I've always wanted to have one of those old school leather lounges with dimples in, but I really don't have the right sort of house and we already have two amazing couches (which I kind of prefer to my bed :P). I found this guy over at the designboom blog, which might solve the problem. It's an inflatable lounge.... OMG!
Zine Swap with Niku from the website We Make Zines.
I sent her a copy of Book Art and she sent me some of her mixed media collage zines. The zine that you can see in the bottom left of the second picture is my favourite. It's very small, about the size of a stamp booklet (Australia Post, 10 stamps :P). Have to tell you, though, it was hard to pick a favourite, I am a huge fan of collage and when it is done so beautifully.... I go all warm and fuzzy ;)
One of the zines is called "Carnival of Creative Urges", what a name! Sounds like the sort of place where people wear massive feather headpieces and paint their bodies silver. Sounds like the sort of place I want to go.
Because I am tired today (always seem to catch something after having to use my epipen), I will just leave you with an interesting quote on Cut-Ups from one of Niku's zines:
In 1959 Brion Gysin, the painter and writer created what he called the cut-up method, cutting newspaper articles into sections and rearranged the sections at random, creating prose.
The Cut-up Method is [described] as bringing writers to the collage like films or still photography. These cut-ups bring together bits and coherent phrases chopped up, from magazines or newspapers, together to make new meaning or images.
This educational craft kit contains all you need to make your very own Voodoo Susan. Sewing improves hand eye coordination and is very relaxing. Not only that, when you're done making Susan you will have your very own little friend to hang out with.
Widget is a creature of courage, strong in the face of fear. He is daring, dauntless, heroic, valiant, resilient, and most of all he is brave.Widget is the toy you want around when things go wrong, when you need someone to rely on, when you need a friend to keep you safe. Nothing scares or worries Widget the Brave.
This cream version is slightly more girly than the usual, maybe Widget should be a she this time?
I love writing letters. I do have however a bad habit of starting a letter, then getting distracted and not finishing it that day. Oftentimes I will have three or four on the go at once. That is why I created myself a folder just like this, with a very big paperclip holding it closed. To keep all my letters uncreased, together and waiting to be finished.
This is a print of my original artwork "Purple Haze". The original work is an acrylic painting on canvas.Tones of purple are mixed together with iridescent medium, gold and interference (another medium which refracts light back to the view at different angles).This is a limited Edition print (only 25 made), signed and numbered on the back. It will be shipped to you in a reinforced envelope so that it reaches you in the best condition possible. Printed on A4 size Glossy photo paper.
In the house I grew up in we had a front room that was half for living, half for my mother's massive collection of plants. I'm going to have to find some photos of it later, which will require much digging through the boxes at Hawks Nest. It was like having my own personal indoor jungle.
In the house i live in now, "Buddy", we have an indoor/outdoor room that currently houses my artworks and cranes, but which I am modifying into a mini-studio. The room has a shelf under an opaque class window, with shelf that is just crying out for terraniums. At Dudley, our terranium was a coffee table with a massive glass bulb containing little pottery houses and mosses and ferns. Mine will probably be in a jar, but it will still be awesome.
Feeling a little shell-shocked today and tired. Drove myself to the newsagents to get Frankie and Famous, going to chillax for the day and research Terraniums.
Before I begin, let me just say that if anyone else were to tell the following story I would be incredulous to say the least. I am, however, an honest little wheat freak, so believe me when I tell you that walking past a bakery can be bad for your health.
I had the markets this morning. It was a gorgeous day, bright and shiny. I got to play with puppies, gossip the day away and paint myself silly. Ten came to help pack up and I bought roses and stuff to make a baked dinner because Shelley is coming over with her new fiance, who I am meeting for the first time. Very exciting ;)
After the markets I came home and arranged the flowers, tidied up a bit, had a glass of ice cold Sav Blanc. Then I realised that I needed quince paste and passionfruit, so I drove to the shops, only noticing at the checkout that I was still wearing my paint smeared apron and Widget badge.
On the way out to my car I walked past the bakery. This is where we enter the strange place. As I passed, a baker (packing up for the day) shook out a sack of flour, about a metre to my left. The wind picked up the flour and blew it onto me. This is problematic, you see, because I am such a delicate flower that just one tiny breadcrumb will induce anaphylaxis.
You know, I've mused in the past about what would happen if I were to be the unhappy receipient of a flour bomb on muckup day. Or what would the result of a bakery tour be? Curiosity is sated now :P I saw it coming, but there were too many people around to avoid it. So I held my breath and walked to the bathrooms (thank gawd I have swimmer's lungs), washed off my face and glasses, checked the colour of my epipen and jammed that wand of awesomeness into my upper thigh.
I know by this point of the story you might possibly be thinking "Oh Goodness! How terrifying!" or some such, but I have to tell you it is anything but.
It was freaky, I'll give you that. I mean seriously, what are the odds? That one of the very few people in the city that is that allergic to wheat should walk into flour sack fallout. Hehe well that's just my crazy luck.
I still can't believe it happened. I feel wierd writing about it. But I'm buzzing like Russell Brand pre-rehab and I'm pretty sure that I could take on the entire cast of Heroes right now and still make a passionfruit slice. That may be the adrenalin talking.
I am kind of pissed off, it's not an ideal situation. On the other hand, I know (have always known) that I am a frigging ninja when I need to be. It's kind of awesome to know that when the shit hits the fan, I can look after myself. A needle to the thigh may seem drastic, but to me it is the reset button.
While the rest of Australia is winding up it's work week, mine is only half over.
So, goodbye interwebs for the next couple of days, and hello painting and making creatures. Farmer's Markets are on Sunday and I frickin' love them, so much fun seeing all my lovely market friends, including the dead sexy Mighty Boosh- heart-ing Jen :P
Maybe I should have a vodkalimesoda to get in the mood. Mmmmm.....
The quality of the artwork in this small book called "Birch" blew me away. I ordered on a bit of a whim, having just watched three end-of-the-world movies in a row, I was in the mood for something apocalyptic. But then it arrived in it's fantastic little envelope (made from the same sort of card as the cover) and I saw it and fell in love. Sorry boyfriend, don't be jealous ;)
I'm not sure exactly what sort of card Justin has used for the cover of the book, but it feels lovely, and inside I found that I had purchased book #220 of #300, how exciting! Forgive me, I'm such a n00b sometimes. It may be standard practice for artists to number their books, but it made me feel very special... erm, moving on....
Favourite artwork within the book? It's called "Robot Arm". Reminds me of my gorgeous sister's Ocean Baths arm breaking incident, which was horrific at the time, but fascinating too. The Sci-Fi geek inside me gets very excited about biomechanics. Most of the characters in the book are damaged or set in a sort of industrialised wasteland, but they're strangely peaceful. Technically excellent, very distinctive style, I'll stop blathering now, but yes, it is awesome.
After the amazingness that was the TINA zine fair and joining the Ning community "We Make Zines" I am a complete and utter convert to the strange little world that is zinedom.
This particular example, by my new friend Jethro Wall, is an art and comics zine. I swapped an issue of my Creatures and Dreams to get it. It's A5 in size, black and white throughout.
Favourite bits: - illustrations by Alex Chiu (http://alexchiu.carbonmade.com/projects/2039040) the laughing one, ha ha ha ha hehe, is the best imo. - Midori's comic strip about Jethro (her husband) and a puppy. - I'm also a massive fan of the artist profile pages in the back of the zine. Great layout.
One of the excellent art blogs I keep an eye on is called Art MoCo. Usually I just save the pictures i like in it to my "stuff" folder, but I thought I would share this one because I heart it :)
Casey Ruble's delicate depictions of battle scenes are downright pretty. Ruble cuts out the painted images and leaves them without context, reinforcing the efforts to have the viewer think of making order out of chaos.
I got a book in the mail yesterday. It was a present from my lovely new friend Rhys. We met at the Zine fair, part of the This Is Not Art festival, a couple of weeks ago. Rhys had been checking out my stall, we got to chatting, he said that my work reminded him of one of his favourite artist/authors, Keri Smith. He said to check out her work online and that if I liked it he would send me his copy of the book "Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life".
So I checked out Keri's website and loved her work, then emailed Rhys back to say that he was totally right and I think her work is awesome... it really is! I'll give you a link to her website at the end so you can see what I am so excited about.
The book arrived in the mail on Friday. It couldn't have come at a better time.
Usually, I am the world's most positive of people. I am young, have lovely friends and am going about becoming an artist as best I know how. Sometimes, however, it's hard to maintain the level of self-belief this task requires. For every person that tells me my work is lovely, I must be doing very well, there are another ten people to look at me like I am completely mad when I tell them that I am an artist and I run a small business selling toys and educational craft activities.
My mother wants me to go back to University to finish my teaching degree, even though I would never be able to teach (long story, but allergies and treatment thereof leave me with next to no immune system). She thinks that I should move out from where I live now with my wonderful boyfriend back home with her. So not going to happen. My mother is a bit mad.
Making a living as an artist is hard work people say, and with two months left to go on my NEIS business grant, I am definitely starting to feel anxious. My (very) small business is starting to find it's feet and I know that my stuff sells, I am just terrible at marketing it.
This book, however, makes me feel like maybe I can do this. Maybe the only thing holding me back from being an artist and small business owner is my own lack of self-belief.
So here is what I am going to do. I'm going to block my ears to any negative advice for the next couple of weeks, and I am going to get out there and make this happen.
This is who I am. I am an artist. I am not an administrative assistant, student, teacher, cashier at Domayne. Of course it's not going to be easy to get over the abject terror that even the word marketing instills in me, but no one is ever going to know about me if I sit in my little house and paint all day.
Australia Post is currently running a photography competition on it's website. The competition is about community. I entered one of my boy's photos, "Widget in the Wattle", go vote for it here if you like it, fingers crossed for him, I'm trying to encourage his photography because he is awesome :)
It's such an exciting feeling to sell a painting, and even more exiciting to find that the person who bought it loves it as much as I do, and has put it in pride of place above their bookshelf. The best part is though, selling a painting means I get to go out and buy more paint so I can make new ones, YAY!
The driving ethos behind my very small business Emerald Arts is to create a range of products that encourage creativity. I grew up with a very creative mother who was constantly organising little projects for us to do, games to play, artworks to make. So Emerald Arts is my way of passing this on.
The Paint Your Own kits are part of this theme. I've printed the linework from some of my sketchbooks onto canvas, which kids (or adults) can then paint. I'm still tossing up whether or not to put a practice piece into the kit, the same design printed onto paper so they can practice... actually I think I really should do that...
Last Thursday my friend Rich officially became a homeowner. The new house is in Belmont, one of the more southern suburbs in Newcastle, about five minutes drive from where I grew up in Dudley. The house is a "renovators dream" which means that the boys are going to have an absolute ball in the next few months fixing things up.
This is Benny. He's making a new garage door.
The living room. The beer bottles along the mantlepiece were christening drinks.
A tree out the front of the house. Congratulations to Rich, very proud :)
During the TINA (This Is Not Art) festival I was lucky enough to catch the preview screening of Not Quite Art season two. I was actually on my way to a letter writing marathon, but got distracted, as I do, and made random friends, as I do, and caught caught up in the stream of arty people heading into City Hall.
We watched two episodes of the second series of Marcus Westbury's show, then got to have a chat with the lovely Marcus himself afterwards. The show is described on the ABC website thus:
Presenter and writer Marcus Westbury is back and has unearthed an eclectic and amusing mix of artists, writers, critics and musicians whose work has found their audiences – often in the millions – through networks well outside the traditional ideas of where “Australian culture” lives.
The production quality was excellent. The narration was informative, but really it was the gentle way in which Marcus questioned various subcultural characters which caught my attention. In one scene is talking to an Aboriginal dance troupe about a video of them performing Zorba the Greek which had found it's way onto YouTube and interweb legend. Where most interviewers would have tried to question the dancers themselves, rather than the elder (and father of one?), Marcus Westbury addressed the elder who spoke on their behalf for the most part. This may have been plain politeness on his part, or good research, but it was nice to see.
I learnt a few things about copyright and phone tones that I didn't know too ;)
So I really liked Not Quite art, especially since a few days before I had been watching a doco on Tasmania and was incredibly annoyed by the intrusive narration, it was "Whatever Happened To Brenda Hean?"
But never fear, although the two film-makers both like to reveal some of the mechanics of production, Not Quite Art works because of the respect Marcus Westbury has for his subjects and the wealth of knowledge they provide on all sorts of unusual things. Did you know that there is an electrofringe artist who makes music by standing on a bridge and recording the sounds it made? She's fabulous by the way.
I hope that you have time to watch it on the ABC tomorrow night, because it really is fascinating, and so well made. It makes me really happy to know that there is another Novocastrian who cares just as much about our city and is doing so much for it's cultural scene.
Really excellent work Marcus. I hope you kick arse in the ratings ;)
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is an awesome podcast. If you are familiar with the concept of Critical Thinking, or simply want to know how things like the Large Hadron Collider work, check this one out.
I came across it a few months ago when looking for answers. Or rather how to answer politely when someone asks you your opinion about something that you know to be an utter crock. I have an anaphylactic response to wheat and/or gluten. Often this brings out the wierd, especially at the Markets. There is a certain sector of society that believes in magic. They love to wax poetic on how this herb or type of alternative therapy will heal my allergy. However...
Sorry kids, you can't heal what I got. I'm always torn between wanting to know why they feel so strongly about their miracle cure and laughing uncontrollably. Unfortunately for me, my parents are old world and very strict, so I generally just make listening noises then make my excuses and leave.
I did some investigationing. Apparently, I am not the only person on earth who thinks that the very concept of Iridology is charming but impossible. That "alternative" does not mean better, it usually means worse.
Skeptics know the score. So go have a listen, you'll learn about how things really work, and be thoroughly entertained as you do so.
Voodoo Susan began her life as a pincushion. .. Or rather, Voodoo Susan began her life with the intention of being a pincushion, but life had other plans. A love of travel and meeting new people saw Susan develop into a travel buddy and the best of companions.
If you like, you can rename her and use her for your own nefarious Voodoo purposes, but I prefer to keep my Susan (the red one in the photos) as an unpierced soft toy companion.
Follow the link to see where Voodoo Susan and her friends have been and to look at Voodoo Susan versions made by Emerald Arts customers:
This Voodoo Susan is handmade from purple felt. Her eyes are vintage buttons and her smile and heart are sewn on with embroidery cotton.
When Voodoo Susan arrives to you please feel free to add pictures of her in her new home to the Photo Album on Flickr.
This silver spaceman is from a far off planet far far away in a galaxy we have never heard of.
The galaxy that Attis resides in has two suns and a mini-sun named Toby.
Attis is a planet with twenty eight moons and fourty one oceans. That is a lot of light and a lot of reflections.
The inhabitants of this planet wear silver spacesuits each and every time they venture out of doors. It protects their skin whilst remaining a very stylish mode of attire.
The Man From Outer Space stands approximately 10 1/2 cm tall (4 inches)and 13cm wide (5 inches).
He is from the sketchbook that lives in my bag and is entiredly made by hand.
His spacesuit is made from vintage silver material I found while rummaging in my favourite antique store "Ann's Glory Box". His eyes (buttons) are from my mother's old winter jacket. Embellishments are sewn on with cactus silk.
I've written on this blog before about how my mother and I once made a cubby house out of the cardboard box our new fridge had arrived in, but I have been completely put to shame by the craftiness of one Ann Wood.
What you see in the picture above is an amazing castle that she made from cardboard boxes and goodness knows what else. It was for a display in a shop window. I asked her if I could post about it here and lucky for me she was lovely enough to say yes... so here you are, Ann Wood's phenomenal Cardboard Castle:
A distant relation to Rupert the Dancing Bear, the Funky Monkey is also a big fan of movement and dancing around. He is far more adept, however, at swinging through the jungle whilst remaining impeccably dressed. You have been warned, however, that the Funky Monkey does not like bananas. He thinks that they are overrated and would far prefer a guava or a mocktail served in a coconut shell with one of those plastic mermaid thingies on top.
These are the Newcastle Ocean Baths. They were built for the public of Newcastle years and years ago by my great Grandfather and I swim laps there, so I am very attatched to them. A couple of years ago my sister broke her arm there really badly, she was trying to bomb a friend of hers from the duckboard in between the lap pool and the general swimming one. It was pretty horrendous, she doesn't go there anymore, can't blame her, but less people swim there than the Merewether ones and I am as blind as a bat, so it's my spot.
This afternoon Ten (the lovely boyfriend) and I took all the creatures left over from the TINA market stall to take some glamour shots. I'm going to list them all on ETSY over the next few days so that I can make new ones. So many ideas.