First attempts

Three months ago I started studying a Diploma of Graphic Design. I thought that adding this skill to my toolbox would be a good thing to do: It would give me a career option to work from home while we have little kids, and then later I could simply use it with my work in Community Arts and Cultural Development.

What I did not realise was the amount of work it would take to study part-time, work part-time, and mother full-time! Somehow, with much support and help from my Husband, mum-in-law, lecturers, friends, and various other awesome people, I can now officially say I passed my first semester! 

Arts and Crafts Movement [1850 – 1900]. We then had to select an appropriate colour scheme, and justify why it was suitable.

Arts & Crafts movement colour scheme

Next we had to do hand-drawn sketches to digitize and then use in our designs of four seasonal menus, clearly reflecting the art movement we had chosen. Each of my menus feature hand-drawn images of British foliage since this was something that featured largely in that era. On each menu some of these are in white, which creates consistency and contrast with the muted tones used otherwise. I tied the the four menus together by the placement, font and colour of the words ‘Art House Bar’, as well as the centralised placement and consistent font of the word ‘menu’. The fonts used here are very typical of the Arts & Crafts period.

Menu 1: Summer

I chose to use greens which speak of life and growth, referencing the green English countryside. The flowers depicted here were inspired by lavender and daisy species that bloom in summer.

Menu 2: Autumn

The dominant colours used for this menu are autumn colours of terracotta and crimson, contrasted with white. Again the Begonia and Aconite flowers featured here are ones that specifically bloom in the UK in Autumn.

Menu 3: Winter

For the winter menu I decided to feature Irises and lilies that are typical winter bloomers in the UK. They have a very distinct shape and featured heavily in the work of Walter Crane. The dark blue is a cold colour to go with the temperature of winter. I used an ochre as a highlight colour alongside the white, as used in the other menus.

Menu 4: Spring

Tulips are such a typical spring flower that they were the flower of choice for the last menu. I used the terracotta colour in about 80% opacity, rather than the ivory I had originally intended to use, as the ivory was simply not strong enough against the white and turquoise. The turquoise is a beautiful crisp colour that shows off the pink and white spring blooms well.

So there you have it… my first attempt at marrying my drawings with graphic design.

Galleries and Toddlers: Anish Kapoor at the MCA

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed visiting galleries. I love the idea of being that artsy-looking person who goes to galleries with my leather satchel, visual diary and drawing materials, spending hours capturing my intrigue and impressions of the myriad creative ideas contained within one space…

But actually, I am the mummy with porridge on her shirt, a pram, a busy toddler, a nappy bag with Vegemite sandwiches, sultanas and water hidden inside, trying to keep my little person remotely contained to avoid any huge insurance claims against our name!

All the same, I think galleries are awesome places for little people to explore creativity and be exposed to interesting colours, shapes and concepts. When she was still contained and immobile, I took Belle to the Picasso exhibition for my birthday – her very first art exhibition. What a treat! A few months later we attempted the Sydney Biennale and again it was relatively easy, and she seemed to enjoy it too.

I recently took my Belle to the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the MCA, Sydney. His work is so intriguing  – deceptive mirrors throwing back millions of one image; deep blue and red pigment-toned voids and concave forms; polished mirrors distorting the world to appear upside down…

Needless to say Belle was intrigued! So much so that she wanted to go right up to the works and touch them and say hallo to the million versions of herself smiling back at her – which resulted in a rather loud display of her vocal capacity, as I held her back. But other than the glances one would expect from the patrons in a supermarket when one’s toddler chucks a tanty, the gallery patrons just smiled and somehow understood that this little mind wanted to, just like them, get up close and enter the wonderful world of Anish.

An added bonus afterwards was the free Art Play session at the aptly named Bella Room, which contained Emily Floyd’s interactive artwork The Garden, consisting of sculptural objects, wooden blocks and other creative objects, specifically developed as a sensory experience for toddler to explore. Belle loved it! We finished the day off with a coffee at The Rocks, enjoying the sunshine and blue waters of Sydney Harbour. All in all, a very worthwhile experience – and one that reassured me that visiting exhibitions are not completely out of my reach now that I have a toddler.

Lounge (in every sense of the word)

 

Lounge (laʊndʒ) a living room in a private house

I love creating a home. Making a space where people can feel loved – a place to belong.

We don’t yet own our own house (maybe one day…) So when we moved into our apartment a couple of years ago, I started an ongoing decorating adventure to turn a modern clean-cut, no-character, apartment in concrete-ville, into a cosy and inviting home… A good friend of mine calls our style Modern-Prairie. I think it’s Quirky-Crafty with a touch of Vintage. Whatever it’s called, its me.

Our lounge room has one grey-brown feature wall. I created a series of small collage artworks to scatter all over it, framed a drawing I had created earlier with an awesome rustic frame, and added a few other oddments into a unique little gallery. Over time this wall has grown, evolved and been added to: white letters for each of our first names, fabric decals, a scrapbook creation made by my aunt for our little girl’s first birthday, a little porcelain painting from Africa… I love our ever-evolving lounge room gallery.

Lounge (laʊndʒ) a sofa or couch

The first project I did when I was given a Singer Heavy Duty sewing machine by my hubby for my 30th, was to re-upholster our lounge room cushions.

I pulled apart the existing cushions, but kept the back and zipper-sections (which are from the same fabric as the sofas), and replaced the fronts with a variety of quirky fabrics sourced mainly from Kelani Fabrics. The result: a completely new-looking lounge set for a fraction of the cost, and done exactly to my taste!

Lounge (laʊndʒ) to sit, lie, walk, or stand in a relaxed manner

Over the past few weeks I have been on a journey of rest. Might sound strange since I am still a busy mum, housewife, crafter, blogger, etsy-shop owner and wife. But I have become increasingly aware of the importance of being still and re-focussing on that which is really important – waiting patiently in the midst of uncertainty.

I have this great little day-planner notepad from Kikki K, which I use to plan out my day. I now make a point of scheduling in a few minutes to rest/pray/think/re-focus/re-energise each day when my little person is having her nap… So most afternoons you’ll find me on our lounge listening to music, journaling , reflecting, and well, lounging – A rare commodity I allow myself for a few minutes each day.

Lounge (laʊndʒ) A place where I am right at home – with my man, my daughter, my cat, myself, and my God.