A Little Something New

It might seem like I haven't made anything new for a long time because I really haven't been blogging much about new work, but I've been busy in the background & will have some new things to offer for the holidays.  A few nice people have contacted me to ask when my new online shop will open, & the answer is, things always take longer than you anticipate, but my shop will be open in about two weeks. Keep an eye on the sidebar of my blog...there will be a fun new addition right at the top where you'll be able to take a peek through the window & visit my shop. Meanwhile, I've just designed this 2012 calendar for Etsy, which I'm rather happy with! If you'd like to get hold of one (it's being printed as an A3 poster), Etsy will be giving them away (yesiree - free) at the following events leading up to Christmas, starting with Bowerbird right here in my hometown, Adelaide.

Did you know Etsy has appointed a representative right here in Australia? Her name is Kirsteene & she's busy helping out the local Etsy community & promoting Australian Etsy shop owners here & internationally. She'll be attending the events & giving away Etsy promo stuff (including the calendar). Go & have a chat!

Bowerbird Bazaar, 28-30th October, Adelaide Finders Keepers, 5th & 6th November, Brisbane Markit@FedSquare, 27th November, Melbourne Finders Keepers, 2nd & 3rd December, Sydney

If you're not able to make your way to any of these events, don't worry, when I get hold of some of the calendars I might give away one or two on my blog.

I was so very happy to be asked to design a promotional poster for Etsy. I've been a member of the Etsy community, as both a shop owner & shopper, since 2006, & I know just how much love & pride people put into their shops & products & how much hard work & dedication it takes to be an independent artist/crafter. So I feel very proud to be able to represent such hardworking, creative folk by helping promote Etsy with this calendar. Hopefully it will end up stuck on people's fridges, walls & pinboards for the whole of 2012 & they'll be reminded to visit Etsy (& Magic Jelly!!) whenever they want to buy someone a gift or something nice for themselves!

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.

It's All in the Details

I want to make the Paper Chase a little bit special, so I designed this stamp to print on the back of all the collages I make. I also uploaded a new batch of photos to the gallery - I've received 20 packages so far! I'm pretty busy with work at the moment, but I'm slowly getting through them & still happy for any new people to join in!

I've had such an incredible response, I had to devise a little system to keep all the packages in order & make sure I don't mix any up. I'm not what you'd call naturally organised or efficient.

Thank you so much to everyone who's participated so far - I've been totally blown away by how generous & thoughtful people are!

Etsy Shop Update

I've been busy updating my Etsy shop with a few new things. Firstly, I've started listing my range of coasters which I'm selling individually for $6.00, two for $11.00, & four for $20.00. There are a lot more designs still to be listed, but there are four available so far, including the three above. News travels fast, I just got a Google Alert that my Femme Fatale coaster has been featured on this great design blog Try this at Home. Thanks for the mention!

Aaaaand I've just listed four new pieces in my Benediction series, since the last lot have sold out, called Chloroform, North, Daily Habit & St. Cloud. I've already kept one of my Benediction pieces because I couldn't bear to part with it, & I'm going to have a really hard time waving goodbye to Chloroform - it's a particular favourite. But hey, a sale's a sale!

I'll be back again later today to announce my November giveaway.  See you then!

Desperately Seeking Cardboard

Who would ever guess how hard it is to find a good piece of brown kraft cardboard (or pad board, or chipboard, or whatever you want to call it)? I spent months earlier this year phoning paper merchants, tapping out desperate emails, feverishly ripping open posted samples, only to be disappointed time & time again. That Goldilocks gal knew what she was talking about...it had to be just right. By right I mean the right colour (more brownish than grey), the right texture (nice & pulpy, but not too coarse) & the right weight (thick enough to hold the weight of a pocket mirror without bending). Are you bored yet?

Anywaaay...I finally found the right cardboard & we're very happy together. I know the people who buy my merch have absolutely no idea of my relentless search for (& obsession with) cardboard. They don't know how much thought & care goes into designing my packaging - or even that it's hand-printed - but I hope, when they see one of my products propped up on a shop shelf, it calls to them & makes them smile, & maybe even convinces them to spend a little money. :)

I'll be listing some drink coasters in my Etsy shop next week, & the week after that, some button packs. I'll also be announcing my first monthly giveaway in the next few days - only subscribers to my mailing list are eligible, so don't forget to join!