Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Goddess line and new exhibition

It's been a busy time in the studio with a new line of goddess dolls proving to be very popular here in Oamaru.  


Having last week successfully installed my art at Custom House Gallery, I'm now working on a new exhibition that began with some preliminary sketches a few weeks ago of Janet Frame.  



The initial idea actually came from a painting by Leonora Carrington called the Giantess, and to tease out the idea and evolve it further, I did a painting and several sketches showing the larger than life character of Janet Frame.  The painting I did is on the floor in the above photo, slap bang in the middle.  And that's where I really want to take it: author turned character via the visual medium of painting.  I want to imbue Janet with her own imagination: in particular with material derived from her posthumously published collection of essays, reports and reviews as well as excerpts from the speeches, interviews and published letters contained within Janet Frame: in her own words.

These and my work so far already go some way toward the final exhibition pieces and along with a fellow Oamaru artist whom I maybe collaborating with, I might be broadening this into more literary characters (and not necessarily NZ ones) so do watch this space.

Well, that's about it from me, so I'll leave you with some choice shots of a couple of other things I'm selling at Custom House, including my little robots again and some cuffs :-)









Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I'm back into documenting my art...properly.

Well, how shockingly tardy have I been this past year? It's been a whole year since my last blog posting.   I'm sitting here trying to work out why and I think I've nailed it.  Apart from a glut of travel these last two years, the world of technology, itself, has changed sooo much that I think I've been a bit distracted.  And who can blame me? What with Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, yes ..all of which I have accounts, I've been busy doing some serious amounts of superficial reporting.

Well, no more I say! The time has come to put aside the play things and get back to the important business of blogging: and this time, I mean it! It's time to take stock, reflect, get back into a routine and record.  It's time to become, once again, a blogger.  And with the blog postings come re-connections - the social networking that is so invaluable to the artist blogger: the sharing of ideas; collaborations; experimentation; swaps, challenges, feedback and discussion.  Friendship.  Ahhh..the friendships.  The very best thing about blogging is the finding and keeping of kindred artistic spirits - hearing that friendly "voice" which resonates with your own artistic sensibility.  I have lost count of the number of firm friendships I have made over the years through blogger.  We are all connected through Facebook now, but alas, over time, I am also losing their "voices" as The Facebook algorithms begin to thin out the number of connections I can make with one post (and vice a versa).  

So, here's a bit of thumbs up to blogging, and my chosen platform, blogger- of which I am using their app on my iPad to create this post (well done blogger for making it easier to blog on the go!).  While I sit here going through all the photos stored on the said device, I happen upon this one of Andy.  A sketch I did a few weeks ago now, but one I am justifiably proud of, as this alone signals the beginning of something magic: a willingness to slow down; enough at least to be able to sketch my amazing husband.  

Here s to many more posts to come, and to reconnections!

Love Debs (aka Debrina Altered)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

DebRinA AlterED Homework Exhibition and the 200x200 sell out

Contents of a Conversation (II) D. Price-Ewen (aka Debrina Altered) - January 2014

Now that we're back in New Zealand (4 months now), I've been getting much more serious about my altered creations.  We now live in a city that has a thriving art scene.   So all my creative energy is being used to focus, refine, amalgamate and re-purpose so that I can create really purposeful and meaningful art.  Nearly two years of world travel has also refined my ear for stories.  So I have submitted three mixed media pieces called Contents of a Conversation (I-III) to an exhibition entitled Homework

Contents of a Conversation (I) D.Price-Ewen - December 2013

Part of this journey I now find myself on is attributable to my visit to Dale Copeland's studio in Puniho, South Taranaki, New Zealand.  To meet my icon was something else; to visit her studio of treasures was the icing on the cake.  Dale is a powerhouse of creative energy and curiosity.  I think something of her wore off on me that day, and since my visit, I have been creating non-stop.

The wonderful Dale Copeland in her outrageously busy studio (D.Price-Ewen photo) October 2013
To top things off, I was able to sell all of my 200 x 200 pieces at the same named exhibition in December: http://kina.co.nz/blogs/exhibition-blog/10894169-8th-annual-200-x-200-exhibition.
Here are my girls, just before I boxed them up for submission, mounted as if they were animal heads, on 200 (width) x 200 (height) x 200 (depth) cm plaques.  A fun exhibition with the only limitation being the size and price ($200 each):

My 200 x 200 pieces D.Price-Ewen (December 2013)
So I expect 2014 to be a fully productive year for art and hopefully sales to keep me in art supplies :-)

All the best
Debrina Altered

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

DEbrina ALtered - Playing with dolls

Images copyright, D.Price-Ewen (Debrina Altered) 2013



Lots of fun yesterday finishing my exhibition doll for Deja Vu Dolls at Square Edge, Palmerston North. Currently working on two more and maybe running a workshop with my old time pal, Pania. Lovely!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Eva Filinova

Copyright Eva Filinova - Tinctory 2011
One of the nice things about being a librarian is the discovery of an artist whilst cataloguing my library book purchases.  In this case, Eva Filinova, whose profile and work resides in the book "Embroidery" by Sophie Long.  Published by PageOne this year, Embriodery has all of the standard hand and machine embroidery techniques described and illustrated...but...just as importantly, it also has artist profiles.  I got most excited to discover Eva, because she is way out there in technique, style and has a wonderful appreciation for detail (everything I love myself as an artist).

More importantly, she makes reference to historic textiles, glimpses of nature in the city, romance and fairytale elements.  Her most challenging piece to date? A smocked necklace (like the one above) that contained the text of a poem, clearly visible between the pleats of smocking.

Copyright Eva Filinova - Tinctory 2011
Although a busy mum now, Eva keeps her blog alive with the occassional post, and it is with great pleasure that I can introduce her to you: http://tinctory.blogspot.com/

I hope you find her work as inspiring as I do :-)
Debs



Monday, 6 May 2013

New cuff; some Zakka style and a rethink on the Keepsake Box

Close up of my Zakka style needle case (D.Price-Ewen)

This Sunday I made myself stay indoors.  Well, there's nothing like spending a whole day in your PJs doing what you love, right?  Also, Bangkok is in the middle of the hot, hot, hot season (we have three seasons here, as the locals like to say: "hot, bloody hot and f#*@ing hot"!) So yeah, I spent the whole of Sunday making things (in my PJs) from cut up bits of Japanese printed cotton and a sewing machine, thread and needle.  
Placement for needles, left and right....

Never make fun of a team of travelling musicians!  You'll get bashed over the head with a violin and stabbed in the chest with a sword!  I got this fabulous, vintage cardboard print from a store in Bangkok and it makes a perfect backing for my needle case - keeping everything nice and flat and unbendable. 

I love the way you can create, with sewing, a functional something from nothing. Above is my first ever Zakka style creation: made up from scratch with nothing to guide me but the material and the practical matter of having somewhere to stash my spare needles.  You wouldn't believe how long this little number took me to make though!  From the meticulous piecing together of the little Zakka rectangles (which still came out crooked and a little wrinkled (no matter how much I ironed) to the vintage French image on the back - a total of 7 hours!  Phew.  I'm glad I'm not on a production line.  I would have been fired on day one!!


I also finished off a hand-sewn cuff I'd been working on (more off than on), for several weeks.  The hand sewing was taking too long, so I finished it on the sewing machine that I made the Zakka needle case on.
Detail of machine embroidery, couching the bronze ribbon I had in my leftover's basket.
The cuff has a been aged in some areas with the liberal use of a lighter and walnut ink and I'm happy with the final result.
closeup of wooden heart and vellum

Finally, I'm having a bit of a rethink on my Keepsake box, which I'm still working on because I'm not happy with the finish on the cover.  I love the inside of the box (see above and below photos) but  I need gesso and crackle medium to finish the cover.  Unfortunately, crackle medium is a bit of a rare commodity here and it is not cheap, so I'm weighing up my options as to whether I buy from the States or not... If anyone knows of a good brand that I can buy online, do let me know!


Well, that's it for another week.  I can't wait for next weekend because I'm getting some Thai cooking lessons and, of course, I want to spend more of the f@#*ing hot season indoors under the aircon where I can create in my pajamas.

Love Debs

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Drawing redefined

Scuba diving the great oceanic beyond...by Jason Kyle Ewen (nearly 5)
Scuba diving with many friends and fish!
My son Jason is nearly 5 years old now and suddenly, from what seems like out of nowhere, he can DRAW!  From squiggles and scratches to the awesome works of art above, I love how freely and enthusiastically he has embraced drawing and painting.  Kids are natural artists, let's face it: no inhibitions, no inner critic telling them they just drew something rubbish.  They just DO!  So, I've decided to do just that myself.  I'm letting my son teach me, all over again, how to just draw.

I have me a selection of pens and pencils, some water colour paints and a nifty little sketch pad and I'm off to the local lake this afternoon to do some uninhibited drawing.

:-)
Debs

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Keepsake Box




The Keepsake Box - closeup of the door and flower latch - by D.Price-Ewen 2013
Ghostly images underneath the door of the keepsake box - by D.Price-Ewen 2013

The little box that could - the rose box slides to the other side of the larger box it sits in to revels the ephemera underneath it - by D.Price-Ewen 2013
Underneath the lid of the box is a wooden heart backed with blue inked vellum paper - by D.Price-Ewen 2013.
I've decided to return to my favourite theme: altered books and boxes.  My keepsake box, above, is still a work in progress with more work to come on the little pull out book underneath the rose box.  It's nice to get back into playing with mixed media again.  My collecting of all sorts of mixed media supplies from trawling through the city's markets and emporiums is beginning to pay off now that it has come time to finding that "just right" piece that pulls everything together.

A page from the Keepsake Box Book - D.Price-Ewen 2013
(a copy of a mixed media piece I constructed from a paper dress kit supplied by my friend Pania Molloy)

Next week I'll post the finished results of box and book.
Till then, have fun in blog land!
Debrina Altered (D.Price-Ewen)

Monday, 25 March 2013

A Retrospective

Andy and Jason on the Chao Phraya River in a taxi boat, Bangkok, Thailand
The beautiful Chao Phraya, Bangkok

Seven months have passed since we arrived in Thailand.  Wow, time sure does fly when you're having fun!  We wake up most mornings still pinching ourselves to make sure that this life of ours really isn't a dream, but reality!  Indeed it is an incredible reality and even more so since doing my blog retrospective tonight.  I know I've been darn tardy in keeping this blog up, which is a pity, as these are some of the most exciting times of my life.  Ah ha!  Perhaps that's the problem right there!  Too much fun, too little art-ing and blogging.

Well, I've got to get back into my blogging routine again.  I just have to.  I miss the community and more importantly, the recording of experiences. I have been blogging since before my boy was born, and when I did my retrospective blog viewing tonight, I watched him grow up page after page after page.  It kinda brought a tear to my eye to watch this miracle child of ours grow, adapt to change and learn so much (we were told he was never going to be because of my severe poly cystic ovarian syndrome).  But along every step of the way with Jason there has come from me, in my opinion, some of the most incredible, satisfying and profoundly moving art that I have ever produced.  I might not be famous, or have a vast following of admirers, but my art is mine and I'm darn proud of the boundless creative energy that has come out of being a mother!

Jason and I at Safari World, Thailand, with our fabulous Orange friends!  Jason is just one month away from turning 5 years old!

Chatuchak market (JJs), Bangkok.  The food is awesome, the craft and art supplies, even more awesome!!

So what does living in Bangkok mean to me right now?  Well, you could say I've landed in one of the world's largest art and craft supplies MECCA!  The markets: Pahurat, Soi Wanit 1 (Sampheng Road), JJs and the fabulous Pinn Shop and B2S are currently my favourite haunts.
Just one tiny aisle of many in this bead shop - photo taken  down Sampheng Lane, Bangkok

It really is a collector and hoarder's dream.  And it's all about creation, baby!  The artist's calling to express the essence of being; to channel the unknown into the known, to flavour the world with all its colour and vibrancy is more than being served up here in Bangkok.   My muses are everywhere - from the towering temples through to the peeling paint and dubious dark alleyways of the slums.  Everything exists here and nothing exists here.  It is the Buddhist's precinct - where contradictions abound and the ghosts are just below the cracks in the path or between the slits in the wall.  The overwhelming stimuli and the hidden and not so hidden voices of the past are coming through to me - like a steam train cranked up with an over-abundance of coal - and I'm struggling to channel it all into my art. Truly!  It's sometimes just too much.
Beauty and spirit abounds in Bangkok!

However, during the quiet periods of my life, when I have time to reflect (like now: 11:50pm) I know I'm assimilating and turning the magnificence of Thailand into art.  It's all happening in my brain and very slowly it's beginning to flow down towards my fingertips.   Sometimes it's leaked out a little.  Like here:
Illustrations: graphite, ink and collage - originals and prints soon to be sold on Etsy

And here:
Cuffs (2013)

and finally here:
Unfinished paintings: left, The Wat.  Right: The Dancer (2013)
So, here's to the new experiences that travel will surely continue to bring.  We are off to Egypt ,Toronto and New York this July.   If I thought I was having a tough time channeling the experiences into art here, I wonder what will happen when I experience all these new places shortly?  I'm too excited for words!

Till the next installment then!
xoxoxox
Debs

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Art Journal Pages


The circus has come to town!  Art journal pages, D.Price-Ewen

December already and Xmas is all around us here in Bangkok.  Towering trees lit up in full fairy light regalia and festoons of wonderment every corner you turn,  We're taking our five year old Jason into the city's CBD on Xmas Eve so that he can see the full light display along the sky-walk in Siam.  Rumour has it that most residents of Bangkok evacuate the city at this time of the year in order to celebrate New Year with their rural families. But I imagine the influx of tourists at this same time of year will more than mitigate the loss in numbers.
Alicia's contributions

While I await the holidays with heady anticipation, I have been biding my time by filling up my current art journal - a collaboration between my friend Alicia of Altered Bits and I.  We call these journals "nournals" - a slip on the keyboard one night during a skype session, I believe, brought about this renaming.  And so, the term nournal was coined and nournal it stubbornly remains.  In fact, the term even has a meaning now - as it is a sort of portmanteau of Night and Journal.  It also sounds like nocturnal.  It is an apt name, as it is at night that I mostly work on my contributions.

The first two pages of my late November/early December contributions
The very first two pages of the Nournal, by D.Price-Ewen

I don't want to give too much away at this stage, as I would like the rest of my contributions to be a surprise for Alicia when she finally receives my nournal to make her own contributions again,  We pretty much continue with this pattern of exchanges until the book is finally filled up and the originating owner gets to keep the finished journal.  We have already completed one of these nournals and based on the strength of our long distance friendship, I think this exchange will go on for many years to come.

Well folks, that's me for a few more weeks.  Xmas is nigh and I imagine we will be wrapped up in our own domestic lives around that time, so if I don't hear from you, I'll understand, lol!

All the best,
Debrina




Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Paper Dolls Gone Awry

What's inside this strange little box?
The altered matchbox of clinical and anatomical treasures!
Complete with pop open door (I used two little domes, which I sewed on).

After some settling in and even more reflection time in Bangkok (it's been over 3 months now since we moved), I have finally fulfilled one of my creative promises!  This promise was one I made back in July to my dear, sweet, incredibly patient cousin Daniel.  Before we left for Thailand, I sold, exchanged and gave away some of my precious creations.  Daniel, in fact, purchased one of my still unfinished mixed media paintings (below).
The plan was to send Daniel three installments (this being the first), which are to be attached by his wife Amber (a curator by trade) to the painting above.  Dan will be doing his own thing with these pieces too (with plans to photoshop and maybe even animate the paper dolls I create).  The first installment is a large altered matchbox (Swedish Sakerhets Tandstickor), covered with end papers from an ancient, age spotted Burmese romance novel (!) and then burnished (to remove air bubbles) and finally finished with a liberal application  of Ranger walnut stain distress ink.

The box is like a little wardrobe, stands on its own and has a little door that pops open and clicks shut.  Another little box of treasures is soon to follow this one, but in the meantime, I'm busy thinking up another theme.  I chose the anatomical theme from the pieces I received from Altered Bits (thanks so much Alicia!) and because I like the idea of something that isn't pretty and perfect (as most paper dolls are).

Saturday, 20 October 2012

All settled and artwork takes a new turn

Ghosts of Bangkok D.Price-Ewen 2012
Well, we're all settled into our new life in Bangkok, Thailand.  Lovely new house, lovely company and great but awfully busy full-time job! In fact, apart from the taxi drivers (the majority of whom will take you for a proverbial ride to rip-off town), we love everything about this place!

I've not had much time to art, but the week long holiday ends tomorrow and I finally have something to show.  So, here it is - a new turn for me: abstract.  The choice is deliberate - it is the only style I could think of to reflect my feelings about this ancient city.  The ghosts of the past  are everywhere.  As you move through the city, you also see nature and industry striving to co-exist and, although it's not an impossible existence, there have been some losers as a result of phenomenal progress in this developing country.  These then, are the ghosts of Bangkok.

This new work also heralds the start of a series, keyed towards my first major exhibition which will be staged in Bangkok, naturally.  Just don't ask me when or where exactly! Ha!

I'm also returning to blogging after many tardy, half-hearted attempts.  The fact that I get plenty of teacher holidays make it seem more manageable. I see a few of my old blogging buddies are still here but quite a few have also dropped off the landscape.