part way through:

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and here it is finished (I have been storing it rolled up so it needs a iron)

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ManJewellery

ManJewellery was the second in Part B’s series of one-day-only jewellery ‘happenings’.

On the 20th of November 2011, the research jewellery group Part B held an exhibition of jewellery for men.

HERE is the works on their models, my work was modelled by the delectable Tim Dubois.

Here are a few detail shots.

Here it is on Tim, I was trying to make some tribalistic pieces to go with Tim’s Scarification

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The shorter piece is called Bones of my enemies,

and is made from Copper, brass, glass, porcelain teeth, bones.

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Antique porcelain teeth, bird vertebrae and rat jawbones, held in a glass test tube with copper end caps.

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The copper for the end caps was roll printed using Gretchen, my rolling mill,  and it opens at the side using a copper hook I made.

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Brass chain with a special holder for a bird bone.

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The second longer piece is called On a wing & a prayer.

and is made of copper, brass, glass, and a dried praying mantis.

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My little mantis friend.

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Saw pierced brass cicada wing, copper chain and lace textured copper cap for the  smaller test tube.
His wings are so super pretty and bright green.

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I really loved making these pieces and will keep making different versions,

as I like feeling like I’m wearing my cabinet of curiosity around during the day.