Week 3: Creative Challenge 52
Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, had to create in short bursts this week, juggling time in her studio with attendance at a music teachers' conference and teaching students who are preparing for imminent oboe exams.
She started this piece by drafting a pattern, laying down the prefelt (fleece that's partially felted), cutting out some holes, and then wetting it all down. She gently stretched it to the desired shape and separated the layers with bubble wrap so they didn't felt together as she rolled it. After much rolling, throwing, rubbing and pulling into shape (who needs a gym membership?), the waistcoat shrank and took form.
This piece was experimental and Telena used a fleece colour she's not particularly fond of so she wouldn't end up wasting her favourite colours if she didn't like the final result. As it turns out, she's rather pleased with it (and who wouldn't be?), and she thinks the taupe could work well combined with more interesting colours. I couldn't agree more. Telena had some felt flowers lying around - as you do - and she turned one into a brooch to provide a splash of colour against the taupe garment. What a lovely spring touch.
On a rainy October day in Perth, the locals can't help wearing their hearts on their trees. South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has been turning her garden bounty into a truly stunning work of floral art.
The heart, orange roses and berries were the only store bought inclusions in this gorgeous arrangement. Everything else came from Keryn's garden, including two varieties of David Austin roses - Seduction is the palest pink. The leaves include citrus from Keryn's lemon tree, purple sage flowers, her neighbour's Virginia creeper, which takes over the fence, and her other neighbour's viburnum. Keryn chooses her neighbours well, doesn't she?
The deep wine coloured roses smell heavenly and have their own story. Keryn found a clump of tattered tubs at the far end of a rose farm she frequents. There was nothing to suggest they contained anything living, just dry stems stuck in dried out pots. She bought the nine pots and has been waiting ever since for signs of life. This is the first year they've stuck their heads out to say hello, and what an introduction! They were definitely worth the wait.
It's been an über-creative week chez opera singer and strange bedfellow, Kanen Breen. He found an abandoned screen in a junk pile when walking to Newtown station on his way to the Opera House earlier in the year. It sat in his dressing room until he mustered the fortitude to lug it home to Potts Point, whereupon it promptly languished, neglected but not forgotten, until now.
The only expense on the screen was the wall paper Kanen used on the sedate side, which he picked up a while ago at Reverse Garbage in Marrickville - a veritable gold mine, I'm told. He paid $10 for three half rolls, only to later discover that it retails for $130 a roll, making his 15 metres worth around $200. How's his return on that investment?
The colourful paper he used on his screen was a gift from a scrap booking friend who decided she was too young to be scrap booking, after all. Given that every square on the screen was the same size, Kanen simply made a template and had all his cutting out done in an hour. Cue the fabulous wall paper glue and away he went, all done (both sides!) in another hour. He now has a glamorously bipolar screen on his hands. He can either go conservative French country house or patchwork acid trip to liven up his love-hutch, depending upon his mood. Not only that, but it folds away flat if he gets sick of it. I can't imagine that happening in a hurry.
In other news, his oldest friend in the world got married on Thursday and Kanen really didn't like the colour of her shoes. They were a pink putty colour and he would have none of it. 'HELLLOOOO!' he said, reaching for his trusty fabric paint. The rest, as they say, is history.
He then whipped up a tie in the same colour for himself - with a few extra sparkles, of course - and, in his most creative act of the week, sang Ave Maria as she walked down the aisle, making up at least 50% of the Latin due to early onset Alzheimer's.
He got seriously underway with a duet for his upcoming Strange Bedfellows performance with Jacqui Dark. He sewed some black fluffy trim on the cuffs of a shirt he bought online, which had ridiculously short sleeves. And none of the creative contributions above were what he'd actually planned for this week. That's the great thing about our new weekly format. There's always next week.
Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries very hard to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been building on her Heritage Day theme of last week with some traditional Milk Tarts, known in South Africa as Melktert. These custard tarts are of Dutch origin, making their presence felt in South Africa some time after 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape.
Trish was thinking about making Melktert for her Heritage Day creation last week, but didn't get around to it. When her daughter asked her for one this week, assuming she'd be too busy to say yes, Trish whipped up not one, but two, straight away. How's that for service?
Those two tarts turned out to be the best she's ever made. She made one the traditional way with cinnamon and a little almond essence, and she made the other with her own twist - flavoured with rose essence and cardamom.
With all her planets aligned for Melktert success, she made another two yesterday (anyone for tart?). One was an intensified version of the traditional Melktert, spiced up with some cardamom. For the second, she replaced half the milk with coconut milk and flavoured it with star anise, chilli and cinnamon. So it's Milk Tart for breakfast in Trish's household this morning, and she's threatening to play around with a vegan version too. Bring it on, I say! Check out Trish's food blog to see more of her exciting cooking adventures.
You may remember that singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, had decided to learn to sew as part of this year-long creative challenge. She's had no experience sewing, and no lessons either. She cut out her first dress in week 1 - using a pattern she downloaded for free online - and then set it aside until she was on holidays. Happily for Georgia, her older sister Lucy, a keen and skilled seamstress, was on hand this week to help with her first creation. With Lucy's help learning to work the sewing machine and overlocker, and interpreting the You Tube tutorial that accompanied the pattern, Georgia has made herself this vibrant, turquoise dress. It's an awesome first effort, and if this is a sign of things to come, I'm really looking forward to seeing Georgia's wardrobe flourish in the coming year.
Stephen Bennett has had a highly creative, mixed media kind of week. He's been a construction legend in our urban farm, creating some new garden beds to house vegetables and flowers. He started with a new bed alongside our pool to make better use of the available space.
From there, he moved out to our front garden to create an expanded growing space for cut flowers. You can see details of his garden construction work here.
I have a friend who needed a new professional head shot, so Steve did a photo shoot with her on Friday. I sat in the hot seat very briefly with my trusty Labradoodle to help him fine tune his lighting, and got a new portrait for my trouble. It's my first portrait with Poppy and I'm mightily pleased to have it.
As if that wasn't enough, he then went to the Blue Mountains over the weekend to help his elderly parents in their garden. While he was there, he took the opportunity to take some photos.
He's been wandering around the streets of Leura, camera in hand, having a jolly old time. And he has these charming composites to show for it.
Aside from a heavy week in the garden (you can see details on my Urban Farming blog), I've been busy in my studio this week.
In our previous creative incarnation, the 30 day challenge, I confessed to an unseemly addiction to making solid silver beads. I'm obliged to concede that I've made no progress whatsoever in addressing this shortcoming. I'm putting that down to disinterest and a complete lack of effort.
Still in need of projects that make use of my ever-growing pile of silver beads, however, I created a couple of rustic sterling silver rings this week, and I'm desperately attached to this particular brainwave. I just love the bold design. As always, Steve's photos of these pieces are just wonderful.
After my sick-bed success making a red polymer flower pendant a few weeks ago, I wanted to revisit the whole cheery flower experience and share the love if I could. So I made a blue flower pendant for my friend Linda, to help her celebrate a special milestone. With her vivid blue eyes, Linda is going to look just gorgeous wearing this.