Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

As this year draws to a close, I am reminded on many fronts to settle back and count my blessings [and my achievements] for 2011. My daughter in London has just listed her achievements for 2011, and Fiona has blogged on her 10 favourite art works achievements for the year, so I am motivated to do the same.

It has been a wonderful year personally for me - travel, friendship, family, home comforts and even weight loss, but here I will list the 10 things that have given me the greatest moments of creative 'bliss'- things that have really touched my heart. Most have stories attached, so I'm sure the emotional attachment to the things and incidents play a more important role than the physicality of the objects.
[no particulat order - too hard to prioritise]

Rusty bolts found in the Thames at low tide,
...speak to me about times past, the long history of the British Empire, the boats chugging/sailing along the river plying their trade, the hardships of riverfront life, today a beautiful, tourist filled destination...

...based on photos from my travels to Europe and Morocco and printed onto old paper...

Camel skin' boxes',
... from the Saharan desert, Morocco. They are made from the knees of camels [or so I was told]. They cost me about $5 but I had to have them irradiated to get them back into Australia - costing me $60 - crazy, but I love them....

Keith Lo Bue workshop, Brisbane, June 2011,
...working with found objects and jewellery making techniques has always excited me -and Keith is a total inspiration. These 2 pendants are made from a salt shaker and my grandfather's bowls measure. I have used mica in the 'windows'...

'Seal Style' Chinese calligraphy,
...We came across a gallery/exhibition on Gulangu Island, Xiamen, China, and I  fell in love with this art technique - a cross between writing and drawing - the old 'seal' style of calligraphy carved into wood creating something looking like a print block, but painted selectively. After much pleading, I was sold the last exhibition catalogue.
I had a seal made of my Chinese name, found some lovely wooden letters in a London market, and bought an antique Chinese monkey seal [I think it says 'year of the monkey']. Lots of triggers for inspiration and new work...

Porcelain by 'Min',
 I saw these pieces in the student market and desperately wanted to buy them - they were not for sale. I pleaded with the shop owner and she contacted the artist who amazingly enough was running a coffee shop just across the square. We knew of Min, a Jingdezhen/Sanbao artist with liberal creative ideas, and coincidentally the work was hers. She came to talk to me and after we had fitted all the puzzle pieces into place, she generously gave me these 3 pieces. I will treasure them as they are so unusual and individual within the sea of Chinese commercialism...

'Fly Away and Drift Away',
...I painted this series of work [each 30cm square] in response to my mother dying late last year. I love the works - they are simple yet strong and have delicate detail which evokes lost and forgotten memories...

'Collage G'
...I participated in the International Collage Exchange early this year - this was a collage of mine that I decided to keep. I love the soft colours and delicate details...

Crazed texture,
...I've had a great deal of pleasure playing aroung with builder's bog, sanding back textures and exposing underlying layers - a lot more of this to come in 2012...

...maybe this was the most poignant creative experience for me of 2011. I first heard of Ai Wei Wei some years ago, then the controversy of the Sunflower Seeds Show at the Tate Modern, London, brought him to my attention once again - the public were not allowed to walk over the ceramic seeds due to health and safety issues - ceramic dust - ironic considering the conditions under which the seeds were made. Ai Wei Wei was thrown in jail in China earlier this year [for avoiding paying taxes- hmmmm] and was released due to international pressure and donations [to pay the tax fines] from international arts organisations. He had the seeds made in Jingdezhen, where we spent a week of our China trip. It is said that Ai Wei Wei kept the city's artisans employed for a year making the seeds. Unfortunately, it's not a subject we were able to discuss whilst in China.
Eliza and I saw the exhibition at the Tate Modern in London in May - I was greatly moved by the experience.
I was keen to get a ceramic sunflower or two whilst in Jingdezhen in November - surely there would be a few still floating around. Imagine my joy when I found some at the student market!! I bought the whole bag full.
Go to this link [The Tate Modern] if you are interested in finding out more about Ai Wei Wei and the meaning behind the Sunflower Seeds exhibition.

...and now to 2012...
 Fiona's recent Andy Warhole quote is exactly what I need to do in the new year [and for the rest of my life].

'Don't think about making art just get it done. Let everyone else decide if its good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art'.

Happy New Year, everyone


  1. N-amazing to see the journey of the last 12 months and what you have experienced and achieved. So good to see - though not so sure about the camel skin boxes. Go well in 2012 - create well and experience joy and peace. B

  2. Hi N- thanks for links. I think in this hurried and harried world it is important to stop and ponder and reflect on our year; and just see what we've done; what we've achieved. I think we often amaze ourselves! What a lovely list - such wonderful memories and stories - and smiles. Happy shiny 2012.

  3. A most enjoyable browse through your top 10, Noela. Your collage, the camel skin boxes and the ceramic sunflower seeds have my full attention. Happy New Year to you!

  4. noella, sounds like a watershed year for you. excellent! may you have a happy new year.

  5. Noella, a happy and creative new year! Inspiring list!

  6. Hello Noella and Happy New Year! I have enjoyed seeing your wonderful work and your amazing travels, through out this year.

    I adore Ai Wei Wei's work and life's path. Truly an amazing man of great courage, inspiration and talent. It must be an absolute joy for you to be able to hold a handful of those Sunflower Seeds!

    Thank you for sharing your year.

  7. happy new year!
    et vive les créations nouvelles!