NOT being a hermit is a hard habit to break!
I've been home nearly a month from my house sitting adventures and mostly I've just been happily humming around in my garden and house, there's so much to catch up on when you've been away for a month.
Wow! how a garden can grow (or die) in that time! My first cucumbers and spinach were ready to harvest, just a few weeds daring me to pull (who has gloves on?), my tomatoes had grown so tall they needed staking up, bindies in the lawn to gingerly pluck, grass in places up to my knee, there were dead plants to replace as quick as I can raise the seedlings and SO Much More.
I won't talk of inside........ inside house tasks are far less exciting than the garden!
Well, except for all the small furniture painting projects. My daggy pine kitchen table looks much prettier now, a couple of coats of white paint, with tiny delicate flowers here and there. I've nearly finished painting my old dark wood cadenza, each door or drawer is a different pastel shade and the base unit white. Still quite a bit to do but I'm much happier with the brighter colours..... wood enthusiasts would likely be disgusted. Too bad, not sad.
Exhibit work has continued, mail covered the kitchen table when I got home. In there, a nice parcel of old costume jewellery to deconstruct and reinvent. "100% Recycled" is a project devised by Liz Shaw and Clare Poppi, a follow on from the "Radical Jewellery Makeover". The idea is to remake jewellery from the parts of unwanted treasures that cannot be easily refined or recycled. So, I've been re-configuring some of the elements of these no longer loved items, along with some of my handforged copper and brass and I hope the end results will be appreciated now. I love the concept of this project, I've always been a strong re-inventor so it all makes great sense to me, and inspiring others to get into the "urban mining"movement is so important.
Great News, finally I have some things back in store at the Gympie Regional Gallery store, yay! If you like art and galleries, live nearby or travelling through drop in for a look, always some good things to see.
And now I go back in my little workshop and I continue working on another exhibit entry, will tell you about that if my entry is chosen.
For more info check out these links or look up JMGQ and Ethical Metalsmiths on Instragram
So, I'm away from home. House and pet sitting in N.S.W., always love sitting at this place, there are so many fur babies I get to look after, and tweets too! They're all super cute and love cuddles. We all love cuddles, don't we?
There is one thing that I find hard about house sitting, that is, I can't bring my house and workshop with me! I know, most people would think it's a great opportunity to go out and see what's about, kind of like a holiday.... ha not me! Nope, my idea of a holiday is doing art and being creative in a different environment. But, have you ever tried to do art away from your workshop? there's all the things you forget to bring, and at least half of your tools just aren't compatible with travel, full stop, end of story.
My fix for all these first world problems, is that I do something else, something entirely different. I try to do things that are at lease somewhat travel friendly, usually it means a trip to the art stores and more pens and inks, paints and pencils, or maybe some kind of random art kit.
This time I tried really, really, (really, really, really!) hard to avoid visiting Eckersleys' or Riot, (didn't actually manage to stay away, but it was weeks rather than hours) and got busy on my lap top. I put some images of recent metal forging work through some pretty intense digital contortion and reconstructions. I made some nice new images and somehow I found a place that prints your work and handles sales, (all very environmentally friendly and with sustainability in mind) so I got busy uploading to "Redbubble".
What an adventure! A big black hole has opened up into a whole new universe and I've been completely swallowed up!!! Its been days now and I've even started making work specifically for this time-warp that is "Redbubble". So I've revisited other art and made new art, taken photos, edited, transformed and uploaded, now even my grand babies have their very own products named after the art they inspired.
If you're curious, go have a look.... there's everything from keep-cups and canvass bags to t-shirts and dresses. www.redbubble.com/people/FrankieBarloc
Starting with my most recent leaf brooch ,which is the first I've made using my rolling mill to emboss a pattern onto copper. I inrepurposed sheet copper that came from the old flu of a wood stove in my parents house.
This is what happened after learning a new photo editing program. I hope soon I will have produced a new series of these images, my fascination with repeat patterns and fractals are beginning to shine through.
Below: you see some of my repeat patterns featured on dresses as they appear on Redbubble. These are all digital manipulations of my own artworks, metal work, pen and alcohol inks, and of course my favourite prismacolour pencils.
Have you ever met someone, just by chance, never to see them again.... and yet somehow they impacted on your life and you wonder many years later what they might have done in life?
Must have been about 1987, and I met a man when I was on a bus trip. Sydney to Sunshine Coast..... long trip! I had been to visit my grandfather for a holiday and was on my way back home, the young man was on his way home from work - I think he got on at Newcastle and got off at Port Maquarie.
It was nothing, but he said hello, commented on the blanket I was crocheting and how it was a dying art.... small talk. Made me feel less alone on a long trip and that was really nice. Sometimes if I’m crocheting I think of his comment and it gives me a sense that it’s nice to carry on old traditions, I feel glad that I do, and even better when I teach someone else too.
So now, years later, I wonder what happened to that good man. I hope that he’s had a lot of nice moments in his life, and I’m glad for chance meetings.
Sometimes a kind word, a smile or a greeting can improve a persons day and you just never know; maybe you’re making a difference in a persons life.
I was just looking for a particular e-mail and found one I missed from last week...... my entry (Hair Basket) got accepted into "The Weaving Room" Exhibit!!! I am rather happy with myself, as I was a little anxious when I was working on the application etc. Being me, I was also a little bothered because I have not had any showings or exhibits this year outside the private things I organise myself. Phew, I can tick that off my "2018 professional practice" task list.
Mondays casting with Ann in Brisbane was pretty successful, I now have some new elements to clean up....... freshwater muscle shell pendant, some new cogs, and bone section chain links.
Today I was looking for a page to draw on and thought I should probably label my old journals while I was at it. I flicked through to find a blank page, (one thing leads into another) and I found an old proposal for a series of works for uni - read on, if you would like to (possible trigger warning though if you're a sensitive soul) and I'll share with you. This old bit of writing will enlighten you as to why seedpods etc feature heavily in my jewellery and artworks.
In another place, a different time.
A young woman is lying on her bed, she is reading a "mills and boon". Her two little boys are outside the flat, they're fighting with sticks again.
Drifting off, she imagines the book is about her and the husband in the book is her newest boyfriend. The man in the book is sweet and he tells his new wife how beautiful she is, so beautiful he can no longer get through his day without thinking of her.
In a different place, same time.
"The kid" is daydreaming again, she is determined not to think about what happened last night. "the kid" knows "it" was wrong and feels very guilty for her anger....why isn't "she" looking after Daddy? and why doesn't "she" care about "it" and why doesn't she stop "it"?
All of a sudden "the kid" drops the buckets of water she's been carrying, her hands are sore but she knows that will go away.
On a leaf to the side of the track is a chrysalis - right where the caterpillar was yesterday. Now "the kid" can't wait to get to school in the morning. Mrs Enchelmier will her to find this caterpillar in a science book in the library.
A different time, a different place.
A middle-aged woman sits in her bed, in a hospital room. Her pen seems to be moving on it's own as she unconsciously writes her letter. In a kind of trance emotions convert to words on the page as tears stream endlessly down her face.....
Some years ago I started covering boxes (some other items, but mainly boxes) with paper mache of the obviously aged pages of a Mills & Boon novel. For me, this was an act of defiance against the book - because books should be precious and a Mills & Boon is an insult to books, an affront to real life. These stupid "books" held my stepmother in a constant state of longing for what her own life and relationships could not be.
On the surface, these boxes made of old paper are somewhat beautiful, I do love that if I did not know the story was b.s. I would just see old lines of text. I place images on the boxes and sometimes quotes, totally unrelated to the text, or the memories of a shitty past.
The quotes and images take me some other place, a good place, my own little escape from reality and past. I am proposing to continue to make these boxes - however they will be made of real text and writings of my real life, screen-printed.
The images I will use will be my own and will be those of the natural world, seed pods, leaves, bugs etc the very real things that I escape to when other elements of real life feel too harsh. Or Ugly.
There are some obvious symbologies going on with my work. Box, a womans box, could be a means of control of others if she chooses or the cause of others wanting to control her. A receptacle for containment that may be easy, or not so easy to open, it may even be locked - so much about a box for anyone to interpret how they like.
Seed Pods, the place where new life may begin. A reference to "mothers" possibly and the protection provided by them. The pod may remain attached to the young plant or it may pull away. Some seedpods aren't very pretty but to me they are beautiful in their repetition and function and intricate textures and shapes.
Leaves and such relate to the natural world, (absolutely not made by human or related to them) a place I may find solitude or inspiration to continue, to grow, to hope, to nurture or just to "be".
I started these little earrings a whole year ago, sometimes it takes me forever. Since it was my own project, with no deadlines, I did put it off for other more pressing matters. So as I was saying in my last post here, I have been making moulds. Now when I get an order for these little cuties, I can have them all finished inside two weeks. One day I may have things done faster but for now I can get things to the wax stage then I use my udderly loverly friend Ann's casting studio (two hours away in Brisbane) for that part of the process.
"But what's the process?" Lost wax casting......here is a link, where some people have already noted down the important stuff, in an easier to understand (than my explanations are) format - with pictures!
Yay!!! sometimes I do really love Wikipedia :)
This last week I have finished a couple of nice projects, and of course started a few more, it's what I do. Get half-done then start something else.... doesn't everyone do that? A I've made a couple of new rings, featuring the texture of a sweet sea urchin and a top shell. And a few pairs of earrings completed too.
So, this is what my workbench looks like right now, this is the bench in my dungeon (that's what my kids calls my workshop under my house) don't worry, I do have a workstation set up in my lounge room.... and the dining room, and part of the kitchen, oh let me just be honest; my whole house is my workshop. I'm an artist, and can live how I want - can't I?
Today I have been making and cutting open some new injection moulds, my fingers are tired and sore. So I took a break to have a cuppa and chat to you - you don't talk much though and I wish I knew what you're thinking. LOL
Happy! I do feel happy. Progress makes me happy, and I'm wearing a smile as I'm envisioning how this bit of work today will make some future days a little easier. Soon I will be looking at gleaming new "vertebrae" stud earrings, and will have all the components ready for you to mix and match your very own 'bio-bits" rings.
Another dollar - spent...... Ah such is life!
I am constantly in awe of what it costs to be an artist. And I have figured out that if you specialise in anything - that front title (eg jewellery or silver smith) allows suppliers to add dollars to your product needs.... so I buy generic tools as much as I can from my local hardware instead. It doesn't generally work when you get so specific as to be looking for wax working appliances or vulcanised rubber mould making tools. Doh! :(
Oh well, as I said, another day - another dollar spent. I have a few people collecting my handmade jewellery but it really would be great to have a few more.
Patience and persistence I guess, are a couple of other things I need in possession.
Here's a pic of some more of my creations in progress...... a little patina and a whole lot of polishing and I think these ones are going to be so lovely!
So much to do and so little time.....
I'm filling in application forms and submissions and driving myself crazy with my inability to get my time-management sorted. Who has to get an order of jewellery to Moreton Regional Art Gallery Stores on Tuesday and so works on an entry to a competitive exhibit that's "submissions by" date is 6 weeks away? Me! that's who. And just as if that's not silly enough, I have other submissions due long before that one. I suppose I'm only being a bit distracted, because at least this little artwork is for the same Gallery, and now it is even finished and the submission has been sent.
Well it's a good thing I have a sense of humour, cause I can laugh at myself. And if I don't, who will?