Saturday, July 31, 2010


SALA is here! Yay! For the uninitiated, SALA is an Arts Festival here in South Oz. It is statewide, spreading out to include regional areas. Artists of all kinds exhibit their work in really accessible places like cafes, wineries, shops etc as well as galleries. It really is a fun festival and well supported. This year it runs over three weeks and there will be artwork in over 500 outlets! SALA stands for South Australian Living Artists and everyone from emerging artists to well established artists joins in the fun - there is also a moving image component. My own little exhibition opened last night and it was great to have such wonderful support from the local community - I was a bit surprised really! The winery that is hosting the exhibition made lovely nibbles and cracked open a few bottles - the atmosphere was very convivial. I really enjoyed being able to speak to people about my work and found that they were genuinely interested and curious. I had a great time! I forgot to take photos of the opening but here are some of the exhibition.

This is one side - for some reason I didn't photograph the other side?! It was getting late and I still ahd to type up the catalogue ...

These birds (hanging off the cages) are some of my favourite pieces - I had so much fun making them. You might recognise some of the materials from previous posts.  They are made of recycled tin and laminex samples. The bangle in front is covered with pearly shell buttons.

Actually, I also really enjoyed making these bottle-cap amulets too - they are to help ward off the Evil Eye!

This big piece is titled "Gifted, Thrifted and Found". It is made from a whole load of jewellery that I have been given or found in thrift stores - in some cases stuff I found on the street! There are odd earrings, chains, charms, keys and all manner of bibs and bobs. Pretty hard to wear 'cos it weighs a ton, but great fun to look at!

This is a close up of the bracelet you can see in the display case above. I have called it "All About Alice". It is made from sterling silver, vintage chandelier glass and charms that I have fashioned from teaspoons (remember the spoon dilemma?), images from the Penguin publication of Alice , some mica and brass.

This woodland friend and a few of his mates are on the other side of the exhibition! They are made of old vinyl records, sterling and backed with material from an old tray. They are quite small and there were a few less than tender feelings expressed when it came to riveting on the brooch backs. At times like those, an extra set or two of hands would be - well, - handy!

I have blogged about the heart charm bangles before but I loved that blue tin so much, I had to make something else with it - hence the bubble bracelet. It is backed with recycled brass and strung with hemp.
I think there are over 50 pieces in this exhibition and my hands are sooo sore just now that I am going to have a few days off, catch up on some domestic stuff ( and a couple of Uni things!) before I get back in the workroom!  If you are in South Australia, grab a copy of the SALA catalogue ( or head to the website ) and check out a truly amazing array of work by over 3000 artists in every medium you can think of! Oh yeah - I am Big Kev excited - it doesn't get much better than this!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Flea Market Finds.

After a fairly crappy week, I have finally emerged from my codeine/ibuprofen induced fog - I was suffering from what turned out to be to be a tooth abscess. Hence, I managed to have just one visit to the op-shop after I had some dental treatment and before the reality of the bill for that treatment set in!

I have just discovered the joys of cutting up pewter - it is a really easy metal to work with. I have been fastidious though about collecting lead-free pewter - seems many years ago lead was a big component and truly I need to hang onto all of my currently functioning brain cells, so why risk poisoning them? Hunting up this material was my main objective for going to the op-shop but since I was there and pain free ...

This A3 size book is chocka-block full of Ansel magic. I plan to give it to a photographer mate - after I have had a good peruse!

Just imagine - no Photoshop - just hours of waiting to get the best light etc - what a talent.

Whilst in the "book department", I also found this book on origami and bought it for the sole purpose of learning how to make these ...

I love these cicadas! I s'pose I could have found the instructions on the Net but hey, you can never have too many reference books!

I am not sure why I purchased this card except that it reminded me of every piece of stationary I ever owned as a young teen. I was mad for those letter sets - y'know - notelets with matching envelopes in a special matching folder thingy? Loved, loved, loved them and this was the prevailing style in the late 70's. Guess I was feeling nostalgic!

This next item was purchased before the "dental horror" but I decided to include it because I can show you an "after" shot!

This pure wool jumper was in the dog blanket box - such a warm garment - never underestimate the joys of the dog blanket pile! To be fair it had been slightly shrunk and had fallen foul of the Pilling Fairy. Oh and does anyone remember when we thought mustard was a good fashion colour choice - yeah - blame the 80's I think - 'cos the body of this beauty is oh so MUSTARD! All of these factors must be why it ended up in the doggie blanket pile! Good luck for me, bad luck for any cold dogs out there 'cos at just 50 cents it was definitely coming home with me! And here is what it became ...

I felted some of it into  nice plump beads. The red discs are re-purposed from another necklace and I cut the 'beadcaps' from a brass planter - then I stamped, patinaed and domed them. Actually, I roped my son into stamping some of them and oh joy oh bliss, he is a natural with a hammer, which may come in very handy! It is a longer style of necklace and I am happy with how it turned out. The felting was a bit hard on my hands though so next time I plan to revise my methods! Hope you all had a nice, fossicky week. Head to Sophie's to join in Flea Market Finds or to just check out what goodies others have found this week.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flea Market Finds.

A friend mentioned to me this week that some op-shops are getting a bit silly when they charge $2 for an odd saucer - no cup or other matching bits- and I have to agree. Bearing that it mind, you will understand how lucky I feel to have found a nearly entire dinner-set for a few bucks - and designed by one of my fave old-school designers, Kathy Winkle. You can read a bit more about her here if you are interested. I just like her style, her stuff often makes me think of the super trendy Samantha from Bewitched and the sorts of crockery you might have found in her kitchen.

I found 3 plates like this ...

...and a whole set - plates,side plates and bowls, like this -

It is such a fun pattern we think we might use it as our "everyday" dinnerware. It will be interesting to see how food actually looks on it, we are so used to plain white plates!
I also brought home a couple of other treasures ...

I couldn't resist this cute mouse fabric - all the little critters are doing something - like skipping and juggling ( as mice do ...) - it is just a small piece and I have no idea what I would use it for but it seemed clear it had to come home with me. Equally determined to follow me home was this beautiful shell necklace -

These are more like shiny beetle bodies than shells and I plan to pull the piece apart and use the shells somehow ...
Lastly I found an old Craft Book. It has great pics in it - there sure was a lot of crocheting being done in the 70's huh?
I think this rug project would be right at home in a contemporary setting - what a massive task though!
Hope you all ahd fun at the thrift stores this week. If you didn't get the chance to get out and about you can live vicariously and see what everyone else has hunted up over at Sophies. Have fun!

Friday, July 16, 2010

When will I be Famous ?

I CAN answer that - the answer is right now thanks to the lovely Thea. Head over here to check this talented lady's blog and my new-found fame!

And yes, that is the 80's version of the song and I just know most of you recognise it - so go on, sing-a-long!
la  la-la   la  la-la  la-la

Video quality a bit dodgy so just listen to the first bit!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Creative Space

I decided to join in with Kirsty's fun meme "My Creative Space" this week. I am still working away at getting some exhibition-worthy pieces together so of course my creative space is my bench ...

It is really messy - a by-product of the "design-by-making" process which means you get heaps of stuff out and have a play with it 'til it looks right, then work out how to make it happen. It is a process Art teachers actively discourage but although I will often start with a sketch, I seem to use this method a lot! Jewellery making is  pretty grubby - plenty of filings and stinky patinas to add to the general grottiness! However something emerged from the chaos ...

I have called this pendant "One Chance" mostly because it has a tram token that says "Good For One Fare" on it and really we only get one go at life so maybe we should worry less about time and allow ourselves to fly a little bit?  It is made of mostly recycled bits and pieces. If you get a chance, do head over to Kirsty's and see what all the other creatives have been doing this week.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waste not, want not ...

Remember those lovely forks? Well, they are progressing quietly to begin their second life as charm bangles. In the meantime, I couldn't resist using some of the left-over bits to make some pretty ear-dangles ...

First I hacked up the fork some more and filed and filed ... then I soldered on some sterling wire and added some amozonite and amethyst beads. Some more bashing and polishing followed and voila!  I think they are rather pretty - maybe next year for the SALA Festival I will do an exhibition titled "100 ear-rings" and just forget about making anything else because it seems to pretty much all I am producing just now ...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flea Market Finds

Having my daughter home for a few days was a lovely distraction - especially when she requested a trip to the Op-Shop! She was on a quest for some extra cutlery for the flat she shares with her sister - apparently the flat is some kind of Bermuda Triangle for cutlery as it keeps mysteriously disappearing without a trace! She accomplished her mission and found a lovely stainless steel colander to boot. I found this great mug.

It was made by Hornsea Pottery - an apparently well-known manufacturer in England. I just love the dragon!
I can't decide if he is being ferocious or funny - what do you think?
I also picked up some very ornate silver-pated forks ...

I plan to use a couple of them to make another one of these ...

I made a prototype of this and wore it all day - I was surprised  at just how comfy it was - it fits at the base of the wrist so the charms hang on top of your hand - very pretty. Also, because of its shape it doesn't seem to twist about like bracelets generally do. Anyway, I was spurred on by the success of the prototype and made the one pictured. The charm is made from brass and tin from a tea caddy. There is also a potato pearl and a Swarovski crystal to complete the dangly bits. I think using the more ornate and chunky fork handles will create quite a different piece - wish me luck!
Head on over to Sophies to join in with Flea Market Finds or just to have a gander at what other people are finding to add to their collections etc.
Hope everyone had a good week-end and didn't get blown away in the wild weather!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New blog listings.

Battling another cold and being chained to my work bench has left me with little spare time but I did manage to update my list of blogs I like to visit. For so long many of these have been "bookmarked" which works for me but isn't much good for sharing with everyone else! So if you have a little spare time and are NOT chained to your workbench go and check out the listings on the side-bar!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Flea Market Finds

I paid a visit to my favourite op shop this week for some "art supplies". While I was there I couldn't resist a bit of a rummage and I am glad I did for I unearthed a few treasures ...

A couple of nicely bound Somerset Maugham novels - I have never read any of his work but recently Melissa gave them the big thumbs up so when I found these I figured it was the Universe giving me a gentle shove to broaden my literary horizons.

These gorgeous coasters have never been used - the images are fantastic! They look like they could become mini book covers to me. Or maybe cards - I am sure I will find a use for them!

I love this saucepan - it is so brightly coloured and has a beaut,retro pattern. It was brand new ( I have put it to work several times already!) - not a ding or a scratch on the enamel inside or out. It has a wonderfully heavy base and a stainless steel lid. It has "SILIT" stamped on the handle and when I googled the name I found out that these are rather expensive pots (not quite Le Crueset but close!) although I couldn't find this pattern so I am guessing it is out of production now. All that aside, this pot is also the perfect size for me now that my nest is gradually emptying!

I also unearthed this lovely tin top. It isn't really really old or anything but it is really colourful and fun. Spinning tops like this are just so joyful - perfect reminders of the simplicity of childhood. Finding it reminded me of rolling down a grassy hill when I was a kid or spinning madly on a roundabout - the sort someone had to run and push - and being really daring and lying back on it so you could stare at the sky and the clouds as they whizzed by. Of course if I tried that now I would probably feel sick but I remember the fun of it!
All in all my fossicking was fruitful and therapeutic - a good break from the intensity with which I have been hitting the studio. (that last bit is for your benefit Kath-oh-whip-cracker!)
To see what others have found in their foraging this week pop on over to Sophies.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bye Bye Birdie.

In recent weeks we have been lucky enough to get to know a lovely young woman from France. She is funny and sweet and we love her accent. She is also drop-dead gorgeous and has that innate elegance that Frenchwomen appear to be born with. It will be her birthday next week and we are all going out ot celebrate on the week-end. I wanted to make her something a bit special - something she could keep and think of her time here in Australia and with our family. I had a few false starts today - nothing would go right for me. Then in the late afternoon I took a deep breathe, whacked Angus and Julia on the Ipod and I was off. This is what I came up with in the end ...

I have cut the wee birdy from brass and his wing from epns. His pod/nest is made from recycled pewter. Wires etc are sterling silver. I ummed and ahhhed about the little freshwater pearl but in the end its egg shape won me over and I had to include them. I have packed them up in a handmade box and I hope she will like wearing them as much as I have enjoyed making them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Smash and grab.

After the first flush of excitment over my enamelling adventures had worn off I was left pondering - "what next?" Fortunately after a few cups of coffee and a slight increase in temperature, by mid-morning I was rearing to go - guess my imagination had a chance to thaw out (it has been really, really cold here!). However, to get on with the project in mind, I needed to pick up some supplies from the oppie so I bundled up in parka and scarfe and hit my fave local - the parka and scarfe turned out to be a brilliant call on my behalf as this op shop is a large, cavernous (oh and did I mention FREEZING ) shed! So this is what I picked up for the princely sum of $3 - most have chips or cracks which makes me feel better about SMASHING them!

Aren't they lovely colours? And here is what became of them ...

It is not quite resolved yet - I want to string it with different material and I still need to make a hook clasp for it. Also I am a bit undecided about the overall format because although it is comfy ( leather at the back ensures this), it is a bit weighty so I might remove a few elements. The glass was indeed collected from a beach, the crockery as you know came from the oppie and I cut out and enameled the ring myself. I didn't pluck the stick pearls from an oyster or wherever they come from - they were in my stash! Oh and I forged those sterling links too - not a drop of solder in sight - I melted a couple of rings trying to solder them - I am just not very good soldering! So, I used the part of my brain that continues to behave laterally (despite all that gin) and forged me some links! Unique and rustic would be a nice way of describing them!

And because I thought I might try and keep my hand in using Photoshop I thought I would treat (?) you all to my version of the "Anatomy of the Neckpiece"! (sorry)
The lighting is pretty dodgy but I gradually remembered which tools do what - if you don't use Photoshop often enough it is really easy to forget how to do things 'cos there are soooo many options! This will be an exhibition piece too and I welcome your feedback!