Showing posts with label woven tapestry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label woven tapestry. Show all posts

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Exhibition: Thoughts - That Is...

I thought that I would share some information about an exhibition I was involved in, held in Vilnius, Lithuania recently...

VIII International Biennial of Textile Miniatures

July 9 – 28, 2013

International textile miniature biennial "Thoughts - that is..."  invited 87 artists’ from various 25 countries – from the Baltic countries to the most distant parts of the world (Australia, Japan, Latin America) into the join venue, which continues to tackle the urgent problem of human existence. Who and what are we? What settles our environment? The concept of the exhibition is based on the metaphysical statement, that material and spiritual worlds are interrelated, that thoughts can materialize. The invisible processes which are taking place in our mind create reality - real things, phenomena, emotions. Every object from our reality is the embodiment of the ideas, which have ever existed. Everything that surrounds us is the result of human mind. Human thoughts form not only objects, but also ones activity, creativity and personality. There is a lot of everything in the modern world - not only goodness, but also anger. The biggest discoveries in the world were born from bright thoughts, while anger and hatred gave birth to evil. Human mind is energy, which is able to create wonderful objects. Mind is propagating magnetic frequencies, which attract similar frequencies phenomena in the universe. The artists were invited to shape they thoughts into creation, irrespectively to what method of expression trey would choose - even surface or 3D composition, traditional forms of expression or innovative, interdisciplinary project.

The organizers of biennial encouraged the artists: a) to reflect the depth of their own personality through the materialized ideas in their creation; b) to raise the problems of human mind ecology and responsibility of what you think; c) to reveal the interaction of bright and dark minds and the consequences of their opposition; d) to analyze whether the thoughts have nationality, or whether the minds of different nations or ethnic groups are different. It is being expected, that facing the crises or disasters prioritizing spiritual values will correspond to the expectations of the artists at the time of biennial.  

The works exhibited in biennial are different with respect to style and technique combining both traditional and innovative methods, reflecting individualities of the authors’ and dominating textile tendencies.

Thoughts exhibition

Sometimes I Just Need to Unplug My Mind (2013)
Wool, cotton, linen, silk & recycled computer parts
 19.5 x 19.5 cm

Thoughts exhibition

Too Many Thoughts (2013)
Wool, cotton, linen, silk & recycled computer parts
19.5 x 19.5 cm

I created two small works based on self-portraits that utilised found computer parts and cords. The works stems from ideas about how our life is now kept into an external hard drive, like our phone or laptop.  Some days I can't even remember my phone number and I am horrified if I lose the information on my phone as I don't have it saved anywhere else.  Our world is becoming more complicated and our brain doesn't appear to remember as much as it used to.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Tapestry: Self Portrait as Mary Kate with Carpet Bag

Self Portrait as Mary Kate with Carpet Bag

After my stint away at Art Basel Hong Kong and staying warm inside on the weekends, knitting, I thought that it was time to get some weaving done!  I have been working on some small pieces that are based on collages that I did awhile ago.  I am enjoying working these tapestries as shaped pieces, meaning that they still reference their collage roots.  It also allows me to play around with them in other collages.  You can see below that  I thought it would be fun to add the tapestry to a magazine cover!

#tapestry as magazine cover layout

The tapestry has been shortlisted for the Kate Derum Small Tapestry Award 2013, so it will be on display later in August.  I will post the dates and shortlist information closer to the show.  I'm looking forward to seeing the other tapestries from around the world!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Selection letters...

Gotta love a "you've been selected" letter in the mail!!!

You've got to love coming home from a crazy day at work to a letter telling you that your work has been selected for an exhibition!

I will have a tapestry in the upcoming exhibition 'She Who Can' exhibition at Walker Street Gallery in Dandenong.  I've been part of this exhibition before, maybe about 10 years ago and thought that I would submit again this year too.

The exhibition celebrates and showcases the talents of female artists.  Two artists are selected to be the recipients of solo exhibitions at other galleries too, which is always lovely!

The exhibition runs from 7 to 28 March at Walker Street Gallery, pop in and check out some fantastic talent!

Friday, February 15, 2013

You Know Me Better...

I thought that I would share some of the videos and images that inspired the works in my current exhibition Sampler at Handheld Gallery.

This clip is by one of my favourite singers Roisin Murphy. She headed up the group, Moloko and I've always admired her sense of style and wacky dance moves. Her music videos are always interesting and have a great muted colour quality too.

You Know Me Better, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

And the last of the weaving is done!!!!!

Here are some of the small tapestries that were inspired by the music video clip.  When I am weaving them, I work from the low quality print outs as well so they really are a combination of the video and then the low resolution snapshot.  Sometimes the printer may be running out of toner and the colour will bleed in a certain section, I often will weave that too!


And here are some of the snapshots from the music video.  I took these on my iphone while watching the clip via YouTube.  The source material is starting in a low resolution form, becoming compressed onto the iphone and then again when I print it out.  I'm always fascinated with these ideas of process in tapestry.


My exhibition Sampler ends tomorrow, Saturday 16th February, so you don't have much time to check it out!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sampler Exhibition Catalogue...

If you are unable to see the show but are wanting to check out the works and maybe even add a small tapestry to your collection, then here are the works on display!

If you are interested in a work, please contact Hand Held Gallery or myself! (

You Know Me Better, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

You Know Me Better  2012
(homage Roisin Murphy, 'You Know Me Better')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
28 x 26 cm

$550 AUD (SOLD)

Stop Callin' Stop Callin' woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

Stop Callin', Stop Callin'  2012
(homage to Telephone by Lady Gaga)

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
16 cm  x 19 cm

$490 AUD (SOLD)

What I Want is a Chance to See the Show, tapestry by Mardi Nowak

What I Want is a Chance to See the Show  2012
(homage Catcall 'Bad Move Baby')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
17cm  x 19.5 cm

$490 AUD

Hold My Hand, Take a Breath, tapestry by Mardi Nowak

Hold My Hand, Take a Breath  2012
(homage Catcall 'World is Ours')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
28 cm  x 27 cm

$550 AUD

You Always Have the Reservation, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

You Always Have the Reservation 2012
(homage Roisin Murphy, 'Let Me Know')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
23 cm  x 27.5

$525 AUD

Let Me Know If You're Lonely Baby, tapestry by Mardi Nowak.

Let Me Know If You're Lonely Baby 2012
(homage Roisin Murphy, 'Let Me Know')

Woven tapestry, wool, cotton and linen
28 x 28 cm

$550 AUD

You've Been a Bad Girl Gaga, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

You've Been a Bad Girl Gaga  2012
(homage to Telephone by Lady Gaga)

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
30.5 cm  x 27.5 cm


We All Get Hurt By Love, tapestry by Mardi Nowak

We All Get Hurt By Love 2012
(homage Kylie Minogue, 'Confide in Me')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
19.5 cm  x 19.5 cm

$525 AUD

How Do You Describe a Feeling? woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

How Do You Describe a Feeling? 2012
(homage Kylie Minogue, 'In My Arms')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
32cm   x 19.5 cm


Confide In Me, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak

 Confide in Me  2012
(homage to Confide in Me by Kylie Minogue)

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
31.5 cm x 27 cm

$650 AUD

But in the Name of Understanding Now, tapestry by Mardi NowakBut In the Name of Understanding Now  2013
(Homage Kylie Minogue 'Confide In Me')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, linen and silk
28 x 31 cm


And the last of the weaving is done!!!!!

How Many Years Can We Keep Going on this Way?  2013
(Homage Roisin Murphy, 'You Know Me Better')

woven tapestry, wool, cotton, silk and linen
25.5 x 27.5cm

$550 AUD

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sampler Open!

Hanging with Kylie!
John and I with Kylie.

My exhibition Sampler opened on Thursday 24th January to a great crowd!  This is the first solo exhibition in Melbourne for a while so it was lovely to see so many people and people who I hadn't seen for awhile.

Gals talking about tapestry!
Gallery patrons.

The gallery is a small shopfront like space, so I intentionally decided on much smaller works for the exhibition.  This was such a change of pace for me but something that I really enjoyed.  It is also very interesting to see which works different people are attracted to.  You could say that it says something about their taste and style.

Sampler exhibition shots! #tapestry #mardinowak
through the window.

The exhibition is open until February 16.  I will be popping my head in on Saturday afternoons around 1 or 2pm to chat to patrons about the work, how tapestry is made and the themes behind the show.  If you would like more information, drop me a line at or contact Hand Held Gallery!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Getting Ready...

The pile of tapestries!

I'm madly trying to get everything ready for my upcoming exhibition Sampler at Handheld Gallery from 24th January.  This weekend consisted of getting works ready to mount.  As you can see from the image above, it's a big pile of ends and wool!

Sampler runs from 24th January until 16th February  at:

Suite 18 (upstairs),
Paramount Arcade
108 Bourke Street

They are open from Wednesday to Saturday midday to 5pm, however you can see the exhibition outside of these hours through the windows!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sampler exhibition... coming up early 2013!

You Know Me Better, woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak
"You Know Me Better", woven tapestry, 28 x  30 cm, wool, tapestry, cotton, linen and silk, 2012.

I have a little solo show called Sampler coming up at Hand Held Gallery, Suite 18 (upstairs), Paramount Arcade, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne.  The show runs from 24 January until 16 February 2013.  It is a great little space, very much a shopfront which I always love and I am exhibiting all new and unshown small tapestries!  So this is a great chance to see not only tapestries but also works that are a little out of my comfort zone also!

The series of works produced for Sampler have predominately started their life in the moving image; mostly that of music film clips. These short, often narrative films have changed the way people think of music, lifting pop stars into the realms of fashionistas, celebrity and entrepreneurs.

Sampler translates images of women pop stars in fleeting and sometimes candid moments into the traditional and centuries unchanged medium of woven tapestry. Using a variety of very low tech methods to obtain source material, pixilated images are transformed into the corresponding beads and pixels of tapestry, creating an interrogation between the plastic pop world and artisan techniques.

"I've been interested in images of women, particularly in contemporary life for quite some time. As a child I was a bit obsessed with watching music film clips, studying what they were wearing and emulating their choreographed moves in my own amateur dance classes. (Hello, grade 5 Vogue Dance Champion!)

The pop world as a child was an imaginary one. Nothing seemed real. Colours were muted or super saturated. The lyrics were predictable but also mirrored scenarios in our lives. Love lost, happiness, melancholy; you could lose yourself in this world.

All of this contradicts the tapestry and art world. To me, tapestry is serious, time consuming, and situated in a long history. But I want my tapestries to be like a pop song; fun, playful, addictive and something that gets stuck in your head."

I'd love to see you there if you are in Melbourne!

Monday, December 10, 2012


I decided to make some cute and useful pouches for my Christmas wrapping this year! #handmade

I've been making all sorts of things lately. I've been making these zipper pouches as my Christmas Gift Wrapping. I figure that they are much more useful than paper gift wrap and it is like 2 gifts in one!

These have been fun to make! #knitgeek

I've been making mittens as Christmas gifts for Kris Kringle and also for friends. They are made with love and hopefully their recipients love them as much as I did making them.

I love the back of knitted colour work.  It looks just as interesting as the front! #knitgeek

My colour work in knitting as certainly been getting a work out and this is great practice for larger colour work pieces... sweater anyone?

Crazy weavey mouth... #tapestrygeek

And I've also been making tapestries! Did I mention that I have an exhibition coming up?! Well I do, and it all happens from the 24th January 2013 at Handheld Gallery.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Weaving Chair!

My new amazing chair.

I have been using the same old drafting chair while I weave for close to 10 years now, well actually it maybe a little longer.  I decided after all the creaks and soreness that I was getting from it that it was time to invest in a new, super ergonomic chair to save my back!

I visited the lovely folk at Bad Backs in Hawthorn to give a few chairs a try.  Who knew that there was such an array of office/work chairs available?!!!  I totally felt like Goldilocks sitting on all these different chairs and saying "no, this one is too soft" and all of that.  The great thing about the Bad Backs folk, is that once I found my 'preferred chair' I could take it to the studio for a few days to try it out in the environment that I will be using to see if it was going to work for me!

You can even sit backwards!

I've gone with an amazing Norwegian Chair, the Hag Capisco.  I won't rave too much about it but it feels super sturdy and also allows me to sit in a variety of ways.  Always a plus in the studio.

I think that I won't know myself in the studio with this chair.  Who knows, it may even speed up my weaving, which is a must with an exhibition deadline looming!!! ARGH!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When Your Subject Digs the Work...

Tweety tweet

So, I have been working on a series of small works for an upcoming show recently.  I hadn't been posting too many 'final' work shots but in the last few days, I have been trying to get some of the finished works together, measured and all their details listed in preparation.

In a nutshell I have been using screen shots of some of my favourite women music/pop stars as the inspiration for the tapestries.  I am loving the interplay between the pixelated, low res source material and the translation into the beads of the woven tapestry.

Tweety tweet

I was super trilled to have some tweets going out by the most amazing CATCALL (aka. Catherine Kelleher) who features in two of my little tapestries.  Always lovely to get a response from the actual subject!

As the works come together a little more, I will be talking about this mini project.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Stitching and Weaving...

I got myself a new seeing basket... My old one was looking pretty broken and old- this is cheery and fun!
New sewing basket!!!

Wow! I haven't posted for a little while, things have been quite hectic! I've been on some crazy deadlines lately, been away and then I got sick. Yeah, that is how it usually goes! But mostly I have been stitching and weaving. I invested in a new sewing basket to keep all my threads, needles and things. My last sewing basket I bought was when I moved out of home! This snazzy little number will at least keep me inspired to keep on stitching!

@toulou modeling one of my dresses...

I've also been working on a series of tapestries and dresses. My lovely friend Stef came to visit from interstate recently and I talked her into being my model for the day. She was such a good sport!  These works have been super fun to work on and I can't wait to see where they go!

Monday, August 20, 2012

What I've been working on...

And this one too! #tapestry
Question Mark collage by Mardi Nowak.

I've been working on some quick and small collages to weave for an upcoming project.  Here is a peek at what I've been working on.  They are super fun to do!

Bobbin perpetration #tapestry
Getting bobbins ready.

The pink and red combination remind me of my love of Marimekko's pink and red patterned combos!  I enjoyed playing with this in the little tapestry with half passing and all those tricky tapestry things!

Pocket tapestry
Tapestry by Mardi Nowak.

And here is the tiny tapestry completed!  All in one sitting!  I love when that happens!  Stay tuned for what these will become...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So Tapestry is the New Black...

Always happy to get an eye done... Inspired by @catcallmusic !
Image:  Mardi Nowak, tapestry in progress, 2012.

There's been a bunch of tapestry folk sharing this recent article from the Independent Newspaper in the UK and I wanted to add it for others to read here too.The original link to this article can be found here.

'Weave Got Style: From Marc Quinn to Tracey Emim, tapestry is the art world's latest love.'
by Charlotte Philby.

Forget dusty old wall-hangings – tapestry has become the coolest art form around.

Think tapestry: what springs to mind? Fusty wall-hangings in stately homes? Grim scenes of wounded animals caught up in battle? Probably not modern art. But it may be time to think again, as a new breed of weavers re-imagine the art world's most laborious form for the 21st century. Last year, Tracey Emin exhibited a series of pieces, created with the help of West Dean Tapestry Studio, at London's White Cube, while Penelope's Labour – a show of new tapestries from artists including Marc Quinn and Grayson Perry – wowed crowds at the Venice Biennale.

Right now, massive, mind-bogglingly graphic woven epics by the celebrated photographer Craigie Horsfield on the theme of the circus are causing jaws to drop at Art Basel. Decades after artists like the Icelandic Dieter Roth, and feminist icon Judy Chicago – whose needlework and textile series, Birth Project, caused a stir in the 1980s – led the charge, the number of contemporary artists having woolly ideas is growing at a rate of knots.

So what is the draw of the loom? Adam Lowe of Factum Arte, the Italy-based studio that makes digital tapestries for the Louvre and the British Museum, believes a surge in interest over the past 10 years was inevitable: "Artists across the disciplines are attracted by the materiality and complexity of tapestry, particularly in a new age where the generation of the image – and often the output, too – is digital."

Like Grayson Perry's enormous Walthamstow Tapestry from 2009, a subversive Bayeux Tapestry of our time featuring Chanel handbags, Superdrug and a woman giving birth to the Devil, which was woven from digital files on a Jacquard loom (an automated, rather than human-operated, machine) in Belgium. It returns to the public eye at the opening of William Morris's London home next month, just weeks after six of Perry's new pieces (also digitally-woven, using a mechanical loom to create his images in tapestry form), The Vanity of Small Differences, launched at the Victoria Miro gallery.

But the human touch is by no means obsolete. A hundred years after it was founded in 1912 by William Morris's weavers, Edinburgh's Dovecot Studios is holding the torch for cutting-edge hand-weaving. Having been saved from closure in 2000, Dovecot has for the past four years occupied a vast space on the site of the city's first public baths. Now in its centenary year, the studio has been transformed beyond recognition.
On the day I visit Dovecot, the excavated ladies' pool is in the process of being styled for a fashion show. The day before, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra was playing one of a number of regular chamber concerts in among the looms, with guests looking on from the original gallery that circles what was once the main swimming pool; the walls are lined with abstract wall-hangings and colourful tufted rugs featuring geometric shapes and lighthouses, by artists including Alan Davie.

In August, as part of an ongoing series of centenary celebrations, this space will host a musical history of the studio, A Tapestry of Many Threads, co-written by creative polymath Alexander McCall Smith. It is all part of an attempt, explains Dovecot director David Weir, to break down the boundaries between artistic disciplines. "We've always occupied an unusual territory," he says. "Tapestry is a craft-based skill but the studio has always worked with contemporary designers," Weir, who used to work as a laywer, knows what he's talking about when he adds: "We don't live our lives in a single dimension."

Several feet below the original water-level in what was once a magnificent swimming pool, Naomi Robertson and colleague Jonathan Cleaver beaver away at their looms, producing pieces for Peter Blake and Peter Saville. Robertson replaced Douglas Grierson last year when the latter retired after 50 years as Dovecot's master-weaver and Robertson is making relatively fast progress on a series of woven versions of graphic images for Peter Blake, including a tapestry of his famous target symbol, beloved by Mods in the 1960s.

Metres away, Cleaver is working on another piece called After, After, After, Monarch of the Glen, a group collaboration by Peter Blake, Peter Saville, and the Dovecot weavers (of which there are five). The piece acquired so many 'After' prefixes because it was reinterpreted by a number of artists: Cleaver's woven work is based on a print by Peter Blake of a picture by Peter Saville, which was based on Landseer's original painting, Monarch of the Glen. It is, Cleaver says, a modern take on the tradition of the stag in wall-hangings.

Working eight hours a day, Cleaver has been given three months to complete the work: "Initially we made samples to give Peter and Peter an idea of what we were thinking of doing; there were discussions about layout and lettering; you could do it lots of ways," he says. Eventually, the piece will be reproduced several times as a limited edition, and every piece will vary as each weaver painstakingly blends their own colours as they work.

It is a long slog, but one Dovecot director David Weir says a computer cannot hope to match: "Handmade tapestry is a thought process, everything is slow and deliberate... A machine can't replicate the human touch, the happy accident or the editorial decision." Adam Lowe, whose Factum Arte studio have also made digital tapestries for Perry and Quinn, disagrees: "Traditionally, the arts have been defined by their medium: printmaking, metal-working, painting... We are now in an age where we can take one sense and transform it into another using computers. Just look at the transformation of sound into light in discos."

"As a craftsman and an artist, the point is to build bridges between processes and ideas, and the reason weaving caught on is exactly that, because it is something many artists can do," Lowe adds. Digital tapestry is certainly more cost-effective than handmade – a copy of Perry's Hold Your Belief Lightly, for example, will set you back a relatively affordable £950.

By contrast, Dovecot's prices range between £5 and £15,000 per square metre, depending on the size of the project and the level of detail. "Because of the skill involved and how labour-intensive it is," Weir admits, "tapestry's most prized asset is its biggest obstacle: few people can afford it." It was ever thus: on his deathbed, Henry VIII was considered the world's richest man, based not on his stash of gold or silver, but on his inventory of woven masterpieces. But this rather expensive sense of tradition remains part of the appeal, Weir says: "When the rest of the world becomes increasingly challenging, there is a retrenchment to what is true, respecting the values of craftsmanship and making."

Today, the bulk of commissions for Dovecot still come from corporate collectors such as PepsiCo, which commissioned a piece by Frank Stellar, now hanging in its HQ in New York, and Rolls Royce, IBM, and the London Stock Exchange. While public buildings are still key clients – a 7mx7m Ron Kitaj/Dovecot piece hangs in the central atrium of the British Library, while Castle of Mey, woven for the Queen Mother in the 1950s, takes pride of place in her Caithness home – the number of private collectors, Weir insists, are increasing, with "rich yachtsmen" among a new breed of collectors chasing after the prestige a magnificent tapestry still affords.

However, with the price of wool sky-rocketing (thanks to increased world-wide demand) and with misconceptions about the art form still rife, the life of the modern weaver is still not perfect. "The biggest problem," Weir says, "is getting recognition as an artist in your own right." One of Hockney's first observations on a collaboration with the Dovecot weavers in the 1970s was not well-received, he adds: "Hockney complained that one line had taken three weeks. After a number of conversations, he learnt that collaboration is about a dialogue, about creating something between the designer and the weaver's individual visions."

In order to prove that they are more than mere technicians, in 2008 Dovecot asked its employees to create their own pieces in response to their new site. The results are dazzling. At the front entrance, Naomi Robertson's portrait of a female bather hangs opposite a colourful, more impressionist, piece by Douglas Grierson, in which their former master-weaver depicts a number of artists, including Hockney and Monet – alongside Damien Hirst's formaldehyde shark – in a brightly-coloured work.

"Sometimes I wonder," Weir admits, standing next to a mannequin dressed in a neon-pink woven corset, "what would William Morris's weavers have made of this?" His instincts are that they would have approved.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting Chatty with Michelle Threefold...

A small tapestry sample by Michelle before embarking on a larger work.

As part of my 'Getting Chatty' series, I spoke to the lovely Michelle Threefold about starting off in tapestry.  I think it's fantastic to see a new breed of people getting involved in woven tapestry and also to find out why they wanted to learn the medium.  I think Michelle is a bit of a girl after my own heart who is creating some very bold designs!  Enjoy the interview!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from? 
My name’s Michelle, and I live by the ocean in Adelaide, South Australia with my partner Anita, her daughter Lily and two naughty cats.
I first went to art school after high school, but couldn’t find my perfect medium.  It was only afterwards that I discovered needlepoint – I knew then that WOOL would become my holy grail of mediums!

Moon phase cushion - amazing needlepoint!

What do you do and make? You do a few different things which I'm sure inspires each thing!  
I work mainly with chunky cross stitch on open-weave canvas, but am also learning tapestry weaving.  I hope to incorporate both in my practice, but the tapestry is going to take many more years to master.
I started designing cross stitch kits in 2000, because at the time there was a lack of ‘alternative’ designs on the market.  I started selling my kits and patterns on my website in 2005, but moved to Etsy in 2010.  I’m currently working on ready-stitched pieces, such as clutch purses with bats all over them.
I thought that my cross stitch and tapestry work would be separate – but a tapestry artist friend suggested that I combine my cross stitch, tapestry and goth-ness, which is something I hadn’t thought of before … fresh creative eyes are very helpful!
What brought you to tapestry? How are you currently learning it? 
Anita found an advert for the SW TAFE correspondence course in a Textile Forum magazine.  She gave it to me and said ‘you should do this!’. 
I’m a masochist – if it is very very difficult and takes a very very long time, then my interest is piqued!  I like the idea of learning a very traditional and complicated mastercraft, and using it to create nontraditional artwork. 
Learning by correspondence is both wonderful and difficult – wonderful because I have a ‘lone wolf’ personality and prefer working things out for myself, and difficult because sometimes it would be much easier to be *shown* what to do rather than trying to interpret written instructions. 
Diamond pillow.

What are the preconceptions of being a tapestry weaver/ embroidery person, textiler ? Are there any weird and wonderful comments that you have received? 
Textiles are definitely the underdog of the art world – many people cannot grasp the fact that creating art with wool is just as valid as creating art with paint or clay.  There is a ‘craft’ aspect to every medium – the artist utilises their craft in order to express original creative ideas through their art.
Most of the time people think I’m joking when I tell them that I’m a textile artist – they say that I ‘don’t look like the type of person who would be into that’!   To be honest, I get a kick out of that – I love challenging stereotypes, and am drawn to things that are considered to be unusual or unexpected.
Any tips or comments that you could give to someone who is thinking about learning tapestry?  
I’m in my 3rd year of a 6 year course, and I’ve already discovered that tapestry weaving requires passion, determination … and maybe a bit of an obsessive/compulsive personality?
The tapestry community is quite small, but I am very fortunate to have found other unconventional souls, such as yourself, who inspire me so much!   I find that I have received lots of encouragement and advice from tapestry weavers, who are eager for more people to learn.
For someone who is thinking about learning tapestry, the Warrnambool TAFE correspondence course has been going for around 20 years, and is great for those in remote areas.  If you live in a city like Melbourne you probably have more choices, since RMIT do some excellent courses.  I hope these courses continue to be made available to potential students!
Needlepoint book mark, love the green leopard print!

Where do you create? Are you a studio gal or at home?
Home studio for the moment … though I’d love to have a separate studio one day.  I’m about to move into a new house, and the upstairs living room is my designated studio space.  It has an ocean view, so I’m not complaining ;)

Is there a soundtrack to your making? What do you listen to?
Oh yes, I’ve been into Goth music since I was about 15 … and nothing has really changed!  I only listen to Goth, Deathrock, Coldwave and Post-Punk.  I don’t listen to mainstream music at all – a friend once said I had a ‘mainstream filter’, and he was correct! 
I co-host a Goth/Deathrock radio show with Anita, and also do a solo Coldwave/Post-Punk show – both on Cathedral 13 internet radio.  Usually when I’m working I have Cathedral 13 playing in the background ;)

What do you hope to have achieved in 5 years? (such as exhibitions etc)
At the moment, my main goal is to get better and better at tapestry weaving! 
I’m also working towards creating a body of work centred around the Goth/Deathrock Subculture – I’d love to eventually create enough to have an exhibition, combining tapestry with cross stitch. 
Where can people find out more about what you do?  Share your links!
Here’s my blog, where I document my struggles with learning tapestry, as well as other random thoughts:
And my main website for my cross stitch designing is

What are 3 words that you would use to describe your work?
That’s the hardest question of the lot!  Umm, ‘Loud’, ‘Dramatic’ and ‘Provocative’!!!

Check out Michelle's blog and website, I love seeing her work in progress and all the new things that she is learning too!  A big thank you to Michelle for being part of my 'Getting Chatty' series.  If you would like to read last month's 'Getting Chatty' click here! 

Michelle also drilled me with some questions relating to tapestry weaving that were aimed at those starting out in the medium (great learning tool Michelle!)  You can see what I have to say on her blog here!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A New Way of Working?

Finished tapestry
Woven tapestry by Mardi Nowak, 'Let Me Know If You're Lonely Baby' (2012)

I've been working on a new series of works over the last month, though I've only just completed the first actual tapestry from the series.   The variety of imagery are screen shots from music videos found on YouTube that I have played on my iphone.  The random screenshots are then cropped into a square or rectangular format and printed out larger.  This increase in size from their low resolution forms creates unusual pixelation and colour combinations that can work brilliantly or look like a blur!

Video crop: roisin
One of the screenshots that inspired the tapestry.

Creating and manipulating imagery viewed on iphones and other mobile devices is really interesting for a tapestry weaver.  The interplay between the now and technology with something very old and traditional is something that I want to explore more.  It shouldn't surprise me that I have moved this way for source material as previously I was using magazines that were very 'now' as a source.  The notion of weaving something that is 'in fashion' and by the time the tapestry is completed, it may not be in fashion, creates a challenging and unique language.

Video crop: roisin
Another screenshot, it's from Roisin Murphy's video 'Let Me Know'.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Piecework is all open!

Piecework exhibition
Adrian Conti (left), fellow artist Samara Adamson-Pinczewski.

My exhibition with the amazing Mr. Adrian Conti opened at Tacit Contemporary Art on Wednesday evening.  It was a crazy night with Melbourne having some of the worst weather ever!  It was thundering and pouring with rain but fellow art lovers still made it to the gallery to help us celebrate the launch of Piecework.

Piecework exhibition
John Hendriks and moi!

Piecework is the first exhibition of my work in Melbourne for about 3 years, so I was pretty excited to show off all the tapestries and collages that I have been working on lately.

Piecework exhibition
My two favourite Maltese folk!  My husband Mark and the lovely Bel!

The exhibition includes woven tapestries, a small series of original collages (the working collages that have inspired many tapestries!) and some beautiful paintings by Adrian. 

Piecework launch
Delicious cheese from Cornelius.

A big shout out to Matt from Cornelius in Canterbury for helping me select some great cheese and pickles for the opening night.  The Dutch hard cheese pictured above was absolutely amazing (it was also about the size of my head!) and the Belarus style pickles went quickly too.  If cheese is your thing, check out his store!

Piecework launch
Beautiful paintings by Adrian Conti

It was a great evening and we were very happy to have a couple of sales too!  Piecework is at Tacit Contemporary Art until Sunday 16 October.  As the opening night weather was absolutely crazy (and it was a little difficult to get there!) we are also having a closing afternoon party!  Join us on Sunday 16 October from 3pm to 5pm for some wine, cheese and arty chats!
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