Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas & Taking Stock

We're off very soon for the Christmas holidays so I won't be blogging again until next year. Don't know how I'm going to cope being computer-less but I'm taking my crochet with me and some embroidery things, as well as essential reading material! So, a big MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!

Thank you so much for a wonderful first year of blogging - I've enjoyed it so much and just loved all the new people I've 'met' through this incredible thing. This set me thinking about what I'd achieved this year... I started blogging in April and looking over my posts it feels like so much has been made and lots of creative play has been had... I'm not sure most of this would have happened without the blog to drive me. So, taking stock of my blogging year, the inventory includes....

... loads of brooches...

... learning how to crochet...

... some drawing and painting...

... cutting out stencils and screenprinting...

... more sewing than I'd realised...

... paper stitching...

... felt printing...

... embroidering...

... exploring collage...

... making bags...

... and, lastly, making my very first doll.

What a year! Thanks so much to everyone for being so supportive and so very inspiring! See you next year and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brilliant idea: Tap Water Bottle

I love this idea - how brilliant is it?! Simple, stylish and seriously clever, the Tap Water Bottle strikes a winking blow at the bottled water industry by providing a safe portable alternative to this environmentally irresponsible and, quite frankly, ridiculous cash cow. Yep, I'm just not a fan of paying for some spuriously marketed product which is not that different to what comes out of the tap in my kitchen ;) Hats off to Canadian designer Racquel Youtzy and her brilliant idea. She sells them on her website here. I should add we actually have five clear bottles just like this (without the groovy text) all lined up and full of tap water in our fridge. They even are lettered A to E so the same bottle doesn't end up being used over and over... courtesy of my husband who really should be a Virgo ;)

Found via the wonderful Grey Grid Paper.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inspiration: Spinthread

I am so very inspired by the magnificent work of Spinthread at the moment. My thoughts have been mostly revolving around crochet and plans for a crochet-filled holiday season, but you know, I think I might have to take some embroidery bits and pieces with me too ;) I've seen this wonderful work around and about a couple of times now, most recently on Emma's lovely blog. It feels strange to know little to nothing about the artist. I can only tell you that her name is Marañón and that her Etsy store can be found here and her fabulous Flickr Photostream here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inspiration: Paul Burgess

I'm feeling decidedly in need of a bit of inspiration at the moment and have been trawling through my bookmarks looking for that special thing that will lift me out of myself and put a bit of zing into my brainwaves... These works by Brighton-based artist Paul Burgess have fascinated me for a while now and I think they fit the bill. There's something of an edge to them that rips away from what I think of as traditional collage. They make me want to take a paint brush to things I've done... focus on the space between things and blur them, obscure them, in order to heighten new tensions or change the way the images are read.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my plagiarism post. I've loved reading them all and many times have wished we were all sharing a coffee and able to have a really good discussion about this face to face. Thanks also for your encouragement about my design. I'm still undecided about whether I'll bother printing it or not... maybe I'll play with it a bit more. I know I take myself too seriously but I just couldn't be happy with it in it's current state. I really want to create something that's mine... something that makes the brain zing. Sunday dreaming... reaching for the sky ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

And another one..!

No sooner had I posted the last post about an art swap arrival than another appeared in my mail box! I am feeling so spoilt. This one is from R. Devi Schåfer-Tjandra in Konstanz, Germany. I've scanned it on some orange card so you can see all the components better. I so love mixed media - can you see the tiny knitted section coming from under the grey card? Just gorgeous :) Many thanks to Belinda for telling me who the last artist was... Does anyone know the links for this artist? S/he included a lovely card, but alas, again there were no links.

More postal goodness...

...has been arriving as a result of the art swap I took part in. I'm so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of these pieces. This one is by Hollie Chastain from Chattanooga in Tennessee (I know, I started singing too!). Isn't it just divine? Can you see the pencil doodle in the background? The piece is mounted on an inch-think wooden frame... just love it :) She didn't leave an Etsy or blog address with her parcel, so if anyone knows Hollie I'd love to know her link, if possible?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Creative Space - Softie for Mirabel

Skidding in at the last minute seems to be my style at the moment, but I'm so relieved to have finished my Softie for Mirabel at all. This is the very first doll or softie I've ever made and I found it a bit more challenging than I would have supposed. Somehow she has evolved into a funny little thing... looking very Holiday in Queensland to me... What do you think?!
I've loved the Mirabel idea ever since I first saw it on Pip's site, but it was the wonderful Leonie who gave me the extra push I needed to fit it in when she so generously offered up some fabric to anyone who wanted to make one. Following Leonie's advice, I purchased the doll pattern from Hop Skip Jump and began pottering away on it. It really was a great pattern but as I do have my (undiagnosed) dyslexia with instructions, I'm not surprised that some things just didn't quite work out. My poor "Qld Holiday" dear does have neck problems (no doubt from a botched facelift attempt on the Gold Coast!) and one arm does hang lower than the other (I'm guessing from kids reluctant to walk up that hill to school!) but she's happy enough and I've loved taking pics of her in the old dolls' house my dad made for my sister and I when we were little. Thanks to Pip and Leonie for inspiring me to learn this new skill!

For more creative spaces, visit the lovely Kirsty over at Kootoyoo.

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to all the lovely people who entered the 3 Giveaway for a chance to win the 101 Crochet book, the V&A 50s pattern book and the 3 meters of Michael Miller fabric. As usual, there is but one winner and today's luck in true random generator style has fallen on Amy from Sweet Sweet Life. Congratulations Amy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's talk about Plagiarism

It's a contentious issue for many people - plagiarism and copyright. I've been thinking about it for a few days now... and probably not in the way you might expect. I haven't had anyone plagiarise me, but I have found myself in the position of being the plagiarist (sort of!)... You see, I designed this 50s-inspired pattern with the idea of screen printing it onto fabric. I didn't copy anything, I just sat down one day and started doodling. I guess it was a million vague ideas of what 50s patterning was like that informed the choices I made when drawing it....

And then.... the other day I found these original 1950s fabric designs. I solemnly swear I had never seen them before that. As you can imagine, my heart went into my throat! I really loved my 50s design; was so proud of it and looking forward to screen printing it, but now it just feels like copied work...

(top) Marion Mahler, furnishing fabric, 1952.
(bottom) Lucienne Day, Perpetua, furnishing fabric, 1953.

... but it isn't.

And then, as if the heavens were prodding me to think more on this issue I came across this amazing quote by Jim Jarmusch (below), Nothing is Original. Now there was a provocative idea! I could see the sense in it. Yeah! It's not where you take it from, it's where you take it to!... then I heard a little voice in my mind "But I didn't take it!"... Hmm, yes well.... and I do think it matters that you take something in the first place, that is if you take it mindfully.

So, there's one issue - you may not consciously take an idea. Is it that some things are just in the collective ether? I guess it's more understandable with something vintage like the 50s fabric. Surely, it's been circulating and re-interpreted for a while now, and things do have a way of resurfacing unconsciously perhaps...? I think this is a very different issue to be inspired by something and reinterpreting it yourself, as along as you acknowledge your inspiration.

However, the heavens weren't finished with me... I then bought the latest issue of Textile magazine, and reading through found an article by Stacey Apeitos entitled Protecting Your Artwork Online. Here was a different take on a parallel issue about fears of one's work being copied. What Apeitos was saying was basically that ideas cannot be copyrighted but your artwork is your own until you sign away the copyright. She then goes on to give a lot of fabulous advice on how to better protect your copyright. You can download the PDF of the first part of the article here and/or visit the Textile magazine website here to arrange a subscription.

Anyway, I found it interesting that Apeitos decided to end her article with some quotes, one of which by Paul Gauguin was "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." So, once again I found myself back to the 'nothing is original' idea... it appears not even Jarmusch's idea is either! ;)

So, where does all of this leave me...? I think the exchange of ideas is what feeds a lot of the creative process and that we all do it whether we realise it or not. I think being inspired by someone else's work and having a go at your own piece is absolutely okay, as long as you acknowledge your inspiration. But as for my spooky channeling of the ghosts of designers past... I have absolutely no idea...! ;)

Anyway, I'd really love to know if this has ever happened to you too. Have you designed something and then later seen it's already been done? Do you think it's true that there is no such thing as an original idea? I'm really interested to hear your stories or thoughts about this. Thanks :)

p.s. If you're curious about those mentioned above, you can find Stacey Apeitos' website here and she has a Felting blog here and a Web Savvy Artists blog here. Jim Jarmusch is a director and this quote came from an interview he did with Moviemaker magazine in 2004, which you can find here. You can find out more about him here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspiration: Vintage Smalls

I've just been web-gliding and have come across the most fabulous children's clothes collections. Made in Antwerp (of course! just about everything I love these days comes from there!) by Atelier Assemblé from original fabrics and accessories from the 1950s to the 1980s. They are purchased from stocks in old fabric stores and so all the collections consist of limited editions. The bad news (for someone like me with older kids!) is these collections are only for children aged 2 to 10 years. What a wonderful idea though, and such fresh sumptuous photograph by Anoek Luyten :) View their collections here, or if you're lucky enough to live on that side of the world there's a list of stockists here.

Okay, I can't resist... here are some more! I just love these photos.

Found via here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Creative Space - Completing PiFs

I'm playing along with Kirsty's My Creative Space today. To join in or to have a peek at other creative spaces pop over to Kootoyoo.

Earlier in the year I signed up for a Pay It Forward (PiF) and received some gorgeous crochet goodies from Crafty Rie. The deal was that I had to then Pay it Forward to others and some brave souls signed up, not realising that it would be nearly xmas before they received their goodies... sorry guys. But I can tell you now that 5 out of my 7 PiF* goodies are in the post! Hand-printed and hand-stitched felt brooches.... PiF completed :)

*Two of my PiF people have not responded to emails or messages left on their blogs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy 3 Giveaway!

I'm joining in Pip's 3rd blog birthday celebrations with a 3 Sheets giveaway. Three different crafty goodies all for you if you leave a comment below to go into the random draw :) Firstly, crochet goodness - my lovely friend Sarah bought me one of these packs and I love it so much I've bought another one to share the love. It has (as it says) 101 different stitches, flower patterns and granny squares to crochet. Secondly, there is the fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum's 50s patterns book - full of many inspirational fabric designs from the 1950s. And thirdly, 3 meters of Michael Miller fabric stash - 2 m of "Carnival Bloom" and 1 m of "Lovely Lighting". Just leave a comment below, and if you haven't already, don't forget to pop over to Meet Me at Mike's to wish Pip a happy blog-birthday :)

Winner drawn 3rd December. Don't forget to leave your email address!

Art Exchange

Do you remember the collage I made for the Art Exchange a week or so ago? Well, I sent off my piece, happy to do so but not really expecting the promised pieces to come back in return... not in a mean way - I was happy to give it a go, but these things have a way of getting derailed, don't they? So, I think I must have just put it out of my mind... Sooo, when some packages arrived in the post yesterday I was wracking my brain thinking... I didn't buy anything off this person; I've never heard of them! ;) Now, before I lead you too far astray... only the last two images are from the art exchange... the last one is of some cards sent by Stephanie from Olive and Ruby on Etsy, and the one above it is an artwork by Jennifer from Field and Sea on Etsy. Aren't they just gorgeous? We're supposed to get 36 artworks back in this exchange (not entirely sure how that maths works but anyway...) I'm just so chuffed that two have found their way here! So, big thanks to Stephanie and Jennifer :)
Now, the images at the top of this post are actually something I bought (and forgot about!) So many things happening around here I'm surprised I remember anything. ;) These are the fabulous work of Brooklyn-based artist Jackie Bos. Aren't they fabulous? Visit her Etsy haven here :)