Saturday 27 September 2008

The Unfinished Birthday Present

Above: a dear friend of mine, who doesn't have internet access, is having an important birthday in a week's time. I started making this scarf for her back in February, but I got stuck about a month later, and haven't gone back to it since. I kept confusing the grey for the red in the black & white graph. (Did the black dots represent red, or the white squares? I kept forgetting in the middle of every row.) I should have just coloured over the dots in the graph in red. Or maybe that was the squares. I hope my friend doesn't mind that her scarf won't be finished. Is the fact that it's Spring in Melbourne now a good excuse? Um, no.

I think I've got a bit of knitting to do this week.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Inspiration 3: Sweden

Above: a very pleasing book display in a shop window on the island of Sodermalm, one of the extremely lovely floating precincts of Stockholm.

Above: book jacket detail from the store above, showing lovely floral pattern. (I find European book jackets in general to be more pleasing than ours.)

Above: another shop window in Sodermalm: antiques placed on a piece of pretty floral wallpaper.

Above: even a supermarket advertisement can be aesthetically pleasing.

Above: detail from a cushion designed in the 1940's by Carl Malmsten. I love the various patterning overlaid on each coloured section, like textile design over textile design. This cushion lives in Florence now with my cousin. A nice bit of Sweden in Italy. (Could you get two more disparate but equally appealing European cultures?!)

Above: my proud purchase from Under, a cute little shop next to the hotel I stayed in on the Sodermalm. It sells new and vintage clothes, books and decoration mostly for children. All very now and very Swedish with that bright, simple aesthetic. [The following is an amendment made on September 29] A detail from my Barbapapa curtain/wall hanging. Barbapapa (French for fairy floss, or literally 'father's beard') was created in France in the 1970s. According to Wikipedia: "Barbapapa ... is a generally pear-shaped, pink blob-like creature who stumbles upon the human world and tries to fit in." I can relate to that, especially lately as I have been eating too much chocolate.
Above: fabric at home, wrapped and waiting to become a cushion cover. Printed linen purchased after hours agape at Svenskt Tenn, an incredible, legendary design house on the Strandvagen that has to be seen to be believed. This design from the Josef Frank archive is called "Poisons", although whether both grapes and tobacco are poisons is a matter for debate. Svenskt Tenn designs are simultaneously elegant and crazy and that's why I love them. I bought enough to make a large cushion and a handbag, and then I had no kroner left for dinner. One day when I am wealthy I will order a length of Frank's kitsch and beautiful Italian Dinner, and I will be satiated forever.

Monday 15 September 2008

The Year of the Rat: Illustrators Australia 2008 entry

Above: this year's theme for the Illustrators Australia 9 x 5 Exhibition is The Year of the Rat. I had previously been thinking of making an artwork showing an innocent little lab rat cut open to display a very beautiful and glamorous version of his innards. (Perhaps it would be a way to restore his dignity.) At the time it was influenced by a a piece by Del Kathryn Barton which I had seen at Linden. It was a stuffed bird made of fabric, with disarmingly human-like eyes and it was covered in hundreds of old buttons. I liked how the 'real' eyes played against the crafty notions. When I received my annual piece of plywood and the accompanying theme and entry form, I thought: here's my chance. I like innards you see. I think they are rather beautiful, especially the versions that you find illustrated in mid century school books. But real ones are pretty as well.

Ha! As I wrote that I just thought of a title: Many Treasures Rat.

Sunday 7 September 2008

The Wheel of Fortune

Above: The Wheel of Fortune was completed as part of my Bus exhibition last year. This week I have entered it into I Art Sydney Road competition (part of The Fringe Festival). It has aged appropriately from sitting in my back garden, and now it has more of the vintage sideshow feel that I wished I could just magically have emulated when I painted it. (The talented carpenter was my friend Jason P.) If the work is chosen it will sit in a shop window. People will come up and spin the wheel and declare themselves unfortunate.

October addition to this post: I won third prize!!!