Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coastal Birds Series - Sneak Peak

I've been interested in creating folk art based on the local wildlife here in South-East Queensland as a way of uniting our imaginative lives to our environment. The native peoples of Australia have this as a matter of course but we European imports are very slow in maturing a sense of place.

Australian Pelican close upAustralian Pelican - Flying Star Toys

I've been following the work of Rachel Arthur for a few years now and we have had many a long talk about representing what is close to our hearts often in the very things we might over look. One of Rachel's latest still life paintings "Past and Present" depicts the lamington, and Australian cake, on an old wooden table. Rather than being a nostalgia painting rather there is a sense of tender love for our cultural threads.

Black Swan close upBlack Swan tail detail

Rachel and I both live in the same area around Sandgate, Brisbane. It is full of the noise of bird life, fruit bats and possum games on the iron roof tops at night. Her birds have always charmed me and as we talked about things we got to thinking about doing something together.

Silver Gull - Coastal Bird seriesSilver Gull close up

Rachel came around to my house with some simple pencil illustrations and an old brown port full of her fabrics. One of Rachel's techniques is to paint on cloth wrapped canvas to utilize the pattern and textures of the fabrics, especially the fabrics she has collected from her travels to India. As soon as I saw her illustrations I knew they would be perfect for transformation into toys; they just had that look about them :)

With the exhibition deadline looming, I selected three of the seven to make up, with the rest to follow in time. You can see my pattern preparation in my Flikr stream. The fabrics chosen for the toys ended up being a combination of my own and some of Rachel's. This is a special set for that reason as subsequent sets will be entirely from my own stash.

Today I send them away to Rachel and then onto Sydney for the Furry Friend's exhibition in Surry Hills. I hope to work on the rest of the series early 2007.


Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

congrats to you both on a marvellous project.

lotusgreen said...

that little seagull.... awwwwwwwww

Anonymous said...

wow, I am so impressed!!!
Of course you need to make 'bread bits' to keep the birdies happy...

you make the most beautiful things!
I woudl love to be able to see the exhibition! *sigh*

You rock!

muscho love and hugs
XXs and OOs

sarah said...

they look just wonderful florence, beautiful work...

Jean-Luc Picard said...

They looko absolutely wonderful, Florence. Such talent! You and Rachel could create some great items.

Liana said...

You are one EXCELLENT bird.
Luv u xx

Florence said...

Thankyou everyone for the lovely comments. I thought they were super special too. Rachel rang me today and she just loves them. I've got a good feeling about these :D

little bready bits..hmm hot chips for the sea gull I think ;)

xxxs and ooos

shannon said...

This looks like a wonderful exhibtition. The birds are lovely

rashbre said...

Fabulous again.

Florence said...

Thanks Shannon and Rashbre :D

Shell said...

I LOVE these toys - especially the seagull - just because that beady eye is so seagull-ish, ha!

I've come in contact with Rachel's work through the Doggett St Studio's website before I think? Would that be right? If not, I've certainly seen her work before, it's so familiar - I really dig what she does. And your collaboration turned out brilliantly!

modmom said...

beautiful work.
i love the seagulls feet + face!

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

Once again I am impressed with your mad art skills. My last "project" was helping cub scout mix teh primary colors into secondary colors. It was a tough project for me.


Florence said...

Shell, thanks for your lovely comment. Yes, it is through Doggett Street Studio that Rachel exhibtions at, she'll be in the next Christmas show too :) I'll add your blog to my friends list too. Please fell welcome here.

Modmom, Rachel drew them nice and fat, so they must be very good at catching hot chips :)

AOC! your back! I'm sure everyone will be dancing a jig of happiness at your return. The more projects you do, the better you will get at them...I hope :) Though mixing bright secondary colours is not a simple as it might seem, so don't be too discouraged.


PG said...

Hi Florence, just popping in to say how much I love your toys; stylish, orginal and well made,(quite refreshing to see all three qualities at once).

I have started a bloglink list of artist toy makers and of course you are on it.

Thank you very much for the back link too! :)

Florence said...

Thanks PG for your very kind words.


gracia said...

Oh! That seagull... what an odd footed honey he or she is!
see you, gracia

jude said...

i am hoping to see some cranes soon. :-)
as always, beautiful work and beautiful words.