Saturday, June 13, 2015

Musings of A Textile Tragic -
Be Brave, The Rest Will Follow
June, 2015 - Issue 118

Art Essay (TFF Column)

Co-Editor: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The largest selling textile magazine in Australasia is Textile Fibre Forum (TFF). I am the co-editor of the magazine (its founder - Janet de Boer - being the other co-editor). Hence I have created a column within the magazine titled – Musings of a Textile Tragic. This column will appear on this blogspot together with a link and contents page of each new issue of the quarterly magazine once it is available from magazine outlets and on the ArtWear Publications website.

Front Cover of TFF (June, 2015 - Issue 118).

For your convenience, I have listed links to other Musings articles:
Musings of a Textile Tragic
Co-Editor of TFF
Of Fires and Flooding Rain
Lost in Translation
Venusian Men
The Artwork of Youth
Textile Tasters from My Workshops

Contents Page of TFF - June 2015 Edition (Issue Number 118)

Musings of A Textile Tragic - Be Brave, The Rest Will Follow
The older we get the more risk adverse we become since we want to protect the reputation that we have built over a lifetime. Dabbling in “indie” art may be a good idea at the age of 80 for some, but not for most! When these strange thoughts emerge I remember the advice Jawahalal Nehru gave to his daughter Indira Gandhi - “Be brave, the rest will follow”. It became my credo throughout my life and so when I have become too comfortable with my work, art practice and life in general, this credo makes an appearance in order to remind me that life should be a challenge and not just a “dottle”. Consequently, I would do something risky - not just for the sake of it but rather for the thrill of it!

I have worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for some of the largest advertising agencies in Australia. In the 1980s my husband informed me that he was offered a job at the University of Newcastle and wanted my input if he should accept it, after all I would have to relinquish my graphic design job at George Patterson Advertising (Melbourne). I gave it some thought and said to him “Let’s go” and before too long I was the senior art director/senior graphic designer for the Medical Communication Unit at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle/Hunter Area Health Service.

After ten years in the job, I had a “Nehru” epiphany. I fronted my husband at breakfast and announced that from this day forth I was elevating him to an even greater status, namely, to that of an art patron! He look confused but slowly understood what I meant when I resigned from my lucrative senior art director/senior graphic design position and enrolled as a part-time fine-arts undergraduate student at the University of Newcastle. For the first year of my degree I experimented with painting on canvas (a ballerina on fire doing a poised leap into oblivion - of all things!), sculpture (a striated structured dome), prints on paper (limited edition prints) and finally, prints on cloth. I decided to concentrate on the latter two and slowly as my art evolved, my use of textiles started to dominate my artworks. I did a workshop and a year long master class program with Jane Dunnewold in the USA and the rest is history.

I have already detailed how I became co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum (see Issue 112). I stated right at the beginning that my co-editorship would be inclusive, attempting to enlarge the textile community. To that end my “Musings” juxtaposed: (i) experienced textile artists such as Els van Baarle (Lost in Translation) with those at the beginning of their art journey (The Artwork of Youth); (ii) those facing hardships of the bush (Of Fires and Flooding Rains) with those attending country and city workshops (Textile Tasters of My Workshops); great women textile artists (littered most of my musings) to those few men in the field (Venusian Men).

I also stated in my first issue as co-editor that some of my selected articles and covers would be “edgy” (ah, my “Nehru” moments!). I believe there are a number that easily fall into this category, but I will allow you to decide which ones they are, since what is “edgy” to one person is “mainstream” to another.

My co-editorship was always a year-to-year proposition as I stated in Issue 112. Nevertheless, this will be my last “Musings” and the last issue that I will be co-editor of TFF. I am leaving in order to pursue my artwork so that I can exhibit more nationally and internationally without the restrictions of publishing deadlines. Of course I shall still blog on various topics - essays, art resources, reviews, guest editorials etc. ( and write the occasional article for ArtWear Publications.

I am very grateful to Michelle Moriarty for initially installing me as co-editor and to Lynda Worthington for having confidence in me to continue in that role for another year. I enjoyed working with the graphics team at ArtWear Publications: Kylie Albanese, Hannah Mary French and of course, my closest graphic associate Cilla Poa-Heighway. I loved working with so many of my contributors to TFF but the two writers that worked hardest and closest with me were Inga Walton and Ian Penrose. Finally, what can I say about Janet de Boer that has not already been written in print. She was a great mentor, and very generous in leading me to interesting contributors. I have been co-editor for only a blink (two years in all) whereas Janet was the sole editor for a lifetime. She has forged TFF’s heart and soul.

The baton has been passed on to Neroli Henderson. She is an experienced textile artist, a graphic designer and has a following on social media sites. I have every confidence that TFF is in great hands and look forward to reading her future issues as editor. I know she will bring her formidable imprint to the magazine.

This is your time, dear reader, to seek opportunity, to unfurl your aspirations, to operate on your imagination and dreams with your art practice and so create new horizons, new realities and new frontiers - for you and others to explore. This reader is your time to - grab it, shake it, change it! Remember the words of Nehru - “Be Brave, The Rest Will Follow”.

All photos below by Ellak von Nagy-Felsobuki unless otherwise stated.

Marie-Therese curated the inaugural, international touring exhibition, "ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions", which toured Australia from 2009-2011. Here she is giving the curator’s address at Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Qld. 2010. Photo courtesy Karen Tyler, Redcliffe City Art Gallery.
Photograph credit: Al Sim.
"ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions" was initially exhibited at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Fairfield, NSW, Australia, 29th August - 11th October 2009.
The exhibition then toured nationally to:
Orange Regional Gallery, NSW, 9th April - 30th May 2010 in conjunction with the international Orange Fibre Forum Conference.
Redcliffe City Art Gallery in Queensland, 11th - 28th August 2010 as part of the gallery's 10 year celebrations.
Wangaratta Art Gallery, Victoria, 11th December 2010 - 23rd January 2011 as part of the gallery's contemporary textile arts exhibitions program.

Marie-Therese’s "Velvet ArtCloth Scarves Collection" was nominated as a Finalist in the inaugural 2013 Australian Craft Awards by design100 Pty. Ltd.

In 2009 Marie-Therese was one of twenty-one artists invited to participate in the 2011 Exchange Partners in Print "Unique State" 20th Anniversary Print Project. Pictured is edition no. 8/40 from the Artcloth work "Wangi’s Djirang", which employs her signature MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique on synthetic fiber.

Artists were asked to make 40 x A4 unique state artworks using any form of print media. These artworks had to be a signature work, consistent with the artists practice. The size of each artwork had to be A4 in size (i.e. 29.7 cm long x 21 cm wide). All 40 works had to be different in some respect and the 40 artworks, when pieced together, had to rebuild an artwork in its own right. Artists were asked to use acid free materials and long lasting archival inks. Artists could use textile materials or different papers and media.

The portfolios/prints have been collected by the Australian Print Council, Melbourne, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, Australia, Castlemaine Regional Art Gallery, Australia, Lower East Side Print Shop, New York, USA, California Society of Printmakers, San Francisco, USA, Chicago Printmakers Collaborative, Chicago, USA, London Print Studios, London, UK, Artichoke Printmakers, London, UK, The Cambridge Curwen Print Studios, UK, East London Print Work Shop, UK, Spike Island Studios, Bristol, UK, Limerick Printmakers Studio, Limerick, Ireland, Edinburgh Print Workshop Edinburgh, Scotland, Glasgow Print Workshop, Glasgow, Scotland.

Marie-Therese screen-printing multiple image layers at her Art Quill Studio in Arcadia Vale, NSW, Australia.

Marie-Therese with her "New Landscapes Using Disperse Dyes & Transfer Printing" five-day workshop class at the Surface Design Association’s Confluence conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, 2011.
Back left to right standing: Sheryl Schwyhart, Dotti Day, Katherine Dunlevey, Lesley Turner, Camy Kilmer, Jennifer Libby Fay and Marie-Therese. Centre left to right standing: Ingrid Lincoln, Dar Brooks, Karie Amstutz (workshop assistant). Front left to right sitting: Barbara Martinson, Liv Samset and Helda Klouth.

A view of Marie-Therese’s "When Rainforests Ruled" ArtCloth exhibition at Purple Noon Art and Sculpture Gallery, Freemans Reach, NSW, Australia, 7th July - 31st August 2012.

Marie-Therese with art patrons and artists at her "My Southern Land" ArtCloth exhibition at
‘t Haentje the Paart Gallery, Middelburg, The Netherlands, 5th October - 4th November 2014.
From left to right: Els van Baarle (artist), art patron, art patron, Marie-Therese (artist), Marijke van Welzen (artist), let Snoeij-van Pelt (Gallery Owner and Director of ‘t Haentje the Paart Gallery), Monika (let Snoeij-van Pelt’s daughter and Gallery Assistant), three art patrons.

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