New Nanna - launch

Thankyou ALL so much for attending the opening of my exhibition last night. I was so touched by everyone that showed up and especially by the Marjorie Bligh book I received as a gift from the organisers (I am already half way through). For those that couldn't make it I thought I should post the exhibition interpretation with some of the images, kind of like an online version of the exhibition - beware the could take a bit of reading:

New Nanna - Exhibition interpretation by Josie Hurst
What is the role of a woman? Has the role changed over generations, and if so, has some things remained the same? Celebrating the 2012 International Women’s Day event New Nanna is a solo exhibition of works by Michelle Walker who investigates past traditions, styles and techniques but reappropriates them with her modern day influences and possibly nostalgic reflections of the past.

There’s no doubt looking at the works in this exhibition that the vintage styles of the 1950s through to the 1970s influences Walker’s practice, with vintage fabric patterns reoccurring in both the textile works and paintings. She explains ‘I just love the old styles; and finding old fabrics and re-using them is an important process in my work. For example the back of the work in The Love Quilt is an old quilt I found in an op shop but was falling apart. I had to unpick numerous patches to replace them but it was so difficult because whoever made it years ago hand sewed the work with tiny stitches and delicate care – it was obvious this blanket had a past life and was made with love, and now I’m taking that story and remaking it into something else special’. 

While Walker is hunting down old sewing patterns and finding something ‘new’ in the old, there are some modern day influences that reflect a change in generation. To start she isn’t fussed with perfection and purposefully leaves strands of threads hanging, making the mess stylistic rather than a flaw. Could this also reflect a willingness to buck the projected expectation of woman in the 1950s to maintain a tidy home and appearance? Additionally as a working mother living regionally Walker creates a cultural community for herself through the internet. As an active blogger she is finding new ideas, influences, exhibitions and friends through the online world, breaking away from some of the boundaries that come with being tied to the domestic space. 
Perhaps it is this notion of community that is the common thread throughout this exhibition, even though each generation finds its own way of creating it. The painting of the stacked teacups symbolises the custom of ‘come round for a cup of tea’, and quilting, like many traditionally feminine crafts such as basket weaving, has often been a group exercise that brings woman together. Today while many woman juggle the busy schedule of working and motherhood, online communities offers an accessible opportunity for connecting, inspiring, sharing and supporting each other.

Michelle Walker is a UTAS graduate with a Masters of Contemporary Art. Living in Wynyard she is an active member of the arts community and one of the founders and current committee member of Wynyard’s Artists Run Initiative ArtsCape, Stitch and Bitch, and arts market Made with Love.  To find out more about Michelle visit her blog, where you will also find links to her Madeit online store, Red Bubble profile, Pintrest board, Spoonflower profile, Burda profile and Made with Love blog at:

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Michelle Walker is a Tasmanian born creative. An Artist for life, Visual Arts Teacher, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Hairdresser by trade and mother to two beautiful children.