Saturday, September 29, 2012




Maria Julkunen
Jo Kinross
Ronnie Martin
Meg Nakagawa
Pat Spitz

We are a group of Nelson-based textile artists.  We come from different geographic locations – Finland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States.  Our textile art techniques are equally diverse but we share a passion for exploring the possibilities of fibre arts.

About 18 months ago, we decided to have a joint exhibition.  Since then we have met at least monthly to have fun as we supported and encouraged each member's creativity and challenged each other to extend artistic expression in innovative ways.

Each of us has interpreted the concept of “Beginnings” differently, representing our different creative urges.   Our works express:  the beginning of working as a conceptual artist with a focus on social and environmental concerns; conveying belonging and origin, transformation and transcending; the silk road; ancient maps and marks as memory; and water and earth as the classic elements of all life.

distilled writing

Working with our Strands group towards our Beginnings exhibition has taught me in detail what goes into making an exhibition happen. I've had the opportunity to tap into the experience of colleagues that have more history in organising and putting their work on show.

I've written artist bios a couple times before, but now I've crafted an artist statement and an artist profile and the blurbs to go with the work are yet to be polished. As a group we spent a lot of time discussing our "mission statement" when we lauched (in the end we abandoned writing it down) and now we have a group statement (that the "mission" debate clarified a great deal).

All this writing has been interesting and challenging, even though we're not talking about great lengths of text. The compressed impact of it takes me ages to distill from my rambling thoughts and deeply felt but flighty feelings. 

This is my "statement" that is found in our catalogue together with the image below. On the image you can also see the words Ecopunk Couture that I'm tasting and feeling as a potential label to carry on working with. What do you think?

Maria Julkunen

My life has always included some form of creativity. I started sewing at a young age, enjoyed drawing and painting and started filling folders with collages of ideas years before I was taught to do the very same things at a design school.

I love the craft that is needed to create beautiful garments and have always been fascinated by what we communicate of ourselves through the clothes we wear.

I love natural materials for their earthy integrity. Natural fibres are in tune with our bodies and connect us with the wider world when used with respect for the environment from which they come. Dyeing cloth with plants and metals holds an element of surprise that keeps the mind humble and open.

My style has been influenced by the rather minimalist Finnish design tradition that subscribed to the idea that form follows function. I combine artisan techniques and environmental awareness which results in a type of eco couture.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

woodland queen

My heart is just bursting with BEAUTY!! It's so rewarding to emerge from my sewing room, hand the garments to others and witness visual poetry take place...

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Thank you Ishna Jacobs for your genius behind the camera and Noa Parker for your stunning presence.

photo shoot adjustments

Click on the photo for a closer look.
Noa on the left, me on the right, photo by Ishna Jacobs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

photo shoot day!

There was still lots of stitching going on last night, just in time to be ready for a photo shoot with talented Ishna Jacobs behind the camera and beautiful Noa in front.

The real photos will emerge later this week. (Some can be viewed here and here.)

 Spot the photographer!
Isel Park in Stoke, Nelson put on a riot of blossoms for us to wade in under the spring sun... Ease and flow, a special day with two lovely ladies. Thank you Ishna and Noa!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

coming together, falling in place

Oh so sweet when things just move ahead with ease and loose ends start coming together. It's about time, as there's only a month until showtime...

Here's a little test layout.
I'm covering the hessian bodice with silk organza that I dyed with Black Doris plums and iron. Another greener shade of the same plums on the same organza will become a little bustle skirt. A length of burnt silk velvet already runs on the seams on the bodice, but will also tie the bustle... The skirt needs a hessian petticoat, but I've run out of hessian and so has Spotlight. Still have some smaller shops to visit that should carry it.

And now it's time to leave my computer and carry on with the assembly...