Australian Home Journal: Part One

I used to make my own clothes waaay back in the eighties and nineties, but for some reason I stopped. I think I was just much more focused on the result rather than the process and eventually grew tired of it. I've recently revisited my sewing machine and I'm loving it! This time, I'm much more engaged in the whole process and and I'm finding it really rewarding; not to mention all of my past sewing projects were pre-internet so I'm now discovering for the first time all the fabulous resources that are out there - so many great blogs, fabric shops and downloadable patterns - yaaay!

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All of this sewing buzz prompted me to pull out my stash of vintage Australian Home Journal magazines. Some of them still have the dress patterns inside, but I'm more interested in looking at the beautiful covers for now. My collection spans thirty years from the early-30s to the early-60s, so I thought I'd dedicate a few posts to sharing this beautiful cover art with you. Here are the first seven that I've selected, spanning 1932-38; just look at all of those gorgeous dresses! As a bonus, here's a sassy lassy in a sporty tennis pullover from 1932...

Rosalind, Bertie and Lucille

Here are a few more portraits. The first is an ink drawing on a collage of vintage and found paper, and the other two are graphite pencil and watercolour. Deciding on their names is so tricky. I wait until I'm finished and then look into their eyes and think, "Hmm, what's your name?" I hope I got them right!

Vintage Scrap Album

Look what I found at a recent secondhand book sale!

Ladies Home Journal: January 1949

Fabulous vintage advertising & typography from 63 years ago...

From the Archives: Art & Industry

I couldn't find much information about Art & Industry, but I can tell you it was a British commercial art magazine that was in circulation pre-WW2, at least until the 1950s. I own twenty-one issues spanning from 1937 through to 1941. With the onset of war, the magazine shrunk from 8x11.5"(20.3x29.2cm) to a slim 5.5x8" (14x20.3cm), but the publishers displayed exceptional tenacity by not only surviving paper rationing, but the bombing of their offices during The Blitz. In the November 1940 issue, they report:

"We apologise to our subscribers for the late appearance of this issue owing to air raid damage in which we lost much valuable property and suffered great dislocation of our organisation. This is not our first loss from the raid, but it merely adds to our determination."

In the December 1940 issue they show photographs of the total destruction of their building & relocation from Leicester Square to Covent Garden.

Unfortunately there are no colour plates in the wartime issues (although fabulously colourful covers, as you can see). The two images below are from September & August 1937 respectively. On the left we have Hungarian wrapping papers, & right, a selection of book jackets by Barnett Freedman (top), Edward Bawden (centre), Eric Fraser (bottom left) & Rex Whistler (bottom right).

Memory Lane: Kitty Cats

It's so interesting to compare the different ways these vintage cats have been depicted - each one quite easy to attribute to the decade it was made. They come in all shapes, sizes & styles, but these 20th century cats are all unmistakeably kitty-esque & adorable! Which one is your favourite?

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1. Bookends, LudiesBugaboo on Etsy
2. Vintage Packaging, TinkersEphemera on Etsy
3. Chalkware Statue, Pohlmans on Etsy
4. Letter Rack, RaggleTaggleHawker on Etsy
5. Ceramic Figurine, libush on Etsy
6. Cast Iron Money Box, MaisonMaudie on Etsy 
7. Embroidered Pot Holder, Scarlettess on Etsy
8. Metal Charm, YummyTreasures on Etsy 
9. Ceramic Figurine, SecretAgentGirl on Etsy
10. Salt & Pepper Shakers, The Spectrum
11. Halloween Decoration, MoesArt on Etsy
12. Vintage Greeting Card, GrandMothersAttic on Etsy
13. Vintage Playing Cards, WashiWishes on Etsy
14. Vintage Playing Cards, OldAndWise on Etsy
15. Wooden Clock, Serine23 on Etsy
16. Squeaky Toy, GC5Vintage on Etsy
17. Fortune Telling Cards, RetroHeart on Etsy
18. Ceramic Planter, MarcelAndMargolis on Etsy
19. Squeaky Toy, Hubbubbery on Etsy

From the Archives: Mirror Writing

Thank you to the people who've entered my Haiku contest so far - so many beautiful poems! There's still time to enter if you're interested. I thought you might like to see this fabulous example of mirror writing on a postcard I have from 1908. People used to find ingenious ways to make their correspondence difficult for the postman to take a peek at, including writing backwards, upside down, & even leaving secret messages beneath the stamp. Bottom left is the right way around version, & the mirror image on the right. How amazingly clever Minnie was to master the art of writing backwards in cursive!

My Vintage Postcard Collection #1

I have a big collection of Victorian & Edwardian postcards, mainly collected in the '80s when they were cheap & plentiful. They're so pretty! I keep them in vintage postcard albums & nice boxes & take them out of the cupboard every so often to play with. Many of them are from this fabulous secondhand book shop called Edmonds (now sadly closed) where we'd spend wintery Sunday afternoons rummaging & foraging & coaxing out treasures. It was dark & cluttered & smelled like dust & musty old paper & gas from the fire & tobacco. I loved that place...

Remember Me?

It's been a long time between drinks, as they say...about 5 months in fact. I've been cloistered away for so long, working on design projects, that I feel like I've dropped off the face of the earth as an artist & that Magic Jelly has faded into obscurity. Possibly, biannual blog posts aren't helping my cause!

I really miss doodling & daubing & goccoing & steel rulers & x-acto knives & bits of old paper & glue when I'm stuck at the computer all day! In my spare moments I've been working on some new stuff - the little collages you see above are among the new pieces I have on the Magic Jelly production line. These are about 85% complete. They're collaged on canvas (8x8x1-3/8") & I still have to design a pattern for the edges (similar to my Iris collages) & then print them, stain them with tea, glue them, & then give everything a couple of coats of matte acrylic varnish. Then, I can finally stick them in my Etsy shop, & hopefully by then, my brand spanking new online shop that I'm setting up too!

I have a couple of gocco print designs at the sketch stage, a couple of half-done paintings, and a new piece that's going to be part of a series that I hope I can get finished for the holiday season (the packaging for this series is very exciting!).

Argh...feeling overwhelmed... I guess I'd better roll up my sleeves & get back to work! Just wanted to pop in & say "Hi, how're you doing? I'm still here." I'll leave you today with a little treat for all the Film Noir lovers out there...this montage has been so skillfully put together, it's fab!

Still Chasing Paper...

EDIT: The Paper Chase project has now closed.

I am absolutely floored by the response I've had to The Paper Chase. I've already received 6 packages - 5 of them arriving super-fast from the US.

This project means so much to me, not just because I love paper (& I do love paper!), but because it's enabling me to make contact with so many amazing artists & art-lovers, & I'm just so touched by people's generosity & kindness. This is going to sound ultra-corny, but I really feel connected in the warmest, fuzziest way through this exchange - this is what art's all about. A big thank you to everyone participating in The Paper Chase!

As you can see, I've posted tantalising shots of the packages I've received so far. I've made an extra-special photo gallery just for The Paper Chase where I'm uploading pics of the bundles as they arrive, as well as the finished collages I make to send back.

These parcels of paper pleasure were sent by Mandy in NSW, Peaseblossom Studio, Smoobage, High Desert Diva, Rosa Murillo & Shaving Kit. Thank you!

Who Knew Paper Could Be This Exciting?

Well, actually, I knew...& I'm not the only one out there with a serious paper fetish. I've kind of lost count, but we're up to over 50 participants in The Paper Chase now (from 7 different countries), with over 10 people already having shipped their packages. I'm excited! Melissa from Crab Apple Designs kindly emailed me a photo of the wonderful package she's sending, so now of course, I'm extra excited! Thanks Melissa, I can't wait to receive your amazing parcel of paper joy - I hope I can do it justice & make you a collage you'll be happy with!