Friday, June 30, 2006

Crafty Fun

Today I taught 16 childern and five parents how to finger knit and make pompoms! It was fun. Here I am at the end of the workshop. That's right, stick a camera in my face and I'll make sure I'm doing something very uncool. Oh well, it makes the kids laugh:)

The boys did really well. Here's an inventive way one of my young crafters chose to wear his piece - very groovy!

He and his mum also came up with this little critter - the wooly spider. I love it when people make things up.

I had a great time working with the kids at Sandgate Library. Sue the Librarian gave me a big bunch of flowers at the end - I love flowers. You never know how much one loves flowers until you have them in the house. So a big smiley day all round:D

Thursday, June 29, 2006

New story on Crackle mountain - Tamamo the Fox Maiden

Crackle Mountain, my folktale blog, has been updated with a new story called Tamamo - The Fox Maiden, a folktale from Japan. Its been newly adapted by me, Florence Forrest. I hope you enjoy the story and the illustrations I've sourced to bring the tale to life.

The picture here is of a fox, or in Japanese - Kitsune. This is a card from a Japanese game called Obake Karute (Monster Cards) from the early 19th century. Each card features a monster from Japanese mythology. Source Wikipedia. A set of these would sooo be on my wish list!

To see all of the stories posted so far click on the link under My Other Blogs in the sidebar.

Monday, June 26, 2006

School Holiday Fun

Its that time again, school holidays! I'm doing a little wool and bead jewellery class for childern at the Sandgate Library this Friday. The class will be making a funky Scarfling and Wristband using finger knitting, beads and pompoms. It's aimed at the beginner so everyone can play and have fun making something groovy to wear.

If you have kids that would like to join us, give the wonderful people at Sandgate Library a call on the number in the flyer above. See you there!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bird Week

Shannon Garson - fabulous ceramists, declared this week to be Bird Week. She's featuring a bird related item on her blog Strange Fragments everyday this week in conjuction with a competion as well.

In response to her call I thought I would post something bird related too.

This is one of my One-of-a-Kind vintage button brooches from 2005. They sold through MoBstore (Museum of Brisbane) and Craft Queensland. They did very well, with only a couple now left at MoBstore. This one is sold, but its one of my favourites - I call it "Duck on the Water", I liked the little red beads as the little bits of food the duck could eat, and the woven colour on the vintage kimono fabric like reflections on the water. Its fun but is a bit subtle too.

Monday, June 19, 2006

ExplorAnauts - Travel Buddies

My major project for this year has been the commission for the State Library of Queensland in partnership with the Learning Place, Education Queensland's e-learning environment.

I developed The ExplorAnauts for their Travel Buddies program. The ExplorAnauts are: Muncha, the red one; Cka (pronounced Seeker) the blue one, and VeUR (pronounced Viewer) the yellow one.

Here's some info about them...

Muncha: believes that Libraries are exciting places to discover new things and ideas. He is eager to discover new ways of learning and finding information and creating.

His eyes are popping out of his head with curiosity. His arms are stretching out to reach what is of interest to him. He speeds ahead to get what he needs and when he finds it he stores it in his “Discovery Pouch”. He gobbles up knowledge.

Muncha is bold and points to what he likes. He is loud because he's so enthusiastic. His humour and delight are infectious. He's inspirational with his big dreams. Muncha believes anything is possible.

Cka: explores its environment very carefully. Cka can taste, smell, feel, see and hear with extreme clarity and sensitivity. If he licks a brick, he can tell you what its made of and how old it is. His green eye sees not only what is present but through processing its other senses is able to “see” what the same area was like in the past as well. The feather sensors on its head can feel air pressure and hear sound. If Cka concentrates really hard it can hear the whispers of conversations still echoing in the environment from times past.

Cka collects samples of the environment it visits in its Sample Saucer and is able to go into various difficult and harsh environments by hovering and flying.

Its amusing to watch Cka flying around licking stuff and thinking.(Analysing)

VeUR: wants to know why things happen in the world. It is not always easy to tell what are the right choices to make because often we are too enmeshed in our own circumstances to see. To see and know clearly VeUR needs to understand history and understand what drives and motivates people. To do this requires sophisticated skills like considering facts and balancing opinions. Studying history requires careful record keeping and good listening skills. VeUR is always asking questions.

VeUR has long legs these help her to stand above the present and look at the long view of history and time. VeUR has satellite dish ears and eyes, these help her to listen carefully - even though events might have happened a long time ago and far away. Her small beak asks questions and is able to pick out important snippets of information and weave them together. VeUR has a monitor belly this represents all the ways she can access and record information, whether that be books, TV, the Internet or face-to-face, etc. Her arms are both the balance of the scales and the stylus for recording (think HB pencil).

VeUR's wide awake look is sure to charm with her delightfully considerate personality.

Ten of each of these toys (30 in total) will be traveling around Queensland schools and libraries helping childern learn and interact with technology. Each Travel Buddy comes with a diary and a digital camera and the kids get to keep a blog of the Travel Buddies activities. Wow, sounds right up my alley doesn't it!! (see my blog LilliandTom)

At almost 50cm tall, fully lined and reinforced, it takes me about 2 weeks to constuct just three, and that's working all the time. I haven't finished all of them yet, so you now know what I'm doing in the trenches every day here at the home studio.

The ExplorAnauts' designs, while being used for various projects by the State Library of Queensland, belong to me and are a part of my Flying Star Toys collection. I've been very happy to have been given the opportunity to work on this project as it stands at the heart of my feelings about life-long learning, the benefits of education and the imagination.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Frank for Frank

I was commission by Frank Theatre to make a doll for their production of "Hamlet Stooged".

It's based on a smaller Stan Laural porcelain doll (ie Laural and Hardy) that was a bit too small and too fragile for them to use.

The head, boots and arms are sculpted from air drying clay and his body is of fabric.

My version has a personality all its own. For his spirit to come out I had to follow the original without constraining my creativity. A new doll of this sort can never be a copy, if it was its spirit would be thick and dead. I had to allow him to partake of his own essence, so to speak.

My much larger doll is gentler than the orginal who was more enigmatic and a bit of a smarty too, in a perfectly chaming way of course:)

Dear Jacqui Carroll, the director of Frank Theatre, came to collect him today so he is off to his life on the Stage. Here's Jacqui already imagining him in performance!

Jacqui thought that he didn't look like a Stan and has given him the name Frank, quite a compliment I think.

"Hamlet Stooged" is an Aussie folktale of death and adolescence reworked from the classic Shakespeare play. You can find out more about Frank Theatre here, or use the link in the Web Links sidebar.

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Tangram Designs

This is the pattern for cutting a Tangram set from a square. My set is made of MDF wood that I've painted black. I didn't cut it myself though.

One day, when our miserly old landlord (from our former residence) was renovating the upstairs flat in order to charge twice as much for the mouldy appartment, I bravely sent my partner John upstairs to ask the nice Chippy (Aussie slang for carpenter) to cut my wooden square into the tangram shapes I had drawn on its surface. He kindly cut them, using his very loud circular saw. I undercoated the pieces and painted them black. Finally, I had my own proper tangram set.

It should be opaque and black, its easier to form the silhouettes that way. Cardboard isn't a permanent option as it will warp, but if you don't have a saw that can cut with fine precision, cardboard could be the way to go.

Here are some tangram designs for you to try. Some of the ducks are very amusing.

These images are taken from the book, Tangram: The Ancient Chinese Shapes Game by Joost Elffers, Penguin Books, 1979.

If you would like to try tangrams but find sissors a bit too dangerous try playing tangrams on-line, I prefer my wooden ones but this could be fun too, click here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Songs for My Cat - FEED MEoW


Fish for Dinner
Steak for Tea
Chicken for Lunch
Milk for Me.

Waiting for tidbits
Purring s' loud
when foodtime is over
for cuddles too proud.

writen today by me, Florence Forrest.

I like writing rhymes, they're fun. But I don't know what to do with them. I guess I'll write them here for you and I'll sing them to Baby, my cat, my muse.

Hey, what's that picture you ask? They're tangrams, otherwise know as the Seven-Board of Cunning (that's ch'i ch'ae pan) its an ancient Chinese game using a square cut into seven special pieces, that the player uses to create silhouettes of things. I have a book that contains 1,600 different figures to attempt, those above are some of the cats. Did you know that the house logo I use for Lilli&Tom is a configuration of the tangram. Well, its true!

Tonight, preparing this blog, I played with my own wood tangram set and attempted some tangrams. It was creative and challenging. I bet if one was to practice this game it could help in training to "think outside the square", you know that stuff everyone insists you should do but doesn't really know how to do themselves...yeah that stuff. (please excuss the pun in this paragraph!)

It's really easy to make your own set out of heavy cardboard. If anyone would like, I'll post up the tangram square and some more illustrations to try out. Libraries would have books on it. It was quite popular with the primary schools when I was little, that's where I first encountered them:)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hello WindBag and Thunder

WindBag and Thunder...I thought it might be a nifty name for my behind the scenes blog. I have a couple of other blogs and they are dedicated to my other interested, I felt I needed a blog to just write some of my general thoughts and ideas, just for fun:)

The image above I'll be using as my "logo" for WindBag and Thunder, its where I got the name from. This image is stitched together from the two companion screens "Screen of the God of Wind and God of Thunder" by Tawaraya Sotatsu from the early 17th Century CE (Japanese National Treasure, Kenninji Temple, Kyoto). The God of Wind is the one with the bag/sheet and the God of Thunder is the one aptly surrounded by drums. I loves these screen the first time I saw them. I love the personification of the elements. When the wind moves across the land at night I imagine this deity passing by invisble in the darkness. When the thunder rumbles in the distance I can imagine this god rolling upon his wheeling drums.

The smoking energy of the clouds at their feet is particularly fine and expressive. These screens are made by painting the pigment directly onto gold leaf and here it is used as a startling and powerful ground. Hmmm

Well, here's cheers to WindBag and Thunder !!