Saturday 30 July 2011

To fill some gaps...

My studio was featured in the (melbourne) magazine yesterday, a glossy monthly supplement to our city's broadsheet, The Age.  Apart from noting that I look extremely embarrassed, I wanted to set something straight.  "I FILL THE GAPS WITH SUPER THINGS" is not a jaunty assessment of my cluttered surroundings.  It is an entry from an old diary: a declaration that I had been foolishly idealising my new beau.  I pinned it up because I wanted to make an artwork about it.  Not because I think that I actually fill gaps with super things!  It is interesting that the writer, Konrad Marshall, focused on the words that he saw in my studio. 

...Or maybe I will fill gaps with super things when I'm old and wise, like Margaret Olley

More importantly, I wanted to mention that Indi the stylist, Sharyn the photographer and her assistant Tess were all really lovely and went out of their way to help a nervous photoshoot-novice like me feel comfortable, as did Konrad.  Of course the quality of the entire article proves that.  Secondly, this photo shoot came about via Craft Victoria.  I am incredibly grateful to the wonderful women there for the enormous amount of support that they have given me over the last two years.  The other reason that I mention them is to urge anyone out there to whom a Craft Victoria membership might be relevant -- i.e. they live in the state of Victoria, and they make craft -- to join.  

It could change your life!!!

Meanwhile, have a sunny weekend.

Friday 29 July 2011

Two new greeting cards

The greeting card above is based on my hand painted found-wood figure, which was shown on my blog here. (The original is now in the The Tarrawarra Museum of Art shop.) When I decided that it might make a good card, I removed the 'woody' background from my scan in Photoshop, as it was too uneven. It took a couple of hours -- look at all those ladder rungs that had to be cut around! But I didn't think it was worth repainting -- sometimes when I paint something the second time around it loses its liveliness.
A greeting card of the tartan hunter is now in the shop too. This one had a much nicer woodgrain, so I left it as it was.

The original artwork, also a hand painted standing plywood figure, is at Hut 13 in Armadale, Melbourne. You can see him here as well.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Colour me happy, too!

My Veins and Arteries clock hand made an appearance in The Age newspaper's M supplement last Sunday! I love the Frida Kahlo theme. Every item in the story is beautiful, especially the incredible deer sculpture covered in tapestry by Frederique Morrel.
A non-newsprint photo of the clock below:
It was Milly from Craft Victoria who alerted me to the article while I was visiting the amazing stand that she put together for Design:Made:Trade. It was lovely to catch up with her and to chat with her sister Stephanie, Elizabeth Yong from Primoeza, Nicholas Jones, Kirsten Perry and Emma Greenwood, and seeing mini versions of their studios. Such a treat. If the whole fair had been so hands-on I would have been in heaven!

Monday 25 July 2011

Your computer contains love.

Hello! Here is the finished knitting project which I showed when it was in progress here. (What do you think, Elaine?)
It has already been sold it to the delightful and VERY talented Lambert but I thought that I might document it here anyway.

Here's the story:

Recently I realised why I am spending too much time at my computer: I'm looking for love. I'm not necessarily talking, but the sort of love you get when someone answers your e-mail, comments on your facebook photos, watches your eBay listing, follows your blog, or even clicks your handmade item into their etsy favourites. I think we are all looking for love, or at least affirmation, from our computers. What do you think?
Above: the back; below, detail of hand knitting. I used lots of different sorts of beautiful yarns for this one, and now I have run out of many of my stashed favourites .... damn!

Time to turn off the computer and go outside to get some fresh -- possibly too fresh -- Melbourne air.

Friday 22 July 2011

Busy busy making wooden beings....

I have been busy making some little plywood beings for my etsy shop. Above, a handsome house snail with aqua windows and a tiny door.

An erupting volcano in cross section, wearing wellington boots (which aren't going to help much).

A pair of mushrooms with eyes. (Red one here, tall one there.)

And a new dancing lady with a very pretty Australian Wonga Wonga Pigeon for a skirt (from this beautiful bird book ). The shop has never been so full of wooden things! I think they're very happy to be out in the world.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Mrs Betty Collins

These wonderful things belonged to Mrs Betty Collins, mother of my dear friends David and Margaret, and their older brother Ross. Betty died exactly one year ago today, on her 81st birthday. I feel really honoured that my friends have given me some of her craft items to look after.
above: I love this 1940s Patons knitting pattern model, as she is so unlike anyone you would see today, modelling a cardigan or anything else for that matter.
above: 1950s boys' sweater pattern.
above: Sanchia, from another 1940s Patons knitting book. This, my friends, is not a sewing pattern for lingerie, but a knitting pattern. Only fellow knitters can understand how tiny the 2ply stitches would have been, how long and laborious the process. And imagine wearing knitted "scantees"! My how times have changed.

Betty owned various types of mending thread, including a special one for stockings. You may be imagining that she ran a fine household while her husband went to work. Far from the truth: she studied pharmacy right after the Second World War, and eventually ran the Collins Pharmacy in Sorrento with her second husband Peter. There were both happy and tragic twists and turns in Betty's life, but I don't think that I have ever met anyone with such strength, positivity and beautiful ready smile. And her children are exactly like her.


And yesterday I realised just how modest a bunch my studio colleagues are! The weaver of great tapestries and photographer Tim Gresham; Peter Summers, painter of beautiful abstract symphonies; Jenny Bolis, brilliant photographer/ designer and all round sweetie; and Troy Mendham, none other than Mr Norf Guide!

Friday 15 July 2011

knitting in progress

Knitting in progress. I have taken things a bit too far with the frequent colour changes in this one and there will be a great deal of neatening up to do at the back after I am finished.

I am very inspired by Intelligent Clashing at the moment. How nice that there is someone else apart from me who still appreciates 80's Kaffe Fassett!

Monday 11 July 2011

A Tartan Hunter for Hut 13

A recent conversation with Lucy from Hut 13 resulted in this dog. I am quite fond of him and I can't wait to see how Lucy arranges him and his friends in the Hut 13 window!

Friday 8 July 2011

A burnt mummy for Melbourne's Child

After the sad stories I have recently been asked to illustrate for Melbourne's Child magazine (Sydney's Child, etc, in other Australian cities) it was such a relief to work on this one. Here a mum laments that her four year old is finding it difficult coping with the attention that the newborn of the family is getting. He does this in all sorts of ways, but when he brings home a picture that he has drawn of the family with his mother "burnt in a fire", the mother is unsurprisingly at wit's end.
As you can see, there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with this one. Here I think that the mum looks a bit TOO upset, but I like that baby looks grumpy! I worked on this picture just after having gone to an illustrators' seminar: there I got to see how other people work and was reminded that not all of the characters have to be sketched together on the same page: this way they can be shuffled around more easily. (I do the shuffling in Photoshop.) That's why the little lad is missing from this one.
I don't remember why I ended up reversing the whole scene, though!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Strange kitchen sightings...

Strange sightings of wooden creatures hiding amongst the greenery in the kitchen.

I took these photos on a dark day, in my dark house. I thought I would try and liven them up in Photoshop: even though I had fun I might have taken things a bit too far. When it comes to fixing dark photos, I am no Kim Brockett! (I still marvel at the magic she worked with the shots she took at my studio on that very grey late afternoon.)

...Digital photography is a very different beast to the traditional sort, isn't it? Not that I know that much about either!

Friday 1 July 2011

Knitting without a licence

Knitting football jumpers in a more innocent era, or rather a full decade before licensing deals snagged everything imaginable, from mugs to underpants. In fact, this was knitting before The Australian Football League even existed.

If you would like to knit one of these for your little football fan, let me know -- I am happy to post the instructions on flickr.

From the knitting collection of Betty Collins, who died last year at exactly the age of 81. I don't know whether Betty followed the football much herself, but I do know that she was a wonderful woman.