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Craft Central Wrap-Up

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Posted on October 26th, 2015

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There are lots of words I could use to describe the Craft Central market on 3rd October… exciting, encouraging and inspiring are just a few of my favourites.  I had such a great day.  It was awesome to finally show the works that I’ve been piecing together over the last few months, and to get to talk to people about how and why I make what I make.

This was my first real craft market since I came back to NZ, almost two years ago now.  It was also the first time I had shown any of my art prints (excluding cards) to a public audience, which was thrilling and a little scary at the same time.  I reckon it takes a bit of guts to put your (personal, soul-conveying) work out there for everyone to see.  It really helped that before the market had even opened, an established artist (whose work I really admire) came over to compliment me on my work and to buy a print! People were really interested in my work and I got a lot of encouraging feedback.  It was nice hearing people talking to each other about what they liked and didn’t like about various prints.  I managed to sell quite a few works, and it is exciting to imagine them now framed and hanging in homes around the country!

I met some other printmakers (easy to spot, as they know at first sight how much work has gone into a lino print, and what’s involved in the process), lots of bird nerds (which I mean as an absolute compliment), and plenty of lovely friendly people who were roaming about having a look at what was on offer.  It was also great to meet some of the other artisans who were running their own stalls.  The event was extremely well-organised and everything being sold was made by hand, which made it a really beautiful atmosphere to be selling in.  There are so many clever crafty people in Wellington!

I’m super stoked with how the day went, and am now full of ideas for fresh prints and new selling opportunities.  I’ve been given details of some upcoming markets and a great-looking shop in Auckland that could potentially sell my work.  There’s also an art club out in Naenae that I might start attending, which would be a nice way to meet some other artists.  All in all, I’m super inspired by the possibilities that can emerge from events like this and really keen to show my work again!

My experience at Craft Central reminded me that it’s worth taking a risk and putting yourself out there sometimes.  It also served as a reminder that the aim is not for everyone to like me/my work, but for it to reach even one or two others, or for me to forge some kind of connection to someone else.  I think I achieved this goal quite nicely this time.  Thank you for your support!


Recent Adventures in Relief Printmaking

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Posted on October 2nd, 2015

I just wanted to show you some of the lino prints I’ve made over the past few months.  I’ve been experimenting with different ways to create texture and the effects these can give when layered over top of one another.  I’ve used my two ‘In Flight’ lino blocks, along with some kowhai and pohutakawa flower blocks, textured card, stencils and even some bubble wrap to create some interesting textures.  This has resulted in a varied edition that I like to call ‘Nature, Enter Me’ – inspired by the Muttonbirds’ song and our beautiful native birds, flora and fauna.

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These prints (and more) will be available for purchase at Craft Central market on October 3rd.  Any that are not sold will be listed in my felt store towards the end of October.  This market will be the first time I’ve had large-scale art prints for sale, so I’m feeling a little nervous about putting myself out there… wish me luck! 


Eight Weeks of Screenprinting

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Posted on September 28th, 2015

I’ve just finished an eight-week screen printing course at Inverlochy Art School, which is one of the best things I’ve done to further my printmaking skills.  I so enjoyed this course – I learnt heaps, had guidance from an experienced printmaker, and had plenty of time and freedom to practice what I was learning on my own.

I really loved the experience of being at the art school every Tuesday evening – it’s so inspiring to be around other artists and have all the materials at hand.  I found that actually going to a studio space and designating that time to focus on creating prints was a really good way to focus my attention.  I am easily distracted at home, and often find myself doing things like vaccuuming, re-organising my supplies, and searching the internet rather than actually focusing on creating when I try to do it at home! It’s ridiculous, given how much love printmaking, but there’s a lot to be said for having a designated place and time to focus on making.  Definitely a great thing for me to learn.  Also great for me to be creating on weeknights, as this just isn’t possible from home.

Having the space in the studio to spread out is also really vital – our home is rather small and it makes a big difference having room to do the printing, put the finished prints, and wash and dry the screens.

I’m thinking about signing up for another course at Inverlochy in the future – there’s another printmaking course that focuses on relief printmaking and etching, and I’d like to give life drawing a shot too.  I figure that while I’m working full-time and able to afford this kind of course, I might as well continue to increase my knowledge and do as much creating as I can.

During this 8 week course, I was able to create the following prints:

1. ‘Kokako’, a 2-colour photo emulsion screenprint created from a simple line drawing.

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2. ‘Flight Frenzy’, a 3-colour screenprint using two photo emulsion screens and a hand-cut stencil.

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3. ‘Swallows’, a monochrome photo emulsion screenprint.  I tried this on paper and a t-shirt – unfortunately the fabric moved as I pulled my pressure stroke on the t-shirt, so the printed image blurred.

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4. ‘In Flight’, a monochrome hand-cut stencil screen print on cotton fabric.  I’m planning to use some of this fabric in the quilt I’m making for Shane and I.

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5. ‘Kakapo’, a 3-colour screenprint using two photo emulsion screens and a hand-cut stencil.  This is my favourite, and is inspired by our visit to Zealandia to see Sirocco, the rock star kakapo who is one of only 125 of his species remaining!

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All of these prints are going to be released at Craft Central market at St James Theatre, Wellington on Saturday 3rd October.  I’m really looking forward to hearing/seeing peoples response to these new prints.  If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself, please feel free to contact me and we can see what we can organise.


The Great Keruru Count 2015

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Posted on September 19th, 2015

The Great Keruru Count is back on! You might remember my post from last year about this great initiative, which is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of keruru and how we can help protect these beautiful birds.

We’ve noticed that in Ngaio, where we live, the keruru have just recently started coming back – they seem to disappear over winter, then return in spring to eat the cherry blossom flowers.  They’ve been hanging out in pairs in the trees out the front of our house.

Here are a few photos we’ve snapped recently, when the weather’s been nice enough to catch the keruru in the sun:

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Have you counted any keruru where you live lately?


Birds We’ve Seen in 2015: 30-40

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Posted on September 11th, 2015

We seem to have lost a bit of momentum on this project over winter.  I guess it was to be expected – with more rainy, dreary days, and most of the common birds already crossed off our list, the mission became a bit harder.  As we head into spring, it’s easier to feel like adventuring again, and I’m hoping to get our list to 100 birds (or more) by the end of the year.

For now, here are birds #30-40:

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30. Grey Warbler – we hear these tiny birds trilling away in our garden every morning.  They have such a large, beautiful song for such a small bird.

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31. Chaffinch – we see these all over our valley.  I love the bright white stripes on their wings.

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32. Karearea/NZ Falcon – we saw this beauty out near Martinborough. I hear they’re used on one of the vineyards there for pest control.

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33. Spur-Winged Plover – there are lots of these near Martinborough too.  They’re really noisy when they get together at night, and remind me of the masked lapwings in Queensland.

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34. Pied Shag – we saw a group of these on the shore out at Red Rocks (South Coast).  Such a majestic bird.

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35. NZ Pipit – we had to check our bird book to find out what this species was.  They’re a bit like a skylark but only found in NZ.

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36. Dunnock – also at Red Rocks.  These are a bit like a sparrow, with different colouring.

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37. Goldfinch – we saw a number of these out at Petone Esplanade in the dune vegetation.  They have bright red heads and golden wings.

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38. Song Thrush – such lovely, timid garden birds.  We followed this one out at Pauatahanui Inlet.

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39. Pied Stilt – we were dive-bombed by one of these out at the inlet – I think we got a little too close to her nest.

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40. Waxeye – these little sweeties love to hang out in the manuka.

We’re going to be doing more exploring and bird watching as the weather gets warmer, so stay tuned for more birds and bird art to come!