These are the big kids, the superstars, the crème de la crème, the leet of needle and thread…
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You know, I wish I could start this post with “I’m jealous of Mister Finch…” because I am, I really am, but that opening line is totally the domain of The Jealous Curator, who has the best artist feature blog name and trademark opening line in the world.
So I will have to content myself with telling you that I am dumbfounded by Mister Finch’s delicate and slightly dark or melancholy textile creatures.
I’m a bit late to the party—these days, his beautiful furry moths, bumble bees, poor little dead birds, awesome spiders, and his frilled and rustic mushrooms are finding their way into Anthropologie stores and Selvedge magazine. He’s a stitching superstar, baby, and many of you have probably seen his breathtakingly beautiful work before, on less gawky blogs than mine.
Not me. I was just doing a routine internet search for fabric fish, because I’m currently designing my own pattern for a stuffed fish and wanted to see what had been done on the subject, how people had tackled details like fins or gusseted heads. Somewhere amongst all the dross I caught sight of some dreamy, iridescent fish that seemed far better than all the rest of the cartoonish fish out there, and I followed the image to Mister Finch’s web portfolio.
His many, many wonderful fabric sculptures make me so very happy—I’m delighted simply that he is there, with all his genius for making patterns of three-dimensional forms (and an impeccable eye for decorative detail), his devotion to perfection and to getting things exactly right, his uncompromising dedication to pushing the made object so that it realises the artistic vision—they also make me green with envy, but I will master that unworthy and self-destructive feeling!
More impossibly, he’s also very cute. AND he’s penned a sweet, funny little “About” page that makes me wish he were my brother, or at least somebody I could send postcards to, and who would send postcards back.
My name is Finch – it’s actually my surname… everyone calls me it and I like it.
I’ve called my business Mister Finch so its clear from the start that I’m a man and one that sews.
We are a bit thin on the ground but we are out there!
You couldn’t possibly move to see his portfolio quickly enough…it’s a feast for both senses and sensibilities. He also keeps a blog, and an ETSY shop (probably never stocked with creations for long, his pieces must fly out the door as soon as they are posted, and it’s no wonder, really.) Tarry not here! Go, quickly! You must meet the fabulous Mister Finch!
Have you seen my other Über Embroiderer posts?
Last Sunday I sat the gallery at Tactile Arts for Marita Albers’ most recent exhibition, The Last Chance Saloon.
With six hours to kill, I took along a grocery bag of paints and small canvases (just painting backgrounds at this stage) and my camera and tripod, to document Marita’s work (at her request).
Six hours is plenty of time to walk round and round the white walls, getting to know Marita’s paintings intimately. She is one of my favorite painters, and I believe that I would have been a fan of hers regardless of whether I knew her personally or not. Her paintings are both playful and a little bit strange; she also makes the act of painting look so confident and effortless. It’s a lot of work, I’m sure, but looking at paintings from up-close it’s impossible to find signs of a struggle.
She’s also incredibly prolific and I suspect that she lives and breathes this art: I can see her stealing a bit of time to paint a flower or bird onto the canvas during the day’s all-too-few free moments, and then painting more intensely deep into the night when everyone else is asleep. She inspires me so much.
These were my favorites:
Stepped outside for a ciggy break at some point, and heard the loud live-band music coming from the Ski Club across the way. Boy & Bear’s Blood to Gold came on, and I remember thinking “Wow, that’s a really good rendition of the song, that band’s totally nailed it.” Found out later that it had, in fact, been Boy & Bear singing their own song, and tickets to see them at the Ski Club were $70. Wowowow.
Locked the gallery up at four, and went to the Stokes Hill Wharf with my friend (who is also my current boss) for dinner and a few beers. We traded stories of adventure and spirit, and watched other people throw hot chips (er, french fries) to the plump seagulls. I always find myself wondering whether all that starch and saturated fat affects the health of these birds…
India Flint, Australia’s best-loved Prophet of Bloom,
“maker of marks, forest wanderer & tumbleweed, stargazer & stitcher, botanical alchemist & string twiner, working traveller, dreamer, sax player and occasional poet”
squidges along the riverbank at Fife like a sandpiper, her sack filling with shells and tchotchkes rolled back and forth by the bulge and nuzzle of the tides…then it’s back to the studio like a vodianaya (river daughter and water spirit)—to bind books, stitch robes, and lower bundles of fabric and rusty metal into bubbling dye pots.
In this quiet, peace full video by Tracey McConnell-Wood she is “learning to read the river, but nowhere near fluency, yet”.
This lullaby of wind and tide lulls me to calm; I want to kiss her beautiful, dirty, reed- and woad-stained hands.
A beautiful rendition of James Taylor’s “September Grass” by Mishka, a beautiful friend (and daughter of another very dear friend, the sculptor and artist Agnes Arellano…I wrote about Agnes in this post).
I still have Mishka’s first album, God Bless The Child, that she recorded with Candid Records when she was just 21. Her voice back then was angelic, but it also sounded young and unripe (still good, though, and I play her album regularly to this day)
Soon after that, Mishka moved to London to study music, and I lost track of her beyond seeing a few pictures on facebook of a beautiful girl on holidays in Spain or Portugal or wherever. Seeing this current video of Mish, quietly strumming a guitar on her balcony, gave me goosebumps…her voice has gained in strength and fineness; the words “well-tempered” and “seasoned” come to mind. Sometime in the past 7 years, Mishka blossomed into both a gorgeous woman and a self-possessed, skillful singer.
For the past four months I've been working on a project: a mate of mate got a contract to refurbish a visitors' center at a Ningaloo Reef in WA. So we've been building brain coral, fake rocks, manta rays and whole heap of other things. Just the two of us. A welcome change from swinging hammer in a boat yard. Today I started loading them all into a container for the long trip to WA, and I realised that I have no record of any of that work.
My friend Elmer is an intrepid photographer whose blog (named after the squalid and lusty heart of the city of Manila, Malate) is always packed with great shots of the Philippines. In this post he presents glimpses of the city-wide flooding that started last week and, as far as I know, continues there still.
These are distressing to me, as friends and family have all reported chest-high flooding in their areas, and I can only hope that their homes and lives have managed to escape serious damage.
For all that, Elmer’s photos are beautiful and, in a sobering way, calming. Life goes on. Filipinos are a forbearing and resilient people. No point complaining…who would listen, anyway?
For some wonderful pics of people getting on with the business of living as though they had gills, do head over to Malate to check out the rest of Elmer’s post.