Monday, May 30, 2011

A Magical Time Of Year

Even though the days are short and cold, there is a magical quality about late Autumn and Early Winter here in Tasmania. On Saturday evening, just after sunset we were treated to a display of southern lights, we don't often see them and when we do it always feels special. Then on Sunday morning this is what we awoke to in the garden! It must have got down very cold in the night and this ice sculpture is the result of a leak in one of our water pipes which had sent a fine water spray out over a patch of long grass and bracken. In each of these structures, if you look closely, you will see a grass stem or other vegetation on which the ice has formed. Now readers in some of the colder areas of Europe and America probably won't think much of this, but for us it was a real treat. I think we have had snow fall here where we live just three times in thirty odd years, and only once did it settle long enough to scrape together enough to make a small snowman, it just doesn't get all that cold, really.

I'm working on pieces to bring away with me to the Gold Coast International Teddy Bear Fair which is being held over the Queen's Birthday long weekend (11th and 12th June) The little guy I'm making now has such a sweet face, I'm not sure I want to take him along! I might want to keep him. This doesn't often happen to me, but occasionally one little face will talk to me and I'll hang on to the bear........ for a while at least.

Last week I received my trophy from the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair people's choice competition, a lovely crystal piece to add to my cabinet :) This was for Fynn, and he won the Modern Bear category.

Lastly, don't forget to cast your vote in the Australasian Creative Design Awards, voting is open for just a few more days. On Wednesday morning all the entries will be available for adoption, I hope to "see" you there!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ginger's Giveaway!

Ginger Brame over at Bear Bits is having a giveaway, in celebration of her 500th blog post! WOW! And just look at this gorgeous little bear she has up for grabs! Isn't he just the cutest little thing ever? His name is May-bee and you have a whole month in which to get your entry in, I've already done mine :o)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

This is how I've spent some of this mother's day, stacking firewood into the "woodshed". This little structure was one of our first building attempts out here. It was intended as a "temporary" solution to our firewood storage needs and is built with bush poles, scrap timber and old roofing iron. It has stood nigh on thirty years! Not so bad for a temporary building. It is a little swaybacked and it has a definite lean in a south~easterly direction and quite frankly I'm surprised it's still standing! We keep thinking it will do for another winter....and another....and another and still it stands! Being "off the grid" for everything this is a vital part of keeping things going out here, a good wood supply. Our kitchen wood~fired stove also heats our no wood, no fire, no hot water. We like it that way, being totally in control of things, but it can get very wearying at times, and as we get older it's getting harder. I guess the time will come when we will really need to re-think things and find some "simpler" solutions. Meantime, our little shed serves our needs.

The other thing I've been doing today is playing with paperclay. I've been sculpting this doll's head, it started out as a styrofoam egg over which the clay has been added. I have been following a guided tutorial by Sue McFadden (Blueprints in Felt Doll Making), and I have been enjoying it immensely. I have dabbled in dolls from time to time and played in my sister Susie's studio, but I always come unstuck when it comes time to paint! If I fiddle about long enough I can get a reasonable looking sculpt, but me and paint? Ugh! When I saw this tutorial I thought it was much more manageable for me as there is minimal painting involved! I love the tactile look of the wool felt over the paperclay sculpt, it somehow feels closer to bearmaking for me. (Now getting the felt to sit nicely over the sculpt might prove to be too much of a challenge for me, so stay tuned for an update!) I still have quite a way to go with the sculpting but it's getting there. I suppose I should really put it aside and get some bears made, it's only a few short weeks until the Gold Coast International Teddy Bear Fair! You might like to take a look at Sue's work, her dolls have such gentle souls, and are quite whimsicle, you'll find them here

Friday, May 6, 2011

In Case You Haven't Heard....

I have been honoured with two nominations in this year's Australasian Creative Design Awards! Now that the hands on judges have completed their task, we are allowed to brag a little. All the entries in this year's competition can now be viewed here please take a few minutes to have a look and vote for your favourite critter. (If you find the photos a bit small to make a decision, you can wait unti June1 when the show opens and cast your vote then, they will be displayed much bigger then)
This year we had to find inspiration in the works of Beatrix Potter, a theme I had surprising difficulty with! It was hard for me not to just reproduce her characters, as I find them all so endearing! In the end I was pretty pleased with my efforts and these two have been in the hands of the three judges this past week. I'm looking forward to reading the critiques when I get them back. I always find "in the fur" judging very beneficial, it can bring attention to any aspects of your work that can be improved upon which would never be picked up from a photograph, and I certainly take the judges' advice to heart.
Squirrel Nutkin and his friends were the inspiration for "Nuss". I know the red squirrel is now rare in the British Isles but I do get excited when I see the little grey squirrels who seem to inhabit every garden and park, when I visit the UK. (Maybe I'll be lucky and see a red squirrel too, sometime)

As for "Missy" my little mouse. It seems I have inspiration for her all over the house at the moment, as they always invade when the weather starts to get cool. But in truth back when I was making her, the weather was warm and the mice were happy to be outside in the bush, so Appley Dappley's old woman who lived in a little shoe-house was my inspiration. Though I didn't give Missy nearly as fancy a shoe as Beatrix painted for her mouse, (it is a genuine antique button-up boot though).
I hope you enjoy seeing all the pieces in the show, there certainly are some wonderful works and some very interesting interpretations of the theme!