Monday, March 31, 2008

Working working...

Sneak-peek at an altered notebook.

Things are -of course- all go here now that the shop has finally opened. I need to get one of those widgety things for the side bar here, but right now the focus is on crafting, photographing, listing and promoting.

Promoting is a funny word for it really it makes it sound like serious work, when all I'm really doing is updating blogs, Flickr, Forum surfing...I like doing those things, how can they be work?

In one sense I'm doing more in my day than I did before, but I still can't call it work, because I love it so much. Digging out bits of ribbon I've had for years, thumbing through my collection of book pages, snail-eaten papers, antique letters... rifling through ric-rac tins, time-worn shoe buttons, layering laces and velvets...

(sorry for the dodgy pic, my kitchen table is not well-lit, but it was too pretty not to get a shot of. Wrist-cuff in progress with antique lacework, eggshell sequins, bedsheet, age-marked ric rac, bridal flowers)

As the wrist-cuff was the first thing that sold, I'm doing a few more of those ahead of any more chain-based jewellery. I love to hand sew and it's something I can do in front of the telly, so it's great for filling in all those times you feel like you should be 'doing something'. Plus, they sort of feel more like 'me' than the other jewellery; I'm not happy with the level I'm on with my chain-based stuff right now- I love it, but I want to push it further than where it is.

Wrist cuffs in progress- materials from top to bottom- wool blanket (custom dyed, embellished with 19th century velvet rug strip, rusty nails, sea shells, antique buttons), lace, custom-dyed felt, custom-dyed cotton trim, black suede, custom-dyed lace, 1960s Indian block-printed cotton)

Doing the cuffs again has given me a real chance to play with fabric; just sit down with a pile of things I like the colours of that day and layer it about until it fits. They're quite like the framed assemblages in that way.

The Lost Child- framed assemblage featuring book scraps, framing plaster and peacock feather

To keep a good range of price options in the shop (and because I've never really done them before), I'm making some smaller paper-centric ATC/ACEOs on a lovely thick creamy stock paper rescued from the Printers cleaning out here at the museum. It's all pre-cut, so all I have to do is reach for a scrap any time I have an idea that won't gel with the 'proper' collage I'm working on. They're also a great way to try out new ideas. they're bigger than your standard ACEO size- I looked at doing some of those but to be honest they're just to small for me to be comfortable with!

Work-table, featuring an ACEO on the go and two members of my old scissor collection. I love scissors, even when they can't cut butter!

People who still like to collect that size will be pleased to know however that all my business cards thus far are hand-made, so they're little ACEOS in their own right. In fact I think I'll keep doing that, it's in keeping with the aesthetics of what I'm doing...and gives me an excuse to order a custom stamp from Etsy. :)

I'm also doing collage-topped trinket boxes. Right now there are only 6 available, until I find more boxes. They're really good to make though, so I shall have to ask the thrift if they have any out the back I think.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Inspiration- Janet Jones and sleep cycles

Janet Jones, an artist who I found this evening via The Collage Museum, is so absolutely inspiring that I have lost all the tiredness in my mind and am desperate to get into the studio- but my body protests, and I must try to switch of my mind for sleep. At 4:30am, it is half hour past my bedtime. Yes, only half an hour.

I have an abnormal Circadian rhythm, basically that means I don't do 9 to 5 like everyone else. My hours are roughly 1pm till 4am. It's something that has bothered me in years passed, especially in those times when I needed to be awake with the rest of the world. But I am coming to terms with it now, and am thankful that as an artist working from home, I can have any hours I want! Hopefully I will one day re-train myself, I wish sometimes I were the kind of person who could get up at dawn. it's such a perfect part of the day, so peaceful and clean.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grand Opening!


Yes, I finally made it! Please give me a few hours to get things in order and list some items, but I thought you'd all like to know as soon as it happened. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Methods of Approach- 3 days till opening!

Methods of approach
paper collage on bookleaf.

Includes 19th century newspaper, book scrap, antique button backing card with hand-written numbers, early 19th century hand-stencilled wallpaper, vintage haberdashery backing card scraps and book spine. Mounted on white card rescued from a printer's clean out, ready to frame and ready for the shop!

Only 3 days left till the shop opens- I'm going to be spending all day tomorrow writing up listings and photographing my pieces. I left my camera's memory card in Melbourne by accident last week, so I had to get it express posted down to me. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow and I can pick it up from the PO -I'll be picking up my card from the bank too, finally! After all that waiting, the woman on the phone today told me it doesn't get posted out, you have to go in and get it. I wish the man I phoned two weeks ago had known that... -_-

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Inspiration- supplies

Over my Bones- vintage paper scraps, book pages, framing plaster, rusted wire and dried rose leaves under frosted glass, vintage frame.

I intended to do a bit of shopping for the necessities tonight and then get back in the studio for some more paper collage. Oh how we can fail. Fail, fail fail. I've been looking at supplies for hours! And not because I can't find what I want, which is my usual problem, but because I've found too much!

I'm trying really hard not to ignore the gas bill, but copper chain and age-stained lockets are so much nicer...

The best bit about shopping online is not only can I do it in my pyjamas, but I get to see alot of other stuff too, which gives me great ideas for new pieces. And I stumble across other things too, like books and blogs, which open my world up to new artists, who gives me new ideas...

Blessed is he who invented internets.

Here's another collage before I go. Click on this for ultimate big-size, I wanted you to see the texture of the papers.

Sorry about the watermark, for some reason I thought I should use one.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The King of gone to bed

King of gone to bed- WIP mixed-media collage, includes 19th century wallpaper, vintage book pages, chinese fan paper, photograph stitched on fabric, vintage admit one ticket and dried plant matter. Mounted on 1930s photo frame backing. (Might still paint that yet...)

After a day of rolled up sleeves and elbow grease, I finally have a clean studio table where I can do my paper collage work. The kitchen table may be a mess of 'things to be sorted' , but you can't have everything. ;)

Speaking of not having things, the bank have still not sent my debit card, and of course with Easter going on it's impossible to get anything done till Tuesday (Friday and Monday are public holidays here in Australia). If it's not there by the end of the week I don't think I'll be able to open the shop on Friday- which really really gets to me, because I've already put off the date once and it makes me feel like some sort of dodgy failure to have to do it again. Oh Etsy, when will you let us poor Aussies pay via Paypal?

Monday, March 17, 2008

inspiration- Julie Krakowski

"Work based on the marks left by everyday life, the little accidents such as
cigarette burns and food stains. Even though the stain acts as a decoration,
you can always see traces of the 'fault'.
It accentuates the importance of the random and the ambiguity between
the worn and the precious. "

All pictures (with a little help from my 'print screen' button) and text from the artist's website. Found via Daily Poetics, who found via Crust Station, who found via Florizel! You have to love the circle of blog.

This will be available in the Etsy shop in the not too distant future. A (19th century?) memorial turning pendant, purchased recently from eBay. I won this really cheap, because the seller clearly didn't realise what they had, and neglected to write 'mourning' in the title and listed it as a craft finding. Lucky for me, I would have had to beat back a slew of bidders. I love the rough cut piece of backing paper in the rear!

(Images taken from the auction listing)

I found some lovely crystal heart pendants today as well, Angelite (which I'd never seen before today, a lovely powder blue/frosty white stone that feels like eggshells) , labradorite with the most wonderful flashing green flecks inside, and something called Inca Gold, which is a dark shimmery blue (so dark it's almost black) with grey veins. All of which are intended for the shop as well, though it might be hard giving up the Angelite...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Etsy launch rescheduled

That's it kids, the official store opening date. It was to be the 15th, but certain set-backs including not getting my debit card (even though it's been over a week...), not having as much in the inventory as I would like to and sudden family commitments, I've pushed the opening forward. I am very sorry to those of you who have been waiting eagerly for the opening; rest assured, come hell or high water, the store will open March 27th!

The upside to this is that the extra time has given eBay the chance to raise enough money for me to buy the postage envelopes I like- I want the old school look brown ones, which I can't seem to find here. They're made from recycled paper which satisfies the guilt monster in me because I want fancy packaging.

Now I'm off for a week with the family to play out above said commitments. I have something very exciting in the works that I can elaborate on when I return. ♥

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gwendolene Millot, the unknown beauty

The thrift did me well again today, my second favourite find of the day was a fantastic index card box from the 1950s- it's black card, with a full set of slate blue alphabetised separator cards on really thick board, almost like plastic. I can't show you a picture, but I can show you a picture of my total favourite score of the day.

Isn't she beautiful? The reverse says (in lovely cursive handwriting) '1937, 17 yrs, Gwendoline Mary Millot'.

The photo is quite big, about the size of a magazine, on stiff board. The edges are rough, making me think she was cut down from an even bigger image. She was tucked inside a 1930s plaster picture frame, between liner papers. I knew there had to be a photo in there because there were so many layers of paper. So I took a gamble, and it paid off.

The frame cost me $2, which usually I'd frown at, especially as the cream finish had been sprayed gold. I find alot of them like this, why!? Was there some big thing in the 60s or 70s with spraying deco stuff gold? I think there must have been- there's no shortage of Victorian stuff in the museum here that's been painted brown. We have a lovely walnut veneer piano that's been painted brown, a cedar writing desk, a gypsy table and believe it or not, a gramophone, who's polished brass trumpet was given a splash of mission brown.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It draws ever closer

An orphan's only possession

I'm finding that the closing reality of having the shop up and running is motivating me enormously. I made alot of earrings yesterday- i don't have much in the way of earrings, usually I don't make them, but I bought some lovely kidney wires from the US and did up a few pairs with those as well as ordinary french hooks. Some of them came out rather tribal- maybe I'll do a Thunderdome collection!

I actually like making them as a 'break'- the necklaces can be time consuming, matching the chain tones, finding the right pins,jump rings etc. The earrings are often easier to put together, mostly because I was actually organised at some point and put all the 'pairs' of trinkets in one box.

I also bought this lovely little tea-coloured House on the Prairie type shirt on the 50c rack at the op shop, which is at present in the dye bucket with some doilies and lace, turning an orphanage-hue of dirty purple/grey. I think that dye is just about at the end of it's power! Hopefully I can have a few shirts ready for the shop opening next week.

I'll leave you with a shot of some thrift scores over the last week:

Better go check that dye bucket!

Yay me!

I sold a card on Red Bubble! Three to be specific, to a complete stranger! This is kind of a big deal for me, as I've never really sold any of my art online before. I'm so chuffed! I really like Red Bubble, all I have to do is upload the work and they do the rest, I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to sell their photography, illustration, graphics or t-shirt designs. I think it's wonderful considering I was only yesterday feeling bad that I don't promote my page there enough, and I've only been there less than a month.

A good time for this to come too, since my credit card will be arriving in the mail this week. This means I can finally set up and launch the Etsy shop! I have around 8 pairs of earrings and twice that much of necklaces- I'd like to make more before I launch. I don't think there will be much else besides these and my box assembleges from the exhibition- I may find the time to make up some collage cards, but i think clothing might have to wait unitil I've moved house. Perhaps I could do some wrist cuffs and brooches too...oh, I'm getting waves of inspiration now!

I estimate that the shop will be launched March 17th. Only a month past my expected deadline, which isn't so bad when you consider that I didn't plan for chaos, and you should always do so. I'd like to figure out how to do a mailing list, if anyone has any suggestions as to how to best go about that (or want to be on it!) please do comment and let me know.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Inspiration- wabi sabi and post-apocolyptic visions

This image- a delightful still-life of tea-bowls and some sort of nature collection- is from this lovely blog discovered today, which has been running a series on Wabi Sabi, a Japanese-based aesthetic movement which is hard to describe in words. The basic elements involved taking joy in the beauty of imperfection, acceptance of the ageing nature of everything that lives, and the humble overtones of living a simple life.

Viva Terra Wabi Sabi mugs

It amuses me that consumer society has tried to market this movement- offering simple (factory-made, mass produced) 'eco-chic' goods for the home, at less than simple prices. Some of them are doing the right thing, offering hand-made stools of reclaimed wood made by African villagers, organic hemp or fair-trade recycled glass beads, but I fail to see the wabi-sabi nature in a rough stone candlestick if that candlestick has millions of identical brothers and sisters, all shipped from their factory in China to sit on the shelves of Target.
Not that I'm not guilty of giving in and buying from Target. We can't be angels all the time. ;)

The outside room- from a post over at Scout Holiday, another wonderful blog just discovered.

Every time I stumble across a photograph that is so beautiful in it's decay as this one, and I find out it's from the Katrina devistation...i feel guilty for admiring it. These images of an almost post-apoclyptic environment conjour a reaction in me that's far from my usual excitement- these images make me sad for the people who once thrived there, and they make me angry at the government, it's response and it's abandonment of the situation. I find it interesting that I feel this way about katrina images and not from ordinary abandoned houses and decayed civilization.