The Dead Dragonfly

So I have this fascination with dead things. Let me rephrase that.. I like dead things. Things like insects, bones, feathers.. Anyway so my fiance knows me well enough that when he found a dead dragonfly at work he brought it home for me! How beautiful is it? All in one piece and the wings spread out! So I decided the best place for it would be in a shadow box. (Click on the pictures below for a larger view)

To make the shadow box I bought a plain wooden one from bunnings so I could decorate it myself. I searched online for a free to use script text background which I printed out and glued to the back of the box which comes out easily. The glass however on this one doesn’t come out so I had to mask it off by carefully wedging paper between the frame and the glass.
The first layer I painted was dark brown (acrylic) and left to dry. The second colour was light blue with a shimmery paint (also acrylic) mixed into it. When the second layer was dry I sanded back through the colours paying attention to the edges of the wood to really rough it up.
Finally I used hot glue to stick the dragonfly down gently and placed it into the frame.

Toy to the World – Art Event

Attention artists and art lovers.. here is an event not to be missed! In a nut shell..

PencilNeck Productions is proud to introduce you to the TOY TO THE WORLD PROJECT, a biennial custom DIY toy competition that brings together up to 200 artists to unleash their creativity on 200 blank vinyl bears in order to create an exhibition and auction event that raises a couple of thousand of dollars to combat HIV through research and development!

Want to help out? Any donations towards making this event a success are much appreciated, no matter how small.. you can even be rewarded! Check out the fund raising page here.

How can you join in? The main event is happening in Melbourne, however, international artists are also welcome! Register as an artist here.

Not feeling creative but still want to join in? The main event will be held at Section8 in the Melbourne CBD (Australia) on Saturday November 17th 2012!! Watch the artists in action while kicking back with a drink and some mad tunes.. More info can be found here.

And finally, of course is the amazing auction! The final creations are auctioned off to the highest bidder with all money raised being donation to the Victorian AIDS council. Follow the above links for more info.

Below is my entry from 2010 which I named ‘Mutant Butterfly Bear’ for obvious reasons. I’m entering two bears this year and will post photos as I’m working on them. Suggestions as to what I could make them into are welcome!

Check out more of the amazing entries.. who knows what will be at this years auction? So many creative peeps!

The art of preserving dead faeries

This is a recent creation inspired by the ‘Dead fairy hoax’ and the idea of displaying a faery corpse in a shadow box like you would a dead butterfly. I found some step by step instructions that you can also follow here. You can of course alter the method and equipment used to suit yourself.

For this one pictured I used a small toy skeleton found on ebay, stockings, pva glue, hot glue, tissue, spray paint, acrylic paint (inc. gold) celephane and alpaca fur. (use whatever hair/fur you can get hold of) The wand is made from a stick, piece of amethyst and some waxy thread also known as ‘cat gut’ which is often used to make dream catches.Oh, and glue.

I did some research and came up with the latin terms ‘Volatilis Virgo’ which means ‘Winged Girl/Maiden’ and ‘Veneficus Virga’ which is ‘Magic Wand’. Or according to one translation, ‘Poisonous green stick’ which almost works.

The shadow box came from a craft shop which I just painted brown and sanded back to make it look old.

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Toadstool Table DIY

So, I’ve been absent for a while.. preserving dead faeries n stuff, the usual. Anyway I’ve been making and painting heaps since I’ve been gone so I thought I’d try and post something new (almost) everyday.. try to keep this blog interesting and keep myself out of trouble. Not that I get into trouble. Much.

Anyhoo, something I created recently that got some good feedback on Facespaz was my toadstool table! It cost me next to nothing, mainly because I found* the table in hard rubbish. It actually sat in the spare room for a while before I finally decided to paint it or get rid of it. So I painted it. I’m not sure why I didn’t see it as a ‘toadstool’ from the start as it has a round top. Inspiration sparked when I realised this and I got started straight away.

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Step One: Clean.. boring. It had some webs and dust so I gave it a quick clean and sanded back the dodgy corners.

Step Two: Stain. Ok, this step wasn’t really necessary and if I did it again I’d leave this step out. I thought if I stained the chipboard it would show through when I sanded back the paint (you’ll see in the next few steps) but it didn’t work that way so learn from my mistake, don’t bother!

Step Three: Paint! Obviously, I used red and white. I used one tube of red acrylic for the top, and about 3-4 tubes of white (off white) for the base. Two coats. It left an opaque finish and this is where I decided to give it an ‘old antique’ look otherwise it was going to take at least another 2 or more coats on the base. Better yet, I could’ve used house paint but it was too late for that. I’m a bit of a trial and error type artist.

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Step Four: To give that ‘old’ look I looked up a few tutorials only to find it was too late to do most of them. So I made it up myself.. using brown paint and a dry brush I ‘skimmed’ the brush over the white paint to try and give a look of faded/rubbed off paint if that makes sense? I made sure I put brown on all corners and edges so it looked like there was dark brown wood underneath showing through. I also painted brown spots on the top and left it to dry.

Step Five: Finally, I sanded back areas where I put too much brown paint just to rough it up a bit and ‘stress’ it. I also painted white spots on top of the brown ones, allowing some brown on the edges to show.

Step Six: Lastly I painted a coat of matte finish varnish to protect it. About two coats. Ta da! Antique-ish-looking toadstool table!

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*Found – as in it was on the nature strip outside my neighbors house. I’m pretty sure it was up for grabs.

My Private Art Collection

I would like to share my personal art collection and a bit about each piece. Not my art.. but original work from some of my favourite artists that I have collected. These items, to me, are simply priceless! Forget the celebrity signatures or famous sporting gear, give me an original Froud sketch on a napkin any day.. not that I have one but that would be awesome if I did.

Shirley Barber painting
Above is probably the most precious item I own in the whole wide world. Not only is it an original painting of step by step instructions on painting faery hair.. but it was made just for me. By my idol. This is like, the most amazing thing ever. Shirley Barber was the biggest inspiration to me growing up in relation to my faery art. You can view her art here: www.shirleybarbers.com

I met her in 1995 (I was about 11) when she held a writing competition and my friend and I both won prizes. I was so excited to meet her that I wrote a letter and drew some pictures to show her how much I admired her work. I also put my address and phone number on ther hoping to get a letter back (which I most certainly did!) but the last thing I expected was a phone call too! Shirley called my mum and invited us to her place so she could show me her studio – well! I can tell you this was one of the biggest highlights of my life to date! I was very shy in those days, but it was incredible to see where and how she worked, original paintings in progress, all sorts of interesting things around like rocks she’d painted to look like animals. Her husband was very friendly and he gave me all sorts of goodies to take home like calendars and diaries. A dream come true! I wrote to Shirley a few times after that and she’d always reply with one of her beautiful cards. I asked her one day how to draw faery hair, hoping she could explain it to me but instead she hand painted me this.

Faery sketch

Selina Fenech is another faery artist who has been a huge influence on my work. I have learned a lot from both of these artists and that’s where my style has developed from.  This artwork is one of Selina’s ‘sketch fest’ drawings where she is given a theme and time frame in which to complete her sketch. This little beauty was a steal for only $30 I was stoked to own an original! Selina’s website can be seen here: http://fairiesandfantasy.com/

Earlier I mentioned Shirley had painted rocks in her house. she told me that she used to sell them at markets before her career as an illustrator really took off. One day while I was at a friend’s house I noticed this little guy sitting by the door! I could recognise that bunny from a mile away.. but it couldn’t be, could it? I picked up the rock and turned it over.. sure enough, a bit faded but it was there all right.. Shirley’s signature. It was the real deal. This to me was like, a huge fan of a  musician came across a once off, extremely rare demo tape. And their friend owned it. And they didn’t even know who the artist was. Jack pot. Well.. not quite as this had sentimental value to my friend and I had to accept that! But a few years later she was ever so kind as to give me the bunny rock, and I sit it proudly on my shelf as a key piece in my collection!

Last in my collection and the most recent purchase is this curious fellow – a plaster cast of a goblin candle holder by Toby Froud. Toby is a puppeteer but also creates interesting artworks like this one. He is the son of Brian and Wendy Froud – two very talented artists who met on the set of the Dark Crystal. They were the magic behind the film along with Jim Henson, also creating my all time favourite film.. The Labyrinth! So I’m a big fan of this whole family, they share a unique and quirky yet sometimes dark and mysterious style.. oh, and did I mention that Toby is also THE Toby in the Labyrinth? Yeah, that’s right! The little striped baby that gets thrown in the air by David Bowie! You can find all their art collections right here: www.worldoffroud.com

So that’s my collection so far.. I have some prints too and heaps of books but the hand made gems are really something special. I’d love to own a Brian Froud original sketch (I do have his signature!) and one of Wendy Froud’s beautiful dolls!

What’s been happening?

Fancy seeing you here, it’s been a while! Uh yes..so in a nut shell.. I finished my Graphic Design Diploma, flew overseas to Vietnam for 2 weeks (Crazy! Insane! Amazing! Beautiful, friendly and delicious!) then coming home I had a nice pile of freelance design work to do, woo hoo!! But of course all this has sucked a few months out of me and I haven’t had time for anything else.. until now! Sort of, actually I have been taking a few photos in my spare time and what not.
Anyhow! So creative crafty goodness what has been happening in that respect? School assignments, holiday photography and the latest of course being the freelance work. I’ll share here my last project which was in fact a logo, business card AND shop sign design!!! SHOP SIGN! Biggest design project yet and I actually managed to get it all organised, printed etc. Amazing! I’m very excited about this one.


Homework and holiday snaps (best of) can be seen on my facebook page, Flickr, and recently updated website! Yes I’ve made changes to the website as well so if you haven’t been there in a while go check it out! http://www.binspired.me I’m hoping to make more of an effort to keep it updated. I’ve added in more artowrk so now there’s more categories to look through. If there’s anything you’d like to read or see more of please let me know!

 

Trash to Treasure – Memo Board

I really like to make stuff! And I like it even more when I can upcycle old crap that was going to be thrown out and turn it into something awesome. This cuts down on waste and saves you money, and I like that too.

So I wanted to make some kind of ‘memo board’ where I can write down lists of things I need to do, reminders, wish lists.. all my art related stuff in one place. And of course, make it pretty. So I did a little research for ideas and inspiration and found this little beauty at ‘House of Giggles’ which you can find here: http://myhouseofgiggles.blogspot.com Of course, I put my own twist on the design and tried to use items I all ready had. If you’re anything like me – a bit of a hoarder, then it’s not hard to find everything you need at home!

 To make this one I used a hot glue gun, an old picture frame that had no glass, some wire, acrylic/enamel paint, random beads & buttons, ribbon, broken jewelry, broken glass dew drop, a peg, peacock feather, a fork, recycled pieces of paper.

Firstly, I bent the wire into interesting curly shapes and folded the ends around the wooden backing of the frame. (Check that it still fits into the frame with the wire on it)

 To paint the board I used burgundy and black acrylics smeared together, 2 coats. When it was completely dry I put the wire curls back on and taped them at the back while I used a hot glue gun to glue them into place. (You’ll need to hold the wire down in most areas but it doesn’t take too long to grip.) With each glue spot I squished a button or bead onto it. Don’t forget to glue the back as well and remove the tape.

I painted the frame with black gloss enamel paint, and put it all together. Then to pretty it up a bit more I went through my collections of shiny salvaged treasures (I collect all sorts of broken jewelry, beads, buttons, ribbons, odds and ends) and plucked out a few pieces to add. Have a play around, see what works..  get creative!

The fork was bashed with a hammer to curl a prong and make it into a pen holder. I used a mini peg to attach pieces of paper for my notes and all the paper is (and will) come from chopping up pre-used paper. photos, business cards and folded notes can all be slotted into the curly wire design.

So there it is! Hope I’ve inspired you to try making one. The best part is you design it to suit you – add photos, hang your keys on it, write a bunch of positive messages and change them around or get your friends to write notes. Try and use things you all ready have so you’re recycling and it doesn’t cost you anything!

Exciting News..

..well lets just hope it all goes to plan! So, I finally found a gallery to exhibit my faery photos in!! It’s small, but a perfect location as it’s connected to a faery shop! I still have to fill out the forms, have everything approved.. I probably shouldn’t be talking too much about it in case it falls through but I just can’t help myself!

I’m still deciding on what to call it, and I’m waiting for some prints to arrive so I can make sure the quality is good enough for exhibiting. I’ve all ready decided on the music I want played, and I’m finalising the selection of pictures to have displayed. (I’m thinking probably around 10 large photos, then getting some smaller photos made up so people can still purchase a print without blowing their budget.)

My last solo show was in 2008 so it’s been a while and I can’t wait!! I will keep you posted with the progress.. if it goes ahead then I’ll be having an opening night in a couple of months. Weeeeeee!!!

Craft FAIL!

We all know what it’s like.. you discover an idea or get a new pattern then get all inspired to create something. Before you even begin you can’t stop thinking about how amazing your new item will be when it’s finished. You start thinking about who else you could make one for, different colours or styles you can try.. “hell I could make them to sell online and get really rich, quit my day job and live my life doing what I love!!” Well I dunno if you’ve been there but I know I certainly have.

Then.. like a slap in the face your dream comes crashing down and shatter before your very eyes, when you realise the beautiful scarf you have been working on somewhat resembles the unidentified raggered item the dog threw up last week. *sigh* Suddenly all that inspiration and motivation is gone and you feel like you’ve just wasted the past how-ever many hours of your life.

Well, we’re are not alone. To lift your spirits once again I suggest you have a good read of the blog ‘craftfail’ where you can read (and see hilllarious photos) of other peoples craft FAILS! Sound weird? It kind of is. It’s funny weird. And it makes me laugh every time. Follow the link here: www.craftfail.com and you’ll see what I mean.

“I had some leftover soft cotton/acrylic blend yarn from a washcloth I made so I decided I was going to make a stuffed thing. Only I figured, “Pattern? Eh! Patterns are for sissies! I DUN NEED NO STEENKEEN PATTERN!”.

I ended up with Mickey the Crack Mouse. *LOL*”

 So there’s no need to suffer in silence any longer, you may even find your inspiration come back when you realise just how BAD some of these things are! Or you might even find the humour in your own fail and decide to add it.. check out some of the funny craftfails that made me smile today..

To the left is the original design, on the right is this lady’s craft fail. Did she sew the sleeves to.. another coat? I’m not sure what she’s done, but she claims she was hung over when she did it. Personally, I think she was still drunk.

Here you can see a beautiful picture of the common bath bomb. What a lovely gift it would make for a special friend! Well it didn’t quite work out that way for this creative crafter.. Perfect gift for someone you want to see deeply dissapointed.

‘That stuff was cemented into the vase and I could not get it out!’

Time of the Faeries

The very talented Joseph and Donny Ha Corsentino are the amazing artists behind ‘Time of the Faeries,’ which is the original source of inspiration for my own ‘Faery Photos’. (And to my mum’s horror,  my tattoo!)

Geez, it’s only a tiny one mum! Hehe.. anyways, Time of the Faeries is a picture book about the faeries, angels and darklings returning to earth. It is, of course, full of amazing photographs of street faeries, punk vampri and battle angels.. Very kool pictures, and I also love the costumes the models are wear. (Well, if they’re wearing any!) Lots of layers with belts, heaps of jewelry and accessories. 

You can view the website here: www.timeofthefaeries.comand it’s worth looking them up on facebook to see behind the scenes, new work and the latest goss. ‘Afterlight’ is book 2 which is due out soon.. (June I think, pre-order from May 27th)

I heart Kirsty Mitchell Photography

I can’t remember exactly how I discovered the beautiful work of Kirsty Mitchell, but I’m so glad I did. Her photography is just breathtaking, especially her ‘Wonderland’ series. I can’t get enough of her and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the wonderland series yet to come. You can view Kirsty’s website here: www.kirstymitchellphotography.com and make sure you read the diary posts to give you an insight on the inspiration and magic involved with each piece.

Below are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

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Faery House Project

 

I’ve always wanted to build a faery house from random things I find, now I finally have! Well, it’s still in progress but it’s coming along.. I just have to make sure little Lola Fuzz Muffin doesn’t get to it.. sneaky kitten.