Thursday, May 29, 2008

May Blog Giveaway

What you will receive:
-A sample pack of screenprinted fabric
- A felt lady badge (not the one shown, her name is Martha and she lives here)
- A little pouch with a screenprinted design (not the one shown)

Who can enter?
- Anyone, as long as Australia Post will send it to you, you can enter.

What do you need to do?
- Leave a comment on my blog with the best film you have seen recently and you current favourite TV show.

When will the winner be announced?
- I will select a winner using a random number generator on Sunday June 8th and post it on my blog. If you are the winner I will contact you by email (so make sure I can contact you) to collect your address.

To get the ball rolling the best film I've seen recently was last night when I watched Priceless with Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. My current favourite TV show is The X-Files, we have been watching it on DVD and I think it might have jumped the shark but it is still rather good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Drawing At the Museum - Part Four

It was Bridget and my fourth week of drawing birds at the Melbourne Museum. I'm not sure what we will do when we run out, I'm hoping they have a giant room full of specimens and that will never have to draw the same bird twice.

We get our own little table in the discovery centre and this time I took along large bulky news and some brush and ink. I much prefer working big and although was shocked at the size of the paper when I unwrapped it, I realise it was much better working large. However the duck was so big that I almost always didn't take everything into account and would run out of room.

The ink is a great medium because you can get some paler shades when it is watered down, then use the pure black stuff to add more details. I'm going to use the drawings to design bird prints for screenprinting. Although I will probably change them up a bit they are great reference points.

We usually draw from about 11 - 4 with a break for lunch and yesterday we wandered over to Port Jackson Press for the Martin King exhibition, Slowly Disappearing Darling. After weeks of drawing birds it was the perfect exhibition and if you're in Melbourne go and have a look, it is on until June 14th. It reminded me a bit of William Kentridge with the hand drawn animation of birds in flight. I'm hoping a trend starts because there is nothing more beautiful than hand drawn animation.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cherry Blossom Tote

I made up some bags using my new fabric last week to take to Rose Street. The denim and cherry blossom print work really well together and I plan on making some little wallets with the same combination. I plan on printing some more fabric this week with another design using the bird cutouts from this print. I made up a print already using the birds with a large drop shape and I think it will work on a larger scale with some repeats.

I have some pale blue fabric I want to use but I don't know if I will use white or black ink. Black seems to work when when doing larger runs as the white is thicker, but the white on pale blue looks lovely.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Little Queenie is over on Etsy. She has a pretty name and pretty blue eyes.

I was tagged recently by An Artful Mess so I thought I would write some random facts. There is only three, but I have pictures, so it makes up for the missing 5 facts.

1. Stacey from Sheep's Clothing blog post from last week happened to me today, although not at Ikea. I was also wearing one of Stacey's crochet hair ties as well, the one hair tie I've been able to keep for over a year without losing.

2. Gareth and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary a few days ago. By celebrated I mean forgot it completely. I think I inherited my fathers romantic side, who knows what happened to Gareth. This is us in the early days in 2002 when I lived in West Brunswick and worked in a call centre. Oh the fun.

3. In my last year of Uni I spent about 8 days in the NSW arid zone with the School of Environmental Science as an artist in residence. We were basically there to document the trip and had an exhibition afterwards. The thing that interested me the most was the bushes and shrubs, although only a meter or so high, they had a root system that went down about 50 meters. That ended up being a large focus for my work and the artwork shown here is called Nanya Roots. The picture isn't that great and although my digital camera was about $400, it was from 2001 and a 1 mexapixel shoebox.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dead Draw

Some more drawings from this weeks museum drawing session. I did less drawings this time and spent longer on a big bit of paper Bridget gave me (I left my big stuff at home as I ran out the door) but it is too large to scan and I didn't get round to photographing it. The light is getting worse and worse for photographing things in my studio so I'm putting it off.

Rose Street is tomorrow and I've got some printed t-shirts and fabric packs as well as the usual bags, badges and artworks. This week isn't going to be raining according to the weather and I might not need my nanna blanket to keep me toasty warm.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two Style

My two new fabric designs have been photographed and are both available on all three of my online shops, Etsy, Dawanda and Madeit. The second one was printed yesterday and took a little longer. Red ink, although I love it, it a lot different to black. It seems to smell more and is a lot thicker and stickier.

The red print is called Flame Flower and came about after a lot of different ideas were drawn on the paper, and even when it was drawn it changed around a bit. Both designs are hand drawn and hand cut from paper and screenprinted by me. If Jane Fonda needs to release a new workout she can do one based on screenprinting as my arms hurt a little from the whole process. Oh and if she needs a sound track I recommend some Santogold, White Williams, Presets and Drapht.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cherry Blossom Print

So today was the day I decided to do a decent run of screenprinting. I should have taken shots of the process, but I had enough things to do already I don't think it would have worked. Plus I didn't want ink on my camera.

I don't have a set up for printing on a large length of fabric. We have a dining table which is not small, but when you are planning on printing 10 meters of fabric it ends up being about 8.5 meters short. My plan was to drop the fabric down in front of the heater to allow it to dry quickly so I could roll it. I cranked gassy boy up to high and it worked well.

I had thick fabric over a chair to guide the fabric over and keep it off the ground and had to keep rolling it along as I worked. I also got some fabric pens today to add some red and green detail. I tested the red and green together but I'm not sure if I like it as it looks too christmasy to me. What do
you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fabric Fashion

I've been coming up with some designs to screenprint onto fabric as a pattern rather than a one off design. At the moment I come up with designs that will go specifically onto a product I make and I still make my stencils from paper. This has some obvious disadvantages but I love the fact that the designs are hand drawn and I think it sets them apart from a lot of the computer aided design out there. I use cartridge paper and more often than not the stencils are able to be kept with the layer of ink strengthening them for the next use.

My only issue with printing larger quantities is the heat treatment of the inks to cure them. I would love to know if there is a place I could go with one of those big heat machines (like the pizza ovens) that I could use. If anyone knows of something in Melbourne please email me, or leave a comment.

This design is really basic so would suit my handcut design. I like the idea of painting the buds and leaves with fabric ink once it is finished. Definitely inspired by Danielle's post on the Madeit blog about Karolina York and the fabric designs they create.

This design has aspects that I really like, but the overall look isn't that great. I love the red and aqua colour combination and just got more aqua fabric today for creating more red prints like this one.

This was created in a mad rush after reading the post by Julia Rothman over at Design Sponge. My joins are a little off and the whole thing is rushed and far to busy and chaotic to even think about trying to cut it out from paper but I think there is a little method to the madness.

By the way, if you have not been to the Fifi Lapin blog, go there now. Everytime there is an update I get excited, the drawings are so fantastic and fabulous.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Duck Duck Goose

Bridget and I spent another day doing some bird drawings at the museum last Thursday. I was a bit put out when I realised I had forgotten my pencil case as I had crammed it full off all sorts of drawing treats before leaving. They have some containers with pencils at the museum so I knew I wouldn't be totally without and I still remembered my brush and inks.

This time we had a duck, which was a little tricky to draw (but not as bad as the owl, he was really hard work). I tried drawing a specific beak angle about 8 times over and over and still didn't seem to get it right. This drawing above is a water colour and pencil combination. I think next week we have booked some birds of prey and I plan on taking bigger paper to accommodate them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Pin Is Mightier Than The Sword

I think the needle and thread is one of my favourite tools to work with because it does so much more than just stitch things together. You can use it to make a line as well as attach things. It is like glue and a pen or pencil all in one.

These are some little booties I made with the
Heather Bailey pattern for Gareth's little nephew. They were meant to be shell tops but I got it a little mixed up when I was cutting it out. I also just learnt how to blanket stitch. I know it is simple, but it took me a few internet tutorials to understand. Once I got going I was fine, but starting it off was a little tricky.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cutie Cutie

I put these little ladies up today on Etsy and Dawanda and thought they were winning any cute competition my badges might have been having. They don't always look cute, I had one recently that look a little stupid, as in her IQ was in the mid 90s. She wasn't bad, she just didn't look like smarts was something she had.

If you are wanting a bit of a giggle have a look over at the Madeit blog for a feeature I did on fellow Rose Streeter, Kirsten from Ig Headquarters. Her drawings are fabo and funny. What a great combination.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gold Leaf

I made up some collages today using a variety of different papers including this gold paper, the stuff you get from the Asian grocers. I've had it for about 5 years and never used it much, but discovered today it works perfect with blue thread.

I also included some of the green silk I found in Footscray last week and paper from a French dictionary and music sheets. Collaging with my sewing machine is one of my favourite things and my plan is to make a series of 6 collages using the same paper and fabric to sell.

I lay all the items on each sheet and then start planning the composition, starting with one item and then placing everything else around it.

The inspiration comes from the shapes and using the lines in one object then lining that up with another shape. Bauhaus posters and design is something that is also an influence and I find limiting my objects helps me create the artworks much better.

I think making a little video of the way I place the objects could be interesting project because there are decisions that I make and ideas which I scrap before I come up with the final idea. Then I hope it all stays in place when I start to sew it up. They are available on Etsy.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday, May 09, 2008

Blind Contour

It is almost bedtime and I'm so tired. I was up early today with a long list of jobs to get done. I got through almost all of them and now I just want to sleep. I have Rose Street tomorrow and I'm packing a few art books to take along for Bridget. We spent a bit of time chatting about drawing and so I've got Betty Edwards Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain and the Dan Eldon book to show her.

The Betty Edwards book is one I have had for ages, I think Mum got it for me in high school. I would always look at the before and after pictures of people who did the course and be amazed by the improvements. I found its true value when I started teaching art to high school students and although almost all the kids in the room would look at me funny when I told them they had to spend the first 15 minutes NOT looking at the paper one would always put their hand up and answer blind contour when I asked them if they knew what it was called. They started to understand when I told them that the eye is connected to the hand via the brain and to trust that relationships but when they saw the actual improvements in the drawings they knew I wasn't talking crazy art teacher talk.

When I got to the museum to draw the birds I sat down and start drawing a really detailed drawing. I got a few minutes in and realised I wasn't doing what I should be and there were about 150 kids who, if they saw me, would say Miss Blaaaaaaaaandford, you shouldn't be looking at your paper. The mess of lines above is my blind contour.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Drawing at the Museum

I had a little field trip today and joined Bridget at the Melbourne Museum for some bird drawing. As I was leaving Rose Street on Saturday Bridget mentioned how she had requested some birds on stands from the collection to draw and asked if I would like to come. Birds that are not in books but don't move? What could be better*?

We spend a few solid hours drawing and next time I am thinking of bringing some inks and a larger variety of paper. We had our own little table and I found a box of coloured pencils on the next one which came in very handy. This is one of the drawings I did of the Red Wattlebird and I've put some more up on Flickr. Bridget has also blogged about it (I stole her title) and her drawing is of the Chough.

Oh and if you want to read an interview where Jodie from Meringue and I talk shop, Indie Art and Design have one up right now. They also have 12 limited edition badges and wristlets available from the new Indie Store. Carolyn will be interviewing designers and selling limited edition items through the new store. It is great to see this kind of support for Australian Designers and I feel really honoured to be involved with such a fantastic blog.

*We actually decided that drawing from life is better than drawing from dead because there is something else in the drawing that you seem to capture, but at the time it sounded like the perfect drawing situation.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boys Called Gareth

I found this today and it made me laugh a fair bit. Men called Gareth are always the special ones. Below is a drawing I did while restarting my computer for the 15th time today. The internet decided to go a little crazy and not work and as I'm addicted I was breaking out in hives within about five minutes. I ended up using the laptop as it was my computer that need the slap (not the modem or ISP), but I hate using other computers as nothing is where I want it. Anyway it is working again thanks to none other than G Man himself. Total star.

Monday, May 05, 2008

More Birds

This is the bird print I made up from the drawing I did in my sketchbook a few weeks back. I made one up into a bag and the rest are sitting and waiting to be stitched up. I've been too busy to get much done due to drinks with old work colleagues on Friday night (great to hear some teacher stories again), Rose Street on Saturday and the Melbourne Meet on Sunday. It was great to see some new faces at the meet up and talk shop for a few hours. I've got some fun things happening this week with a trip to the Sidney Nolan exhibit on Wednesday and a bird drawing field trip with BridBird.

I've been stitching up a lot of badge ladies lately. I always get a few made at Rose Street and at nighttime I sit and watch some shows and make them up. It is nice to be productive and still watch the idiot box. There is always something new happening with the ladies and I wonder if I will ever run out of new ideas. I have a few new ones with mega lashes, some new colour combinations I had not yet thought of (red and pink IS a good combo) and of course new hairstyles. I think I'm going to have to find some wider plastic seal bags as I made one last night with a bun that makes her head look tiny. She is carrying a WIDE load!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

BridBird Interview

I finished my first interview on the Madeit blog yesterday and it is up today for everyone to read. It is with Bridget from BridBird and there are lots of images of her lovely products (including the willy wagtail brooch I have) and from the Rose Street Market.

The image above is a drawing I did yesterday of one of my badges with a body. I drew it in my sketchbook and then coloured it in in photoshop. I like the idea of the badges having bodies and clothes to design for those bodies.