Saturday, 13 October 2018

Catherine Wright Eco Printed Merino Silk Scarf

A couple of weekends ago we visited the Arts in Oxford gallery to see the Cutting Edge: Freeing Textiles exhibition.  This exhibition runs through to 28 October 2018.


The gallery web page poses the following question, which is one textile art continually struggles with.  For me the answer is yes it is art, fluid and free to range.

But is it Art?

Textiles have long been the Cinderella of the art world; for some, marking the boundaries between between art and craft – should textile work be thought-provoking, intellectual or political? Or should it be practical, domestic, decorative and inviting – perhaps something to do in a spare moment? Or should it be fluid, free to range where it will, manifesting in individual works that resist categorising?

The Cutting Edge: Freeing Texiles is a glimpse into the varied and eclectic world of very different artists from all over New Zealand currently working in the textile arena.  Drawn from diverse practices, the works show a breadth of interest and technique that questions the boundaries of the traditional view of textiles.


The Exhibition

In respect for the artists work I only took two general room shots, which give you an impression of the exhibition. The detail in some of the pieces was amazing. The giant dungarees had sashiko stitching on them which you can't see at all.



Catherine Wright Eco-printed scarf

I couldn't resist purchasing a Catherine Wright eco-printed merino silk scarf in glorious natural and red tones. Unfortunately I can't show you an actual picture because it has to stay at the gallery until the exhibition is finished. Hopefully I get to take it home before I leave for Houston because I want to take it with me as part of the Houston travel wardrobe.


I think the bottom of this photo is a close-up of my scarf which can be seen from a distance in the first exhibition photo (the one with the dungarees) on the left hand side in the centre. Will update this post with a picture of my actual scarf when I get it.

With the purchase of the scarf I was given a copy of Catherine's artist statement. Having only been eco-printing for a year her scarves are amazingly beautiful with fabulous colour. Just shows what a magnificent part of the world we live in.


Workshops and Artist Talk

In conjunction with the exhibition, there are/were two workshops, featuring long-time feltmaker and craft dyer Kate Mahoney and inspired eco-printer Catherine Wright, and an artist talk by Patricia Took-Stephens.

On 30 September Kate taught how to make an embellished felted purse. Celia Wilson talks about the experience and shares some photos.

Patricia Took-Stephens’ Artist Talk on 14 October at 2pm will be about her work, its inspiration and its development. Patricia is a North Canterbury textile artist.

On 21 October eco-printer Catherine Wright is holding a technical workshop teaching the basic techniques of eco-dyeing on wool and silk fabrics. I was very tempted to take this class but I am spending two days sewing with Gertie on the Thursday and Friday and being realistic instead of rushing in to do everything, another class on the Sunday would be too much.


Here is a gratuitous photo of the Torlesse Range which looked very beautiful with their cap of snow in the Spring sunshine, looking across one of the many cow pastures appearing throughout the Canterbury Plains. Love the mountains not so sure about using the Plains to grow cows given the need for huge irrigation infrastructure, which of course won't damage our precious aquifers - the farmers and their experts say so.


Sunday, 7 October 2018

A Plethora of Leggings

During my no sewing period after our return from holiday there were a few RTW purchases. Mainly dresses and tunics and that brought on a mad urge for more leggings. It could also have been because it was winter and leggings are warmer than tights.

How to photograph them was a bit of a dilemma until I had the bright idea of hanging them all on the washing line.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
From left to right: DKNY Navy & Milk Dot; Warm Black; Mint Shibori;
Dotty Black; Grey Jacquard; and Black Embossed Leggings
I have written about my self drafted leggings pattern before and there was nothing different about this group although I did use two-way stretch fabric for some of these. I adjust the width of my seam allowance, so that the leggings have more or less negative ease, depending on how stretchy the fabric is.

For the two-way stretch fabric I needed to add more length to the pattern both at the hem and the waistband. This is because the stretch only goes around my body. There is no up and down stretch, as you would get in a four-way stretch fabric.
Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Left: addition to the waistband; Right: at the hem
The coaster illustrates how different in scale these two pictures are
To make these leggings, fabric a minimum length of 115cm (45 inches) by 130cm (51 inches) wide is required. This includes the extra 4" (10cm) in length for two-way stretch fabric. The width is always the direction of greatest stretch.

The difference a fabric makes

It was interesting to see the difference the fabric made to the look of the leggings. It can clearly be seen in the photos of the two-way versus four-way stretch fabric, that stretch in both directions improves the look of the finished product. A dark colour also makes a difference to how they look with the light grey looking much worse than the black two-way stretch. The patterned four-way stretch fabric is also better at hiding the lumpy bits.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Grey jacquard leggings - two-way stretch fabric; the camel toe and a saggy bum
Luckily these leggings will never be worn without a full coverage top/tunic
Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Warm black leggings - two way nearly stretch fabric
Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Mint Shibori leggings - four-way stretch fabric and a much better fitting garment

Grey jacquard stretch suiting fabric

This is a two-way stretch woven fabric from Fabric Vision in Christchurch. Not a favourite place to fabric shop but somewhere I go on occasion. The fabric has a cross-wise direction of stretch. These leggings look good with something over them but could never go out in public on their own!!

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Style Arc Sunny Top (made pre blog) and Kate Spade Go Taxi flats
Look I can almost stand on one leg
Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Camilla and Mark Rosamonde Dress and United Nude Fold Hi Liquorice booties
A much complimented ensemble when worn to work recently

Mint Shibori Leggings

A four-way stretch knit fabric from either Stonemountain and Daughter or Marcy Tilton.  I actually have two pieces of this fabric so it could be that I bought it from both places not realising it was the same, which is why I decided to make one of the pieces into leggings.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Moochi top, United Nude Fold Mid Mint booties and Untouched World merino wrap
Relaxing on the sofa with a nice cup of tea after a hard day photographing Christchurch
Marcy Tilton Venice Panel Digital Print
Marcy Tilton Venice Panel Digital Print as used by Marcy for Vogue 9057
These mint shibori leggings will be a brilliant match with the Venice panel digital print.  I bought enough of this panel print to make both a dress (in combination with other fabrics) and a top. Could use the left overs from the shibori leggings for the dress. This is now on my list of To Do for the Christmas holidays.

DKNY Navy & Milk Dot

A four-way stretch DKNY interlock twist yarn (ITY) knit fabric very recently purchased from Silhouette Patterns. I even bought it to make these leggings so it didn't get any time to rest in the stash. The top may be treated to a rearrangement of its sleeves, shortened to ¾ length, as they are just right for scooping up the water when you are washing your hands.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
The Morse Code or Jail Break outfit
Left: Oxford Farmers Market; Middle: Oxford jail; Right: Darfield jail
Leo + Be Jaime dress, Ivy Lee May bright blue shoe,
Untouched World Eco Possum Coat Cardi in Zephyr and Trelise Cooper Chasing Rainbows tote bag
I had not previously considered an ITY knit for leggings but these are so comfortable and they slide on and off your legs with ease.

Black Embossed Leggings

This is a poly/cotton two-way stretch fabric from Fabric Vision. This fabric had a length-wise direction of stretch. There is some give in the fabric cross-grain but not enough to consider this a four-way stretch fabric.

The fabric makes these leggings a bit different and I just love them. They have been worn quite a bit since they were made. This is how I wore them to work this week.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Untouched World Ecopossum graphite coat cardi, Moochi dress and United Nude Zink Patch Mid Pop mix booties
Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Aren't the shoes just magical - had to add these to the collection

Dotty Black Leggings

I was given this four-way stretch fabric in the class I took to make the self-drafted leggings pattern and I made them up in class minus the elastic for the waistband.  However they were never finished as they just didn't fit properly due to the pattern drafting error.  Once I had sorted out my pattern I made the Tessuti leggings and put the dotty black pair in a dark corner. Whilst having my fit of leggings making these were unearthed from the unsuccessful projects pile. I unmade them then re-cut the fabric.

The fabric stretch is ideal, they are even comfortable enough to sit curled up on the floor without cutting off the circulation.

Apologies for the blurry feet my phone camera has a feature which automatically focuses on your face, obviously to facilitate selfies. Not releasing this feature existed and managing to accidentally turn it on there are quite a few photos where the extremities are blurry. Eventually I realised it was a feature that could be turned on or off.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Untouched World Ecopossum graphite coat cardi, Moochi orange Enclose Tabard and Kate Spade Go Taxi flats

Warm Black Leggings

These are so cosy, with the feel of sweatshirting minus the fluffy inside. Originally I thought it was the black merino blend fabric I bought last year to make leggings but I was disabused of this idea when I did a burn test.  This fabric (I only used a scrap and did the burn test over the stainless steel kitchen sink) is hugely man-made it really caught alight when I put the flame to it and reduced to a plastic bobble. I have absolutely no idea where I bought it.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings

This pair are the first ones I made with two-way (minimal) stretch fabric and I didn't add any length to compensate for the lack of stretch.  As a result they are not hemmed and the elastic is overlocked to the fabric but not turned under or they would have been too short.

Creates Sew Slow: A Plethora of Leggings
Moochi Laze Tabard with United Nude Jacky Lo Black + Silver booties
An outfit just to prove that I too have black in my wardrobe - enough to wear black head to toe. In this case with a hint of cobalt blue.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

This is a photo essay of New Zealand's second city (by size) Christchurch which experienced a devastating earthquake in 2011. I used to be a frequent visitor to the central city on a Saturday to wander around the streets and sometimes shop. Since the earthquake I have ventured into town infrequently and generally on a focused trip to a specific place or event, never for a wander around.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

This past Saturday was sunny and I parked the car in the new Lichfield Street car park, close to the shop that used to be my second home Ballantynes and not only met my girlfriend for lunch but wandered around taking photos of the newly emerging city.

The city is definitely coming back to life, and I am torn by the new look city. It does create a strong emotional response: joy on the one hand that the city is rising again and sadness that maybe the rebuild was driven by speed, cost and concrete slab architecture. I wonder if the city missed an opportunity to achieve its full potential and develop a more cohesive look. Maybe I am too influenced by Napier (the Art Deco city) which I just love. Napier had the opportunity to rebuild after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake and was redeveloped with a cohesive Art Deco style. Will Christchurch in 50 years time be venerated or past its prime? I do wonder if the Christchurch of the future will be as polarising as the 1950's Brutalist architecture, of which Christchurch had its own famous exponents. It would be a shame if we had got rid of some truly awful buildings to just create our own for future generations.

Pre quake Cathedral Square: BNZ centre and Government Life Building on the right - truly ugly

The Gateway Bridge

On the way into the city I drive around the airport past the new Gateway Bridge the entrance to the South and the Southern Alps.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The design draws on the vertical power of the Southern Alps and the braided rivers, unique to the Canterbury Plains
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The bridge with its changing colour light show

Map of the city

Christchurch city centre is not large and all the places included in this post are within walking distance of each other, especially given the abundance of places to rest and refuel.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The city and key sights - including Head Over Heels - does even Google know I am a shoeaholic?

Cashel Street

City (Cashel) Mall and High Street in days of yore were the place to shop, then there was the Re:Start container mall which has now been replaced by real buildings.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
View West from the Bridge of Remembrance
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
View East along Cashel Mall, including the Tourist loop tram, Ballantynes on the right.
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
A mainstay of the city centre Scorpio Books now in the BNZ centre
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The BNZ centre
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Cashel Mall from High Street
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
For comparison the imaginatively conceived Re:Start Container Mall which opened on 29 October 2011

"The Strip"

The iconic entertainment mecca for the young is slowly rejuvenating along Oxford Terrace.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Oxford Terrace and the new Strip
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
"The Strip" in yesteryear
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The Strip from across the Avon River
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
South end of the Strip looking towards the Justice precinct

The Bridge of Remembrance

The war memorial dedicated to those who died in World War 1 but also remembering those who participated in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts in Asia in the 1950s to early 1970s.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The Bridge over the Avon River
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The gate looking east
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The gate looking west

Oi Manawa - Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial

Five months after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake, centred just along the road from us (40 kilometres, west of Christchurch), an even more damaging quake struck at 12.51pm on 22 February 2011. The shallow, 6.3 magnitude quake, in the Port Hills just 10 kilometres from the centre of Christchurch, caused the greatest ground acceleration ever recorded in New Zealand.  The quake sequence included more than 11,000 aftershocks.

The earthquake claimed the lives of 185 people and injured many more. About 25,000 houses suffered serious damage and more than half of all buildings in the central city had to be demolished. The memorial, opened to the public on 22 February 2017, on the sixth anniversary of the earthquake. It pays respect to those who lost their lives, those who were seriously injured and survivors. It also acknowledges the support received during the response and recovery that followed.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The memorial inscription
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The memorial wall extends 111 metres along the curve of the Ōtākaro/Avon River
The names of the 185 who died are inscribed into marble panels stretching 40 metres along the memorial wall.  The arrangement of names and how they are written was guided by the bereaved families. All names are in English, as well as the person’s first language (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Hebrew, Arabic, Serbian or Russian), if it was not English.

The Arts Centre of Christchurch

The Arts Centre is one of the most significant collections of historic buildings in New Zealand. It is over half way through its $290 million restoration. 

Originally an educational establishment home to what is now Canterbury University, it has some very famous alumni. Dame Ngaio Marsh (loved her mystery novels in my teens),  Nobel prize winning scientist Ernest, Lord Rutherford and Sir Āpirana Ngata, a prominent NZ politician and lawyer, who promoted and protected Māori culture and language.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Looking fabulous part of the newly restored Christchurch Arts Centre
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Part of the old stonework retained in the entrance to the new toilet facilities
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Under construction

Christ Church Cathedral

The increasingly decrepit eye sore that is Christ Church Cathedral now, once the beating heart of the central city.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The Chalice, designed by Neil Dawson, contains forty-two native plant leaf patterns

Colombo Street


Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Colombo Street north (taken from the walkway in the picture below)
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The walkway over Colombo Street between Ballantynes and The Crossing
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Colombo Street south

Building Art

Lots of art has popped up around Christchurch, some of it sponsored by Christchurch City Council, through the Enliven Places Programme. This programme supports regeneration across the city by encouraging the community to transform spaces and leave a lasting legacy.

It would be easy to write a post just about the art around Christchurch streets as many innovative pieces have come to life over the past seven years. As this post is already rather long I have limited myself to two examples.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
On the wall of a building at Cathedral Junction
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Press Lane artwork by Grace Duval

The stuck in the past

Obviously the biggest stuck in the past is the Christ Church Cathedral which is going to be restored (maybe if someone stumps up enough money). Here are some other buildings around the central city that have some way to go before resurrection.

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Former Municipal Chambers, Oxford Terrace
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Pre earthquake: former Municipal Chambers, designed by Samuel Hurst Seager, built in 1887
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Telephone box outside the former Municipal Chambers looking south towards Oxford Terrace
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Worcester Boulevard just west of Cathedral Square
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
High Street at the east end of Cashel Mall
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Cambridge Terrace, diagonally across the river from the Earthquake Memorial

Hagley Park and the Avon River

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
Cherry blossom time
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?

Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The Avon River in Spring
Creates Sew Slow: Christchurch: A city on the move or stuck in the past?
The waning daffodils