Friday, August 12, 2016

Moth Dolls

Playing with doilies. Not as easy as it seems. Often when I critically assess the success or otherwise of recycling them in a work, I am often disappointed with the results. 
I think it is because in my mind, the original use of these often very beautiful hand-crocheted works, is what I think of first. As soon as I recognise them out of context, I immediately visualise them on a dresser or table, despite any new lease of life they are given.

Here I have tried to create pieces where the doilies are so secondary to the end result, that their new use in the piece is overshadowed. The possibility of their original function is only noticed after the initial response to the work has been accepted.

In this case I have tried to detract from the fact that I have used these ready-made components. Hopefully the individual character of each doll will dominate the viewers interaction. Cute and somewhat disturbing to the eye as a whole, it is only after an initial reaction, that the whole gives over to the different composite parts that make the doll entire. 
These have proven to be a quirky distraction from making other more substantial works. I love them.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Making Paper Without a Deckle & Frame

So here I am in Australia with all this beautiful paper bark, knowing it will never get through customs home. What to do?



I bought a short length of gauze and lace net curtaining material. I then soaked the bark, some used paper towels, and some shredded paper in a container of water and household bleach. 
Then it was time for a bit of lateral thinking. Without a deckle and frame, I decided I would dollop the pulp out onto the material and roll it out as a thick sheet of card-like paper so that I could then lay it out to dry. 

Below are photos of the process I used, so I won't bore you with the details as they are fairly self explanatory.

 Below are a couple of pics of the drying paper, along with a dried sheet that I made earlier in the day, using exactly the same method.

So it does work as a make-do method, albeit a bit bulky and rough & ready. I will iron it with a hot iron and hopefully NZ Customs will be ok with me taking it through. If all pans out well, I can reconstitute the sheets once I'm back home, and re-make some finer paper for what I need.. ...Salut 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Co-Lab Project.

I have been making paper and working on ideas for an exhibition in the making. The move from tapestry weaving into mixed and multi media is proving to be an exciting shift in ideas, and extremely liberating. 

This immense sense of freedom is supported by working on a collaborative project that is not contained by any pre-determined  or precise outcome. Nor is it dictated to by having to produce an agreed to body of specific works. 

The three of us meet monthly, and stay in contact electronically in between time.

Extended visual possibilities, concepts and ideas are forming around our theme of displacement and belonging. We have given ourselves licence to let each artist form ideas for the exhibition based on the evolving work we are each undertaking. We are 3 textile artists working in collaboration, without boundaries. Maybe the world too needs more collaboration and less boundaries to co-exist and expand common ideas.

Orange is the colour I associate with boundaries, be they road cones or boiler suits.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I have decided to stick with this font, its sparseness means I can write very little whilst appearing to have written much. 

I pulled out an old tapestry weaving that had been banished to the cupboard of shame for five years or more. Her re-appearance was the result of a conversation I had with a "kiwi" visiting home on annual leave from working on Christmas Island.
Kangaroo Paw, pencil on trace paper.
Christmas Island is used by the Australian Govt. as an off-shore indefinite holding facility for ex-criminals, refugees and other undesirables.

I was finally able to make use of the shell casing covers I managed to  aquire some time ago. Cut outs of stylised Kangaroo Paw flowers were used to soften the main weaving with a border of flowers.

They are used as a strong symbolic statement for the end work. The juxtaposition of stylised flowers, the cropping of the self-portrait through use of framing defines and contains the woman, the darkness surrounding the face creating a veil like quality. All these combine to present a surface layer of ambiguous meaning from a distance. 

"Ramadhan On Christmas Island"



For those of you who have no idea what a Paula shell loom may be, here are a couple of images taken from a recent day of play, making brooches.
Linen warp, silk slub, cotton, fine copper wire and feathers.
Of course the problem is that the weaving looks so cute in-situ, that no one wants to cut them off the shell when they are finished weaving. These shells grow to quite good sizes in the colder waters of the NZ coastline.

I will be running a community workshop next Saturday at the Franklin Art Gallery in Pukekohe. Give Nansi a ring at the gallery to book a spot. It is free to attend, and there is a morning and an afternoon time slot available.

Good Bye Beautiful Sudio Space

Well these fragments of my studio wall space are but a memory now. Everything is packed up for a new start elsewhere. I am tapping on the door of madness trying to keep an eye(and memory)on the detritus of essentials I need for creative pursuit. 

Genette and company.

These are photos taken from my "protest walls". Alternatively it could be a record of un-sold works, and there may be a connection there, Hmmmm.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


BOY AT PLAY WITH BOATS - a reference to our cousins....and ourselves.


When I first saw this canvas I was struck by the power the boy with stick wielded. There was an uncertainty of time and place. Was it 1920's Ireland or 1960's N.Z.?  There was a high possibility I could have seen this child just yesterday.

This found object is an early circa 2000 collaborative work by two Elam Arts graduates whose names are easily identified on the reverse side of the canvas. The fact that the artists had been open to shared input was an important consideration when I approached the concept of adding another layer to the work.

By altering the original, this work investigates change, and confronts how moral attitudes often champion resistance to said change.

How does it make one feel to know that the status quo has been changed, possibly violated even?

Should the additions be removed, leaving scars and imperfections that are not seen unless you look very closely to the fabric of the canvas. The status quo seemingly restored.

Does acceptance of the altered state make the previous less important or relevant?

This work invites the viewer to consider how a change of circumstances may impact on our lives demonstrated through the figure with the stick in hand. Boy At Play With Boats suggests a reaction to an imposed and imagined threat, a previously unoccupied space is now occupied, thus forcing the viewer to interpret the figure in its new setting.


Tapestry Weavings By Stephenie Collin


I hope you find Warped Art & Design both interesting and inspiring, and that it will encourage anyone working with fibre to investigate and experiment further within their chosen field.

The basic loom, which is my tool of trade, has remained technologically unchanged. This aspect appeals to me as I weave contemporary images on a machine of such simple and ancient construction.

And if the loom be silenced,
then needles, threads and fingers
have plenty more to say.

About Me

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Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand
I am an artist, weaver, gardener, mother and grandmother, home food gatherer, political sceptic, modest future eater, and much much more.