Saturday, 21 May 2016

Greening the home

It's been a revelation to see the greening of homes again. It's interesting how these trends come and go. Also accompanying this trend, macrame once popular in the 70's, considered hideous in the 90's and popping back in the 2010's. 

And then there are the more trusty easy-to-grow succulents  back in vogue as well as prickly cacti. I prefer succulents as I've had too many nasty encounters with cacti to merit their gracing my spaces. Also succulents can make attractive and versatile table settings without taking up too much space on a small table. 

How are you enjoying your indoor plants?

House plant-wise in my home, I like to have herbs in my kitchen to snip off garnishes for my dishes. I've noticed though that you have to watch the bugs don't multiply uncontrollably and I don't like to spray. So it's a case of washing the foliage or removing bugs manually. 

I am struggling to get my Phalaenopsis orchid to flower indoors. It bloomed for three consecutive years and then stopped in the last two. What do I need to do? I tried reducing the watering, increasing the watering, re-potting, changing its spot in the room, talking to it - the whole caboodle - but no response. Although I have to say it hasn't curled up its lovely leathery leaves yet! Perhaps there's hope? 

Any ideas would be grateful received.  

Happy indoor gardening to my southern hemisphere friends and happy outdoor planting to my northern ones!

Claudia x

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Maker Space - Sandra Waine Printmaker

This month Sandra Waine Printmaker is my featured creative. Sandra has been printing for 15 years and tells us about what inspires her and what she loves about her craft. If you are interested in starting a market stall, Sandra also reveals some tips on preparing and running a stall. 

Sandra is kindly sponsoring this month's photo-challenge on Instagram. We have revisited   #the_heart_series tag to celebrate the things we love. To find out more about the entry rules and the places you can find Sandra Waine products, please see the end of this post.

1) Have you always been interested in creating and what inspired you to try printing?

I have always loved the “hands on” aspect of being creative.  When I was young my sister and I would spend hours doodling and drawing in our jotter pads.  When making clothes and blankets for our toys I would cut out flowers from one piece of fabric and sew it onto another, creating a completely new design.

While living and working full-time in Australia I completed a “Certificate in Fine Arts” touching on printmaking.  Then on our return to New Zealand my Auntie Jenny (also a printmaker) encouraged me to enter the printmaking section of the Easter Show and it has been non-stop since then.

2) What artist’s inspire you and why?

While living in Sydney I became familiar with a lot of brilliant Australian artists two of my favourites being Margret Preston, paintings and woodcuts and Jeffrey Smart who did amazing paintings that more often than not included a celebrity.  Margret Preston’s woodblock prints were amazing for the era she lived and created in, I just love her style.  Back in NZ, I know this is an obvious choice but I can’t go past DickFrizzellStanley Palmer is totally inspirational, my Auntie has one of his prints which I have admired for many years!  And I love the prints of Joan Taylor!  I first came across her work in the Flagstaff Gallery on a trip home from Sydney many years ago

"Spicing up married life" lino cut print by Sandra Waine

3)  How do you stay focused when you are building up stock for a market?

There is no denying it a big event like the Auckland Fair can be stressful.  I have found the best way is to plan ahead by having a week (or two) of non-stop printing and then setting the ink and packaging – which always takes a lot longer than I think!

4)  What tips do you have for preparing for and on market day?

Make sure you are well prepared and not up until 2am ironing!  Bottom line is don’t leave things to the last minute, decide which stock you will be selling and pack it ready for market day well in advance.  Have your float, signage, table, props and other display items by the door or packed in the car the night before.  Enjoy the day, chat to people and most of all have fun!

5)   What are you happiest creating and why?

That is a hard decision to make as I love all aspects of printmaking.  When I am screen printing onto textiles I do love the first time I pull the ink through on a new design.  It is always exciting to see how it looks as a print!  With lino cuts and hand carved stamps I love carving into the lino or rubber, making ‘marks’ that eventually take on a new life.

6)  Where would you like to be creatively in five year’s time?

Continuing on with what I am doing right now while adapting to trends as things change.  It would be great to teach people the different methods of printmaking, block printing vs. screen printing.

7)  For someone starting down this track of selling art and crafts at markets, what is the best piece of advice you could give?

Stay true to yourself.  Make things that make you happy!  People appreciate handmade, taking the time to chat and explain your process is always worthwhile.

May IG Photochallenge: #the_heart_series

Sandra is sponsoring this month's photo-challenge series on Instagram and there are two Sandra Waine printed prizes to be won - this sweet Owl and Pussycat set of pillowcases

And this cute angel print entitled "Spreading some love"
(Photos courtesy Sandra Waine)

Be sure to join in. 

To enter on IG
1. Follow  @sandrawaineprintmaker and @adiandbert 
2. Post a NEW pic on the theme of what you love, to #the_heart_series 
3. Multiple entries allowed, but please tag a different friend each time.

Comp EXTENDED until Sunday 29 May 2016 and Sandra will judge the winner.

Find Sandra's product through Facebook, Instagram or through her Felt shop. In Auckland Sandra is a regular at some of the best markets - the Auckland FairDevonport Craft Market and General Collective Market

Keep creating! - Claudia x

An open letter to my mother

This is a special Mother's Day. My oldest son will be 21 in a week. (How is it possible 21 years can pass so quickly?) Tiny feet and tiny hands - turned to feet so large, that shoes lying about become trip hazards and hands grown so dexterous to draw fine line architectural plans. I feel justifiable in saying that my husband and I have raised a lovely young man who is focussed on his studies, has a social conscience and cares about his family. 

If you were alive today I know you would be proud. You left this world far too young. Two o'clock stole you away from a hospital bed in a mining town when I was too young for you to explain what was happening to you. You left a husband bereft and inadequate to raise children. I was incredibly fortunate to have your youngest sister who could help raise your youngest. So today I think of you mom. I haven't had the privilege of hearing your words of wisdom or feel your embrace, but your sister had love for more than her own children and enough to teach me how to raise my own young ones. And for that, I am grateful.x