Gremlins

Every so often my computer will not allow me to add photos, as is the case presently, and very frustrating . The gremlins seem to be busy this month and I am trying to negotiate with them , even thinking I might be able to scan something only to find the printer has also succumbed. Grr.

However searching files that are available revealed a pirate to share. He began like this

piratecharacter1
on the way

However a little more research made it very clear that pirates were not nice at all. There has been a lot of touching up and romanticising about them.They were thieves and murderers, women and men who preyed,at times under the protection and orders of rulers and governments. My pirate changed.

Felt hand stitched pirate character that evolved
He grew up to be a real pirate
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Welcome your Dreams

 

Another view of tiny felt mushroom house.
Welcome

 

Have you wondered, too, what it might be like to live in a little house like this?

As a piece of felt becomes a little mushroom house I  tend to go into flights of fancy.Making these is a joyful experience, the process, the materials, the dreaming and the stories they inspire. If they give pleasure and inspiration to someone else it is a rich reward for the many  hours it takes to complete.

Welcome your dreams. Explore and enjoy  the creativity they can unleash.

Small toadstool house handstitched from wool felt, with applique,embroidery and beading
Flight of Fancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year

Handstitched felt heart brooches wrapped in a ribbon that says love, a project my daughter and I shared.
Love is the answer

It is Day One of a new year that offers fresh beginnings, enthusiasm, hope, and an open heart.  May yours be such a year; a year of first days that inspire love and creativity.

Something that I shall be exploring more in this new  year is the creation of healing and spirit dolls.

My first handmade spirit doll created for a special friend on her birthday, the first stp taken to creating spirit dolls. this ones carries love and transformation in her essence, a wish for beauty and creativity.
Spirit Doll

For a long time this intent simmered with a folder of sketches compiled over two decades. It was a birthday and a little later a commission that motivated and finally led to taking that step from having too many ideas to fruition.

healingdolls
Healing dolls

This year there will be more explorations of this theme for, in creating a healing, spirit doll the making of it also becomes an act of healing .

Above all my wish for the year is that it is one of peace .

Peace banner, hung at Brisbane modern art gallery
PEACE is the WAY

Happy New Year!

Woodland Wander

Detail of owl from a needlecase. Stitched in wool felt with small black button pupils.
OWL

Recently I have been asked to create some woodland pieces for a shop in Canberra.This request  has resulted in these projects;  a revisiting and reworking of an owl design for a needlebook, and some new fox items,  a needlebook

Woodland scene with sleeping fox,handstitched on wool felt. The tree has been wet and dry felted to the background as well as stiched.
A Little nap

and an even tinier fox who found shelter in a cave in this terrarium. As an indicator of size the butterfly that is hovering over the cave is less than a quarter of and inch.

Miniature woodland scene placed into small glass jar. A tiny  fox  is asleep in a tiny cave. this piece is sculpted from wool and felt, embellished with embroidery and applique
A Little Sleep- miniature scene in terrarium

These were absorbing, time consuming and at times challenging but always a learning and remembering. Next is a revisiting of fungi and who knows what else might pop up.

A Change of Scene.

Miniature garden in a jar.
Miniature garden in a jar.

 

For a few days I have been doing a different kind of gardening, felt and stitching kind of gardening to create tiny terrariums.

This has been an idea that has simmered for a while  but one of those that had not come together till I found some small apothecary jars  on sale. The thought now  needed to take form and in emerging as a woodland scene has been quite fun.

The mouse is 1.5cm, or a scant 1/2 in, tall. Teeny.

Mini mice and mini mushrooms make a perfect blend, a perfect setting for a tale or two to unfold perhaps,and for a little mouse to have a safe and  forever haven.

 

Dragon Dreaming

felt dragon breathing fire,an original handmade design
Fire Dragon

As this small dragon came into being it brought to mind various folk tales that are told  by many different cultures. Some traditions would have the dragons represented as creatures of evil, abhorred and reviled, whereas others, such as ancient China and Asia, regarded them as symbols of good fortune and power to be revered and respected.

Whatever the belief, it is evident that at some time in our history  huge reptilian creatures inspired the myths. Looking at representations of various depictions of dragons they seem to have a crocodile like face and snake or lizard body. Some renditions are given wings, and I wonder if these versions link back to tales of giant birds or even some connection to prehistoric creatures.

This connection seemed even more likely after vewing these carvings in Singapore at the remarkable Gardens by Bay.

Carved Crocodile,Gardens by the Bay,Singapore
Carved Crocodile,Gardens by the Bay,Singapore

There are so many tales and so many cultures that have spoken of dragons  these myths must be based on some very distant memories or inherited accounts of encounters with a large and terrifying reptile.

Dragonlike crocodile ,Siingapore
Dragonlike crocodile ,Siingapore

The belief in the existence of huge serpents in the beginning of time also runs in cultures, for instance The Dreaming Tales of Australian Aborigines that speak of the Rainbow Serpent who is said to have formed our land.  Huge pythons do still exist in rainforests.

Some rainforest snakes might appear to fly as they glide along branches and from tree to tree. Tree snakes on our property have  dropped out of branches from quite a height and  then slither off, so one might think from a distance that there was a flying serpent.

Over time perhaps various observations were melded, embellished and passed on  over generations so that  a dragon was born, somewhat like and “urban myth”which   has resulted in some  wonderful art and literature as well as inspiring creativity and imagination for centuries.

Recently we visited the Pavilion at Brighton in the U.K,  an opulent palace that featured many renditions of dragons and serpents in the Chinese inspired decor.
Photographs were not allowed but I did find a local Brighton dragon, painted on the carousel on the beach, that agreed to pose and as it wheeled past, giving the impression of flight.

Carousel Dragon.Brighton,U.K
Carousel Dragon.Brighton,U.K

Colours of the Season

Stitched from wool felt small scene of tree stump,fallen leaves and stream
A handmade autumn scene

This  scene was more familiar when I lived in cooler climate of Canberra where the seasons are distinct. Autumn tended to be  misty and crisp, and the trees glowed in their seasonal displays of red burgundy, orange and yellow. Underfoot lay a thick carpet of leaves that delighted children and possums. The street where I had lived had an overhanging avenue of pin oaks, that kept the street degrees cooler in summer and in autumn formed a long, glowing and breathtaking crimson arch.

Here in Queensland autumn is  more of a hint though a short distance away from our property is a mountain where there are introduced cold climate trees such as oak and amber. Their foliage changes colour, shedding  leaves and  giving a sense of a “real ” northern style Autumn.

Down in our valley we get mists, softly weaving around the trees and along the creek banks. Lately there has even been a little crispness and the need for blankets at night. Autumn here  is green and lush, especially this year as we have had so much rain .

 Qld. bush ,the green of autumn
a green autumn

The palette  for autumn in our part of the country is very different from the common perception of autumn as a vibrant and rich mix of warm tones. Here  predominantly featured are colours that are in the cool range pale pink, mauve, blue and green . The colours of heart and soul, an interesting contemplation.

crepe myrtle in flower
autumn blooming
Australian native violets
Australian native violets

Our Autumn, this year, is one of rampant growth which is attracting wildlife. The thick undergrowth and seeding grasses are drawing tiny birds, such as wrens and finches ; the filled dams and creeks are resonating with frog calls.  Prolific seeding and fruiting, that seems to be happening so fast lately, has provided home and food  many insects, birds and animals.

A young bunch of bananas perfectly showing the abundance and different colour scheme of the season where we are situated
autumn harvest

Autumn  is reinforcing the lesson that it is a season wonder, of abundance, harvest and joy;  a season that enriches and instills a sense of awe and reverence.

Monster Magic

A handstitched, felt monster rendition, changed by digital colour play
Monster Magic

During last few years that wherever you look monsters are featured. Such a huge variety of shapes and sizes, lumps and bumps, misshapen bodies and features. They are made to be weird, grotesque, deformed creatures. Some are friendly and some are mean. What the fascination was had me bemused, and the need to create one had not surfaced. However, a recent incident has quite changed my ideas and revealed the importance and wonder of monsters.

A package was being made ready to post when the recipient mentioned that her son was into monsters. Looking at the finished article I felt that it was perhaps  too cute, too neat, too pretty. It concerned me to think that this boy would be disappointed.

While clearing away the work table a scrap of mottled felt, all wobbly and asymmetrical was left. That scrap did look like it could be a body….

So I played, snipped and stitched. It was a lot of fun. A tiny monster was born.

Oh My! I am  totally smitten and so in love with monsters.

Meet Splot. What and encounter that has been.

The felt monster, a tiny hand stitched shape with a wobbly eye and a long bendy tail.
Splot!

This tiny  creature gave new insights which has me very humbled. What a way to reveal to children, (and adults probably more so), that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

All too often our idea of beauty is the flawless, the perfect, the symmetrical,the enhanced . Splot in his imperfections has so much character, is so endearing and so beautiful.

Perhaps by introducing monster characters as toys we can teach our children that everyone and everything has an intrinsic and unique beauty. We can create awareness that difference is not an oddity or to be ridiculed or  mistrusted but rather to be recognised as unique and special. We are not all the same; we are who we are and that is perfect.

The magic of Monsters is that they can enable us to teach and learn about acceptance, to encourage us to look beneath the surface and find the special ,unique, personal qualities as well as to realise that perfection is not the norm.

A Green Affair .

Continuing green, or so it seems for the latest creation.

Felt frog puppet on lilypad
Green again

Perhaps the bleaching of the landscape under a searing summer sun has influenced the choice of that colour, as well as  the memory and yearning for the coolness  of lush green shade. Or perhaps the frog adventure has only just begun and needs to be more fully explored.

Which is how I commenced this post when thinking of it several days ago . Today we  are being drenched by the aftermath of cyclone Oswald. It is cooler and grey, the wind making it seem as if the rain is wrapping veils over the landscape and has filled areas with pale chiffon. The mountain is obscured, as is most of the bush a few yards away from the house. Several birds have taken refuge in our garage and on the back verandah. Where once was lawn, then a dust bowl, is now a fair sized pond. The wind is getting wilder, shaking the trees and wailing.

Rain again,aftermath of Oswald

Last night the bush was so alive, vibrating and resounding  to the rejoicing of many  different frog songs. Outside, as we watch, it is turning green again. what a contrast to the last few weeks of dry heat and the threat of fire. Nature has dealt a different hand.

Frog and tadpole handstitched from wool felt- original deisgns

The project that resulted while thinking green is a small finger puppet who also can hang out in a pocket or a bag to cast a cheeky eye around and share his  cheerful smile. He comes with a lily pad and a little friend. Together they tell of the life cycle of this amphibian and his fragility in the eco system .

Handstitched tadploe,side view of legs forming

Again the focus of this project is on nature, learning, curiosity, wonder and play; components that are so necessary to stimulate and encourage a child’s development and understanding .