Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where did January go?

Only four days this week ... mmm.... what did I do? I finished off making some felt pins - to go with my scarves and my model Sodabeh, wore them as belts. Sodabeh is an exchange student from Norway, and is Riikka's friend. These photos are to advertise my felt accessories classes later in the year at The Eclectic Studio in Sydney and at LamboArt Studio in Thornton .



Not sure how the month disappeared - still have a list of "things to do".... so this weekend is devoted to doll making. I am still making Mrs Chalumeau - a Pearly Queen for the Hello Dollies Challenge to be unveiled at the Craft and Quilt Fair in Newcastle 20-22 February. Our exhibition is called "Hello Dollies Goes Crazy" - a display of embellished dolls against a backdrop of embellished crazy quilts. It will look spectacular!
I have also joined a group called ATC (Artist Trading Card) Art Dolls. I participated in a swap this month with the theme "Retro". The rules are that a "doll" is to be made on a card base ( 2.5 in x 3.5 in), any media, and bits like legs and arms can fold up to the size. It isn't as easy as it sounds, especially working on a card base and so small. I started off with two images which really suited the 'retro" theme. I wanted to interpret the 1960 song " She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini" so I used the image of the girl hanging out the washing and made a cloth yellow polka dot bikini . Her legs were much longer than 3.5 in so they were attached with a brad to fold back to fit in the little envelope. The other one was much more straightforward, but I changed the original image from holding a chocolate cake to a "surprise' package and a bottle of champagne . Now she really does know her way around the kitchen. The rest of the saying is " A smart woman knows her way around the kitchen... right out the door and into a good restaurant!'. These two cards are now off to USA to another person in the group.
On the family front ... Brandon celebrated his fifth birthday on Tuesday and started school this week very happily. We didn't look after Dylan this week as he had his first sleep over at Kellie's and Adrian's place - very excited to sleep in the same bedroom as his cousin, Brandon. Unfortunately, he missed home and Kellie had to sleep with him! It was good for us to have a day off babysitting as Jim sprained his ankle on Monday and was in pain and hobbling around for a few days, and I am still plagued with tooth aches. To make things worse this week, we paid a visit to our financial adviser and that wasn't good news ... Oh well, we are still very fortunate and we still have many many more great days than bad. Be happy! It's a wonderful world!


photo above - Adrian cutting the cake, Brandon, Dylan, William, held by Riikka.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Celebrations 26 January

Happy Australia Day and Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Ox
Here is my husband , Jim, resplendent in his Chinese coat (a traditional garment worn by dong ba, Chinese scholars from the Na xi ethnic Chinese group) and Brandon, our oldest grandson in his trendy Aussie T-shirt. We have quite a few family celebrations happening this week - all featuring lots of great food, of course. Our son and daughter and their families are both hosting parties this weekend, so there has even been cooking here in our kitchen. Brandon has been learning to take photos with my digital camera, and here is one of his images of Chinese New Year - he took many photos of food from various angles in various stages of preparation.

This week I have been trying to catch up with the work from the online class I am taking from the Thread Studio - I have been working so furiously that I broke one of the felting needles in the embellisher machine. The "underwater" sample (left) is not quite finished - a few beads and hand stitching - I really enjoyed making this piece . it's amazing what you can create from oddments of yarn and wool. The lessons are so easy to follow and so much fun! Lots more feltfollies too, waiting for faces!
Three creative friends this week ... Wendy Hawthorne (also "retired" from "Education") held a wonderful fashion show of her work - an open house with afternoon tea, champagne and of course her beautifully made clothes in exquisite fabrics. Wendy has started a business called Forgiving Fashions , Clothing for Women of Substance . Isn't it a great name? Wendy does beautiful work and is really making a name for herself for one of a kind fashions here in Newcastle. I am hoping to collaborate with Wendy later this year - I would love to make some felted accessories to complement her winter range of fantastic jackets and suits. Please contact me if you would like to see some of Wendy's work and I will put you in touch with her.
Bobbi Oliver from LamboArt completed her amazing sculpture ( plane and aviator ) called "Blue Skies Forever". Please check it out on her blog http://lamboart.blogspot.com/- it is truly an exceptional piece of work.
My walking companion and friend, June, who sometimes finds it hard to understand my passion for the creative arts, with her daughter Julia, spent the afternoon on Thursday at my place making silver jewellery (Precious Metal Clay). They both achieved really good results for their first time working with silver - such beautiful, well -designed pendants and earring sets.
Julia's pendant and earrings ( above)

June's pendant and earrings

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hot Days and Wool

We have had some really hot days this week (I think Thursday was 41 degrees), and of course, I have been playing with wool. I am still making samples for my felting workshop and while it seems quite unseasonal, I am really happy with a couple of my scarves and have even been modelling them around the house.

I am also still working on the beaded felted jewellery and have started on a challenge doll for the Craft and Quilt Show here in Newcastle in February. I think most other doll makers have finished theirs and I am just starting. This is however, not surprising. – I like to think I prefer to work under pressure! This challenge is an interpretation of the pattern Mrs Chalumeau. I has only progressed as far as practising the button pattern on the skirt. .My plan is to make a Pearly Queen as I chose one of the suggested colour combinations -black and white. I hope to show some progress on her soon.

Although the weather hasn’t been really conducive to creativity , what a good week it’s been!
1. My mermaid bag is in the latest Beads etc magazine - a finalist in the current competition.
2. ETSY sales and very positive feedback, including my first sale to Scotland!
3. I started an online class to learn new ways of working with my felt embellishing machine. ( I have had fun with wool, silk and mohair - it’s all over the workroom )
4. More feltfollies in the shop. I love making these, and I think most of the fun is in writing their stories. Here are a few of the descriptions which go with them
Feltfollie Fancy Free : A “feltfollie” is an embellished felted flat shape which has magically developed its own personality and character. Feltfollie Fancy Free is an imaginative and creative thinker who loves to daydream of warm summer days in Monet’s garden, chasing dragonflies amongst the irises. This unique feltfollie could be a wearable/ brooch/art doll pin, a handbag accessory, or just a whimsical little treasure to help stimulate your imagination.
Feltfollie Festival Joker is a comic character who enjoys busking at festivals fairs and fetes, making people laugh, and just being outrageous. This unique feltfollie could be a wearable/brooch/art doll pin, a handbag accessory, or just a whimsical little treasure to bring laughter and colour to your life.
Feltfollie Financial Blues is feeling the effects of the recent economic downturn, but there is hope. Recalling the good old days and clutching a five cent saved from a first wages packet, this unique feltfollie could be a wearable/brooch/art doll pin, a handbag accessory, or just a whimsical little treasure to provide hope for the future.

Some of the things I’ve learnt this week:
- New technique using alcohol inks, thanks, Sue from Scrap Needs. Cardiff. ( finished cards pictured)
- More information about holidays in the Kimberleys from the travel expo Jim and I attended on Wednesday
- How to work Jim’s new camera – a Canon digital SLR
- new ways to work with my felt embellisher machine – thanks, Dale from The Thread Studio, WA
- Not to print out everything when subscribing to a magazine online
- Exercising does translate into weight loss – hooray!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Felting and Fabric Cats

It's been a great start to the new year - a few days at the beautiful and peaceful Bodhi Glades in Wentworth Falls (Blue Mountains), lots of successful sales on ETSY, a visit from Riikka's mother and sister from Finland, a lovely "welcome to Australia' with friends (24 of us in total) on Monday night at our place, and the usual busy days with Dylan and Brandon, our older grandsons ... as well as some creative work, of course. I have been trying to get some samples prepared for my workshops with The Eclectic Studio in Sydney later in the year. I even had to write an artist bio - I felt a bit stange having to do that, but you can check it out on the studio's website : http://www.eclecticstudio.com.au/ and follow the prompts from "class and workshops" to "meet the teachers". While you're there, please check it all the great stuff and workshops Roz is offering this year.


Anyway, this week I did manage to complete a sample (pictured) - a kind of "sea" bracelet made of felted beads, embroidered with glass beads and accompanied by foil glass beads. Even if I say so myself, it looks quite spectacular when it is worn. I have also half -made a necklace in similar colours with an elongated focal felted bead perhaps a photo next week? The beads are needle felted, wet felted and then finally needle felted again to make them really firm - I am not sure if this is the usual technique other felters use, but I found it the best way to make beads as firm as a tennis ball, whatever the size. I remembered this time to weigh the wool roving before felting so each bead is the same size.


I have also been making fabric cats this week. I purchased some metres of Laurel Burch cat print fabric soon after she tragically died last year, as a sign of the great respect I have for this exuberant designer. I am not really a great lover of cats, but I do love the fabric. Like a lot of things in my stash, they stay there for ages until almost forgotten and suddenly, I do something about them. Late last year, I made quite a few of these cats for an exhibition at Lorne Gallery. Since then I have adapted the pattern, and finished these four yesterday... actually I made five,but Brandon wanted one of them which had a fabric depicting planets and stars, so only these four made it to my ETSY shop. 1. Carnelian Cat, 2 Chinese Fortune Cat, 3. Hydrangea Cat and 4. Valentine Cat For a better look and more detailed descriptions, please have a look at them listed in the ETSY shop http://www.empresswu.etsy.com/.

While I was in my workroom yesterday trying to finish some alterations to newly purchased clothing for my daughter , Brandon (grandson, nearly 5) also did some needle felting - I have a Clover needle felting tool which is excellent for small children as it has a safety cover around the needles and a locking mechanism. I also gave him some large biscuit cutters and egg rings and he placed the wool inside these shapes, and kept his fingers on the outside - safe felting! Here is a photo of his work in progress - a lot more was added throughout the day.

Hope you all have a creative week , Wilma

Friday, January 2, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR


Best wishes for a a very happy new year. I've been creating more feltfollies but must stop as we are off to the Blue Mountains ... I'll post again on Monday with more up to date news.