Tuesday 27 December 2011

Grand plans....

Grand plans to sew something...let's see if it eventuates.  I have shown a close up of the little pattern above not because it is the one-most-likely, but because it's way more special than the others.   It is neither a ubiquitous Butterick nor a Simplicity but a Weigel's.  Most locals wouldn't know that for almost one hundred years Melbourne had its very own brand of sewing patterns.  They and Madame Weigel's Journal of Fashion were the first to give those in the colonies the opportunity to look as fashionable as their cousins in Europe.  And to think that for much of that time these little treasures were meticulously designed, cut and folded only a couple of streets away from where I live in Richmond!
More lovely Weigel's patterns here.

Friday 23 December 2011

Merry Merry

Presents mostly wrapped.  I have enjoyed using large envelopes turned inside out so that their tiny blue prints are visible, as well as last year's Indian calendar and a funny German calendar featuring scenes of toy tractors on carefully arranged plastic landscapes.

 I haven't really done much Christmas decoration, but I think that the plant growing on this red and white blind looks kind of festive.  That's my excuse anyway.
A clock in progress.  Nineteenth century French tattoos.  Finally, some tattoos that I would ponder getting for myself!  I used my arm as a model, I think I must have seen more sun yesterday than I realised.  (I have left the book at the studio and will credit it later.)

The studio seems far away now.  Today has been all about shopping for fruit, veg and a myriad other ingredients, some of which I have never bought before.  Pomegranate molasses.  Almost a litre of cream.  Lemon infused olive oil.  I also admit to never having used gelatine.  But I am looking forward to making enough food for twenty when there will only be five of us....

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you, wherever you are.  In the summer heat or in the winter cold, may you feel warm on the inside.

A great article that appeared in The Age yesterday, via Miss Pen Pen.  I am so glad that she exists!

Sunday 18 December 2011

Pencils are sneaking in

The pink apples above have been coloured with a pretty fluorescent pink pencil, though it's not possible to convey that in my photo.  I used a lot of pencil for this one, which I enjoyed, even though it looks a bit messier than paint.  As a child I was a penciller and not a painter.  Sometimes I feel that pencils are where I belong.
Meanwhile, these young lassies are heading for TarraWarra and are entirely painted, except for the pencilled pink cheeks of the tall one.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

A family for Melbourne's Child

This illustration for the Dec/Jan 2012 edition of Melbourne's Child (and Sydney's Child, etc.) about a city family that embraces country life, went really easily.  So easily in fact that I wonder now whether it looks a bit too quick, even a little slapdash?  Or perhaps slapdash suits a family that likes some mud on its clothes and flour on its nose?  Maybe it just means that the more of these illustrations I do, the less torturous it gets?  I hope so!

Saturday 10 December 2011

bright green and lilac make...

There is a green mushroom, among other new wooden things, in the shop.  The mushrooms are made from a fantastic thick wood that my father gave me, left over from signs that he made for his wine club competition.  Its dimensionality gives them the effect of retro toys.  Special!  I hadn't used it until now as I thought that my machine might not like the thicker stuff.  But it was fine.
A lilac stitched linen scarf for Craft Victoria in progress, scanned.  When I see lilac and bright green together it always makes me think of Incredible Hulk icy poles, which I hope don't exist anymore.  (I just Googled them, and all I could find was this.  Enjoy!)

Tuesday 6 December 2011

riches + rags + colour

 I think that all the colour in the children's room at TDF Open House has inspired me to go a bit crazy this week!  A Riches to Rags Man in progress, above, and a linen scarf for Craft Victoria, below.  Both have been a lot of fun to work on.

Monday 5 December 2011

TDF Open House -- my photos

I went back to The Design Files Open House on Saturday to take these photos of my work in the children's room (OK, and to buy a couple of things).  The photos are terrible partly because the room actually had quite a few people in it and it was hard to get shots without someone's back in them!
One of the things that I bought was a copy of Conversations with Creative Women.  Highly recommended.

Friday 2 December 2011

Melbourne Famous

Fitzroy player in progress.  He is finished now and will be on display/ for sale shortly at my friend Peter's mini gallery in the window next to La Niche on Smith Street.  We thought it might be nice to have a Fitzroy player seeing as the gallery is in Fitzroy....

And, in a different part of the same suburb, The Design Files Open House is, well, open!  My work is in the children's room downstairs, alongside THE most incredibly beautiful wares.  (Spy my clock hands above.)  I had such a wonderful time at the opening night hanging around with Madeleine Stamer, Emily Green and Dawn Tan, and spying numerous other "Melbourne famous" faces around the house.  So much fun!  I also met the lovely Ellie Malin, whose beautiful parachute prints were such a vibrant anchor to the children's room.  Actually we were all so captivated by the warmth and colour of that space that we could barely leave.  Photo by John Deer pinched from The Design Files.  (Lucy likes people to email her when they post her photos but I reckon she already has too many emails to read without another from me.  And "Melbourne famous" is phrase I stole from her too.  I love it.)

Speaking of photos, Warren Kirk's beautiful work is finally accessible on Flickr (devotees of the inner west of Melbourne click here; while a more general photostream is here).  I'm willing to bet that everyone from Melbourne will find the photos captivating.  Those who are not from anywhere near here will really enjoy them too: their charm is universal.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Frida and the sailor

 Frida was an artist.  She sailed around the world with her lover,
 a sailor from Corsica.
They had a dog named Diego.  He was as wild as a grizzly bear.  Or so he thought.

These mirrors are brand new, and they are in the shop.

I quite like my little re-imagined Frida family, she might have preferred it too.

Monday 21 November 2011

More ladies and a manly mirror

A new little lady with a die for a chest and a pair of salami for legs.  When she's finished, she will be a wall-hanging-lady, rather than a standing one, like these:

 ...new bird and hamburger ladies in the shop (until recently they were marked "made to order").
And a very manly new mirror too.  The first goatee I have painted on a mirror ever!  Classy.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Stitching, cutting, sanding, playing

Stitching some new scarves for Craft Victoria and having a little play with the wooden ladies after cutting and sanding them.

Monday 14 November 2011

The Design Files Open House

From the start I have found the very idea that my work might be part of The Design Files' Open House overwhelming. 

However, now that it's imminent -- and I can see from the pdf directory whose company I will be in -- I am speechless.
How wonderful to have the brilliant Madeleine Stamer and Beci Orpin's creatures protecting my hamburger on either side of this directory page, above.  Lovely and incredibly overwhelming.  (And that's just for starters -- have a look at the rest of the page!!)

Friday 11 November 2011

Something old makes something new

Just playing with some dancing ladies in progress.  One is particularly happy to have a subterranean skirt, nicked from something that I made a while ago.  I am enjoying finding old things to incorporate into new work, it might just take me down a new and unexpected path!

Monday 7 November 2011

Inside Out moustache

Hooray!  My black moustache mirror has made an appearance in Inside Out's Christmas issue.  (Similar mirrors can be found here.)  The house on the cover of the magazine belongs to furniture designer Mark Tuckey and his stylist wife Louella.  A rather unusual cylindrical Art Deco-ish structure, as you can see it is right on the beach in Pittwater in Sydney.  Oh how the wealthy of Sydney live!  (Though as I write this it is  a very beautiful sunny 25 degrees C in Melbourne, so it's not all bad.)  
May you have a sunny day, too.

Thursday 3 November 2011

A new hanger and clock

A little girl hanger that I painted a couple of days ago, made more exciting by being placed on the cover of Stephen Banham's fantastic book, Characters, which I am looking forward to reading from cover to cover.  Congratulations too on your beautiful photos Warren Kirk -- if you are reading this!

A new tattoo clock: a tiger becoming a mermaid with a bird looking on.  Years ago, my friend Steven's big brother got a tattoo on his left pec, based on an Italian cassette cover of mine which showed a modest snake and face arrangement painted on a woman's bottom.  He decided to get some more, and by the time he finished (has he finished?) my inspirational cassette was sadly indistinguishable from the swirl of pictures surrounding it.  Maybe this clock is an homage to Muz, and the moment when things began to go awry.
And here is some music to help you ponder that.

Sunday 30 October 2011


Today I am sketching a rough for the December/ January issue of Melbourne's Child (Sydney's Child, etc.). This is a section of it, above.  Because I am not sure whether it is OK to show the rest of the sketch before the illustration is published*, I have dug out some sketches from this year for things that didn't eventuate, for one reason or another.
Above: a sketch for Sophie, a character that was in development for the uTales children's story Eva the Diva and Sophie Too by author Jackie Kramer.  I was chuffed that the author chose to work with me, but I decided to abandon the project as I did not feel that it was the right time to tackle an entire book, both in terms of my illustration skills and my time constraints due to other projects.

Sketches for the cover of Haley Tanner's Vaclav and Lena.  I was floored when I received an e-mail from Random House New York with a book cover mock-up featuring a pair of my wooden men!  I was asked to illustrate child-like versions of them, as well as a few motifs representing Coney Island and magic tricks.  This time it was the publisher who decided not to go ahead, although I was paid handsomely for these sketches.

...It is still a big dream of mine to illustrate a book cover.

* This might be an unnecessary paranoia left over from my fashion industry days when of course one would never show work in progress in case someone copied it.  Perhaps it's not relevant to publishing?

Tuesday 25 October 2011

A Caribbean woman in the shop

A new Caribbean woman clock is in the etsy shop.  She has two cousins: they can be seen in progress below.  One of them will be available in December from The Design Files Open House in Brunswick, the other from the Modern Times pop-up shop in Collingwood.  There will be a selection of my other wooden work available in both stores.  Modern Times will also have some framed original artwork and prints, which I am very pleased about!