March 24, 2016

Shaun Tan Again & Thoughts on the Process of Creating

Sketch painting. Playing around in your sketch book. Doodling. Creating for no purpose.

Shaun Tan sums up his thoughts regarding sketching and the process of creating well in the intro of his book 'The Bird King and Other Sketches'.
The Bird king (affiliate link)

He talks about the freedom that comes with just playing in your sketch book or doodling. The lines are so fresh and not self- conscious. Sometimes this natural organic feel gets lost in translation, when you redraw or go to do the final piece.

I can relate to this well. Some of my better works come from being free of expectations. Having the pressure of creating something good lifted and to just create for the sheer joy of it can be a mindful way of producing art, and a great way to enjoy the process of the activity in itself without being encumbered by what the end result will be.

You stuff it up; it doesn't matter.

I just found myself saying "Yes!" to Shaun's words regarding his thoughts on that aspect of creating. He mentions children having an intuitive understanding about the need to just 'make' over the need to produce something with purpose or meaning behind it. We can all take a leaf from that book.

I like the way he thinks. The intro is only a couple of pages long, but obviously his words really struck me. The rest of the book is filled with sketchy, raw works with some more explanations along the way. His technical ability is awe inspiring.

It's magical to get to peer into his personal sketch books. It must be quite personal to publish a book with raw drawings of rough instantaneous thoughts and ideas. Being an artist & illustrator myself I know the emotional investment I have in my art; and the sketches and doodles can be like holding a mirror up to yourself and then showing the world. It would sort of feel like having yourself photographed for a publication whilst you're still in your pyjamas. I would imagine!

I recently completed a one-painting-a-day-for-5-days challenge and I felt this freedom of creating whilst whipping up some quick works. I'm showing you two of those here. It's so much fun that I really do have to make more time for these quick sketch- book type works. And you learn a lot too, from these quick exercises.
And whilst I'm swooning over Shaun Tan's art, let's keep the theme going and talk about his new book "The Singing Bones".
The Singing Bones (affiliate link)

I came across this book in the kids section of my local book shop; but it would have been right at home with the arty books. It screams to me: "I'm really pretty, I need to live on your coffee table"!

It's a book which has small excerpts from the old Grimm's Fairy Tales, which he has created 3D sculptures to illustrate. There is one 'story' per double page spread.

And it seems 3D sculpture comes just as naturally to Shaun as do his 2D works.

Sometimes I sense an awkwardness in illustrations; but it's never the case with Shaun's works. These forms are so organic it seems they have slipped straight from his brain into a real- life dimension.

Some of the themes are often macabre. Such were the old fairy tales. You might have to brush over some themes when sharing this book with children, depending on what age they are and what they can handle. (I know my Miss 5 loves a little bit of the interesting scary stuff!)

I see this book as another of his Art Books, like a folio of work. The pieces are so creative and textural and interesting to look at I imagine it will be a book that I will never be done with. Inspiring for young and old.

Jules :)

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. You can be confident that I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

March 18, 2016

The Completed Paper Mache Tree Project!

So happy to be sharing the completed Paper Mache Tree project! It's been years in the making; mainly because I start projects but then get sidetracked which means I have lots of half finished projects around my house. But, sometimes I do complete them! 
This tree stands in my girls' room. It's made of wire and paper mache, and then painted. I did glue some brown tissue paper on to 'undercoat' the trunk brown so I wouldn't have to paint it as much, and it also doubled up as good bark texture.
I love having a creative house. I think of my house like a big art canvas. So much potential. Be gone white walls! (As I keep saying to my husband, who mildly cringes every time I attack a blank wall, what did you expect when you married an artist!?)
I attached fairy lights to the roof, and stamped the roof with a home made leaf stamp and pinned up some fabric and paper. 
The walls are painted with acrylic paints. I just used students acrylics because it's cheaper for a big area. The did the job.
I also added some fake plants which really helped with the overall look.
So, you can lie down beneath the tree and gaze up into the tree tops...
(tweet, tweet)
...and watch the butterflies flit by.
Or you can crawl inside to rest or read a favourite book.
Watch out! There are already cheeky friends inside ;)
Bunnies are drawn to the tree; they love it inside. Especially if you pat them. In fact; lots of little creatures come in and out visiting the tree often.
So bring your cushions along and enjoy yourself in the forest.
You can see other progress posts about this project here:

And a big thank you to Tracey of Phlox Dragon Designs for taking the beautiful photos for me.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my tree project!

Jules :)

March 15, 2016

Introducing The Chunky Series Necklaces

Feeling like I wanted to come up with something bolder, chunkier and unique, I created these new 'Chunky Series' necklaces.

They are Earthy, inspired by nature, creative and modern.

I'm so happy to now have them all available in the shop.
They are one of a kind necklaces. All carefully handmade by me.
I've used many different materials from ceramic beads, to resin & felt. 
I'm happy to have achieved pieces that are so different, and can be considered wearable art.
I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them :)

March 13, 2016

March 07, 2016

Local Food, Eating & Living

I seem to go through stages. I go through stages in my studio; sometimes I'm painting a lot, then sometimes I'm obsessively making jewellery.

But aside from the creative side of my life, in normal life at the moment I'm in a bit of a stage where I'm being really mindful of the waste this household produces, where my food is coming from, trying to source local food, thinking about reducing time and effort in the garden, and growing some of our own food. (Doesn't help that it really hasn't properly rained for ages, and the forecast shows no rain for at least a week!) I even borrowed a book from the library on raising pigs for food. I would like to think we could do it, but it seems this idea is a little too traumatic for Miss 5. (I can just imagine her now, crying her eyes out whilst savouring a crispy piece of bacon at the same time...)

But first I'll try and focus on growing some veg. We've got the space but I just need to make it a priority. I like to buy organic, and we all know that can get a little crazy-expensive. But I have been scouring the neighbourhood for roadside food; after all, we do live in a farming area.

This roadside stall was a treat. Not only is the produce not treated with sprays, but it's so visually pleasing as well. So cute! The kids had a great time putting money in the tin and then proceeded to hide the veggies in all odd places in the car as a joke on me. Yes, I had cucumbers in my car bin! Lucky it was empty.
I found apples around the corner from me for SO cheap. And I found a Jackie French book in the local op shop. (I had a self sufficiency book from her but lent it to someone and can't remember who.) I love her way of thinking. As a weirdo thinker myself I love reading from other people who question the system. She doesn't believe in digging up the soil, that weeds are a bad thing, or that we can't eat guinea pigs. (Um, I won't be doing that last one but love her opportunistic view!) So I'm rethinking parts of the garden, especially when it comes to removing weeds. Rather than spraying them, can I plant something in their place to crowd them out? For instance, down the sides of the driveway. Otherwise they are great for mulch, compost for soil food, or you just need to mulch more to smother them.
And this is a friend's roadside stall. Lovely tasty tasty colourful tomatoes that didn't last long at all! You can tell she's an Op Shopper. Probably clearing out all the good finds before I get there ;)
I also found two items in my severely neglected garden beds.
We also went berry picking yesterday at our local organic berry farm and stocked up on berries. We spent a bit, but they are cheap in the long run and I won't have to buy any for a while.

We also get lamb from a friend and eggs from another friend (or when she runs out we drive 15 mins up the road to another organic egg farm and buy their seconds.)

It's extra work, but it's so satisfying knowing that you're supporting local people, and I know that our berries have come from up the road and not all the way from Chile. (Seriously!? I was buying frozen organic berries from Chile!)

And as usual I'm still cooking. My latest food goal is to remove all vegetable oils from our diets. It's difficult, but when you make your own snacks and food from scratch it's easier. 

I have broth on the stove using a lamb bone from my friend. I have made current & oat cookies sweetened with applesauce made from the apples I got from the lady around the corner (there's a place vegetable oil creeps in to the diet- it's in dried fruit). And last night we ate free range local pork sausages (Miss 5 was quite happy to eat a pig she hadn't met!). They were really yummy. And I could recognise all the ingredients. No numbers!

(I also made goats milk yoghurt which is fermenting on my bench right now, and mango- yogurt popsicles last night (using these moulds). Dates, mango and goats yoghurt. They are quite yummy if I do say so myself.)

Do you try to source any local food?

Now I'm back in the studio today- in jewellery making mode, now that all my cooking is done for the morning.

Jules :)

March 01, 2016

New Recycled Cards

I have had some new cards printed up and are now available in the shop. Two are reprints of popular designs and six of them are new for cards. I am happy to have found a local printer that prints on 100% recycled card and uses vegetable based inks. The envelopes that come with the cards are also recycled. I hope you like them! :)
I have also set up a listing where if you buy 4 cards you receive a discount. You can find that listing here.

My cards will also not be packed in plastic sleeves, as I'm on a mission this year to reduce waste and non recyclable items. Plastic's a shocker! (I'm also decluttering and aiming for a simpler lifestyle. Inspirations have been this: The Slow Your Home Podcast, and this: Gippsland Unwrapped by Tammy Logan who is extra inspiring to me because she lives near me and so she does all the work sourcing stuff and I just get to go where she goes!!)

But I digress..

I hope you enjoyed looking at the new range :)



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