Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Percival the Pig

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

My friend, sewing-and-cooking inspiration, and ex-boss, Claire, recommended I read a book she had recently read with her children. Yes, at the wee-ages of two and four they are slightly younger than me but I feel we have similar interests when it comes to well-written and beautiful illustrated children’s books. The ABC Menagerie by M.H. Clark and Elena V. Targioni is a book for everyone – it is so beautiful, funny and heartwarming that even robots would feel emotions while reading it.

ABC Menagerie

ABC Menagerie - image from LiveInspired

Each page of the book introduces a new animal and their particular habits and the rhyming text is accompanied by a photograph of a felt/material version of the creature. Similar to my sock creatures, these guys are slightly odd and always have something ‘different’ about them. There are many amazing personalities and the creatures themselves are so wonderfully crafted that you feel like you could reach into the page and pat them.

abc menagerie

Jesenia the Jaguar – image from LiveInspired

I thought I would share the text from one of the pages as I currently feel like this animal. Last night I went for dinner with friends at Le Jardin D’en Face and ate far too much and therefore wish I had the same release mechanisms as this guy:

Percival the Pig

Percival’s dinners are rich and gourmet,
with plenty of chocolate éclairs.
Whenever he’s had one too many that day,
his safety valves let out the air.

Buy and read this book. No matter what age you are, it will make you smile. Thanks for the recommendation, Claire.

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.

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.

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.