Thread Mania

My journey studying for the City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery


A huge disruption to my study

This blog has three posts published on the same day, all dating from the end of 2010. Unfortunately ill health put a big hold on me getting ahead with my course work. However I am now better and able to concentrate on my course again.

Punakaiki rocks

2.3.1 Terns on the Punakaiki rocks

During October and November 2010 I was fortunate enough to enjoy a number of artistic activities, which although not contributing directly to getting my course work done, have been generally enriching.

Kelp at Punakaiki rocks

2.3.2 Black Kelp at Punakaiki

First off was a trip down the west coast of South Island, NZ.  We had beautiful spring weather and stopped to view many areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Punakaiki rocks were amazing in themselves, but I loved the movement of the sea swell and surf through the ribbons of black kelp around the base of many of the formations. The shining kelp, pale foam and eroded rocks made wonderful contrasts that my photos do not do justice to.

Many gardens in the country towns we passed through had wonderful displays of spring flowers and rhododendrons. Perhaps the mild winter we had this year, along with the modest rainfall of 2,200mm help things along.  (I quote the west coast tourist brochure for the rainfall total, no typo !)  But more impressive than the gardens was the wonderful artwork available at the many galleries and craft shops. I couldn’t take photos for copyright reasons, but Alison Hale at Reefton and Hester De Ruiter at the Punikaiki Crafts are two examples of the wonderful artists in the area.

I enjoyed a special evening when my local framing shop displayed 40 works by 20th century masters. These were from the collection of a local resident and were simply stunning. The collection is of early or lessor known works (not the multi-million museum stuff) and it was awe inspiring what the artists achieved with simple lines and a splash of colour. Around half the works were by Picasso, with others by Pissarro, Cezanne, Chagall, Dali, Klee, Modigliani, Matisse, and Utrillo.  I especially liked the early Picasso’s painted over newspaper articles, advertising labels or other papers that the then poor fellow could acquire. The owner gave us a talk about his collection and stories behind some of the paintings, which made for a wonderful evening.

My next visual feast was watching the New York Met performance of Das Rheingold via their HD cinema series. WOW, what an amazing production using modern technology. I especially liked the light effects on Loge’s costume. The flickering on his hands and around his feet greatly added to his performance as the god of fire.  And no comment about the latest Das Rheingold can ignore the wonderful use of the stage “machine”. Changing the topology of the stage and using light on the polished metal gave us everything from under the rhine, then the depths of the underworld as well as the heavenly gateway to Valhalla.  I really enjoyed the screening, the music and the singing, and thoroughly appreciate the efforts taken to get world-class performances to remote areas of the planet.

Nov/Dec is the end of the school year in New Zealand, I attended some wonderful student performances. My daughter studies singing and piano and her music school concerts were delightful. Then of course there was the high school prize giving with amazing performances by the school choir, orchestra and other musical groups and then the entertainment at the formal graduation night. It was wonderful seeing so many talented young people but they get little public recognition, it is a shame that our newspapers seem to only report crimes committed by teenage ratbags.

Finally, in February 2011 my daughter and I went to Wellington to see the exhibition of European 19th & 20th century masters from the Stadel Museum. The exhibition was at the Museum of New Zealand and it was wonderful to see so many wonderful artworks without having to travel to the other side of the world. I really appreciated seeing the progression of styles from late 19th century realistic work. The incredible accuracy of the 19th century masters, the beautiful impressionist works and mind blowing shapes, colours and power of the early 20th century works.  I especially enjoyed seeing artworks “live” that I’ve only seen in printed art textbooks before.

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