Friday, March 30, 2012


Hhmmm - there is something afoot in the divajools studio ...

I'll keep you posted about these developments - mwahaha! In the meantime, there is a new kid on the blogosphere block  so head over here to check out Emmica's new blog, paperbagprincess. I think it is going to be heaps of fun to follow!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Remember those Trays?

Here is what I made ...

Little Miss, EPNS, printed tin, brass, 7x4cms (brooch)

And here is how I made her ...

Firstly, I drew up a design, cut it out and stuck it onto a piece of deconstructed tray.

Then I whipped out the trusty jewellers saw and carefully cut out around my pattern. How do you like my "action" shot?

And here she is - basically done - a bit more sawing required, followed by a lot of filing and polishing but at this point I can tell I am gonna like her ... It took me a fair amount of fussing about to get the dress pattern just right. Also, given the size of my scrap tin collection I was a bit surprised it took me as long as it did to find a suitable piece. I tried tartan, I tried a retro pattern, I tried a lacey pattern. In the end I realised that it was actually a matter of scale. The size of the pattern on the tin needed to suit the size of the brooch! Duh! 
The silhouette of the figure was based on an illustration from this book ...

This gem, printed in 1961 promises to demonstrate "quick easy professional ways to simplify home sewing" . It includes handy tips such as "Style details with braid" and has a whole chapter devoted to "Accessories and wardrobe planning" which begins: 
"Making an attractive costume is only one part of being smartly dressed. Accessories - suitable belt, butttons, trimmings, a becoming hat, correct handbag and shoes, attractive jewellery - also contribute to the smart fashionable look of an ensemble"
Do you suppose Birkenstocks count as "correct" shoes? It is a great book full of wonderful illustrations and I used one from the "Sewing for children" section as the basis for my brooch. In the foreword, the editor says that the books primary objective is " encourage women to sew, and experience the rewards of this creative hobby." Well it didn't make me want to break out the sewing machine, but I suspect the editor would be pleased to know that all these years later the book has inspired another creative pursuit. Don't you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And The Universe provides ..

So. I wanted to make some jewellery and I needed some metal. Those of you familiar with my work know that I am hardly likely to call up my nearest metal merchant and say "Hey people, send me a truckload of your finest sheet metal - better make it precious metal at that!" That is just not how this recycler rolls. No sireee - I need metal, I head to the op-shop. The thing is,I enjoy conceptual jewellery - I find it interesting and challenging but I am just not gonna be wearing a bracelet like this one by Nanna Welland ...

pic nicked from here

(yep that is a real animal heart)  The concept behind the piece ( a Memento Mori ) is a very big-brain idea. But I want wearable. I want tough and more often than not that means I want METAL. At least as a substructure. Mind you, I am not gonna wear GaGa's meat frock anywhere either so maybe it is just a flesh thing? No, it really is that I am sooper dooper simplistic and want to make stuff that can be worn. At this point in my life I am going to leave the big brain stuff to those with bigger brains and more interesting things to say.  I really like using pewter from old tableware etc but it is pretty soft and not all that suitable for brooches etc without some kind of support. I have a heap of pewter but a dig through my boxes of metal odd bods did not come up with anything inspiring so I high tailed it to the oppie. Here is where the Universe bit comes in - they had tubs of old metal trays that they were practically giving away. Serendipity? Fate? Or perhaps whoever is in charge isfinally tuning in to my brain and does that mean I should get an aluminium hat?  The oppie is apparently pretty keen to get rid of the trays going as far as placing a "penalty price" on them. If you buy 1 tray it will cost you two dollars. Alternatively, you can buy two trays for one dollar! This is what I picked up ...

Scrummy aren't they? And just what I needed. Deconstructing this stuff is hard yakka though - this is what it looks like -

My  trusty dremel and jewellery saw make a great team but it takes me an age. On the other hand the ManBeast cuts through this stuff with tin-snips - voila!

Now I am ready to go - stay tuned to see what these become! In the meantime don't forget to put your requests to the Universe and see what happens - Providence could be yours. Failing that, you will have a good excuse to hit up the thrift store!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New techno stuff!

I have just been dragged into the 21st Century with the aquisition of a smart phone. So, now I am trying out all the fun functions (try saying that really quickly!) and blogging is one of thdm. Fingers crosse
ick pic of my little clock innards - it was a Flea Market Find a few weeks ago but adding a link is defeating me right now - sorry!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flea Market Finds

These are some of the things I found in my thrifting adventures this week. There are a couple of lovely bootmakers stakes that I will clean up and use for forging metal bits and pieces. All this stuff is pretty grubby but underneath the grime lies potential - I mean just look at the great shape of those jars! Amongst this lot is also a small traveling clock and a whole stack of cogs and gears ...

On the other side of the thrifting spectrum, I came across a bunch of dainty treats ...

These bits all came from the one shop - I love finding nice pieces of embroidery ( I have ZERO skills in this area) and of course a new tin to cut up is always welcome! The fabric that everything is sitting on was also a good find - it is huge and has a bunch of interesting patterns - it is kind of a faux patchwork.

The ear-ring bobs are in good shape and I will incorporate them into a necklace I think.

Without doubt though the lace is my favourite thing - it is much more beautiful when you hold it in your hands than when you see it here. I have been reading about lace-makers and the history of lace recently and whilst I have no idea where or how this particular piece of lace was made, it seemed serendipitous that I should find it.

 As always, it is fun to join in with Sophie and the gang! I wanted to share this video from You Tube which is a mini-doco on lacemaking traditions in Cyprus and the difficulties the women face sustaining their craft in a modern world. It made me think about how many other traditional "womens" craft practices are dying out and how much more appreciative of the handmade I become with each passing year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fruits of my labour this week.

I spent a fair portion of this week wresting some order out of the domestic chaos that has been dominating our household of late. Hence, I didn't get alot of creative work done - but I did manage to start on some new things.

Torch-fired enamel headpins, steel,paper and resin shapes, pewter beadcaps, pewter bezel with vintage mother-of-pearl button
Refinements need to be made and as always a bit of 'tweaking' but it is good to try out new things huh? I also made a prototype for some pieces I hope to include in an exhibition later in the year.

Lens, paper, steel wire, pearl, reclaimed pewter and recycled cotton.

This was a great exercise in problem solving - the lens is not symmetrical and is thicker in some parts than others ... I wish I had paid a bit more attention to the collage before I encased it. I think the skin-tones are too bright - a bit too 'real' and would look better a little more washed out. Well, I will know that for next time.
Sometimes 'design by making' is the only way to go! Have a great week-end.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just saying ...

 Yesterday I was catching up on some stuff in Blogland and read Pip's post about Jay Chou - this fabo artist (like her work dahling!) who has created (among other things) a portrait using coffee stains. You have to see it to get it so click over here. That evening I was adding some patina to some bead caps I had made and I rested them on a bit of scrap paper - nasty stuff patina - it makes a mess. When I lifted up my little beadcaps to polish them, I was left with this ...

The paper was stained by the patina - darker where it had pooled and even a bit of colouration in places. Now because I had seen Jay Chou's work, I looked at this a bit more intensely than perhaps I would usually have done - truth be told I generally just screw it up and chuck it in the bin! Any how, I whipped out my trusty pencil and added a few lines and this iis what transpired ...

Now my point  ( and there truly is one - I promise!) is  not that I am a great artist - clearly - but rather that because I had been exposed to an artists work, I looked at things differently - with new eyes if you like. Hence my outlook was broadened and who knows how this may influence my own work/life and in turn the impact I might have on those around me? Perhaps I will look more creatively at a problem and you know - solve it creatively! Such is the ripple effect of art, seeing it, experiencing it. It is a no-brainer as far as I can tell - we really do need art in our lives. If there happen to be any govern-mental types out there who have the ear of those in control of the money - please spread the word - We Need Art. Art Needs Funding. Shit. I think I just twisted my ankle getting off my soapbox.

Monday, March 5, 2012

About that workshop ...

Before I tell you all about the recent workshops that I attended, I have to say a few words about the bloke who taught them. Bear with me. I may gush - nah, I am definitely gonna gush! I have admired Kieth lo Bue's work for quite some time. I knew I wanted to meet Kieth after reading this blogpost in which he describes how he made a chain. From A Single Piece Of  Freakin' Timber. Who does that? What kind of person has a brain that works like that? Mr Lo Bue - that's who! I follow his blog and have stealthily cyber stalked him over time to see where and when he would be teaching. As it turns out stealthy stalking pays off 'cos I finally found a workshop I actually had a hope of attending! 'So',you are thinking, "this guy makes cool stuff but has he got the goods when it comes to teaching?" Oh yeah baby - the man has them in spades! Kieth is a gifted teacher, experienced and enthusiastic and able to do that remarkable thing that all the best teachers do - he enables. No matter the skill set ( or the god-damn weather ) he gets people to LEARN. Very neat. Very talented and thankfully just as lovely in person as I supposed him to be. The man nuzzled his hammer. That makes him seriously OK in my book. Phew, so glad I could share that with you (insert girly giggle here!).
 On to the workshops! The first one was called "Back On The Chain Gang" and over two outrageously hot days (I am talkin' about the weather people - sheesh!), Kieth taught us how to make our very own beautiful jumprings and clasps and fancy links. He got us to experiment with steel wire so that we understood its properties and led us through the very beginnings of chain making to the final clean and polish.

These are some of the samples that Kieth showed us - most he made althought there are a couple he found as well.

Here is some of the work we made. Some of us couldn't resist making our links and so forth into wearable pieces.

These pieces are by Jo Jo Spook - a talented SA Sculptor ( ok so she may have originally been from Melbourne but we are claiming her as our own now!). Go visit JoJo here

I really like the way JoJo took the skills Kieth taught us and just ran with it, imbuing her work with her very own style!

Lots of lovely rings and bits that Kieth made as part of a demo. Kieth shared an amazing amount of his knowledge with us and one of the best bits of advice he gave us was ...

... no, no, not "walk like an Egyptian" - he told us to go home and use the process we had learned straight away. At least once because then it will stick in your brain even if you don't get to revisit it for a while. So I did. This is what I made ....

I may need to make several hundred more of these to make them as pretty and as finished as Mr Lo Bue's but thanks to 'teach', I am on my way!

That is enough showing off for now. I will share some more. Soon. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Torching it!

Okaaaaay -so, the studio has had a tidy up, the car is basically unpacked and the domestic stuff seen to ...  Time for a little creative play methinks. I unearthed some enamel powders in the tidy up and this arvo decided to have a go at something I have never done before. I made headpins with enamel bulbous bits - EBB's for short. (sorry - I can never resist a good acronym - or a bad one at that!). Check 'em out ...

These were heaps of fun to make and since I didn't have any idea of the 'proper' process, there was a fair bt of trial and error ...

Overall though I would say this was a successful foray into an unknown quarter ...

Of course my favourite ones are the red ones! Now, what to make with them - oh the possibilities are endless!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home again, home again jiggety jig ...

Well I have made it home safe and sound from a truly excellent trip to the Grampians where I got to hang out with The Stuffsmith himself (Kieth lo Bue) and broaden my skills base! More on that later - first I want to share some of the adventure of the trip over. Essentially I op shopped my way East! I wasn't in a particular hurry so I had the luxury of stopping whenever I felt like it. Sadly, many of the oppies were a bit disappointing although I met some really nice people in them! As I approached Nhill, something caught my eye ...

You can see why it attracted my attention right? It is colourful, has bunting and an intriguing bunch of stuff on the footpath. Well this is far more than a thrift store - this is an Emporium! It is in fact "Lola's Garage". Don't let the little shopfront fool you - this is an enormous space - it extends into a shed out the back and it is full, top to bottom, of quirky, cool and fun stuff. I am going to let the pictures do the talking!

These gals are dedicated to the reuse of stuff and have assembled a fantastic array of things that you can wear, eat out of or just admire! I highly recommend a stop at Nhill to visit this place - take a wad of dollars though 'cos you are gonna want to walk out with a whole bunch of stuff! You will find Lola's Garage at 54 Victoria Street Nhill or virtually, over on Facebook.