Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Country drive part 2..

The other week when we were staying here.. these french doors being our bedroom for the weekend.. i drove down the poplar-tree lined country roads to Moss Vale. It was tulip season..

the gardens were quite beautiful..

But, I have to confess the reason for my trip was:

Made By Others, and indeed it was. A whole gallery/shop/cafe of so many wonders. It was definitely worth the trip.. I had read about it here.. and did see her lovely wares there..

the whole space was a well thought out discovery.. here's a little peak..

So after lots of looking, chatting, more looking - i decided on this..

A tea house lantern by Melbourne artist Mariana Garcia-Katz. For more of her work go here.. So graphic, yet useful... I love it! but those brooches were sweet... and those soft elephants.. and i did want to try on the pinafore dress..
(The vase was a recent $7 op shop find)..

Sunday drive

well, Friday actually.. BUT if you were looking for a Sunday drive about 1.5 hours from Sydney - you would arrive at Mittagong. (Which has a very comprehensive visitors centre which would have info on open gardens and wine trails in the area).. or you could visit the lovely SOHI which also has info on the area in an arty, styled kind of way. Anyway.. then steer off the main street and pop in here - Sturt Contemporary Craft Centre.. this place was a true find. An absolute oasis. Beautiful gardens, a surprising gallery and a refreshing collection of stylish objects/jewellery/textiles in the shop. AND i if that wasn't enough they do classes!
Coming up in November is the big lunch.. enjoy lunch made from local produce and take home a handcrafted dish.. sounds good to me..

this was part of the shop space..

amongst the textiles..

beautiful ceramics by Owen Rye..

then into the adjoining gallery for "Casting off" an exhibition by Terry Baker and Richard Raffan..

Phew, that was thirsty work.. we had to proceed immediately to the cafe for a table in the garden and a roasted vegetable pide..

On the table was a garden plan which notated all the plantings..

So next time you're near Mittagong take a left turn off the main road and escape to something wonderful!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Sketchbook project..

Last weekend, settled in our sandstone cottage in the country i setup my projects and began some painting.

First it was the 'altered book' ready for a swap last week.. then it was ??? well what could i do? I looked out the window and saw a bird bath so i found myself painting this..

As i was doing it i hated it. So contrived, so tight so - well er, me. I mean is THAT my natural style? if it is i don't want it. Anyway i finished it. Put it aside. Loosened up and then did this for the sketchbook project..

i felt better after that. Do you have a 'loosening up' process? What works for you?
the next day i left my imagination and went outside to grab some leaves. Different ones i decided, and study them. This is what happened (also for the sketchbook project). The leaves were originally brighter - the real ones are taped on the page..

This was still a 'tight' style, but here i enjoyed pretending i was on some botanical documentation project..
Text reads "it must be time to turn over a new leaf"...

fabulous world of felt

I've enjoyed following the blog of Samantha Cotterill of mummysam for a while now. Was i excited when i saw her book was being released last month! You can get yours here. 14 projects to machine or hand stitch - so you can have your own whimsical piece of mummysam in your own life.
Being in Australia i was on the look out for local felt suppliers and ordered the yummy selection of 100% wool felt from Winterwood in Victoria. Yesterday i created 'Simon'.

I decided to try the hand stitch approach. I chose Simon to make first as who wouldn't want a satchel bag?
I'll enjoy seeing him rugged up as he sits next to my computer.. the tricky bit is what to make next?

Actually, next time i need to perfect the transfer process - anyone know an Australian supplier of wax transfer paper?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

and sew on..

Here in Sydney it's the second month of Spring, school holidays and 3 days of wet weather.
Lucky i picked this up from the library last weekend:

Thrift to fantasy by Rosemary Mcleod is a wonderful collection of anecdotes, memories and fabulous photos of home textile crafts in New Zealand during the 1930's - 1950's. It provides an insight into what life for women was like at this time - but also what they made! A picture of a pair of miniature felt gloves made by the authors mother to secure the end of the knitting needle to prevent work from sliding off. .is one of my favourite discoveries. But how joyous was i to read about these:

The workbag! Not only did women craft them - they often hung on the armchair waiting for a spare moment when a project could be picked up. Or, they went visiting informally - when one had tea, chatted with friends and worked on ones' current project! Yes! bring back this concept - i say.. contented hands lead to a contented soul..
Inspired by coloured bits of felt stitched onto backgrounds.. i found some sample swatches that i had collected from reverse garbage for next to nothing.. i was in need of a key case.. so took this project on a visit to my mothers.. here's the finished piece..

the keys being on a piece of ribbon that retracts into the cloth pouch - so the keys don't scratch anything or tangle up in your bag.. here's the other side..

my only after tip - would be.. make sure the open end is well hemmed so the keys don't get stuck on anything as they come and go.. this book was also helpful in coming up with a design.. one of my favourite japanese titles..

with simple, yet effective designs like this..

So what have you got in your work bag?

Monday, October 4, 2010

More recycling...

Last week, as Miss R put away her new op shop finds, she created a pile (of too small) ready to go to the op shop.. in the pile was this..

It was mine, originally. I don't remember what winter i bought it. I'm not quite sure how or when it seemed to get a little bit smaller. But 2 years ago she wore it to a farm. That week she fell in love with horses..

..And while the other girls had all the 'proper' gear, there was Miss R in my old jumper, a spare pair of boots and her old jeans.. those early mornings were chilly..

Suddenly it occured to me to make Miss R something that she could keep, something to remind her of that horsey week and perhaps, me.. this is how it turned out..

i was kind of picturing finding something in a country gift shop.. I didn't make up a pattern, just started hacking into the jumper, avoiding the tomato sauce stain. Miss R walked past, i asked her for a sketch. She muttered something about 'giraffe' and carried on by. Hmmm, I had to modify the neck, to avoid giraffe.
I decided to use the inside of the fabric, less stained, less worn. The cuffs made nice 'socks'. I liked the detail of incorporating the seams too.

i was trying to keep it simple. i agonised over how to do the eyes. But am quite happy with how he turned out!

Maybe he'll get thrown in a box in a few years time, but maybe in her twenties when handmade sees another revival he'll be a nostalgic reminder of her past...
do you ever wonder where your handmade gifts will end up? what future life they will have?


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