Tuesday, March 18, 2014

... on good news!

Some lovely and grin-inducing news quite late last night - I've been accepted into the next Brisbane Finders Keepers market in July. Hurrah!
There's probably no need to tell you that I'm rather excited about this, and I'm extra happy because knowing so far in advance makes preparing for it seem much more manageable. Plus, judging from my media feeds this morning, there's quite a few Brisbane makers who I admire heaps who will also be stallholders, and I look forward very much to seeing them there and perhaps stealing a quick chat.

I've got a larger space to fill this time, and I'll be inside one of those lovely rooms at the Old Museum. I'm keen to rough out some new display ideas and am strategically eyeing off a big pile of old fence-paling offcuts that C has stacked in the yard!

Much to do. Oh so much to do, because we appear to be finally (but suddenly) moving house - THIS SATURDAY! Time to pack. Oh boy is it time to pack!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

... on finding something, and using it.

I found my rotary tool a few weeks ago. I'd had it for years, but never figured out what all the various attachments were really for. When I was making things out of corrugated iron I'd tried it out on the rough edges but found that it didn't work how I expected, and then I thought the extension arm thing broke, so it was packed away and put on the shelf of tools-that-might-have-been-good-but-weren't.

I'd been restocking a few of my watercolour eggs, and in the process of watching how the pigment settles in different ways according to the density/texture of the plaster, had suddenly wondered how engraving into them would go. I dragged out my rotary tool and gave it a whirl. It wasn't broken - I'd merely forgotten how to put it together, and with C's help the extension arm thing was reassembled. After a trip to the hardware for a new set of Dremel engraving/carving bits, I was set.

I had in mind a new style of hanging egg decoration - something jewel-like and intricate, with bits of worn gold and silver patina, a dark watercolour wash with splashes of messy bright colours over the top. Something a bit unlike anything I've done before - 'tarnished bazaar'.
Sorry about the manicure. What can I say? You should have seen my fingers after I'd used them to apply the gold and silver Rub'nBuff. Yuck.
 I kept the engravings simple.
This 'dotty' version ended up being my favourite. Adding a bright colour over the top of the engraved areas made it really shine.
Here they are, varnished and be-ribboned and ready for market.
I had a small batch ready for last weekend's BrisStyle Indie Market in City Hall - my first market for the year - and they will soon be landing in my Etsy shop, too.

Here's to rediscovering forgotten power tools! Now, about that bandsaw wrapped in a sheet under my desk...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

... on photographs and confessions.

Earlier this year I took it into my head that I wanted to take a photograph of my worktable that I could use as a general Kuberstore marketing-thingy-type-image, something that shows a little of both my aesthetic and my work process. I climbed up a ladder with my camera and took this:
Great. This looks like my aesthetic is 'hoarder' and my work process is 'cataclysmic'. Obviously my table in its natural state wasn't going to cut it! Once I'd sorted out the carnage I roughed out a basic composition:
Getting there, but I felt like I wanted to fill the table more, so I added in some more stuff:
Whoa. Too much. I decided to remove anything that was acting as a 'prop', leaving only the items that I would conceivably be using to work with to make my seedpod and egg wall hangings.

It was at this point that I noticed that nothing in the top right corner of any shot was in focus. Gah. My beloved Canon G7 (admittedly, some 7 years old now) was failing me. Although it does produce lovely macro shots, plainly this middle ground non-macro stuff was beyond it, at least in that top right corner:
It pained me a little to do it... but I picked up my phone, and took a test shot:
Better. In focus, at least. Focus was going to win over file size. This was more or less the composition that I wanted, too - space for text, no unexplainable items, but I needed some 'bleed' (extra bits around the edge) if I was going to use it for a postcard. Up the ladder again:
Satisfied. But not with the colour, as my eye just kept jumping to those pink moulds. In the end I went with a black and white version with a slightly warming (yellow) filter applied:
And then, because I can't help it, I photoshopped out the big crack in the table, and any other nasty mark that I didn't fancy. Here's the end result:
In the end it took 9 days, 38 photographs, lots of waiting for the optimum natural light, innumerable trips up the ladder and a disappointment in my digital camera, but I got there. 

I've just had some postcards delivered so if you'd like one I'll be at the BrisStyle Indie Market at City Hall this Saturday between 9am and 3pm - do come and say hello. Alternately drop me your address in a comment - I won't publish.

Now, as this has turned into a post about documenting a process of documenting my own work process (if you get what I mean), I'll make another photography confession. I say 'confession' because even to me it's sounding like maybe I think about this all rather a bit too much?!


Task: to take new photos of my plaster seedpod wall hangings, of which there are now four designs.
Thought: that I wanted a single shot of all four hangings, so that one photo in each individual Etsy shop listing shows the whole range.
Limitation: I didn't really want to make any more holes in the wall (as we're moving soon), so I would have to use my white-painted noticeboard as the background.

I set up what would probably be a perfectly adequate grouping of items, wait for the right light, take some photographs, open them in Photoshop, and then roughly chop up the composition. After moving things around into what I suspect will be an even more pleasing arrangement of items and acknowledging that my retouching skills aren't up to fixing up the joins (repairing shadows is intense),  I go back and take the photographs again. I'm mad.
'Probably a perfectly adequate grouping of items...'
'... chop up the composition.' Chop! Chop!
Sigh. Perhaps I do overthink these things, and I wish I'd ignored myself about using the noticeboard. I don't know how many pinholes I photoshopped out.
Here's the final Etsy listing pic. The greyness of the bottom left corner perplexes me a bit but it's the result of a tradeoff - natural light coming in from the right versus not letting the white plaster blow out too much against the background.
Okay, that's it for my photography confessions. I've revealed that I have a tendency to keep going back and trying to make things better, which results in a simple idea taking nine days to execute! GAH!