Clouds of Star Dust

RCB Cloud, Claire Pendrigh, wool on plastic and metal frame. Photograph: Darren Tynan
RCB Cloud, Claire Pendrigh, wool on plastic and metal frame. Photograph: Darren Tynan

I finally had the chance to hang the RCB Cloud in a gallery space for a photo shoot. It’s so good to see it out of the studio – I think that this work needs space to breath.

RCB Cloud (detail). Photograph Darren Tynan
RCB Cloud (detail). Photograph Darren Tynan

The RCB Cloud is my interpretation of the carbon rich dust clouds ejected by RCB stars. I am also working on an audio component to these works in which the sound of breathing becomes louder, heavier, softer or lighter in correlation with graphs mapping RCB stars’ magnitudes. I like to imagine that these clouds of dust are exhaled by the RCB stars, like the breath of living organisms. In this body of work I am trying to locate the individual in the context of the universe by linking their everyday existence to stellar events.



RCB Cloud


The RCB Cloud is complete. It’s knitted mass floats in front of my studio door.

RCB stars are a type of variable star that occasionally eject clouds of dust. The star dust obscures the view of the star from earth and it appears to grow dimmer or even disappear until the dust disperses.

The RCB Cloud will be part of my next solo show in Fremantle at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery in September 2014… I hope it fits in my car!

RCB Cloud (detail)
RCB Cloud (detail)

Naked & Nude

I have some very exciting news from Taree – Skin Cosy has won one the 3D prize in the “Naked & Nude” Manning Art Prize 2013! The Friends of the Gallery, who run the art prize, have put together an online catalogue which is particularly wonderful if you’re like me and you can’t make it to see the show in person!

List of prize winners and finalists here…

Online catalogue here…

Knitting star dust

Space Cloud in progress

A few months ago I met Mel. Mel was on the last leg of her Australian trip after completing a university exchange at ANU and was getting ready to return home to Germany. She studies astronomy, her Australian research focusing on a rare type of variable star called R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars. The more she spoke about these stars, the more intrigued I became, for RCB stars behave in quite a peculiar way. Every now and then the star ejects a large dust cloud which obscures it from view from earth, making it appear to grow dimmer and then brighter again when the dust has dispersed.

Given my ongoing interest in all things star dust, I had to explore it further.

Now, I will be honest with you, I am not an astronomer. Despite Mel’s excellent explanation attempts, it is highly probable that I will never fully grasp or understand this phenomenon – but for me, this is part of what attracts me to is as a subject. The coming together of scientific data, evidence, numbers and graphs with the sense of mystery and incomprehension of an event so far beyond the realm of the everyday is, in essence, what intrigues me about the experience of the sublime.

Since that first conversation with Mel, I have been working on a soft sculpture space cloud. Progress is slow with a great deal of fine knitting and stitching required. My aim is to incorporate RCB data collected and analysed by astronomers, and use it to create an object that explores the interplay between science and wonder. It’s going to be large, and it’s going to be shiny.

Heroes and antiheros


Photograph by Owen Elliott

Special Powers

Photograph by Owen Elliott

Here are some more images of the works from Cosy. These two masks never made it into a performance piece in Bristol so I created a little performance for them in Bungendore.

Cosy Art

The grand unveiling… my knitted costumes, installations and drawings have finally made it out of my back pack and into the gallery space. The opening night had a great turn out of enthusiastic participants, dressing up and interacting with the artworks. Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved – whether you were there, dressing up in the costumes on the opening night, modelling the works for me while I was making them, or just giving me emotional support when my hands were aching from too many hours spent knitting. One of the things that I have loved about this project is the fact that it has traveled with me, and that the works have direct connections with all the beautiful people and places that I have encountered along the way. “Cosy” was exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, UK.

>>View all artworks for “Cosy” >>

A collection of strange creatures and peculiar experiences

Strange Creatures

Strange Creatures, 2012, Wool, dimensions variable

My first solo show outside of Australia is happening really soon!

Cosy  is an exhibition about love, obsession, the body and knitting. It explores that compulsion to cocoon loved ones in hand made, lopsided jumpers, to wrap someone or something up, to keep it warm and safe even to the point that it can no longer escape or breathe. It explores human interactions, the space between bodies, touch and the sensation of not quite touching. The works play with our ability to perceive the world around us and the people around us. “Cosy” comprises of a series of knitted costumes and installations, and the viewer is invited to interact with the artworks and “inhabit” the costumes.

Opening drinks: Friday 19th October, 2012, 7pm

Exhibition runs: 19th October – 24th October

Centrespace Gallery, 6 Leonard Lane, Bristol. Open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm

Dance when I can’t see you

Dance Dance Teardrop Eyes

Dance Dance Teardrop Eyes, 2012, Icelandic wool, glass beads and headphones, photograph by David Spooner

This mask divides the world into abstracted circles of light. I plugged the headphones into my cassette tape walkman, and on a bridge in Bristol I danced with flailing arms while confused cyclists avoided me. I couldn’t see them, and I felt invisible.

Keeping Cosy


Skin Cosy (detail)

Bristol is a chilly place – sometimes you just need something to keep you cosy. I have once again picked up my knitting needles to start on my next body of work which will comprise mainly of soft sculptures, interactive installations and cosy, cosy costumes.