immamou

UntitledA quick rubber stamp, carved from Soft Cut printing blocks…this ship is a vevé—a religious symbol commonly used in different branches of voodoo throughout the African diaspora—from Haiti.

I first tested the stamp on random pages of an old sketchbook…

Untitledthen tried it out using gold acrylic paint…

UntitledFinally, I stamped it on a black envelope.

I figured that if I was going to mess up a perfectly good envelope with test prints, I may as well go the whole hog and make a postal event out of it.

All ready to enclose a letter to my Beloved…

I’ve overdone this one, but he’ll love it. It will be waiting for him at the DB yacht club when he gets back to Australia. Also, it has helped me finalize my ideas for March’s envelopes; I like the idea of the address in a strip down the middle, flanked by art and stamps.


Subscribe before March 15th to start your monthly letter subscription off with this ship-themed letter…beautiful, limited mail art each month, for the price of a coffee and donut.   The Scarlet Letterbox

You are invited…

This Friday night…

dream menagerie invite

an opening with all the most fun artists and friends I know! I’m looking forward to an evening of nibbles and glasses of bubbly, all sorts of animals, a separate room for the always wonderful work of Sandra Kendell and Marita Albers (I’ve written about Marita here, and here)  great stories punctuated by lots of laughter, and a big recharge on hugs. I’m so excited, I feel quite giddy. (You can tell I don’t get out much…)

The Capricornian Emporium of Curious Curios and Marvellous Oddities

 

This Sunday…

ETSY Pop Up JuneJune’s ETSY Pop-Up market at the George Brown Botanical gardens…sure to be even lovelier, now that the dry, cool weather is here. The theme is Moroccan (though not limited to that) and there are many more stalls participating this time around. For the scoop on who’s going to be peddling what handmade wares, head over to the ETSY Territorians facebook page, where Fleur and Isabel do a marvelous job of posting Territory talent and Top End handmade treasures regularly.

Postcards!

postcards received

Seven postcards received, via iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap, so far…from Italy, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. Most of them came in a big rush, and I was the envy of the ladies at work (and the ones at the Post Office, too!) It was fun getting so many cards in the mail. Hanna hosts these swaps four times a year, so if this looks like something you’d love to do, please check her blog page out!

postcards received

postcards received

I wonder if all of mine got to their intended recipients? Ah, well, lost mail is part of mail art…the lovingly-crafted artwork that never arrives…the mysterious scrap of address that arrives minus the card it was attached to…like this one (front and back of the same card) I sent to Germany once, (including a small solar print I’d made of some ferns, and then hand-embroidered in metallic and frosted threads):

Andreas Hofer postcard

Of which all Roland received was this (must’ve torn off the postcard, I was foolish to merely stitch it on…):
this is all that's left of my mail artDetachment, letting go of something once it has been handed over to the Postal system, and non-preciousness, are also part of the Mail Art Movement. Letting the world have its way with your creations. Letting it also make its mark upon the piece…the franking stamp, damage, barcodes, loss. A collaboration.

The purpose of mail art, an activity shared by many artists throughout the world, is to establish an aesthetical communication between artists and common people in every corner of the globe, to divulge their work outside the structures of the art market and outside the traditional venues and institutions: a free communication in which words and signs, texts and colours act like instruments for a direct and immediate interaction.” – Loredana Parmesani

A Pop-Up Upmarket : : ETSY Territorians

ETSY Territorians Pop-Up Upmarket 2014

I’m pretty excited about this new pop-up craft market that’s coming to the Territory…the ETSY Territorians Pop-Up Upmarket.

Happening only during the 6 months of the Top End’s cool and gorgeous Dry Season, this once-a-month boutique-style array of handmade loveliness is different from most of the markets to be found in Darwin, in that it features only Top End craftspeople and artist/makers who also have shops on ETSY, and whose work is of the highest quality. ETSY sellers bring experience with global markets, internet savvy, marketing and styling panache to the local market scene…no mass-produced touristy tat, or poorly-made tchotchkes flown in from someone’s holiday in Bali, here! This is the market where you’ll find something handcrafted, unique and precious—for yourself, for your home, or to give as an outstanding present to someone very special.

The first Pop-Up Upmarket is happening on Sunday the 13th of April! If you live in Darwin (or even further out but don’t mind the long drive into the city on a Sunday), please come to the very first ETSY Territorians event—set under the massive old trees of the George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens from 9a.m. – 4 p.m.—and help us start this new market with a flurry of discovery and delight! The market is officially supported by ETSY Australia, and by the Northern Territory government.

We aim to grow this market into a popular Top End tradition and you could, years hence, be telling everyone that you were there from the beginning! 🙂

For more information and to help spread the word about the very first pop-up upmarket, please visit the official ETSY Territorians facebook page, or share  event invitations to April’s market with friends and family who live in the Top End.

To find out who our local ETSY craftspeople are and see what they make, check out the ETSY Territorian team.

Fabric Bunting Beads

at a Darwin craft market

Painting makeover, part 1

green hill

As my weekend comes to an end, with two handmade gifts yet to make before Saturday night, I started to play dirty. Took a small painting I was never happy with (green, hairy lump of Lord-knows-what)…

WIP green rock

Took it off its stretcher and punched tiny 1 mm. holes all around the outline of the shape, and then randomly punched holes inside the shape, too.

WIP green rock

The punch is a Japanese drill or screw punch…the smallest hole punch I’ve found, yet. I got mine from Hollander’s. (Crafting is such a delight when you have the right tools for the job!)

WIP green rock

Then I started to “connect the dots” with lengths of variegated DMC Perle #5. No plans, no sketches, just running up and down and inventing the paths as I went…

WIP green rock

Couldn’t resist and added some dots and filled some areas with gold or glitter paints. Probably shouldn’t have, but what the heck, I’m leaving it in. (Running. Out. Of. Time…*gasp* Must. Keep. Crafting…)

The piece will go onto the cover of a simple coptic journal. I started binding the book today, but it got dark before I could take photos, so this post will be continued tomorrow…

Hope this has given someone some good ideas…

Mermaid (a handmade gift)

Be a Mermaid design

Taking UPPERCASE magazine’s advice to heart, I threw myself at some new projects on Monday: making Christmas presents for the people I work with (our informal Jacksons holiday party is in four days’ time).

Decided on a mermaid-themed present for the first project, because my manager collects mermaids (and doesn’t surf the internet, so I think this post is relatively safe to put up) and is pretty much a mermaid, herself.

I picked that ubiquitous craft and design saying: Always be yourself. Unless you can be a mermaid, etc… You’ll probably groan and argue that there are too many versions of this “Always be yourself” saying floating around, and that it’s shallow and twee. And I would agree with you. But I am pretty sure my recipient hasn’t heard it yet, and it fits her perfectly. So that’s what it’s going to be. I promised her a handmade gift; I never said it would be urbane.

The finished piece measures 36 x 46 cm (14″ x 18″). It took me nearly two days to make the whole thing, but I dawdled a lot, and did other things, besides. The drawing/painting took up the whole Monday, but all the embroidery was done before lunchtime the following day.

I used a pre-stretched and pre-primed canvas. Made the letters and doodles in acrylics using brushes and a mapping pen. The font I used (just as a guide…freehanding, and then painting the letters, has changed it a lot) is Le bain au milieu de la fin d’apres-midi vers by T N 2. Used only yellow greens, turquoise, and blue paints and inks.

ink detail

All those greeny-blues and lime colors needed a little bit of red-violet for punch, so on a scrap of pink marbled fabric (our recent marbling show has left our home littered with bits of marbling everywhere) stretched in my smallest hoop, I painted in the dots and squiggles of a sea urchin.

painting urchin

While waiting for the paint to dry, I stitched a small starfish straight on the drawing’s canvas, just weaving back and forth between two laid threads that formed each arm.

stitching starfish

The urchin was ready to be embroidered. I used stranded cotton embroidery floss, working buttonhole circles, eyelet stitch (when I got tired of buttonholes), french knots, and backstitch.

stitching urchin

Not shown are the steps where I cut the urchin out and placed it over a thin circle of card with some pillow stuffing, gathering the edges of the urchin fabric at the back using running stitches and pulling tight (sort of the way I finished the back of this embroidery in a hoop…) I was too excited to see the thing made. I stitched a button to the center of the urchin…again, pulling tight to form a dimple in the puffy shape. I stitched the base of the urchin to the canvas.

And these are just close-ups of the embroidery on the finished piece:

DSC_0052

starfish detail