Sunday, 17 June 2012


Can't believe a week has flown by since our visit to Melbourne.  It's been so cold and dreary here that, even though the weather wasn't much better there, we felt we needed to get away.  There are many advantages to living in the country, but there's something wonderful about cities at night, the way they light up.   In addition to the requisite shopping we also took in some culture including a wonderful exhibition of the work of Australian landscape painter Fred Williams.  

It's a marvelous collection with most of his best known works but also some pieces I hadn't seen before including his portraits.  They way he captured the Australian landscape, his use of colour and perspective is breathtaking.

I was also hoping to see 'Unexpected Pleasures - the art and design of contemporary jewellry' at the National Gallery but, unfortunately, it was closed on the day we were there.  I did have a quick look at the catalogue and I think it will be really interesting, hopefully I'll get back down to Melbourne before it closes.

Having sold a few pieces I also splurged on some supplies this month including a set of bone beads from etsyan TheRavenAndPearl which were even more wonderful in person than in the photos.  They were also beautifully wrapped.  I firmly believe that wrapping is a hugely important part of of a the buying experience. As the prologue, it sets the scene and can influence how someone responds to an item - positively or negatively.  Receiving a beautifully wrapped item can make up up for some of the disadvantages we face as online sellers including the delayed gratification between purchasing and receiving.  Most of the things I buy from etsy are beautifully wrapped.

I, like lots of sellers, do try and use as much recycled packaging as possible when I ship. 

The map envelope is made from pages from an old Atlas (my daughter's idea). I use incomplete sewing patterns for wrapping and strips cut from old headscarves as ribbons.  I'm also always on the lookout for boxes or little baskets in charity/thrift stores.  I confess I do use bubblewrap (but I do try and reuse the stuff that other people have sent me).

I also splashed out on a journal.  Whilst I've got a little leather bound one that I keep in my bag, I wanted something a bit more substantial.  

This came from etsyan AriomDesigns, it's almost 12 inches tall so a bit too big to carry around with me but perfect for home.

I have to say though that my finished pieces almost never turn out like the sketch!

On the making side, I'm still very much in tribal mode although this week I am going to set myself the task of making some pieces with a more bohemian/gyspy feel.

With this  stack I wanted to create an authentic colour scheme.  I find it so hard to photograph bangles.  They always seem to collapse in a heap as the shutter clicks.  They are heaps of fun to make though.  

'Til next time.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


I was reading  The Alternative Foundry blog (if you haven't visited it do go and have a look) on the 'Politics of Women' - it was a really interesting and touching post which I have been thinking a lot about.   

My sisters and I were fortunate to grow up in an environment in which we were encouraged to believe that our gender should never be a barrier.  I don't ever remember being told 'oh no, you shouldn't/can't do that you're a girl'.  Now, as a feminist and a mother I am trying to imbue in my own daughter and son that same sense of equality.  

As my daughter moves into her teenage years we are dealing with questions like 'when is it OK to wear makeup?' and 'can you buy me that amazingly short skirt?'.  I have to confess that I am extremely ambivalent about fashion.  I mean have you seen the heels on some shoes?  It seems dangerously akin to the old Chinese practice of foot wrapping and incredibly anti-women. On the other hand I love the sense of personal style my daughter is developing (she's one of those people that possesses the ability to drape and wear scarves).  I have been asking myself how do I put this in a feminist context so that I can guide my daughter and answer her questions with confidence.  So bear with me as I work through this.

I think the first thing is that it's about choice.  Women have fought long and hard to have the freedom to make their own choices (I know we haven't completely won this battle yet and in many cultures women still have no choice).  This means being able to choose what we study, do for a living, wear and so on.  I think it then becomes really important to consider why we make the choices that we do.  Are our choices informed? Do they empower us?

I think fashion, jewelry - self adornment of any sort - can be really empowering. It allows us to express something of ourselves.  I know that sometimes, when I put on a particular piece of clothing or jewelry it makes me feel brave, like I could do anything and it's a really good feeling.  I also know that, on the odd occasion, when I have bought something just because it is in fashion or all the rage, I don't get that same sense of empowerment - rather than being an extension or reflection of me (or the me I want to be) it's a mask that I am hiding behind and this is not such a good feeling.    

I am glad that my daughter seems to have a very strong sense of self and whilst, of course, what she wears is influenced by the what's on TV or in magazines this is not the sole criteria for selection.   I hope this sense of self will extend to all her choices including the much more important decisions she will need to make in her life - these can wait a few years though.

'Til next time.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Teenagers and critters ...

So, I was sitting in the car the other day waiting for my husband Piers (it's usually the other way around) and came across this text message sent a few a weeks ago, using my phone, to Piers from my daughter Billie:

'In the car as mother has forgotten me as she talks to a friend just letting you know I love you one last time before I die of boredom ...'   Teenagers!!

As an update to my last post, clearly I'm not the only one who has had critter issues, judging by your comments.  Anvil Artifacts' squirrels sounded like they were bowling in her attic. Actually, it's entirely possible they were as I gather squirrels do like to bowl!

Chelsea's cat has taken control of a naughty possum at her parents house. I remember my in-laws had a resident possum in their garage for a little while, although all it seemed to do is sleep.    Our possum has been very quiet lately, I hope it's okay.  At the end of the day, much as it's a nuisance I agree with Lucie, it is kinda sweet.

Jewelry wise I've been on a bit of an earring and bangle kick lately.  

A few of these pieces have already sold so I must be doing something right.  

The white/pink bangle stack (top right) and copper wrapped set (bottom left) are in my madeit shop.  This is a site for Australian artisans a little bit like, but nowhere near as sophisticated, as etsy. I thought I'd give it a try and am getting lots of views but no sales as yet.    I know there was a huge kerfuffle when etsy switched it's default search to relevancy rather than recency,  but personally I think it's better. madeit uses recency and this, together with the fact that it's tagging system is non-existent, means that you tend to get lots of looks when you first list and then it dies off to nothing as you drop off the first few pages.    My media consultant (aka daughter Billie) encouraged me to try madeit.  She's also helping me with my facebook page - an example of teenagers using their powers for good rather than evil.  

I'm  working on a wrist cuff at the moment.  I haven't made one of these for ages as they are quite time intensive.  But, it's cold and dreary here so sitting in front of the fire with my box of textiles and trims is quite appealing.

'til next time