Archive for the ‘Zaum projects’ Category

Cutting Up the Mix Tape

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Recent events have resulted in it becoming particularly difficult for me to listen to certain songs without turning into a blubbering, sobbing, wimpy-girl mess. So what better way to deal with this than to pick up a very sharp knife and cut things.

Knives

Call that a knife? These are knives – on loan from my professional mouse-brain slicing friend, Becky

Tape stencil

That took a while.

Tape Stencil

Wet paint.

Tape Stencil

Ta da!

Now if I manage to sell this on my Etsy store I will have not only cured my emotional attachment to certain chansons but also made some moolah! Now THAT’S thinking.

Hand cut, hand printed original image on acid free paper. Measures 16 x 24cm.

I Hereby Declare…

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I’m umming, I’m ahhing, so I am publicly announcing that I, Jessica Odette Davies, am going on a camp. And not just any old camp – Camp NaNoWriMo. This is WORSE than most camps. Sure, I won’t have to sleep in the mud and I get to use my own toilet, but by declaring today that I am signing up, I am committing to writing another 50,000 words in 30 days. Yikes.

For those of you who remember, last November I tackled the 50,000 word challenge and survived! I did it! I wrote the words! I have done ZILCH with those words since, but they continue to haunt me from my desktop. So why not write more? My last attempt saw me write about my life à Paris, this time I am going to attempt fiction. I have never been good at fiction, and I don’t see why I will start being good at it now. But by gosh, I am going to try!

Now the only problem is finding a subject. I have an idea but I fear it to too based on reality and therefore my story will turn into my usual non-fiction, reflective narrative. I want to avoid this. I want to write something completely new, completely different, completely weird. So I am now presenting you with a challenge – 7 days to provide me with a topic for my story. Anything. Except no love-sick vampires or high school boys flying around on brooms while wearing thick-rimmed glasses. That is your mission – you MUST accept it.

Who is that Guy?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

There’s a new sock creature in town but no one really knows who he is.

That guy sock creature

Hello, Sir.

He is one of those mysterious types – people are saying he is either an undercover agent working for some secret governmental department (or the tax office) or he is Spanish. His moustache would suggest the latter but no Spaniards are that tall. Have you seen his legs?

That guy sock creature

He's really tall for a Spanish person.

There is also the question of the remarkably spiky hair that descends down his back. Rumours are spreading that maybe he comes from some sort of demonic land and has come to influence innocent children, encouraging them to join his cult, but the fact is he doesn’t talk to anyone. Not a soul. No one even really knows if he can speak, and if he does, what language. Maybe, they say, he doesn’t have a tongue.

That guy hairy back

You can't blame a guy for having a hairy back, but this is just strange.

Everyone refers to him as either, “That Guy”, “The Red One” or “Alf” as they figure he’s from another planet. He doesn’t seem to be as friendly and outgoing as the real Alf, which is really quite disappointing. All That Guy does is walk into the pub staring with his blank-eyed-look at no one in particular, and then he points at the bottles of Coke lining the fridge. He sits at the bar, sipping slowly through a straw, occasionally turning to look at who has just walked through the door. Once he has finished his drink he will order another, and then a third, a fourth, until the sun goes down, everyone heads home and the pub closes. He will then place the exact change on the counter, slide from his chair and leave.

That guy moustache

He sure does stare a lot.

No one knows where he lives. Once some of the neighbourhood kids tried to follow him home, but they lost sight of him when he disappeared into the woods. Some people say he gets sucked up into an alien spaceship and they claim to have seen bright lights shining over the deepest, darkest part of the woods at night time. Others say he climbs down a hole into the depths of the underworld, while others insist they have seen him walking past their windows in the early hours of the morning.

That guy hole in sock

He shows signs of having led a tough life – clearly life is hard where ever he is from

Normally the town’s folk wouldn’t put up with someone as strange as him hanging around, but the problem is that he is also a highly profitable tourist attraction. Bus loads of tourists roll into town every day hoping to catch a glimpse of this strange personality. The pub has never sold so much Surf ‘n’ Turf and the newsagent is making great business selling tshirts with “I Survived Seeing That Guy” and “What’s He Looking At?” printed on them.

You, too, can survive seeing That Guy – he’s on sale at my Etsy Store.

B-O-N-J-O-U-R

Friday, May 11th, 2012

What a wonderful day to be in Paris! The last month has been rain, rain, rain and grey, grey, grey, and then out of the blue came the sunshine. It reached an impressive maximum of 28.7 degrees today, a miracle considering the recent averages temperatures have been hovering around 16 degrees. The only downside was the strong wind that blew pollen and seeds into eyes and down throats – not so much fun when I went for a bike ride in the afternoon and finished with tears streaming down my face as my eyes tried to get rid of evil horse chestnut blossom.

I spent the day with the windows to my apartment wide open, letting in the warming temperatures and the exciting feeling of the approaching summer. It was a good day – I hung a blackboard in my kitchen to act as a creative outlet/shopping list and framed the best version of my lino stencil. I still want to do more prints of that stencil, I just need to go and buy more equipment first.

My main project for the day was to finish off a large piece that I started last week. I have been busy with visitors and being social (it’s a hard life) and so my half-finished project has been sitting on my desk staring at me. Today I had time to get out my sewing machine and work like crazy. Et voilà!

Bonjour material letters

It's almost as if Macgyver is speaking French.

The next step is to iron the letters flat and then attach them to a long string to hang them in my apartment. The other option is to frame them all separately and scatter them throughout the room. But string is cheaper.

In Ink

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

I finished my lino cut today and then played around with paint. I really wasn’t sure how much paint to use and the best way to apply it, so it took a bit of experimentation before things started happening. It still isn’t perfect but I now get the general rules for successful paint application, and look!

Lino print

Printed.

I am very pleased with the results. I want to experiment with adding some colours and layers. I am looking forward to see what eventuates!

Pie.

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As I mentioned in my last entry, one of the main reasons why I am uncertain about my ability to complete the 40-in-40 challenge is that I need to eat. However, I will claim baking and the invention of desserts as a creative challenge. Therefore my strawberry and rhubarb pie that I baked to take to my friends’ house for dinner counts.

Strawberry and rhubarb pie

Pie.

It was a bit of a flop. It tasted ok but the pastry didn’t turn out how I hoped and it exploded in the oven, so as far as baking successes go, this wasn’t really one of them. However, we learn from our mistakes, don’t we kids? Next time I know to be less lazy and make my own pastry rather than blindly buying pre-made pastry from the supermarket and choosing the wrong one. Oops.

A Very Big Challenge

Monday, April 30th, 2012

On day one of my 40-Creations-in-40-Days challenge, I realised it was going to be difficult to complete. On day two it all became scarily obvious that I am not going to be able to do it. No, wait, I take that back. I COULD do it, except the things that I would produce wouldn’t actually be what I want to make and hence, what is the point? I guess creative development is always good and I am still trying to do something everyday, however I don’t think I will make 40 pieces.

The reason is simple – lots of the pieces that I want to make simply take longer than one day, and when I have other things in my day that also take up my time (eg. eating) I am not able to fulfil the requirements of the challenge. SO, I am going to change the rules to be 40 days of intense creativity, resulting in as many creative pieces as physically possible. Yes, maybe I am making it too easy on myself, but I also don’t want to just create rubbish. I see no point.

So what have I been doing? Pure brilliance, is what. Allow me to show you in photographic form:

Ben stencil

Step 1. Take a photograph of your brother and use Photoshop to turn it into a black and white image.

Pencil transfer

Step 2. Go crazy with lead pencil on the back of the image for a cheap alternative to transfer paper.

Stencil

Step 3. Attach image to a piece of lino and trace over the lines.

Transfered stencil image

Et voilà! Magic.

Lino cutters

Step 4. Take your Lino Snijgereedschap and start carving.

Lino cut

Step 5. Cut away from you. Don't not put your hands in front of the lino cutter. Attach the lino to your work surface. Remove all white space.

Working outside

Step 6. Work in a lovely outdoor environment and enjoy.

And there we have it! I am still working on slicing my brother’s face, but I hope to finish within the next day and then I can make some prints. It is such an enjoyable experience – I love the tactile nature of the lino and the fact that my hands were starting to hurt by the end of the day. I haven’t made a lino cut since my year 8 art class so I am having to teach myself but I think it is going to look good. I will show you the final results soon.

40 Day Challenge

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Lots of changes have been happening recently and I am taking the opportunity to expand my skill set, take up some new challenges and experiment, experiment, experiment. I have become aware that I have put a bit of a self-inflicted roadblock on some of my inner creativity and I think it is time to let it out. Watch out world!

As a result, I am taking up a challenge – to create 40 different ‘pieces’ over a 40 day period. It can be anything – painting, drawing, knitting, découpage (because who doesn’t love découpage?), stencilling, baking etc. Yes, I’m including baking because it is a delicious form of creativity.

Yesterday was Day One of the challenge and to be honest, my creativity levels were not particularly high. I was more inclined to go outside and visit an art gallery (I went and saw an Art Spiegelman exhibition at the Pompidou Centre library) but I was determined to make something. The search was on for inspiration. Come on, Paris!

It was the weather man who eventually delivered – his insistence on producing grey, rainy weather day after day after day for the past two weeks has certainly been the topic of conversation and was now my inspiration.

Cloud

It is kind of a strange looking cloud, but I'll just say it is "French"

Now Gary has a reason to feel it is too wet for ducks as he lives under a cloud. A pretty, stripy cloud, nonetheless. It is a reasonable first attempt but I am keen to add some rain drops that hang from the bottom of it. Call it a work in progress.

Stencil Fun

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

An interesting challenge from a friend has prompted me to put more thought, effort and time into my desire to make ‘stuff’. So far the issue has been where to start and what ‘stuff’ actually is. I really need to work on refining this but on Friday I decided it would be a good idea to do some experimentation. A couple of weeks ago I had experimented with making stencils as ultimately I would love to create images that people want to hang on their walls but my drawing skills are non-existant. I therefore I am trying to find sneaky ways to get around this problem. My last attempts resulted in a collection of coloured keys which I rather like and immediately hung on MY wall (with masking tape. I need a frame.) Good start.

Key stencil

Keys. Keys. Keys.

On Friday I sat and pondered what exactly I should stencil next. My thoughts went back to my good sock friend, Gary, who I miss but I hope is enjoying his new life mud-walking in Tasmania.

Gary

I miss you, Gary.

When I send my sock creatures away to their new owners, I make little books containing the creature’s life story. On the front cover is a black and white image that I create in Photoshop with extremely complicated techniques. I would try and explain it to you but you’d be far too amazed by my Photoshop skills that your head might explode. We don’t want that.

Anyway, I took Gary’s black and white picture and added a sentence that has been hanging around in my head for about three weeks now. It doesn’t make much sense, but nothing I do really does. At least I’m consistently strange. Here was the end result after some careful knife-work:

Gary stencil

Good day for stencilling

After cutting out the stencil I then concocted a nice shade of greeny-blue and started painting. I need to invest in some better stencilling equipment as the paper I was using was too flimsy and moved around but I am still quite pleased with the result.

Gary stencil

What will lie underneath?

Gary stencil

Et voilà!

I loved Gary in sock-form and now I love him in stencil. I am really pleased with what I produced and can see how I can work on and improve my techniques. I want to start doing some different colour layers to add some more excitement. So stay tuned – new Zaum ‘stuff’ is coming to you soon!

Gary framed

He looks so good in a frame.

Searching for Inspiration

Friday, January 13th, 2012

With all of the unknowns currently looming in my life, I have been feeling a bit flat and pointless lately. So to counteract this, I have been trying to find inspiration in other people who have been there/done that or who are undertaking creative developments that are of a similar nature to what I would like to be doing. This morning I stumbled across a guy called Noah Scalin who has developed a website called Make Something 365, which encourages you to do something creative every day. He has showcased lots of people who have decided to make or do something every day of the year in order to develop and explore their creativity. I am keen to get involved and to take on my own 365 day project – I just need to work out what it is. I am also a bit hesitant to start before I leave Paris, although really this shouldn’t hinder my ability to create. I need a project that I can do anywhere in the world. While my first thoughts are to do some writing, it isn’t what really excites me. I want something that requires me to use my hands and that will physically produce something. Perhaps 365 sock creatures? It’s tricky to always have a sewing machine around. Maybe the daily requirement shouldn’t be so important but by the end of the year I need to have 365 things. I guess 366 this year considering we get an extra day. Any suggestions are welcome.