Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Flying Star Toys series, MajicCatsMini, especially love Halloween as they will be on extra special look out for ghosts and ghouls.

Halloween isn't a big event in Australia, it just isn't in tune with our natural's spring here and the last thing one is thinking of is the passing of life, as rather it is the beginnings of life one is drawn to. But what Halloween does mean to me is that the coming month is going to be a super busy time! There is so much happening for Flying Star Toys: new stockists, an exhibition, two Christmas shows, a new toy launch, a new competition for this month's Friends of Flying Star Toys!

I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it all and I can't wait to tell you more about it so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pay it Foward - handmade giving

I love sewing. Even when I'm pushing myself to fulfil my toy orders and I'm tired and all I want to do is have a lie down, I still find myself thinking I love sewing. I now devote most of my sewing time to toy making but I often find myself hankering for a little diversion just for fun. So when I was directed to Heather's Blog via a comment she left me on Flickr and discovered the PIF (Pay it Forward) handmade gift giving meme I was very interested.

Simply, it is this:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

One of the types of handmade things I make only as gifts are the elaborately hand-embellished amulets, as seen in the picture above. This is one I made for Rebecca the Wrecker one Christmas. I made it to suit her personality as all good amulets should. I even made the kumihimo (braiding) myself. These amulets are based on the style of folk amulets that can be found in many parts of the world. The book "Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic," by the renowned textile researcher Sheila Paine, is a book I've spent a good deal of time looking at as a reference.

So if you would like to participate in the Pay it Forward and have your very own amulet. Let me know in the comments :) In the spirit of Jude and Heather I'll also extend the number to over three people if there are any more....though remember I have a whole year....which I'll most likely take full advantage of!

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Painting Acquisition - Bird on a Rock

Yesterday, I installed the long anticipated painting "Bird on a Rock" by Tiel. I wrote to Tiel after having spotted a corner of this painting in her Flickr photos. Something in me said I had to have it.....and she hadn't even finished it yet. So I've been lay-buying for the last few months.

Luckly, Tiel is a fellow Brisbanite and so yesterday I drove over to collect it. I've only just got my licence, so any drive is a big adventure, but it seems I drove about 60 km yesterday!

It was great to finally meet Tiel and see her lovely studio where all the magic happens :)

I told Tiel that her beautiful painting was going to a good home so I thought I'd share a picture of it with you in its new place of honour.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Connecting to Your Environment Though Story

Isolation in our modern society is like a disease; with feelings of being disconnected and disaffected going beyond the boarders of teenage angst. I see many toys that give expression to this feeling, with their scary-cute edge. Toys like Gloomy Bear by Mori Chack for instance, a pink cute bear that has blood on its face, body and claws from where someone got too close.

Losing touch with the essential spiritual nature of man in search for an ego-only based identity has meant we have lost touch with the living spirit that breathes though the very pores of our surroundings. Stories and tales and urban legends interact with consciousness and the unconscious to form an ecology of imagination that leads to a connected experience in both the interactions between people and between people and the world, the trees and the beasts and the birds and the clouds and the wind, and with love.

William Blake expresses it thus:

"The Ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive."

Recently, my toys were described as wholesome. Words like thoughtful, meditative and gentle have been used to describe my work, but I think that wholesome truly expresses what the Flying Star Toys world stands for. The journey of Flying Star Toys is to express the bounty of love that I feel within me, to offer like the "Ancient Poets" that gift of imagination that connects the Self to its life in the world through an active imagination. I connect myself to my environment by making up stories, by making toys from that imaginative connection. Active participation brings richness. This subtle connection builds awareness and appreciation. The mind has in effect given something that was general and impersonal, a personal name within itself where by to become familiar with it - one might call it a mental friendship.

I wonder if it might be that it is this lack of personal spiritual and mental participation (spiritual ecology) with our "environment" that has caused a great deal of the imbalances we currently experience?

Image 1: Single FlockA2

Image 2: The Little Correllas of my neighbourhood upon which FlockA2s are based.

This blog post has been a part of Blog Action Day.
Thanks go to Jaihn for letting me know about it.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Animated Art - Katy Horan

Recently, artist Katy Horan wrote to me telling me about a recent project. She writes,

"I just wanted to share a few developments with you guys.

First of all, a video I worked on earlier this year is now out! It's for a song called "Pied Piper" by a musician named Yoriyos ( I did all the illustrations and some very talented animators turned it into this video: .

I need to credit Ron Winter (, who directed it and did an amazing job!
I hope you all like it!"

I did like it, both the song and the animated video clip. I thought you'd like it too.

*Image above is "Owl #2" by katy Horan. (lucky me I own this one :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sugar and Spice

I'm flattered to have been awarded a "Nice Matters" Award from Rashbre at Rashbre Central. A cute little meme rewarding those who like to spread the good stuff abroad with their blogging. Thank -you Rashbre.

As these things go, one is obliged to continue the procession of awards to fellow bloggers. In that vein I've to choose six blogs from the oh so many that I know deserves this award....I don't think I know of any un-nice blogs :)

Spirit Cloth





While She Naps

I know you'll love them as much as I do. And there's no reason why you can't start you own wave of appreciation to your favourite Nice blogs too.

*Award banner available here or the one Rashbre made here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ishmael's Whale and Website Launch

Flying Star Toys welcomes Ishmael's Whale to its toy collections. To celebrate the launch of we have a signature toy, Ishmael's Whale, to presage its journey into the big wide world. I can think of no better creature than the portentous, warm blooded mammal of the deep that surfaces to take the air and view the sky. Like the workings of the creative life, it swims deep and unseen to surface like a wonder and a mystery.

You can now read the background to each toy series on the Story Page connected to each toy in the Collections pages. The Ishmael's Whale toy series has been dedicated to Herman Melville's classic novel "Moby Dick." Ishmael being the lone survivor of that fateful voyage of the Pequod, captained by the doomed Ahab on his vengeful quest for the white whale. You can read more about it on the Ishmael's Whale Story Page.

I have also named the three variations of Ishmael's Whale fabrics after the novel. The above style is called Nantucket Blue. Nantucket being the whaling centre where the Pequod sets forth. The other two are Indian Calico (the fabric is an Indian cotton) and New Bedford Stripe. You could read the book, if you haven't already, and see where I get my references from :) I think I'll re-read it again myself as it is one of my favourite novels - its gorgeous prose just rolls off the tongue.

Also, I would like to thank all my friends (both in the virtual world and in the flesh) who have been so supportive while I completed the mammoth task of constructing I fondly hope you will continue to read along and make the journey with me.