Come to the CONTEXTART FORUM Exhibition

April 14th, 2012 by Fiona

This coming week sees the inaugural CONTEXTART FORUM in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

This may be the first time for this particular event, but it comes with a greatly-loved lineage. CONTEXTART FORUM is just the latest incarnation of the marvellous Textile Fibre FORUMs which have been held for many years in NSW (as well as other parts of Australia) – for a long time they were at Sturt in Mittagong, and for the last 7 years they were held in Orange.

These FORUMs are organised by TAFTA, and more  information can be found on their website: There are various related exhibitions and other activities going on around the Blue Mountains to coincide with CONTEXTART, so do check out the TAFTA website to see all the activities available through the week.

There is an open afternoon on the last day, Friday April 20, from 2 pm – 6 pm at Springwood High School. This will include a stimulating exhibition of artworks made by the workshop participants during the week of CONTEXTART. This is always a highlight as it shows just how exciting the different workshops are, and when you think that many of the participants in the workshops are beginners with that particular set of techniques, the level of achievement shown in the exhibited items is truly an inspiration!

Also at the open afternoon you will find many of the tutors and workshop participants taking the opportunity to have a stall selling their original creations – great way to stock up on unusual gifts or buy something unique for your own needs. This is an ever-changing array of goodies from year to year as the items on offer rely on who is attending that year’s FORUM.

As an extra incentive – as if you’d need one! – there will also be wonderful traders selling all manner of interesting items, from books and other ready-to-use items to various materials and tools for creating many different types of arts and crafts.

As you can see, this is an activity not to be missed!

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Travelling Textile Art Exhibition comes to Goulburn

April 13th, 2012 by Fiona

The marvellous Sensorial Loop, which is the current travelling textile art exhibition from the Tamworth Gallery (NSW), can be seen now at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (Goulburn is about 2 hours south of Sydney, and one hour north-east of Canberra).

This exhibition started on April 7, and runs at this location until May 19, 2012.

If you love textile arts, or perhaps you are just intrigued to see the current state of really cutting-edge arts involving textiles and related materials, you don’t want to miss this exhibition!

Gallery hours are Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturdays 1 pm – 4 pm.

The official opening is at 6 pm today (Friday April 13), by special guest Sandra McMahon (Director of the Tamworth Regional Gallery). There will also be a floor talk by Patrick Snelling, the Curator of the exhibition, and Program Director at the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University, Brunswick (Melbourne).

Find out more at the gallery’s website: or phone them on (02) 4823 4494.


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Queanbeyan Quilters biennial exhibition

April 12th, 2012 by Fiona

If  you love seeing a real diversity of quilts, you shouldn’t miss the biennial Queanbeyan Quilters exhibition, which is on this year on April 28 and 29 (official opening on the evening of April 27).

I love to visit this quilt show because they have a really interesting mix of traditional and contemporary quilts on show.

A particular highlight of Queanbeyan Quilters’ recent offerings is their amazing group quilts, which these days take a particular theme – often with a common thread woven (sometimes literally) through the quilts. The quiltmakers create small quilts, all of the same size, which are then attached to a large background.The result is always stunning!

I am lucky enough to have seen a preview of this year’s group quilt, though it was unfinished at the time, so I am really keen to see the finished item. I expect to be blown away by it, as always with their quilts!

The Queanbeyan Quilters Exhibition is on at the Queanbeyan Conference Centre, Crawford St, Queanbeyan (in NSW, next to Canberra). The admission price is $5.

They always have some wonderful hand-made items for sale within the exhibition, and I think that this year they also have a few traders with lots of goodies that will appeal to quilters and creative types in general.

If you do get to this wonderful quilt show, you may like to go next door to The Q Exhibition Space to see the Textile Trio Exhibition (see previous post for more info).

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Textile Trio Exhibition

April 11th, 2012 by Fiona

From Tuesday April 24 until Saturday May 5, 2012 (closed ANZAC Day), I am having a joint exhibition at The Q Exhibition Space in Queanbeyan, called Textile Trio.

The Q Exhibition Space is on Lowe Street, Queanbeyan (Queanbeyan is in NSW, right next to Canberra).

Gallery hours for Textile Trio are:

Monday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm

Saturday 10 am – 3 pm

Sunday 11 am – 3 pm

Closed on ANZAC Day (April 25)

I am sharing this wonderful exhibition space with two dear friends – Wilma Cawley and Sandra Fisher. We chose the name Textile Trio because we each work with textiles to create our artworks, although we approach our pieces with a wide range of techniques.

Sandra Fisher currently works with natural plant materials to dye/print silk and wool, and turns these fabrics into garments, homewares (cushions) and scarves. Her business name is Nature’s Footprints, which says so much about her process.  It is really serendipitous – Sandra loves that moment when she unwraps the fabric to reveal just what nature has provided in the way of shape and colour through the dyeing process. These items are absolute one-offs – you could never exactly recreate any particular fabric!

Wilma Cawley loves colour and texture, and has a unique and sometimes whimsical approach to her artworks, all based around textiles.  She incorporates everything from rust-dyed textiles to tea bags, felt, buttons and interesting threads and textiles in her eclectic pieces. She loves vibrant colour too, so you’ll find many colourful artworks amongst her exhibition pieces.  Some of her pieces are art quilts or art textiles which hang on the wall, while others are fun and funky hand bags or small framed examples of her gorgeous textile art pieces. She loves stitching by hand and machine, and has a real flair for design.

I (Fiona Hammond) will be exhibiting a range of my current work also – from art quilts and wall hangings to beaded sculptures and a wide range of jewellery. I delight in incorporating many different techniques in my work,  so you can expect to see some – perhaps – unusual combinations.  One of my recent pieces is a neckpiece entitled Silken Leaves. For this piece, I first made several sheets of silk ‘paper’ in vibrant colours, which I then stitched on the sewing machine to create leaf shapes. These leaves were then stitched to a silk ‘paper’ neckpiece which has a beaded edging. Wear this creation and you will certainly be noticed!

As well as all our exhibition items, we will have a Cash and Carry table within the exhibition, where visitors can purchase items and take them away that day (while those exhibition items which are for sale will not be available until the end of the exhibition in early May).

I will be at the exhibition every day, and Wilma will be there most days. So please come along and introduce yourself to us – we’d love to meet you.

Another attraction for Textile Trio is our fashion parade. We will hold this activity twice during the exhibition – at our official opening, and on Saturday 28 at 11 am.  Sandra’s garments feature heavily in the fashion parade, with some of my jewellery and some of Wilma’s accessories too.

The official opening is on Tuesday April 24, from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm. We have the wonderful Valerie Kirk (Head of Textiles at ANU Art School) as our special guest to officially open the exhibition – hear Valerie’s talk around 6 pm. The fashion parade will follow at 6:30 pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Bead the Surface weekend workshop in the Blue Mtns, April 2012

November 15th, 2011 by Fiona

Don’t miss the Early Bird price on my Bead the Surface: create texture and dimension with beadwork” weekend workshop in April 2012.

This two-day workshop will be held at the new TAFTA FORUM, called CONTEXTART, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney (NSW, Australia).

Workshop dates: Saturday April 14 and Sunday April 15, 2012

Early Bird price for this two-day workshop  (available until Thursday December 1, 2011) is $170.

The price after December 1, 2011 will be $190.

For bookings, go to the TAFTA website:

This workshop is for all skill levels. Whether you have had some beading experience or have never even picked up a bead, this workshop is for you. All you need is the desire to learn bead embellishment and the ability to use a needle and thread.

To see some of the pieces I have created over the years with bead embellishment, check out my gallery pages on my website.

Techniques covered in the workshop:

  • beaded backstitch
  • bead couching
  • regular and branched fringing
  • bead stacks
  • ladder stitch – and how it can be used with textiles to create dimensional effects
  • brick stitch – and how it can be used with textiles to create dimensional effects
  • information on suitable fabrics, interfacings, beading threads, beads, thread conditioner, etc. for creating the beadwork
  • maintaining appropriate tension in the beadwork

In the two days you will work towards creating your own small framed bead-embellished textile art piece. These “encrustations” are really fun to create, and allow for plenty of personal input and individual design. I will be there to help participants with their own designs if required, and all techniques will be demonstrated during the weekend. Detailed workshop notes are also available.

The bead-embellishment skills you take on board during this workshop can be used in many kinds of creative endeavour, including quilts, textile art, and of course jewellery and sculptural pieces.

This could be your springboard to a new and exciting way to incorporate design, texture and dimension in your artworks.

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Seeing eye to eye…

July 2nd, 2011 by Fiona

Fiona sees eye-to-eye with Ocularis beadii...

Here I am, getting up-close and personal with my beaded sculpture on its plinth at the Fantasy exhibition, which is currently showing at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.

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My beaded sculpture in the Fantasy Exhibition in Goulburn

July 2nd, 2011 by Fiona

Ocularis beadii (otherworldly garden specimen)

I am so delighted to have one of my beaded sculptures in a current exhibition called Fantasy at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (NSW, Australia). I have been working on this piece, on and off (in the last two months, mostly “on”) since January this year.

It’s been such an intense time of beading, and you should have seen my poor fingertips when I finally finished it a couple of weeks ago….the problem is that when I have to work to a tight deadline (which is most of the time for me, ha ha..), I end up beading way too long into the night, just to get enough work done on the piece, and when I get too tired I sometimes miss where I should place the beading needle, and into my fingers it goes…ouch!

Anyway, my piece is called Ocularis beadii (otherworldly garden specimen). I have this penchant for incorporating odd bits and pieces in my work sometimes, and at present it is dolls’ eyes. I have always liked odd-ball and spooky things, so putting eyes in my work just appeals to my aesthetic sense. But the eyes do also represent my desire to take in all the visual stimulation around me – if only I had more than the regulation quantity of eyes myself I might be able to visually “download” way more of what I see around me….

I wanted to create a piece that could be some kind of bizarre plant from a garden on another planet. My Ocularis beadii has 5 arms/branches which each have an eye on the end, and there are two smaller eyes on the trunk as well. So wherever you stand in relation to the plant, it will be watching you!

I’ve used brick stitch to create the beadwork for this piece. I have beaded over a wire, foam and fabric armature. It was such a fiddly thing to make, particularly the beaded arms/branches, because my beading thread just couldn’t resist getting caught on all the other parts of the piece as I was beading. And after every few beads I had to completely re-position the piece to get better access to the area to be beaded. It was slow slow slow! But now that it is done done done, I am pleased with the result. Phew!

One of the other things that pleases me about being part of this Fantasy exhibition is the amazing work of the other 4 artists represented in the exhibition. There are exotic and really lush digital photos by Alexia Sinclair; two amazing perspex-encased visions of the imagined afterlife of artist Judith Bradhurst (whose work also incorporates beads, so you know I’m going to love it!);  several “lost soul” sculptures by Russell Johnson – which incorporate all sorts of bits and pieces, including doll heads (Russell’s pieces really speak to me!); and the utterly extraordinary stumpwork embroidery creations of Jane Nicholas, my favourite being the display of beetles and bugs which look so like the real thing! Jane has also included some treasure boxes which seem so like the natural history specimen boxes you see in museums, and which she made just for her own delight – this is the first time she has shown them in public!

If you want to see all these glories for yourself, head to Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (in rural NSW, between Sydney and Canberra, Australia). The Fantasy exhibition runs until July 20. Gallery hours are 10 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday, and 1 pm – 4 pm Saturdays. The gallery’s website is

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Fabulous Ben Quilty exhibition in Goulburn

July 2nd, 2011 by Fiona

There are two great exhibitions on at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (NSW Australia) at the moment. The main exhibition is called A Convergence of Birds, and comprises paintings, plus three extraordinary “non-functioning” welded metal bird cages by renowned artist Ben Quilty.

Now I have to tell you that I am likely to be favourably disposed towards Ben’s work because he was one of the two judges who deemed my Nature’s Treasures beaded neckpiece to be prizeworthy in the 2009 Goulburn Art Award! But luckily I genuinely admire his work anyway.

I was lucky enough to catch the free floor talk at the gallery a couple of days ago – Ben Quilty was talking to Andrew Frost (who curated Ben’s exhibition). I am attracted to all that wonderfully thick oil paint that Ben uses in some of his work – it seems so sculptural on the canvas! (and apparently it can take several years for some of the thicker paint to fully dry! During the floor talk someone asked about how some of his earlier paintings used less paint, and he humorously quipped that the thickness of the paint directly relates to how much paint he can afford to buy at a particular time!

I particularly like his skull paintings (I saw some of them at a previous exhibition in Goulburn), which are both beautiful and a little spooky, but in this exhibition he mainly has his bird paintings, plus some others. My favourite in this exhibition is Pig, which is half bird-half car. Ben explained in the floor talk that it partly represents the junction between his car-painting period and his bird-painting period. I like that!

Ben’s exhibition continues until July 23. Catch it if you can. Gallery hours are 10 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday and 1 pm – 4 pm Saturday. Check out the gallery’s website for more info:

Sorry I can’t put a picture of any of Ben’s artworks on my blog (would contravene Ben’s copyright), but the gallery has printed a good catalogue for the exhibition.

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Listen to my little radio interview…

February 10th, 2011 by Fiona

I had a very enjoyable 10-minute chat to the delightful Angela Catterns on the Life Matters program on Radio National on Tuesday this week. It was really very exciting for me, and I’ve had some lovely feedback from family and friends – thank you all!

If you’d like to listen to the interview, or download it as a podcast, go to the ABC’s website here:

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“Meet the Listener Guest” on Radio National’s Life Matters

February 7th, 2011 by Fiona

I was contacted recently about an email I sent to Life Matters at Radio National last December, and they have asked me to be the Meet the Listener Guest this coming Tuesday (February 8, 2011).

I always enjoy listening to this segment, and as a long-time listener to Life Matters on Radio National, I have heard some really interesting and inspiring people on the Meet the Listener segment. So I am positively thrilled to be invited to join the list of listeners who have been featured on the show!

The segment goes live to air at 9:45 am (EST – Australia), and is repeated at 9:45 pm that night. Life Matters airs from 9 am to 10 am each weekday on Radio National. You can also listen online or get a podcast at – click on Life Matters.

I’m not quite sure what topics they will cover in my 10 minutes on air – I just hope I don’t make a complete ninny of myself! Listen in and have a giggle at my expense, my friends!

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