Monday, 30 January 2017


January 26th was Australia Day, so we did what many Aussies do when they have a day off in the summer...we went to the beach!  However, we weren't there to bathe in either the sun nor the sea, but to walk along the beachfront looking at the magnificent sculptures on display in the annual Brighton Jetty Classic Sculpture Competition.

Here are some of my favourites & this compilation is but a taste of what is exhibited.

The sand dunes are a perfect place to showcase sculptural work, & it was a particularly poignant location for 'The Observers' by Greg Johns. These wonderful figures look out to see observing whatever the waves bring towards them & whatever is played out on the shore.  To me they represent the Kaurna People, watching the first Settlers coming ashore, not yet realising how their world would be altered. It gives me shivers!

'Disorder Of Things' by Will Hendriks was a splash of colour filled fun.  I liked taking in the different shapes & angles as I walked around it.

Another poignant piece was 'We The People; Deer Hart' by Clancy Warner.  This brave warrior Sentinel was so striking against the sea.  It is hard to tell from this photo, but the body is made of reclaimed railway sleepers & the antlers are bronze.

This clever Mother & Joey is by Joel Zimmerman & made completely of scrap metal.  I truly admire people who can take scraps & make something recognisable out of them.  These also looked fabulous in the sand dune setting.

Part of the fun of walking along looking at these sculptures is hearing what other viewers say about them. According to some, 'Cutlery Set' by Alexandra Devitt-Lansom, should be out the front of a restaurant!  Whereas my husband feels that Ikea should buy it...this sculpture goes with their colour scheme after all!!

What fun to see this magnificent sea serpent by Bruce Long & Linda Baker frolicking in the sand!  It is made of recycled boots, with mosaic waves alongside!!

This 'Desert Blossom' by Brent Quilliam was stunning not just because of the beautiful shape & use of materials, but because of the dedication; to the unsung heroes who give up their time to help the "broken, beaten, weary & helpless".  Just imagine this surrounded by water & tropical plants!

If I'd won the lottery I would have loved to have bought three of these to reside in my garden!!   Chris Murphy had a number of his rusted metal Grass Trees on display & they looked brilliant grouped together.

Inside the tent smaller sculptural works were displayed & I have to say that THESE are the only flies I have ever liked! 'No Flies On Me Mate' by my T'Arts colleague Anna Small were very popular with the crowd & didn't annoy anyone!

I particularly liked this mosaic piece, 'Terra Rosa' by Mignon Clift.  She used a variety of found materials to represent the coast.  It works for me!

This was one of those sculptures that one just had to touch!  'Sealion Bird Bath' by Silvio Apponyi was sooooooo stunning!
I could have sworn those sealions were actually moving!!

I am a big fan of Warren Pickering's work.  Each year he puts something into this competition which makes me want to sit down quietly in front of it & just be.  He is very inspired by sea vegetation forms & creates, what I consider to be, meditative pieces.  This is even more stunning in real life & , personally, I think it is particularly beautiful with the sea as a backdrop.

Finally this wonderful wave, which is reminiscent of the New Zealand Koru to me. I apologise, I didn't get the sculptor's name for this one.  If you can, you'll just have to go down to the beach, look at it, & find out who made it for yourself!

Such a wonderful excursion.  I hope you've enjoyed this taste of it!


Over the past few days I have been amused to see how varied in their life cycle my agapanthus are! Some are in that cute early- globular- bud stage, whilst others are in that late green- pod stage!  Consequently I have been taking a number of photos so as to capture these different phases.

Whilst I like each stage of the agapanthus life,  this week I chose to focus on the green pod stage!  Not only are the pods themselves an interesting shape, but the thin stems they are supported on & eventually drop off, are also interesting.  They remind me of a dandelion head!

I started by producing a simple line sketch in pencil to get to grips with the shape.  In the following sketches I looked at shading.

From there it was then a matter on playing, first with options for a background & then for placement & composition of the green pods.

Although I had been intending to proceed with the green & purple colour scheme for the background, with the pods in various black & whites...when I actually had the fabrics in front of me I wasn't so sure.  What if I chose grey with the purple for the background????

I decided to go with my instincts!

I completed the background with grey spikes, but used a variegated green thread to at least reference the colour of the stems in real life!!

Then it was time to pin down the top layers before stitching through the design.

I'm very sorry that I haven't got any 'cutting back' photos this time.  The truth is, that whilst one part of my brain was concentrating on what my hands were doing, the other side of my brain was trying to help solve a murder with Val Mc Dermid via audiobook!  It was hot & humid & ...what can I say...I could only do two things at once!!

After all the cutting back, I painted on the little squiggly bits at the front, but still felt the piece needed a bit more oomph!

I achieved that, to my satisfaction, with the addition of hand stitched lines in variegated green cotton.

These pods were fun to do & I enjoyed producing them in an altered colour scheme. The shape of the pods are particularly pleasing & I'm glad I kept the squiggles in!

Next week may see me return to look closer at another stage in the agapanthus life cycle, as I feel quite inspired now! What a positive start to the week!

Monday, 23 January 2017


Before it got too hot on Sunday, I managed to spend a couple of hours doing some gardening.  Whilst trimming back the Correa I noticed that it is currently in flower, and decided that it would be my muse for this week's art project exercise.

The flowers are tiny, and only really noticeable when up close to the bush.  On  inspection I can see why it is known as the (Australian) Native Fuchsia.   With it's bell shaped cap & it's long elegant petals, it is a very dainty flower.

As per usual, I began with drawing of both flower & leaf shapes.  Using coloured pencil I then completed a quick colour study.

Whilst drawing the leaves, I had noticed that the shape was very similar to a small leaf wood block stamp in my 'tools' stash.  Having never used it before, I thought I'd see what it looked like & with a little playing & further drawing, a design began to take shape.

After auditioning suitable fabrics for each role in this design, I began by preparing the background. Not having a stamp pad, I worked some paint into a strip of felt & used that instead.  It worked brilliantly.

I like the imperfections in the stamping, & I was very pleased with the whole outcome.

After ironing my other fabric choices, transferring the design to the top layer & pinning that sandwich of fabrics together, I had to think about thread.  Usually I choose a thread colour as close to the top layer of fabric as possible.  This time, however, I decided to play a little & chose a variegated green thread for the top stitching instead, whilst keeping the black thread in the bobbin.

I had to be very careful with the stitching because it would be a lot more visible than if I'd stuck with just black!  This photo shows the stitching & my first efforts at cutting back.  I like the bold shapes of the flowers & the dot-like stitching. Part of me was tempted to leave it there, but, no...

...I kept cutting back one layer...
...after another...
...until the whole piece was revealed.  It just needed a little tiny tweek to make it feel fully completed.

Voila! The addition of beads elevates this simple design & I am very happy with it.  It may be very basic contemporary reverse applique, but it is still effective.


Monday, 16 January 2017


It was hot here in Adelaide today, so I chose to focus on a plant that just doesn't seem to survives the heat!  It is a silver leaved succulent which has beautiful salmony coloured bell shaped flowers which look like this...

...and buds that look like this...

...and they sit atop stems which tower above fleshy rounded leaves which look like...

...this!  I call it 'that-silvery-succulenty-thing', whereas you will undoubtedly be much better versed in plant names & know what it is REALLY named!

Producing a weekly project & making it's construction public in the form of both blog & facebook page, means that I am very conscious of trying to keep it all interesting, I truly do not want to bore you!  So today, I decided to be adventurous, whilst still keeping to my contemporary reverse applique technique.  Here's what I got up to...

I began quite simply with filling a page with black pen sketches of buds, flowers & leaf shapes.  The page itself looked so interesting that I decided to photocopy it on to fabric to use at a later stage.

More sketching with the addition of colour this time, which gave me confidence in the lines I was going to reproduce to make a pattern for this piece, & helped me recognise what my colour range needed to be.

A rummage amidst my stash produced these fabric choices, and so the process began.

Using the black & white print of my sketches as the background fabric, I began cutting back the layers to reveal my flower.

After multiple cutbacks it looked like this.  I could have left it there, but I didn't. Of course!

Instead of using thread to add a bit of depth & interest, this time I decided to play around with paint.

This is what it looked like after the first lot of paint was added.  However, it wasn't finished yet!  When the paint was dry, I decided to...

...paint over some of it in white.  The flowers look opaque, as if a fine white mist has been sprayed over them, so I hoped that this layer of paint would mute some of the components a little & blend the other colours I'd painted in before.

This is the end result & I am very pleased with it.  This was completed today with the assistance of iced black coffee, glasses of water & a very reliable electric fan.  A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do....even if the world is frying up around her!