Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Learn something new every day

For as long as I can remember I have reacted to new things I've read or seen with the line "You learn something new every day". So I decided recently to turn this common reaction into a regular, conscious, documented action.

As it was close to the end of 2008 it seemd like a good idea to do this for every day of 2009. The documentation method I've chosen is an altered book. I had an old Financial Accounting text book from my college days and it had an appropriate number of pages (640) to allow for some of the things I learn to be given a two-page spread.

After some paint work this is what the cover now looks like

and this is the title page

I plan to create the pages every day as I feel it will be a good thing to do some art work on a regular basis, something I don't find I'm doing at the moment. I also hope to upload them as I go, rather than do it in large chunks, which will be more effective time-wise as well. I have a feeling that it's going to be an interesting journey for me.

Roll on 2009!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keith's blog

The best workshop I've been to was with Keith LoBue in Rockhampton last year. He's a fabulous artist who loves sharing his skills with others. His passion for using found objects in his artwork is captivating and inspiring. The best part of the workshop was that he taught us skills with handling and using tools that are truly invaluable. I will never abuse my cordless drill again.

He recently started a blog in which to share his creative process. It's at http://www.keithlobue.blogspot.com Check it out and you'll easily see his generousity of spirit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

Chrissy has just tagged me, which means that I have to write down a list of six quirky unimportant things that make me happy, so here goes -

1. I'm fascinated by the moulded plastics that you get in packaging these days. I keep most of the interesting ones. Some of them even look like familiar things. I have one that's like a face. I plan to make Christmas presents this year and I'll use some of them to display the work.

2. Whenever I come across odd-looking plastic bits I keep them on a "this might come in useful one day" basis. I feel totally justified as I recently used one to repair a door at home.

3. Broken things interest me because I'm learning how to fix objects made from a variety of materials. I practice repairing as an alternative to replacing things.

4. Solitude never frightens me and I find it a comfortable place to be at times.

5. I frequently work without music or other distractions and have found that silence is not really very quiet where I live. There's a constant sound of road noise, insect buzz, the rustle of wind through branches and bird calls. This quasi-silence allows me to think.

6. I love being an observer of people because I find differences fascinating

I choose to tag http://beinart.org/index.php, http://www.inkartist.net/, http://lumper.blogspot.com/, http://dailyartmasomenos.blogspot.com/, http://sixtyminuteartist.blogspot.com/ and http://samirbharadwaj.com/blog/ .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christmas gift giving idea

Christmas should be a time for peace and joy with family and friends, but it tends to be fraught with tension and anxiety because of the commercialisation that has overtaken the original idea of giving presents to loved ones.

I’ve had an idea that I’ll be using for our family gift giving this year, based on the idea that presents should be given from the heart, not the wallet.

Among the group to assemble at our place this year I’ll be requesting that everyone should firstly choose whether to participate in an exchange of presents and emphasise that it’s okay to opt out completely.

Of those who choose to participate I’ll ask them to decide whether to handmake a gift, or gifts, or to choose something from their own collection of “stuff” to give away, or a combination of both. If made, it should be made from materials already owned, not from something that has to be bought (except if it’s a home cooked item, in which case the ingredients will need to be fresh).
People can choose to make just one or many items to contribute, the number of items made is not important.

After a present is made it should be packaged in an attractive way, so that the item can be seen, not inside a packet (unless the giver chooses to give “surprise” presents). The packaging should also be secondhand, not new, and I’ve included a list of suggestions for this below. The giver then chooses a basket, bag or container from their collection of stuff at home and brings the present or presents to the event in it.

Part of the delight of a Christmas event is the decorative aspect so I plan to make up a display stand for people to put their presents on when they arrive. It will take the place of a Christmas tree as we don’t always have one in our house. The baskets, bags or containers will be assembled nearby.

This is the gift sharing process we’ll be using –
I expect we’ll have 13 people here for Christmas so I’ll find a pack of cards and choose a complete suit, probably hearts, and ask everyone to choose a card. We’ll then take turns in order of the cards chosen and firstly select a basket, bag or container from the pile and then a present from the display to put into it.

Once everyone has chosen their first gift we’ll repeat the process until all presents are distributed. At the end of any round people can decide that they’ve received enough gifts and opt out from the process. As this is the first year of using this process I expect we’ll modify how we execute the idea to suit the circumstances.

I think it will be fun and take the pressure off everyone in terms of costs and anxiety.

Ideas for handmade gifts –

Sewn, knitted, woven, embroidered, painted, collaged, decoupaged, assembled or otherwise manually manufactured items
Baked, preserved or bottled food
Artworks (painting, drawing, sculpture etc)
Handmade books
Handmade boxes or storage containers

Ideas for preloved items
Pieces of fabric never used and no longer required
Cleaned and operational secondhand tools no longer required by the giver

Ideas for packaging
Clear cellophane with ribbons
Painted and decorated boxes (made from stuff you already have or find)
Many of the things we buy come pre-packaged in heavy plastic shapes that have been moulded for whatever object comes in it. Keep a lookout for these and also ask friends to keep them for you. They would make very creative containers for your handmade things.
If you decide that you need to buy some packaging materials then go to a reuse facility like Reverse Garbage and get some secondhand, rather than new.
Picture frames make great display holders for jewellery
If you start thinking now about things to make and do then you’ll also start to see possibilities in things that come your way.

I think this will be a different and fun way to approach gift sharing and it will be an opportunity to apply a little creative thinking to the gifts we give to each other, and save money in the process.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Many days later and more altered pages

As I feared, I didn't get back to my blog straight away. We're in the middle of renovating our house so we went away to New Zealand for two weeks to escape the mess. The painting started this morning so we're about halfway through the process.

Here are some more pics of the altered pages I did.

(Me at 5 as a vase)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day One and 20 pages

This is Day One of my blog about altered stuff. You know, altered books, altered pages, altered paintings, altered jewellery (aka found object jewellery) and anything else I feel like changing to make it look like something else. Why alter stuff? Because I can and I love doing it.

Yesterday I altered two pieces of wood, some dowel, wire and bits of rubber to make them into a tool for making jump rings. I guess I could describe the process just as making art and stuff but referring to it as altering makes it sound more complex.

These photos are of an altered page project I worked on for a Book and Paper group I go to at Auchenflower. Each of us made an A4 double-sided page that had to include an image of ourselves somewhere on the page. We could do one and produce 20 copies of it or make 20 original pieces. I chose to make 20 different pages. The plan was to get one of everyone's pages and produce a book in whatever form we choose. The reason for making 20 was because there were supposed to be 20 people participating, although only 16 did in the end.

For my paper I chose to use A4 size sheets that I cut out of an atlas from the Lifeline Bookfest, which meant that I only had to work on one side of the paper. I then selected 5 B&W pictures of myself as a young child and some wildlife pictures also. It was fun playing around with stamps and painting techniques and with 20 pages to do I had lots of practice!

Here are the photos of some of the pages. They look a bit paler than the originals, but you can see how they turned out.