When Nothing Is Straight

Tucked away in Chancery Lane's El Gordo cafe is Tamara Marwood's exhibition, "When Nothing Is Straight"...a collection of patchwork pieces made from found fabrics, textures and stories in Tamara's life...comforting in their mismatched-ness, in a way only patchwork can be...

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Q: What was the inspiration behind 'When Nothing is Straight"?
The act of making and finding ways to fit this into everyday life is my inspiration for this show. As an artist with young children and a "real"job I had to think about how to stay a maker with little time & also limited opportunity to research & try out ideas. This making was something my Mum also did while surrounded by young children. It made sense and it makes me happy.

Q: Can you explain the concept of the technique "English Paper Piercing Quilting" that you've used in your pieces?
English paper piercing is a very old way of constructing quilts by hand. Historically women would have collected fabric from worn out dresses, work clothes and other household items and tacked them onto card. The fabric tacked onto card keeps its shape really well and is easily pieced together. (Tamara will be at El Gordo this Saturday at 10am and can show anyone interested in this technique what's involved)

Q: The exhibition includes a calming colour palette of neutrals & denim blues…do you find the detail oriented work of putting together these pieces therapeutic and relaxing? I ask because anything sewing related frustrates me no end and I admire people who can find peace in the process! :)
Absolutely, I am drawn to the tones & textures of these fabrics. I receive great joy from how the textures might subtly change, and reveal new things to me! As the work is extremely repetitive it is therapeutic and rewarding as it grows. Also it requires zero brain power, but gives maximum joy, perfect!

Q: Are there any stories behind the pieces of fabric & paper that you chose as the materials to work with?

  • Jeans my husband cherished until the butt fell out
  • Fabric remaining from a residency I undertook last year with a Coptic community in west Melbourne
  • Drawings I love by my daughter
  • Hand written recipes in ink by my husband's grandmother I rescued from the bin!
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Q: You mention your love of chocolate on your blog…being a sweet tooth myself…what is your favourite sugary indulgence?
Anything chocolate! Today it was ice-cream as a treat after a hot 10k fun run!

Q: Can you expand on the mention of "Cafe Crafting" from your exhibition poster and tell us what is involved?
It is just like a crafternoon or a 'stitch and bitch'! Bring along your latest project - last week I took along my pencils and sketch book! Also bring along some coins for coffee and cake. Although generally you dont get much done it is a great way to meet new people, get inspired and catch up on some gossip. There is one taking place this Saturday at Elgordo at 10am, love to see you there.

Q: What project are you currently working on?
I am between projects at the moment, and attempting to get my late tax done! I have just finished a project for the recent Regional Arts Australia Conference which was rewarding but tiring. However I am collecting resources and ideas around me for a series of large scale drawings.

Q. Favourite place/thing about Bendigo
Bike riding and the beautiful friends I have here. Autumn is also a treat.

Thanks Tamara! I love the concept of attempting to fit creative things into the craziness that is every day life. It's so easy to keep collecting ideas & inspiration for things we'd like to try (Pinterest, I'm looking at you!!) but actually starting them is a whole other ball game...the time we would like to have will always we swallowed up by something else unless we make a conscious effort to put some aside, no matter how small the time may seem. Tamara's work is a great example of something that is inspired by and made out of every day materials, put together in spare minutes here and there...to create something lovely and tangible at the end. Also, I can't argue with her mantra of `anything chocolate'...and Bendigo really is amazing for bike riding :) Check out the flyer below for all the details of Tamara's exhibition...you can also click through to her blog...and catch her on Saturday Nov 10th at 10am at El Gordo (which is the last day of the exhibition...but you can stop in at El Gordo's anytime during the week to check it out as well...grab a coffee & something from the cake cabinet whilst you're there!).

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