Saturday, August 30, 2008

First a very little horse, now some very little people...

I'm sure I am not the only girl who spent a huge chunk of childhood making fairy gardens in the actual garden out the front our house, but I am probably one of the few that had actual builders make things to go in them. I wish I had some photos to show you what I mean, but I don't, so my poor little hungover brain is just going to have to try and find ways to describe my former obsession (Note to self: Goon of Fortune is not a game that I should be allowed to play, I cheat shamelessly then seriously regret it the next day... I think I'm dying... ooohhh fruity lexia how horrid you make me feel!).

These gardens would be worked on for weeks. I had little houses made out of timber offcuts that Dad's tradies would build for me. Tiny weeds and flowers were planted for the fairy front yards. Swimming pools were made of tin foil and blue food colouring in water. Letterboxes were matchboxes glued onto paddlepop sticks. Makes me giggle to think of the big blokey carpenters spending their spare time making all these little things for me to play with. Legends :)

So what brings all this up? I happened across an artist's blog called "little people" today, detailing his street art project currently underway in London. He takes little people, I think they are for building miniatures, my sister used them for her architecture models... anyway, he places them around the city, in various scenes, then details it all on his blog. Go take a look:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Voodoo Susan kits are on Etsy

Well, it took me a while to figure it all out, to scan in the kit and shiny it up with Corel Paint, but I got there. The first Voodoo Susan kit is up on Etsy here:

and I have created a Flickr pool (?) for pictures of travelling Voodoo Susans, both mine and Susan's made by others. When I have sold the kits from my market stall, I've always begged the customer to come back and show me their Susan when they are done, and when they do... it's so exciting. Such a simple little toy to make, but to see the different interpretations of it, things added, the pride they have in their own creation... really cool.

Most of the impetus behind Emerald Arts comes from this kind of joy. So much of my childhood was spent creating things then showing them to others. I wanted a way that I could give this feeling to kids today. Hopefully it works, it seems to.

Anyway, check it out. Much love, Em.

S. Komatsu

There are many things that make me consider leaving my beloved Newcastle and moving to Melbourne, but the greatest reason by far is the amazing S. Komatsu.

This is a Japanese restaurant that takes gluten free dining to the next level, they have a whole philosophy, which itself is interesting reading. We had lunch there when we went down in January for big day out. The food there was incredible, the chef came down from the kitchen to explain the menu, gorgeous creature, and I nearly died when I got to pair gf beer with their breadrolls and Teriyaki and god knows what else I ate there, its all a warm fuzzy haze of happiness...

haha oh god, I just re-read the above paragraph and realised what an exercise in excitability it is. How many "awesome" words can Em pack in a paragraph? Whatever, it really is that good.

Anyway, I got an email from the restaurant today pointing me towards a new section on their website... INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS! I can learn how to cook their breadrolls myself! *Swoons*

The video can be found here:

The website for the restaurant is here:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh that's right, I was going to get Rich to take better photos....

Maybe if I was better at taking photos I would show you how in the background sky of this painting I have colour matched, via much awesome experimenting with inks and irredescent medium... sooo sexy.

Gave myself an hour off today to sit in my courtyard in the sun and read the lastest Frankie. Ah Frankie... the magazine my diary would be, if it weren't such an ode to trashbaggieness and obsessive love of obscure books I find on Darby St. Speaking of which, there were a few Novocastrians featured in the latest issue.. makes ya proud ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The little things

I'm a big picture person, I see the forest for the trees, sometimes I forget to focus on the little things.

Am I getting all deep? Or did I just want an excuse to post a picture of a very small horse?

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's on like Donkey Kong....

Big achievment today for this little former technophobe, I have spent the last couple of days reading up everything I could on Etsy (special thanks going to the marvellous Etsy for Everyone blog and have finally put up my first ever colouring/sketch book "Creatures and Dreams" for sale. The description for the book and the cover, along with a link to the actual listing, are below.

The first volume of "Creatures and Dreams" is a combination colouring/sketch book or visual diary. The book consists of ten original illustrations, including a centerpage paperdoll cut out of my favourite toy, Voodoo Susan.

The illustations are printed on alternate pages of the book, to leave its owner with plenty of room for their own drawings, musings, and pastings in of beloved pictures.

"Creatures and Dreams" is A5 in size, which is 21 x 15cm (or roughly 6 x 8 inches).

The cover and centrefold Susan are printed on cardstock, for durability and optimum colouring in. The remaining pages are printed on recycled printer paper.

Suitable for all ages. Multiple copies of "Creatures and Dreams" are available, and more can be printed upon request.

Stay tuned for Volume 2.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Llamas and Widgets

Had a great day at the markets yesterday. Sold one of my big paintings to one of my regulars for her bedroom, saw my market friends and caught up on the gossip, drank lots of coffee.... Newcastle Farmers' Markets RAWK!

This is Zack, a friend of Emerald Arts, at the Markets yesterday. My apologies for the shocking quality of the photo (so sorry Zack if you read this). My phone/camera has been playing up a lot lately, which isn't really suprising given how long I have had it for and how many times I have dropped it. Might have to "lose" it and get another one I think ;)

Anyway, last markets Zack bought a 'Make Your Own: Widget the Brave' kit. I told him that if he would like, he could bring the completed Widget back to the markets and I would fix a medal on it for him, as it's pretty tricky to do. So he did, and I medalled him and there you have it as below, the very first Widget the Brave made by other hands that has come back for a visit. So excited, Zack did an excellent job!

And finally, I leave you with a photo of a Llama who was in a pen with his Mum and Dad next to his owner's stall. Is it just me or do Llamas always look like they are smiling?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Making new friends...

After chatting to my business mentor Michelle today I have decided that I need to devote a little time each week to getting out in the world and meeting new people (rather than staying in my cave/cottage and painting), while also wandering the interweb and joining all sorts of communities. That's just one of my new resolutions, but it deserves a special mention because tonight I took the first step. I have joined craftster, because I have heard that the forums are great... and I like the name ;)

I think they have a little button that you can put on your blog to say that you are a member of this craft mafia, but I couldn't find it so I think I will just be a newb and email them to ask where it is.

Work in Progress: Silver Bonsai tree

Today I started making a silver bonsai tree. The cranes are made from the foil coated paper you find in the bottom of Extra packets. I found the dish that the tree is 'growing' from at an op-shop down the opposite end of Beaumont Street from where I live. It's kind of hard to tell from the pictures, but it is the most beautiful thing, it's as if it is made from white alabaster and the bottom is detailed with these gorgeous geometric patterns... not sure if I can manage it for this lot of markets, but I want to find some sort of glass box or plastic platform that I can display it on so that the bottom can be seen as well.

Wanted to put it against some colour to see which parts of the tree needed work, so unfinished painting and pink tea towel stood in. Still undecided as to what I am going to put around the base of the tree, how much to sell it for (which I will hopefully have to bring myself to do), whether to add flowers to break up the silver or leave it as is...

I wanted to have something at the market stall that was a little more personal. I love my creatures, and it's fun making up the kits, but I feel like I need to have something of this facet of my arty stuff as well. Well, we'll see how it goes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Global warming pervades furniture design.

About a year ago now, Sir David Attenborough released the incredible documentary series Planet Earth. Like all his documentaries it was ground breaking, incredibly shot, and most importantly, it effected people and makes them think about things that are difficult to think about.

Usually, it's pretty hard to make me cry. Extreme illness, frustration or the disemboweling scene in Braveheart are about the only things that do it. In one of the Planet Earth episodes a Polar Bear swims out during the spring thaw to find food, he swims and swims and the icebergs get fewer and fewer and watching it my heart just sank. Finally he makes it to a very small island that is populated with walruses, but he was so weak and hungry that he couldn't eat any of them. His claws and teeth couldn't even scratch their skin.

At the time, a lot of people said "Why didn't the film crew step in? Why didn't they save him?" But that would be missing the point. Saving this one starving little guy would not have made a difference, even if it were logistically possible to do so. Filming this, on the other hand, and having it narrated by the world's most highly respected naturalist, raises awareness. People who won't listen to Al Gore or Greenpeace will be more likely to watch Sir David, and hopefully, start thinking about the effects of global warming while there is still time to do something about it.

Taking a leaf out of the Attenborough book, the Mexican design collective Nanimarquina is presenting their "Global Warming Rug" at this year's furniture fair in Valencia, Spain. If I had a spare couple of metres in "Buddy" I would seriously consider getting one ;)

'traditionally carpets have been tools to communicate a culture’s messages. at nanimarquina we want to continue
this practice. and so we have come up with our global warming collection as a platform for communication.
the mexican design collective, NEL, found us a way to carry out such a project, a way of spreading a clear message:
an invitation to reflect on the contemporary world around us. the name says it all: global warming. the loneliness
of a small polar bear surrounded by nothing communicates the urgency of the message. the global warming rug
is a proposition of hope; the potential for a better future, a possible world.' - nanimarquina

Some new Creatures

The new and improved Widget the Brave. Am getting more confident with my sewing, thought that a brave creature probably deserves a medal... so after mucking around with a few designs I decided that I would use this one.

Widget is posing on an unfinished painting. His eyes are vintage buttons.

Before we get to the next two, let me just say that I'm tired and am on the laptop and I can't quite bring myself to get up from the comfy couch and go to the big computer that has all that editing stuff on it.

Experimenting with new ways of photographing the creatures. My painting style has changed a bit too, as you can probably tell from this picture, I've been somewhat influenced by the latest Batman movie.

Space Ninja, silver fabric sourced from the vintage and antique store on Beaumont street. The stuff feels incredible and not at all like you would expect it to. Although if you have ever felt a wallet made out of eel leather, you'll know what I'm talking about.

A favourite artist of mine...

Anyone who has been lucky enough to stumble on the latest edition of Juxtapoz will be familiar with the compelling Audrey Kawasaki's paintings. Her sunjects are painted translucently on wood, so beautifully I can hardly describe... I toyed briefly with the idea of writing an artist profile for her, but honestly I couldn't put it any better than it has already been put and I definitely don't have the authority, I just love her work and wanted to share. If you don't have the cash or a Borders near you for surrepticious browsing on the magazine benches, you can check out her artworks here: