Monday, September 16, 2013

Unseeing - what's really on sale?

Unseeing - it’s an idea from China Miéville's book ‘the city & the city’ & it refers to simultaneously seeing something & convincing yourself that you didn’t. The book is about two cities whose people live in intersecting spaces but law prevents them from acknowledging each other - it’s a concept i think about surprisingly often.

A friend told me a great story about a lovely & valued co-worker whose daily purchase of a punnet of blueberries often initiated talk of antioxidants & benefits of healthy eating. Months passed before someone made the comment of what an impressive choice it was, considering her low wage & the expense of the berries – often out of season. Her reply shocked them all. She casually explained that it wasn’t really that expensive because when she went through the self-checkout at the supermarket, she just weighed them as potatoes, so they were costing less than a dollar. 
She said “but I couldn’t afford them if I bought them as blueberries – they’re very expensive”

It’s the same with most fashion. Grabbing a bargain used to be a game of strategy but i can find almost anything on sale somewhere – disappointingly, it’s not my years of spotting a bargain that’s paying off – more like finding a needle in a big pile of more haystacks to get in the way.

Once you acknowledge that you unsee the real cost, it’s hard to not get upset by racks & racks of shit, wear-once fashion that ends up unsellable in our charity stores & then into landfill. Maybe if we had to put those clothes in the bin instead of leaving that task to the charities, it would be more shocking?  
Australia & other first world countries have enforced very strict local working conditions so that we maintain a healthy environment for our children to work in but we then buy illogically-cheap items & choose to unsee how they were able to be so cheap. The Bangladeshi tragedy earlier this year was horrific – there was a great article written by Alicia Simmonds, called 'The role we all played in the Bangladeshi Tragedy' - these are the conditions we don't want our adults, let alone our children, to work in.
The woman with the blueberries unsaw that she was stealing because the only important thing was her getting the blueberries. I’m going to a wedding next week & have some decisions to make. Anyone got a size 12 dress I can borrow?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The man i met on the tram..

I had a little cry on the tram trip back to work.
On my way to the city a tourist had asked a man for directions, the man shook his head so I helped the traveller get his bearings and mentioned Federation Square. The man made a gesture to me – his coordination was hard to read but he looked good-hearted and pointed at his face and said (with a little difficulty) “I made it”.
I nodded and smiled, said positive things (as you do on the tram), then he repeated it and seemed like he wanted to chat so I asked if he was an architect (may as well start from the top, huh?)
His eyes widened and he loudly said “YES!”
I told him it was a beautiful building and he must be very proud. He looked a bit emotional and said “yes”.
I asked what his name was and we got off the tram together so he could tell me without rushing. 
At first the small talk was a little tricky – we were standing at the tram stop, he wanted to talk but his brain wasn’t cooperating, he was understandably frustrated. He then made a gesture, which I didn’t get, and then he touched the back of my head so that I could see that he was trying to write letters in the air. He Wrote L.A.B. I said it out loud, he smiled and said “yes”.
I’ve heard of LAB before, but i wasn’t quick enough to recognize it as the architectural firm that designed Federation Square all those years ago. I asked his name again and his eyes widened, then he looked down and said “I know, but I don’t know”
I asked him if he could write it instead – it was clear that he had no problem thinking what to say but the bit where it transferred into speech was damaged.
With a lot of effort, he wrote his name on the paper with his left hand.

I recently heard someone say that an able-bodied person is only a car crash away from knowing how a disabled person lives. It seems especially relevant considering the current discussions about how the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be funded – a topic that has sparked some pretty ugly debate by people who don’t think that disability insurance is relevant to them. All tax payers fund things that do not seem to immediately affect them, that’s how it goes, that’s how a functioning society works, we help each other out. (did you read Stella Young’s piece?)

So the little cry I had on the tram was for how transient it all is, how you can go from dizzying professional heights to a completely different life in just a few years. Peter & I had a good chat, turns out he’s an artist now and having an exhibition of drawings at DaineSinger’s Gallery very soon – but how’s that? What are the chances of meeting the designer of Federation Square on the 112 tram?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pointer Sisters design theory

I think about the Pointer Sisters every time I design a new range. You know them? they sang 'Fire' & the Classic Hits radio favorite, 'Slow Hand'. I remember earnestly explaining to mum how good the outfits were..did she understand?

You see, I was an impressionable littley when the Pointer Sisters were around & I especially loved that the 3 ladies had different versions of the same costume, from a slightly conservative after 5 number for the oldest looking one, to a little more risque for the middle sister then downright racy for the youngest one – something for everyone, right? ..& imagine how excited I was to find the Rankin Sisters on morning television?! Here were 3 Australian exercising sisters who each did a similar movement but in the easy-med-difficult levels..same but different!! Once the link was made, there was no shifting it, rock solid, stuck for good. I haven’t been able to break the connection between 'three levels' of the Pointer Sisters & designing a range, it’s similar to when a taste reminds you of a certain holiday or a tune takes you right back to your childhood lounge room.

So, here’s how the theory goes..I most often design in threes (as many Sisters as were in the band) – 3 small sculptures, matching in theme but on different corners of the shape triangle – just like their outfits!

For example, when I designed the ‘Lunch in the Park’ series, they are all picnic-themed pieces but they are also round, triangular & square so they look balanced together but also appeal to different design-eyes that people have (the thing where people are really attracted to certain shapes).
So there’s one of my design secrets, does it sound logical to you too?
Faced with infinite choice, how do you refine your designs?
Did you like the Pointer Sisters?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

would you like catch-up with that?

should i try to explain my absence? at least a little perhaps:)
i got overwhelmed - one day i went back to write a post & the format had changed & i panicked - has that happened to anyone else?
I'm going to try to look at the positives - firstly, it's that there have been tremendous shifts afoot, not as fun as dancing, more like the retail environment has changed so dramatically that i struggle to recognize it & struggle to know how i fit within it. But this is not a new thing for me, i have always tried to work the gaps, keep making things that i'm proud of, that are well-lasting & interesting. I have made a few more ranges since my last post, some can been seen of my website here & others only at the studio & at markets.
My biggest hurdle, & one that i didn't imagine overcoming in such a short time is my fear of public speaking. I saddled that horse & rode off into the sunset:) There have been a few but the most energizing (terrifying) was agreeing to present an award at the DIA (design institute of aust) which was nerve-wracking enough but when i arrived there was a horse-shoe of students, teachers & loving parents, a microphone & an ad-lib speech waiting for me. Way to beat those nerves.
I've never felt the rush of endorphins from exercise but i tell ya', i could have run home from Richmond to Northcote on the energy i had.
me with one of the jewellery design winners - Hau Ong Ding
 ha! i've just noticed that my last post was about the Vali Myers book launch where i had made the 'hello love' necklace which you can just see in this pic. I swear it gave me the care-not attitude i needed:)
& thanks to Caroline Caneva - the total dynamo, for inviting me in the first place:).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a jewellery Ode to Vali Myers

Tomorrow is a very exciting day for the team at Outre Gallery & the Vali Myers Trust because it sees the launch of a new book called 'Night Flower, The Life & Art of Vail Myers' by Martin McIntosh & Gemma Jones. As a huge admirer of Vali & her work, i was extremely happy to be invited, along with other artists, to make some work influenced by her. So here are the pieces that i have made for the launch & they'll be for sale on the night (& a few days after?). They are mostly based on 'Foxy', Vali's real-life fox companion that was with her for 12 years. Also, if you scroll down, there's some images of a special, limited edition necklace called 'Hello, Love' It's a power talisman named after the phrase i heard Vali greet people with. I imagine it would come in handy at a time when you're in an uncomfortable situation & then you can just slyly raise the pendent to your face & feel powerful again. And it's fun to know how you'd look with a bit of Vali face tattoo.
'Be the Fox' pin, silver, stainless steel & enamel
'Be the Fox' necklace, silver, stainless steel & enamel
3 fox necklaces inspired by Vali Myers
3 fox pins inspired by Vali Myers

'Sleeping Fox' pin, Sterling Silver & enamel

Detail of 'Giuliano Fox' necklace, sterling silver & enamel

'Giuliano Fox' pin & necklace on the image that inspired the design, 'Giuliano' by Vali Myers

'Giuliano Fox' pin, Sterling Silver & enamel
Detail of 'Giuliano Fox' with Vali's artwork

'Sleeping Fox' necklace, Sterling Silver & enamel
an inscription at the front of my treasured book about Vali Myers' work (21st bday present:))
'Hello Love' necklaces, Sterling Silver, limited edition of 50.
Vali, lovely Vali.

Making 'Hello Love' necklaces
almost finished (with little handle)

& here i am with the 'Hello, Love' necklace:)

Friday, August 17, 2012

New 'Hello, House Plant!'

'Bunny Ears' in pink

Tomorrow we will be opening the studio doors (sat 18th Aug 11-3pm) for Craft Victoria's Craft Cubed event so we thought we would also launch the new 'Hello, Houseplant' range!
'Hello, House Plant!' is a series of necklaces dedicated to my most favorite of hard-to-kill plants..the succulent! I'm trying to cultivate a green thumb but so far the best plants for me have been these 3: 'jelly bean plant', 'hen & chickens' & 'bunny ears' (cactus), no matter what i do, they just bounce back!
So, a plant that is low to the ground, tough & adorable..what's not to identify with? 

'Hen & Chicken' in green
'Jelly Bean plant' in pink

'Bunny Ears' in green
Hen & Chicken in pink
'Jelly Bean plant' in green

It's actually been a series 4 months in the making & i took some pictures along the way - please read on if you'd like to see how it was made:)
making the base - I used an oval punch plate that's usually used to make oval settings for gemstones, handily the bit of excess silver spilled over the hollow & made a nice, plant pot-like lip:)

hammering oval shapes that will be the 'soil' (texture kindly lent by Fitzroy doorstep)

castings of the plant part made in wax - this is the 'jelly bean plant'
 hen & chickens back from casting - center floret made out a melted piece of scrap
 plant done, soil in & pot just to solder together!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Treasure in Modern Times!

Treasure necklaces - Book Protect & Witchn
A beautiful new shop has opened on Smith St, Fitzroy called 'Modern Times'. It's the newest pop-up space for Joel & Amy Malin & not only does it have amazing furniture but also a fantastic collection of artwork & homewares. With such a great collection of pieces, we were as pleased as ever to be included in the line-up with our co-lab Ghostpatrol necklaces! So, if you're in the area it's at 311 Smith St Collingwood (where Lure hairdressers used to be), also keep an eye out for artworks by Madeleine Stamer, Leisel Pfeffer & Emily Green! (3 of my favorites!) If you'd like to read more about this space The Design Files have it covered!

Modern Times Pop Up #3 (pics from Modern Times website)