Sorry Folks!

Whoops! Because I had to transfer my blog feed when I relaunched my site, Feedburner sent my email subscribers a big email update with a squillion posts in it, rather than just the latest one. So sorry - that was a one-off technical hiccup and it won't happen in future!

Have a lovely weekend! :)

A random image of my Sewing Basket pattern because I don't like blog posts without pictures!

"Let me do the smiling for both of us"

Do you remember the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa is too sad to play dodgeball, & Marge tells her, "Always be yourself...From now on, let me do the smiling for both of us." It's one of my favourite episodes - so sweet & sad.

Browsing some of my favourite blogs, it's easy to assume that other people's lives are an endless parade of sunshine & lollipops. I absolutely understand why people blog about nice things - lovely, inspiring, aspirational things - it's natural to want to put your best self forward, especially if your blog is a marketing vehicle for your business. I sure don't want my blog to be a littany of gripes either!

But I just want to put this out there... If you are dealing with illness, either your own or someone you care for, or have financial troubles, dysfunctional relationships, you're feeling discouraged, unmotivated, or you're lonely, or just happen to be going through some stuff at the moment...you are most definitely not alone!

If you're slumped on the sofa in your PJs at 3.00pm watching Love Boat, contemplating cornflakes for dinner, while it seems the rest of the world is ambitiously setting New Year's resolutions & projects...just remember that hardly anyone's life really does look like a spread from a glossy design magazine. I bet that underneath the gloss, there's a load of junk shoved in the cupboards & dust bunnies under the bed. Perhaps an old tube of athlete's foot cream in the bathroom cabinet or some unidentifiable mouldy lump stuck at the back of the fridge.

There are loads of corny, motivational quotes out there that I'm sure you don't want to hear, but I quite like the succinctness of this one from that dogged old curmudgeon Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Here's to everyone who's had a cruddy 2011 - may 2012 be less cruddy! Yay!

Welcome to my new blog!

Hello! Welcome to the new Magic Jelly blog! :) Whew, what a relief to finally launch it!

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My site is still very much a work in progress. You'll see that the other sections, such as my shop, aren't ready yet - but I was so eager to start blogging again, I couldn't wait any longer! My contact page should be up in a few days, & my brand new online shop some time in August, with a whole range of new products. Busy times ahead...

Creating this blog has been an enormous project because it has been totally customised, right down to the very last pixel. I could not have done it without my Craft Cult partner & good friend Julian Lievano, who is not only a super-creative glassblower, but also a talented web developer. So with me designing everything & Julian taking care of all the brainy technical stuff, I finally have the blog of my dreams. Thank you so much Julian, for all your hard work & generosity - I am so happy with Magic Jelly's new home!

(We're still tweaking a few things here & there, so if you happen to find anything odd or buggy going on, please leave me a comment.)

If you cast your eye over to the right, you'll see a sign-up form where you can subscribe to my newsletter, & also to my blog by email - everyone's welcome! I'm transferring my existing Feedburner subscribers & Google Group list over to my new blog feed & mailing list, so if you happen to have joined previously, there's no need to join again. You can also follow me on Twitter, Pinterest (love Pinterest so much!), Flickr & Tumblr (do you like my little flag-waving bunnies in the sidebar?) & I've just joined Google Plus too. Come & say hi!

Now I just have to hope that the world hasn't forgotten me - I've been working hard for the last couple of years, but haven't had much of an online presence. I'm a little worried I've been left behind, the market has grown so much, particularly here in Australia - there are so many artists & illustrators who've sprung up since I was last blogging & selling my wares online. I hope there's still a little Magic Jelly sized space left for me!

Anyway, enough of the neurotic rambling... Welcome! I hope you like Magic Jelly's new home & pop by to say hello! I'll be posting regularly, so I'll see you all soon.

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May I Rant About Digital Art Please?

I've started digitally "inking" the sketch from my last post in Illustrator & thought you might like to take a look at my progress. You can see from the scan of the original sketch (acting as template) that I've made a few adjustments...eyebrows lower, eyes smaller, nose narrower, jawline fuller...but basically it's the same gal! Eventually, she's going to be gocco printed on vintage paper & become part of a mixed media piece. I'll show you when it's done!

Anyway, the painstaking task of vectoring my sketch got me thinking about digital art & its reputation amongst traditional artists.

I hang around the Etsy forums waaay more than I should (when I'm supposed to be working!) & have been frustrated on a number of occasions by peoples' attitude towards digital art. I'm referring to the viewpoint that digital art is somehow less legitimate than traditional art. What's particularly frustrating, is when the people who hold this opinion know nothing about digital process whatsoever.

There seems to be this misconception that digital art is just a few mere magical mouse-clicks away! Also that it's somehow inferior because it's not "handmade" (the Etsy catch cry) & is "cold" & "soulless".

Well, I can tell you now, I use the same pair of hands, set of eyes & brain to make digital artwork as I do when using paint, ink or pencil. Furthermore, digital techniques are not as intuitive as putting pencil to paper - it's not so easy to just pick it up & hit the ground running - it took me a very long time to fully grasp the technical aspect of making pictures digitally & to finally be able to accurately render the ideas in my head. This is all contrary to the commonly held opinion that digital art is somehow easier to make than traditional art, that it takes less time, talent & skill.

And back to the "handmadeness" aspect again... Despite the fact that I've just argued that in its own way, digital art is just as "hands on" as traditional art, I just want to add that technique & craftsmanship are only part of the picture when it comes to making art. What about the more cerebral considerations: developing your concept, making your colour choices, composition, subject matter, & all those other decisions you make about how best to render your ideas? I think, especially on Etsy, with its fixation on "handmade", that some artists get so caught up with the craftsmanship of making art that they forget the conceptual side is equally important. Maybe if they considered this, they'd start to understand that computers are no different to any other tool.

I guess part of the reason digital art still gets a raw deal is because it's still relatively new, but why not embrace whatever tools & technologies are at hand? Once upon a time, the camera obscura was seen as the devil's work, & there are techniques & media embraced by the art world these days, that were once considered too "lowbrow" or commercial.

I'm a believer in using whatever it takes to communicate your ideas, whether it be a charred stick on a cave wall or a MacBook Pro.

Accidental Beauty & Organised Chaos

Maybe beauty is too grand a word for accidentally organised clutter, but even so, I thought these little dogs (picked up a few weeks ago from a flea market) I'd put to one side of the hellish mess I call my work table, made a nice little arrangement deserving of a photo! The collage on canvas behind them is a little work in progress - I must get around to finishing it...

The piccie below is another accidental arrangement from a few months ago. I was idly fidgeting while talking on the phone & made this little scene on my desk. The thing the tinsel tree is sticking in is a grubby lump of blue-tack with the word 'please' pressed in it from my 'please do not bend' stamp. Notice my blog on the screen behind it?

I've been flat-out busy lately, but for all those involved in the Paper Chase, I am madly collaging the nights away. Last count, I think I'd received about 30 packages!

What else have I been doing lately? Well, I've listed some new things in my Etsy shop. I thought I'd try & justify the extravagant purchase of stamp making equipment by making some to sell as well as for myself. I'd like to expand the selection, but here's what I've got for starters. I'm granting buyers a license to use them commercially, & all the designs will be exclusive to the range. I'm also gradually taking product photos so I can list a whole lot of buttons, magnets, keyrings, etc. The multi-packs that I've listed so far seem quite popular!

I'm also making hay while the sun shines (ie. using my gocco before supplies finally run out) by doing some new gocco prints, including some pieces for a gocco exhibition in October that I'll tell you all about later.

And the Winner Is...

Hooray! Time to announce the winners of my Super-Duper Mega April Giveaway!

I've drawn the names from my Mailing List for the 4 prizes, but 1 of the people hasn't replied - eek! Shows how important it is to keep your mailing list info up to date! I'm going to draw another person's name if they don't respond in the next 2 days, so stay tuned...

The winners (so far) are...

Lili Wilkinson (goodie pack) Cosy Up (Snap! print) Jen Vecc (goodie pack)

As for the bunny Haiku...wow it was hard to pick a winner - they were all so great! Drumroll please...the winner of the Jack Rabbit print is...

Ashley aka Le Petit Monstre with her poem...

Jack Rabbit stares off sees much to both love and fear. It's a jungle out there.

I thought it was really touching in its simplicity - I particularly love the line "sees much to both love and fear" - beautiful work Ashley! Congratulations! Not only a talented artist, but a poet & bunny lover too!

As I said, it was really hard picking just one. I wanted to give a few more an honourable mention...

The lovely Anna Laura for her ode to vegetarianism...

chicken, pork, beef, fish who eats rabbits anyway? they look better alive!

Goodfeets with a lovely little springtime revery...

green spring leaves unfold lying in the grass, she sighs a rabbit is born

And he also linked to his favourite bunny song... I don't know where he found the time or energy to write bunny poems since I just read in his blog he recently made 24 collages in 2 days!!

And finally, Treet submitted this enigmatic little number...

Quietly I sit Part of all the universe You call me bunny

I'd like to send those 3 entrants a little something too, while I'm in a prize-giving mood.

Wow that was fun! I think I'm going to have to hold another contest soon... Thanks for your entries! :)