Monday, 30 August 2010

Bon Viaje!

tiny house squished between rocks, Brittany, France.

We are off tomorrow on our adventure!
Picking up a camper van and heading to warmer climates in search of beaches, quaint villages and more gourmet food and vino than we have experienced in a while. I will endeavour to post along the way, so if you are keen for some stories and photos of our travels pop back and take a look.
Until we meet again - Bon Viaje

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Private Spaces - a peek into the studio of Oona Patterson

Image from 'Ream' above & below


Image from 'The Evening Tide'

Image from 'The Inquirer'

I am curious as to how other Artists go about creating their work and what tools and spaces are needed in order to achieve and hone their craft.
I love nothing better than the privilege of a  peek into someone's private work space or studio. As a result of my curiosity I will be regularly exploring these spaces of  fellow makers and designers, giving you the opportunity to also take a look.

Oona Patterson is a paper artist, poet and story teller based in the UK. She creates the most intriguing, intricate and wonderful sculptural worlds  out of  paper to accompany her stories and poems. 
Each and every section is delicately and precisely hand cut, and her attention to detail is phenomenal. You need to take the time to look closely at her work and allow your eyes to wander over the details of the surface of the paper in order to  absorb all the tiny figures, creatures and landscapes. The stories that unfold are both delightful and at times poignant and I can't help but wander if there isn't sometimes a hidden message in her work.
Oona was kind enough to give us a glimpse of a behind the scenes view of her artful world.

Hi Oona, can you tell us what you design and make? 
I make small sculptures, photographs and have recently started experimenting with animation.

What materials do you use?
For my sculptures I always use paper and most often paper that’s been used for other things already, such as books and newspapers.

How often would you spend at your workspace per day and do you find it is it enough or not enough (or even too much time)?
Not enough time at all!
I also work as a graphic designer/marketing assistant for a small derelict theatre. This job provides inspiration for  my art, it is still creative and most importantly supports me financially. As a result  however it has meant I can only really spend a maximum of 10 hours a week on artwork.

And yet you manage to create such detailed and intricate work. What would you change about your work space if you could?
My studio is in my house which has meant I need to keep it clean and tidy (I also share it with my boyfriend), really I would like to be surrounded by paper and mess. 
It would also be nice to have a studio that puts on its own exhibitions to keep some outside pressure on me to create and exhibit.

The dream of many makers so what stops you from making those changes
At the moment I have the space at home to keep my work space close to me which means that I can maximise my  time and get as much out of it as possible - which is what I need right now.

Do you have a view from a window and do you find it inspiring? 
Yes and yes, I can see lots of trees and squirrels and birds. 
I’ve always loved drawing and making trees, so the inspiration is right before my eyes.

Where do you sell your work?
The sculptures are for sale either as commission directly from me or from exhibitions. I don’t currently sell photographic prints.

Thanks Oona for this glimpse; if you want to see more images of her work follow me here.

Image from 'Ream'

Oona's current workspace

Thursday, 19 August 2010

One of my most favourite places in the UK is Penmon Point
a few miles up the coast of Anglesey.
With it's beautiful pebble beaches, 
centuries old Priory and elegant dovecot and it's slightly
barren ridges, it is a place echoing with history, wonder and intrigue

Sunday, 15 August 2010

the stress is mounting

glass pieces about to become body adornments

I have so much making to do before: 
1. My Ma arrives from Oz in 1 week &
2. Mark & I head off on our 4 week (yes 4 weeks) campervan extravaganza of France & Spain!

So I have lots of pieces to finish for various galleries & websites and I am not sure how I will get through it all.
I have been thinking of late, perhaps I should employ an assistant, someone who can do a lot of the smaller jobs so I can get on with the bigger ones. Because there are so many aspects involved in running your own creative business there just never seems enough time to get it all done.
It occurred to me I could train Modj to perhaps do a few of the more unskilled jobs, she is after all very intelligent and clever and thorough. So can you appreciate my disappointment, when after only 10 minutes on the job I came downstairs to find her less than productive. It seems I am not paying her enough and she is reluctant to get out of bed for less than 100 biscuits a day.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Function over beauty

freshly made beads drying on their wires
4 segments of this rack maximise the kiln size and 
allow for varied sizes and shapes of beads

standard 3 tiered rack 

beads drying a little before being threaded onto 
their wires

Several people have contacted me in the last week or so asking about how I support my beads whilst they are drying and then during the firing process.  I have custom made bead racks out of earthenware clay to suit both the size of my kiln and the size of the beads I want to fire. Larger beads need more support so need to be on shorter nichrome wires supported at intervals of about 10cm or less. Tiny beads not weighing much can be threaded onto longer 20 - 25cm wires. The racks are not elegant like the ones you would purchase from a ceramic supplies but they are way cheaper and do the job just as well. The beads sit on their wires for about 3-4 days before being fired to around 1040 degrees C. Then with a bit of luck they come out of the kiln transformed from white, dry, unexciting beads to shiny, glossy, gorgeous ones, ready to be designed into jewellery.


Monday, 9 August 2010

I have got a lovely bucket-o-spuds (but it is still not enough)

homegrown potatoes

Green gage plums 

We have a shared patch of an allotment here in the village. We have never really successfully grown anything back  in Australia, despite Mark's desperate attempts at  veggie patches, they always seemed to wither and die - just too many pests. 
But here during the long, hot days of summer when the sun shines until 10.30pm (in theory), veggies are so easy to grow - they literally just take off. Or so we thought. Not really knowing what to do we enthusiastically planted lots of tiny seedlings, hoping for the best. I anticipated strolling up to the allotment each afternoon and whilst the sun baked upon my back, I imagined myself picking crop after crop of succulent produce whilst sipping on a crisp glass of wine. 
Ha but  in reality things are quite different. We have not had the baking sun we anticipated but lots of lovely, light rain which in Australia during summer, would be praised and celebrated. As a result the veggies have not quite yielded the vast supply I imagined although the courgettes, true to their reputation, have continued to grow huge and impressive specimens. 
As a result I have felt a continuing sense of failure and disappointment at the lack of results - so much so that at times I have not appreciated what we have managed to grow. My sense of having missed out had won the delicate battle, that is until last night, when my way of thinking was turned quickly on its axis. 
As we were sitting down to eat a gourmet meal of roasted new potatoes, chicken with a 5 bean tomato and onion ratatouille, Mark asked me if I realised that everything on our plate - except for the chicken - we had grown ourselves. I suddenly stopped eating and looked at my meal in a completely new light and was mesmerised by the fact that he was right. Everything was grown by us - even the tomatoes that are so rich and delicious we grew ourselves. The rest of the meal was eaten with so much more appreciation and I savoured every mouthful.
It made me wonder why more often that not we are constantly absorbed with what we have not done that we said we would, with what we have not achieved that we hoped we would, that we totally forget to Celebrate the achievements however small - that we have done. So this week is about focusing on the the small things I achieve and enjoying the sense of satisfaction on a smaller scale. 

Thursday, 5 August 2010

inspirational view - 7pm July 3

colour blends mosaic in progress


Monday, 2 August 2010

This time 9 years ago.....almost

'blue door'
 Chiang Mai, Thailand August 2001

    Memories of lost families, Buddhist Temple
China Town Malacca, Malaysia. July 2001

One of the reasons we are living where we currently do, is due to all the travel we have done together in the past. It is largely the experiences of travelling and  living in so many diverse cultures that has informed and influenced  my design style over the years. I have so many photos packed into so many boxes - still not in photo albums that I feel it is time I did justice to these experiences.
So on occasion,  I have decided I will look back over time to relive and revive these memories, in an effort to recall those past experiences.
 I remember being mesmerised by Malacca, especially China Town. It had the most amazing houses, shops and alleys just oozing history, atmosphere and intrigue. Walking the streets of the town absorbing the smells of  cooking, incense and warm, sultry air was just incredible.