vital statistics

In my earlier post, I shared some preliminary statistics relating to the timeline for entries for this exhibition together with a breakdown by country and region.  In this post, I drill down some more and highlight some other vital statistics.  I emphasise that this is a very broad-brush overview rather than a rigorous statistical analysis.  However, it does highlight some fun ideas and trends.

further entry statistics

  • Number of entries: 104
  • Number of artists: 99 There was 1 triple entry; 3 double entries and 95 single entries. The conditions specified that “only one textile work will be selected per entrant”.
  • Number of joint/collaborative entries: 2
  • Number of compliant entries: a nice round 100.   Two entrants seemed to have missed the memo that works must be 100x40cm; another made an elaborate sculptural work of indeterminate dimensions; and the fourth complied with the HxW dimensions but had significant (10-12cm) three-dimensional elements that made it unsuitable for my handling and shipping procedures.
  • Number of returning artists: 17 artists had work featured in Beneath the Southern Sky and/or Living Colour! Or, to put it another way, approximately 50% are newcomers to my travelling exhibitions.  Welcome!
  • Number of hat trick artists: 3  Dianne Firth, Suzanne Gummow and Kay Haerland have work featured in each of my three travelling exhibitions.
  • Number of finalists named Sue (or some variation): 4 There are also 2 Deborahs, 2 Lindas, 2 Julies and 2 Catherines.
  • Number of finalists with last names beginning with Mc: 4 Mary McArdle, Catherine McDonald, Jane McKeating and Joy McPadden.

selected artists by country

Consistent with the overall profile of entries by country set out in the preliminary statistics, the selected artists are from:

  • Australia: 22
  • Canada: 1
  • New Zealand: 2
  • United Kingdom: 2
  • USA: 5

artist by country

a matter of time: sub-themes

The title theme of this exhibition is “a matter of time” and I invited textile artists to explore the notion of time, often known as “the fourth dimension”,  in cloth.  If you thought I was going to be inundated with clock-inspired works, you would be wrong.  The incidence of clock motifs was very restrained. I am impressed at the diverse and imaginative interpretations put forward. This pie chart gives you some idea but does not capture the nuances and frequent cross-overs.


Many entrants embraced the science of the space time continuum(10%) and the cosmos. Eternity was a minor pre-occupation and two artists introduced me to the concept of the Mobius Strip, something I’ve only ever encountered when I am not concentrating and sew binding strips together the wrong way! Others considered deep-time geology and evolution over time with one work showing an elaborate double helix against a night sky. Aging, erosion and the ravages of time were popular subjects (11%) but even more artists reflected on life cycles and regeneration (17%). Another 10% expressed concern about degradation of the environment; effects of climate change; and a world running out of time.

There were nods to popular culture (Dr Who) and acknowledgements of the ancient aboriginal notion of dreamtime where past, present & future (“PPF” in the chart) are inextricably bound together. 10% of entrants looked at managing and measuring time with another 5% specifically considering the sun and tides.  Temporal rhythms and musical motifs accounted for another 7% with one artist remarking that if you get out of time “everything begins to spin and unravel”.  Finally, 5% of entries related to waiting; seizing the moment or taking refuge from time.

dominant techniques

At 28% of all entries, applique continues to be the preferred technique.    However, surface design (including painting, printing, stamping, inks and pencils) is close behind at 27%.  Here’s a rough comparison between entries (not selected works) for the three exhibitions.  For Living Colour!, the “other” category was mostly eco-dyed fabrics.  This time, “other” was mostly rusting.


materials & design

I started preparing statistics on materials but decided that life is too short.  Suffice to say that that there were 3 wool entries; 3 predominantly paper works; a dozen or so using commercial prints and/or solids; and the rest were hand-dyed or painted fabrics; or miscellaneous fabrics such as silks, linens or lace.

In terms of design, approximately 25% were abstract and the balance were more figurative.


Overall, image preparation and presentation was much improved.  Entrants seem to have taken to heart some of the tips and takeaway messages mentioned in my post on the Living Colour Selection Process.

Only 15% of entries (down from 30%) were let down by their presentation including: poor lighting; out of focus; excessive cropping so I could not see the edges of the work; distracting backgrounds including beds, floors, lattice, shoes and trees; crookedness and “keyholing”.  There was a also high level of compliance with image labelling and size requirements.

coming up soon

In my next post, I will talk some more about the selection process.  I also invite you to join me for just a moment – a series of daily blog posts from 29 January to 29 February 2016  that will feature an artist and preview their artwork from the exhibition.  In the meantime, pop over to the A Matter of Time Textiles Facebook Page where some of the works are already up. Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram too!

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Related posts:

Read more in Curator Knowledge, a series of blog posts and resources based on my experience as an exhibition administrator and curator.


  1. Thanks Brenda for the details
    I am very thrilled to be selected again and one of three being in all three exhibitions
    I have had wonderful comments on my work on facebook a little overwhelmed

  2. I love statistics so found this post really interesting. I look forward to the daily blog posts. What a great initiative Brenda.

  3. Rebecca Wolske says:

    Thank you for all the insight into how you select your pieces, very interesting.
    Even though I missed out this time, I can’t wait to see all the Art work. Reading all the tips for making sure I don’t disqualify myself accidentally is very useful.

    Congratulations to all the selected Artists and look forward to the daily posts 🙂