Friday 28 December 2012

Wooden figures made by others

I make things using a number of materials, but my painted and cut out wooden beings are what I define myself through most.  (Examples here.)  I always get excited when I come across other artists who use the medium in a similar way.  Here are some of my current favourites.  Above: Max Estes.
 Above: Jeremy Tinder.
 Above: Merijn Hos.

 Above: Alexandra Lakin.
Above: Kim Laurenti (Hi Kim!).

It's really great too to look at these pieces in the context of the artists' other work and interests.  An immensely talented bunch.
Happy Holidays.

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Potato Christmas

I made some wrapping paper yesterday using potatoes and the two paint colours that I happened to have at home: it was way too hot to go near that furnace of a studio.  I think the last time I made a potato print I was ten.  I have grand plans to do something fancier next time.

Merry merry Christmas everyone!  May you have a day full of warmth and love, wherever you are.

Sunday 16 December 2012

And so I baked a cake

I can make lots of things, but I have never made a fancy cake like the ones that people actually PAY for.  So when the production designer at work asked me if I could make a butterfly cake for his daughter's birthday, I was extremely flattered but very tempted to say no.  However as my new motto is to say yes to all but the most ridiculous of challenges, I naively took it up.  My dear friend (and colleague) JP gave me wonderful advice, gleaned from both personal experience and devouring fancy baking shows on Foxtel.  Then it was on to Bake Boss to get some advice and an idea of the cost.  One of the first things that the lovely women there said unanimously was "that job requires fondant!"  Fondant to me is as foreign as brake fluid and wheel alignment.  However after a couple of calming pep talks, I bought said fondant, kneaded and rolled it, cut out some butterfly shapes and left it to dry.  (A pair and a spare: thank goodness my props job has taught me the wisdom making extra, as the first one I made ended up horribly pock marked!)  The template you can see above is an enlargement of the butterfly that the production designer sent as inspiration.

My mum very kindly allowed me to use her kitchen, her fancy oven and her baking skills as the 40 x 40 cm cake tin certainly would not have fit into my temperature gauge-less little 1970s Kitchen Maid.  The size of the tin required that the chocolate cake recipe be tripled.  Thank you Mum for all of your help!

 After it was cooled (on a spare oven rack!) the cake was cut into the butterfly shape, then iced using a good old fashioned Women's Weekly chocolate frosting.

Then it was back to the fondant.  The first coat of aqua pearl paint did not look great.  I was scared.

The second coat made the effect much more opaque.  After it dried I added the black details, placed the butterfly on the cake, stuck little pink pearls on with special gel, then strewed bronze coloured sugary bits around the edges (it would have been nicer if they had been a bit paler).  Initially I had wanted to surround the cake with little hydrangea flowers, but I read that they were poisonous so I stuck little pink pearls around instead.  (Shhh: this was all to hide my mediocre frosting job.)
The offcuts were sliced and iced and taken to the studio Christmas party.

Sorry about the bad i-phone photos.

This is a crazy time of year!  I hope that you have all had a restful Sunday.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Some new wooden things in the shop.

I started these little men a while ago.  Now they are finally finished and in the shop, and they are very pleased with themselves.

Sunday 2 December 2012

new mirrors + a mask in the shop

New mirrors in my Etsy shop, above and below at Five Boroughs in Brunswick East.  Alasdair did an admirable job of forging my hand writing.

Above: the painted mask is in my Etsy shop too.  Thanks WK for capturing me during my brief Moonrise Kingdom inspired boy scout fashion phase...

Thursday 29 November 2012

The Design FIles Open House 2012 is - OPEN!

I am a bit late with this post as one of the four precious days of The Design Files Open House 2012 is already over.  The opening was last night, and as in 2011, it was an absolute treat and a testament to the talent and hard work of Ms Lucy Feagins and her team.  In Windsor this time, it is absolutely worth the trip over the river if you are a Northerner.  Fantastic for Christmas presents, or just drooling.  I'll have an Oslo Davis print....most of the Emily Green chandelier.....a Cottage Industry checked oven glove....the giant pile of Marimekko well as the Tractor Home one with the embroidered beetles.  And about 50 other things.  In fact I might just move into the kids' room (which is incidentally exactly what I wanted to do last year).  The pieces shown above are those that I have made especially for the house.  Go in and spot 'em!  They are in incredible company and I feel very proud.  There is a lot of talent in this city.  Thank you so much Ms Lucy.  Oh, and lovely Lisa too.

Sunday 25 November 2012

It's electrifying

Very, very indirectly inspired by the incredible work of Stephen Bird and Philip Eglin*, I decided to finally use the Pebeo porcelain paint that I bought about five years ago on some boring white plates that I had at home.  It felt as though I was painting with nail polish, and I haven't baked the finished plates yet, but overall I am quite happy with the result.  Plain white china at Sandra's house, look out!  (Unfortunately, although washable once baked, Pebeo's porcelain paint does not go well with food.)

*Comparing mass produced dishes + craft paint to the work of these fantastic artists would not just be insulting to them, but to anyone with a degree in ceramics, oops, sorry.....!!


LATER: still too scared to bake the plates, in case the thickly painted parts melt across the surface or splotch....if anyone out there has any tips and/or reassurance, please let me know!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Beyond chuffed!

For years it was a dream of mine to have my work stocked at Craft Victoria, and I am beyond chuffed that a few pieces have been included in their beautiful new Christmas catalogue.  I have been having a little conversation with Evie Barrow about creativity and confidence (which began with her beautiful and generous post here).  Seeing my work in such a gorgeous catalogue makes me grateful that I persisted through innumerable periods of self doubt.  (And hopefully I will persist in the future.)
Happy Sunday.
Oh, by the way: photos 1 & 3 include my Sitting Person; photo 2 includes my little painting Let Your Feelings Show based on an advertisement in a 1980 Dolly magazine; while photo 4 includes my hand stitched pale lilac linen scarf.  Chuffed, and also liking a dangerous number of things surrounding around my work....not least Shuh Lee's necklace and the green OK stockings....I have done a lot of my Christmas shopping already.....possibly I need to buy some presents for myself.....

Thursday 15 November 2012

House photos

Thanks very much WK (he of this and that) for these fantastic pictures which make my house look better than it actually is!