making mistakes

Do you make mistakes? 
I think mistake-making is terrribly wonderfully totally super important. 
I tell my kids, and other kids, and people that whenever I can. 

When I'm running workshops with people who declare they couldn't do something (like weaving or stitching and printing) because they might not do it perfectly - well I tell those people that they have to make mistakes to learn something. Sometimes when you make a mistake it really is a mistake, but you learn from it don't you (or you keep on making the same mistake until you do learn..... eventually).

Mostly I think when we make mistakes, in life and in art, we make something else as well. I found this quote on pinterest, and oh boy it so resonates with what I feel and think about mistake making. When you make mistakes you make something new. Oh golly - isn't that a perfect way of thinking about it. 

Did you know that cheese was a mistake. A long (long long loooooooonnnnnnnnnngggg) time ago there was a woman (let's say a woman, but it could have been a man) walking through the desert with some fresh camel or goat milk in a pouch. The pouch was made of animal, and had a lining of animal guts. Oh you know that stuff - yeah rennet. With the warmth of the day, and the movement of the walking woman, the milk jiggled all about in that animal pouch and turned from runny milk to firmer cheese. It probably was a bit disappointing to go and have a sip of milk, and find it a teeny bit soured and lumpy. Anyway, so the story goes, mistake making made a good thing!
{along these lines, I always wonder how the first person discovered that you could separate egg whites from yolks and make different things with each. Oh - imagine no meringue!}. 

Anyway. This should really remind you, and push you to make mistakes. Mistake making is good. Except in exams that are important - maybe don't make mistakes then. But in art, please do make mistakes and then learn to make new creations.

on making art

Last Thursday I was asked by two separate people how my art making was going. 
Exactly that "how's your art making going?".
To both I responded what particular art making are you wanting to know about?

While I know they were both being polite and wanted to say "how's things" in a more personal manner, and neither of them know me really well so perhaps forgot what my art making particularly was (umm - what is it again??!!); I thought it strange. And it's sent me off on tangents of art making thinking. 

What is art making?
What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you?
Is every day living art?
Do my children make art?
Can I make art with my children hovering around me...!?

Ah-ha there's what I'm probably most curious about solving at the moment. That last one. 

But firstly. Art making? Really we all know it's a totally personal and subjective thing. That art thing. Making art. Experiencing art. Exploring art. 

What is art?! 

I think that making a cup of tea is art (and in some countries is a complete art - think of a Japanese tea ceremony). Cooking dinner is art, or setting the lunch table for friends. Writing a letter to a loved one. Digging in your garden, planning and then planting new beginnings of art and beauty. Tidying up your home - straighten the shelves, arranging flowers in a jar. Brushing up your hair into a knot on top of your head. Getting dressed in the morning. Reading stories with your children. Having a conversation.
All of these things can be art. Can be expressed in an artful manner. Can be considered or thrown together, with some semblance of creativity and "art". I think there's an art to walking through our days and experiencing only the beauty and joy. 

It's true I haven't done any screen printing all year, or any drawing or painting for months, or any crochet for the past week. Instead I have spent time my days enjoying the sunshine glowing through the flower water (and documenting). I have planted lettuces with my children. I have read stories every night. I have folded snippets of fabric. I have washed up, and then stack the clean dishes away in the cupboard. I have put the clothes away in the drawer, in neat and beautiful piles. I have read about Pluto and the Moon, and talked about verbs and adjectives with my children at our home-school table.

Each day I am living an artful life.
How about you?
How's your art making going?


lines to make me smile

There was quite a fun, and super excellent, little thing yesterday at the Matisse Exhibition, at the GOMA. Called The Drawing Room (cute name, yes??), it was set up as a very tidy and lovely artist's studio space (sort of). There was a life model (clothed, not naked), and lots of fantastic still-life set ups, with flowers, fruit, etc. Drawing paper and pencils and space to sit and draw. Such a wonderful inspiration room. 
I wasn't feeling it for the life model drawing, but sat and did some still-life sketches of bottles and jars and such. These above are drawn on an ipad they had, where it then draws back to you each line as you drew it. If you go here, I think you can have a go yourself. The top drawing, vase with flowers, is by Ari, the bottom teapot by me. And look at this excellent one that Ari drew of the model in chair. His drawing skills are improving so much, and he's enjoying looking and just going for it. It makes me so happy to see him just draw and not get upset that it doesn't work out exactly as he wanted/planned/expected (I do that much too much myself....). I think he was really inspired by the Matisse exhibition.

I am hoping to put aside more time for myself to do drawing, painting, sketching, over the next few weeks. It's something I think I'll have to put into my diary to make sure it happens... Tell me, what do you wish you made more time for? Will you do it - join me in spending time this year doing more of what you love, for yourself. I do wish I had space to set up tablescapes like this, that could stay until I was finished..... next year for sure.

printing blue ..... and still not sure of a name

Some screen printing today, in the printing shed. Skirts.  Like this one here. {thanks Kim, I actually really quite like this photo; not often that happens!!}

The backs of the skirts are beautiful soft black hemp + organic cotton. The fronts are a floaty white hemp + organic cotton - which I hand screen print. Each one is totally different, due to the way I print them. I couldn't even replicate any particular bits if I wanted. It's like a magic that evolves from the mix of ink on screen and pull of squeedgie.

Red / black or blue / black. Each had white relief marks on it; frayed, raw, edges, strands, string, twirls, swirls. And little bits of stories in the ink.

I love lifting the screen and looking at each bit. Picking out sections that I like best. Enjoying the mix and swirl and drifts of colour. Seeing the stark white underneath. The edge of the screen. The soft corners, where the ink didn't touch, or just softy whispered past.

Sylve helped me today. It was good to have someone else in the printing shed with me. Someone working out thoughts with. Talking with my sister is like thinking aloud, a ramble of conversation and ideas and advice and being able to say little bits that might not make sense until someone else turns a new light on them.

Mishi helped us too. Spooning the ink onto the screen. And washing the spoons afterwards. And getting so wonderfully grubby with water (and chocolate brownie combined with babycino at the cafe after).

I'm still trying to come up with the best name for these skirts. I have been calling them The Art Skirt, but not sure that's exactly right (except that doing each one is a one-by-one piece of art). 

I'll show you the finished skirts in a week or so. When they're back from the sewer, and I'm back from my holiday. {We leave for a week's holiday in Cairns on Tuesday. YAH}. And some of you will be able to see them in person at my upcoming big big big fun fun fun market (which I'm super anxious.scared.excited.anticipating.breathless.dreaming.planning about).

arquitectos del aire

This is where we will be this weekend.

Amococo is part of Out of The Box festival that has been running all this past week at Southbank, The State Library and Art Gallery in Brisbane. 

If you live near to Brisbane, then I suggest a visit to this place this coming long weekend. If you don't live nearby, head on over and watch the video.

I love the name Arquitectos del Aire :: Architects of Air

The luminaria are inflatable sculptures filled with natural light. Coloured plastics filter light in, creating a womb-like environment. Influenced by nature, geometry, light, cathedrals, the design....
 " takes Moorish architecture as its starting point and then, as Gaudí did in Barcelona a century or more ago, turns it into something highly organic and distinctly ambivalent. Not that Gaudí would have recognised it.  What Parkinson has done is treat the inflated object as an immersive art experience, in which light, sound and architectural form combine.”
Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times*

{anything that relates to Moorish, Gaudi and Barcelona must be something truly special}.

*quote from AOA site.

red riding hood and chocolate

It's so lovely spending time at home with my little one. She has such a wonderful interest in fabric and colours and patterns. Always asking me to make her something new - a party dress, a skirt for her doll, a new blanket, a crown, a bracelet. 
She brings me pieces of her play fabric and ribbons from my ribbon jar, and asks me to create costumes and clothes for her. Always in a very particular way. She knows exactly how she wants it - I think perhaps she can see it in her mind, though often she can't vocalise to me exactly how I'm meant to tie or pin or twist it. Some frustration does occur. 
Yesterday she asked me for a Little Red Riding Hood cape - after bringing me endless lengths of fabric to be turned into all sorts of capes and special hoods and dresses. As I had to go out to the fabric shop anyway, to get some supplies for new products for this weekends market (sneaks on that later), I decided we should choose some red for a little riding hood cape at the same time. 

Today we sat down {with our afternoon iced chocolate + affogato} and got some ideas down on paper. Isn't this just the best and sweetest Little Red Riding Hood. Look at her wonderful whimsical shoes, which are meant to be different colours and have ribbons tied up them like a ballerina's slippers. And four hair clips in her hair.
I did some measurements and right now the beginnings of a calico (or muslin, or better still toile, as it really should be called) mock-up are on my sewing table. 
While I bought the red fabric - a mini pinwale cord in cherry - I haven't yet got any lining fabric. I was imagining some Kokka Red Riding Hood, but they didn't have any in stock at the specialist fabric shop (different place to the big chain shop), and I can only find green online. Also, I'm not quite convinced that it's the best option. 
We (the kids + me) spent a good deal of time last night looking online for some inspiration. How wonderful to be able to have both my kids (1 girl + 1 boy) interested in looking at fabric - and not just fairies or dinosaurs! 
These are a few on our / my shortlist :: Kitty Kokeshi, Starling, Spotted Owl, Clouds, Forest Hills, Dandelion Fields.  I'm waiting until I work out exactly how much meterage I need, before I order anything. I'd love to hear if you have any other options we could look at - I'm hoping this will be a cape to last her at least 2+ years, so want it to be a beautiful fabric we will continue to enjoy.

a simple line of regular domesticness

It's a public holiday here in Oz, because yesterday was ANZAC Day.
It's quiet here. The kids have been playing all about and making mess and noise - noisy and quiet noise, but tolerable noise. Sam has been really enjoying doing some hand drawing with lots of shading. Just letting the pen move where it wants, where he mind wanders. Nice to be like that - let the freedom of creativeness flow easily. 

This morning I set up a little still life for the kids to do some drawing of their own. I like to do this, mainly for Ari; Mishi still a little too young to be doing still life, but being inspired by it is good. And we have a little talk about what still life drawing means. And perspective and that sort thing. I set up some different shapes and angles and colours. A simple line of regular domesticness.
I love what he came up with. His interpretation on the lines and shapes. And also the way he then looks around the room and finds other things to draw - the Buddhas (which he started here), the bells above the kitchen doorway. And of course, a drawing session wouldn't be complete without rockets from Ari and fairies with long hair from Mishi. 

I've spent an enjoyable amount of time downstairs getting a heap of screen printing done. For the markets this coming weekend. Will you be visiting me there? Do pop in and say hi if you're around - would be lovely to meet you.
Sam and I haven't printed together for many months, and it was really nice to do. It's a quiet rhythmic process, like a little dance of not getting ink on each other, and moving easily around each other in our very small printing space.
Now I'm headed back downstairs to sit at my sewing machine. Stitch up some custom orders. And some more cumulus clutches and handbags. 

The kids did some baking. The kitchen is clean. The washing is done. 
And it's only 3pm. 
What a marvelous day indeed. Definitely the do-something day.

events {exhibitions}

Here are a couple of interesting looking exhibitions this week around the area.

Stella Gallery is hosting a beautiful looking photographic exhibition which opens tonight (Wednesday). I've been meaning to visit this gallery space since it opened, but life hasn't sent me over to that neck of the city. I'm planning on heading over to the opening event (we'll see if family life lets me out the door!).
Exhibiting photographers include Elisabeth Harvey, who shot the beautiful photos of my sister for Peppermint mag.

Sophie Munns is this year's artist in residence at the Mt Cootha Botanical Garden. Her art theme is homage to the seed, and will focus on seed conservation and awareness for the future. Exhibition is this coming weekend at Embiggen Books as Noosaville.
Sophie has three different blogs to look at, so do check them out. 
visual artist - which is more like her personal blog
*images used with thanks from each blog.

sweet comments

All you bloggers out there know that one of the very best best bestest things about having a blog is meeting other amazing, friendly, interesting, lovely, creative, talented and sweet bloggers. Online friends are surely one of the best things around - being able to have a real and true relationship with someone who you have never met (in person), have never heard talk, and probably never will. Somehow this does not limit the friendship in any way. And we all appreciate that if we don't communicate or comment or email every second day, it doesn't mean we don't like you any more. 
Another lovely thing about having a blog is the super cute and sweet and meaningful and thoughtful comments you get emailed to you. Isn't it so nice having just a special little comment. And sweet smile; like a flower tucked under your front door while you're out for the day.
I just got such a comment. Oh, and it really made me smile. 
uhmmm excuse me,
but i just thought i'd do a drive by and tell you...

that i think your blog is great :)
x x

A new comment also means that I now have another beautiful new blog to look at, and feel inspired by. And she lives in Brisbane, so we may well run into each other one day........
Visit Lauren's website, blog and shop.  And I think she'll be at the Southbank Young Designer's Market this coming {Easter} Sunday, if you're about.

*all images from laurencarneyart, used with thanks.

lines, shapes, texture :: family day outing

On Sunday we all went to the art gallery. With only one day a week altogether (due to school + working hours), we don't often have time or energy to go and do regular visits to busy-Sunday places. 
With the APT6 (Asia Pacific Triennial - an event held in Brisbane gallery every three years) ending very soon, I wanted to show Sam one particular artwork that I'd seen during the week, while visiting the exhibition with a friend. Between the kids' whinging, and pulling and moaning (ours and it seems at least half of the rest of the gallery - Sunday at the gallery is not a quiet, peaceful, relaxing place to be!), we did manage to stop and look at those particular drawings for at least half a second. 
We had a few fun moments all getting lost in the string room - a big room painted white, with white rope-like string hanging from the roof in varying heights. Walking around in there has a feeling sort of similar to the light and movement of being in a bamboo forest. A lovely place to be on a quiet weekday; but still lovely to experience by hearing my family chatter in the space around me.
I particularly love the way this paper sculpture fits within the shapes of the gallery. The lines, sway, movement. I feel that the GOMA is one of the best public spaces in Brisbane - so beautifully designed and made, and so lovely to have that space to be in, walk in. Often my family (my dad, sisters, Sam) have mentioned how we'd love to have deep wide windows and verandahs and spaces like that. Just spaces. With perhaps a single chair for sitting and watching the clouds change over the river. No other gallery lookers, of course. It would be our own space - we're greedy, and don't want to share this space. 
If you go to the gallery on quiet weekdays, sometimes it does feel like you don't have to share. 

the long drive :: part 1 :: brown and dry

brown and dry stretched out.
hills that look the same,
but each one so different.
trees that pop up out of the brown, dusty ground.
blue endless sky, puffy clouds.
making me think of Russell Drysdale
or Fred Williams.
stretches of straight long road.
and, surprisingly, lots of talking and drawing and laughing and sleeping (and minimal whinging) from the two little ones in the back.

And the devastating fire remains, when we came into the outskirts of Melbourne.

Thanks to Pip over at Meet me at Mike's for hosting a words & pictures : long drive theme. Perfect nudge for me to show you the spectacular Australian landscape we experienced while driving from Brisbane to Melbourne and back again this past month.Most of these photos were taken while the car was moving - so some of them have that moody feel about them.