I was in my friends' olive grove again today helping with the last of the 2011 harvest...........it was sunny and almost warm - a lovely day for picking.
These are some of the Barnea olives - not a top rung variety like Pendolino or Frantoio, but they will be used in blends to tone down the taste of some of the stronger oils. They look pretty in the bowl, though.
And check this out! I dug it the other day when I was lifting the last of our King Edward potatoes - it's huge! It weighs over two pounds.
Meanwhile, in the studio, I've been working on "Cloudbox 2" - not finished yet, as I'd hoped it would be, but well on the way. Hopefully, tomorrow.
What is it about Saturdays? Even though I no longer work a nine-to-five, I still get that Saturday feeling of the weekend stretching ahead and Monday far away. Maybe it's because I try to reserve Saturday for doing things that I want to do, rather than things that I must get done. Today, that involves working on one of my small mixed-media sculptures - here it is as a work-in-progress and you might recognize it from the working sketch I blogged about a few posts back. I'm hopeful of getting this pretty much finished today............although I do have to clean up the studio for the monthly class here tomorrow.
When you are a doll maker, you get to play with other doll makers quite a bit.........one thing we like to do is a kind of doll round robin, where you form into groups, each person starts a doll off and send it to the next person on the list who adds something and sends it on and so forth. Quite often, these dolls have accompanying journals, so not only to they acquire clothes, accessories and a personality, they have stories written about them as they go. I have just participated in the Art Dolls Only Travelling Doll Project in a small group that was within Australia. My doll has just returned home from a farm in Western Australia where Kailee (Sophia La La) gave her gorgeous silk clothes. Before that she had been in Hobart with Grace at Little Arty Crafty Crow where she got her underwear, a handknitted cardigan and beret and some cool artist's supplies, including a sketchbook which is filled with drawings!
I still had Grace's doll, Netty, here when mine arrived back home, so they had a bit of time to "hang out" together before Netty went home to Hobart. Here they are together, chewing the fat.
Netty arrived with no face and a sad story of abandonment, all beautifully told and illustrated in her journal. I gave the story a happy ending, Netty a new face, hair and shoes and some warm things to wear over the silk clothes that Kailee had made. (It's colder here than in WA!)
Grace managed to give Netty a wonderful "found-in-the-attic" look by using a crackled paint finish and staining.
I loved working in Netty's wee journal - I tried to replicate some of the character that Grace had given it.
And one more thing: my grand-daughter has befriended a German exchange student over the past few months. The exchange student is returning home soon, so she is hosting a special farewell dinner on Saturday night. Ten girls all dressed in formal dresses and high heels! I think this will be the first time my almost fifteen year old grand-daughter has got so dressed up! (*thinks*: have to get a photo of that!) Anyway, we made a special little "Zozie" doll for The German girl to take home from Tasmania - the little heart-shaped pocket on the front has a rolled scroll with a hand-written message from my grand-daughter.
Busy week - even managed to fit in a bit of olive-picking in a friend's grove on Wednesday, started back with violin lessons and I'm cooking for a visiting Japanese businessman tonight. Bob is showing him around the state and has set up meetings etc. for him. Whew!
I have just completed a special order for a customer who wants a doll of a specific size and proportions to correspond with the size and proportions of a certain very popular American play doll designed for girls in the older age group (7 - 10). The customer wants to make the doll herself, but needed help with the head and designing the body. Here is the head blank I created for her and I custom-designed a jointed cloth body to match this head. I have sent the customer the body pattern and instructions along with the head blank. While I was working on this I had to do a bit of research to find out measurements etc. I'm pretty happy with the design I came up with which is more or less an enlarged version of this:
Here is the sculpted head I made for this special order:
I'm looking forward to some feedback when my customer completes the doll!
I have sufficiently cleared the decks to be able to think about some new sculptural pieces. I often begin with some detailed sketches before I begin this type of work - it helps to work out any problems of construction and to solidify ideas that might be a bit vague. They often end up being a bit different to the original idea because they might develop more as I progress, or sometimes I change my mind about how to proceed. Nevertheless, I find the initial thinking and sketching invaluable in sorting out scattered thoughts and ideas. Here are a few pages from my sketchbook:
By the way, if you are passing through Deloraine before the end of the month, I have a small solo exhibition there in the Bendigo Community Bank - both 2D and 3D works.
I'd like to introduce you to my husband, Bob, adventurer, photographer and raconteur extraordinaire. (On the right in this picture)
He has just begun a blog (with a bit of a push and some help from yours truly) to showcase his wonderful photographs of the magical place we live in.......our Tasmania, and to update you on some of his exploits in Tasmania's wilder and less inhabited places. Here's a taster:
These images are all from a walk he is doing around the entire coastline of Tasmania (for a book). If you want to see and read more, go to his blog http://bob-mytasmania.blogspot.com
He will be adding many more photographs once we work out the arcane and esoteric method needed to reduce photo files on a Mac computer.
So far, Bob has only one follower (guess who?) but I know he would love some more.........so if you want to keep updated on his exploits, please become a follower of his blog. You won't regret it!
Remember this doll that I wrote about a few weeks back?
Well, she needed a chair to sit on - a special chair - something befitting a Renaissance princess! I started making the chair using Aves ApoxieSculpt over a wire framework and then I ran out of the Aves, so chair-building came to a standstill until more arrived the other day. (In Tasmania, I can't just pop down to the store to buy more - anything like that has to be ordered ............and waited for) Yesterday, I got on with the chair and I have now finished the framework. Next step is to paint it and then make some kind of seat for it.
I tend to collect odd bits and pieces - some of which might be seen as a bit macabre. But let's face it - you never know when you are going to need this stuff! It means that my studio resembles (slightly) organized chaos, but it also means that I have this wonderful old type-drawer filled with fascinating things, including a mummified mouse and lizard, a rusty railroad tie, broken doll bits, small plastic toys, the scrapings from a painter friend's palette, fungi, some little dolls my grand-daughter made when she was three and so on. What can you make out in my curious cabinet?
This little felt doll is all done now, with her red felt shoes and a pocket on her jacket for a hanky. I made the hanky from a small scrap of fabric that I've been saving - it has odd little nursery-rhyme characters on it - very cute! Oh..........and a needle-felted ball.
Here is my experimental felt doll painted and basically dressed (warm jacket because it is winter here in Tasmania!) She's still waiting for her shoes and *s-h-h-h-h-h-* underthings. To paint on the felt, I found it best to try and flatten the nap of the felt as much as possible. The tiny clover iron (see previous post) does this job really well. I then gessoed the areas that were going to have heavy paint - basically the eyes and lips. It took three coats to get a good, paintable surface. The painting of the features was then quite easy. Blushing and shading was done with dry-brush technique straight onto the felt, but I made sure I tested the colour on a scrap first because it is sudden death........no removing the colour once it is on, and no painting over to cover mistakes!