Saturday, March 31, 2007

Inspired by the Sleeping King

on etsy
It was after 6.00pm when the Hamish decided he needed to pop out for fresh air, and only five minutes later when he came asking for food. Needless to say the sheets are still in the machine and rain is forecast for tomorrow. However, I did make this necklace and start another one.

Hamish Rules the Schedule

I really should be bringing washing in off the line. It is a wonderful autumn day, I am wearing a sleeveless dress and it is a pleasure to do outside chores. However, my dirty sheets are still on the bed. Why? Well King Hamish, my beloved, came in from his morning work too tired even to clean himself.
At 9.00 am he tried to sleep on top of the latest Marian Keyes novel, unfortunately I was turning the pages at the time. At 9.30 he tried sleeping on my back, but I HAD to go to the small room. At 10.00 he tried sleeping on Maggie's bed - I tipped him off to wash her thick bedding first. At 10.30 he tried back on my bed by the pillow and the phone went off right beside him. It is now 2.09 pm and he had had almost four hours of relatively undisturbed sleep - I really did not mean for the camera flash to wake him... I didn't ... And he looks so comfortable with his head resting on his front leg, the adorable little paw now curled over his eyes in case of any more nasty bright lights. What is a good Mummy to do?
If I can't wash, I guess I could make myself create... The ATC's above were made this week and I do have some jewellery designs in my head.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Mail Stole My Voice

I recently participated in a 1 -4-1 Art from the HeART swap with the beautiful Lisa (Oceandreamer). My parcel arrived in the mail today and left me with my heart in my throat... Apologies to Lisa as the flash on my camera has made the glossy sections glare. This beautiful quiltie is about 8" x 8" and features my very favourite wild animal - the elephant - and a lovely Indian theme. I have already hung this one in my kitchen.
Next I opened a packet containing these fabulous fabrics and the felt balls. I have a felt ball necklace I bought last winter and am wondering if I can combine felt and Nina knots to make a bracelet .... the possibilities.
The final parcel contained this postcard size self standing portrait which is on a bookshelf, but will make its way to school - to decorate my desk there.
I was blessed beyond belief. Thank you Lisa.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From somewhere within ...

A 6" x 4" mixed media collage. The background is kitchen napkins used to soak up some golden fluid acrylics (under the vylene I painted at Art Journey Retreat). I have glued scraps of the vylene onto the background, Emily is printed on fabric, the egg is an ink jet transparency-transfer added later. I stamped 'Emily Played with a mix of JoSonja inks and Hero Arts stamps, and used the same paint to edge the piece. Finally I got out a needle to add the stitching and pin pricks, then the flora.

This one was a bit of whimsy as I thought of all my blog friends going off to Artfest this week. I am so looking forward to hearing all your stories, seeing your workshops products and pins swapped. Safe travelling to you all.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just Charming..

Yesterday was ... truly.
My Mum came to visit, my lovely friend Kelly dropped in for art chat and the sun shone gaily all day. My marking languished on the table, I didn't finish the washing and yet somehow a finished charm bracelet appeared on my work desk. A mystery indeed. Except that my beloved daylight saving has ended, and I changed my clocks early, to give myself an extra hour before bed - it was just the time I needed to finish this silver bracelet. It will be put away carefully for the birthday of a friend, in a few months time.
And now a question. I rang my friend Ann, and asked that she and her visiting sister and 16 year old daughter all measure their wrists at the widest point. What do you know, they were all 19cm. The question - is this a family thing? A coincidence? Or is your wrist 19cm circumference?
Thank you for all the soldering tips and encouragement. I have a set of helping hands on order and I am going to chase up a copy of Sally Jean Alexanders book.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On My Desk

I have stuck to my goal of a little art each day, but other than a few cards have nothing finished to show.
I found these rusty 'feeler gauges' in the shed on the weekend. I had wandered down looking for things to make into an altered art necklace. My Dad always gave me tools for looking after my car when I was younger, and too poor for paid services. I felt a little sad when I saw that these had gone rusty. However, I had been planning to make another assemblage as my one made in Michael's class is looking a little lonely on the wall.
A little time in the bathroom with a Dremel and cutting disk and I have the tobacco tin cut ready to insert them. Just waiting for the liquid nails to adhere the washer and metal cap to the base.
I asked Dad on Sunday if he minded me using them - turns out he 'gets' my assemblage work and is collecting stuff for me - yippee!
I have also begun teaching myself to solder, And while there are a lot of improvements needed - I can see the tape shape too much (any suggestions?) and attaching a jump ring is a major exercise - I can see potential. I am waiting on some silver wire and chain to arrive then I will make some of these up into jewellery.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Contemplative Times

I have wanted to play with fabric ATC's for a while - so armed with some fabric transfers (thanks for the lesson Leslie), and fabric scraps I sat down to play. These are two of my favourite photos. I love that the lady below took time to put on a beautiful floral collar, and I have cropped it here, but she has flowers in her buttonhole - and then was captured looking SO ...
I am in a quiet zone at the moment, enjoying sitting listing to others chat and spending some time each day alone. I realised last night that this had crossed into my blog life. Yesterday I visited more blogs than I have for a while, and inside I smiled, congratulated and empathised; however, I did not leave a comment. I do apologise if this upsets anyone, I so appreciate each and every comment left here - I really do. And, I guess I like to know who visits - even if people just say hi once. And yet ..

Some of the nicest days spent with friends are those where we walk quietly by the water, sharing it's beauty and not needing to comment - or watching a sunset and KNOWING the other person feels the same awe. My blog visits yesterday felt like quiet times with friends? I am sure you understand.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More Knots and Dotee Love

I had another fish bead, and those Nina knots have me hooked ... so what else could I do? This necklace will be winging its way overseas in the next day or so .
I made a journal cover for a friend using the same technique as these ATC's recently. It is loosely based on a technique in the Bernie Berlin book I bought recently.
And today when I woke up tired - and a little grumpy - just a touch of Thursdayitis, I was thrilled to receive this parcel from Dotee. The fabric ATC's are deluxe - so different and yet both made with love. And look at those charms - little boys and penguins; just delightful.
I so love this blog world, all the friends, encouragement and inspiration are life sustaining.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Weekend Play

I wanted to practice my Nina Knots on the weekend so grabbed some beads and set off without a plan. While there are some design faults I had a lot of fun and was really happy with both the speed and quality improvement of the knots - and catch. A friend wanted to buy the necklace yesterday - I said no, wore it today and will wrap it up for her birthday! What fun.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Charm Swap Proposal

This is part of another charm swap I recently completed with some Western Australian friends. The Buddha is by France, the cat mine, the face Natalie's and the assemblage by Carmel.

Posting the necklace yesterday reminded me that I wanted to host another swap so that we could add to our necklaces or bracelets. Would you like to join?

The swap is 7 for 7 (or the number who participate if less). Each charm to be no larger than 1 3/4" long and 1" wide.

Australian participants to enclose $2 in 50c stamps. Overseas participants a few beads or buttons for my art.

If you would like to join the fun let me know through the comments or by direct e-mail.

Due date 27th of April.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Catching Up

I created this little 4" x 4" collaged canvas for the lovely Lisa (Oceandreamer) recently and it has found its way home so now I can share. The photo does not show the depth of colour - the canvas was coloured with Twinkling H2Os and is quite vibrant. This was such a fun piece to create.
This amazing charm necklace arrived the day before I left for the Art Journey Workshops and was the subject of much discussion and praise in Fremantle. It is the result of a swap hosted by Kim (Art Dogs Life) and is something I will treasure forever. The charms were made by (working left to right) Shara Kreisssl, Laura Duet, Me, Kim, Dawn Rice, Kim, Lisa Call, Dot Christian, Heather Simpson-Bluhm and Pinar Donmez. What makes it extra special is that participants came from both sides of Australia, several states of the USA and Turkey! Thanks again for hosting this one Kim!
This weekend I am back to lists, household chores, marking and other school work, etc. For tonight I am free - I have flitted from the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors to practicing Nina knots on a necklace and back to the computer to check on the rest of the world. How blessed I feel.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lesley Riley Workshop

Works in progress. The first book, made of painted interfacing, is almost complete and has a wonderful soft leather texture. I used some of Lesley's fabulous images to explore the concept of aging as a woman and may add some more journalling. At the same time I want to keep a lot of the wonderful rich colour showing through.

The folded book is sitting on loose pages I prepared in class, on lutador, and I will make them up into a book in the near future.

This was a fun class, and Lesley is very clear in her instructions; she kept everyone moving along in the morning to get their backgrounds prepared and the afternoon was spent relaxing with embellishments. Lesley was also very, very generous with supplies, and was so kind to all of us, as we struggled with the inevitable tiredness after three days of workshops.

I have just heard that the next Art Journey Retreat is in Melbourne. Unfortunately teachers can not take holidays just any time so I am glad I had decided to save to go to an overseas retreat next.

I left this retreat and drove the five hours home with a full moon clearly visible to my left, for most of the drive. As I drove it reflected on my car window and I reflected not on the weekend's padding - but on the art I had created, and absorbed, and the people I had met. My heart sang, a peace came upon me and I felt centered, somehow the moon was essential to that. It put things in perspective.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nina Bagley Workshop

I had a blissful 'art day' at home yesterday and finished attaching the chain to my booklace. It was 38 degrees here today (for my American friends that's celcius - and hot - It is 100 degrees F) and my students were fractious so it is nice to come back to this piece of art.

Nina (said nine-a) was a delight to learn from, I knew she would be kind, wise and gentle. What I did not suspect was feisty - who forgot the mica? and why did those staff kick us out of the room so early?
Nina was very patient with us, her students, as she taught drilling, aging and the famous Nina knot, repeating the process step by step until we were all able to make joins with 'some' competence. I want to add some more beads into my chain but don't have all I need to age some more copper so will leave it for now.
I was working a lot with butterflies before I went away -feeling as if I was emerging and beginning to fly again; praying for the strength to 'rise up on wings as eagles'. The birds are, for me, an in between phase - the next step forward on my current journey.
I so enjoyed learning from Nina and seeing her heart on display, both in the way she taught us and in her own jewellery (which is even more beautiful up close), and would have loved to have had time to chat with her about her artistic process.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Michael de Meng Workshop

Let me begin by saying that Michael de Meng is an awesome teacher and this was my favourite workshop of the three I completed on the weekend… and yet there was a journey to that point.

I took this class to challenge myself, to move outside of my comfort zone. At the time I signed up I was in a paper phase, and Michael’s dark colours and focus on celebrating the lives of the dead, as well as the very abstract nature of some of his work was an enigma to me.

I love this picture with the sun on the shrine and will have to find a sunny spot to hang it.
I entered the class on Friday morning tired, with a knot in my tummy and wishing that this was not my first class, I was feeling quite inadequate. My friend Sally was there to encourage me. However we were both a little bemused when after a brief introduction (both to Michael and liquid nails) we were encouraged to get some things that appealed to us and begin designing our shrines. I was muttering, ‘But how?’, ‘What is the process?’ and more.

And yet by morning tea a form was taking shape, an idea of art, not driven by the head but the heart (hence the winged being with an empty head). An idea of art emerging triumphantly from within. As I write this, I realise that the centredness (another Julie word) I arrived home with began here.

Michael gave some amazing colour combinations for paint to the whole class. For the rest of the day he moved around being available to everyone, without favour, and yet never imposing himself on any group or art work. If you get a chance to do a class with Michael take it! He is so generous with his praise and help, and in the end his organic teaching style releases individuality. The shrines are not clear on the photo of our end products – but each of us ended up with unique works of art. After a shaky start I would have quite happily spent three days in workshops with Michael - and the liquid nails!
I have a couple more Nina knots to tie before my booklace is finished, and a little work to go on my fabric journal so will finish them and blog them as they are done.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Happy Feet Have Wandered Home

....and not just Miss Maggie's, however, she does look delighted to be back.
As for me I am centered again.

I had a delicious time catching up with wonderful friends, old and new, and soaking up art chat and teaching. Tomorrow I will start to blog the art I created while away, and reflections from the wonderful workshops.
I had to post these photo's first as my journey started with an unhappy puppy dog. On Thursday after I left Maggie I drove safely to Fremantle, through unseasonal rain, interspersed with wild dust storms! The combination served to have me arrive a little fretful and definitely tired. Only to be met very quickly by the wonderful Dawnie who took me out for soothing cups of tea before we met other friends for dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with friends I don't normally see. I met some wonderful women whose art I have admired for many years as well. It was good to share stories, see each others faces as we chatted and have the flow of conversation not possible in an e-mail - the pasta was good too!