Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Casting Away.

On the week-end I decided it was time to try my hand at making some new moulds and casting some pewter.
I was really pleased that I hadn't forgotten how! These were the results ...

They look pretty tragic at this point huh?

This is pripor to clean-up. There needs to be some sawing, filing and sanding to be undertaken before the piece will be of much use.

In the end though I have ended up with a piece that I think will be great fun to use - again and again! The chandelier is about 5cms x 6cms and add a bit for the crystals and chain - on the large side I guess but surprisingly, it isn't all that heavy. I would love to make some really over the top ear-rings with these (more crystal, more chain - mmmm!)- very haute couture I think! I can just see them swinging from the lobes of a catwalk model and stealing the show!

bragging - again!

Many of you know that my daughter Ellen is a paper cutter and you may have guessed from previous posts that I am kinda proud of her and the way her work keeps developing. She had a really successful exhibition recently and now she has opened her very own Etsy store! So, in a bit of outrageously obvious cross-promotion I am sharing both that info and some more pics of her work ...

This is a large piece - and very detailed. I think one of the things that makes Ellen's work unique is that she creates the text herself . The kids had the benefit of an excellent Primary School teacher who was big on literature - wouldn't she be proud?!

Hee hee - I love all the little dwarfs lurking behind the tree ... This piece sold during the exhibition.

Some detail from one of the lamps she made - also sold.

A trio to tell the story of Sleeping Beauty - all set in reclaimed frames that used to house those funny satin pictures of roses and the like.

This is one of my favourites - so much detail. Bear in mind that these are all cut from a single piece of paper so everything has to join! Again, Ellen used a reclaimed frame. We made a screenprint of this one too.

Hmmm - exploring the darker side of fairytales - and making the work 3 dimensional.
So that is a taste of the work my girl has been making. You can find her shop here and she has a Facebook page too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



I met this little fella waiting patiently outside a store on the week-end. He is very old.

 To his dog, every man is Napolean;hence the constant popularity of dogs.
Aldous Huxley

 Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.
Max Eastman

 Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs.
Christopher Hampton

 Barking dogs occassionaly bite but laughing men never shoot.
Konrad Lorenz

 You call to a dog and it will break its neck to get to you. Dogs just want to please. Call to a cat and its attitude is, 'What's in it for me?'
Lewis Grizzard

Dogs are great.

PS. Lovely review of my exhibition here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Are you ready for a BONANZA of op-shop finds? After so long away from the scene, I blitzed the thrift stores this week-end and I brought home a truckload of stuff!

And since I haven't joined in with Sophie and the gang in ages I thought I would share them - individually. Click away if you are on dial-up 'cos there is a ton of pics to come ...

Pewter to reclaim.

Old files that just need a clean up - I use such odd materials sometimes that I am often reluctant to use my 'best' files, preferring to keep those for 'proper' jewellery work. These will fill the gap nicely - and just two bucks each!

A satisfying stack of English china plates for a friend who has big plans for them ...

A tin to use in jewellery making.

I feel these could become my little studio spirits - protecting me from mojo loss, boredom and nasty wire jabs!

Another pretty plate.

Lovely linen fabric bundles.

Ok so he is probably "Shrek" merchandising but when you push his nose he makes chopping sounds, followed by a maniacal giggle and "I'll never be a real boy" in a high pitched whiny way - it just doesn't get better than that does it?

Books of course. I dare say you will be unsurprised to find that apparently, only a couple of women had "great modern lives" - still some interesting people in there and each "life" is written up by a different author.

Lovely Wedgewood plate - again for friend.

OMG - how appealing is this little forest friend? Oh yes, look at her an weep Denouncer!

I love this folk-arty saucepan - it looks unused inside!

This little pin plate is very sweet - check out the crinoline lady detail ...

 Wierd thing to find in the kids toy basket but I figure I might use it in an installation - better me than some 4 year old I reckon.

 Can you believe it? Another plate?!

This 1960s plaster bambi ticked all the boxes - he seems so surprised to see me!
I will be reclaiming this very thin copper in the near future. Watch this space ...

A little collection of Alfred Meakin cups and saucers. Not sure how I feel about drinking tea from a cup that is bestowed with those odd pod thingos - are they cocoons or seeds do you s'pose?

I think this was my very favourite find though. These are Ininti - they are so beautiful I can never go past them.
I had heaps of fun and hardly spent anything at all - more on petrol than goodies I think! Hope everyone has had a fun thrifting week - show us you treasures over at Sophie's.

PS - I got to be a guest blogger over here - have a squizz!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Exhibition pics - at last!

It has taken me a minute to get organised but I have finally been to the venue and taken some pics of my SALA exhibition.

 Apologies for all the reflection! This gives you a bit of an idea how the display is set up. Putting the jewellery iside the boxes magically transforms it - amazing what a bit of "context" will do isn't it?

I  like to have  things accessible too - it's nice if people can really look and touch the pieces.

It is a bit hard to see the jewellery but in the background you can see my lino cut entitled "Oh Dear". It is of course based on Alice In Wonderland and features a rabbit, a clock and a little bottle that says "drink me"!

A few of the pewter pieces - both cast and hand-cut. You have seen some of these in the making ...

In the foreground you can see "An English Country Garden" (sold) and in the background is another Alice themed piece which features vintage rosary crystals, china, pearls and a toggle clasp I made from brass and a vintage key - kinda twisted around the wrong way in this pic  - sorry!

When I set up the exhibit I realised that it had a sort of vintagy/steampunk feel to it as a number of the pieces ended up featuring cogs and gears etc - I didn't mean for it to happen but I must have been in that kind of headspace.

This was in fact the very last piece I made for the show and I think it is my favourite! I used an old spoon, a pewter bird that I cast and some laminex. Sales have not been outstanding - in previous years I have pretty well sold out by now! Most artists are reporting the same thing apparently. It is pretty understandable in the current economic climate. I will list what I don't sell online - and there maybe a couple of pieces that stay in the family ..

oh and if you want to have a squizz at some other SALA shows from the comfort of home, head over to Emmica's blog for reviews and pics!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Workshop Wonderment

Each year the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand hold a national symposium and this year I was asked to conduct a workshop. Now I should say from the get-go that I know absolutely diddly-squat about mosaics and wasn't all that sure I would have anything to offer. Apparently the organisers felt differently and convinced me to run a workshop involving polymer clay and cane work. It didn't take that much convincing really - appealing to my vanity did the trick! These canes have a similar appearance to "millefiori", a  technique used to create beautiful patterns in glass. It means 'thousand flowers' and the Venitians have been making this kind of glass for yonks. This is what the glass canes look like ...

                                                               (I nabbed this pic from here)

I taught my students how to make two basic canes using polymer clay and then how to use those canes to build more complex ones. Then we made them into pendants, using drink cans as bezels. I had a great time and everyone seemed pleased with their work and the new skills they had acquired. I do love teaching! Sadly, I don't have any pics of the workshop in progress because when I went to take some photos, I discovered that there was only one battery in my camera. I am harbouring deep suspicions ( and some resentments) that somebody nicked one for the tv remote control ... Still I have some pics of the demo models I made during class so you can get some idea of what I am babbling about. (sorry these first ones are a bit dark)

Here you can see some in their drink can bezels and some flat ones that haven't been polished.

This one was cured over a curve to give it that lovely domed effect.

As you can see they are really quite colourful and bright. Some of the students made much more monochromatic ones than mine and they looked fantastic too! It is amazing how everyone puts their own spin on things - it never ceases to amaze me!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I've been a baaaaad Blogger ...

Apart from getting a bunch of work ready for an exhibition I have been battling with a dodgy Internet connection - very frustrating indeed. The Internet still isn't sorted but the exhibition is up and running - yay! The opening was last week-end and I had great fun with with friends and family and all the lovely people who came along to launch the show. When it comes to preparing work for an exhibition, it seems that no matter how hard you think you have been working in the lead up to it, 2 weeks out it becomes painfully apparent that you should have been working harder! It is a great learning curve though and an experience that I would recommend as it really pushes you along a bit. My daughter also opened her SALA exhibition on week-end and it was a grand success - I am terribly proud of her. Her work is lovely. It is rather hard to photograph in situ because of the beautiful light from glorious old windows but here is a taste ...

Ellen's beautiful papercuts were fairytale themed, Aren't the lamps gorgeous?

She hunted up some great old frames throughout the year and reclaimed them for her work.

This is a bad photo of a screen print Ellen created from one of the paper cuts. They make wonderful prints because the edges are so sharp and the detail shows up so well. There were a few red dots already when we rushed off to my opening so I am sure it is going to be a great success! I will share some pics of my work soon - didn't quite get time to take photos beforehand I'm afraid! 
If you are keen to read about more SALA shows you can check out this review blog - a great way to hear  alittle bit more about the creative souls exhibiting during the Festival. Happy art viewing!