Even when I'm busiest doing the other stuff (end of financial year - bleugh!) I need a little bit of creative squeezed in between.
This week I was delighted to receive this parcel from Spoonflower with some old designs resized, and also some experimental swatches of my block prints digitally printed. I love these two tiled designs and I like seeing them small like this, in fact I'm wondering how they'd look even smaller! I think they'd look great as a dress or Tova top, but which one to use!? Which one do you like?
Another I changed the scale on is my cloud print. Its so small here it would be perfect for quilting and smaller projects. I love that with Spoonflower you can play around and fiddle with designs, its fun to experiment. The small Lego print I've had before but its been out of stock for a while. Its in the shop now. Actually my Bricks print has been really popular! I sent off yardage to an Interior Design firm for curtains for a Lego room the other day! I hope to have a photo to share of that one day.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up some cheap screens on Ebay, planning on playing around a bit with screenprinting with stencils, which for some reason I've never done. I also got a new squeegee which was nice :-)
Here's my first experiment, a one hour project, it was quick and fun and I can see more in my future. After reading online I think I might buy some mylar to make the stencils more durable next time.
But now I'm off to see what creative everyone else has managed this week, here.
Alisa Coburn's Ink Caravan blog is one of the really beautiful spaces on the interwebs. Its like a coffee table book full of delightful illustration, wonderful photography, vintage images, creative links, crafts and references. I'm always delighted when I notice a new post from Alisa pop up in my Google Reader. She has a great eye and marries images together so beautifully that I'm always entranced by her posts.
Its no wonder then that her pinterest feed is also at the top of my favourites. She's always adding little gems that's she's found around the place, and like me she loves natural forms, vintage illustration, pattern, clothes, fabric, art and design.
Alisa is a talented illustrator and her blog shows her beautiful illustration work made in pencil, watercolour, gouache and ink. She often shares her process, and I love her eye for colour. (I'm really hoping she likes the colour I've chosen for her interview ;-)
She was the deserved winner of the popular choice prize for this year's Umbrella Prints Trimmings challenge for her fabulous folded book made with their beautiful fabrics. It is an amazing piece which I've shown part of below, but worth checking out more closely on her blog.
Alisa joined in with my Big Brooch Swap last year and her foxy brooch (above) was one of my very favourites from the swap We've seen glimpses since of some beautiful gocco prints in the same series that look just as lovely, and so when she (finally) opens her Etsy shop I'll be there at the door peering impatiently in at the window.
On top of all that Alisa is a lovely and thoughtful blogging friend whose encouragement is always generously given. If you haven't been to her place then I really think you should visit. Thank you Alisa for being part of the Show & Tell series.
My style is something I find quite tricky to pin. I think maybe it falls into two camps - one that is quite kid friendly with a vintage feel and the other is inspired by the individual in an emotional relationship with nature. I love to show movement in things like wind and water and I looove drawing people - faces and personalities are endlessly fascinating.
2. Why blog? How did you start?
I started reading blogs as a breather to life with a new baby and a toddler. I felt overwhelmed and needed parenting tips and a creative escape in bitesize portions. I was blown away to discover the huge creative and incredibly generous blogging community out there. Blogs like hop skip jump and Loobylu, to name just a couple, inspired me and helped me keep some level of sanity - I'll always be grateful for that.
I love blogging - It's the perfect opportunity to play with photography and create stories around snippets of life and is a constant reminder to me to have a point. Plus the friendships I've made are just the best!
3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
I've always been a squiggler - my aunty could always tell which bedroom was mine with her eyes shut because it reeked of coloured pencils. I started out in animation and learnt tonnes on the job - mostly about how to be silly and work silly hours. All good training for life ahead.
I'm also a trained graphic designer, art director and I spent my last 6 fulltime work years before kids as a promo director at the BBC. Illustration has been a part of all of those jobs but I've never actually called myself an illustrator before now. I obviously have a thing for reinventing myself.
4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
We currently live in a shoebox flat, so my creative space is a very snug corner of the main living space sandwiched between the girls bedroom door and the kitchen table. The creative mess tidal wave often sweeps across the kitchen table. Needless to say I fantasize about having a proper studio that I don't have to tidy.
5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
I wanted a name that sounded fun and evocative. It took a while to settle on one but I quite like ink caravan. To me it suggests exploration and adventure, maybe an intriguing parade of characters or that wonderful studio space tucked into a forgotten corner of a garden that I pine for.
6. Favourite media to work in?
I mainly work with pencil, ink and watercolour or goauche on paper but I also adore printmaking - I love that it leaves room for happy accidents and imperfections - imperfection is something I'm learning to embrace.
7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
Oooh I have heaps of these. One is to fine tune ink caravan as a brand and open an Etsy shop - I've been threatening to for ages. I got quite close to opening the virtual doors but then realised I really didn't have enough variety of stock. I've been busy dreaming up some new ideas to remedy that. I'd love to do another children's book, a printing workshop would be lovely, more working with collage in fabric and felt, some animation... and... and... and... !
8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
My deskspace is usually a very good reflection of my headspace. Too neat isn't healthy, it may mean that the creative anxiety levels are raging, but too messy can mean I'm totally lost, adrift in too many half finished thoughts. I think pretty and tidy-ish is a good place to be.
9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Oh that's tricky! There's no way I could pick just one. The handknitted woollens we were given for our babies by Mark's mum, the needle felted pond with mother duck and ducklings given to the girls by a clever aunty, plus so many lovely things that have come to live with me through blogland.
10. Favourite food/recipe?
I looove breakfast! Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, full english, pancakes, coffee... all of it. Preferably consumed on a lazy morning in the best relaxed cafes around the world every Sunday for the rest of my life. Ahhhh!
11. Favourite colour?
I used to be able to answer this question with 'greenish blues' but now I tend to think more in terms of combinations and have fallen in love with so many others. In fact I'm pretty sure there isn't a colour out there that can't be made dazzling in the right combination. I wonder which colour Susie will give my banner. : )
12. Star sign?
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
Someplace with a view of the sea or being up high where I can see the whole sky. Most of the landscapes I've loved are intertwined with the thrill of travelling - Early morning mist falling down the cliffs into the sea at Santorini, The sparkling Cinque Terre coast, The green parks of London in summer and the colours in the Scottish Highlands. I just don't think I've settled on my ideal yet.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
Not convinced I'm all that good with this one, I was hoping you might know some. I'm just grateful for having a supportive partner.
15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
This is just a drop in an ocean of incredible talent but artists... Paul Klee, the lithographs of Henri Toulouse Lautrec and Édouard Vuillard, Modigliani; Edward Ardizzone, Japanese woodblock prints, Laura Carlin, Carson Ellis, Raquel Aparicio, Isabelle Arsenault, Violeta Lopiz...
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
I'm really proud to have worked with Alison Johns on the children's book 'Amelia has Cancer' it is a valuable resource that was sorely needed for newly diagnosed children.
17. Three words to describe yourself?
Optimistic, chatty, playful.
18. What do you like to do besides creating?
Playing with my kids, making things for my kids, visiting places with rich history, cruising museums and galleries, watching vintage films and animation, reading children's picture books, having coffee with buddies, pinning, baking...
I loved Leslie's second handprinted fabric swap as much as the first, and I'm sure if and when she does it next time I'll put my hand up again!
Swaps are so inspiring. If you've never done one they take you out of your comfort zone a bit the first time but make you produce good, careful and creative work to deadline, which is always good, and often make you experiment with mediums and techniques you've never tried, as it did with my pincushion, brooch and handprint I swaps.
This time was no different and I had lots of fun with my blockprinted design again, (tutorial here) but even better I got to send pieces off to other swappers both near and far and received treasures in the mail in return.
A million thanks to my fellow swappers Rebecca, Anna, Jane and Sheila, and thanks to Leslie for organising. I've provided their blog links along with pictures of their beautiful fabrics below.
I'm hoping to pop in over the weekend, but if time gets away from me don't forget to come back Tuesday for this month's Show & Tell! You may not all know the blogger I'm featuring this month but I'm sure you will love her work and her blog.
My kids have never seen or touched snow, so a week before the school holidays we decided on the spur of the moment to remedy that, and luckily managed to find some last minute accomodation for our southern roadtrip. I'm so glad we did, it was great fun!
On the drive down we stayed a couple of nights in Canberra and visited Questacon (a great interactive science museum) and the National Art Gallery. We also squeezed in a quick trip to the Australian War Memorial, and while I would have loved to have had longer here we got to see some of the WWI galleries and dioramas (which A is studying) and were there to see a lone bugler play the Last Post as it closed, so moving.
We caught up with two lots of lovely friends in between, and then drove south through the beautiful Snowy Mountains country to Jindabyne, a small town on a big lake which is down the mountain from the NSW ski resorts. From here we made day trips to Perisher where we clomped around in our snow gear and tobogganed in the fresh snow. It was great, especially the second day when we moved across and found our own hill away from the madness and had races down the mountain. We ate picnic lunch amongst the snow gums at the top of the hill and Mr D and I made this snow lady.
Some other favourite things about the trip were the huge skies and incredible clouds in this part of the world, those very Australian landscapes and small town streets, where we op shopped and bought lunch at the local bakeries.
Some friends and I took our school holiday kids on the free ferry to Cockatoo Island on Tuesday. The Sydney Art Biennale is on this month with sites around the city including a large showing at this old industrial island which has all its old buildings and cranes and slipways and tunnels. I didn't realise it before visiting but Cockatoo Island is also an old convict site too.
In fact I hadn't been to Cockatoo Island before and I must admit the space, the old industrialia, the old wooden, sandstone and fibro buildings, the tennis court on the edge of a cliff, the convict buildings on the plateau up top, the rickety stairways past large fig trees hanging by convoluted root systems to the cliff face, the ruined glasshouses and the views to the city were my favourite part of the trip.
The art was perfect in this context, and we just loved it all. It was the perfect day trip and great for the kids, they ran and played in the open space between galleries and then explored the art in between. There are some pop up cafés all around the island too and we had delicious noodles for lunch sitting out in the square in the sun.
A favourite part was this large gallery draped and garlanded with bits of coloured materials everywhere which were sewn with vintage buttons, buttonholes and magnets. The kids all played dressups and ended up looking like Persian and Japanese princes and garden fairies.
Another favourite was this fog installation (made by a 78 year old Japanese woman artist) which changed the light in a magical way. I also loved the carved sandstone tunnel that ran right through the middle of the sandstone plateau with these lovely old numbers painted along the supports. I only wish I'd taken my camera and not just my phone, but I will definitely be going back. It runs till September so there is plenty of time to make the trip again. If you get a chance to go do, this is a magic day!
Whats up in your creative space this week? To see more inspiration head over here.
Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on my foam printing tutorial, I've actually been showered with Pinterest love this week after the wonderful Rashida Coleman-Hale (of I heart linen fame) pinned it to her Fabulous Tutorials board. I love thinking that lots of crafty people will have a try at this simple printing style.
I've also been lucky enough this month to have my Filigree tea towel featured in a Moody Blues spread in this month's Homespun magazine. I'm in great company in this beautiful issue, with lots of great crafters, projects and tutorials this month.
Also in the blue spectrum, I joined in with Poppytalk's Summer Colours Flickr Group this past week. I've played before a couple of times, in Jan's Collecting Nature and Spring Colours Weeks and I love the beautiful images that come out of these community projects, they're always stunning. I was really excited that Jan used my swimming pool image as the title image for the blue day, along with some others of mine (the waves on the left and the mountains on the right).
In the same spirit I'm also joining in with Ally from Everyday Miracles posting a monthly garden moodboard. This is my first, July.