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Lichen Morphology


More Information:          

A wire, lace, and tulle armature is covered in papier mâche - some beading texture from the lace subtly comes through – and painted in acrylic paints to create the look of aged wood. Silk paper 'lichen' are made by wetting and ironing undyed gummy silk cocoon strippings, and crinkle-ironed for texture. They are then coloured with shimmering inks, then further texture is created with free motion embroidery using hand-dyed crochet cotton. Dyed and painted pieces of silk cocoons create the cupola shape found in the centre of many lichen. The leotard has been lino-printed in subtle metallics with a lichen inspired design.

Year:      2018

Event:   paper on skin, Burnie, Tasmania.

Award: Winner



Lichen Morphology continues my fascination with, and exploration of, these intriguing textural forms in nature. My first exhibition, in 2009, was titled Morphology, and explored ‘the fascinating surfaces and forms of fungi and lichen through contemporary textile practices’. Everywhere I travel, I take photos of lichen and fungi, and two images in particular inspired this piece – one taken of subtly coloured and gently spiked ‘fruticose’ lichen on a weathered wooden bench in Hamilton, New Zealand, the other - one of my favourite ‘foliose’ lichen types with the dark cupola shapes in the centre, at Port Arthur, Tasmania. Using paper as the main medium for this was a new direction for me, however silk paper proved a smooth transition, having many of the qualities of the felt and fabric I am used to working with. The lino print used on the under-garment of this piece was initially cut for my Morphology II exhibition of 2011. The wire armature used has been repurposed from a wearable art garment of 2014. In many ways, it is a work deeply connected to my ongoing art practice, as well as being a new extension of it.


Materials & Techniques:              


Wire, lace, tulle, papier mâche, acrylic paint, silk cocoon stripping, silk cocoons, shimmer inks, crochet cotton, paper string, glitz yarn, lycra, free-motion embroidery

Bonus Information: 

One of the challenges of paperonskin was creating a work that could be easily shipped to Tasmania, as this event did not have the luxury of sponsored freight. The need to break it down into compact pieces was an important consideration right at the start of the design. In the end it managed to fit into a computer tower box. It also provided a challenge in creating a skin-coloured coloured garment and elastic fittings – as what colour should this be?! This is the difficulty of creating multi-fit garments for unknown models– not just in body shapes and sizes, but skin tones. Lichen Morphology created concerns on the catwalk in dress rehearsal, as the headpiece almost touched the lighting rig!

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