Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Hello all,
The rather poor photograph, above, is of my exhibit at our recent  Sogetsu annual exhibition. Try as I might, I could not get a good photograph of this piece. The wisteria vine is resting on the floor but is also attached to the container that is hanging on the wall. The materials, which are placed in the container are nandina domestica nana, red and orange cotoneaster berries and dietes leaves. The whole structure is almost as tall as me. More and better pictures can be seen on our blog Sogetsu Victoria.

I'd like to go back to the New Zealand trip and include some pictures from the final workshop in Wellington, which was 'Composition Using Unconventional Material'. The first sentence in the book regarding this theme is - ' Use only non-plant materials to explore a composition which cannot be made in an ordinary arrangement of plants'. 

Once this exercise was completed and critiqued, fresh material was to be incorporated in it.

I brought with me a couple of easily transportable examples -

A stocking and wire sculpture to which I later
added the calla lilies

A book, which I folded into this sculptural design and to which I later added
dietes leaves

For my demonstration piece I went to a great deal of trouble to find paper that had one colour on one side and a different one on the other. Equipped with these, I proceeded to make cone shapes that I intended to join together using a stapler and double sided sticky tape. Unfortunately, my stapler fell apart at the very start of my demonstration and no one in the room had one to lend me. So I had to contend with the sticky tape, which was not quite strong enough to hold the weight of the structure. As a consequence, I ended up with a much smaller and less satisfactory piece.

Purple freesias were added to complete the piece.
And now for the members' arrangements-

Helen Wareham - plastic sheets
(Helen later added large leaves but, unfortunately, I don't have a photo of it)
Elizabeth McMillan - copper and ball
Later added dietes leaves

Sandi Hurnard - Metal mesh
Dietes leaves were added later
Maria Cullen - Metal pipes and plastic straws
Later added the anthurium
Adriana Nickless - Origami balls
Later added red carnations to the back
Julie Middleton - corrugated cardboard
Later added asparagus fern

This ends my New Zealand adventure and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the lovely ladies, both in Christchurch and Wellington, who welcome Lucy and me with such warmth and, who went out of their way to make our stay a pleasant one. We took away lasting memories. In a way I'm sorry I have finished writing about this trip because, by doing so, I've been reliving the experience. One particularly memorable hour, killing time before our flight home, was our drive around Wellington with Helen at the wheel. It's an exquisite city and everyone should see it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Street art in beautiful Wellington
Hello all,

And now for Wellington - Breathtakingly, beautiful Wellington.

After leaving Christchurch, Lucy and I arrived in Wellington and were met at the airport by Helen Wareham, Director of Sogetsu Wellington. After dropping off our luggage at the hotel and a quick lunch together with Sandra Hurnard and Elizabeth McMillan, Helen drove us to the florist's wholesalers to select materials for the workshops.

Business out of the way, we were left to our own devices for the evening. We were put up at a lovely hotel facing the harbour and, after dinner, we decided to go exploring. It happened that we were there during the Lux Light Festival. What luck!

Quote from their website:

"LUX Light Festival is a free public light festival that turns Wellington into a captivating celebration of light, art, technology and design. The largest light festival in New Zealand, LUX showcases a fantastical array of light sculptures that wind their way throughout Wellington and Frank Kitts Park."

Unfortunately, light sculptures by their nature, don't photograph well, so I included only one, above.

And, now, for the workshops.
The themes for the three workshops were selected by Sogetsu Wellington, all of them from Book 5. The workshops were held at Lyon Room Home of Compassion, a spacious and bright venue with well kept gardens all around. They also provided a delicous catered lunch.

The Saturday morning theme was from Book 5, lesson 12 - 'Direct Fixing', where we make an arrangement in a nageire vase without using any mechanics other than bending and selecting branches that will balance on their own. My demonstration piece, below.

Those that finished early were asked to make a second arrangement using the same materials.

The theme for the second workshop was Book 5, lesson 20 - 'Complementing an Artwork' but had the added requirement of the artwork being black and white. In this exercise the artwork is to be incorporated into the work space.

In preparing for this workshop, I found it hard to find an artwork that was easily transportable and black and white. Eventually, I selected a washi paper scroll, which I bought in Tokyo last year but which is black and cream. Fortunately, this was an acceptable compromise for the group.

I used tortured willow to repeat the lines created by the brush strokes in the washi scroll and added calla lilies in a glass vase.

Kate Graham
Maria Cullen

Elizabeth McMillan

Helen Wareham

Kathy Kerry

Kathy Kerry

Adriana Nickless
Erris Thomson

Sandi Hurnard

Ronnie Creighton

Hesley Henderson
Julie Middleton
That evening we enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at the lovely home of Helen Wareham. The meal was prepared by her son Joe and, for serving, was assisted by her granddaughter.

I can't end this post without mentioning New Zealand's natural beauty. I'm afraid I don't have the words to do justice to it but I will say to those that have not visited, to do themselves a favour and go visit New Zealand. It is quite extraordinary. I would, however, recommend the warmer weather.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Lucy being cute!

Hello all,
Continuing with the New Zealand theme, above are three of the many, impressive murals that adorn the walls of buildings in Christchurch.

We had two days of workshops in Christchurch. In my last post I wrote about the first day, during which we did two workshops. On the second day we had an all-day workshop, where each participant was given a small bunch of materials, that did not, necessarily, 'go well together' and were required to make an arrangement, then photograph it and use the same materials to make another. There was a table full of containers from which they could choose each time they started a new arrangement. They were to continue this way until the end of the session. I only demonstrated two arrangements, as it would have taken too much time to do more.

Like the participants, I confined myself to the same type of limited materials, as per the photographs, below. I used Siberian dogwood, chrysanthemus and two green leaves.

As You can imagine, a great number of arrangements were done, so it was too difficult to keep track of who did what and they were too many to include all of them here. So, I'm picking just a few that photographed well. I apologize for not including names.

I leave you with this arrangement  made by Lucy, who couldn't resist getting her hands onto this left over material.

Bye for now,