Posts Tagged ‘projects’

Zaum Christmas Craftin’ Projects

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Over the past few weeks I worked on two projects that have now been given to their proposed recipients as Christmas presents so I am therefore allowed to write about them. The first was a lino-print commission that a friend of mine asked me to do for her husband. She supplied me with a photograph of the two of them and asked if I could turn it into a print. As not all photographs are transferable and faces are particularly troublesome to do without making someone look like an alien, I didn’t promise anything but gave it a shot. The results were particularly pleasing.

The final print

The final print

This was the largest print I have ever done and showed me that bigger is potentially better. Before this I had been working to A5 sizes but I am now seeing that I could get some fairly impressive images if I started doing much larger prints. It obviously takes longer and my knives are now very blunt, but you can get some interesting details when working at a bigger size. I am keen to do more commissioned jobs like this as it becomes a one off piece that has more sentimental and personal value than something that is mass produced.

I also spent most of my train trip to Sheffield and lots of evenings before Christmas making a cross-stitch version of the Forge Bakehouse logo. I have been meaning to create my own cross-stitch patterns and this seemed like an easy project to start with. While I did draw a basic outline on the material to start with, I completed it mostly by eye, working it out as I went along. I learnt a lot in the process, mostly that my cross stitching skills are a little lacking and that I should try to be a lot neater before entering any country fair competitions.

Vintage Forge

Vintage Forge

The logo was well received and will hopefully be hung with pride in the Forge Bakehouse toilet, along side the lino-printed toilet sign that I made for the shop as well.

In The Beginning There Was Zaum…

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Today is Tuesday. It is the eleventh day of September in the year 2012. It is my Uncle’s birthday and yesterday it was my mother’s. Ten days ago I turned 27 and I am 354 days away from being 28. Today I decided enough is enough and I am taking my head out of the clouds and putting my butt into gear and I am going to make my business, Zaum, what I originally intended it to be. Something amazing.

When I first set up Zaum I had high hopes of completely transforming my life, quitting my steady university job and starting something on my own. I did it to some extent and if I hadn’t decided to go out on my own maybe I wouldn’t be sitting in my apartment in Paris writing this. Perhaps I would have eventually moved up to a more senior marketing role, received a pay increase and taken four weeks of annual leave every year.

I certainly wouldn’t have spent 2010 wondering what the hell I had just done. I wouldn’t have worked at UWA two days a week and I therefore wouldn’t have been able to get an apartment in a residency located in a 13th century convent. I wouldn’t have moved to Paris and I wouldn’t have eaten this:

Caramel tart

One of many cakes I have tried.

I wouldn’t have made friends with crazy italians, mad scientists or staple-artists, and I wouldn’t know the joy of running through Paris at 7.30am and feeling like I have the entire city to myself.

Basically, today I have come to a realisation that while I have in no way wasted my last year and a half in Paris, I think it is time for me to move on the Phase Two: Zaum in Paris. Before it was just Jess – now Zaum has come to stay and is going to blossom over the next few months into something wonderful. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what that is, but in the last five hours much brainstorming, butcher’s paper and black pen action has occurred and things are moving.

The reason why I am writing this is to spread the word in the hope that everyone reading this will support me. I know that I am not one to push myself along and am generally inclined to suggest I give up now and get a “real” job. ARG!!! So I am asking you all to kick me, slap me or throw buckets of cold water on me if I start to turn away from this.

I currently feel like a boxer preparing to enter the ring – I even want to jump up and down with my fists held up in front of my body, ready to take the first swing. Bring it on! Zaum is ready to rrruuummmmbbbbblllleeeeeee!!!

Need Some Inspiration?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I watched this today while eating cheese and baguettes and suddenly felt a lot better about doing what I am trying to do. Cheers, Neil.

Career Change

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I am officially changing careers – I am becoming a sock sculptor. Sure, there’s no money in it (yet), but that might change. And sure, no one would take me seriously, but that might change. Plus I don’t know how to go about it but I can learn. Essentially, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while making my sock laboratory and the final exhibition was a great success. It was very well attended and the range of works on exhibit was very interesting and varied. I was very proud to have my work on show and I got a bit of a kick watching people looking at my work and smiling. I gain similar enjoyment watching people’s reactions to my writing.

It was the process of making my sock laboratory that I enjoyed the most. I loved seeing my ideas come into reality as I managed to work out how to turn limp socks into microscopes, scissors, scalpels and coffee cups. The hands-on element particularly enticed me as it is something that lacks in my writing work. While writing stimulates my brain, it doesn’t fulfil my desire to make things with my hands. It was so nice to have the challenge of creating a piece of work that would have a definite outcome. I would love to do it again.

Studio

My dining table seconds as a studio

In another positive note, while three ‘prop’ items (a test tube, a syringe and a piece of paper) were stolen from my laboratory on the opening night, nothing was taken on the following day. Excellent.

The Sock Lab

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Yesterday I set up my piece in the Art Ou Science exhibition at Café A. It was then taken down without my knowledge in the evening (a tad annoying) and I have to put it up again in 25 minutes. Ca m’enerve. ANYWAY I thought I would put up some photographs of my work so that you can see it. I am pleased with the final result, and am ignoring the person who called it ‘mosh’ (ugly). I stole her desk (hence why my work was taken down) and she wasn’t happy about it clearly. I was told I could use it by the people running the exhibition. Not my fault. ANYWAY…

Sock lab

The lab

Sock lab

My microscope pre-installation

Sock lab

Mouse brains

Sock test tube holder

A test tube holder complete with colourful threads to examine, and a scalpel to cut off little mouse heads

Sock Lab

Bits and bobs in the sock lab

Sock lab

A certificate of education and alpha, eta and lambda hang from the ceiling above

Art vs Science

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

I realise I have forgotten to mention that I am soon to be a world-famous sock artist who has exhibited in one of Paris’s hippest joints. Yes, that’s right. I’m going to be putting my socks on show at Café A – the hippest, grooviest, BoBo-est Café/gallery space in Paris that happens to be connected to the Récollets. When I first found out that I was going to be moving to an artists’ residency, I thought that maybe I would get to go to some cool exhibition opening. It never crossed my mind that I would have the opportunity to put something IN the exhibition for arty French people to come and look at.

A few weeks ago, all of the scientists and artists living at the Récollets were invited to submit ideas for an exhibition with the subject of “Art vs Science.” I jumped at the opportunity to exhibit work in Paris and submitted the idea of making a science laboratory out of socks. My idea has been accepted and for the past two weeks I have been making microscopes, scalpels and coffee cups (scientists need caffeine) out of socks. This Friday the exhibition opens with a vernissage (aka free wine) at 7pm and apparently lots of ‘cool’ people have been invited. This makes me nervous. I thought this thing would be little and no one would come to it but it seems it maybe actually get some sort of turn out. Terrifying.

Anyway, I still have some work to do on it before I post photos but I will let you know how it goes. In the mean time, anyone would happens to be in Paris this Friday night should come!

Art or Science Poster

Cool.

A Beaut Birthday Present

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I can finally reveal to the world a project that I was working on over the last couple of weeks. It was a birthday present for my Dad and it finally arrived in Australia, just 2 days late! Not bad considering the French postal service was involved.

Meet Chuck.

Chuck

Hello.

Never will you meet a more helpful man than Chuck. No task is too big, too hard, too heavy, too tough. Chuck will find a way to do it and without a complaint, without a sigh, he will get down to work (except electrical and plumbing work.) Chuck loves helping people but he doesn’t do it for the reward or the thanks – he does it because he knows it is the right thing to do. If he has the skills, knowledge or strength that a person needs in order to complete a task, all they have to do is ask.

Chuck

He's handy.

Chuck loves working with his hands and when he isn’t helping someone you will find him in his shed. He dreams of having a big workshop in his backyard where he can keep his tools and have enough space to make things. Wood is his product of choice and he would love to spend all of his time building things such as surfboards, kayaks and fruit bowls.

The problem is, Chuck also spends a lot of his time fighting crime. He doesn’t go searching for trouble – trouble finds him. Luckily Chuck has a black belt in karate and is best friends with the local Chief of Police. Every time he encounters a baddies – BAM! Chuck roundhouse kicks him to the ground and sends him straight to the lock-up. Chuck was awarded a Citizenship award recently be he honourably declined, saying that he is just trying to keep the streets safe and he just gotta do what he gotta do.

Chuck

Nice beard.

Chuck is a family man – he has a wife, three kids and a dog. He goes home every night at 6pm, just in time for dinner. Chuck thinks his wife is the best cook in the whole wide world and tells her that every night as he licks his plate clean. Chuck likes to encourage his kids to go out and follow their dreams and see the world. He’s full of great advice and he has really big muscles.

Chuck is NOT for sale because he now lives with my Dad and drives around in a white van in the western suburbs of Perth.

Cross Stitching Fun

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

I have been working on a project on and off for a few weeks now and am finally ready to announce it to the world. I didn’t want to tell people what I was doing in case it crashed and burned and I looked like an idiot. No one wants to look like an idiot. But, surprises of all surprises, I have managed to successfully complete – my very first cross stitch!

I would like to start by declaring that cross stitch should be made COMPULSORY for everyone. It is more fun than riding a bicycle upside down and it is relaxing and therapeutic. You can sit and make little crosses on a piece of material that will all eventually add up to equal one giant picture – who wouldn’t want to do that?!

I bought a cross stitch pattern from a little store in a Parisian arcade called Le Bonheur des Dames (The Happiness of Ladies or The Ladies’ Paradise.) It should be extended to Le Bonheur des Toute le Monde because the entire world can gain happiness from this craft activity. At first I was scared by what I had put myself up against – there was a pattern (in French), a few instructions (in French), the linen to put the pattern onto and lots of coloured pieces of thread. What to do?!

Thankfully, we live in a world where if you want to know how to do something, all you have to do is turn to YouTube and someone will have wasted their lives making “How-To” videos. So I learnt how to cross stitch with a lady named Vickie Pavone. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I complained to my running buddy, Becky, one morning about having a sore neck, blaming it on sleeping in a strange position. That evening I picked up my cross stitch and realised I had ‘Cross-Stitch Neck’ where you tilt your head on a slight angle for a few hours, trying to get the best light to tackle those crosses. I had a sore neck for days.

Cross stitch

What a lovely class room!

The great thing about cross stitch is that you can start it one day, stop for a while, and then come back later when you have more time. This week I put the final touches on my piece and am very happy with the results. I need to work on my backstitch technique as I find it very hard to make round corners. I’m sure there must be a trick to it. I’ll have to ask Vickie.

Now that I have mastered this piece I want to start designing my own patterns. I added a little bit of “Jess” to my school room scene – 10 points for the person who spots it first.

Chocolate stain

I also added a bit of chocolate for some extra flavour

 

Je Suis Français!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Meet Adrian.

Adrian the Frenchman

Bonjour.

What can we say about Adrian…? He is French. He is 56 years old. He owns a brasserie in Paris that he works at day and night. He hates anything that isn’t French. He has a moustache.

Adrian

What a moustache!

Adrian is very proud of his nationality and rightly so – France has many good features including good food, good wine, lots of holidays. He took over the brasserie from his father, Jean, who also hated anything that wasn’t French. The brasserie is mostly frequented by old French men who have been going there all their lives, tagging along with their fathers back when they were children. Adrian spends most of his day talking to his clientele, smoking, and wiping the counter.

Whenever tourists accidentally enter his café in search of refreshment, Adrian sighs, rolls his eyes and marches over to the unsuspecting guests. “Eeye do not speek Eenglish,” he will say, hoping they leave. But some will insist on staying, so he will slam a menu down on the table and storm off behind the bar. Adrian’s problem with tourists is that they always want to change something in their order – they are never happy with how a dish is served. They want chips instead of potatoes, or even worse they ask for their steak tartare to be cooked. Cooked! Imagine that! No one understands steak tartare like the French.

Adrian spends a lot of time looking at himself in the reflection on the beer taps. Over the years he has grown an impressive moustache which he likes to keep well defined. Grooming is an important part of the Parisian lifestyle and Adrian always want to look his best. He also likes to wear a beret, highlighting his love for his country. Despite his moustache, Adrian has never married, despite proposing to at least three women and hitting on many more. Perhaps it is his slight lack of height – at just 140cm Adrian is not tall. However, he doesn’t let that get to him. Whenever he sees an attractive female, he makes sure she knows it.

Adrian

He's a short man.

Adrian closes his brasserie for the entire month of August every year and heads south to Nice. He enjoys spending his time by the seaside, looking at the beautiful women and floating lazily in the ocean. Usually his entire family joins him in Nice – he has three brothers, two sisters and nine nieces and nephews. He is the grumpy uncle and the children usually stay away from, avoiding long discussions about the importance of school and how great France is.

Adrian is on sale at my Etsy Store. Take him far, far away from France! He needs to see the world.

It’s All About the Hair

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Meet Angelique.

Angelique

Hello.

Angelique is half Parisian, half Algerian, and the proud owner of an amazing head of hair. She works as a sales assistant at Le Chic hair and nail salon on Boulevard de Sébastopol, one of the busiest African beauty streets in Paris. She has been voted “Best Sales Assistant” via customer reviews every month since she started there. Angelique loves her work and puts every effort into her own appearance in order to set a good example for the store. All the ladies come to get their hair braided and their nails varnished by Angelique and they keep telling her she should set up her own store. Unfortunately, the guy she works for barely pays her a cent and threatens to cut off her beautiful long locks if she dares leave. It’s a tough world in the beauty scene.

Angelique

So pretty.

Angelique has always been interested in fashion and beauty – her mother likes to tell the story about how when Angelique was just six months old, she managed to apply some lipstick she had found on the floor. These days, Angelique gets up at 5am every day in order to start getting ready for the day. It takes a long time to look this good. Her hair is her favourite personal attribute – every day she cleans and styles her hair, forming it into a different shape depending on her mood and the theme of her outfit. She loves to add a bit of bling to her attire – today she is wearing a lovely yellow bow (given to her by one of her favourite clients) and a gold necklace she saved up to buy.

Angelique dreams of opening her own store one day. Not only would she offer hair and nail services, but there would be a designated space for the husbands and boyfriends to wait with televisions and magazines, as well as free coffee for all customers. She would also offer beauty consultation services for those ladies who just don’t know what to do with their hair. When she lies in bed at night time, she thinks about the design of her store, what colours she would use and what the name would be. She would really like to call her store So Angelique but she is worried she might appear too arrogant.

Angelique

How does she do that with her hair?

When Angelique is working and talking to her clients she is vibrant, fun and vivacious. However, it is a much different story when she is talking to boys. She is shy and would never dream of asking a boy out. She would love to have a boyfriend but whenever a guy shows interest in her, she turns away and hides. Lots of boys have tried – she is so beautiful! There is one boy in particular who keeps walking past her store, trying to catch her eye. He is a strange looking fellow with zebra stripes and he is always wearing reindeer antlers. Maybe one day they will meet and fall in love. Angelique certainly hopes so.

Angelique is on sale at my Etsy Store. Take her home today!