the fates are smiling

Do you know what it’s like when you go to the supermarket and all the wheels on your trolley work together . . . when usually one of the wheels keeps flipping out at 90 degrees at the most inconvenient moments.  Life isn’t like that right now.  It’s as if the fates have decided that I’m to not only have everything run smoothly, I’m  to be on the receiving end of some amazing generosity . . . and I have been.

On Facebook recently I was bemoaning the expense of getting some of the supplies I lust after here in New Zealand and I was thinking that I would just have to wait to buy a Gelli Plate until next July when I make a trip to the USA (I have a list forming and will need an empty suitcase).  I have previously made a couple of printing plates from gelatine and was thinking about making one using glycerin so it wouldn’t go mouldy, but because of the unexpected generosity of a wonderful woman . . . I HAVE AN 8 x 10 inch GELLI PLATE!   Quinn, you are a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, darling.

Like the shoemaker who had those elven night time visitors, I left everything set up before I went to bed so that the very next day, all day, I could play and experiment.  My results were mixed and often my best results came either by accident because I tend to over-think things, or from a final ghost print.  For the most part I limted myself to 4 or 5 colous and I used a quieter palette that I would usually work with.  So with no further ado . . . some of the results!

Triple printed using a commercial stencil by

Triple printed using a commercial stencil.  The Crafters Workshop: Pebbles.

Print using home made masks.

Overprinted using home made masks.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using hand-made stencil.

Overprinted using hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.

Overprinted using a hand made stencil.  Rather too much paint but I like the effect.

And next up?  Stamps, scraping, and printing painterly layers.

but is it art?

Hanna Andersson’s blog iHanna is one I enjoy dropping in on and today she asked the question “What is art and who has the right to call themselves an art?”  I think the questions “Is what I create art?” and “Can I call myself an artist?” occur to most of us at some stage.

Recently someone has called what I do “your crafts” and another referred to “your art” and I guess they’re both right in some respects.  When I was buying some art supplies at a big stationery shop I was asked if I was an artist and I said I was just to try the label out for size and for me, I don’t think it fits yet. If someone else considers my work art, fine and I’ll happily accept it but really, what I do is just muck around with art supplies (and other bits and pieces) because I can’t not . . . it’s in the blood.

If I know what I do is rather mediocre compared to what I envisaged or some (achievable) pinnacle to which I aspire, it’s mucking around . . . but sometimes, just sometimes, I am well pleased. So I’ll continue with the crafts and create a little art from time to time as well but as for calling myself an artist? I’ll leave that to others and continue to be gainfully unemployed and make lovely things. Like this wee gem.

I am well pleased . . .  even though my perfectionist self is saying "Damn, why didn't I notive I hadn't done it up straight!"  Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?

I am well pleased . . . even though my perfectionist self is saying “Damn, why didn’t I notive I hadn’t done it up straight!” Kudos to me for not taking another photograph eh?  Made from harakeke/flax, dextrals dyed two tone turquoise and green, driftwood closure, 12 x 14 cms or approximately 4.5 x 6 inches.

yet another late start

. . . but at least I am starting.   I have no valid reasons for not having blogged for almost 3 months.  If I put my mind to it I could come up with string of excuses but they’d be rather feeble and really, you’d see through them in a heartbeat.  So what if I work full-time in a demanding job?  Others do too, along with caring for their families and countless other responsibilities, yet they manage to blog more frequently that I do.  And besides, I’ve been on holiday for 4 weeks now.

My energy deserted me, me get-up-and-go got up and went . . . it’s as simple or as complex as that.  I didn’t want to so I didn’t. It’s not that I haven’t been working on creative projects or thinking deep, analytic thoughts and my sense of humour didn’t desert me.  It’s just that I didn’t feel the desire to blog about them at the time.

Fortunately, I’m not about to castigate my Self for sloth or admonish my Self for procrastination, it is such a waste of time and energy and will only serve to make any internal opposition stronger.  Aren’t I lucky that my ‘I/you-should-blah-blah-blah-muscle’ can be rested?

It’s not that I haven’t been working on creative projects or thinking deep, analytic thoughts and my sense of humour didn’t desert me.  It’s just that I didn’t feel the desire to blog about them at the time.

This Christmas every gift was to be handmade or be consumable so I made gifts and gave food and music (which counts as a pleasure-giving consumable with longevity).  I slipped up just a tad when I gave Adam and Yo a Corkcicle to keep their bottle of wine cold while they sit out under the trees in the evening sun.

Recycled jeans, acrylic paint and a little imagination.

Recycled jeans, a zip, acrylic paint, a handmade stencil (recycled acetate), bubble wrap and bottle tops as well as a little imagination.

The colours in this photo aren’t great.  The jeans were a pale grey and the red and orange, same as the ukulele inside the bag, looked great together.

Meg's unicorn, complete with false eyelashes.

Meg’s unicorn, complete with false eyelashes.  I was laughed at for buying these ultra-cheap eyelashes in Bangkok but I just knew they’d come in handy!

Meg had asked a while back if I could make a pink unicorn . . . I don’t usually take orders but in this case, how could I say no?  She was one happy camper!

I took a tacket stitch class with Diana Trout and this journal was the first one I made.

Tacket stitch journal

Tacket stitch journal, recycled cereal box, gesso, sprays and handmade stencils made from recycled acetate pages. I used the used the stencils and then printed with them to blot them dry.

Here’s a close up of the stitching.


Tacket stitch journal #1

And my stencils!  One sheet of recycled acetate, one exacto knife and a pleasant half hour.IMG_1622I found that drawing an image and laying it under the acetate when cutting made the process easier.  I didn’t attempt to slavishly cut on the lines of the draft . . . they were just a guide.  Because the acetate sheet is clear I sprayed a page and placed it behind the stencil when I stored it in a clearfile . . . IMG_2469And then there were the little back-to-back notebooks as bonus gifts for friends and relations.  The covers were left over collage papers stuck to recycled manila folders or printed onto recycled and cereal box cardboard.  There’s quite a bit of recycling happening around here!

So I never really stopped, just a hiccup, we all have them, no need to explain.

good intentions

On Diana Trout’s blog last Friday I wrote “Today is the last day of the school term, 2 weeks holiday just around the corner (although like most educationalists I’ll have work to do . . . bugger!) and I am determined to pick up AND USE brushed and pens EVERY DAY! YES!!! You heard it here first. And I will POST every day . . . except maybe when the darlings are here. :)”  I missed on the very first day!   It’s not that I didn’t have some playtime, it that by 11:00 pm I didn’t feel like posting anything.     Yes, good intentions, that’s me.

My day started when I was jolted out of a book by a thump on my house . . . I leapt out of bed to find a dead tui on the deck.    These native birds are beautiful, and have a distinctive sound as they chortle, click, whistle and sing in the trees nearby and I was upset to find that one had tried flying though my house instead of over or around.   I guess with big glass doors on both sides . . . this is the third bird and they’re getting bigger and I’m wondering what will be next.  We have big black-backed gulls aplenty, the odd pheasant hiding in the sand dunes.   Just as long as there’s not an albatross blown in by the storm that’s heading this way!

Tui R.I.P.

The plumage is beautiful, glossy black, gleaning with blues and greens and that little tuft of white on their throats.   It seemed unreasonable to just bury it in my garden so I rang the Maori language university,  Te Wānanga o Raukawa.  My guess is that some Maori weavers will make use of the feathers – I hope so.

Oh my goodness, two entries in a row where a pointless death is featured so just to let you know that play took over for the rest of the day, here are some backgrounds made with homemade stencils (cut out of acetate).

Homemade stencils

I used 2 A4 sheets of acetate and cut the shapes freehand . . .

Homemade stencil 2


Chalk pastel overlaid with gesso

The trouble is, I get to this point and I’m not sure where to go next . . . I tend to just lay it aside for later and sometimes ‘later’ is a long time away.  For instance, this was a very early background that I just haven’t done anything with . . . yet.

Ah well,  maybe today it’ll speak to me.  I need to loosen up more and not expect to have a final image in my head . . . to just see where it will go if I make some random marks.