May 25, 2016

Artists' Interiors & My Colourful Home

As an artist and illustrator, when I was younger I always dreamed of having my own home one day that I could paint murals in and do anything I liked.

Photograph of Gerald de Cock, hairstylist, an artist of sorts. Photo by Todd Selby. His photography is totally worth a look!

Now that the house dream has come true, I just need to make the time to actually finish some creative interior projects!

We have a 'graffiti wall' in the hallway, and I also banned white walls in the house. (The only room that's white is my studio and I'm wondering if I even needed to do that.) I'm slowly painting other walls in the house different colours. I tend to go colourful, but a muted palette so it's not 'brights'.

I'm sure the painters were wondering why I painted the whole place yellow...

So anyway, the homes of artists & creatives really intrigue me. Not their studios, which are supposed to be creative, but how their creativity spills over into their general living areas. I tire of home decorating shows talking about the bold use of big white ripple tiles. Give me a break! I want to see honest-to-god bold projects and ideas! Don't get me wrong, if white's your thing that's cool, but white is not bold.
How gorgeous is this room in Australian designer Jenny Kee's house?

This is the kind of stuff I'd love to see on decorating shows. Even if we may not go all out like these creatives have done, we can all certainly glean some inspiration and learn to take our abodes in a less serious manner. Does it really matter if you paint colour in your house? It's only paint :)
When I saw photos of artist Mark Hearld's house it was instant love.
Artist Margaret Olley in her messy house. Inspiring because it was messy and she was content with that. I'm messy. So is everyone I live with. (Her remedy was "just buy another bunch of flowers".)
A couple of photos from the artist Lally MacBeth's home.

So you can see what inspires me. I'll show you a few spots in my house I've been working on. I really just see my house as a big work-in-progress-canvas. 
I always wanted to do one of those crazy photo walls, so I did.
One of the boldest decisions that I made in the house was to have multi coloured kitchen cabinets. Not easy to change! Probably should have moved the thermie for photo purposes, but she was busy making ghee :)
This room is downstairs and a work in progress.
Our graffiti wall which hasn't been touched for a long time. This needs a revisit!
This is a wall in the kids room. I am possibly fostering a hoarding tendency in my children. But at least they are being creative with me.

Thanks for reading and I hope I've inspired you in some way today. I've inspired myself... *thinks about purchasing more sample pots*

Jules :)

Ps. If you want to see more of interiors I love hop on over to my 'creative interiors' Pinterest board.

May 20, 2016

A Colourful Wish List

This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

These colourful things are on my wish list at the moment:

A subscription to the design mag Uppercase.  A quarterly magazine focusing on creativity and inspiration. Design, illustration and craft, with much of the content supplied by subscribers, which is an interesting collaboration.

I recently tried out these Lyra pencils in my local art store. They are soft and the colours are intense. Just beautiful. They also have chunkier versions which are good for kids. I can't rave enough about the intensity of the colours. I really think kids should use proper art materials when creating too; shame on those manufacturers making those crappy crayons and pencils where hardly any colour comes out! But I actually want these for myself :)

A Lilla Rogers MATS course where you learn to develop your style for producing illustrations for licensing onto products. Illustrators of all stages have taken this course, and even the already successful ones say they gain something new each time they take one of her courses. Always room to grow and learn, I say. One day, when I have a bit more time up my sleeve.

This Maharaja Chair. Many art ideas would come to me easily sitting in this with a cup of tea, I'm sure.

This Fontainebleau wallpaper by Cole & Son. But of course, this is not easily attainable in Australia unless you have a spare $800 up your sleeve for one roll. *Cry*

And while I'm on a train of wishful thinking, can we just uproot one of the Anthropologie stores and place it in the Eastern suburbs of Victoria, Australia? I have a constant love affair with their rug range (actually, most of the stuff in their stores) and wished that more shops here were as bold, creative and colourful. At the moment I could choose about half a dozen rugs that I like on their website, but if I really had to choose, I'd take this one. So dreamy.

I could go on, I tell you. I just love colour & creativity. Especially when people express it, whether it's by decorating their interiors or dying their hair. Being a bit different. And when artists or creatives get hold of their own homes and decorate them... that sounds like a blog post for another day. So inspiring.

I hope you find some colour in your day.

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate 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. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

May 13, 2016

Oh, Mister Finch!

Art Book swoon time! This book is an absolute, coffee table VIP guest sort of a book. In terms of books, it has royalty status on the shelves!

The front cover has a special leather feel with embossing which is lovely.

Mister Finch is a man who sews soft sculptures with amazing ability and creativity.
I imagine seeing Mister Finch working away in his English studio would be akin to peering through a crystal ball into the past, seeing him sew his intricacies amidst his books, surrounded by mystical hand sewn toadstools. I can almost hear the crackling of old movies he has on in the background for inspiration. (As he describes his working day tucked away in his studio in Yorkshire.)

He collects vintage materials as supplies. Old curtains & dresses; and creates various creatures and toadstools, with a special attraction towards creating moths. Perhaps he is drawn to them for their understated beauty? I know if I see a moth I always go up for a closer look as they often have amazing colours and patterns working their way through what on first glance seems to be dusty and bland wings. He says he sees them as witches pets, perched on their shoulder, ready to help them with some sort of witchy task.
The book is a fantastic catalogue of his work, with more photos than writing. In fact, I think there are just the right amount of words in this book and the photos of his artwork are the main focus. As should be in a visual arts book.

This book requires lots of quiet time and a very large pot of tea. Shhhhhh, children. Mummy's reading.
He says he wants to inject a bit of old- fashioned magic back into the world. I think you've done that, Mister Finch. And with a name like Mister. Finch, honestly, would there have been any career choice other than creating these mystical beings of magic? 

Just beautiful.

You can find Mister Finch's book here: Mister Finch: Living in a Fairy Tale World (affiliate link)

Have any books you think I'd love? Let me know!

Jules :)

*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.

May 10, 2016

New Gift Tags & Creative Gift Wrapping

I love wrapping presents and my Etsy packages that I send out.
An Etsy order sent out recently
A little hand painted tag for a gift

I created some little images to pretty up my orders and I then decided to expand on that idea and create a set of illustrated gift tags. This is my first one that is The Forest Set.
I wanted the range to have a natural feel & be pretty and eclectic. 
Behind the scenes: Photo shoot time!
One of the tags is stamped from a hand carved stamp that I made
So, my tip for wrapping super cute packages is to mix lots of different materials together in the one package. In other words: be a craft- supplies hoarder! I think packages look super cute when you mix lots of materials together;

- Scrap book paper or pretty wrapping papers
- Tissue papers, fancy textured papers, torn paper, brown paper, stamped or painted-on paper
- String, wool (the fancy ones!), crochet cotton, ribbon, twine, ric rac, strips of fabric
- buttons, beads, pom poms, tassels, sequins or other random craft supplies
- Washi tape, washi tape and more washi tape!
- Gift tags, labels, stickers
- Natural items like gum nuts, leaves

My favourite washi tape storage system, and a paper source book full of labels, stickers and gift paper etc.
Home made envelopes made from a template out of scrap book paper.

So grab your supplies and start layering. I usually start with one main colour then add strips of washi tape, different papers, string, etc. You can see I have a bit of a style/ theme going on. It's colourful, but not bright; eclectic and earthy. You could choose a style, or choose a few complimentary colours and stick to those. I usually just pick out pieces of paper that I think matches the things I've already attached to the gift wrapping. When I'm buying supplies I know what I like and I just purchase the products I'm drawn to, and since I have a defined style and I'm pretty definite in what I like, they all seem to go together. (I use the same principles with clothing and home decorating!)
So just have fun with it and see what you come up with. It's an art form in itself.

I hope you've enjoyed my blog post on gift wrapping and looking at my new gift tag designs. 
The new gift tag forest set is now available for purchase here.

Jules :)

May 06, 2016

Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese expression that celebrates imperfection, transience and impermanence. Valuing and finding beauty in the aged, damaged or worn, and recognising the cycle of growth and decay.

I imagine that my clunky western words may not be doing it justice in it's description. I imagine that it's a complete mindset that may be difficult to describe.

The more I read about it the more it seems to be a way of thinking and feeling aware and embracing the passing of time and the impermanence of everything around us.

My attention is always grabbed when I see the words 'Wabi Sabi' in a book or magazine article as I am a lover of all that is rustic and worn. I love peeling paint, mossy paths, rusty tin and weathered wood, darned & mended items and the texture of all the stitches that have closed up the hole.

My paintings usually have layers and scruffy paint effects in them. I like to think that I am creating a sense of 'time' with the layers of paint in my art. Looking around my house I realise I've been living with this appreciation and love for 'Wabi Sabi' without even knowing there was a phrase in another language that names it!

I had a quick tour around my house and photographed things that I think embody the nature of Wabi Sabi.
Old mirror love
A repurposed plank
My upcycled rug
A hole in my curtains that I always admire. Weird, I know. Look, a stain! Bonus!
Our dining table that is made from wood from an old bridge that was torn down. Now the new version has varnish that is starting to wear away. I on purposely sit there and scrape away at the varnish and leave coffee cups on it WITHOUT coasters. Gasp! :)
A chewed pencil (no, I didn't chew it), coffee stain, old tin and rustic desk
My paintbrushes and desk embody ultimate Wabi Sabi properties!
I love old looking frames (of course even when they're new and made to look old), and there's an old doll there I found in a junk yard. Junk yards are bliss.

I love crafty markets and op shops rather than glitzy department stores full of mass produced items. I have much more satisfaction when something is mended than when it's thrown out and replaced. I love when gardens meander and grow in and out of places creating a forest-y unkempt feel. (We once had a little vine plant that grew in the side of one of our ducted heating vents into our bedroom. I loved that!)

And I've really been loving painting on plaster boards lately that I make myself. They easily allow me to quickly build up layers and achieve that 'Wabi Sabi' look. I can get watery paint to sink into the plaster, or I can paint it on thicker with medium and it floats on the surface. The texture of the plaster allows me to dry brush and scrumble paint over the top, or wipe paint off whilst still wet and it remains in the crevices. Here are a few I've been working on recently.
This one is unfinished
I made this one up as I went along
Detail of a favourite corner

Maybe Wabi Sabi can help us to not be so precious about things in our lives. To take a closer look at things that are old and aged and appreciate the history in them rather than just seeing ugliness upon first view. I think it's also a good reminder to cherish those moments with our young children, who are changing and growing so fast (insert cliche alarm here). Or to look at that hole in your clothing with fresh eyes and see the beauty in the frayed threads. 

May you have an inspiring day :)



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