Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Opening - Friday 30th July 2010

Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell, attended the opening and we invited her to make an impromptu speech. Her speech was eloquent and interesting as she commented on the prosaic nature of tea towels. It was so exciting to have the mayor of Lismore supporting this exhibition.

Zeb Shultz (President of Real Art Works, Katie Alleva (Curator of the Tea Towel exhibition) and Ruth Zstisimbinis (Director of the Roxy Gallery)

Corinne Bat-Rawden (Director of the Serpentine Gallery)

Katie Alleva said a short and sweet speech at the opening.

Rebecca Tapscott-O'meara in front of her work the' Vices'

Katie Alleva, Corinne Bat-Rawdin and Mayor, Jenny Dowell

Mayor, Jenny Dowell making a great speech at the opening.

Paul Shultz and Rohan Langford (Rohan in front of his Tea Towel screen creation named Hallucination installation)

An impromptu appearance from 'The GLEE choir' - so special actually to hear the choir's beautiful arrangement on somewhere over the rainbow. A special moment.

They walked up and set up on the road out the front of the art gallery.  Lismore's GLEE choir.

Clapping the choir...

Rebecca and Kay at the opening....

Rohan Langford models the tea towel exhibition opening invite.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Media Release - The Tea Towel Exhibtion

The Tea Towel Exhibition is a unique project organised by local visual artist and teacher Katie Alleva. 

'Slow Food', Discharge Dyeing & Embroidery with bush dyed wool, 
 By Sonya Marie

Invited artists and designers are asked to create an artwork on a tea towel that explores the Gastronomic theme of 'the art and science of food'. Artists use the tea towel as a canvas that can be ripped, stitched, painted, folded, sculptured, screen printed, drawn on etc...basically anything goes!

The Initial inspiration came from ‘Third Drawer Down’ a unique concept company based in Melbourne. They are famous for collaborating with artists and designers and creating a high quality range of unique Tea Towels.

Katie states, ‘the entire project was predominantly organised via the Internet, the most amazing part of this project has been the response from artists from the ‘call - out for artists’ on Twitter and Facebook.
I have connected with local artists and also artists from Sydney, Tasmania, Melbourne and Darwin. 

 T.towel ready for discharging dyeing, By Sonya Marie

Katie said that she ‘wanted to work on an exhibition that she hadn’t seen in the Northern Rivers before.’ Tea Towels are a very humble object really and I had hoped to focus on an exhibition that celebrated
life - food is fun and exciting and so relevant in our day-to-day lives. Being from an Italian background I grew up with food being the centre of our lives, social gatherings and celebrations. The table was the
place for eating, talking, sharing, crying and laughing! 

'Little Cabbage Tree', By Sonya Marie

The exhibition officially opens 6pm Friday 30th July and will run from 29th July to the 11th August 2010 at the Serpentine Gallery in North Lismore. You can find more information and read interviews with participating artists on Katie’s blog www.theteatowelexhibition.blogspot.com

I look forward to seeing you at the opening!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Featured Artist - Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca will be showcasing a limited edition tea towel at The Tea Towel Exhibition, opening Friday 6pm 30th July at The Serpentine Gallery - Lismore.

Now, I recently laid eyes on this particular tea towel design and I have to say I was more than impressed. Rebecca Murphy's tea towel design is cool, clever and colourful! Have a look at her website and you will see that she is a dedicated practitioner with a string of exhibitions and projects to her name. She has designed CD covers, had art published in magazines and has her art placed in exciting places.

Check out
www.rebecca-murphy.net and be inspired!!!!!

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I've always been creative and making things. In school I was that kid who doodled in all their books and got in trouble for working on slightly unacceptable projects, like setting up a "tattoo" shop at recess by the library. It was really just drawing on kids arms with pens and markers - dragons and tribal designs and so on, but it got so popular I started doing it at lunch time as well. I didn't have any time to actually eat anything, and the vice-principal shut me down over parents concerns.
After high-school I briefly studied graphic design at uni before dropping out and trying my hand at a variety of un-related jobs. I still doodled and did a little painting just for me, but nothing serious. Then about 3 years ago I reached breaking point and changed my life - I ended my relationship of 10 years, quit my job, moved house, and decided to do what I was passionate about. I enrolled in a fine arts course, met some great people, and entered my work in to an exhibition. I haven't looked back since!
What is your favourite thing you like making and why?

Anything that challenges me. I mostly paint and draw, but I recently started sculpting and I dig that too.

How would you describe your artistic style?

A bit girly, a bit gory.

What inspires you?

I'm a bit of an inspiration slut, to be honest. I get inspiration from everything. I'm always looking, reading, watching.... At the moment I'm particularly drawn to old school medical texts, Japanese mythology, origami, and candy.

What are you most proud of professionally?

My work has been featured in magazines, on TV, and around the web. I've shown my work in galleries around Australia, I've won prizes and recognition. But I'm most proud, professionally, when someone loves my work so much that they take it home with them. I want to touch people, and when I do that, it's fantastic. I have a letter on my fridge from a 7 year old who wrote to me just to tell me they dig my stuff.

What would be your dream project?

I'd love to open my own gallery.

How important do you think getting your work on the web is these days compared to say, 10 years ago?
Getting your work on the web is a great way to get more people looking at and interested in your work. It's also wonderful for getting your work in front of galleries. A lot of people these days will ask for your website before they ask what galleries are currently showing your work.

I have noticed that you have organised a few exhibitions. Can you tell me about your favourite show? Why? Where? What?

My favourite would have to be the first show I organized solo, This Little Teapot. It involved 25 artists each modifying a small ceramic piggy bank. The show was such a success that I'm currently organizing a second show along the same vein, with twice as many artists, who will each be modifying small ceramic teapots.

Do you have a favourite tea towel in your collection?
My favourite tea towel (from third drawer down) recently up and died. I'm planning on replacing it with a blossoming deer tea towel from Puddin' Head.

Are you a collector? What? Favorite pieces.....?

I collect random kitsch and art. My favourite piece of random kitsch is a plush lucky carebear with a pirate eye-patch. My favourite piece of art is a limited edition print "Kishi Bojin" by Yoko d'Holbachie.

What is your favourite travel adventure? Where? What happened?

I went outback to visit a relative in spring years ago. The air is so clean. Drinking rainwater, catching yabbies, riding horses bareback, and riding around in the truck learning how to spot transplantable bee swarms. He's a beekeeper, it was pretty awesome learning a bit about the biz.

Your favourite place in Sydney to shop?

Op shops! Sydney has some great op shops, and you never know what you're going to find.

What is you favourite food/meal? Where did you eat it?

At the moment, it's perfect weather to stay home and have roast lamb and veges.

What is your favourite art gallery in Sydney? Where is it?

I can't choose just one, there are so many great spaces in Sydney. My favs are China Heights, Monstrosity, aMBUSH, Somedays, Monster Children, Gaffa, National Grid, and Outre. But I'll happily go wherever the good shows are

What's the best thing about living where you live?

I live in Cronulla, which is about as far south as you can get and still be in Sydney. My place is a nice little two bedroom flat right by the beach. The whole place has a friendly touristy vibe and there's always something going on.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Featured designer - 'Bus Roll Tea Towels''


I am very excited to present a talented lady with a keen eye for beauty and design. I am just loving the embroidered hoops!!!! Late one afternoon, I stumbled across the busroll tea towel website when I took myself on a hyper-linked journey through the multitude of online artist's and designers. I was actually looking for contemporary designers and artist's working primarily with the Tea Towel.
I must say a big thank you to Tamara for her enthusiasm to be interviewed and for her time as she is so busy right now!

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I chose not to study instead preferring to jump in the deep end! Starting out as a sign writer and window dresser just naturally progressed into design and running my own businesses. I have been very fortunate to be offered amazing opportunities along the way which really opened my eyes to what I could achieve with passion alone.

After moving into starting my own clothing label I began to design home-wares and accessories. These were picked up and stocked by some of Australia's leading Boutique retailers such as Kookai and Orson & Blake.

Along with design I love managing the production side of business so it was no surprise when I landed a position at Orson & Blake as their product designer and production manager. Seven years on it's an amazing role which has largely helped mould me into the product designer I am today.

Bus Roll Tea Towels being the perfect example of this. My work as a craft designer is purely my childhood love of homespun craft mixed with my adult experience as a designer!
What is the best thing you love making and why?

I really enjoy stitching up the samples of my cross stitch kits for The Six Week Boutique. It is productive and meditative all in one! 
How would you describe your artistic style?
Simple, compartmentalised, vintage inspired modern and a little off center.
Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

I am continually inspired by creative people who have acknowledged their talent and spend their lives honouring it. I am surrounded by people like this, particularly here in the Southern Highlands where I live.

These guys are all amazing...Monique GermonSarah King, Sara Silm, Rebecca WolkensteinLiesl Hazelton and Julian Wolkenstein.
Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, magazines, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

I am a constant finder and seeker of things which please my eye and inspire me to hyperventilate! Books, magazines, flea markets, people watching... I find it everywhere.

What are you most proud of professionally?

Currently, my two businesses
 Bus Roll Tea Towels and The Six Week Boutique which are running along very successfully after being started on a whim!
What is your dream project?

My list of dream projects is growing longer by the minute it seems! At the moment it's all about books, books, books. My soon to be launched series of Designer Craft Workbooks has me thinking of bigger things in print!
Do you have a favourite tea towel in your collection?
The Southern Highlands destination is my personal fave as it was the first one we had printed and it's home!
Are you a collector? What? Favorite pieces.....?

I most certainly am! Currently I am collecting vintage embroidery hoops and small unwanted ceramic vessels. I always have and always will collect side of the road chairs that need a redesign!

What is your favourite travel adventure? 

 most memorable due to sheer terror was a budget flight from Istanbul to Zurich. The hairiest of my travels, every passenger on board broke into a clap when we finally landed!

Best exhibition you have ever been to?

I haven't been to any by him yet... but I know it will be an exhibition by my all time favourite photographer Tim Walker.

What's the best thing about living where you live?

The lush rolling hills, the quiet and the kookaburra's!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Feature Designer - KISWA - Tasmanian Screen Printing Label

It is with much excitement that I bring you one of my favourite
designers around - Kiswa - the funky Tasmanian screen print and textile design house with a brand new range of 'Tea Tales!'

I met Liisa Peisto in 1997 when we were both studying Visual Art at University. Now this is one clever woman who could teach anyone a thing or two about fabric design and screen printing! A very talented lady with such a phenomenal flare for design. Liisa has joined creatively with her husband Ben to create Kiswa's ingenious symbolic juxtapositions. Kiswa's designs exude a sense of intrigue into a mysterious world and are masterly printed in a way that exemplifies the ultimate meaning of a 'beautifully crafted object that also functions as a work of art.'

Kiswa will be exhibiting in The Tea Towel Exhibition
opening 30th July 2010 at the Serpentine Gallery in Lismore, Australia.

 Detail from the "Tea Tales" Series, Hand Screen printed
By Kiswa 2010

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

Kiswa, the brainchild of husband and wife team Benjamin Cook and Liisa Peisto, was born early 2008. Kiswa, a Tasmanian screen print and textile design house, takes its name from an Arabic word meaning ‘a beautiful covering or garment’, something which governs their design philosophy as they strive to clothe the objects of your daily life in beauty through their range of hand printed personal accessories, home wares, and artworks.

Liisa’s illustrious career as a master screen printer covers the past decade, with highlights including being the Head Table Printer at Signature Prints where she worked with the Florence Broadhurst collection. At signature she also printed wallpaper for The Matrix and curtains for the Harry Potter movies, and printing cloth for Australia’s top fashion design houses including Sass and Bide, Zimmerman, and Karen Walker, as well as working alongside Akira Isogawa on print development for his home-wares and fashion collections.

Liisa’s other activities include community arts projects teaching screen printing in indigenous communities, with diverse-ability groups, and within community housing projects. Benjamin, currently completing his PhD at the University of Tasmania, has a background in philosophy, which complements Liisa’s hands on skills. He draws on the relationship between metaphysics and art to blend traditional patterns and symbols within a modern design sensibility. Together their goal is to develop a new Tasmanian brand that employs subtlety and intelligent design. For images of our product range and news check out www.kiswascreenprint.blogspot.com

 Detail from the "Tea Tales" Series, Hand Screen printed
By Kiswa 2010

What is your favourite thing you like making and why?
The Kiswa products have developed considerably since their inception. We are happy with the current product range with each product line bringing unique elements and challenges in their construction. For instance, the reversible pocket wallet allows us to present two unique faces, one external and evident, the other internal and, unless reversed, hidden; the pencil cases offer a nice standardised canvas to present a range of unique images, often considered too nice to merely hold pencils; and our satchels provide a medium for daily use, functional art. Beyond this, we are pleased most of all with the versatility of our tea towels, both in their variable functionality as art/home ware and in their usability in displaying a technical use of the screen print medium.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

The inspiration for Kiswa's design aesthetic is derived from traditional symbolism. By reinvigorating traditional symbols we are able to construct a narrative that is both visually and philosophically intricate. While the use of symbolically laden elements allows us to add depth and intrigue to our work, we are aware that the subtlety of these symbols, at times, makes the story obscure. For this reason we have started our “tea tale” range which, through the addition of a short tale, allows us to highlight the symbolic content of our images. 

What is your ultimate purchase?

Our ultimate purchase was a set of hand made screens, squeegees, and coating trays. We bought these from an individual who was closing down his screen print business as we were starting Kiswa. Upon receipt of the first few items that came from him we were amazed by their quality and contacted him to see what else he had to offer. He explained that he had custom made each of these items. We believe that the quality of these items in conjunction with each other helps us in getting a crisper, cleaner screen and print allowing us to produce the highest possible hand printed product that we can produce. Beyond this, we are hanging out to purchase a good heat setter as we have had to find an ingenious method to heat set all our products, which, while good, is time consuming. 

All images courtesy of Kiswa. Check out the Kiswa website!


Thank you so much Liisa and Ben for your informative and inspiring interview. We can't wait to see what you both create in the future!!!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Featured Artist - JEMIMA SAUNDERS

'The Littlest Birds Sing The Prettiest Songs'
mixed media
I met Jemima back in 1997 when we were both studying Printmaking at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Thirteen years later we have made contact. I am so happy to see a fellow creative soul still practicing art. Jemima will be exhibiting in The Tea Towel Exhibition opening July 30th at The Serpentine Gallery in Lismore. 

Thanks Jemima for your inspiring answers and of course for your beautiful and stunning photographs of your recycled and natural bush dyed works of art! 

Jemima also runs her own business called Hum & Rattle. Check it out!

'Rose by Another Name - detail'
recycled paper and mixed media

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

As a child I always wanted to be an artist so when I finished school I went and did a Fine Arts Degree in Wagga Wagga NSW. I met some of my favourite people there and Beautiful Mani introduced us to printmaking, Julie to Dyeing and I was in love. Afterward I floated around for a few years traveled, lived, loved...

Later on as physical hunger set in I studied a Dip Ed in Darwin, 
I love the tropics and Darwin has a big piece of my heart.
Whilst I was teaching in a tiny community called Gawa on Elcho island (the closest place to utopia I have ever known) two little girls took me to some special rock pools for a swim and as they washed my feet with tiny shells I was told by one of the girls that there was a baby in my tummy, turns out she was right. My life took a different direction  -called Lulu...

I loved being a mumma and a wife but in the back of my mind I kept
hearing this old voice telling me I was something else too. So three
children, four houses and three states later I finally opened myself
up to that old voice. I gradually learned ways create without chemicals and poisons and like women from the "Arts and Craft Movement" in the 70's I adapted, my work got smaller (kitchen bench size) and I could only work with things that could be stashed away and dragged out again. It was a steep learning curve but a great one.

I taught myself to sew and started making clothes and dolls for Lulu, we were broke and I don't have mainstream tastes. Lots of excellent results were born out of necessity and once I began I could not stop. The artist was there all along. At the same time I also got back into using natural dyes (minus the harmful mordants) and printmaking with water based inks. I did a workshop with India Flint last year and I was on fire again - it lives...

What is your favourite thing you like making and why?

At the moment it's natural dyes, I love to make Shibori plant dyed
scarves cloths and clothing. I love the unexpected patterns and ranges of colours when you unwrap each piece after dyeing. I am constantly amazed by nature. Each time it feels like receiving a gift, the same for printmaking -- Who doesn't love presents... Also recycling paper into sculptures, I really enjoy re-purposing anything I can and with three small children we have LOTS of paper always and I hate throwing away their drawings, better to give the excess ones a new life. I love to make kids clothing I sell at markets, boutiques and online and I have started to make my own more as well. I basically have some sort of compulsive disorder where I want to make EVERYTHING I can think of, I love that though...

 'Rose by Another Name'
recycled paper and mixed media

Where else do you find inspiration ?

I live in Tumut at the moment in the foothills of the snowy mountains. In the past few years I now look up when I walk and am full of awe of this amazing world, the trees, birds and the mountains, also a playground of natural dyes. My mother is the up-cycle queen, it used to freak my sisters out when we were younger, now it's the new black. I love Peppermint magazine it's sweet and not full of celebrity rubbish, skinny girls and inspires lots of people to tread lighter. My sister gave me "The Alchemist" at the start of the year and it definitely gave me a renewed sense of self worth and purpose.

  'Natural balance - detail'
Shibori -Natural Dye

What are you most proud of professionally?

Hmmmn... when I was teaching at Katherine High School in the NT I resurrected a beautiful old etching press and taught the kids and the teachers how to use it. They had been using it to squish clay, I wanted to cry... 

 'Natural balance'
Shibori -Natural Dye

What would be your dream project? 

My husband and I talk about a million different dreams a week, but I'd love a gorgeous coffee shop with a gallery handmade shop attached and workshop space for kids and adults out the back. I could be happy running that..

What are you looking forward to? 

We are going to Darwin for three months in July to get back to basics, I'll do the markets and Ev will play music, the Darwin festival will be on whilst we're there, such an array of performers and colours. We'll dance and swim and sweat and eat and love.. Our children will see lots of new things and meet lots of different people, can't wait.

 'Natural balance'
Shibori -Natural Dye

Best exhibition you have ever been to? 

Brett Whiteley's studio in Surry Hills when I was 15, the paintings, the atmosphere, the smells, it set my course.

Your favourite place to shop?

Brunswick st Melbourne, op-shops I'm a bit of a junkie, and markets in general I love handmade lovingly created things.

   'Natural balance'
Shibori -Natural Dye

What is you favourite food/meal? Where did you eat it?

Vegetarian Laksa with Chilli from Parap markets in Darwin, but you
have to go to Mary's stall...

What is your ultimate purchase? 

An etching press, it's being made this year.

What's the best thing about living where you live?

We are currently living in the town where I grew up, I love the familiar faces. I love the people at the local fruit market and the butchers and how you run into people you know everywhere, that's what I miss when I go back to the city. Not to mention the incredible view of the sun setting over the mountains from my kitchen window every evening.

Thank you so much to our first featured artist - Jemima Saunders! 
Comments welcome ........

I will be running a series of featured artists and designers on this blog. 

Coming soon the mesmerizing art and design of Liisa and Ben - designers of the funky Tasmanian label - KISWA