Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Child Meets and Weekly Review (city edition) - Articles on myself and my I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) quilt

I'm pleased to announce I've just had my very first publicity article published. The AQC use a PR agency and they have been great in maximising the exposure my I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) quilt has received.

The first article is in Q & A format and you can read it online as part of the My Child newsletter and you can read it on their website here.

From today there will also be an article in this weeks edition of the Weekly Review (City Edition) magazine.

I would also like thank my friend Denise Galuoppo for sharing her story with me in such detail and helping me refine the wording of the poem. It's the only way I managed to capture her struggle to have a second child so poignantly in the design of this quilt.

Until next time,

Neroli x

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Plight of the Bumblebee - my entry in 'Living Colour! international travelling exhibition

I've had a really productive year this year so far, at least for me :) I've produced two major works, one as posted below for the AQC 'Ten' challenge and the other is this piece, 'The Plight of the Bumblebee' for the 'Living Colour!' juried exhibition.

All works had to address the theme 'Living Colour!' and were to be 100x40cm in size - a quite long and narrow format which really pushed me to design something that would be best suited to this rather unique layout.
The flower petals were painted with Lumiere acrylic paints, the yellow centre is needle felted silk velvet surrounded a machine embroidered hand dye. The bee is painted and wings are made out of Angelina fibres that have been fused, backed on a water soluble stabiliser and then free machine stitched. The dew drops were created with plexi glue and opal transfer foil. Thread painting and quilting were used to further enhance the surface.

My artist statement for 'Plight of the Bumblebee' is:

 The amount of variance of colour and design on the Earth is so breathtakingly amazing and yet so often taken for granted. I wanted to show the beauty of a unique flower and how nature has allowed for so much contrast and detail, right down to the smallest dew drop or insect. The artwork's name reflects on the current significant population decline of bees worldwide, an issue for us all given they pollinate so much of the food we eat.
Techniques & Materials: White cotton was painted with metallic and iridescent acrylic paint and fused onto the backing fabric. Extra depth was added with translucent fabric paints. The middle of the flower incorporated machine embroidery, machine needle punched silk velvet and a fringe created with a tailor tack foot on the sewing machine. The dewdrops have been glued and foiled. Bee wings are made from moulded Angelina fibres. I have also used a double wadding trapunto technique on the flower petals to give extra depth

The exhibition premiers this week in Ausralia from Thursday April 10 at the AQC in Melbourne at the Royal Exhibition buildings. To see other venues and dates please view:

Friday, March 28, 2014

I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) quilt, AQC (Australasian Quilting Convention) 'Ten' Challenge Finalist 2014

I'm pleased to now be able to share my latest quilt which gained entry into the AQC 'Ten' themed challenge. I spoke a little about the theme concept of this intensely personal art quilt in my last blog post here, but essentially it's a memory quilt detailing my friends' struggle for a family and the child, miscarriages and still birth that followed.

I+V+III+I (Stillbirth) 125x125cm by  Neroli Henderson
Click to enlarge
Only one word for this caption - "Yay!!!"

Although it's a very simple piece symbology is rife throughout the design - every single leaf represents a real miscarriage, every joined double leaf is an IVF implant that failed to eventuate.  After IVF failed Denise became pregnant again naturally and it felt like it was meant to be until her baby Marcus was born sleeping, just a couple of days before his due date. Hospital staff took prints of his little hands and feet and I used those to free motion his prints onto the quilt. 

Footprints taken from Marcus Connor, born sleeping 2/1/11 were stitched using the real prints as guides.
Two faces are carved into the top part of the tree trunk, you can just see their profiles. The Dove represents Paige, now 11 and the eggs in the nest the cycle of life that will perpetuate. The heart on the tree is cut from metal and debossed with Marcus' initials and date of birth: MJC 2/1/11.

The metal heart is debased with Marcus' initials, the tree has been shaped to go in the direction of the grain and the type was free motion stitched with metallic gold thread.

The entire quilt is made from shot silks, so the colour changes significantly as you walk past. I've shaped the tree from textured silk so that the grain follows the line of the branches. All elements have been fused down raw-edge appliqué style. The poem has been free-motion stitched with metallic gold thread and the background  quilting has been kept simple with the name of the quilt inscribed into the bottom.

In this detail you can see the two faces carved in profile out of the top part of the tree trunk.
The borders have been made from sari silk edging which is a new way of finishing a quilt to me and one I haven't seen before. I hope you like it, it was an incredibly sad quilt to make and one that I hope will resonate with others who have had to go through this sort of loss. Still birth is much more prevalent that many would think.

To see the other finalists (and it's well worth a look - there are some amazing works) view them on the AQC website here.

Who's going to the AQC? If are please consider filling out the viewers choice form for this quilt. :)

Neroli x

Friday, March 21, 2014

AQC '10' theme challenge (reason for being slack at blogging #3)

Every year the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention - it's kind of like Australia's answer to Houston, though having never been lucky enough to get there I'm assuming) has a call for entries to a themed exhibition. This year to help celebrate their 10th year of the convention the theme was '10'. Art quilters from all over the world were invited to submit a 125cm x 125cm entry based on this theme.

My first thought was to make a picture quilt with as many '10' things happening in it as I could think of - all set within a beach scene. Ten-tacles sticking out of the water, a submarine with '10,000 leagues under the sea' written on it, a life guard calling out 'at-ten-tion' on his loudspeaker, Bo Derek sunning herself on the beach, a game of 10 pin bowls going on, a surfer hanging 10 - well you get the idea.

I drew it up and it looked ok but I had another idea that wouldn't let me feel like this sketch was the 'one'. My other idea was a polar opposite and quite a sad quilt to make. In 2011 good friends of mine had the horrible experience of going through a still birth at full term. Their son, whom I have no doubt would have been the most beautiful boy ever was 'born sleeping'. The hospital staff took a print of both his feet and hands and I had already stitched these out with gold embroidery thread onto silk for them as a memento. The idea of doing a '10 little fingers' themed quilt was born.
Embroidered hand and footprints taken from the hands and feet of Marcus Connor who was 'born sleeping' on 2/1/11. Marcus and these prints inspired my design submission for the AQC 'Ten' themed challenge.

After talking to my friend Denise about if she was willing to let me memorialise her experience through an art quilt that if chosen was going to be quite public I found out that if you totalled her pregnancies over the years there had been 10 in total. Her first born, Paige, now aged 12, 5 miscarriages, 3 IVF implantations and then Marcus who was still born. Obviously this was the quilt to make.

Denise was lovely enough to critique me on my poem and image concept and helped me adjust it until it aligned with how she feels about her loss. She even came over very late on the night before the quilt was due to help me spray baste the batting and turned up early again the next morning to give her ok to the border. In general I was very lucky to have something so intensely meaningful as the theme for my quilt and such a good friend to aid me in making it the best it could be. I believe if art is personal to you then you're going to do a better job at creating it.

My submission was somehow successful and the 'I+V+III+1' (Stillbirth) quilt will premier at the AQC in Melbourne this April the 10th in the Exhibition Building, Carlton. It will then be on tour over the next year around Australia and New Zealand and hopefully some other countries as well.

I can't show you the actual quilt until after the premier, but here's the poem from the inscription free machine stitched across the front.

Ten little fingers and ten little toes
Was all we wanted for you, you know
A baby perfect in it's entirety
Was all we wanted for you to be
Quite a lot it may have seemed
Though you were everything we dreamed
Then you were born and failed to wake
And each of our three hearts did break
Your life we'll never get to know
We wish we could have watched you grow

Until next time,
Neroli x