Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday Outing - Artist Studio Trail

Where does the time go? I can't believe it's been a month already since I went along to the last Artist Studio Trail...

On this magnificent spring morning we visited just two, that of Cheryl Cusick in Macquarie Hills and Cliff Hosking in Mount Hutton. Cheryl's studio is a converted carport and garage with plenty of natural light and a nice view of the surrounding hillsides dotted with houses. Her styles are varied but mostly large-scale landscape and city-scape paintings with rich colours (sorry no website to link to).

The second studio of Cliff Hosking was a little harder to find but I tell you...once we ventured down that gravel drive to Duck Down Studio I was reminded of this daydream I have for my ideal home and studio, though there were some significant differences it made me see how mine can be a reality. Set on a super sized parcel of land, the residence sits at the front of the property and the large, open-plan studio sits behind that.

Thing is...I love where I live geographically because of its stunning natural beauty...lots of water everywhere...ocean, channel, lake...beaches, parklands, reserves - it's pretty close to perfect...and my block isn't small, it's about 750m2...and the house has loads of natural light but it is two storey and I feel disconnected to the garden in this way as all the living and sleeping is upstairs...and instead of one large decent studio space I have nooks all around the 'office' is downstairs and tucked away under the stairs, but it's spacious and light and I love working here (I posted some images of this in some of my first posts). Currently my 'production' room is the dining room table with fold-away tables in the living room for when I need to cut fabric and so on (again earlier posts show images) and I also have a back corner of the garage that houses most of my art related materials (images in an earlier post). It's all good and works well...but my ideal scenario would be a super-sized block of land with a little weatherboard cottage on it to live in and a big open-plan building as a know those old timber community halls...yeah...something that big! To live on one level and flow seemlessly from space to space...indoors...outdoors, cocooned by beautiful gardens...

I love daydreams :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sunday outing: Living Smart Festival, Lake Macquarie

Accompanied by a friend and her daughter, on Sunday I went along to the Living Smart Festival at Speers Point Park on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie. The festival is the first of its kind in Lake Macquarie and will hopefully become an annual event. It was very well organised with live music, food stalls, handmade goods and loads of sustainable living info, displays and workshops. I left home without my camera...oops, so no images but I finally got my battery charger from DJ's a week or so ago which is great as now I can take photo's again - yay!

I haven't posted for a couple of weeks because I've just been busy making. I actually put my cushions aside for now, although they were coming along great because I moved on to start the paper products that I have been wanting to have as part of my product range. I wasn't entirely happy with not coming full circle with the cushions yet, that is finishing all 36 or so of the initial batch, photographing them, sharing the images here and on flickr and most importantly listing them for sale in my online shop. However, I know that I need to have some business cards printed and so my thoughts drifted along to all the other paper products I want printed and that I should get them all done at the same time...and so that's how that all got started. For the past week or so I have been designing the range of paper products and probably still have a week  or so to go before they're off to the printers.  Then I can turn my focus back to the cushions and other fabric products...

Starting a new business is a challenge, particularly when you are a maker...I have said this before but so much of my time is going into research, such as looking for printers, etc and perhaps because I want to do all of this with an environmental approach it makes it even harder as you really have to dig deep to find materials and suppliers, etc as it's all so new still, even in this modern age of ours.

I did hear a very encouraging speech the other week though, by Lord Nicholas Stern (one of the world's leading economists) at the National Press Club and in a nutshell he's saying that we are now in the throws of a new Industrial Revolution and those that don't jump on board will get left behind as no one will want to do business with them if they don't move towards a greener way of doing things. Really remarkable man and well worth hearing / reading the speech if you are so inclined. I've had a theory on the first Industrial Revolution for a while now but I won't bore anyone with a drawn out post...this is already getting a bit long as it is...but there's always so much to say, don't you think...

I'll just finish by saying that as far as my business goes I am working really hard and I know I will see the efforts shortly...or be able to show the efforts shortly, so hang in there because I promise you it's all really close now. In hind sight I probably should have opened the online shop after I had produced the first lot of products as the shop is sort of static now...but everything about starting a business is new to me so I learn as I go.