Saturday, 31 May 2008

Sew Somerset

I haven't been blogging much this week - I think the shock of going back to work after such a full-on and wonderful holiday has been a bit too much for me and I have been feeling out of sorts and as if I am on the edge of some sort of flu or something. Anyway I treated myself to a very early bedtime last night (only as I wasn't capable of anything else!) and then a big sleep-in this morning so hopefully I will be back to normal soon. We have a long weekend this weekend so the extra day will be very much appreciated.
During the week I received my complimentary copy of the latest "Sew Somerset" and what a gorgeous book - full of beautiful pieces that incorporate sewing in some way.

I was thrilled (of course) to have my "L'Art D'Etre Belle" hanger included in the decor section (see below for a scan of part of the page) and just as thrilled to find my friend Sue Smith's gorgeous piece in there as well! I am planning a long and relaxing browse through the book (it is too big to be called a magazine!!) tonight.

But for now I need to go and finish my Calendar Girl Postcard for May which should really have been posted to Sharon by now.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Be Square

This week's theme over at Wednesday Stamper is "BE SQUARE" so I am posting a square card from an article I have in the latest Stamping & Papercraft magazine (which arrived in my letter- box today) - it features a great square image from Crafty Individuals. I know birds are everywhere at the moment but I just can't help myself!

PS I am addicted to adhesive paper lace too!

And the lovely Eva has blessed me with a "Sweet Home Blogger Award" so I will pass that on tomorrow night. Thanks Eva, it is lovely to think of all the blog reading and sharing that goes on around our planet!!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Fabric Postcards

(Coralee Barker's "Home is where your story begins" postcard)

For some time now I have been participating in a small Australian group fibre art exchange ("Quilty Conscience") and the Art Retreat in Melbourne provided us with the perfect opportunity to meet up and exchange our latest fabric postcards in person (given that we are normally geographically distributed!!)

(Karin Hutchinson's "There's no place like home" postcard - aren't those slippers awesome?)

It was so nice to actually laugh, eat a meal and drink some wine with these beautiful, talented, fun and very artistic women. It was on the Sunday evening after the last workshop and we were all a bit "gaga" but in some ways that made it even better as we were all so relaxed! What made it extra special for me was that my Melbourne-based sister Marrijane was able to be there too and to meet everyone as well! Ruth and Claire Kelly, Ruth's friend Vicki and Stephanie Grant were also there - both Ruth and Stephanie are part of the group but currently on hiatus - hope you guys are able to join back in soon!!

(Danielle D'Onofrio's "Be it ever so Humble" home postcard)

I have already posted my latest postcard for this exchange which was on the theme "Home" and these are the results from the other three currently participating in the exchange - aren't they fabulous!! I love them all.

PS Going back to work today was a bit of a shock to the system! I'm too tired to even get on my treadmill.

PPS Karin - Don't forget to send me the link to your blog!!! I NEED it!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Mixed Media Monday - Maps

The current theme for Mixed Media Monday is maps, so here is a page I did in an altered book a while back (for Heather Crossley) - well I have been away so that is my excuse!!

I love incorporating black and white images in collages - to me they are very graphic and create a strong contrast to the muted background. And I love those Ma Vinci stamped numbers!! So big and beautiful!

A Flotsam Post...Emphasis on May's Take it Further Challenge

This is today's effort to remember some of what I learnt in Misty's class only 10 days ago! Gosh it is scary how quickly you (or should that be "I") forget!! I enjoyed myself though...this is using a background I made in the class. Unfortunately I have covered up my gel medium transfer - Misty has no compunction (is that really a word?) about painting over or SANDING over work she has done but it is a big step for me!! Once again it is based on a magazine image of a face which is saned, painted over, altered and then repainted (sort-of!)... I am going to keep on practicing before I forget it all!

And now for something completely different - Sharon's challenge for May over at "Take it Further" was for us to consider what we called ourselves in terms of our art. She was, I think, focusing on our identification and potential labelling as artists versus crafters etc but I just can't get motivated to turn this theme into anything! I have never been a big one for labels and who cares what I call myself anyway? And do I care what someone else labels me? Well probably I do, at least at night when I can't sleep...

So that leaves me with the colour palette for this month and six days in which to make something that "takes me further". Needless to say I am pondering that one as the palette is quite out of my normal range, pretty, but very soft and pastel. Perhaps taking it further will just be me using different colours! Hmmm, thinking cap is on.

Think Monday Think ATC - Women in ART

I am just catching up on some of the weekly challenges and the current Think Monday Think ATC has a great theme - Women in Art. The link takes you to a terrific YouTube of women in art - well worth watching - I was mesmerized! Very clever!

So to celebrate this theme - here is an ATC sized version of a canvas I did some time back for my wonderful (and only!) niece Jasmine - this one incorporates one of my all time favourite painted images - oh to paint like this!! Can you imagine...

Saturday, 24 May 2008

A few photos & the results of Traci's Workshop

A photo of my Traci Bautista Fibre Fusion Journal
(with late afternoon shadows for extra impact!!)

A scan of my journal front - the photo colours are more accurate. Look at all that glitter!!!

A scan of the back of the journal showing all the uneven length pages - so freeing!

The fibre fusion spine of the journal - threads, fabrics, beads, fibres, ribbons etc

A photo showing the woven spine between two of the signatures -
I love the way the journal lies flat - much easier to work in.
And yes this was a piece of manila folder that was my work surface - too colourful to waste!

I have finally got myself fully unpacked and can see my desk (or at least that little portion of it that is my "usual" work surface)! Yesterday I was really out of it so didn't force myself to be creative - I just caught up on some blog reading and read a novel (Bel Canto) my friend Jude lent me when I stayed with her in Perth on my way home.

Last night and today I have finished off my fibre fusion journal from Traci Bautista's workshop. Traci was a fabulous tutor, encouraging us all to just have fun and to splash the paint around, to make our own marks and to see the journal as just that - something that will be written in and worked on as we use it on a daily (or whatever) basis. It really was a fun class, lots of fast free work with very little conscious thought in the preparation stage. Traci got us to tear all our papers rather than use scissors and to use a wide range of papers - it is a good way to be at least a little bit green and extend the usefulness of all the junk paper that comes our way. Manila folders featured heavily and I used ones I had recycled from work.

The binding and weaving parts of the class were fun as well and I was able to finish my journal in class except for doing a little collage on the front so that is what I have now done, using some of my own doodles and scraps of papers from tje workshop. I also gave some more of my journal pages a wash of paint as I wanted my journal to be a very colourful surface in which to write. Next time I will sew around my collage before binding the book but I couldn't for this one as I had constructed pockets on the inside covers, plus it is hard to manipulate around the sewing machine once the book is bound.

And here are some photos of my trip - as I said yesterday, I took very few so it is slim pickings considering all the opportunities I had over the 11 days!

Creative tree pruning - noticed on a walk in Prahran

Sweet little place in Sassafras

Miss Marples Tearooms in Sassafras

One side of Miss Marples Tearooms - loved the Virginia Creeper and autumn colours
(we don't get much of that in Kalgoorlie where deciduous trees are rare)

Jo Wholohan and Kasha Rolley resting on a street-side bench in between purchases!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Yes I'm back but not fully functioning yet!

Well I am home safe and sound from my travels (4600 kilometres of flying) and I had a wonderful time. Exhausting, stimulating, eye-opening and wonderful all at the same time. Quite apart from the pure bliss of time spent with one of my sisters and my son, the whole art retreat experience was a terrific experience - I learnt so much - about people, about myself and of course about art! Misty Mawn, Traci Bautista and Nina Bagley were all just fantastic and I can't really express how much I enjoyed my workshops with each of them. They were all so different and I can feel myself getting ready to go down different paths as a result.

Keron Lee very generously hosted four of us interstaters for several days and my thanks again Keron for providing us all with such a wonderful opportunity (and also for taking us on such an incredible shopping spree!!) May the blue bird of happiness sit on your shoulder evermore. It was terrific to finally meet Keron after a year's planning, to meet Jo Wholohan after years of art exchanges and to catch up again with Gaye Todd and Kasha Rolley, both of whom I had met on previous art related trips to Queensland a few years back. We all had a lot of fun together! As I live in a fairly remote location the vast majority of my contact with other Australians artists comes from these at-best annual excursions around Australia so I really try and make the most of them! I caught up (all too briefly) with other friends too - Jen Crossley, Coralee Barker; Ruth Kelly; Karin Hutchinson (don't forget to email me your blog address!!), Danielle D'Onofrio, Stephanie Grant plus lots more and met lots of other wonderful people - Abby, Nadine, Jacky, Dot, Shirley, Kirsty, Mandy x 2 plus lots more.

Thanks to Jo & Jacky from Artistic Journey for their second ever Art Retreat! I know you guys learnt heaps from this one and I am sure there must have been some awful "organisational" moments for you - not an easy task to organise so far from home and on such a scale! It was a fabulous three days and I am so grateful that you took the gamble a second year running and bought us such wonderful overseas artists as tutors. I'm looking forward to 2009 already!!

At the moment I have stuff everywhere - there are art supplies that I decided at the last minute not to pack (space considerations more than anything!), stuff I took, stuff I bought, etc etc and I really want to get to my desk and do some creating but I really need to get everything into some sort of order (or at least off the family room floor and dining room table!) So that is what I am trying to do but I think I'm still coming down from the "high" and I just can't settle at anything!!

(me and Jen)

I tend to be an "in the moment" sort of person so I took very few photos but there are heaps on other people's blogs so I don't feel too bad about that aspect. The picture just above is of Jen Crossley (we could be sisters hey?) and myself in Nina's Sunday class - thanks for sending me the photo Jen.

The picture at the top of this post is my main piece from Friday's workshop with the incredible Misty Mawn. There is an unfinished snap of it on Jo's blog and as you can see from my scan below, the finished piece now needs some retouching as a result of damage on the way home (nothing quite like a bit of dampness to make things stick where they shouldn't - she really isn't meant to have white and blue specks on her face and in her hair!!) This workshop was a real stretch for me (and I think a lot of others as we don't tend to paint faces even though we all love using paint) but I really enjoyed it and learnt so much. I need to practice while I remember some of it!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

And now for something completely different!

Look what came in the mail yesterday - two very funky ATC trades from
the blogless Laurence Rocher in France!
Such fun!! Thanks Laurence.

PS Yes, I am in panic mode (it's official) - too much to do today and last night I did "something" to my knee so I am hobbling around the place, cursing myself for leaving so much to the last minute!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Mixed Media Monday - Paint!

Natalie is the guest artist for this week at Mixed Media Monday and she has challenged us all to post art that incorporates paint in some way. I'm posting a piece I had published some time ago in Stamping & Papercraft - it uses some lovely asian paper as a background and I have stamped the oriental poppy image on a page torn from an asian book (I have several especially for collage purposes). The poppy and border are painted with wonderful Twinkling H2O paints - they have a lovely gleam that doesn't show up very well in the scan. I love using water brushes when I am using these paints.

So a little "Melbourne Art Retreat Preparation" update for anyone that is interested - I leave in less than 48 hours and will be gone for eleven days in total (two days are just travel though). I am doing three day long workshops with Misty Mawn, Traci Bautista and Nina Bagley - just in case anyone reading my blog has managed to miss that bit! I am staying in three different places while I am gone. I am catching four planes. I have not packed yet. The weather is completely different in Melbourne at this time of year (significantly cooler than here - we are expecting a warm 30 degrees today whereas Melb is only expecting 19!) Consequently I haven't worked out what to pack yet. I haven't sorted out my workshop supplies and equipment yet (and that is a big task as it all has to fit in my case and be leak proof and within airline limits). But I have had a few very relaxing days doing art and floating around. Good, hey? You would not want to be here by tonight though when the panic sets in.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Diva

Felt a bit under the weather yesterday and not much better today so I am taking things very easy (as I have to be in top form for the Art Retreat seeing as it has been planned now for 14 months!). Anyway the theme at Wednesday Stamper this week is "diva" so I am posting two deco pages that I did quite some time back and don't think I have previously posted. The first one uses one of my all-time favourite stamp images - this face (and the text background) are by Non Sequitur but I have also bought a stamp plate from StampFrancisco that has this same image on it but in two sizes. The top page is trimmed with soft "leather" and eyelets. The bottom page is a tribute to that wonderful artist diva - Frida Kahlo. The decorative stamp image on the right is by Oxford Impressions.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Art Retreat - Journal Page Trades

There are about ten of us signed up to trade 5 x 6 inch journal pages at the Art Retreat in just over a week so yesterday I finished off my pages. We're leaving an inch margin on the left so that any sort of binding can be used and I expect we will all do our eventual journals differently. I haven't made my covers yet so they may have to wait until I get back. This is a scan of six of them but it is a bit blurry (the sequin ribbon is a bit too dimensional for the scanner) and a bit dotty as I obviously need to clean it! I really must try and make sure everything is really dry before I try scanning!

I had a lot of fun pulling out laces, organza, tulle, sequin waste, trims and ribbons to come up with some layers and embellishments for these pages (the backgrounds were in yesterday's post). The pictures are printed on fabric and adhered with vliesofix, then machine stitching. Working on such bright colours put me in such a good mood although I had to play my music VERY loud to try and block out the constant and very penetrating yapping of nearby dogs! I think they must be "home alone" but the result is that four yards that adjoin my yard (weird shaped blocks around here) all have dogs and they set each other off constantly!

Enough of a whinge - on a bright note last night I received an email from the amazing Rachel Grieg to say I had won a giveaway on her new blog! It was my first visit to this blog as I didn't know about it (although I certainly knew about her and her photography blog) until I read about her new gorgeously packaged stamps on Sue McGettigan's blog a while back. If you haven't been over to the Darkroom Door yet I recommend you do! And I am not affiliated - just a happy winner!!

Today I am doing cards for an article in Stamping & Papercraft so I need to get off the computer and get on with it!!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Another Day and Some More Birds!

I had such a lovely day yesterday - I adore days when I am home alone and can just lose myself in whatever I am working on ( holidays are SO nice!). The sun was shining, the birds were singing (and the dogs over the fence were yapping furiously all day but I am trying not to focus on that) and I finished all my little bird pages for a journal exchange.

There was enough variety in them to keep me motivated as I struggle with too much repetition, plus I alternated with other stuff including painting and stamping watercolour backgrounds for some larger journal trade pages (some partial scans below). I just love using paint which has been such a revelation to me! Golden Paints are just incredible to use to which helps a lot. I used to think paint was paint - ignorance was obviously not so blissful as I have discovered that quality makes a huge difference. The splatters are diluted iridescent inks. The huge swirly flourish is a Fancy Pants stamp and the calligraphy background (not overly visible as it is stamped in Brilliance ink) is by Alphabetique here in Australia.

The colours of these backgrounds are not very accurate as the pink ones look a lot redder in the scan and the blue is not as turquoise-y as it is in real life (well not on my computer screen at least). I'll post pictures when the pages are finished.

Now to today - the sun is shining again (it is going to be 29 which is like summer for some places I guess), the birds are still singing and so far the dogs are quiet...and I have a list a mile long of things I want to get achieved before Zach gets home from school.

Monday, 5 May 2008

A Bit of Bird Art

I'm on a bit of a roll with bird art at the moment - I made twelve little three inch square collages for a CreativeChix swap and at the same time I am working an some more bird themed pages for a mini Book of Birds exchange. These are the collage squares - I'll post the others when I finish them. I've used my collage canvas backgrounds from a few posts back. The pink ones have birds printed on fabric and the green ones are stamped on scrapbook paper. Fancy Pants swirly pattern stamped on the background.

PS Another beautiful autumn day here - it is sunny and crisp at the moment but it is supposed to get to 27 this afternoon! Perfect day to be on HOLIDAYS!!! Lucky me!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

A Glorious Sunday Morning

Well it is just a glorious day here! Last night we had heavy skies and the threat of autumnal rain but nothing eventuated beyond a few large splatters. These shots show the dramatic deep colour of the sky at dusk - the first one is looking away from the sunset (out the back - using a flash as it was getting dark) - you can see the rain splatters on our old wooden table and the darker one is out the front looking towards the setting sun. I love that sort of very atmospheric light!

This morning the sun is shining and the skies are very blue - a perfect morning for a cooked breakfast (cooked by Joseph which made it even better!) eaten outside in the crisp air and early morning sun amongst the pot plants. After breakfast I went for a walk around our local once-a-month "Trash N' Treasure" markets. I am feeling such a sense of abundance that I thought I'd show some photos of my breakfast view around the yard!

I came a way with a few "treasures" all bought very cheaply - a sweet old typewriter ribbon tin (to add to my old tin collection), a hardcover "Australian Country Style" book, a small bag of recycled necklace beads and bits, a couple of incredibly bright (and new) checked European pillow cases and some great fabric pieces - purple felt, deep green stretchy velvet, a big piece of lovely floral tapestry type fabric and some long pieces of a heavy cream textured fabric that will be terrific as the backing for a fabric "inspiration" banner that I am making as part of a CreativeChix exchange. Such bliss - I am so easily satisfied!

(Some of my treasures - the colours are not very accurate though!)

(A close-up - I love this fabric - it will make fabulous book covers and spines)

And to include some arty stuff - here are a couple of pages from my CreativeChix art journal which I finished off yesterday. The prompts for this month were to do a page using doodling or drawing and a page using a homemade "tool". I had a lot of fun with the doodle but I don't think it was such a great idea to add white gesso smears before I doodled - it looked good when it was just a background (like clouds in the sky) but it sort of just looks messy with the doodling on top of it! The bottom one uses a tree stencil that I cut recently (using scissors as I don't have a stencil burner/cutter). I doodled on this one too but tried to keep the page much simpler. Both backgrounds are dome with Radiant Pearl paints - they blend so beautifully - I have an ongoing love affair happening with them!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Stripes!

This week I received a surprise in the mail - a copy of the latest Stampers' Sampler Catch Up issue. It includes three cards (copy of the page is further down) that I had sent in ages ago in response to a call for Take Ten art - cards that are on the more straight forward side - that can be made in about ten minutes. My cards didn't make it to Take Ten but I really like this SS Catch Up issue as it has a lovely range of stamped art and cards. Two of the cards are on striped backgrounds so I am using them as my entry for this week's Wednesday Stamper. All of the images are by Oxford Impressions (Cowgirl Blues plate).

It was the first time I had submitted to Take Ten because I feel like a fraud - I can't make anything in 10 minutes! It takes me that long just to settle at my desk!! I can probably reproduce a simple card in that time but only after I have spent a lot longer coming up with the prototype.

Still I think the concept of a magazine that promotes less fussy cards is great as stamping got so "arty" and complicated for a while there that everyone started thinking it was a waste to do it on cards that might be thrown out by their recipients (it is one of the reasons I started working on canvas boards and the more collectible ATCs etc). The current proliferation of simple stamp designs (which are often cute and sweet) is a pretty good indication that stampers that make cards want simpler designs and less time consuming techniques. Quick, easy & fun!

I'm on holidays now and have so many plans for creative activities (and commitments) before I head off to Melbourne next weekend in readiness for the Art Retreat the following weekend. Guess who is smiling??

PS Thanks to everyone that commented on my whinge in the last post - I'm happy to know I have such good company!