Monday, July 27, 2009


Some images of the preparations for a market day on Thursday. My sister (and baby) and I are having a little road trip out to Oakey. Flying Star Toys will be on display to delight the Ladies Annual Luncheon in support of the historical St Anne's Church at Jondaryan. Thanks to artist friend Rachel Arthur for inviting us :)

I'll take some photos of the event to show you how it went.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Commission - three fish mini line

A cute story for this commission is that a dear patron of Flying Star Toys had previously bought a Fishing Line mobile and her boys had taken to "cooking" the fish on their toy stove, so Abby wrote to me asking if I could make her a mini fishing line of three fish for the boys to play with. Of course!! How charming :)

Abby gives me a bit of creative space, trusting me to come up with something special for her, so I was quite excited to try something new with the Fishing Line. You can see the colours, fabrics and threads I've chosen for her mini line. The two blue fish have different fabrics on the reverse so that the boys will have in effect five different fish. I hope the colours and the textures of the fabrics will be fun for the boys to play with.

Abby said that the little mini line of fish will look delightful hanging on the side of their toy stove :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mathilda's Market this Sunday!

After cute and groovy things for little one's? Now that my sister has had a baby, I'm suddenly very keen to see what little treats I can pick for them both. And the mathilda's Market is the place I'd start looking!

The next one is this Sunday the 19th. The Mathilda's Markets are now at the Brisbane City Hall Main Auditorium and have over 60 stalls. It's a market I've participated in the past and will be again in the future.  Highly recommended!!

Mathilda's Market,
Brisbane City Hall,
Main Auditorium,
Sunday July 19th, 9am - 1pm.

Koh-Yama and the Ten Virtues of Incense

Just back from a couple of days with mum and dad on the Gold Coast. I came home to find "The Book of Incense" by Kiyoko Morita had arrive much early than expected from the US! This coupled with the little pots I had picked up from a delightful bonsai shop on Chevron Island meant I could enjoy an evening listening and reading about incense. I learned that incense appreciation is referred to as listening to incense, and this rings true for me. I find the process thoroughly intriguing...I imagine this is the same feeling that wine connoissieurs must have about tastings.

I'm just in love with this tiny three mouth ceramic pot. Filled with sand it's perfect for planting the fine sticks of Japanese koh. When planted with three sticks it looks like the kanji for mountain, so I've called it Koh-Yama, that is, Incense Mountain :)

Some of my favourite Japanese books are featured in the picture next to my Incense Mountain. They are "The Tale of Genji", "The Tales of Ise" and "A Chime of Wind Bells."

I'll leave you with the Ten Virtues of Incense said to have been written by a Zen priest in the sixteenth century.

It brings communication with the transcendent.
It purifies mind and body.
It removes uncleanliness.
It keeps one alert.
It can be a companion in the midst of solitude.
In the middle of busy affairs, it brings a moment of peace.
When it is plentiful, one never tires of it.
When there is little, still one is satisfied.
Age does not change its efficacy.
Used everyday, it does no harm.

How many things can be said to have so many virtues!

May your week be fragrant :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Koh delightful - Japanese incence and wrapping cloths

This week I treated myself to something I'm personally very fond of - Koh, that is, Japanese Incense. However, this was my first time acquiring premium koh by Baieido. They arrived yesterday morning from Prima Materia and to give them a proper place to reside I spent an equally indulgent day making wrapping cloths using fabrics I've been saving for a long time.

Koh is a solid stick of pure ingredients, no synthetics, without a wooden support like joss sticks have. Premium koh uses aloeswood which comes in many grades. Truly I didn't know what to expect as I had only known the more common yet very beautiful scents of everyday koh. What delights was I to experience?

I burn koh in my studio while I work, it helps to create an envelop around me while I tune out the worries of the world and become empty to all but the splendor of the work at hand. So, of course, I had to try a stick while making the wrapping cloths. I chose a stick from the single bundle of Kokonoe Koh (Incense of the Imperial Palace).

At first, it seemed that she was holding back on me, that she skirted about the room fine and aloof. My attention easily went back to my work while the light smoke drifted clean, white and supple. It wasn't until, having finished and some time had passed, that walking back into the room I truly began to know her. She, in private, had bodied forth like great invisible silk curtains - full, regal and flowering in gentle cascades to the floor. "Ah! This is what aloeswood is all about," I thought. Everyday Koh is a delight, impressing the senses like a young girl, all colour and verve, but once gone leaves only a wisp of her presence behind. On the contrary this Princess of the Palace, who holds court elegantly behind the curtains of her bower, is unforgetable once beheld.

Square wrapping cloths are called furoshiki in Japanese and bojagi in Korean. When I want to wrap special things to store at home or to give as gifts I'll sometimes make a double-sided furoshiki. Choosing just the right fabrics from my collection to suit the object being wrapped is very enjoyable. Making a simple square of quality fabric is a pleasure as the textures and colours sing a solo aria. For these, I used the trimmings (cut off to square the fabric) to plait their matching ties, leaving the edges rough to create a contrast to the tailored finish of the cloth.

Wrapping becomes simple and elegant using a furoshiki. But most especially I love the way the special cloth adds an aura of preciousness to what one stores inside.

Udessi at the Portside Markets

This Sunday get along to the Boutique Markets at Portside Wharf in Brisbane. Udessi will be having a stand their so say hi to the lovely Kim and the talented Renee who will be on hand wearing their new super smart mini market aprons (designed and made by yours truly :)

And if all the great handmade work by some of Australia's most talented crafters, artists and designers is not enough to tempt you then you should also know that Portside Wharf is holding a Strawberry and Chocolate fair on the same day! Yum!

You'll be able to find Flying Star Toys on the Udessi stand on Sunday too.

Boutique Markets
Sunday 12 July, 8am – 4pm
Portside Wharf, Hamilton Qld

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Meditations with Matisse

Last night I picked up the book "Matisse: His Art and His Textiles" I had waiting for me on the studio work bench. I would share a few sections of the first essay by Hilary Spurling that I liked.

"Matisse's Fabric collection served him as a combined archive and tool-store all his life. He called it 'my working library', taking sections of it with him whenever he switched studios between Nice and Paris, sending for others as and when he needed them, constantly replenishing the collection from oriental carpet shops and clothing stores, radically extending it at intervals in the bazaars, souks and market stalls of Algeria, Morocco and Tahiti, or at end-of-season sales of Parisian Haute Couture."

"Mattise drew on his working library to furnish, order, and on a deep, instinctual level, to compose his paintings. Fabrics made him feel at home. Like virtually all his northern compatriots, he had an inborn appreciation of their texture and design. He understood the propertites of weight and hang, he knew how to use pins and paper patterns, and he was supremely confident with the sissors."

"He said that sissors in his hands became a tool 'as sensitive as pencil, pen or charcol - maybe even more sensitive'."

Afterwards, as I sat pinning bunting triangles, watching the fabric, its treads, admiring the richness of colour dyed into the textile, I remember the lines above and smiled.

*text from pages 16 and 17. Image above "Still Life with Geraniums", Henri Matisse, 1910, oil on canvas, 94.5 x 116 cm.