Week 5: Creative Challenge 52
Opera singer and strange bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been trawling through dumpsters again. He found this faux-antique frame in four pieces in a dumpster in Flinders Lane in Melbourne, out the front of a shabby old pub that was being gutted. There was so much great stuff in the dumpster that he found himself facing a real dilemma. He had to get whatever he souvenired back to Sydney, so after much fossicking and debating, he eventually settled on this little treasure which has cluttered up his cupboard for well over a year.
He finally got around to purchasing some liquid nails this morning and he whacked it up on the wall above his stove. Now that he sees it in position, he's tempted to think it might be too dark. He's going to live with it for a while, but the option of a glossy off-white re-do occurs to him and he's canvassing views if you'd care to cast a vote. The plan is to position something fabulous in the centre of the frame, but the glue is still too wet so he has to bide his time - a thrilling revelation in the making for us, I'm sure.
The screen Kanen started work on last week has not been forgotten. He added some glitzy glamour this week in preparation for its use in his forthcoming performance. It's not finished yet, but the progress on this interesting piece is impressive.
She found some halva in her pantry that she'd intended to use in Yottam Ottolenghi's scrumptious walnut halva cake, but the walnuts were used in something else. Her daughter, Maria, is studying in earnest at the moment for her matric exams, which start in about a week, so Trish thought it would be nice if she (and, of course, Trish's son Jamie) had a few little treats in the house.
In the absence of walnuts, Trish has made two kinds of muffins: halva and dark chocolate, and; halva, rosewater and cardamom. She was tempted to also make beetroot and chocolate muffins, but she ran out of time. The beetroot and chocolate muffins have gotten me thinking, though. I might have a crack at them myself - along with a heap of other great ideas on Trish's fabulous food blog.
Telena has had another week of felting moments snatched between work obligations, and she's glad her cat doesn't like wet fleece because the cat has had ample opportunity to get amongst Telena's unattended, in-progress piece. The cat enjoys the feel of dry, unfelted fleece and has previously been caught drooling over skeins of wool. I guess Telena should be grateful for small mercies where the wet fleece is concerned.
This week, she drafted a pattern for a felt lace overdress/top, depending upon how long she wanted to make it. After the success of her recent waistcoat, she decided she'd make something for herself.
She felted the garment in one piece, so she had to put a plastic resist between the layers to stop them felting together. As the top was an irregular shape, the plastic was rather tricky to handle and it was difficult not to keep stretching the wet fleece as she adjusted the plastic. After much gentle, rubbing, rolling, throwing and more rubbing, while carefully pulling the fabric to the desired shape against the template of the finished pattern size, Telena was very excited to see the soggy wet mass transform into a fitted garment.
Telena rinsed it out in cold water to stop the felting process, wrapped it in a towel and squeezed out as much excess water as possible. She then couldn't resist the temptation to try on the damp garment. She was absolutely delighted to find that it fitted very well, and it was with great reluctance that she took it off and allowed it to dry. Her husband thought she should have a photo of her wearing her creation, so we've been treated to a photo of the garment in situe this week. Telena has plans for more garments and has already started preparing another in a lovely shade of blue.
South African born writer, florist, painter and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has really taken the word 'challenge' to heart this week. She's wired a bridal bouquet for the first time, and this is not a task for the faint hearted. If you've ever wondered why bridal bouquets are so expensive, it's because of the huge amount of labour involved in putting them together. Every single flower is individually wired and then wired again when added to the greater arrangement. It's finicky, painstaking work, and Keryn said she made the mistake of doing it at night and setting out her things on a black towel, which meant that she couldn't see the wires at all.
So this week's creative contribution was a difficult and frustrating experience for Keryn but, unsurprisingly, she's risen to the challenge with her usual grace and aplomb. Her bridal bouquet is made with orchids and she's painted a watercolour to accompany it. Gorgeous!
Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has recorded a new song for her You Tube channel this past week. It's a cover of Taylor Swift's Safe and Sound. Georgia has always loved this song. It has a vulnerability about it that really resonates with her. She also loves the guitar part.
A girl of many talents, Georgia has been busy trying out new recipes in the kitchen. This week's delicious creation was a dozen blueberry and orange muffins served with a gorgeous blueberry sauce. Needless to say, there aren't many left. I've been congratulating myself on having stopped at one.
Stephen Bennett has been doing a variety of creative things over the past week, but he's chosen to put together a photo memorial for a wonderful family friend as this week's contribution. Here's what he has to say...
Horatio (Horrie), April 1995 - October 2014
"We moved to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains in 1995 into our first home, and not long after visited the Bathurst Show. Scarlet found a baby animals display for the kids to admire and saw Horrie. He was the size of a guinea pig and six weeks old. I was duly informed that he was just what was needed as a lap dog was essential to her well-being, so we paid for him and took him home. Being a male miniature fox-terrier cross breed, he didn't turn out to be a lap dog. He was an outdoorsman and ball chaser extraordinaire instead. A feisty, funny, crotchety and loyal friend for the best part of two decades, he'll be sorely missed. He took his last trip to the vet two weeks ago and now rests peacefully in our garden. He reached the grand old age of nineteen and a half years."
Firstly, let me say that Horrie was an abject failure as a lap dog. He was much too busy and feisty for that role. So he quickly attached himself to Steve, following him everywhere - rain, hail or shine. And he only lived as long as he did because his devotion to Steve was so fully reciprocated. Ever the intrepid explorer, Horrie got his foot stuck in the crack of an underground drain when he was about five years old, and that would have been the end of him if Steve hadn't crawled about ten metres through the drain, inching himself through a space he could barely squeeze through (Steve is six foot four inches tall) to fetch him out. Horrie also had a major stomach impaction about a decade ago. The vet pumped his stomach and he was kept alive thereafter with a restricted diet and various supplements. He was a big dog in a small body with a larger than life personality. RIP, Horrie.
Last week I mentioned that my passion for flowers was inspiring all sorts of floral jewellery ideas. I've turned some of those ideas into wearable pieces this week, with another exciting instalment planned for next week.
It's hard to surpass the rose for beauty and romance, and I wanted to create a classic rose design for two of my lovely daughters. Georgia has recently bought a vintage dress with a rose design to wear to her end of year formal, and Hannah adores the roses she's growing in her flower garden. I wanted to surprise them with a timeless and elegant design that they'll love now, but will also enjoy later in their lives.
I sculpted roses out of fine silver metal clay, making a slightly larger one for Hannah to reflect her preference for bold pieces. While the roses were firing, I made sterling silver ring shanks. Then I soldered the roses to the shanks and finished the rings with an antique patina. I'm really happy with these rings and the girls love them.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, and in a significant deviation from 'classic', I continued my experiments with polymer, creating an enormous, vibrant sunflower. I set the sunflower on a blackened copper base and attached an experimental copper bail that I made with some left over wire. I like this bail and will definitely use this design again. The pendant won't suit everyone's taste, I know, but it's a keeper as far as I'm concerned. It'll be out and about in Canberra before you can say Jack Flash.