Monday, 11 July 2016

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Last week, I retired from paid work after 40 years.  It is the most bizarre and strangest feeling. 
Where does one start to be retired with no more routine, no more having to do anything for anyone else, no more compliance and most importantly no one to talk to during the day?  During the final stages of my working life I have been constrained by compliance for accreditation, legislation, standards, risk management, oh&s and on it goes.  I was good at it and it was so necessary working in the health industry, but I must admit it did constrain my creativity.

Last week I felt a little lost.  Everyone says you have to give yourself time to recover when retiring.  When I reread the above I do need to recover; to recover my sense of play, my creativity, what and who I am again.  It was so easy to let work overtake!   I have struggled to write, to create, to make dolls over the last 5 years and when I realise how constrained by compliance I have been, is it no wonder!  So here I am, retired, and, I have made a doll in the first week.  Wow!

2 weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to do a class with Linda Misa. The amazingness was being surrounded by like-minded women who love to make dolls, who love to play, who I can talk to easily about anything, of whom I am in awe!  We played with gelli printing on fabric and paper and sculpted with creative paper clay to make a head which was painted using black gesso as a base. All fun and very interesting techniques. It was such a slow paced class where we all had time to enjoy the process and the company without stress and tension.  It was a lovely weekend and it just happened to be mine and Linda’s birthday weekend.

During class I also met a new dollmaker who has had a profound effect on me.  She is passionate, wants to learn so much, but struggles with health issues, so is having trouble completing her first doll.  She realises the healing effect of dollmaking already and has shared this with me.  This is my first doll in 2 years, which is a very sad state of affairs when I consider myself a dollmaker, but I can slowly feel the passion returning, the love of making a figure to represent my feelings, a way of healing, slowly returning.  

I have been very slow to finish, but I finally have.  I have called her "New Beginnings" which is such an apt title for a piece to represent the next stage of my life.  I love the way she is just hovering just above the ground:  about to take off?

Her hands are   cloth with a clay thumb; her face is clay; her upper arms, feet and legs and body, are all cloth.  Cloth is my passion and I have always been such a purist, but this class played with an interesting technique of ‘connecting’ clay to cloth or clay to clay which is an easy way to get the shape you want. I did struggle with making clay feet but decided to sculpt my own feet from cloth. 
Another interesting technique was painting a base of black gesso over clay or cloth, then using a flesh toned paint, criss crossing with a dry brush to achieve an antique look. I really like this look and it was an easy way to get shadows where you need them by using the black base.

I have used my gelli printed muslin and cotton to make cords and to use for her skirt. I have made marks on the skirt with running stitch using one strand of thread in similar colours. I like the look. I have used an A4 sheet of gelli printed paper for the hat which I have machine embroidered.  I like her hat and hats really are my signature.

So a wonderful start to my retirement and new beginning to the rest of my life.  I hope you like her.  Enjoy your creativity and have fun.  regards Ann

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Olive's Dorjte pants

I love applique when making garments. I have used it since my kids were tiny.  Here is a pair of Dorjte pants I made for our Olive using applique.  I love these.

I am a compulsory photo collector and have over 20,000 on my ipad.  I do have a photo of Olive wearing these in amongst those.  Gosh why oh why do I do this? 

Anyway have to laugh at myself.  Enjoy your day from Ann
Happy New Year

I'm not one for going over what happened in the previous year but like to look forward to what I would like to do in the coming year.  I like to have wishes and goals for myself.  They are more like promises to myself to do things I really love.

Over the last month I have trialled a new pattern called Zelda, for a clothing designer Pearl Red Moon, made some gifts, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself, making stuff.

Here is my Zelda, top designed by Pearl Red Moon. 

You can find the pattern here:

online shop: http://boho-banjo-art-to-wear.myshopify

My thoughts on the pattern:  It is very simple to sew with lots of scope for wonderful variation.  I would definitely use the full page pattern and get it printed at office works. It did take me a good few hours to put the tiles together and I was itching to just sew it up.  I sewed up the small size taking it in a bit as I am between a 12 and 14 these days.  I made it in light cottons and it looks great. The box feature would look better in a knit or fabric which drapes well, in my opinion. The cotton doesn't drape well so I was disappointed with how this sat. But it is a lovely, easy to sew top and I would recommend it.  It is a top to have fun with.

This is the beach/dance bag front and back which I made for Harper for her 8th birthday.  Made from an old pair of jeans with some pretty button embroidery, and fabric and frill added to the bottom. Everyone liked it and I was thrilled with it. It's a nice roomy bag for beach towels or dance shoes and lots of stuff! 

This is not a good picture as I forgot to take a photo, but this was taken when I gave it to my friend for her birthday.  It is a finely crocheted neckpiece working in Valdani thread, on a 1.5 size hook.  It looked lovely and was inspired by a pattern in the 2013 Vogue Crochet magazine, a favourite.
So lots happening in the studio.  It's going to be wonderfully creative year
Enjoy Ann

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Our holiday is just about over

in summary:
Some of the biggest irises and roses I have ever seen

Not a bad coffee was to be had
Delicious food especially from Maldini's and the Harbour Lights Cafe

Beautiful wine especially the Pooleys Pinot Noir from Grape food and wine bar - very civilised drinking from reidel tumblers too

Beautiful scenery and staying at battery Point

Amazing Bruny Island the highlight of the trip

Many kms walked so we walked off all that yummy food and wine

And the beautiful orchid house at the RTBG his fave

Salamanca Markets and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

we had a wonderful day today

I ventured down to the markets around 8am to be met by these:

Found these fun and colourful hats:

And these beautiful soft woven neck scarves:

Then onto the amazing RTBG for amazing colour texture and beauty

And more amazing views of the Derwent:

Friday, 24 October 2014


You have to go to MONA we were repeatedly told.  Well we did!

What is it?  The most bizarre private collection of old and new artworks and artefacts in the country, Set in an amazing museum space of sandstone, rusted ironwork and lots of glass, it is a spectacle to behold. Now i get pretty bored with these types of activities but did manage to last an hour and a half. Wonders will never cease.

It was so bizarre, such a torture of art and sculpture and installation and absolutely head shaking stuff!  But a priviledge to see!

 Fat car was a porche, still slightly recognisable, what a bizarre and expensive statement about consumerism!

We did manage to see some more of the Derwent river on which Hobart sits, travelling to the museum on the Mona Roma ferry. Try and imagine this panorama, top to bottom is left to right!

I love this photo. The river below actually looks higher than the ground high above we were standingon!  Not bad iphone!

The Mona wharf. How beautiful!

Today was a cloudy day and not so cold and we managed to walk quite a few km as well.

We did also manage a wonderful lunch at the Harbour Lights Cafe which was awarded I Love Food best 2014 cafe and it sure was good!  Recipe past down through the generations for a wonderful egg and meatball lasagne. Delicious!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Food and Wine of Tassie

Being foodies one of the highlights of any of our trips is the food and wine. We have been lucky this time enjoying some wonderful food and wine. Sadly, or luckily, only one 'menu touristica dud'.

One of the nicest pinot noirs has been the 2013 Pooleys, such a lovely, mellow, soft, beautiful wine, quite scarce now apparently. I have to bring a bottle home to share with Lee and John.

We've also enjoyed a quaffing sparkly, ninth island by Pipers Brook.  Many glasses actually!  😄

Food highlights have been a local charcuterie platter at the Grape food and wine bar, an italian, meringue topped salted caramel cheesecake ( i loved the addition of the meringue and will definitely try this) and smoked local bacon with maple syrup for breaky both from Maldini's a very nice Italian restaurant.  I love their customer service ethic!

Ah life sure is good on this holiday