Spiral Collectives
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Spiral Collectives

Allie Eagle, Joanna Paul

& ‘A Season’s Diaries’

On 13 June 2016 Allie Eagle responded on Facebook to Bridie Lonie’s Diary of a Season, about A Season’s Diaries (1977), organised by Joanna Paul (1945–2003). This reproduces our conversation about her own contribution, with a couple of interjections from others. It is unedited except for occasional [ ] additions: decided not to fix most of our typos.

Allie Eagle Thanks for all the hard work you have put into this project Marian… Finding new linkages to the work that was done then… The possibilities of archiving become very apparent when you work like this! (I can give you a photo of the mandala “a season’s cycle returns” ..?

Marian Evans That would be fantastic. Thanks! I could slot it straight in! Where is the original? Can you also supply medium and dimensions?

AE Tonight I found Joanna’s handwritten invite to be in that Victoria University event Marian. I think maybe Jenny Harvey owns that painting. I have a photo of it. My scanner is playing up but I could send you a rum pry [sic] cell phone image. And also Joanna’s little invite letter?

ME That would be excellent! Thank you to both! Can you contact Jenny Harvey re the size, or can you remember the size and media? I do love an addendum (or two) and am purposely making many of the images poor quality so they are less likely to be copied/misused, though I imagine that skilled people could make them useable!

AE Ha ha…u reckon! Well that sideways pic I just sent you [see below]. I will write a quick little provenance note and then look at my records to see if that is who has the pic.

ME Great!

AE Joanna sent me this little note, page 1 of 4.

ME Ta. Looks as though it’s ok quality to reproduce. It’s your iPhone, isn’t it? FB turns files v small though, so if y could photo all 4 pages and email them to me (which will ensure the files stay a reasonable size, if you just export as ‘maximum’ or ‘largest’ depending what the menu offers) that’d be fab. There must have been another document with the letter, about the exhibition, because of the way the letter’s worded? Is it still there?

AE Page 2. See Bridie Lonie’s essay above for provenance of these little invites.

Page three: now I will just have to hunt up the pic of the wee oil painting. It’s all very instant and rather public this kind of Rchiving isn’t it Marian?

ME Did you make the painting especially for the show?

AE Yes.

( just wish my typos were not so permanent!)

ME I just blame autocorrect. It even adds apostrophes now and then, very embarrassingly for me today, on instagram, where it’s not possible to edit, as we can here.

Are there actually only 3 pages?

AE There is another one…I will send it now( one word)

ME Aw.

Any envelope with a date?

AE No dear. Nothing as well archived as that! But it is the Season’s diary show cos it says so and u have the dates. U n Bridie! Xxx

This is A very very faded 70, a photo of the oil I did for Joanna’s Show… Um no size notes available right now. I think I sent the mandala as well. Judging by the note I was a little reluctant showing in public spaces… Must’ve still been holding onto separatist allegiance at that point.

ME I remember only one, I think a mandala, at Victoria [University Library]. It was a circle. And had some blue, less red? Possibly you did this one for Christchurch where they were hung together?

Morrigan Severs Jenny Harvey has the michelmas daisies painting.

AE Yes they showed at the 77 convention, women’s environment …both of them…so I am afraid I didn’t specifically paint forTheSeason’s Diary show…hmm! Heather has the mandalla

ME That must be why I remember it! Will ask her for a pic.

AE That was such a lovely brief of Joanna’s… I am wondering why I didn’t engage in it more. The Mandalla and the Season’s cycle pic were in the 77 woman’s art show at the CSA so the 67 yr old Allie is giving her younger self a bit of a ticking off for not giving the JP an October image!!!

AE Blegh… U need to turn yr head sideways to see that. Very faded photo! Yes I did it for that show. And another.

ME Regardless, please email all and I will add them. And will add some text and let you know when have done. Can I quote from here (if I fix the typos?) :)

AE It was Autumn. And the season was turning into winter gradually. They are Morrigan Severs Nicomas daisies at our house in Trafalgar street in front of the garage. The circles are indicating the season is on the turn. I always enjoyed deadheading those purply daisies as they sprouted more flowers almost instantly. The painting was oil on a fine particle board. Probably has the date and signature on the pic lower left or right corner.

ME That’s strange, because everyone else did October!

AE Hmm….I don’t remember it being in Ch ch was it?

ME Might that be why I remember only one, that it was a spring mandala and you did this one to add when they were all shown in Chrustchurch? Oh well am going to bed now. Look forward to the images in an email.

AE I have spent the last two hours unearthing everything that could possibly relate to this and the early Christchurch Women artist’s group Marian. Now I am totally unconvinced that I sent A season’s cycle returns to Joanna’s Season’s Diary….show…it was such a lovely brief and I cannot imagine why I didn’t or couldn’t paint to the brief. But I think you are right… Only the mandala went in…I will parcel up some material for you that might be useful. My apologies …40 years have lapsed and the written trace I have is more accurate than my memory!

Joanna Osborne this is great!! hehe …been meaning to talk with/ask all of you about a season’s diaries — oh my dear dissertations

ME Hello, Joanna Osborne! Jo! Glad you enjoyed this! Allie, I’m wondering about just adding all of this convo as a couple of screenshots to the original post. What do you think? I’ll ring you soon. Many thanks for all the tracking down. I think A Season’s Diaries was shown at an exhibition of 3 artists which included Anna, in 1978, but need to track the details. Xx

AE Last night I found some folders… Some sort of ground hog went through my studio last night! Help !!Joanna Osbourne! I am gradually sorting all of my correspondence from Joanna Heather and you Marian into three distinct boxes. Good that I have been a bit of a hoarder but no cigar for the methodology!
Ha ha!

ME And did you find that paper bag? I’m sure that I left it with you and only just really why I’m sure: it had a couple of letters in it I couldn’t quite bring myself to destroy but didn’t want to have at home. (AE as depository-for-the-formerly-broken-hearted!)

AE Jane Zusters might remember about the 3 woman artists show. One very interesting letter came to light from Joanna Paul’s correspondence with me… Where she tells of having become friends with a woman who is a Burns Fellow and building an octagonal house in Okarito !
There is a lot in my records that shows what a thorough hunter Joanna was for a sorierity of women artists. She introduced us to Jacqueline Fahey.

Yes… That sounds a great way to go. Pretty straight up. I am working from my phone cos my computer is getting repaired so my typos are embarrassingly frequent and auto correcting… And I am trying to do other stuff… You know how it is!

Hmm yes it is here. A very big bunch of letters from you to me from 1979 onwards. Of course you are the true champion of all this immense work. You should get a gong with Lilly Kraus but not posthumously!

ME Thank you dear Allie. Did you come across any letters re the proposed exhibition with you and Joanna, 1978–9. Am looking at that file on Friday at the Turnbull. I think we were/are all champions. And by ‘we’ the many many women who connected in some way to Spiral. Thank you, Dear Heather!

AE Oh that’s right! When you arrived in Auckland at Pilar Albas place earnestly interested in you getting a show for Joanna and myself and havingI James Mack interested in us showing(where?) and we did look at it but then thought the best use of your energy should be spread over far more women rather than showcasing us… When there was much work to done building a wider community….well I wasn’t reading any of that correspondence that I shovelled through last night(I tried not to) just hunted for Joanna’s seasons diaries stiffens Any breakaway HeatherMcph letters! Next time…!:)

ME aha. I love the variations in the stories! My memory is that you and Joanna just didn’t have the energy for/interest in a show that toured public galleries! :) it was when James was an advisory office at the arts council and also very keen. Let’s see what the documents show (eventually)!

Anna [Keir] says ‘no’ re the diaries being shown alongside you and her and Zusters in 1978.

AE Yes I agree…and I have regained a sense of what I was doing in late 77 . My”other mother role” was fully amped so I don’t think my focus could have been on JP’s show at all… Still working on the OSB exhibition as well at the McDougall I think…

ME I wonder where and when they were shown in Christchurch… someone will tell us! OSB is ‘Olivia Spenser Bower’?

AE Spencer Bower…yes Julie King has just recently published a really wonderful book on her through Canterbury University Press (ISBN 978–1–9727145–07–4)
The publication I put together in the 77 as OSB’s Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch exhibition. It showed also at the Auckland Art Gallery.

I don’t feel as if the Women’s Diaries show got an airing in Christchurch unless it was the following year. I left Christchurch in 78 so if it showed some others were looking out for it.

ME Glorious cover, isn’t it? I read and enjoyed it.

AE Do u remember sending me this [ca 1977]?

ME No! But that is absolutely true. Something I’d forgotten. And haven’t found any other document that supports that (yet!) xx

What’s on the other bit of the cardboard?

AE I will photograph it for you when I go upstairs again. Gotta put the fire on! It’s cold today!

ME Ta! Stay warm! Xx

AE A card you sent after you had been filming a little spiral doco u did on the invasive weeds project/the story my Mum , Porirua and other material.

ME O GOSH. Forgot all about that, too.

AE Looks like thumbnails for how u were going to sequence that footage.

AE I remember you loving the Peter Greenaway movies. All that techy new digital stuff had you inspired. U were on the way in filming Irihap[e]ti [Ramsden] and I think were using “my” material as a way of learning to excercise your own visual skills! (?)



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Stories by & about women artists, writers and filmmakers. Global outlook, from Aotearoa New Zealand.