Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Giant Kangaroo Paw in my garden

I just have to share my amazing kangaroo paw plant with you. I am so proud of it but really I haven't done anything to help it become like this...apart from nearly killing it once when I moved it but it just established itself and grew...and grew...and goes on growing...lucky me :)

It's what dreams are made of...being that kangaroo paw is my all time favourite plant. It was given to me as a strappy small plant by a neighbour who told me it was a kangaroo paw but it never did anything apart from look strappy...after I nearly killed it I just let nature take over and I walked out into my backyard one day and was amazed by the fact it was flowering abundantly...like overnight...and a year or two later it is just under 2metres tall!!! Today is such a stunning summer day I just had to go out and photograph it in all its glory against the backdrop of the blue sky and the rest of the garden. It is so beautiful...I wish I had more of them, guess I'll have to figure out if I can get cuttings from this one. I'm sure this is how they grow in their native western Australia but all the ones I've had before always remain small. This was the plant that inspired my kangaroo paw design for my fabric.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Saturday outing - Hunter Arts Network Art Bazaar, Civic Park, Newcastle

Saturday 3rd December, 2010: While Sydney was hosting the Finders Keepers market the Newcastle creatives were wowing us with their talent at the annual Art Bazaar (click on that link to see the full list of stallholders - some of which have links to view their work).

I bought this striking work by artist / photographer Sue Hilder because it just spoke to me (of course it looks even better in real life)

I love red, perhaps it might even be my favourite colour, it's intense and passionate. I just have to find a frame for it now or have one tailor made. There was a series of these colour studies, green, blue, all beautiful but I liked the red one the most, it's so dramatic.

I enjoyed watching the talented Miranda Earle give a fabric printing demonstration and am keen to do some of her workshops in the new year.

There was so much to take in, it was nice that the rain held off and we walked around at a snail's pace taking it all in. I love markets and fairs, not just for the visual joy of it all but the whole ambiance makes me feel like I'm exactly where I should be, especially artisan markets.

Last year I bought this great print by Shane Audcius (sorry I may be mispelling her surname as it's really hard to make out her handwriting):

This was when I was contemplating my first 3 textile designs and it definitely influenced the idea to do a kangaroo print. I have yet to frame this one too...how slack am I...but there's also that excitement still when I unwrap it from the layers of papers protecting it.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

New stock - eco-friendly notebooks have arrived

Today I finally received the last lot of stuff I've been waiting on from the printers - yay! They are my eco-friendly notebooks and consist of 4 'Nippers' notebooks (similar to my Nippers greeting cards) as well as 4 'The Great Outdoors' notebooks...but instead of prattling on, why don't I just give you a sneak peek so you can see for yourselves :)

The notebook covers are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled matte cardstock with 50 pages (100 front & back) of 100% post-consumer recycled paper inside. They are printed by a green printing business too, so are as environmentally friendly as possible. Perfect for writing, journalling, drawing, doodling, scrawling...fill them with your favourite recipes...your poems...daydreams. Ideal for gifts and will be available in both my Etsy and Blue Caravan stores individually and as sets of 4 (hopefully by tomorrow at the latest) and more images will be available on my flickr photostream :)

Friday, 19 November 2010

My 'kangaroo paw' fabric featured in maramori's etsy treasury

'A is for Aster, B is for Bluebonnet . . . an abecedarian of flowery fun (A-M)' by maramori

Repurposed Felted Wool ...

Playing in the Bluebonn...


iPod Touch or iPhone Ca...

Echinacea- Memory Wire ...

Freesia - 12x12 Origina...

Gypsophila Necklace

Upcycled LP Vinyl Recor...

Deichmann Iris Lamp

Vintage Roseville Art P...

Kangaroo Paw - hand scr...

Frosted Lilac Rose Gard...

The Venturesome Myrtle ...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites

Thanks Janet :) How beautiful are all the flowery products in this treasury! I've always been partial to flowers myself so this really strikes a chord. Janet has a number of Etsy stores and I particularly like the Sneaker and Barcelona Chair prints in her maramori store.

Eco-friendly greeting cards

This morning the courier brought a long awaited package - yay! 

It was filled with about 90% of the stuff from the printers...like my DL business cards, swing tags and greeting cards... just waiting on the notebooks now and hopefully they'll be here early next week.

So I've spent a good amount of time today photographing and editing products ready to list in my online stores and I thought I'd give you a sneak peek here first...

These are the Nippers series cards...
Originally designed as one image I broke it down into 4 so I could make smaller products such as these cards...one day I will do something with the original (all in one colour)...when I get a start on the baby products I'm conjuring up in my head :)

There is also a Flora & Fauna series... some of you may be familiar with the designs as I posted the illustrations a while back and they are also the same as the images from my calendar. The Kangaroos, Kangaroo Grass and Kangaroo Paw are already being used in repeat for my first lot of textile designs. Some of the other designs will eventually end up in repeat patterns for my next batch of fabrics - hopefully early in the new year.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Being green to the core - eco-friendly (and animal friendly) cushion inserts, toy filling and wadding is finally here - hooray!

Just a quick post to alert everyone out there who wants to be really green to the core, not just on the surface, to something really great...and by that I mean if you want to fill your cushions, softies and quilted projects with green filling then head on over to innergreen where Tristan Bauer and his team have developed fabulously green cushion inserts (check out how plump and lovely they look), toy filling and wadding with prices that are comparable to polyester (at least what I've been paying for my inserts anyway) and they are now ready for purchase.

I have to give credit where it is due though and I first found the link to innergreen on the Beach Vintage blog - well done Simone for finding it and posting a link on your blog :) I think it's important to support businesses that are pro-active in finding and delivering green alternatives.

It feels so good to be able to offer products that are as green as possible in every way possible as I felt a little contradicted by offering beautiful eco-friendly cushions that were filled with polyester (even though they are made within a strong environmental management system).

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The human race - a poem

After my post on solastaglia the other day I was left a comment by Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability at Murdoch University in WA - the man responsible for developing new terminology, such as solastaglia, in order to 'name' what humankind is experiencing in this day and age. I visited his blog and had a bit of a look around (though need more time to really get into it) but it got me thinking about things and one thought led to another and I remembered this poem I wrote many moons ago but is still as relevant now as it was back then:


The human race has been cancelled
due to bad weather, they said.
The old man sitting next to me
looks at the ground and shakes his head.

I look beyond his wrinkled face,
to maybe fifty years ago.
If only they'd had the knowledge
that we, today, now know.

An insight to the damage
they would cause to nature's glory.
Now our kids may never see it,
they'll just hear it in some story.

If only they'd forseen the harm
to land and sea and air.
Today we'd have more to enjoy,
instead we live in quiet despair.

A forest disappears a day,
the ozone can't be mended.
I wonder if they're satisfied,
is this what they intended?

As the old man slowly rises,
as he imitates a smile.
I can see he's wondering to himself,
has it really been worthwile?

- Gabriella Tagliapietra: 13/05/89 -

As this is a place to share creative thoughts and processes I wanted to share that poem because I have used poetry in the past as another way to express myself about things that I am passionate about. Art can be confronting, especially when artists want to shock the audience into pro-actively having an opinion. I know my poem is far from shocking but I just hope it's not too sombre. I guess so far my blogs have been more positive as I feel what I am doing is really rather positive - as is the work of so many other creative souls out there who are a constant source of inspiration :)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Thinking ahead...

Back again! Two posts in one day. Now that I offloaded my thoughts about trees being cut down...(and sorry, I know it was a long post but I felt there were important things to say)...I turned my focus back to creative stuff as it always helps to cheer me up.

Not that I plan on printing new designs anytime soon, but it doesn't mean that I can't plan ahead - first though I do plan on having some new colour-ways done on different base-cloth of my first three designs just to throw more options and variety into the mix. Hopefully that won't be too far off.

One of the reasons that I started creating an illustration library is to be able to draw on this for various end uses...paper products, fabric designs and so on.

I can't help but think that this waratah and the lyrebird design would work really well for textile designs and when I have some spare time I think I'll start mucking around with some repeats...



What do you think? Comments and feedback are always welcome :)

Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change

Today I think I'm suffering with solastaglia - I'm feeling a little flat and almost panicked at the rate which environmental change takes place. Lately I have seen A LOT of trees being cut down in my local area to make way for housing and the like.

Having inherited a nothingness garden, apart from a few established trees, when I bought my home I have since set about establishing native gardens at the front and back and after five years they are really starting to establish themselves. More importantly I see how important these areas have become to local fauna and the like. One day I saw three blue tongue lizards all within the space of half an hour...out sunning themselves in my garden - the cats watch in wonderment...too afraid of their size and hiss to go anywhere near them (different for dogs I'm afraid who kill them regularly - I love dogs but don't one). I have a beautiful family of wattle birds that are just the shape of my heart...I call them the hiccough birds because they sound like they have the hiccoughs all the time. Max, my younger cat and the wattle birds have this amazing relationship...they chase each other for hours on end (one-on-one)...it's hillarious to watch and has been going on pretty much ever since he came to live here about four years ago (I rescued him when he was about 7mths old though we'll never know his real age). I also have regular visits by laughing kookaburras and a divine butcher bird who sits at the top of my Norfolk Pine (or neighbouring ones) and sings this enchanting song...not to mention countless other birds like crested pigeons, little wrens and sparrows...oh and a resident willy wagtail or two...

A few months back I had to cut down a large Coastal Banksia as it had reached its life span and opportunistic borers had set in. Mind you I stretched it out as long as I could because I LOVE my two Coastal Banksias...it wasn't until a very large limb snapped off and fell into my neighbours back yard that I knew the time had come to say goodbye...and it was a real loss to me. I also cut down some other straggly smaller trees that were in ill-health too to make way for two new Coastal Banksias and an array of other native shrubs and small trees. I also had the whole lot chipped and the mulch was enough to re-do all my garden beds...very timely too. Since then hundreds of Coastal Banksia seedlings have popped up throughout the garden and soon Hunter Indigenous Plants will come out to collect them.

Anyway, the reason I am feeling a bit down today is that yesterday work started on cutting down yet another tree. It is an Araucaria Heterophylla or in other words a Norfolk Pine...see the outlined figure in the photos...

You think I'd be happy because it has certainly improved my vista...but alas I am not - and see this one in the foreground, it is in my neighbours yard and ear-marked for removal as they plan on demolishing their little weatherboard cottage and building a larger two-storey home. I don't know how long it takes for trees of this size to reach maturity - maybe 30-70 years and along we come and cut them down it just two days. I can't help feeling desperately sad for the birds who use these trees as landmarks on their migratory journeys and often a stray one from a flock with sit atop these trees and call out to find their group again. I hope at the very least they can mulch it which will eventually break down and return to the earth...but it is little compensation...

When I first bought my house I hated my Norfolk Pine and wanted to cut it down too...what was I thinking! I'm so glad I didn't as now it is one of the most treasured trees in my back yard, affording me privacy from the neighbours at the back and providing shelter or a resting place for birds.


I will certainly never voluntarily cut down any tree and sometimes long to live on acreage so I can be surrounded by more nature instead of this increasingly over-crowded built environment where people still seem to lack the full understanding of the devastating impacts that are caused to our native wildlife when trees are cut down. It's funny a year or so ago I was approached to become involved in a pilot project run by our local council (which I do really like by the way for their pro-active approach to being green), however, since the Swansea Heads Sustainable Neighbourhood Group was officially formed I have never seen so many trees being cut down!!! What a joke...must have a word to them about this...