Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chaos ...

It has been so chaotic around here for quite a long time now that my sanity has been under threat - well maybe not my sanity per say but my chi has been severely impacted!

Life has been full of scaffolding and support beams ...

Also holes, cement and temporary fencing.

Painters stuff and clutter everywhere ...

Ladders to avoid walking under!
But this is the reward - a wonderful, light, bright workspace!

Isn't it wonderful? All that space!! Sure beats the 3metre by 3 metre space I am used to working in. I am pretty much moved in but have decided to wait for permanent fixtures until I have the hang of the space.

The disruption in the household has made it difficult to settle into work mode but I have still managed to make a mess ... Printmaking has occupied all my time as I plan to graduate this year with a Major in printmaking. I have managed a few jewels - these are the first ones to be made exclusively in my new studio ...

I do believe happy dancing is in order!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Get tin' me sum cultcha ..

"The Adelaide Biennial is here and the Dark Heart exhibition is fantastic! It features some really great Aussie artists and I thought I would share a couple of my faves. I plan to go back for a second look because it was such a lot to take in. 

Kathryn Del Barton

Below is a detail from her nine meter long painting "heartland". del. Barton's work is often steeped in the feminine and this one is resplendent with feminine form ... and well, it is just so darn pretty as well! ('pretty' is often used as a criticism of her work - pfft!)

Fiona Hall

One of South Australia's very own artists, Fiona Hall has a room to herself entitled "out of my tree". The room is wallpapered with her skeleton drawings and full of skulls, installations , painted cuckoo clocks - well the list goes on. This artist loves to use the discards and found object in her work. She often incorporates textile processes in her work too. What's not to love?

Tony Albert

This installation is a fine example of the power of the multiple! Visually stunning, these houses of cards draw you in and then deliver a big political punch. Google Tony Albert and you will see he is an artist with an agenda - and I really like that!

Julia deVille
This woman has been a long time fave! She is a jeweller and among her many talents she is a crazy taxidermist! I know many find her work a bit creepy but I think it is just wonderful. I will let the pics do the talking ...

Hope that didn't freak you out too much! In context it is bloody brilliant! Today I found a piece of printed tin kicking about featuring a couple Victorianesque kittie ... So I thought I would make myself a little momento as a tribute to Ms DeVille's work ...

And guess what? The exhibition is FREE! Go Adelaide!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Life is good ...

I live a fortunate life ... And I am grateful for it. I get to study in a creative space specifically designed for learning about and creating art. I live in a beautiful part of the countryside, my kids are independent and I can afford decent tequila. Doesn't get much better than that huh? Well, actually, it does! Every now an then an opportunity pops up that makes life seem absolutely golden ... let me explain ...
A few years ago, when I had first started at art school, I started to watch programmes on TV about art - probably because I felt that with a bit of education under my belt I might have a hope of relating to them! I caught a great doco about an Australian artist, David Frazer. I was amazed by his image making, his process, his subject matter and his approach. Really, I was dead impressed! Among other things (painting,drawing etc) David makes meticulous, highly detailed wood engravings and in the doco he travelled back to his small country hometown to make some images around ANZAC Day. The characters and scenery of his town were so familiar to me - as they would be to anyone who grew up in rural Australia. Have a squizz at some of his work  ...

                        Lest We Forget

                     Downward Mobility 2

                           Another Night On Earth by David Frazer

Now bear in mind that wood engravings are made using the end grain of special wood, lemonwood, box etc ... this means that the images are necessarily small for example, "Lest We Forget" is only 15x12cms! That's crazy small right?! Last year I got to see an exhibition of David's work in Adelaide and I was so excited to see them for real rather than on a screen or in a book! There is no colour in these images yet they are some of the most vibrant pictures I have come across. Yeah well, by now it must be obvious that I am a fan!
So what does that have to do with me counting my blessings and feeling pretty damn lucky? Well. On Friday I got to join in a workshop with the man himself! WTF I hear you exclaim!? Yup it's true. Accompanied by his lovely partner Sarah, Mr Frazer spent the day at AC Arts showing us how to make a wood engraving. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Lookee Lookee ...

David is showing Lucy ( how to put some finishing touches on her block ( that is David's lovely Sarah in the green top working hard on her own engraving)

Intense huh?! David however made it look easy!

These are the clever hands of my friends, Mei Sheong-Wong ( another talented artist!), working on her block.

This is my little block inked up and ready to print.

My first ever wood engraving - I reckon I have a way to go but wow - I learned a lot!

I managed a small edition. All the students got to hang there work in the gallery that is hosting a show of David's work along with students from last years workshop. There was a time when I would have been too doubtful of my ability to join in such a workshop but I am so happy that I did. Given the "quality" of my print I clearly won't be giving up the jewellery making any time soon but it all adds to the tapestry right? . Meeting and being tutored by an artist you admire is a heady experience indeed. Yup, life is good!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

AND ...


  [am-per-sand, am-per-sand] 
a character or symbol (& or for and  : Smith & Jones, Inc.
1820–30;  contraction of and per se and  literally, (the symbol) & byitself (stands for) and;

Reclaimed silverplated metal. A bit of fun in the studio today - always room for one more brooch in my life!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another day another art form!

Making a mess in my kitchen today with some relief printing. I wanted to base my image around the 1938 cover of French Vogue featuring Frida Kahlo, I messed around in photoshop, transferred the image to Lino and away I went. I like the carving of the linothe best ... Anyway the image has worked out ok although I need to tweak it a bit - a few more lines here and there and a tidy up of some stray lines .... 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What goes "whirrrrr,bang,woof,whirrrrr,bang,woof" ? Can't guess? Well, let me explain ... That is the noise that a team of builders make when they are cutting away brick walls and nailing everything in sight with a nail gun ... Oh and it makes the dog go crazy so he chimes in with a deeply offended "woof" and growl! No wonder I want to run away from home! It is not exactly conducive to getting work done - all that fuss and noise is messin' with my Chi ... Still, deadlines are deadlines regardless of the distractions at hand ( I should add that these builders are all young and fit looking ... Yet another distraction!) so I had to get in some studio time this week. I am joining in with a whole bunch of jewellers (real ones!) to put on an exhibition for the upcoming Fringe festival in Adelaide. The concept is to make jewellery that represents a part of Adelaide or it can even be made from bits of the city and surrounding areas. Following my usual instinct for working with recycled and reclaimed materials, I have concentrated on using wine bottles since I live in an iconic wine region. It's a bit of a process. Firstly the bottle has to be EMPTY! Never one to shirk my duty to my art I have addressed that part of the process quite happily! Next there is cutting and shaping and drilling and tumbling the glass bits to make them ready to work with. Finally I assemble the earrings using reclaimed pewter and brass components that I make and then hang them from handcrafted hooks of recycled sterling silver. I am happy with the outcome but am going to be in some exceptional company for this show which is a bit nerve racking . Still, I can't wait to see my work alongside that of some "proper" jewellers! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fibre and jewellery - good combo!

I seem to be shying away from the hard work of making metal jewellery and my attention has been taken up by bright colours and fibres! It could be the effects of Summer ... Whatever is going on I can't seem to get enough of neon bright colours and textures.
It all started quite innocently when I made some of these ...

Who doesn't love tassles right? I made a whole bunch of them - without any clear idea of what I might do with them. Then came the pom-poms ...

Today I was in the hardware store picking up some stuff for the ManBeast when I stumbled across neon-pink brickies line ... WHAT??? Well I just had to have me some of that ...

And then of course I had a fish through the cupboards for other kinds of cord and found this cool vintage stuff ...

I don't know what it is exactly - it is kinda plasticky - but you know, it was there, I was there ... This has been some seriously good fun and if I hadn't run out of chain, I think I would still be going! Now I just need to finish them off ....


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Just lately it seems that my life is being consumed by all things yellow. I think it began when I saw a woman wearing AMAZING yellow sandals - oh how I coveted them! I am not really given to buying expensive shoes so I had to quench my desire for yellow in other ways!  First up I revamped a candlestick that I picked up ages ago at a thrift store. It has a nice rusty base and other metal bits so I thought a spruce up of the wooden part was in order. Here is a before pic ...

and the beauty shot ...

Then while I was out thrifting with my daughter I bought two bunches of yellow flowers - they had been marked right down because it was the end of the day! Lucky me!

I also made a very big yellow candleholder. It is one of a set and I will write about the "how" of it's making in another post ...

I used up all sorts of horrid paints left over from the kids high school art classes and created custom colours and mixed them into smaller amounts of heavier pigment paints. It worked really well but I ran out of the yellow and the candlestick could have done with one more coat ... So, I distressed it and I am dead pleased with the result!

The op shop offered up some gorgeous yellow Pyrex pots - just the right size for us!

Our local garden centre is having a sale and I couldn't resist buying some marigolds. They remind me of Mexico. 

And after a productive time at my trusty grinder, I now have a bunch of buttery yellow ceramic pieces to turn into jewellery!

And when I packed away the paints and scrubbed the table I decided to put my new marigolds into some newly painted tins along with a tea light holder I made today. With the addition of a couple of skully mates I almost felt like I was back in Oaxaca!

Hope all this yellow brings a little sunshine into your day - especially for those of you in the other hemisphere where it is freezing at the moment. Stay warm!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Getting underway ...

It seems that the Christmas lull has been a bit protracted this year. Or maybe I am just lazy ...? Anyway, there is a show coming up in February that I am very happy to have been accepted into so I thought I should get started on some work. The theme of the exhibition is "Wear a Piece of Adelaide" and it runs throughout the Fringe Festival (South Australia is the Festival state after all!). The premise is that you can create jewellery that is literally made of a piece of the city or something representative of the city/surrounds. I am planning some pieces made from wine bottle glass, specifically wine bottles from South Australia, most probably from the Barossa Valley because that is where I live!
Working with glass can be pretty exciting and as always when you work with recycled materials, you have to be prepared for outcomes you might not have envisaged. 

This is part one of a multi-part process ...

These pieces will most likely become earrings. Eventually. There are plenty of steps to follow!

Oh and glass can be. teeny bit dangerous ... Band-Aids are a necessary part of this whole process I have found!
Despite the little nicks (wow fingers bleed a lot even from teensy cuts!), I am super happy to be feeling productive once again. Now if I could just summon up the courage to clean up the studio ....