Saturday, 28 September 2013

art from trash - the plastic fantastic chandelier

I've been trying to post a bit more often, like I used to, but you know how things go. You work, you get home tired, you work more at home, you make stuff to sell, you groom dogs, you clean house, wash clothes, think about mowing the lawn...

Then you have to attend functions and exhibitions where you win 1st prize...

Yeah! You heard me!

I won first prize at the Kingborough Council Salvaged Art Competition!!!!!!!!

This is the winning entry as it was when I was putting the finishing touches on it at home in the living room. I'd put a hook in a beam on the ceiling and one of us or one of the dogs would brush by and it would make hollow plastic clunking noises like a badly tuned windchime every time we walked past it.

The thought behind it was that I wanted to make a chandelier. Something large and pretty but out of 'rubbish'... Plastic cups and old tuperware lids which I found at tip shops and in the bottom of my cupboard.

The 'base' for the chandelier is a large plastic clock I found at the tip shop. It was perfect!

I used wire, odd beads and crystals to give it a bid of bling and sparkle. Then I got 2 four meter strings of battery operated fairy lights so it would light up. The idea was to make it possible to light it when it was hung for exhibition without needing to wire it in.

Here it is in the competition. Hard to see the lights in the bright gallery.

There was one downside... somehow the lights would not set to 'ON' but stayed on 'Blinking'. Not the effect I was after. If truth be told I wanted it to be full of fairy lights... a tangle of them above the clock base and going up towards the ceiling. 

Still, I can't complain. 


To make the night even more special, the Roadmap Bookcase I had worked so hard to pull together with the guys I work with on the Revamp program won 1st prize in the Amateur Artist category!

These are the same guys I made the footstool repurposed to shelf with. Here is the shelf at the gallery as well.

I was feeling pretty darn good last night!!!!

Wayne and I had other entries. I'd entered my recycled bag (above) and Wayne entered his wire eagle and nest sculpture.

And this cute little bird made of wire is another of Wayne's creations which was entered.

Well, enough bragging for one post I guess...

Better go deflate my head.


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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

a broken plate

This is a project I worked on in conjunction with a participant at Cosmos, where I work. Someone had broken a plate into 2 very nice large pieces and I thought it'd be perfect to try something I'd wanted to try for ages...

Somewhere on one of my Pinterest browsing days I came across this image and it stuck with me. 

The raised, obvious mending on a broken plate, using gold. Gorgeous.

I gave the biggest of the two pieces to a lady at work who does the most intricate pen drawings and asked her to fill the plate with whatever she felt like. I then took it home and tried to create a similar look without the benefit of a kintsugi repair kit (cause I could find them nowhere on ebay).

On the way home I managed to break it into smaller pieces... but thats ok. It still works!

I used some glue I had on hand which said it would bond glass, and when it was tacky I sprinkled it with gold leaf.

Its not quite the same, but I still think its a good effect. This is one of the pieces we entered at the Art from Trash competition. Hopefully it will sell. The artist will be thrilled!


Saturday, 21 September 2013

the derwent valley regional arts competition

"I live here too" - mixed media on canvas

I mentioned that I'd entered 2 paintings in the Derwent Valley Regional Arts competition. The theme was "Hidden Treasures of the Derwent Valley".

One of the works I entered was a mixed media on canvas of an eastern quoll. I love those little guys and it just kills me to see them lying dead on the roads on my way to work in the mornings.

I used the local paper, pastel and charcoal, glue and coffee. Talk about working outside my comfort zone!

The other one I entered was acrylic on canvas - much more 'normal' even though I used the acrylic like watercolour on the background.

"I see you" - acrylic on canvas

Its a much freer painting than my usual work. I successfully resisted the urge to overwork it.

The cow didn't do that well, but the possum won 2nd prize in Mixed Media. That's something to be pleased about! Especially how I'd been feeling about my art lately.

Guess I'll keep doing it.


back at art school (sort of)

Wayne and I are back at art school!

A few weeks ago we started a course on Art From Trash at the Tasmanian College of the Arts.

Till I went into the art school I had no idea just how much I've missed being in a space like that. The smell of oil paint and ink, the messy, creative, interesting, fun and just plain wierdness of an art school...

Ah. Memories.

The course has been great fun. Its about changing the way we look at things and how we express them through our art. Its about experimenting with our own work and not being afraid to step outside our comfort zone. 

I'm loving being back in a creative space like that, where art is all around you. The art school is in a beautiful old building on the waterfront in Hobart, one of my favourite places in Tasmania.

This week we had to present a minimum of 3 pieces of work and our journals to be evaluated. Next we have to give a presentation on our work and we're finished. I have to tell you, I was really stressed about what work I would do for the course and was blocked because of my depression due to my hands being sore.

In the end I stuck with my recycling and re-purposing theme, but with a slight twist. To make it 'arty-er' of course! I made my pieces from trash but I also made them slightly autobiographical.

When the course started we were asked to pick three words which relate to our work and our interests. My words were Everyday, Surprising, and Remade. My interest always being in taking common objects and remaking them into something functional in a fun way.

In order to step outside my comfort zone however, I had to take my words and step a bit further into the 'art' abyss. I'm not sure I quite succeeded, but I tried to make things which had no real function, rather made a statement.

The Dead Art Basket was one piece, and really, it failed in the no function department. It was born out of frustration and gloominess about my work. Its a basket made using ruined brushes, an old pie tin as a base, plastic rings off molasses buckets and wire. Inside the basket I tore up pieces of my work which I never finished because I hated.

This is how I presented the basket at the gallery for evaluation.

Next cab off the rank was something which is a big part of my life: dogs. I made a dog figure using wire, dog hair which I felted, some possum fur I found in the woodshed and some dryer lint to add different texture and colour. I called this Hair of the Dog.

I decided to leave the wire exposed in places to show the structure of the dog instead of making him more realistic. He's kind of the Frankenstein of dogs isn't he? His tail wags too.

This is him in the gallery. On a dirty plinth.

Last is That Won't Hold Water, a humorous little piece composed of an old water bag and a retro net shopping bag. The old water bag was in the garage and I saw the net bag in a tip shop and couldn't pass it by. I had no idea what to do with it at the time.

There's meaning to this piece as well... I mean there's a connection to the piece and my life at the moment.

Here it is in the gallery. Ignore the sticky tape attachment to the wall. Its not a REAL exhibition, just an exercise in setting out our work in order to showcase it and convey a message so I didn't want to punch holes in the wall.

My three pieces were all presented simply and rather starkly on white. I kept it simple. The common thread with mine was that everything except the wire and glue was rescued from, or destined for, the trash. Plus a bit of whimsy.

I'll share Wayne's creations another time. He was a smarty pants. He presented FIVE pieces. 

Teachers pet!


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Friday, 20 September 2013

i've been busy, ok?

I've been busy. So get off my case.

I haven't had time to blog.

Usually I make time. I know. But this time I really over extended myself.

You know I believe I'm superwoman, right?

Well, turns out I'm not.

This month I bit off more than I could chew. I tried, but I had to spit something out. A few somethings in fact. Like blogging. And vacuuming.

Now that things have slowed down a bit, I thought I might take the time to catch up on a few things. 

Like blogging.

And vacuuming.


Even the dogs are ready to move out if the standard of living doesn't pick up around here.

So, what have I been doing that's kept me away from here and enabled me to build a close relationship with the dust bunnies under couch?

Well, I'm still working 5 days a week at the moment.

I'm still grooming one day a week. 

I entered an art competition, a salvaged art competition, committed myself to making some items for a shop, and started an art course one evening a week. I did 2 paintings, 3 salvaged art projects, 3 art projects for the course and am still making products for the shop...

No one does excess like I do.

The only things I've managed to do outside of the above are:

1. do the washing on a regular basis
2. do the dishes on a semi regular basis
3. clean the house once or twice
4. ride Cass a few times
5. sleep occasionally
5. discover I have osteoarthritis in my left thumb and a wrist injury in my right hand
6. put up the coat rack I brought home from my grandmother's house on Paros.

This coat hanger now hangs outside our kitchen door in the mud room and holds scarves and beanies.

I love those little faces on the hooks.

On the arthritis and injury, its a horrible bummer. I need my hands for everything I do. (Like, doesn't everyone?) But you know me! I'm always doing stuff, making things, painting...

I was very depressed for a few weeks.

For one thing, how long can I go on grooming dogs if I have a problem with my hands? I love grooming dogs. I love dogs! I hate the thought of letting my little friends down by  not being able to groom them any more. Plus, I was rather counting on doing more grooming and less work in a 'real job' in the future.

Now I have to rethink everything.

I'm feeling a bit better now, though still sore. I ate a lot of cake and chocolate. That helped.

As long as I can be creative I know I'll find myself again and be happy.