Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back ...

This is certainly the time of year for reflection. Most people cast back over the year and have a think about their highs and lows - it is a natural thing to do and I guess it is one way in which we grow each year. Today I saw a bumper sticker that said "I am in shape ... Round is a shape!" and it made me giggle a bit - I kinda relate to the round bit and am not unduly uncomfortable with my shape - even at this reveal-more-flesh-than-any-other-time-of-year time. It got me to thinking about labels and such and the limitations they can place on us if we let them. Two sets of traffic lights later and I got to thinking about all the things I had learned this year - and there have been alot - from practical skills to the realisation of personal aspirations. One thing I learned in 2010 is that labels are not always bad. For the first time ever, I actually wrote "artist" as my profession on a form this year. And it didn't feel weird - how weird is that?! So I guess I feel I have earned the label and learned to be comfortable with it. I could blather on about the skills I learned from the indomitable Ms Kazmer, or all the things I continue to learn from my kids but maybe I will save that for another time ...
So what have you learned in 2010? Did you have an "ah-ha" moment, acquire a new skill or perhaps you gained some insight into something you had previously found baffling?
Thank you for joining me here in 2010 and I wish all of you a most happy and creatively bountiful New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scribbles ...

Strangely, I am feeling the urge to fill up my journal with ideas. I say strangely because I would have thought that the amount of food and alcohol I have consumed lately may have curbed my creative impulses! Not true apparently and I am scribbling away like  a madwoman - ok so the bit about being mad is probably no surprise but the fact that the stuff I am thinking about is for an exhibition in August is, quite frankly, ASTOUNDING!

Of course I find that yet again I have ideas that exceed my current skill-set - meh - what is life without a little bit of challenging endeavor? For now I am just gonna keep on scribbling and probably making a few prototypes ( damn my design-by-making brain!) and see where it leads. How about you - now that there is a little lull are you feeling creative or do you just want to lounge about and soak up sun?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas is over ....

Well, I guess Christmas is drawing to a close now that everyone is gradually dispersing back to their "real" lives. I gave my daughter a lift to the city yesterday because she had to go back to work and I felt a little sad. I took a stroll along the beach whilst she got ready for said work  - it has been ages since I have managed a tootle along a beach - and I felt better right away - must be the sea air. Or perhaps it is the bountiful treasures that the ocean so kindly leaves for hunter gatherer types like me ...

I can never resist the allure of an interesting shell, I think they hold some sort of spell over me - and to find a couple of pieces of glass that have been rounded and smoothed by the relentless movement of the sea makes me go yipppeeeeee inside. To me they are more beautiful than any gemstone. Another daughter heads back to her life outside the family fold tomorrow and I certainly don't have a beach handy so perhaps I will have to try a little op-shop retail therapy?!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

T'was the night before Christmas ...

and there was a family to feed ...

preserves to finish ...

tree decorations to admire ...

gifts to wrap ...

post baking dishes to do ...

and finally ...

a toast to share and blessings to count!

Frohliche Weihnachten everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gotta love school holidays ...

The most remarkable thing about having a seventeen year old home during the school holidays is the rapidity with which they can chew through your allowable downloads. In turn, it is remarkable how agonisingly slow Internet use seems to be once your ISP shaves your speed - sigh - how did we ever manage on dial-up? All this is of course a prelude to me excusing my bloggy absence - Internet activity on my behalf has ground to a halt as my greedy, download sucking teen hogs both the computer and it would seem, all of CyberSpace!
So Christmas is almost here - and I still have pressies to wrap, jam to label and some cards to write! Truth be told, I love the busyness of this time of year and all the fuss and bother. Sorry. Can't help it. I will soon have all my kids under my roof and there will be plenty of food, fun and now that they are older - cocktails - gooooodeeeeee! Santa must have checked his list twice by now and the elves are no doubt giving those brave and stoic reindeer a Braveheart-esque speech to spur them on. Bring it on I say! Are you ready for serious cute overload? Checkout this pic from Rudolphs baby album ...

Awwww ......!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yum yum - it's beginning to feel like Christmas ...

Lots of lively aromas have been circulating around my kitchen today. I have been bitten by the Xmas Bug and have been making yummo preserves for gifts. I had intended to roast and flavour some nuts but when I got to the shops this morning they were practically giving away really ripe mangoes so I had a change of heart and decided Mango Chutney was the go! Then I had to have a quick whip round the oppies to source some jars. When I got home I wandered down to the veggie patch to see if the locusts (we have a plague can you believe it?!) had done much damage and my hungry eyes fell upon the beetroot practically leaping out of the ground .... oh yes Beetroot Relish was calling my name! I had those beauties out if the ground and into the oven in a flash. I made some nuts too - soy,ginger and garlic almonds and cashews - tasty tasty! I'm gonna bake me some biscuits tonight - gingerbreads with honey icing and cardomon wafers which should stink up the kitchen with lots of Christmassy smells.

Oh and the locusts haven't done much damage despite neighborhood reports of the complete decimation of Chinese Cabbages and the like! Phew!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wild weather and earrings - a good combo...

We have had some very wild weather here in SA - crazy lightning and thunder storms - and rain - buckets and buckets of the stuff! There has been quite a bit of localised flooding - we are high and dry thank goodness and have escaped with very little damage - just some overflowing gutters and a few spot leaks. In this State we are just not that equipped for torrential rain so the drains were not coping at all and a number of shops in our local town sustained damage. No human injury though so I guess we should be thankful for that. With all that scary weather activity I holed up in the studio and have been playing with my torch again. I really enjoy the process of adding colour to metal so I made a few earrings today to pop onto my madeit site - it is a bit empty after the market action of the last week so I hope to add things over the next little while though I fear I may have missed the Christmas rush?!

This fiery red is my favourite enamel colour. I have used some little Greek ceramic beads as accents - this one is grey although the pic is a bit dodgy!
A nice pastel mint colour with lemon beads - great for Summer I think!
And purple of course because there simply isn't enough purple in the world - especially teamed up with RED! I also made a few other colours so there is a nice little range now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Forgive me if I blather ...

Phew, this last week has been a biggie! I spent the week-end with Melissa of Mogs Designs at the Art at the Hart artists market and I am beyond tired - more like wiped-out, utterly knackered and done in! It was a fantastic fair though - really well organised and catered for - sadly the weather wasn't quite so organised and it was roasting hot in Adelaide yesterday. People still came out and we managed to have a fine time despite looking like we had just run a marathon all day. We also had plenty of lovely visitors. Christina from Rustic Tarts popped by and gave us the most delicious baked goodies I have ever tasted - macaroons and divine slices - that gal can COOK! I was also the lucky recipient of some very nice teaspoons - thanks Christina. Miss Kath Pathwalker also came to play and ensured we had beer to go with our lunch - and since the bar wouldn't make us a shandy insisted on extra cups and a can of lemonade so we could DIY ! The stallholders were all terrific - it is great to be associated with such talented people creating quality work.
Before I show you our Art at the Hart stall, here is a peek of my stall on Thursday night at The Art Bazaar - it was really busy because people look forward to the event and spend up accordingly so I only had time for one photo!
I had some really great feedback and even won a prize for having the best presented stall!
I had a BIG day in the studio on Friday and made some lovely things to take along to Art at the Hart ...

Some more "tinnies" - tin and laminex birdy brooches - people were surprised to discover they were handcut and riveted rather than just glued.

It looked very pretty and inviting and our customers certainly seemed intrigued with the variety of our creations.
These are some of Melissas beautiful journals, cards and purses along with Ellen's very sweet papercuts.

Melissa also revamped some clothes and I must say that given it was 36 degrees in the shade on Saturday it was a testament to their loveliness that we sold so many 'cos it was a bit warm to be trying on cardies and jackets! Aren't they great?

One more gratuitous shot to show you how we made our little piece of 3 metre by 3 metre space into 'home' for two days.  Now it is all packed up and as soon as I am able to make my weary tootsies co-operate the car needs to be unpacked and the damp (it rained today) tablecloths washed ... maybe it will all keep until tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Output, output, output!!

Generally I am not much chop at production work. If I was a properly trained jeweller, I am sure I would be much better at it but as things stand currently, it isn't for me. The joy of making jewellery for me at the moment revolves around the problem solving process inherent with creating new pieces. Once I have worked through these and come up with something I like I am not that fond of making more of the same. This certainly makes it more difficult to make a quid from jewellery making but I am still learning heaps and quite content to bob along the creative journey.Just now though, I find myself under the pump to produce a decent body of work to take along to an unexpected but to-good-to-pass up art fair so I am trying to make more than one of things and get some runs on the board! It is working out okay - do all the enameling at once, organise things into steps and sections - really it is all about the planning! Here are some "production line"earrings ...

Nine pairs - yes indeedy you read that correctly NINE pairs! I wanted something in the $10 - $15 range and came up with these. Again, I am embracing my 'organic' style as these ones are not strictly matchy matchy 'cos each little glass pebble is slightly different! Me, I really like that effect but it remains to be seen how they are greeted by the general hoi polloi!

I had to share this pic because I like how everything is reflected in the glass- you can even make out the camera! Ah well, wish me luck with further production efforts - so far this is it - but hey - I have until Saturday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

To market, to market ...

Well, the weather was appalling, the organisers pretty mediocre and as for signage and position - well don't get me started! As usual the best thing about doing a market was the other stallholders and the sense of camaraderie as well as the interesting feedback from the public.My daughters and I ended up having lots of fun together so it was time well spent!

That is our little stall - because of the inclement weather we ended up sharing an oversized tent (that had been destined for the Sausage Sizzle) with an animal guy - oh yes this is what I got to spend the day with ...

In fact their were two of these chaps literally hanging around the marquee, along with a couple of lizards, turtles,a baby python, a bettong and a tawny frogmouth. We became animal handlers too when the guys helpers had to leave so I spent most of the afternoon with a very docile tawny frogmouth perched on my hand letting people pat it! I now know heaps more about these birds - and no, they are NOT owls!

My eldest was in Heaven and had that critter draped around her for half the day! She also snoogled the bettong! Good thing you couldn't make it Miss Melissa!! My girls did an excellent job of promoting my madeit store - I am so proud of their ability to communicate and the obvious pride they take in my work - they are just lovely really! Here is a closer look at our stall - it looks very pretty doesn't it - we were going with a little "nanna chic"?!

Now, to let you all know about some upcoming events - this Thursday, December 2nd is the day to visit the Adelaide College of the Arts because the annual Arts Bazaar will be on between 3pm and 7pm. Students will be selling their work - from prints to jewels for very reasonable prices so if you get a chance to drop in to 39 Light Square I am sure you will find some great artworks to take home. I will be there somewhere too! I am pretty excited that this year we will also be at The Art at the Hart fair in Port Adelaide on Dec 3 and 4. This is a really good arts fair with quality work and a great atmosphere. We are a bit under-prepared as we had short notice to join in but I am still looking forward to it and plan to get into the studio this week and work really hard! come along and don't forget to say 'Hello"!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back in the saddle?

Well, after the heady excitement that was Blogtoberfest, November seems to have been a bit of a blogging drought for me. I could blame end-of-the-academic-year overload or preparation for some upcoming markets but I think I just didn't have anything interesting to say! Now, about these Markets - my daughters and I will be at the Goodwood Christmas Market this week-end (Nov 27th 9am - 3pm) so if you happen to be in Adelaide do stop in and say hello! Daughter #1 has made some super cute kawaii inspired hairpins and ear-ring along with some recycled journals. Daughter#2 has made some lovely candles in tea-cups, cards and paper-cuts. I have screen printed some grocery bags and of course made some jewellery. There seems to be a focus on ear-rings in our house just now  - here are a few I have made from recycled materials. I have come to realise that I have a definite, organic style!

Some recycled brass (from a tray) with pewter cut from  a beer tankard and sterling hooks.

Pretty simple but kinda fun - electrical wire and sterling silver.

Copper, brass and some horn discs with sterling hooks - just love bashing that copper about!

More bashed up copper but I didn't get to do the beating because these are cut from a pre-beaten bowl!

These are fine silver and some beach glass collected from the Yorke Penninsula.

Again some pewter cut from old beer tankards - this material is great to work with! I was going for an industrial tribal look - did I pull it off?

More pretty beach glass - I think these are really elegant.

More pewter - so good for ear-rings because it is lightweight - also easy to pattern and patina as you can see from these! I hope the market-goers like these as much as I do. Right now it is back to the Salt Mine to make some more stuff to tantalize all those Christmas shoppers!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting it on madeit.

I seem to have spent an absolute age getting things onto my madeit store today. It is a bit of a process but I am pleased to say I have added some lovely beady bits! Here is a sample ...

A beach inspired necklace full of lovely 'beachy' tones and below, something a little more colourful ...

I added some ear-rings but have more to go ...
 I fell in love with these Peruvian birds - so sweet!

I really like my quasi steampunk ones - not exactly hard-core steampunk but I am getting there! At least I acan have the satisfaction of saying that I used bits from a watch I pulled apart myself! I still have some bracelets and a couple of necklaces to go as well as a whole bunch of simple ear-rings but they will have to wait until tomorrow!

Monday, November 8, 2010


 I knocked off two assignments for Uni this week (yay!), so op-shopping was a bit thin on the ground. My daughter was visiting and found some pretty teacups ...

She has turned them into 'tea-lights' for an upcoming market. I found this fairly grubby looking, taped up  bag of beads and since it was only 50 cents I threw caution to the wind and made the purchase!

As it turns out, it was full of these ...

They are seed beads called Job's Tears. They come from an native Asian grass and are in fact the mature grains of the grass - the lovely pearly exterior houses the grains. They range in colour from light brown right through to charcoal black but these lovely grey coloured ones are my favourite. Apparently, Mother Theresa's favourite rosary was made of Job's Tears and she was buried with it. So, it turned out to be a lucky find. If you had a chance to go treasure hunting this week, I hope the Thrift Goddess was smiling upon you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vintage Vinyl

Recycling vinyl records is not a new idea - I have made brooches etc in the past but I have really been wanting to make some image based pendants so I decided to whip out the old platters and give it a go.Hope you are ready to have a cuteness overload! seems to be a bit catchy in our household of late. I have just finished listing these in my madeit shop!

They are made from old vinyl LP's - all hand cut and finished then riveted together.

I have had so much fun developing these but let me tell you, metal is way easier to work with!

The images are mostly from Little Golden Books and other cute kids books. I love that I can slip some of my current obsession with woodland critters into my jewellery making! I have used mica to protect the image - much less toxic (and messy) than resin I am pleased to say.

I will be making a slightly more 'upmarket' series of these - sterling rivets and chain - for a gallery shop in the city - but I must say I love the vintaginess of the brass rivets. I like these so much I have made myself one and have already worn it alot! Love it when an idea comes together!