Category Archives: Art

Artist’s Books Progress Report

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OMG! Only two weeks to before my work needs to be ready for the Artist’s Books Exhibition at the Riddoch Art Gallery. This is part of a group exhibition with the Thumbprint Printers Group, and I am pretty excited about it because the Riddoch Gallery is a wonderful regional gallery.
At this stage things are coming together quite nicely, but I still have a lot of finishing off to do and that always takes more time than you think it will.
I have a collection of books called Specimens.
It includes this Crabs book…

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I still need to print the pages for this book and make up a latch system. The crabs are made out of recycled parts from my old electric organ that I played as a child (when they were all the fashion).
Also, this birds book…

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…which may challenge some people’s ideas of what constitutes a book, but I like it. I have filled the flask with name labels for different birds – those which the collector has been unable to find specimens of because they have been collected into extinction.
There is also a book of Jellyfish specimens. This book just needs to have some text added and be bound now.

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Oh, and I need to find some more old rubber stoppers to go in the tops of the test tubes.
I wanted to get some waterry looking jellyfish pictures to go inside this book, so I have made monoprints using water soluble oil pastels.

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I was quite happy with the results although I am still experimenting with the idea if adding a little ink painting to them.
There is also a book of Fish specimens on microscope slides, but this one is the least developed at this stage.

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I am using an encaustic technique on the microscope slides and am incorporating bits of rubbish that I find when I am walking my dog.
All if the Specimens books use mostly recycled or found objects.

I have two other books as well. This one is called Fly and is a necklace book.

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I still need to string it up on some rings and a chain.

Finally, I have this one that I call Mehetibal in the Garden. I have used a cyanotype printing technique and also some lino prints on to clear plastic.

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It is also still waiting to be bound. I am intending to make a simple concertina binding incorporating sticks, and I am also planning to add some broken egg shell to some of the pages.

Looks like a busy couple of weeks coming up for me. Stay tuned for a sneak peak at the finished products soon.
All the best,
Sharee

Brittany’s ‘Fly’ Scarf

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I have decided to make a new schedule to keep my blog rolling along. On Mondays I will write about homeschooling, on Wednesdays it will be a lifestyle post, and on Fridays it will be a post about art. This is very good timing for me because today is Friday and I have just finished Brittany’s scarf.

This is the scarf I have been making for my son’s girlfriend, Brittany, who lives in America. It is a present for her birthday which was a couple of weeks ago – hopefully she will forgive my lateness. I wanted to make her a scarf because where she lives it is very cold and she wears a scarf every day. It is made using recycled fabric from clothes I have bought from the Op Shop, which I have cut up, dyed, bleached, printed, manipulated and generally experimented on. I was using all these pieces to experiment and refine my skills especially using dye paste and bleach paste printing.
The scarf is called ‘Fly’. Brittany and my son enjoy doing a lot of bird watching together (so sweet), so I wanted it to have a birds theme and I have included bird prints, feather prints, and phrases about flying in the embroidery.

This is the first time I have done freestyle machine embroidery and I am absolutely hooked – love the effect of the ‘messy’ sewing, and it is really quite relaxing to do. I really need a better sewing machine though, that is first on my list of things to buy when I sell a few pieces.

Ok, here it is….

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Unfortunately, the photos are terrible, but I wanted to get this post up today, will try and get some better ones tomorrow.

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I have another scarf in pink and blue colourways that I will finish off this week and then put up for sale somewhere, not sure where yet, but stay tuned to see that one next Friday.

Only 7 weeks to go until the artists books exhibition at the Riddoch Gallery In Mt Gambier, so I will need to get back to work on my books this week too.

I hope you are finding opportunities to be creative too.
All the best,
Sharee

Doodles on the Train

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If you thought this post was going to be about dirty old men in trench coats flashing their family jewels at people on the train – sorry, you might as well stop reading now lol.
What I’m talking about are the drawing type of doodles, you know, the ones we all do when we’re talking on the phone.
My daughter drew my attention to doodles a little while ago when she pointed out that I always write Hello in fancy cursive and then draw a box around it when I doodle. This led to me pulling out the notebook I keep near the phone to check out other recurring themes in my doodles.
As well as writing Hello, I often write the word ‘alphabet’ and the actual alphabet. I just like the way it feels to write these loopy words in the old fashioned cursive that I learnt at school.
Another common element in my doodles is flower petals. Sometimes these make flowers and sometimes they just make scallops around boxes and sometimes they are petals upon petals.
Often things are put into fancy boxes, and more rarely I will draw cubes or squares. (looking for examples of these to post but of course I can’t find any right now!)
I have been reading ‘Sew Wild’ by Alisa Burke and in this book she suggests doodling as a starting point for creating fabric designs. She says “Drawing – and even doodling – is the simplest and purest process you can incorporate into your daily creative routine”. Another book I am reading is ‘Art at the Speed of Life’ by Pam Carriker. I bought myself this book for Christmas and I love it. In the book different artists talk about ways of finding opportunities to fit art into your everyday life, and the importance of finding creative outlets for yourself.
Now, when we moved to Brisbane I had this vision of myself whenever I caught the train, working away at my writing on my iPad and getting heaps of work done. In reality, it is a race between the two boys to see who can be the first one to ask me if they can play on the iPad as soon as we get on the train. I don’t even get a look in. So, my new plan is that while the boys are busy with the iPad, I will take the time whenever we are on the train to do some doodling. I have packed a little Sketch book and drawing pen into my bag and I am set to go.
I quite like this, because I am not really a very confident drawer, but calling it doodling gives me license to relax and draw freely just for fun, without having to worry about how good the results are.
Here are a few pages I have done so far – remember, it is not meant to be great drawing, it is more about a flow of ideas and experimenting with different motifs and shapes.

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This was the first one I did, before I put my drawing book in my bag, so it’s on an envelope. I quite likes the crab drawing and I spent quite a bit of time experimenting with ways to draw jellyfish.

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Some of the flower motifs that are often in my drawings.

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This one had a bit of a dance theme.

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This one had a water theme, but it was inspired by the sad sight of a little boy being treated quite horribly by his parents, that’s why it’s a bit sad.

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And finally the one I did today. I was trying to draw the design I saw on a trivet in a gift shop, it came out completely different, but I really like it – I think I’ll add some text to it on my next trip.

I am already seeing that I can now pull a lot of the elements of these doodles out and build them up into fabric designs or prints, so it is working really well. It also gives me something to do on the train – perfect!
I hope you get a chance to do some doodling today – grab a pen and some paper and do some doodling now while you watch this great TED talk by Sunni Brown, Doodlers Unite
Happy doodling to you,
Sharee

Neglected blogs and busy lives

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Dear Blog,
I am sorry I have neglected you. We have been busy, in a lazy stay at home, do things that you love, kind of way. It gets to this stage of the holidays and I feel like I am really on top of everything – house is tidy, bills are paid, meals are planned, exercise done, artwork is in full swing. Unfortunately I know from experience that it all ends next week when school goes back, and we go back to juggling schooly stuff, and homeschool groups and after school activities, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
Here are some things that we have been doing in our house…

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I have been doing lots of fabric dying experiments. I am going to use these pieces to make a birthday present for my son’s girlfriend. I have just tried a technique using flour paste from Jane Dunnewold’s book Art Cloth, and I loved the results.

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This is one of my favourite pieces. It was tie dyed and then I added a mono print using dye paste.

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I am planning to do some more work on these pieces using discharge paste today and then maybe some printing.

The other thing I have been experimenting with is encaustic work. I borrowed Encaustic Workshop by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch from the local library and was so inspired by it that I rushed out and bought some basic encaustic supplies. Encaustic is painting with wax, and all you really need to get started is a bag of wax and a heat gun, so it’s fairly cheap. I really enjoyed the technique and I can see lots of potential for using this technique in some of my artist’s books, especially the Specimens series that I am working on at the moment.

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My boys have been creative too. Axel raided my box of sculpture goodies and came up with a beetle and a dog – gorgeous!

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And Zac made this cool bug, notice he has a tiny antenna so he can be remote controlled.

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And while they had the gear out I made another crab and added some updates to some of the older ones.

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Not to be left out, my teenage daughter made a doorstop and this gorgeous bunting using vintage fabrics.

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Gotta love creative days of summer. I hope your summer is creative too.
All the best,
Sharee

My Artwork in progress

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It’s taken me quite a while to come around to this. I’m just not a person who feels all that comfortable sharing my artwork ‘in progress’. Even when I have been involved in art classes I always preferred to take my things home and work in privacy when I could. Often when I was doing painting at TAFE, people would come and stand behind and look at what I was doing and boy did it make me squirm! Partly it is because I am self conscious and I don’t want people to see the ‘unsuccessful experiments’ that are an essential part of the art making process. A big part of it though, is that I just like that ‘da da’ moment when you show your work for the first time – I get a real buzz from that.
Having said all that, I have decided to share this work in progress, just between you and me.

I am working on a series of Artist’s books at the moment with the theme ‘Specimens’. These will hopefully be my main pieces in a group exhibition that I am involved with in May.
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My journals are not very fancy, although I have had a bit of a play with adding watercolour to this one. Mostly they are places for quickly scrawled notes, stuck in photos and printouts, and rough sketches. I am envious of those amazing journals that are works of art in themselves.
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Here are some of the goodies I am using to make my books.
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The wires and electrical components I pulled out of the old electric organ that I played as a kid. I just love them – so pretty.

And here are some of the crabs I have been working on. These will be part of a book in the end.
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‘Da da!’. I hope you like them. I’ll post photos of the finished products soon.
All the best,
Sharee