Thursday 29 April 2010

New mirrors for Craft Hatch

I love everything about making my little mirrors except photographing them, which I find incredibly difficult. (They actually look quite nice in real life. ) Above: if you buy the Lips mirror, I promise that you won't get the maker's arm all over them. I am very fond of the little hat too. Even drawing knitted things provides me knitting-like pleasure!
That's a back issue of my favourite magazine there too: The World of Interiors. Over the years, no other magazine has come close in terms of inspiration. Try your local library.
The British series, with that wonderful portrait of The Duke of Windsor wearing the Fair Isle sweater that made that style of knitting so fashionable that every man had to have one. And why not, I say?!
I have made these mirrors to sell at Craft Hatch on June 12.
It would be lovely to see you there.

Monday 26 April 2010

Around the studio

I love looking at interiors both in magazines and on the internet, and to me, a studio is the pinnacle. Every time I see photos of an artist's workspace I pore over every detail to try and find the essence of how and why its owner does what they do.
Why would anyone want to look at my studio? I asked myself, especially as photography is not one of my strengths. But let me show you around anyway. My studio is one of about 40 in a former boot factory in inner city Melbourne which dates back to the Victorian era. Excuse the dust, which seems to fall like rain from the exposed ceiling.
A tapestry from Sweden, an Eames House of Cards, a Victorian cut-out, Ladybird books and the all-important snack. (Not always that healthy.)
The Ill Conceived Mobile, which needs to be restrung as the cutely packaged thread that I bought from the Indian shop can't handle the weight of small plywood objects. The clay man waits like a blank canvas for an idea. These both sit patiently on my new lightbox table, which some silly person was throwing away just as I was walking past their studio!
My upside-down candle is an object of interest for many of my neighbours. Unfortunately, it is actually a reminder of the Black Saturday bushfires of the summer before last. That day was so hot in inner Melbourne too that the candles melted.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Scandinavian ceramics, circa 1970

Above: lovely stoneware chamotte relief by Sylvia Leuchovius for A.B. Rorstrand. I'd love to see this figure in colour, and to know how big it is.

Above: a variety of surface textures by Bengt Berglund for Gustavsberg of Sweden. Below: their manifestation in a group of interesting figures that bring to my mind the work of Alexander Girard . I love the interest that the surfaces provide: these pictures don't need to be in colour to work!

Above: candle houses by Signe and John Northroup of Denmark. I don't know whether these act as oil burners. I don't own an oil burner, as even though I like what they do I have never seen one that I liked enough to buy it. These reminded me that I could however make one, perhaps using a different sort of building as inspiration. That would be a fun project.
Below: stoneware-chamotte wall relief "wheel thrown and engraved" by Francesca Lindh for Wartsila Ab Arabia Finland. I am realising that anything with a face on it instantly attracts me -- on the stranger the object the better.

Above: stoneware bowls by Trude Barner Jespersen of Denmark for Bing & Grondahl. Such interesting and simple shapes. I wonder whether the decoration is blue.
Below: stoneware service by Tue Poulsen of Denmark. I like the cup and saucer, they look exotic to my eye, used to the elaborate curves of my more conventional collection of tea-drinking implements.

These images are all from New Design in Ceramics by Donald J. Willcox, New York, 1970. Thanks dear Anna for lending me this book. I wonder what Anna herself would have chosen as her favourites? Probably something completely different!

Sunday 18 April 2010

Stitching scarves

I am feeling a bit under the weather, despite it being very beautiful outside today in Melbourne. Working quietly on some new stitched linen scarves, a selection of which will be available at the Craft Victoria shop from May.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

From Webster's Visual Dictionary of Curiosities

Hi. Above: so elegant is he!

Above: I like the simple rectangular shape of this one.
Above: "Hey legs! How ya goin'?"

Above: a cross between a fish and a bearded lady.

Above: I love the implications of a bicorporate lion fighting itself.

Above: hee hee!!! I love it when artists of fauna get it wrong. Or maybe I've got it wrong, perhaps American mountain hares really do look like that? I could always google them, an opportunity the above artist could never have imagined.

Above: "beef creature"?

...What a great dictionary, and I am only up to the letter G. My dear colleagues Tess and Cameron gave me this book for my birthday last week. (I had an excellent birthday.) Pictorial Websters: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities, text by John M. Carrera. Published by Chronicle in 2009.
P.S. I looked up the American mountain hares and no, they don't look like that. But they're pretty daaarrrn cute.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Ceramics class: from the kiln

Above: the result of our slab-building exercise: a little house based on the strangely proportioned one below. My proportions are sadly not quite as exaggerated as they could have been. The red roof was also an abberation but I have grown to like it. And I still love the house below and might use it as part of something else one day.
Above: by the way, never bring any special books or pictures to ceramics class or they will end up as ratty as this.

Above: the result of our first exercise, coil building, where (as the name suggests) you make coils and then build them upwards, smoothing them with your little tools as you go. In the last hour of our last class, my strange shape decided to become a pointy babushka type object. I am trying to decide whether to add anything to her or not (using acrylic paints that is -- ssshhhh).

Above: the boy gendarme, who also starred in this previous post. My relationship with glazing is a fraught one. Basically I don't 'get' it and am too much of a control freak to leave the results of painting something with a strange thick substance that looks nothing like the colour that it purports to be on the jar to an oven that may or may not blow it up in the process of cooking it at well over 1000 degrees celsius.
But I still love making things out of clay. Maybe I will commit the ultimate ceramic traditionalist's sin and paint them using acrylic like I did many years ago in my TAFE class. Although this time if I am tut-tutted by the ceramic powers that be I won't care a jot now that I am a big girl.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Time-Life's Germany, circa 1969

Above: I know it's strange to see this very Christmas-time marzipan in April, but I am mentally preparing myself for winter here in Australia. And it is too magnificent to leave out: who could resist marzipan tomatoes!
Above: the market of Esslingen, with fortress in the background. The symmetrical buildings are almost surreal in their detail. I love them.

Above: a supermarket in West Berlin shows how it's done. Shouldn't every shop have an enormous picture of at least one of its inventory looming over the top of it? The world would be a better place.

Above: an eighteenth century German cook "portrayed as a walking kitchen". In the background, a narrative of his efforts.
Above: I am not sure why this boy from Westphalia is so grumpy when he knows that his grandmother is making him pan-fried potato cakes with blueberry jam.

Above: Frau Klaus of Mettingen, who carries her dough to the communal baking house every two weeks. I want to dress like her. I have always wanted to dress like old ladies from European villages. Not so fun/interesting/ironic as you approach middle age yourself.

Above: and I'd like to dress like this foxy lady. What a gorgeous print! Hostess and writer Ursula von Kardorff serves a buffet in her apartment kitchen, " in keeping with the new informality that marks much German entertaining".

The magnificent front cover.
This book is part of my treasured (and highly incomplete) Time-Life Foods of the World series: The Cooking of Germany by Nika Standen Hazelton, photographed by Ralph Crane and Henry Grozinsky, 1969.

Monday 5 April 2010

Some Nineteenth Century Aboriginal Drawings

Above: Mickey of Ulladulla, Ceremony; Scenes of daily life; native flora and fauna
Above: Mickey of Ulladulla, Boats, fish; Native flora and fauna; below: detail
Above: Tommy McRae Dancers with weapons; Hunting and fishing; European house and couple

Above: Tommy McRae Aborigine chasing Chinese man
Above: Charlie Flannigan, Steamer
Above: Erlikilyika, Drawing of native tree
I am fascinated by any artform that is the result of the interaction between two cultures, whether it be drawing or music or even cuisine. Maybe that's because I am the product of a couple of cultures myself. Either way, I love these nineteenth century Australian aboriginal drawings for their wit, detail, and use of either European or local traditions of depiction where it suits the subject best.
Images from Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century by Andrew Sayers, Oxford, 1994
The dates are not given in the book; I assume that this is because exact dates for these drawings is unknown, or was at the time of publication in 1994. ( Or maybe I just haven't looked at it thoroughly enough.)