Part 2 of my exploration into the how I became into textiles... (the epic continues)
At highschool my two favourite subjects were Art and Home Economics. Of course I also chose some sensible subjects to give me options for University as I didn't really see how I could persue a career in art without being a 'struggling artist' and that didn't really appeal.
I loved Home Economics and whizzed through the sewing projects with ease – I had no problems with the sewing machines as they were Elna's just like Mum's. It was a similar story when we did knitting. My Nan had taught each of us to knit and we would sit beside her as shew flew through one jumper after the next and try to knit like she could. In Home Ec I ended up doing two projects because I finished the first one too quickly and had nothing to do in class (I was so keen I was knitting at home too).
I've always been interested in art and art materials. I used to dream of owning an arts supply shop so that I can be surrounded by all those wonderful paints and pencils and colour. A friend of the family gave me a box of watercolour pencils when I was in primary school and I remember treasuring them - sharpening them with a knife so that the colour lasted as long as possible.
Whilst I enjoyed art at school I do recall struggling with it as I had a teacher who was more interested in abstract art than realism as I was. Here is a sculpture that I did with wire and wax. It's modelled on my little brother – not so little anymore at 6 foot something – whilst he was laying on the floor watching television after school one day.
I recall two highschool assignments that now seem significant to my love of textiles. One was an art assignment where we chose and artist and had to critique their work. I chose Annemieke Mein. I don't know how I discovered her work but I do know that I've loved it ever since. I remember pouring over the book The Art of Annemieke Mein in awe and thinking how wonderful it would be to be able to create images such as those with a sewing machine - and now I create my own images with sewing machine. I now find it interesting that I was allowed to choose Annemieke as my artist considering that until recently, the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale "The Sale Art Gallery has previously refused to show Ms Mein's work, claiming it was craft not art" (see here)
The other assignment that keeps coming back to me was for chemistry where we studied a chemical reaction and I chose Indigo dyeing - Indigoferra Tinctora. I don't remember anything of this assignment and had completely forgotten about it until last week when I was reading India Flint's book Ecocolour and the section on Indigo. I think it's interesting that now I'm interested in dyeing and back in highschool I chose to do an assignment on that subject. Dyeing hadn't really featured in my life since then, but the linnk is interesting nonetheless.
Next weekend, Part 3: Uni and beyond...
And because this post is a bit light on with pictures, here are a few more pictures showing Mum developing our art interests as kids.... Fingerpainting....
And finally, this is me hanging upside down at aged 4. It seems I was a little monkey when I was a kid. (absolutely no textile or art refernce here at all).