Wednesday, July 30

the Piccadilly Market, and why I look forward to it every time

Even before I started being a smallholder at markets, I loved going to markets.  I loved seeing the handmade things that clever people created, often knowing that they couldn't be found anywhere else.
I loved buying bags of fresh produce, cutesy little kitsch that was a 'must' by then and there, and often little gifts and presents for loved ones that they couldn't find anywhere else.

Now that I get to play on the other side of the stall table, I still love going to markets as a shopper and a maker.
The Piccadilly market has at least 80 stalls each time - sometimes more - and whilst there are the old favourites and returners, there are always new things to see on their stands or with the brand new businesses who are represented.
The advantage of early set up and organisation, is that you get a chance to have a sneaky walk around and admire your neighbour's work.  I try and go for a wander further afield before we open, as I'm often at a stand by myself and a quick trip to bathroom/coffee is all I want to do - there's never time for wandering and shopping unless I have relief stall assistance from someone!  However, it's entirely a different matter when you find yourself admiring your neighbouring tables for hours at a time.  It's quite easy to talk yourself into something that you have been admiring for hours... I may or may not have made some late afternoon impulse purchases from fellow stallholders that way ;)

I have been playing around with display ideas, and created a replacement for my swing tags that use individually typed information on my Mum's vintage typewriter.  Two fingered typing at its best, on an old reel of tape - definitely a unique feature to the books!

Hope to see you on Sunday :)

Saturday, March 1

upcoming bookbinding workshops

It's exciting to be able to start taking bookings for two of the workshops I have planned for this year.
Today we held an open studio for some of the artists who are holding sessions at the Julia Street Creative Space.  I was there alongside some incredibly talented people - Ruby Richardson (screen printing), Brett Jarrett (realist painter), Jenny Griffin (felt maker) and Shelley Husband/Spincushions (crochet work).

It was so busy that I only got a chance to take one quick photo to send to Shelley (who was unable to be there today), and then posted it nearly at the end of the actual time!  Oh well, it's a testament to the event that I was so busy.

luciandjoe have scheduled two workshops for the coming months, and there are plans underway for more.

The first one is an introductory session which is designed to give people a taste of what book projects could be made.  We'll be making a concertina book (A5 in size, beautiful paper covered hard book cover and at least 90cm wide paper (depending on how big the sheets are that I can order!).  These are great for albums, guest books and folios.
Also in that workshop we are making a simple sewn book, using card as a cover and a single signature, hand sewn into place.
The idea of this workshop is to give you an idea of what skills are involved, and how you could make your own personalised version at home.  All materials and tools are supplied, and places for this date are filling up!

On the 21st June we've scheduled a fabric covered book workshop, which is to made a book as seen in the photo below.  You start with a piece of fabric, a piece of beautiful paper, some card stock, artist paper and thread - and you finish with a multi-signature hand bound hard cover book.  Voila!

If you are interested in doing the workshops, drop into the Julia Street Creative Space (old Arts Company) in Julia Street Portland to sign up.  They are taking names of anyone who can't make those dates - or please get in touch with me here.

We are looking to do repeat workshops, as well as introduce some specialised projects with upcycled and artist books.
Exciting times ahead!

Wednesday, January 1

Being a little productive

I've been meaning for a long time to make fabric name bunting and I've been trying to decide the best way to approach it. 

I decided to use a linen as the banner pieces, and I machine sewed the edges. I then printed the letters and used them for a pattern to cut out a slightly rough red linen. 

I did a long stitched running stitch to put the letters on, and then attached all the pieces onto some beautiful ribbon with printed text. 

I'll test it out at this weekend's Made By Me market in Warrnambool. 

I also put together some vintage paper buntings to include on the stall as well, which are the same as the packaging design. 

Wednesday, December 4

Christmas Bunting and Card Sets

After the weekend's market adventure, I have listed in etsy the remaining Christmas bunting and card packs.

There are four different options with the bunting - following any of the links above to the individual listings.  I also have multiple card packs available, with an option for a custom print job.  I only ask that you are mindful of delivery times and options.

Have fun with your December preparations everyone, it's a big part of the fun of the festive season!

Tuesday, November 26

an Italian escape

I just got back from a two week tour of Italy, which was not nearly long enough - but when is it ever?
The trip covered so much of this gorgeous country that I am still processing it in my mind and trying to remember as much as possible.  I was lucky enough to visit most of the big cities, and a lot of the small picturesque villages and towns in between.

The stunning Trevi fountain.
I got to visit this twice, including early in the morning where the crowds
were minimal and access was easy - so lucky.

This gorgeous view down the Tiber River towards St Peters.

My first gelato (limone) came Papal endorsed!

Antipasto plates were consistently more-ish throughout my trip.

The Colosseum is amazing in scope and scale.

The stunning isle of Capri turned on an equally stunning day 
of weather for my visit there.

Here's the list that I can remember…
all 3 big lakes: Garda, Como, Maggore
San Gimignano
I think that's all of them, but I can't wait to review my notes to double check.

Now that I'm back home - and nearly in this home time zone - I'm looking forward to getting ready for this weekend's markets.

Saturday 30th November, 9am-4pm at the Made By Me Market in Warrnambool

Sunday 1st December, 10am-4pm at the Piccadilly Market in Geelong

Hope to see you at either one - come and say g'day, or bongiorno  :)

Saturday, September 28

photographing some old and new work

It's nice to finally have a permanent little set up where I can take photos of work as soon as I am able to.
In the past, I've spent a lot of time putting together a whole scene, usually on the dining table or nearby where the light is good.  Of course that means set up, shooting and packing up and it becomes very tedious.  Everything is stored at the other end of the house, I make a huge mess and it seems very much like hard work.  The photos make it all worthwhile, but it's been two years since I set up a 'big shoot' and I needed something more immediate.

 I use shots like this for promo opportunities, such as supplying for markets 
applications and social media use.  It looks a little messier than I would normally 
like as the books all have their tags hanging from the
 - that's the light cotton you see on their spines.

I've created a little scene on top of a dresser in the spare room, which has a store of jars with vintage sewing pieces in them, as well as some of my other sewing collection.  I had wanted to put some form of backdrop behind it though, and browsed wallpaper samples and even a curtain.  I settled on using a piece of Tilda fabric, padded and in a large frame that I've painted white.  It just sits on top of the dressed, and whilst it's not always seen or even in focus, its purpose is to simply add another layer of colour and texture to the background.

The photo above gives you a sense of the scene I set up
(and I played around with lighting after this was taken, 
and this will be cropped before being used).

The dresser is about chest high, so it's a perfect height for shooting and working with - even though I sometimes find that I hold the camera up very high for overhead shots!
The fabric on top of the dresser is a quilted table runner that I bought from Ici et la in Sydney quite a number of years ago.
The jar to the right holds some ric rac cards, lace and offcuts that were mainly from my nanna's old sewing boxes.
To the left you can just see a smaller jar at the front, which holds vintage french cotton spools, and the larger jar behind it holds an assortment of vintage sewing notions.  Some I had, some from my nanna, and I've purchased a couple of collections online.
The back of this shot you can clearly see the white frame, as well as the fabric inside it which creates a background.

A different perspective - a book in the centre of the display being photographed, the trio of lights from my study which I moved to help with lighting today.  None are directed at the scene itself to prevent shadowing, the diffused light above really helped to get rid of the shadows from the window too (which is to the far right of where this is, out of shot).  The room's overhead light is also on.
When summer moves a little closer, the light coming through the window is terrific, and no artificial light will be needed for a few hours each day.

I had been using a tripod but the piece that connects the camera to the tripod is very dodgy, and I kept working it loose as I was moving the camera around too much.  I gave up and went back to holding the camera.

I had dug out a lot of books which are normally just packed up between markets, so I took advantage of them being out and took a few other promo shots.  This stamp is what I put on my products, and I took a few photos with my business card too in the same set up.

Thursday, June 20

Warrnambool & District Market on Sunday

Hi everyone, it's coming up for a busy few months ahead with markets galore.
Kicking off on Sunday is my first stall at the Warrnambool & District Market, which is usually held on the town green in the centre of Warrnambool city.  For the Winter months of more chilled and unpredictable weather, they've moved indoors to the Wannon Rooms (Greyhound track).  I'm excited to be joining the very talented stallholders - especially the delicious treats on offer!

After the fun of Sunday, I next head over to Torquay for the inaugural Surf Coast Art & Design market, which looks like it's going to be amazing.  Stay tuned for news as that comes closer, as well as some sneaky peeks of some of my new products still on the production table.

Sunday, April 21

screens and ink and another technique to play with

Have I told you that I've decided that I'd like to get into screen printing?  Seriously, it's more fun and actually easier than I thought it was going to be!  Earlier in the year I told you about a workshop that I did with Learn2Screenprint where we went through so much information and so many techniques that it was impossible to process it all at once.
Yesterday I was able to do another workshop where we used the technique of photo emulsion and exposure, a technique that I was really keen to get my hands dirty with.

In its essence, photo emulsion is a paint-like medium that is put onto a screen, then overlaid with a design on acetate (you can see my dahlias above).  The screen is kept in the dark, then when the design is in place, it's exposed to light to burn the black design onto the screen.  The screen is then washed, and what you see in black is removed.  The emulsion that was hit by the light is hardened and sets onto the screen.  The black protects the emulsion behind it, and then is washed off.  Voila, a very sharp image and potentially superfine designs are left on your screen, ready for inking and printing.

This is the test print I did (all I had time to print yesterday unfortunately), but the photo shows how sharp and crisp that edge is, and how the design can come up.  I'm excited by this type of screen production because of the results that you can print from it.  I'm lucky enough to have access to a darkroom and therefore the exposure lights required to do this myself, but I can definitely see myself using the professional services of screenprinting companies to expose my designs onto screens as well.  I have SO many designs and products running through my mind, just itching to jump onto the fabric.

Monday, April 8

the Finders Keepers Market, Melbourne

I've been wanting to visit ever since I discovered them, but a 4.5hr drive and scheduling issues have meant that the planets didn't align until this Saturday just gone.  The Finders Keepers market is held twice a year in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and it is a giant collection of artists, craftisans, designers and generally amazing people.  I lost count of stalls, but there seemed like hundreds.  Seriously!

I had a strategy to try and see every stall in a logical manner - up one aisle, down another, not missing anything.  I quickly abandoned that crazy idea when I discovered that it was not only set out in a way that fits the space (how inconvenient!), but I didn't want to just walk past things once.  I may not have done a full couple of laps, but I did try :)

The market was held at the Royal Exhibition Building, which is an incredibly impressive building on the edge of the city.  It's high ceilings and ornate decoration set a pretty artistic mood, and from both a stallholder's and a shopper's point of view, very well spaced so that it wasn't difficult to move around and see what you wanted to.

Here's a bit of a peek through my shopping bag,

Above and below is Blank Goods, where I bought a couple of supplies for myself.  It was hard to not just buy things to make things, rather than things that other people have already made!

The cute earrings below were (surprisingly!) my only jewellery purchase - for myself anyway! I bought a couple of pressies which I'm not showing, but there were so very gorgeous pieces in a lot of stalls.  I did take a few cards to follow up later...   This little pair of red earrings from That Vintage will be worn often I'm sure.

There were quite a few very talented screen printers at the market, and the one that tempted me (for now anyway!), was Tinker.  I chose a table runner in flax-coloured linen, with a colour palette that I love.  It was very lucky that they I restrained myself here.

 I've long admired Maze & Vale and was very happy to discover that they had a stall on Saturday.  I chose (after long deliberations) three pieces of their prints on linen.

This overhead shot was taken by Tinker, showing their gorgeous bunting against the equally stunning second level and walls of the Royal Exhibition Building.

I am a scarf gal, and my new rule is that I can buy myself a new one for each Winter.  Just one.  This one is made from bamboo, and is a bright pink dahlia print on a light grey background.  Perfect.

Again, some evidence of things to make with rather than pre-made, but I love Indian wooden blocks and this kit came with three beautiful paisley ones.  It was purchased from earth tribe, which proclaims fair trade ethics - this means that I could have quite happily have justified in purchasing more!  Next time.

So that's a snapshot of my visit, but only a very small part of it.  I HIGHLY recommend this market for anyone who loves good quality, handmade products.  But allow a good couple of hours to get through it all at least once.

I was also able to do a quick side-trip and took in the always excellent Top Arts 2013 exhibition at the NGV Ian Potter centre, Federation Square.  There I was able to pay homage to a very familiar piece by a gorgeous girl, Shannon Malseed.  Go and check it out.

Wednesday, April 3

a new obsession

I recently went along to an artist's talk, followed by a mini workshop by the talented textile artist, Karen Richards.  She spoke about her work and the 'phases' that she's been going through over the many years that she's been working with thread.  It was incredibly interesting, especially her innovative work with reflective thread and the installation that is now travelling throughout Australia.

The mini workshop after the talk was (in my opinion) about her encouraging us to play with threads, designs and to see where the traditional approaches can be stretched and manipulated.  Now, that is right up my alley!  It didn't suit some of the more traditional stitchers who were there, but I haven't done any formal embroidery since I was a teenager many (many) moons ago, so perhaps I was less restricted by the need to keep stitches tight and consistent.  I started remembering a few traditional traits, especially the need to have the back as neat as the front - who does that!! - but I was more than happy to just muck around and have some fun.

So bring on Easter, a raid of my own supplies and a little shopping, and I've settled in to lose myself in my latest little obsession.

This one was my first attempt at playing with stitches, and seeing how to fill in spaces using layering (which was an emphasis in Karen's work).  The instagram filter has made it much more orange in colour, but I liked the layering.  I was also very happy to teach myself how to french knot via youtube, and whilst the first one wasn't so great, the rest have been fairly consistent since then.

This was one I finished today, using a purchased pattern and transfer (SO much easier than any other method).  I have a whole series of these little owls, and I'm using a little 4" frame to stitch them, so I think that I'll make some up into a little coaster set.

This blue one was the second one I did, and I started it on Saturday at the Port Fairy market.  I'm enjoying the portability of this new craft/obsession/use of my time and can see it being the thing that I cart around with me to more markets and trips.

I bought some downloadable pdf patterns from a gorgeous etsy store, Polka and Bloom, which is based in the UK.  I have completed one of the designs already but haven't uploaded the photo yet.  I'm really looking forward to doing more of those projects though - complex, lots of colour possibilities and a bit of a challenge.

I literally hit the mother load with the photo below.  I knew that Mum would still have a lot of things in her cupboards, and after I couple of requests, I lobbed over there on the weekend and found a whole boxful of old transfers in the first box we opened.  There were some in an envelope dated 1947, some with my Grandmother's maiden name, others from New Idea inserts from the 1970s.  There are a lot of great vintage designs that I intend to play with, and whilst some of them have transfer ink that have bled a bit, they look like they might still be tranferrable.
I also 'borrowed' her box of threads too...

I've found this new way to spend my time really relaxing and an effective way to wind down and clear my mind, which is exactly what I need.  Now let's see what I can make next...

Sunday, March 31

saying farewell to Made

Yesterday was another successful market in Port Fairy, where we sadly said farewell to the market.  There were some new faces, and some exciting new work from some familiar faces.  I always find markets to be so inspiring and motivating - what can I create next?  how will this idea work? I wonder whether...   I have a notebook that I take with me each time, and it's filled with ideas and observations of things that I notice throughout the day.  The key is then going back to it and then making the time - but that's for another day!

Some cards and bunting

I had made a new range of cards using some beautiful
illustrations from some of the books in my collection.

I love how these cards turn out, but it's a surprisingly
difficult process!

Looking for new ways to put these very tactile products on display.
I'm always in two minds about 'exposed' paper, rather than their
protective plastic sleeves, but (I believe) it looks so much better.

Some of these upcycled and handmade books found new homes.

Celebratory bunting up close

Looking across the table

Illustration card

Printed and sewn cards

Literary favourites

View from behind the stall, everyone was still setting up but
lots of people milling around and getting in sneak peeks before
the doors opened - very much a stallholder privilege :)

I'm constantly on the lookout for beautiful maps

I love this big book - full of artist pages, and concertina sketch foldouts.

If you'd like to see more photos, some have been posted and linked to the MADE Facebook page.