Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pack up time.

Today I have dismantled my SALA exhibition.

It takes far less time to pull it down than it does to set it up.

 All the pretties are now waiting to be shipped off to their new owners. It is just a matter of doing the paperwork first.

It has been a lovely place to have a show - just look at that view! Now it is all packed away which means that it has been just over three weeks since I set it up.

Which means it is just over three weeks since the lovely Melissa gave me this gorgeous pot of plants as a gift for the opening!

Which means that for just over three weeks it has been in my care ...

Which means that for just over three weeks I have managed not to kill these plants. This is something of a record for me. Before any of you feel it necessary to point out that these types of plants are VERY hardy I should let you know that most plants given into my care end up looking like Ikebana (google it!). So, I am going to bask in the reflected glory of these dear plants and be happy that they are still photosynthesising. Besides, I have other skills ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Softly, slowly ...

I have a small confession to make ... ssshh - don't tell anyone ok? I think I have a teeny crush on India Flint right now. As I make my way slowly (and deliciously) through her lovely book ,

 I am gob-smacked by her historical knowledge on the subject of dyeing. I am thrown into a tizzy by her botanical brain and my eyes grow rounder with each page, marveling at the beautiful colours and prints she makes. Her approach is organic, regional, patient and with a view to creating the most minimal impact on the environment possible. I really like that approach.

Beetroot leaf on reclaimed cotton

 I tried my hand at the simplest form of printing described in the book.  The other processes take a little preparation, a little fore-thought and a little patience. I'm working my way up to those.

rocket on reclaimed linen
The colours produced are beautiful and harmonic - no doubt because they are natural and when left to its own devices Nature has a habit of being harmonious ...

I decided I needed a specific journal to record my dyeing adventures. I made some prints with a geranium leaf and a leaf from our Robinia Robusta fledgling hedge. The script background id from a mans cotton shirt that turned out to be too small for the ManBeast so rather than take it back, I cut it up. (have to be honest and say that I wasn't severely disappointed that it was the wrong size.) I tea dyed that piece and stitched it to some calico then added the decorative elements.

 In keeping with India's apparent attitude of taking things slowly and gently, I hand stitched all the elements and also the cover. I haven't done that sort of thing in a very long time.I  felt like I had imbued the journal with more of my 'self' than I might have if I had used the sewing machine.

 The crush adventure continues.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grateful ...

Today the sun was shining.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


So I am going to have another attempt at adding a linky doo-dad. That way we we can share our op-shop adventures. All you have to do is add a link to where you have posted about your treasures. A link back here might be nice too. I had the chance to go op-shopping twice this week. Just to local shops but I found lots of goodies.

Books - 'cos you can never have too many. Can you???

eeek - Sherlock-freakin'-Holmes! Awesome!

This little tin is so cute - it is a lolly tin made by a Melbourne firm. I love that the base is printed as beautifully as the lid.

When I was a kid, we would have called this a 'trannie". Nowadays that might be considered a little un- PeeCee.

I can't even begin to think about the hours of work that went into this needlework! Doesn't he look blissful? Maybe he is thinking about a lady deer.

Haul number 2. All sorts of goodies (more books - yikes). Copper to cut up, an angel picture and some tins to re-purpose.

Okay so a sarcophagus shaped tin is pretty cool but I am still determined to cut it up...
Just look at the pattern - mini hieroglyphs!

I am a self-confessed Agatha Addict.  This guy looks more like the crook than the sleuth.

I am gonna save these up for the Summer holidays. That is assuming of course that the sun ever shines again - so over Winter.

"Father would want you to go first brother dear. I'll be right behind you"

I don't know about you but this angel seems a little but less than benevolent as she watches over this pair ...

Broken strings of vintage pearls - they always whisper "come hither ..."

Silverplated fruit spoons. I really like to use these - they are just the right size for many of the things I make. And I scored 5 of them. Yay. So that has been my thrifting week. Hope you can join in the linky fun and share your thrifted treasures too.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Custom Order

I rarely do custom orders. I think I have always been scared off by the idea that what I make might not be exactly what the customer had in mind. This customer had fallen in love with a piece in my SALA show. It was sold. So, I have made a similar one - not exactly the same 'cos when you are using primarily found bits and pieces that is pretty hard to pull off. It has the same kind of elements though so I am hopeful that it will make my customer happy.

It features a hand cast reclaimed pewter rabbit - that is an element I can repeat endlessly. The other components vary depending what I have available. Vintage keys are always a favourite ...

And here it is tucked up snugly in a little handmade box with an explanatory note. It is off to its new home today. Adieu petit lapin. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aw crap - I mean really?

I have just had workmen here in my ceiling space. One of them legs it up there through the man-hole and shouts down to his off-sider "Better get the other fellas in here - we'll need a hand with all this stuff" Now I am fairly sure he meant to say "crap' but stopped in deference to the fact that the housholder (me) was standing right there looking mortified. Exactly how do you forget that your ceiling space is full of boxes of stuff ? Stuff that is gonna prevent workmen getting in there and doing what they need to. Crap.

Just look at all this stuff!

That's a lot of boxes! And now they are taking up space in my house 'cos they can't go back in the roof. Time for a sort out of course. There are books the kids had as little ones and school books and even some candles (wtf?). In one box I found this ...

This was the dress I wore to get married - 25 years ago! I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world that day. The ManBeast reckons I'm still okay. I wore a veil with a coronet of flowers that I made myself.

Pretty detail around the neck. I think I had tiny pearl ear-rings as well. The most surprising thing of all though is the size. I do not  remember being that small! Of course I was a child bride ...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Keeping busy.

Whist still feeling a bit under the weather, my hands have been itching to get busy but my brain is a tad fuzzy and seems to be too big for my head 'cos it feels like it could explode any second! After a bit of a domestic blitz this morning (after days of neglect) I really wasn't feeling up to much this arvo but I am not very good at being idle - actually that is not strictly true - I am excellent at being idle anywhere near a beach particularly with  a Margarita to hand... Okay so I am land locked and apart from the Vitamin C in the lemons I am fairly sure a Margarita is about the last thing I need so I decided to get started making boxes for the jewellery that has sold at a recent exhibition. The show finishes on Sunday so I am feeling pretty righteous that I am making these ahead of time! Despite being a printmaking major (next year woo hoo!) I am actually not all that fabulous at it - printmaking I mean. I take forever to get a handle on a process and I am not a keen drawer. That means that I usually end up with loads of dud prints that are printed on such nice paper that I can never bear to chuck them out. So, I am recycling them into packaging.

Armed with some unfinished screenprints, a bone folder and my trusty glue tape, I have turned out a rather satisfying little stack of boxes.

They are quite pretty really. I have added a little cut out that I made from some old maps. The darker ones are old etchings.

I feel better for having done something productive today. I do not consider houseworky stuff productive 'cos no sooner do you do it than it is undone but my little boxes are completely tangible. Off now to find some Panadol!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On my kitchen table.

After weeks and weeks of staving off the dreaded colds and flu that have been going around, I have finally succumbed. Today has found me feeling decidedly under par so I have opted to keep busy with things that don't require too much concentration.

This is a pic of my casting set up. It takes place on the kitchen table and is pretty low tech.

I have a little camper stove-top that I use to heat up an old saucepan full of pewter left-overs that are too big for my trusty ladle. I use the "Fat-Boy" to heat up said ladle.

These are the sorts of pieces that go into the saucepan - mostly the bottoms of beer mugs that have been cut up and used in other ways. I like to use every scrap I can - not sure if that makes me environmentally conscientious or a regular old tight-arse. Either way it makes me happy to reclaim as much material as I can from these fairly obsolete objects!

Every now and then I go on a mold-making spree. I am getting better at it as I go along too.

Here are a few of the lovelies prior to clean up. That can be a bit laborious but it is nice to have a whole swathe of finished bits to use, so it is well worth the effort. I am a pretty big fan of processes that don't require super specialised tools and equipment. For instance, I like relief printmaking because it can be done without a press and torch fired enameling 'cos it can be done without a kiln. I rather like the idea of creativity blossoming in a domestic setting. My children sat at this table and created their colourful drawings, play-doh sculptures and wrote stories and essays and poems right here. I like to think that the timber has soaked up some of that creative energy and like a tree releasing carbon, will slowly over time continuously  release creativity into the air ... a bit fanciful maybe, but a nice thought huh?

And this is what the end product looks like. Do you work at your kitchen table too?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thrifting ...

After a bit of a dry spell, the thrift stores offered up some great 'stuff' this week.

All sorts of goodies - a lovely rose tapestry, books beads, tins to deconstruct, a teapot for a friends garden and a delightfully faded folk-arty placemat - think it will become a bag!

Doesn't Skip look regal? Pretty glass beads in such lovely vintagy colours are surely a sign that Spring is on its way?

I couldn't believe my luck finding such great art books - they are a bit rare in the oppies around here.

Inside the Australian Art in Prints book are lots of lovely plates - this is a Brett Whitley image - The Mango Tree - a lovely etching.
The screen-printing book is a bit dated so I was surprised to find images that are very contemporary. Or is it that we are just embracing a retro kinda aesthetic contemporarily? (I challenge you to say that really fast!) Just look at this great screen print from the book ...

I am about to embark on a printing adventure of my own and some of it will revolve around bugs so I thought it pretty serendipitous to find Outlines in Entomology in a thrift shop! Amazing information about creepy crawlies of all kinds and anatomical drawings to boot.

I also came across a book on Australian insects and it has gorgeous pictures throughout - like this one ...

A really fun book that I found is called Life After Man by Douglas Dixon. In it he imagines a post-human world where creatures that we considered vermin etc have evolved to become strange but recognizable beasts. It has a foreword by Desmond Morris who is a zoologist/anthropologist that I admire. The book is an interesting read and has some interesting pics - this one is kinda cute but some of the animals have evolved into scary looking critters ...

Not really sure why this spaceman held so much appeal that I had to bring him home. Perhaps it is his ray-gun?

and finally, although not collected at the same time as all these goodies, I just have to share my little gothic gal.

She isn't dead - just a little cracked - I have plans to emphasise that!

Yeah - she is a little creepy - mwha ha ha ha ...
Have the op shops faeries been kind to you this week?