Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Creative Space - Atomic Collar

I've been wanting to make a collar for a friend for a while now but just couldn't settle on a fabric design. Then clever Cindy suggested this one when I posted about my Atomic Wallflowers print-up. Perfect...

... except of course the buttonhole. 
I'm done with them... that is, until I can find someone to show me how. I think this is the first time my 'trial and error' method of self-teaching has let me down.

Anyway, happy creative space day everyone! 
Hope it's been a wonderfully creative week for you :)

Visit Kirsty's at Kootoyoo to see more spaces.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I don't often post about books. I think it's because so few impress me, or at least so few contemporary novels leave a lasting impression on me. When asked to list my favourites I always flounder and revert to old cherished tomes a la Austen and co. I do read a lot of books and there are many I enjoy, but not all stand the test of time, which I guess is why I'm hesitant to name them.

Not so with this one. Firstly, I am already a dedicated fan of Siri Hustvedt. I would put her novel What I Loved on my desert island list instantly... and now I'll be adding this one, The Summer Without Men

I'm not going to write a review as such, I just want to recommend it. I want to tell you how startling it is to sit down and read a novel about one thing and then discover that it's about so much more. The subject is seemingly about that age-old topic of partners wandering off... midlife crisis, menoporsche... whatever you want to call it. But that's just a skin that encases the vast ideas contained in this book; it's just the wrapping that draws you in. 

At one point in the story, the narrator refers to finding a voice for Everywoman in much the same way that our culture has nurtured and formed the Everyman of literature.... and I think that's exactly what this book is trying to achieve. Within the simple conventions of the narrative, it encompasses a myriad of female experiences and distills these into something that seemed all-encompassing to me. Who we are, as women, and what we do.

By the end you find yourself not really caring about the 'menoporsche' because your thoughts are buzzing with all the other ideas raised throughout the text. It becomes merely one of many examples of the endurance circuit that life can be. I found myself wondering whether this was Siri Hustvedt's contemporary feminist treatise.

I'm not explaining this very well... If you do have an opportunity to read it, I'd love to hear what you think. I'm on to some non-fiction now (always a great breather between novels I find) but I'll be reading The Summer Without Men again very soon :)

Siri Hustvedt's website
Guardian Review

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tonight's the Night!

Earth Hour lanterns released over Cape Town, SA [photo credit: Earth Hour]

Tonight's the night people!
Billions of people in 130 countries will be participating tonight in a bid to show just how easy it can be to cut down on our consumption and aid the environment. So, flick off those switches at 8.30pm for Earth Hour 2011 :)

(I'd love to see before and after satellite photos!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Creative Space - Finished Brooch

It's so exciting to finish something, isn't it? Yes the journey is fun, but oh wow, the feeling of reaching a great destination is pretty cool sometimes too!

I had a lot of help from my teacher but I've really got the proud face at the moment :)

My first fully completed silversmithing piece :)

For my lovely friend Alain.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I've been taking a bit of a break from complex patterning (for me anyway!) to print up some basic fabric designs in various colours. I've been enjoying the slow rhythm of block printing and fantasizing about creating an Atomic wallpaper. Wouldn't that be fun? There's a course here I'd love to do some day.

Isn't it weird how Atomic is suddenly looking quite tropical when placed all together like this? Happy Monday! Wishing you a creative week ahead :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love London

Have you seen the short film by Gia Coppola featuring Orla Kiely's SS11 range? The frocks are gorgeous, of course, but I just love seeing London :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Creative Space - Acetate brooch

When we went to the trade fair last year, I was gifted some acetate samples to use with my silversmithing. I've been looking at them for a while now wondering what to do. Suddenly, inspiration... driven by the fact that our lovely Belgian friend from Theo is visiting in a couple of weeks and I wanted to be able to gift him a thank you.

So here's the plan... 
Muslin-rolled silver backing with acetate and silver layers riveted to back plate.

It hasn't been filed, polished or anything yet in these pics. Tackling the soldering at home today (first time at home!) I have my fire extinguisher and fire blanket ready just in case ;)
Here's hoping it all comes together well.

So, what's in your space today? Big thanks to Kirsty at Kootoyoo for hosting creative spaces.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inspiration: Golden Ink

I do seem to have quite a jewellery bias in my inspiration folder these days, but how can one not with so many inspiring jewellery peeps out there? Have you heard of these guys? Golden Ink are Abby and Kate, a professional bookbinder and a fine artist specialising in printmaking... and (sorry I know it's terribly parochial of me) but they're Australian too :)

Organic shapes in fine porcelain, their pieces are individually handcrafted and painted... they even fire them in their own kiln. Truly handmade goodness I think :)

Golden Ink sell their amazing jewellery on their website here and they have a blog too. You can see Abby's individual work here and Kate's here.

Now, I found these guys via a really great blog called Grey Grid Paper. Amy is constantly amazing and inspiring me with her finds. Well worth a visit. Thanks Amy!  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grand designs

I've been looking at some of my birthday presents and am struck by the volume of good design out there. What do you think of these lovelies?... can you guess what they are?

Paper napkins! Design is everywhere these days... maybe it always was?

My sister gave me some wonderful towels from design-legend Orla Kiely...

... and the Mr did promise (and plant) me a rose garden. More of a grand design, symbolic and decorative :) I'm feeling very privileged, lucky + loved.

Hope it's a good weekend for you too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Creative Space - Fabric first

A friend of mine asked me to make her a dress. It was one of those requests where there are no firm guidelines about what she actually saw in her mind so I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. It wasn't until I read Ingrid's wonderful post about Zandra Rhodes that I realised how I'd gone about it. [Don't get me wrong here, I'm NOT suggesting any comparable link between myself and the magnificent Zandra!] I just thought it was interesting how one approaches dress design; the process you develop for yourself... and I realised I start with the fabric, it's all about the fabric really.

So, I began by designing a fabric for my friend... pottering around with colour and pattern and placement until I'd put together a design that screamed her name to me...

... I added detail to draw it all together...

... then I threw it over the mannequin and just looked at it... I was looking at how the fabric draped and thinking about what kind of dress design would best suit it.

I started playing around with a few ideas, pinning the fabric into shape to see if it would work, and I think I've decided on the style on the right (below).

I'll just play with some details around the neckline and then I'll start cutting and sewing :)

What's in your creative space today? Visit Kirsty at Kootoyoo to see more.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Times like these you think about the years that have gone by...
So much has happened but it really isn't that long when you think about it.
Count the years by haircuts, start blond but end black.
Thinking of growing my hair again...
What a funny thing it is to be getting older and yet be feeling so much younger at heart.
[Perhaps this is a middle-aged ramble!]

Happy Birthday to Me :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Creative Space - Following through

My Creative Space this week is about finishing projects and following through on ideas. Plan B dress is finished and my fabric-rolled silver now has threads and a selvedge (of sorts).

I've been toying with the idea of drilling lots of holes and using floss to do a simple cross-stitch pattern on it. Final decision was to leave this one as is (I do like it's simplicity) and do another one for the cross-stitch.

Find more creative spaces over at Kirsty's.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fabric-ating Silver

Silversmithing update: I'm in the process of making one of my bits of fabric-rolled silver look more like fabric. I've been cutting out little squares on the edges to replicate that irregular thread weave of cloth. I know what my teacher will say... "If you can't file and polish it, then you shouldn't cut it"... but I'm having fun :) Is it a break-the-rules-babe and try-something-new day for you too?

p.s. just read my stars for the week from Mr Crazy Brezsny (his horoscopes are always good fun if you're into that kind of thing!) Anyway, I thought they were kind of fitting for this post too :)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): 
If I were you, Pisces, I'd make interesting fun your meme of the week. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you will be fully justified in making that your modus operandi and your raison d'etre. For best results, you should put a priority on pursuing experiences that both amuse you and captivate your imagination. As you consider whether to accept any invitation or seize any opportunity, make sure it will teach you something you don't already know and also transport you into a positive emotional state that gets your endorphins flowing.