Thursday, November 30, 2006

My first Net Swap

Shell, a fellow Brisbane artist and blogger, swapped me one of her new toys for a TechGnoMe. Her new toy owls are called "Hooter" and I was so excited when the Australia Post package man knocked on the door this afternoon. Not only was there this wonderful hand drawn toy but she also included a linocut and an etching of birds as well.

This was my first internet craft swap and I have to say I like it :D I have always loved getting packages in the mail and I have just discovered that getting handmade toys in the mail are the BEST packages to receive!! really!

Thanks Shell.

Oh, and check out the cussion behind the Hooter, I picked it up today from the Salvos. What a great day!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Delightful Show - Umbrella Collective 2006

This was the first Umbrella Collective show and we were all very excited and a bit nervous too...would anyone show up? Will all go smoothly?

We began our set up Friday,the day before the show. Arriving with our car loads of stuff, we quickly brought out boxes and boxes of supplies, displays and goodies. Thanks to the marvelous organisation skills of Kylie Johnson (Paper Boat Press) and some wonderful volunteers things went quickly and without frission.

Rebecca the Wrecker took these photos and here is one of me waiting behind my stand in preparation for the show to begin. You can see MagicCatsMini, TechGnomes, Pimmie Parrots and a few other toys and items that I have yet to tell you about :) It has been very hot lately so I was glad to be near the window, however the room was quite cool and so it keep people browsing among the lovely stands all day...towards the end of the day groups of chatting people even started to sit in groups on the floor.

When 9am came it was like a king tide flowed through the doors, I was told that some people still had the newspaper article about us clutched in their hands. I really don't know were the time went and I deeply apologize to those with who came to see me but didn't get a chance to say hello to. A big thankyou to all those who came to the Umbrella Collective Christmas show and to those who helped out (especially Mr Accordion and MB), I know we all had a great time, I hope you did too :)

For more on the show from the other members:

Liana Kable's post WOW!!!!!
Rebecca Ward's post Umbrella Day
Shannon Garson's post Delightful Thing
Sarah Bowe's Post delightful...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

MoonBeans - Traveller's Trinkets

MoonBeans fall from the moon on bright nights. They are seeds from the Gaint Cassia Tree that grows on the moon. They are particularly lucky for travellers.

There were a couple of sources of inspiration for MoonBeans. Firstly, there is the charming tale of the seeds that fell from the moon on the night of the Autumn festival from the tale Moonlight Over Casssia Peak - you can find this illustrated story on my Asain folktale blog Crackle Mountain. These seeds where like pearls and so for the fabric, I've used the naturally shiny lycra in white for their faces.

Another inspiration, also of Asian origin, is the old folk magic tradition in Japan of throwing beans in ones path before setting out on a long trip. This was to protect the traveller from Oni (a kind of Japanese demon). That is the reason why MoonBeans are good for travellers and as gifts to people who will be setting out on a journey.

Of course it wouldn't be magical if it didn't have a bell and so MoonBeans have a tiny seed bell on the reverse side on the top of its head - give them a little jingle to set the magic going. You'll also find a little butterfly at the base to be reminded of the creatures that are attracted to the moon.

MoonBeans are one of my Flying Star Toys.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I see TechGnoMe

The TechGnoMe Song

TechGnoMe, TechGnoMe,
As far as I can see,
I see TechGnoMe!

Meet TechGnoMe, they come from the Virtual Magic Forest. They are super happy and with their magic tassle they are super lucky too. TechGnoMe would love to live in your Virtual Garden (that is your computer desk ;) or anywhere that needs some fun. They are sure to bring you a happier day!

TechGnoMe faces are each individually drawn on felt using artist quality pigments for long life. They are made from panne velvet and spandex specially choosen for their techno visual appeal. TechGnoMe are weighted in the base so they will stand tall no matter how freaked out you might get while dealing with daily issues. Tinkle their little bell when in need of extra luck.

TechGnoMe are a Flying Star Toy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Coast of Provence 6 - Paul Klee

Rebecca the Wrecker has invited us to join in her Nautical Week. Since I have just been in the quilt zone I thought I would share a work by another of my favourite artists - Paul Klee. I have often thought his work to be in sympathy with the quilt.

Paul Klee frequently used the boat motive through out his career, even as his work became progressively abstract the boat remained. "Coast of Provence 6" is an extremely sophisticated painting - notice the waves of yellow on the diagonal that seam to sweep across the surface creating a shimmering glow. The rectangles are the buildings around the port and the triangles and squares above are the boats on the water.

Rebecca mentioned that yellow was the fourth and often neglected nautical colour, as you can see, Paul Klee does not ignore its potential.

"Coast of Provence 6", 1927, water colour on paper, 22.8 x 30cm.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mini Quilt - Turkish Coffee

I haven't quilted in ages, but I've been itching to quilt for so long. I wasn't planning to make a mini-quilt. When I began I had some other plans in mind but as it came along I discovered it was going to be too fine for my initial purpose.

Completely hand sewn "Turkish Coffee" is made with a combination of fabrics: quilt cottons from Yuwa - reproduction 1830s designs; golden silk in two colours; and some lovely textured weaves from Japan. (I bought the Yuwa fabrics and the Japanese waffle weave fabric from The Quilters Barn when they were here for the last Craft&Stitches show.) Its dimensions are 46cm x 51cm (18" x 201/4').

Its a very traditional quilt really, the design base is Wild Goose Chase (that's the triangles all going in the same direction as you can see). But what fascinates me is the un-ending combinations possible even with tried and true favourites. The challenge is in the nuance - bringing something of beauty into being completely sympathetic to the materials.

It is also very satisfying to bring small bits of fabric together to make a cloth of unbelievably more marvelous a quality that the sum of its parts.

I was inspired to make "Turkish Coffee" from a singular Amish quilt from Indiana (c 1910), from the book Quilts From the Indiana Amish: A regional Collection. It is a singular quilt because it incorporates printed fabrics which the Amish rarely use. But additional to this I would also like to mention another source of inspiration, for I couldn't help but think of her while I worked with the magic blue moon fabric - Jude, one of my favourite quilters, for her quilts are truly magic.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Delightful Things for Christmas

It's nearly Christmas and Santa's elves are busy at work making all sort of wonderful gifts for you. As a toy maker this is an especially busy time as Santa invariably out-sources much of his elves' work.

But before Santa gets the pick of the bunch we've stashed away a few of our favourite goodies to present in a special Christmas show.

My fellow Queensland makers and I, have banded together to create The Umbrella Collective - Artists United by Craft and Friendship. You can keep up to date with all our latest work in one place!

And if you happen to be in Brisbane why not come to the show and solve all your gift dilemmas in one hit! But Shhhhhh....don't tell Santa ;)

Saturday 25th November
9am -3pm

St Francis Theological College
233 Milton Road, Milton
entrance via Baroona Rd

parking available
cash or cheque only
refreshments available

More Details