Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The horses are on the track!

Joystuff polymer clay shapes.
Yes, the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival has begun which can only mean one thing. No, I'm not about to get frocked up and have a flutter on the ponies.  What it means is that the end of year mad rush is about to begin.
It has been crazy busy around here for a while now, what with weekend sports and after school drama for my kids.  Real work, (by that, I mean the stuff that pays the bills) is taking priority over creating and my neglected garden is calling at me to come and pull a weed or two when the sun isn't too hot to do so.
And just to round out the already overstuffed daily schedule, I'm renovating/refreshing our caravan that has a very 80's vibe to it, and not in a good electric boogaloo kind of way, but in a brown suited maths teacher meets Laura Ashley kind of way.
I've been going through my craft cupboards and trying to use some of the products that I bought for previous projects.  When Emily Green first burst on to the scene with her beautiful polymer clay necklaces, I purchased some Fimo in earthy colours with the intention of making my own, as I couldn't afford an original.
Emily  Green necklaces
But then I started seeing them everywhere and decided that I didn't want to be one of those creatives that blatantly ripped off another.  So they sat in a drawer.  Then I bought some more to make some tiki shaped beads for another project.  But that never came to fruition, so I had about 5 packets of Sculpey and Fimo just laying around, slowly hardening in their plastic wrappers.
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to solve a problem with an idea that I was working on.  I needed a piece for a necklace that I was working on, but couldn't work out what material I could use.  I was thinking of metal or wood or even cork, but nothing was giving  me much inspiration.  I wanted something with a natural looking finish to it, like wood, stone or marble.  It was marble that gave me the inspiration to use polymer clay. So one afternoon I piled everything onto my desk, kneaded and rolled various colour combinations and cut shapes out with a bunch of cookie cutters.  I'm now in the process of sanding the various pieces, but I did manage to put together one necklace for a social event I was going to. ( No, not horse racing!)
Rough edges and unsanded, but wearable Joystuff pendant.
I like how the pieces turned out, but I need to remind myself that I want them to be part of a bigger project, and not just turn them in to a bunch of pendants.  There are many people doing a wonderful job of that already, like Kelaoke.
Kelaoke Necklaces
I hadn't seem her work before I made my own pieces, so I was surprised by the similarity in colour and shape.  But on looking at her stuff more, I was truly inspired by how she has given polymer clay and clean, modern feel with a slightly boho vibe.  I could only dream to create such consistently wonderful wearables!

I haven't pulled out the sandpaper since I worked with resin about 10 years ago.  I hadn't missed it, particularly after I took a few layers of skin from my fingertips!! So now I have a pile of half done shapes sitting on my desk, waiting to be included in something as yet unknown.  But they will have to wait. The curtains need to be sewn for the caravan, cushions recovered and window seals tracked down. Then I need to finish some bank reconciliations and start planning for Christmas that is only X number of weeks away. Phew!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Inspiration from books.

Let me just start this post by saying, the internet is a wonderful thing.  I love being able to look up something at the click of a mouse.  Sometimes my ideas come in rapid succession and I love the quick fix that a search engine browse can supply.  But it can also be a time suck, where looking at one thing leads to another, and before you know it, it's 3.00pm and time to do the school run. Not only that, but the brilliant idea that you had at 9.00am has been pushed to the back of your mind as a myriad of new images jostle for space and competition in your creative recesses.
I am lucky enough to have an extensive craft book library.  I spent many a paycheck on glossy coffee table books  prior to having children.  They would often be about art, bag design or gardening.  Over time, I added to my new book collection with books sourced from Op-Shops.  I delighted in finding  decommissioned library books, many on jewellery making, student art ideas and Encyclopeadia of crafts.  Often I would find a book that I remembered borrowing as a young girl.  I have one book that I covet, entitled Art In Craftmaking by Carolyn S. Howlett.  I remember borrowing this book from Glen Waverley Library when I was doing an Art and Craft Certificate in 1988.  I still have the sketchbbok with the ideas inspired by this book.
Imagine my delight years later, when I unknowingly purchased this book for $2.50 at my local Op-Shop.
As my book collection grew, I became more selective in what I purchased.  I also had to restrict my visits to places like the NGV bookshop at Federation Square, as a trip into the city would often end in me lugging home one or two large books.  Also, when I purchased the same book twice (different covers), I knew that things had begun to get out of hand.  I'm currently trying to catalogue them on an Ipad app, but get distracted quite easily and am only about halfway through. 

Today's burst of inspiration lead me to three books in my collection.

The first two are books I never tire of browsing through.  I LOVE Jonathan Adler's work and his books are always, fun, cheeky and full of pattern and texture.

The last book, Crafting Modernism, is filled to the brim with inspiring designers like Art Smith, Ruth Asawa,  Alexander Girard and a plethora of lesser known but equally talented artists and crafts men and women.

Do you have a favourite craft book that you regularly turn to?
Do you have a book that you can recommend based on the ones above?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Inspiration for the week ending 28/8/15

This is what my eyes are looking at for inspiration. I think I'm subconsciously influenced by the gloomy skies outside my suburban Croydon window.

Top L-R, Brutalist sculpture Guy Ngan, Dystopian Architecture Artist Unknown
Middle L-R,Sculpture by Gunther Gerzso, Brutalist table lamp Artist Unknown
Bottom L-R, Sculpture Giovanni Schoeman, Sculpture Donald Drumm
My materials are copper vinyl, stonewash leather in blacks and greys, glass beads and rope.

Today's music to work by is the new album by Aussie band, RÜFÜS. I heard the song 'Two Clocks" playing in JB Hi-Fi and had to get my hands on the album. Luckily, they had one copy left. It was perfect driving music last weekend and has continued to keep my head in a good space this week.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'm just here for the craft.

Hello there if you've made your way to my blog.

I started this blog back in 2006 and mostly blogged about my 2 kids, occasionally my partner and a lot about my hobbies/business endeavors.
Back in 2006, Joystuff was about handbags and other accessories made from vintage fabrics and reclaimed materials.  
I sold my bags at markets and occasionally online.  It was a wonderful creative outlet for me and I loved having something to focus on that was for me, not about raising my girls or helping my partner run his business. But after making and selling bags for 10+ years, I had lost the passion. 
When I started out, handmade, colourful bags were rare. But over time, Etsy and other online market places meant that everyone with a sewing machine could sew a bag and if not, then someone, somewhere would make something cheaper than what I was prepared to sell mine for.  I was making something for nothing, and I wasn't enjoying the process anymore. 

I gave up the markets, packed my old stock in a box and stored it away.
My studio became less of a place for sewing, and more for trying out new things.  
I painted, I drew things,  I made a mess and I didn't really care what the outcome was.  Some weeks, my studio would remain locked for days on end and I was happy with that.

 I became distracted by Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.  I threw myself in to my partner's business, taking over the bookkeeping from the lady we had employed solely for this task.
Then slowly, my desire to create came back.
I found new materials to work with, and I experimented. 
I'm still experimenting. I'm finding my style, creating things that I would wear/use/hang on my wall.
I'm loving the freedom to create without having a purpose.
Sure, I'd love to sell my creations some time in the future, but that won't be until the end of the year at this stage.

A very important part of my crafting is to use reclaimed and recycled materials wherever possible.  My use of vintage and reclaimed fabrics began when I first made bags in the 1990's and was more to keep the costs down than for ecological reasons. But as time went on, I found a thrill in sourcing fabrics that were uncommon or destined for the rubbish heap.  I remember my Nanna was a very thrifty, talented lady who could whip up anything on a sewing machine.  I wanted to continue her legacy.
My collection of fabrics grew so large that I have to store some in boxes in the garage, but any person with a passion for fabric will attest to having an addiction that is very hard to control.

So I have changed my focus from handbags, to adornment. At the moment, I am constructing neck pieces from various materials.  I hope to expand my skills to make body adornments and wearable art.

My blog will become a place to document my art, my craft, my inspiration and creative process. My children and my partner can rest assured that they will no longer be the subject of my rants.
I hope to keep it regularly  updated, but my track record for regular blog posting hasn't been that great in the past so we'll see how I go.

I hope at least one person will stop by and read this blog and maybe find a little inspiration of their own.

Thursday, August 13, 2015