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!

It's the Little Things...

Way back in '07 I blogged about my childhood tin of plastic treasures that I called my Little Things Box. I had an old toffee tin crammed with tiny trinkets that I treasured & traded - much like the tin Amelie finds. I still collect little toys & keep them in vintage cigar boxes.

Imagine my surprise & pleasure to be approached last year by the beautiful Chinese magazine Little Thing to do an interview for their section called Little Paper Magic in the very first issue. They kindly sent me a copy late last year, & I've only just taken a few pics to show you - particularly timely because the theme of this post is all things tiny...

Giveaway Time!

I'm holding a little giveaway of the collages on canvas you see above. They're seriously small - about 2.25 x 3.25" each & come with their own miniature easels.

If you'd like to win the collage on the right, featuring my little illustration of a Death's Head Moth, all you have to do is be a subscriber to my Mailing List - I'll be drawing a name randomly - & to win the collage on the left, featuring Li'l Mary, puffin' on a giant stogie, I have devised a little contest...

Just leave a comment here on my blog letting me know you'd like to enter, & provide a link to a picture of something intriguingly small - something little, tiny, miniature, diminutive, eensy-weensy - you get the idea! If it's a photo or artwork of your own, great, but it can also be a link to something you found tinily appealing whilst browsing the internet, that's fine as well. I'll pick a favourite next Monday, & the winner gets the mini-collage! I'll draw the name of the Mailing List winner the same day too.

Can't wait to see your pics of little things!

Print Giveaway - Tell Me About Your Shoes!

I was so happy with the Favourite Shoes print that I made another edition in my favourite colour combo du jour - red & pale blue - & it's now for sale in my Etsy shop.

It's difficult to decide which edition I like best, but I'm really in love with the card stock I used this time, it's a lovely eggshell colour with little red & blue flecks, & looks just like a speckly bird's egg. It suits the print so well!

Anyway, I thought I'd have a little contest & give away a print. All you have to do is post a comment here in my blog giving an anecdote, or description, or even a link to a photo or artwork about your favourite shoes.

I don't really feel a burning need to win one of my own prints, but I thought I'd get the ball rolling with my own shoe story...

I remember walking down King William Street (main street through the centre of Adelaide) with my mum when I was about three or four years old. I know it was near my birthday (in October) because it was mild, late-spring weather. It was a balmy & rainy late afternoon that grew so dark the street lights came on & they reflected in the wet roads & pavements, which reminded me of a poem I had a particular love for at the time (click the image to the right).

I was wearing my favourite outfit - a purple & magenta paisley silk smock dress with swirly brass buttons (I'm talking 1971...my mum always dressed me in these ultra-short dresses, this one was no exception), little white ankle socks, & shiny black patent mary-janes. I loved those shoes. They had buttons instead of buckles - just like my Favourite Shoes print (which is based on a pair of shoes I own now).

I remember walking along the shimmery, rainy street (the acoustics change when it rains like that - the traffic was all echoey) holding my mum's hand, & in the other, clutching a brand new colouring book & box of crayons she'd just bought me. Penny Lane by The Beatles wafted from a shop doorway.

It was just one of those perfect happy moments. I loved my shoes, I loved the day & my new colouring book, & I loved my mum. :)

And have a look - I still own the book with the poem about rainy streets in it that the day evoked in my four-year-old mind...

There are other shoe anecdotes of note that I could have shared...such as the time I set fire to a total stranger's brand new trainers with a flaming marshmallow at a party...but that one's not nearly as picturesque, & anyway, it isn't about my shoes.

So, if you'd like the chance to win a Favourite Shoes print, feel free to share your shoe story. I'll pick my fave in a week's time & announce the winner. Make sure your comment links back to you so I can contact you if you win & get your address!

New Gocco Work

EDIT: Last Wednesday was my 1 year bloggiversary! Yay me! Here's the new work I've just finished for the Gocco Exhibition at the Here Gallery in October. It's all been bundled up & shipped off now. I made the Favourite Shoes print in an edition of 50 & it will be available in a boxed portfolio with prints from all of the other participating artists too. I get a set myself - can't wait! I think I might make a second edition of this design in different colours - I'm quite happy with how it turned out!

And here's the girl from a few posts ago that started as a sketch in my Moleskine. I've made two mixed media pieces on 6x12x1.5" canvas. I printed up a few extras on various types of paper to incorporate into some future pieces I'll be selling in my Etsy shop.

Iris-1&2.jpg

In other news, I was featured on Design Sponge last week as part of their Regional Roundup series on Australian designers. Hooray!

I was also approached by the fabulous ezine Design This Design That to take part in their Illustration issue, but I was so busy I forgot to send back the interview answers! I'm really disappointed that I missed out, because it really is a great issue, but I'm still featured in the Etsy Treasures section, which is nice. Go take a flick through- it's loaded with amazingly talented illustrators.

I Haven't Been Swindling Your Paper - Honest!

EDIT: The Paper Chase Project has now closed.

Can you believe it? It was in July that I started the Paper Chase! Some of you may have been wondering if I was ever going to make & send the promised collages, or that maybe I'd skipped town with all that paper. Well, fear not, I'm still here & I'm busily collaging.

I've received 36 packages of paper so far, & although I'm still more than happy to accept people's parcels, I just want to let you all know that it might take me a while before I can post back the collages - I've had a much bigger response than I expected.

Thanks to everyone who's participated so far - I hope you can be patient with me! Hopefully I'll finish updating everything this afternoon.

Here are the first six collages (and the finished stamp that I put on the back of each collage) - I hope the recipients like them! I'll be popping them in the post on Thursday!

I made Collage No.1 for artist Rosa Murillo. I love Rosa's work & I hope she likes my little collage! The square of paper with the masked woman stamped on it is from a legal document from the 1880s that Rosa sent. The paper has a beautiful crinkly texture that I didn't want to lose by gluing it down, so I cut a little window in the backing card. When you hold it up to the light, that section is kind of luminous - it reminds me of a watermark on a dollar bill.

Collage No.2 was made for Smoobage who sent a big pile of amazing vintage 7" record sleeves. I really love the muted, drab colours.

Caroline of Peaseblossom Studio sent me some beautifully aged pages from a French dictionary. Collage No.3 reminds me of an 18th century entomological expedition to an exotic island somewhere.

Collage No.4 was made for High Desert Diva who sent me a lovely collection of vintage stamps & labels & things. I made a green & purple collage for her!

Moving on to Collage No. 5...Mandy sent me a really nice letter with her parcel of paper. She thinks the lining of envelopes are really beautiful (I agree with her!) & sent a little collection to me - I wanted to make her a collage that somehow incorporated their intricate patterns. I think this collage has something to do with the migratory habits of a big brown moth - he flies to Dublin each summer to stay with relatives apparently.

Lastly, one that I just finished this morning - Collage No.6 that now belongs to Joanne, aka Shaving Kit, who sent me a really colourful collection of paper. I wanted to give her collage a storybook feel...

So that's it for now! I may not be able to get started on the next batch of collages for a week or so, since I'm finishing up on some gocco prints that I need to post off to the UK for an exhibition, but I'll keep you posted on any further Paper Chase developments!

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.

The Great Paper Chase

EDIT:  The Paper Chase Project has now closed. I've been busying myself making new small-format originals for a mega-update of my Etsy shop & thought I'd list the first four pieces yesterday & then post about them here in my blog this morning - & guess what? They all sold overnight! Hooray!!

So, I thought I'd show you what I've been working on anyway...  I'm really interested in making these collaged geometric patterns from vintage paper lately - I'm quite happy with how they're working out. It's so satisfying to take a piece of dusty, forgotten paper, deconstruct it, & give it new life.

What interests me is how once you take a printed image out of the context of its completeness by cropping it into tiny details, you're prompted to look at it with a new objectivity - each little piece of paper becomes quite enigmatic & beautiful. Then to integrate it into this pattern that has so much depth & detail...it's really satisfying!

I love the mellow colours & textures & the way the patterns emerge. I try not to be too rigid with dictating what goes where, but I do like to try to create a sense of balance & harmony.

I have a few different designs in the pipeline, but the size & complexity of each one is limited by the brittleness of some of the paper & the fact that I hand-cut them all - in large quantities. It's tempting to get a digital diecutter to extend the scope of what I can do, but there's something nice about them being a bit wibbly & flawed. Sitting there snipping away has given me something to do in those moments where you just want to zone out & watch trash TV or engage in some chit-chat or something.

And now, to this...

THE PAPER CHASE

Finding new sources of interesting paper is not easy - so I've devised a little plan. If you have any found paper laying around that you don't mind parting with & posting to me, I will in return, make you a collage with some of the paper you send & ship it back to you, keeping the rest of the paper for my own projects. You get a little artwork, I get some paper joy!

The types of paper I'm interested in are not necessarily rare or valuable ephemera. I'm looking for mainly pre-1970 paper (although I do use more recent, & brand new paper sometimes too, so a little of that is fine) such as the following...

  • receipts & invoices
  • advertisements from magazines, comics, etc. (I love the little ads in the back pages)
  • pages from books, magazines, comics, ledgers & notebooks
  • patterned end papers from books would be great
  • labels & packaging
  • envelopes, letters, stamps & postcards
  • anything with handwriting on it, particularly old-fashioned pen & ink
  • anything without writing on it such as notepaper, graph paper, etc.
  • brown paper bags
  • paper that is aged, yellow, spotty, stained, even torn is fine
  • greeting cards & gift wrap
  • wallpaper
  • sheet music
  • maps
  • flyers, forms, theatre programs, etc.

Extra great would be ephemera from different cultures - China, Japan, India, Mexico, etc. Colourful, decorated paper is nice, but not essential - some of my favourite pieces are regular white paper that has aged to varying shades of yellow & brown.

If you're interested in participating in the Magic Jelly Paper Chase, just send your little bundle of found paper to me with your return address. What you send me will naturally influence what I make for you (what a great challenge!) but I might also use some paper from my own collection, including some of my own test prints & illustrations. I don't expect you to send a massive bundle, but of course, it needs to be a fair exchange, so a nice little collection of bits & pieces would be good! The resulting artwork I make for you will be small-format, around 4x4" to 6x6" or thereabouts. Depending on where I need to ship it, turn around time will be 2-4 weeks.

Please send paper to:

Magic Jelly P O Box 542 Welland. South Australia. 5007 AUSTRALIA

As well as making sure to give me your return address (so I can send your collage!), if you could please enclose a little note with your package letting me know your email address, Etsy username (if you have one), site/blog url - that kind of thing - so I can contact you & mention you in my blog. Thank you!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

I'll be sure to post more about this project in my blog when I start receiving some paper goodies & making the collages to send out. Hooray!