Monday, December 20, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I know I complained to anyone who'd listen (Hi Karen!) about having to write an essay AND give a PowerPoint presentation on Frida Kahlo a couple of months ago but the fact is the process was enriching (learning hey, who knew?). I've always been fascinated by Frida Kahlo's circumstances but not so enamoured with her actual work - I just didn't like her style. Researching Frida however and her paintings turned that around somewhat. Now I get it. Still, I wouldn't want to have Frida's My Birth hanging in my living area (Madonna owns the original and decides who'll make it as a friend depending on their reaction) but I do love the kitsch that has grown up around her iconic image and has it's roots in Mexican folk art - the very thing I disliked about her style in the first place. The best part though for me was discovering ex-voto and retablo which were popular in 19th century Mexico and which Frida drew inspiration from. They are small religious paintings on tin which give thanks to a saint for intervening in a tragic event or illness. Sometimes the retablo will depict the tragic event, inscribe a sentence or paragraph abut it and in the corner have the intervening saint. In ex-voto it's just a painting of the saint. Searches on google images or etsy will turn up ex-votos or retablos of Frida Kahlo herself. Like she's the saint now. The saint of suffering or rather triumph of the spirit over suffering I like to think. Which is why when I had lots of tin left over from my chandelier project it seemed obvious that I should make my own Frida ex - voto with a little polymer clay. Then it seemed obvious that with a bit of blu- tac it could be a detachable element of the chandelier - especially if I wanted to push the chandelier over the line into kitsch! As for Affluenza maybe it's just a reminder to give thanks for what we already have. Hope you are enjoying the festive season!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Phew! The Affluenza Chandelier is complete and has been put past the panel for assessment. Pretty much the most involved project I've ever completed I can finally breath a sigh of relief. It brought it's fair share of stress along the way but I learnt a lot. I now have metal wrangling skills and look at mundane objects and (non vegetable) refuse in a whole new way. I also learnt that if you are sick stay away from permanent super glue based decisions: in these instances blu tac can be your friend. I am also really lucky that we had our assessment in two parts and that I learnt in a forgiving environment that I am NOT, even about a project I know inside out, capable of speaking off the cuff. Fortunately I had a week until the graded panel assessment to get over the virus and learn my presentation off by heart - also rewrite it so it made sense (that helped, who knew?) and sell the concept behind my chandelier the best I could. In the end it seemed too much for some flan tins and plastic cutlery to embody the fullness of Hamilton's arguments in Affluenza so I narrowed it down to a metaphor: the Family Meal. That is taking the time to cook fresh ingredients in enduring materials and nurturing your connections with family and friends around the meal table in contrast with the takeaway meal eaten alone after a twelve hour day at work. The flowers are of course my depiction of the "Down Shifting" Hamilton cites as the cure for Affluenza. They start at the bottom tier, multiply in the middle and by the top tier form a thriving garden. Using yellow also helped me portray the sense of energy and new life and abundance (as opposed to material abundance) that comes from individuals downshifting (shame on anyone who thinks I used yellow because I've got a BIG crush on it and it's SO hot in design right now.....).
As a final note I should probably start calling it the Down Shifting chandelier because, like the book, it ends (and I'm hoping this comes across visually) with the feeling of optimism and new possibility. And plus no body wants a depressing chandelier do they?????
Monday, November 22, 2010
A few weeks ago I joined up for Sketchbook Project 2011. I hadn't heard of it until recently and it seemed like a really good idea as I had wanted to use these summer holidays for working on my drawing and nothing works better for me it seems than having a deadline. And this deadline, it occurred to me yesterday, is ridiculously close. This is what I have achieved thus far....
I have an excuse though. I needed to wait until the chandelier was complete and I was free to focus on something else. Well the chandelier is done (!!!!!! will post some pics of it when I get a bit more time) and that gave me the opportunity this weekend to open up the envelope from the Sketchbook Project organisers which contained my moleskin journal and some extra details. Well the first thing that occured to me was "my, the pages are quite thin and there are a lot of them". Not being what I'd imagined I was taken aback. ALARMED in fact. Especially as there is only three months and I have missed the first month busy with course work. So some executive decisions: will use a lot of collage - both to give weight to the pages and to fill them a bit faster. Also I may glue some of the pages together (all artistic decisions obviously....). A quick scout of the web suggests others are wondering about the thin quality of the pages too. Like here. And here. Anyway, what am I doing sitting here blogging when I should be SKETCHING?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I love gold lame. Pity then that so few opportunities arise in my life to wear it. I'm starting to wonder though if I should just start wearing it regardless. School pick up? For sure. Saturday morning cricket? Why not! Ask not where one can wear gold lame but where can't one wear it. These are from Tim Ryan's S/S 2011 collection and they side step any connotation I might have for 60's gold lame, Samantha Steven's cocktail wardrobe, and modernise it thoroughly. Great updated silhouettes and really loving it with the pale blues, mauves and shots of graphic black. I hope there's going to be a lot more of this lame going around....
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wow, two awards in one week! First the Versatile Blogger Award and now The Crap Parent Award which I have awarded to my partner and myself for the following incidents.
- Driving our daughter and her friends home accross town from band rehearsals in a car with a clutch about to give. Limping home in the dark having to restart the car every time gears need changing. Of course the kids loved the drama. "We thought we were going to die!!!" my daughter's friend gleefully told her mother, having to be picked up from our place where the trip was finally aborted.
- Sending our daughter off on the state band tour at 7.30 in the morning sans trumpet. Daughter's friend's dad (who is chauffering because our car has dodgy clutch) rings up at destination in panic "Missing a trumpet!".
- Discover later on that father of daughter's friend has also stopped en route at bakery for danish pastry when our daughter announces no one has fed her that morning.
We accept our Crap Parent Award as duly deserved and are happy to pass it on to whom ever else feels worthy.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I can't remember how I stumbled across Grady McFerrin and his beautiful letterpress illustrations but it was instant love. I would like to see him do a children's book - preferably with a vintage circus theme as he seems to have a lot of vintage circus type graphics in his portfolio and there's nothing I love more than a vintage circus. That in my opinion would be getting close to illustration heaven...
See the rest of his portfolio here.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
More sixties retro from Orla Kiely that you might already have seen. I LOVE the yellow velvet dress but if you think about it, how easy would it be to wear that colour? Or a thick velvet if you are short? I can imagine myself impulse buying it then getting home, trying it on, looking in the mirror and going "Oh my god, what was I thinking? I look like a chubby extra from the set of To Sir With Love, not in fact like the model dancing away on her own in a wood panelled den." Lucky it's prohibitively priced and I don't know where you'd buy Orla Kiely. Cool party dress nonetheless. Go for it rich, skinny girls...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Archie was telling me the other day how funny one of the boys in his class was being, a child with a rep for being the naughtiest boy in the kindergarten class. I said "Did everyone think he was being funny?"
Archie said "Just the boys".
I said "Why don't the girls think he's being funny?"
Archie said "Because they know he's being naughty"
"Don't the boys know he's being naughty?" I asked.
"Yes" said Archie "But they can't help it"
It was hard to know what to say next. You'd probably pay a psychologist with a Phd in gender studies a fortune to reach an insight like that...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Only two more weeks until first stage assessment begins on my Affluenza Chandelier - the project I am working on for the Reclaim Reframe brief that pretty much forms all the assessment for this year's course work. The phrases "Bitten off" and "More than I can chew" keep coming to mind. At least I have settled on the two manafactured pre -used materials and the form my 3D structure will take (the chandelier). Above are the (time consuming) metal flowers made from the base of used flan tins that will decorate the outer tins (I will need at least double what is done here) and then plastic cutlery used as the "crystals". Getting more 'flowers' done and the putting it together so that it looks like the picture I have in my head (!!) is the next logical step. True to form I'm having stressful dreams about the whole thing!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I am such a sucker for miniature and diorama but these illustrative pieces by Elanora Arroyo are beyond cute. My favourite above evokes the magical, quiet of the world at night - or maybe he is an astral traveller - I can almost feel a warm breeze and hear the twinkle of stars....
The neutral palette with hits of red are a favourite too. See more like it here.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
When you first arrived over two months ago now I wasn't happy about it but thought I would keep my feelings to myself and just bear out your time with grace. I didn't complain that you had turned up uninvited or bring up the bad time we had the last time you stayed. I didn't mention how my kids resent you or how awkward it is having you suck up all my energy and attention when they need it more. I guess the first real problems began when I said I would put you up for a while but not to expect me to change my plans for you. I made it clear that I would be continuing to go about my activities and that my children needs would be coming first. I think that's when you really took offence and decided to make your presence truly felt. All of a sudden we were doing what YOU wanted, when YOU wanted it. Eating what YOU wanted to eat. Sleeping when YOU wanted to sleep. Spending insane amounts of MY money at the chemist (btw you've never paid me back). Even when I tried to sneak out to class on weeknights I found you had tagged along, then set about distracting me the whole time I was there. In the end it was just easier not to go and now I'm behind. In short it was all about YOU. But tolerence has it's limits. That's why I am writing this and hoping my message gets through loud and clear: you are not welcome. When I wake up tommorrow morning I want you gone and I don't want to find a single trace of you left behind.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Poor Cat. It hasn't been the easiest few months for her. Not only did she come to stay with someone who was paranoid about the risks of Kitty Litter on a compromised immune system but she had moved into a neighborhood where a nasty clique of Mean Cats roamed. These Mean Cats started up an intimidation campaign almost immediately. They would approach right up onto our deck as she innocently sunned herself on a deck chair. A warning hiss would bring me to the window where I would bang on the pane to scare these shameless intruders (I swear one was the size of a small lion) away. They gave her no peace. On Monday we noticed something hideous on her back leg. Suspecting she'd been attacked by a small lion we took her to the vet. It turned out out she had been attacked but probably a couple of weeks ago resulting in a hideous abscess. This would require a $380 operation, a shunt inserted and some antibiotics. All things considered I decided that this was not a good place for Poor Cat to convalesce. It was decided Poor Cat would be far more comfortable with original owner Grandma in her cosy unit, cutting short the proposed six month stay. And there she is, beside herself I am told, with comfort. Back to being the House Cat she originally was with her doting carers. Smart Cat. How could something so good come from something so nasty she probably asks herself as she enjoys the civilised life, catching sight of the shunt in her leg. And all it cost was $380 (insert strained smile here)...