Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Talk and Tapas

I attended a "Design It, Make It, Fund It" session at Craft Vic last night to learn about the process of submitting an exhibition proposal. While I feel that I am nowhere near ready to start on an exhibition proposal any time soon, I felt completely energised by the thought of it.

There are so many things to think about, aside from the obvious - the content. In this instance they are looking for fairly innovative or experimental work. Once you have direction you need to think about the look and feel of the exhibition, promotion, display materials (how do we avoid a plinth city), how should people move through the work, is there a narrative that we want the audience to understand.

Then the most scary topic... Funding, how on earth does one pay for an exhibition, how do you get a grant or sponsorship? How much does an exhibition even cost? I attended with 3 friends I met through my studies, hopefully when we are ready to travel down this path we will do it together.

Plenty of food for thought for me. And speaking of food we finished off the night with a glass of wine and some tapas at Bar Lourinha - yum yum. With my head full of grand ideas and my belly full of coffee sleep didn't come easy. When I am ready to start on the journey I'll let you know!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where it all started

I think we all have one of those places that speaks to us, keeps calling us back, despite the fact that there are so many places on our "must travel here" list. For us it is Broome in Western Australia.

We first traveled there in 2003, we flew to Darwin (another place I really want to get back to) and hired a car and drove across. The top end of Australia is truely a beautiful place, and very inspiring for an artist.

And it was in Broome that I decided to get professional training in Jewellery making, and I have never looked back. While I am currently content in my day job (this was not the case in 2003) making jewellery is something I am truely passionate about.

The main street is awash with jewellers and another of my great passions - South Sea Pearls! We were discussing with a lovely shop assistant the possibility of getting a custom designed pendant with a champagne pearl and champagne diamond. We left the shop to go for a walk and discuss and my then boyfriend (now husband) looked at me in all seriousness and said "I reckon you could make it yourself".

We were also intrigued by the fact that they have jewellers fly in for the high season and had grand plans of spending a winter in Broome as a resident jeweller.

Five and a half years later I have not yet made my champagne pearl/diamond pendant. I did however make our wedding rings in 2005 and I also have a half made eternity ring! And last year I purchased 5 champagne diamonds which will some day be a very special piece of jewellery just for me.

We went back to Broome for 2 weeks last year, just before our sons first birthday. We had a fabulous relaxing time and it revitalised our desire for our winter in Broome. And with sunsets like this is there any wonder....

...yep Broome matches our son's hair perfectly!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 6th in the 6th

I have been 'tagged' by Jay (Finki) to play 6th in the 6th. A blogging game where you locate the 6th photo in your 6th picture folder and blog about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same.

The concept sounds pretty simple, until you encounter my complex photo filing system (IT nerd). Anyway, based on the algorithm I delevoped to traverse my file structure the 6th in the 6th is this photo taken in June 2006 on the first of our 'annual girls weekends'. On this occasion we had rented a lovely house in Daylesford, in the heart of 'spa' country.

After a night of way too much food, a few glasses of wine and some chick flicks by the open fire, we awoke on Sunday for a morning of pampering at Peppers Hepburn Springs. We found that some 'locals' had congregated on the front lawn to welcome us.

So now I will tag Vanessa, Tiffany, Wilma, Tess, Alison and Kathleen... so... Tag -You're it!

Friday, February 6, 2009

If life gives you lemons....

After a slow start to summer in Melbourne this year the past couple of weeks have been scorchers. While I quite like the heat our beautiful lemon tree outside our back door is feeling a bit worse for wear.
This week our poor tree has been dropping lemons like crazy. The photo below is just what has fallen in the past two days, I have another 5 big bags in the kitchen to distribute to family and friends.

But in case unlike me you are experiencing a lemon shortage, here are a few that might interest you.
But since life is dealing me lemons think I might call hubby and get him to pick up some Coronas on the way home from work ;)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Filmless Photos

I have always been a visual person, and a self confessed photo junky (my poor over-photographed 17 month old son can attest to that). I love how photos engage the imagination and can evoke memories and feelings in a very powerful way. And this is exactly how I managed to stumble across a new store this week called Filmless Photos.

What drew me to this shop is undoubtably the Frangipanis, I am so enamoured with them I found a florist who would have a batch flown from Darwin to Melbourne for my wedding! But the magic of photos is that they will speak to each of us in a different way.

Kirsty of Filmless Photos includes a little story with each of the photographs about where or why it was taken. Kirsty has kindly provided some insight into her photography background and inspiration for me to share with you.

"I probably seriously started photography when I was 20 (now 26) with my Dad's old Minolta film SLR. It only had one lens, so I learnt to compromise with shots and make do with what I had. My first digital camera was a Kodak point and shoot (I got that for my 21st), which I was using right up until last year when I splurged and bought my Canon EOS1000D and a set of great lenses. I've always loved photography. My grandfather was a great photographer and so are mum and dad. I actually have a set of my grandfather's filters and a really old home made tripod. These are my most prized photography possessions! Inspiration....well, my camera is always with me. It's almost part of my anatomy! "

"I spend a lot of time traveling with my paying job (I'm an Occupational Therapist), so I get to see an awful lot of the countryside and draw inspiration from that. Australia is truely amazing through the lens -there's just not enough time to capture it all! People and animals are also an amazing inspiration. I think the true mark of a great photographer is being able to portray something's character in a single shot - it's something I really want to work on."

Well Kirsty I think you have definately nailed that with this pic!

For those of us who are not real pros I have asked Kirsty to share some quick tips to get us on the right path:
  • It doesn't matter what sort of camera you have, it's all about lighting and imagination. Don't be afraid to experiment!
  • There are masses of tips out there on the web - type your question into google and you are guaranteed an answer!
  • Learn to use the manual settings on your camera (reading the manual is really worth it), you'll get better shots.
  • Invest in a tripod - it's the best thing for getting that tricky shot, and a lamp with a "cool daylight" fluro globe - it will give you great light to shoot with.
  • Think about your composition, straight shots can be boring shots. Get below your product, level with it, or above it to get some great angles. Use neutral backgrounds so as not to take away from your product. And try and take a shot of your product used in context - it will make sense to the buyer if the product is a little obscure, or hard to portray in a single shot.
  • Keep shooting! If you only get one or two good shots for every 12 you take your doing well. If you get one GREAT shot, fantastic!
Kirsty is in the process of putting together an ebook for the Etsians who want to learn about product photography - it should be available very soon, so watch this space!

Images used with the permission of the artist.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Timothy Adam Designs

Well what a nice surprise I have had today. I have just found that my wave ring has been included in Timothy Adam Designs Top 10 Monday list!

Timothy's blog and the Top 10 Monday are very popular so it will most certainly be good exposure for both the wave ring and my shop.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Claw

I like to continually challenge myself to develop my skills as a jeweller. This weekend, inspired by a particularly lovely concave cut green amethyst and a length of half round wire, I decided to make my first ever claw setting.

The shank of the ring has been made using the half round wire, twisted and ends soldered to the previous loop. I made a shelf for the stone using 2mm square wire which I have tapered and filed grooves for the claws to rest in. The setting has then been soldered to the shank and the stone inserted. The result is my Spearmint Swirl Ring, now listed in my etsy shop.

I am quite pleased with the result. As with any first attempt at a new technique there are things that I could have done better, or more efficiently. Mistakes have been made, a large cut across the index finger of my left hand can attest to that, not to mention the blisters on my fingers from the polishing wheel.

Overall I am very happy with my new skill, which is great as I have a cache of pretty stones just waiting to be made into something wearable.