Thursday, 23 November 2017

Almost Christmas!

My daughter and I are not full time makers - although we wish we were - and so October and November are two of the busiest months for us both, in our work and study commitments. Every year we vow and declare that we will start making for Christmas in the middle of the year so that we can have lovely things ready to sell on our shop come November. This year is unfortunately like the previous ones and we are chasing our tails to make and organise enough lovely things for our favourite seasonal time of the year.

We are lovers of natural style and so when we design our Christmas wrappings for our family and friends each year, we turn to combining twigs, pine cones and vintage papers and then add a little sparkle with tiny lights or a splash of red.

In the shop, we have just added our swallow vintage paper garlands which, in past years, have been a real favourite and make a great gift. There are also some lovely vintage music paper circle garlands which look fabulous draped on the tree, hung from the mantlepiece or edging the Christmas table as well as nestled among pine cones, tiny fairy lights and flowers for a festive table setting.


We have also made some classic black and white gift tags and small cards with hand stamped images of a bird, tree, deer and pinecone. These add a graphic and stylish addition to gifts and have a hand made feel rather than mass produced as we use lovely soft toned 210gm artists paper.


We will be adding more Christmas shopping ideas over the next couple of weeks so keep a look out.

We hope that you are all finding time in each day to celebrate the upcoming festive season in special ways and remembering that Christmas is really about spending time with the people we love and care about and making sure they know they are in our hearts.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

More Nests in Production

Earlier this year we were commissioned to make a really large nest that measured a meter and a half in diameter. We had never made a nest structure so huge but we loved the new challenge to make such a large sculptural work.

Now we are making twenty four nests for the Tourism Tasmania Gala Night event held in Hobart in November. These nests will measure about 20cm in diameter and will be entwined with tiny fairy lights on the night. We live in a tiny house so every flat surface is starting to be covered in nests in various stages of development!!



After we collect the vine and native seed pods, ferns, moss and twigs from the bush it is then quite a process to form each nest. If the vine has dried out too much we soak it and then it may need to be shaped and placed into a bowl to mould the form as it dries. We still have many of the twenty four nests to make yet but there is evidence of quite a few beginnings of nest forms dotted about our home.

We are looking forward to adding all the embellishments once the nest structures are all formed. We are planning on adding feathers as well as some egg shaped river stones and small banksia pods inside the nests. It does seem appropriate that we are making our nests in Spring and in our own garden we have resident blackbirds busily making their nests too! Best wishes to you all.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Ramblings!

I am writing this blog post in a rambling mood today! I usually wait until I have a photo or something specific to post about on the blog, but today it is raining and we are sitting by the fire so I thought I would see if anyone has viewed this blog over the last month. To my surprise, there have been over 400 views - something I was not expecting! So I decided it was time to have a chat to you all and to thank you for checking in to see what we have been posting. We really do appreciate it.

When life gets busy and hectic it is always nice to remember some earlier quiet times. Our household has been particularly busy of late but last school holidays we rented a quiet, secluded beach cabin for a few days on the beautiful East Coast of Tasmania. It was winter so we enjoyed walks on the beach, reading, sleeping, drawing and painting in our journals and eating more than we should! It was such a lovely family time together. The accommodation was thoughtfully decorated by its owner with such an aesthetic, rustic style that made us all feel creative in its nurturing space. The furniture had character and oozed 'other times and lives' and the cabin had so many beautiful found and collected treasures to enjoy.



We felt refreshed and with our batteries re-charged we were ready to return home and back to work.
Sometimes we need to get away for a short time and to be in new environments to reset our compass. We all came back from our time away with a renewed focus. There is just something about staring out to the sea and the horizon that is so sustaining and liberating. 

At the moment, in our home studio, we are creating twenty-four handmade nests for a special gala event in Tasmania. We are not used to such a big order, so our tiny house is filled with twigs, vines, moss and half-made nests on every flat surface! I will share some photos in our next post. 

With the year rolling on we are also thinking about what new product we may make for Christmas. We always enjoy working on new ideas at this time of year, so keep an eye out on our Instagram and shop sites over the next few months. 
Best wishes to you all and thank you again for checking into our blog space.

  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Drawings


 
I have recently been drawing some images of animals and insects for a website that is recording both native and introduced species that are found in a specific are in Tasmania. This is the white heron and black spinner mayfly and below are drawings of a wood and muscovy duck and black swan.


Next on the list to draw is a frog and then a brown trout. I am really enjoying learning about each animal and the challenge of drawing them.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Falling Leaves




Autumn brings so many beautiful colours and we have been collecting leaves over the last few weeks and pressing some of them. We love the shapes and subtle tones of gold, red and brown in each leaf. Our house is now filled with collections of leaves in bowls and on shelves. We add them to our gift wrapping and even bluetac them to the walls!


This lovely garland image is from The Happenstore in Sydney. https://www.instagram.com/thehappenstore/ 

In the past we have made digital cards using collected and weathered leaves. We can't stop decorating with them in many corners of our house at the moment.  Autumn is such a beautiful season.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Book Illustrations





Late last year I posted a couple of drawings that I was working on for a publication by Tasmanian scientist Peter Davies. The two images above are details from the published book that was launched last month and show how some of my drawings have been combined with vintage maps and actual gum leaves and nuts. You can see the cover of the book with my emu drawing on the bookshop's launch material below. The project was blessed to have graphic designer, Gillian Ward, who  beautifully combined all the written material, drawings, photographs and other imagery to create the book.


It was a wonderful experience and I was thrilled to have my drawings in print! It is also the first time that I have drawn so many animals and flora - some of which are endemic to Tasmania. My drawings reproduced in the publication include the wombat, spotted quoll, devil, emu, kangaroo, swallows, eastern bettong, galaxias, black tipped orchid and midlands buttercup and kangaroo grass. 

The Book was project managed by Lynn Davies and together with artist Nikala Bourke, the four of us enjoyed being the creative female force behind the publication.

Peter E Davies, Woven Landscape: Connections in the Tasmanian Midlands, Australian Book Connection, Hong Kong 2017

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Community



Recently we were commissioned to make a very large 'nest' and over the last 10 days we have been constructing it in our driveway. The nest had to be designed so that it could be hung about a metre off the ground, so it was necessary to construct it with a sturdy wire armature as the finished nest was to be at least a metre in diameter.

The wonderful thing about making it in view of our street was that all our local community took such an interest in its making. Each day, as the nest began to take shape, friends and neighbours would leave a little surprise on the pile of branches and sticks we were using. Sometimes it was a perfectly curved branch they had collected or gumnuts on twigs, feathers or flax. So many lovely natural gifts from everyone as they shared in the making of this huge nest. The final nest in many ways ended up as a 'team' effort. Many discussions about its progress enriched each day as we worked on its construction. and it was such a joy to see everyone share their ideas and their collected items as the nest grew.