Monday, 30 April 2012

Ta da ....

I bought etsian fancifuldevices' bangle tutorial a few weeks ago and finally got round to making a couple of stacks.   The great thing about the tutorial is that it encourages you to be brave and not over think the process.  

I've admired many bangle stacks from fellow etsians like readbetweenlines and tuscanrose (to name just a couple of examples of awesome artists - we are talking serious talent) but I have always, up until now at least, been unable to create an etsy worthy stack of my own.   I followed the tutorial's advice and kept my colour palette simple, turned the tv on and ... not bad for a first effort I think.  I'm going to try to be braver still in my next attempts.  I've been hoarding some brooches and other bits and pieces of shiny for some time (think years) and I think (well hope) that they might work well in a stack.

The only downside is that I am now addicted to The Voice which was on whilst I worked away at the bangles- at least it's better than my (very short addiction) to Jersey Shore for which I blame an MTV marathon of back to back episodes and flue medication.  

On the complete flip side I also finished this piece:

This is a complete rework of a piece of the piece below (sorry about the crap photo)

The more I looked at it the more I hated it -the tassel was too full and the silver cap (the top of a vintage salt cellar) was completely out of whack.  I was tearing my hair out until a brainwave last night.   Mind you I think I went through about a mile of wire before getting the wrapping right!!!  

I'm still struggling with my camera - the weather is so gloomy lately and, because I take the pics outside without flash, it's hard to get anything in focus and I end up having to use the 'sharpen' option in my photo editor which does weird things to the colour.    I think I'm going to have to rethink my setup for winter.

Oh and I wanted to show you something else I made with the fabulous materials that Melinda from Bees on Pie  sent me.

See that gorgeous little shell with the hole , isn't it cute.  These have sold already (thanks Melinda).  She also sent me some fabulous little driftwood pieces which I want to use but the stash hoarder in me wont release them just yet. 

Til next time ...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A decade on

an ironic portrait of my father when he was at  Art School in the 1960s
My mother reminded me that it has been a decade since my father's death.  Living a long way from home I am out of sequence with the rhythms of my family's life, having established my own song here in Australia.  Recently though I have been thinking a lot about him which probably indicates that I am not completely disconnected and, at some unconscious level,  my brain has flagged the passing of this anniversary, commemorating it with a flood of revisited memories.

My mother, sisters, nephews and niece marked the anniversary by floating little paper boats on the river Thames - much as we had done after the funeral ten years ago.  I am sad not to have been there with them and so I decided to dedicate this post to my Dad instead - a 21st century memorial.  

As an artist, film editor and teacher my father influenced many lives.  A big man, both physically and intellectually, he loved being surrounded by people, especially his family, and engaging in lengthy discussions about, well everything and anything.  He truly relished his children's accomplishments and had an amazing capacity to make people feel really good about themselves.   He was a conspicuous consumer - loved to shop, loved gadgets, loved music (he would have loved iPods and iPads if he had lived long enough).  He was a talented painter,  he met my mother at Twickenham Art School, and I have a couple of his paintings here which I look at every day and think of him.

Fortunately, before his death, he was able to visit us here in Australia a number of times, building a relationship with my children and getting a sense of the amazing people they are turning into as they emerge from childhood.  He introduced my son to chocolate (very dad) and he called my daughter his 'wibbly' because he thought she was so full of personality and so funny.  

Like anyone there were times when he was down and we certainly had our fair share of terrific quarrels. But, that's what happens when you truly live life, your narrative will have it's dramatic moments before the curtain finally closes.

'til next time ...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

There's more to life than iPhones ...

It was great to get away to Melbourne for a couple of days (the above photo is Jesse and Billie enjoying breakfast at a cafe in Fitzroy) even if it did include a (very expensive) trip to the dentist.  We were hoping to see the Fred Williams exhibition (an amazing Australian landscape painter) at the National Gallery of Victoria but, unfortunately, it doesn't start until next week and I don't think we'll get the chance to get down again before the end of school holidays.  We did wander around the Gallery for a little while - reminding the kids there is more to life than PlayStation and iPhones.  

The gallery's book shop is really quite good.  I picked up a coy of Oppi Untracht's 'Traditional Jewelry of India' which is crammed full of really interesting information including the symbolism, history and traditions behind jewelry and jewelry making in this region.  Whereas I used to favor 'how-to' nowadays I head straight to the travel or reference section for inspiration.  

We also managed to squeeze in some shopping and a very enjoyable visit to the wool shop.  I was planning to get some more noro yarn but chose this aran wool instead.  I like the vibrant but natural looking colours which I think will work well in my weaving.

It hasn't all been conspicuous consumerism.  I made some black and gold polymer clay beads, rolling some around on sandpaper before baking and used a knitting needle to make little dents on others.  I am quite pleased with the resulting texture.    I also needle felted some little shapes - I was playing around with the concept of evil eye charms.  

Not quite sure what to do with these - any suggestions?
I've listed a couple of pairs of earrings in the shop this weekend and will be adding this necklace tomorrow.

The center piece is an EPNS napkin ring which I've drilled through.  The bead cap over the pompom is polymer clay which I pained with copper acrylic paint and then sealed.  It's quite a big piece, definitely not for the fainthearted.  But how does the saying go ... fortune favors the brave and all that.

'til next time.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

April already ...

Just a quick post today - I spent all day yesterday (my usual day for blogging) at a conference  and it's school holidays (equals bored children completely incapable of entertaining themselves).  

We're going to pop down to Melbourne for a couple of days next week,  it'll be good to get away - we love living in the country but feel the need to get into the city now and then.  It also means I can make a trip to the wool shop to stock up.  I've been using noro yarn in some my woven pieces.  It's not exactly cheap but jewelry doesn't consume vast quantities.   I do like the colourways it comes in and it's quite a hard wool texture-wise (at least the one I use is) which is good for my work as it holds its form well.

I received my beads from HappyFallout this week so I was able to use them straight away in this piece.  You can't tell from the picture but they are a really beautiful colour and texture - not completely black but with variations.  I'm in love with the fish bead she included in the mix and couldn't resist wire wrapping this for the shepherds hook closure.  

Vintajia Adornments has asked me how I finish off the loose ends.  There are quite a few methods for doing this.  At the top of the above piece I've used my sewing machine to zig zag stitch along the top and then rolled to make a hem. At the bottom, I've used a technique called hem stitching which involves wrapping groups of warp threads together in bundles.  If you are in to macrame or knotting you can use this to finish a woven piece really effectively.

Another exciting thing to happen this week was Melinda's (BeesonPie) package arriving - full of lovely beads, leather and other fabulous bits and pieces.  I've been having loads of fun going through it and hopefully will have a photo for my next post.  Thanks Melinda. This is the second package she sent - the first one is still MIA, so it was really incredibly generous of her to send more stuff

I also wanted to thank everyone for their kind comments about my son's health scare - it was much appreciated.