Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Phoenix fire

And all is well! The computer very politely came back from the dead and I can access my life again! I was so lucky not to lose anything, not even my Firefox bookmarks- which I was surprised at as I'd had to uninstall it and re-install.

I've been working again too, finding inspiration in new things and methods, sorting objects into collections ready to start learning solder charm jewellery. I'm going shopping for the basics next week! Very excited about this, a genuine step forward in my artistic journey- learning a whole new skill.

I've also started formulating plans for an art exhibition sometime next April- the local gallery here is quite small so I can do an installation and have the scale work well. There's a wardrobe involved, but that's all I'll tell you right now.

I love this time of year, my head is abuzz with ideas. Christmas is over, the new year is around the corner...it's that little no man's land where people don't quite know what to do with themselves. I've always seen this time as a period where you should assess everything in your life- figure out what you want more of and what you want less of. I make a list of what I want to have in my life, then on New Years night I do a tarot reading. It sets me off to a good start- things always seem so much more interesting, exciting and full of possibilities. Having a plan is good. :)

I can feel next year to be very different to this one. I've come through a doorway into a new world. I feel different. The very first indications of this kind of change is of course in my work- my style changes slightly, or I'll be interested in something to an overwhelming degree.

This month I have re-discovered colour.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jesus has left the manger...

...thank goodness all that Christmasness is over. I mean really- visually I love christmas, all the tinsel and pretty things, not to mention the lashings of proper foods like mince pies and fig pudding and endless plates of roasted meats, but it's such a drudge. I really don't know how parents of small children do it. All I had to do this year was engage teenage mode and follow my parents around as we visited the relatives. Pleasurable, but I couldn't help thinking to myself... 'can I get back on with life now please?'

Most likely my worn-out frustration was due to my moving house so close to Christmas and then going to the city for the weekend immediately after, then coming home to find my internet won't work, my Firefox has killed itself and the computer dutifully follows suite, dropping into a system32 coma. (for the non-technical, that's bad. Very bad.) So the last two weeks have been stunted- not being properly at home and when I am there it's with no internet, which means not being able to run the shop or do my vintage eBay game, so no money coming in either. Indeed I have felt rather like I'm on enforced non-paid holidays, and I don't want to be on holidays! On top of that I've become a bit bored with 90% of what I make and am looking to branch out a bit.

So while I sit here waiting for life to return, waiting to get an income again, waiting for the slim chance that my best mate can resurrect my computer and not cause me to freak out about how much a new one costs...I can at least have a mince pie.

Happy holidays chaps.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nest relocated

Wow, I've been away too long! The house move is successfully completed- another small load goes down on Monday afternoon and then we can get on with the precious task of having a life again!

I'm much happier already, back in the country. The air is cleaner, the walks are greener and my diet has improved dramamtically. Just being in the country makes you want to eat wholefoods and I've been getting alot more veggies.

I'll be back in a few days with a real internet connection and pretty pictures, in the meantime here's some inspirational images from a vintage shop I met today- 5gardenias. The (lovely) owner created a lovely treasury including my words of wisdom photo card.

Ruby red glass necklace

Victorian mercury ornament

Silver and gold ornaments

There really is nothing like a really well photographed vintage shop. And do we detect more than a hint of colour there? yes we do! I recently become enamoured of colour, so I'm working on some projects with deep, jewel-tone hues and a distinct 1930s-40s Spanish grotesque style. Think stained glass, Gaudi archetecture, 1930s sideshow posters and the amazing house in Nanny McPhee.

I'm also in this very elegant treasury, which I expect to see on the front page very soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

British Maid

I've always been partial to and a collector of the Union flag (you can just see my bunch of small wavy ones behind dummy)...

...but I'm so partial to this pink scrappy one I think I'll make more. I don't usually replicate my designs, but this is just so lovely. I really do think the Union flag is the best design in the history of man.

Second best design is girls.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009


A new girl has arrived at Sparrow Salvage! Maidenspirit is a very delicate piece featuring antique and very vintage materials. Although it's listed and ready to be sold, the inner perfectionist in me is wondering if I should move that pearl charm up just a little to be level with the flower on the other side. I kind of like it uneven though, it's the resistance of the perfect that I get into. My housemate would be driven from her ocd mind though!

I'm really loving making necklaces (and earrings) lately- looks like just about everything else is on hold until after I move house, as is the clothing line. I just don't have the space to lay everything out here like I need to, so the clothing line is delayed for a mid January release. There's a possibility that my clothing maybe available only on BigCartel- I've set a shop front up there a few weeks ago and I really like their navigational system.

Save your pennies!

Green Bowerbird

I'm very excited tonight to see that a fellow Australian has just launched her online ethical fashion boutique Green Bowerbird (I love that name) - featuring some really lovely cuffs by yours truly!

Veronica contacted me some time ago for a wholesale equiry and has been an absolute delight to work with from that moment on. We even appeared in an eco-fashion magazine together (scans of which I shall procure when I get to mum's place where the magazine is)!

I wish Veronica all the best in the new venture, hopefully she will grow to become a shining star in Australia's sustainable culture crown.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It was my intention to get out on the back proch today and experiment with melty, stinky, paint, plastic and fire things today, but it was too hot- and I'd been without my epilepsy medication (which doubles as my depression/anxiety med) for 2 days, just generally not feeling centred.

I worked on some faery stuff and tinkered around with this necklace- I'm trying to get more and more messy, everytime I feel myself tucking under a hem or trying to hide my stitch joins, I disallow it.

Preciousness and perfection are at odds in my work- I talk about tarnished surfaces, age-stained lace and mended tears, yet I always make an effort to have all the jump rings match, or the hems folded under. I'm avoiding that now. I want the cobbled together mess of something that has been stitched together piece by picked up piece, like a 19th century bowerbird.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Studio Shots

Three shots of the studio space-

(You think a few more things would be packed away being that I'm moving next weekend. It's the worst having to pack up the studio- you seem to need everything all the time! )

-and two new pieces in the shop. I started working on some even more cobbled together designs today, things are starting to look more and more haphazard, which is a good thing!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moving House sale

New work ready to be listed

I'm having a sale in the shop, moving on a few pieces. It came upon me suddenly today, the combination of developing a new style of construction, moving house soon and a few other things going on in my life right now, I decided to get rid of some pieces that have been hanging around too long.

When the sale is over I'll be having a giveaway - it's been too long since my last one!

I tried to snag a Treasury the other day, it was almost there...then I got up to do something and forgot about it, and I missed out. D: So I dropped over to Poster Sketch (which is something alot of people don't know about) and made a pretend one. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Clouds on the secret freeway

Thanks to the always gracious LuxuryMarleyProd, I have a beautiful treasury to be featured in, alongside such gorgeous company as sadieolive (possibly the most beautiful vintage shop on Etsy) and blackspot (who makes me want to not even bother making books, she's so marvellous)!

Treasury features my interstellar pyramid brooch.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

installing a comment reply system on Blogger

Having a blog is so wonderful, there's so many supportive people out there to help and encourage you on your path of choice. But it can be frustrating at times not being able to reply to comments- the dreaded 'no reply at blogger dot com'.

Leaving a comment on your own post is tricky because it relies on people clicking 'notify me of follow-up comments' which is rare, or going to everyone's blog and leaving a comment there with your reply. Tedium! (Not that I don't love going to everyone's blogs.)

So I did a little Googling and came up with a site called Intense Debate, which installs a comment system on your blog enabling you to reply to people who comment. I've fitted it here and since I chose the 'apply to new posts' (the 'apply to all posts' made it sound like all the existing comments would be lost!) it theoretically should work on this post.

So to try it out- let's have some questions! Anything you've ever wanted to ask me, you can do so here. If the new system works I'll be able to reply...if it doesn't I'll answer the questions in tomorrow's post, along with a special surprise. :)

And to make this post interesting, I've included pictures of the cutest little set of drawers I picked up in the local junk shop. It's made from cigar boxes with tiny antique keys for handles. I don't know how old it is (it's very clean so it could be new) but it's exactly my kind of thing. And for $12, you don't think about it for too long.

There had to be a white version.

Bleached Roses- while not as 'hardcore' as the previous piece, it's my attempt at experimenting with my evolution. Usually I make something that's so gosh darned awesome, then I try to make something along the same lines and it doesn't quite live up to the Alpha.

I made this one by simply picturing the dark piece in my mind, rather than having it in front of me. This (unsurprisingly) does not work. It's nice and I like it well enough (which in itself is a good sign) but it's not as pared back and...arcane as the dark one.

Mostly the colours are at fault here- its' not strictly a white version, there's bits of pink and lilac which gives it a prettiness that I'd honestly like to lose. Fancifuldevices and I have been talking about the problem of pretty in our work and how we'd both like to put a sweet little pitchfork in it's brain. I'd like to make the paler ones a little more fragile and wispy, like ghosts. At the very least get rid of the pastel tones. Everything else I think can work without being sugary.

Please don't think I have something against pretty, I don't! I just want a more Dickensian feel in my work. it's a contsant struggle. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blackened Bones

Gentle readers, I am pleased to introduce the first thing I've made for ages that I'm truly happy with.

Already I can see places I can take this to evolve the design. All I did was sit down and collect together a few random things that were in front of me, and it sort of...built itself.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dusty Roads

I've been plunged into thought again today when visiting the shop of fancifuldevices for the hundredth time. Her work is so powerful, and lately she has managed to accomplish what I cannot seem to get to- that ragged, severe and primitive look of 19th century hard-done-bys.


The trouble is (and has been for some time) that I don't find a great affection for most of the pieces I make. Sometimes the things on my desk and in my bead containers make me do a little dance because they're so awesome, but I'm happy to admit most of the time things come out either too fancy or to neat. I love the materials I have and the ideas they generate, but when I put them together, they just don't end up as I want them.

This is the stuff I've made over time that I love, that I would choose to represent my intended style- they're my favourite designs so far. Not my ideal on any level, but satisfactory:

Interestingly there are no cuffs in there- I looked through my archive and the only cuffs I could find that I'd be happy to put my name to these days are actually shots of the backs of cuffs.

But these images below are things others have made, things that I wish I'd made:

Francis Willemstijn

Sebastian Buesher

Babette Boucher

Rachelle Varney

Suzi Tibbets

Rebecca Purcell

I've tried a few times to clean out my supplies and only have around me the materials that I want to create with. I figured if there were only pure' things in my kit it would make it easier to make something I was happy with. The other day I starting thinking about my new collections- namely Victorian Artefact (19th century styles made to look as if they'd been found in an archaeological dig) and Evil Georgian- which is Georgian style fashion from a super villain's point of view.

But even when I clean out things I find myself landed with bits I can't seem to let go of. I can do something with almost anything, and i must have this conversation with myself:

+ ooh no, I can do something with that
- yes but it won't be the thing you WANT to make

+ but it'll look nice and someone will buy it
- but that's not the point! I'm an artist, I'm making what i like and I'm just lucky others like it too!

The problem is I've made things in my past just because people will buy them. but I don't like working like that anymore. I'm not a merchant, I'm not a fashion house. I'm an artist that makes art you can wear and occasionally art you can't wear (at least not without difficulty).

The struggle to create what's inside my head has never been harder- usually I give in to the process, let it go where it wants to take me. This time I feel I ought to instill some kind of discipline over it. It's hard for me as I've never been a disciplined person, prefering to go with the flow and let the universe provide (and it does, faithfully) but I wonder if a change in approach is needed in my work given that the usual attack isn't winning. I don't exactly look at my pieces and think 'what a load of crap' but I don't feel an overwhelming pride in them either.

Do I ask too much of my art? Is it reasonable to expect to be moved by everything I make, or is that just the romantic dream/nightmare of every artist?

I'll be moving house in the next couple of weeks, and when I'm settled in the new place I'll be learning new skills, namely soldering but hopefully pit-fired ceramics and Precious Metal Clay as well. Hopefully when I am able to actually sculpt some elements, things will come to form easier.