Monday, 26 September 2011

Ecletic Monday, Poppets, Shoes and Cute overload

I am currently experiencing severe shoulder pain and I've had to slow down on my jewellery making. But I need to do something with my hands otherwise I'll go nuts. So I was browsing through my holiday shots and thinking about the witchcraft museum and especially about the extraordinary poppets. They were made out of wax or cloth and either looked like the victim or contained an item such has cloth or hair from the victim.

The poppet above was used during a long dispute between 2 people and the museum stated that it ended badly for both of them.

But poppets were also used for positive reasons, to give protection, attract wealth and love. And this got me thinking I could perhaps make my own positive poppets and more importantly I could sew it by hand, less pain for me. So I used a basic gingerbread man shape, scraps of material and buttons, charms and lace. Very therapeutic and fun. I treat them like a vision board, a visual reminder to stay focused on my goals and the great benefit is they are tactile and the small ones can be popped into a handbag.

Of couse Fern wanted one so I made her the blue one and she tells him all her secrets.

I love mixing textures, trims and colour which is why I love Irregular Choice, they're a British company that make the most amazing shoes.

And finally Cute overload From Nooka

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wrapping up

I have always been fascinated by oriental art and in my previous work as a garden designer I was inspired by Japanese Zen and moss gardens. I also found it intriguing the way both Japanese and Chinese gardeners would wrap their trees for the winter.
It's the attention to detail that is given to protecting their trees, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing as the unadorned tree. No horticultural fleece just thrown on with abandon.

I used this to inspire these earrings, that combine stone, wood and rope

In the uk an artist known as Ms Lawrence has taken tree wrapping to a new level using coloured calico. This creates a surreal, sculptural look within the landscape.

Monday, 19 September 2011

New in...

Vampire Countess Ring in Blood Red Agate, Blackest Onyx and Cobalt Blue Marble

Friday, 16 September 2011

Time Travelers Team ACEO Halloween challenge

ACEO or Artist Cards, Editions and Originals are little cards, 2.5 by 3.5 inches, used for presenting your art. They're great fun to do and great to share. Here's my entries, Vampires, Witches and Haunted Houses.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Flower Arranging Mexican Style

Had a Mexican barbecue last weekend, just managed to get the spicy burgers cooked before a sudden deluge made us scarper indoors. I love flowers and despite having a small garden I do manager to grow some blooms and when I have a party I like to use flowers to theme it.

I used a 1960's vase found in my local charity shop and used ornamental artichokes ( these grow great in my garden and have reached 6 1/2 foot), fuscia and sunflowers, which I did have to buy.

The next arrangement used artichokes, pale pink fuscias, chives and sunflowers.

For a final flourish in my hall I used my lovely pink ta roses with rosemary for an amazing scent when entering my home.

Food included garlic potatoes, homemade chilli, honey, lime and mexican spiced chicken, and pork and apple kebabs - made by my mate Bigfacejewellery.

I always use worcester sauce and smoked paprika in my chilli and marmite, gives a great flavour. The chicken is simply lime juice, honey, paprika, cumin, chilli oil and salt and pepper.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

So What's Autism Then

In short a diagnosed, incurable, mental condition characterised by communication difficulties, inabilities to form relationships and grasp abstract concepts.
So what does this really mean?
For me, as a parent of a 9 year old girl diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, it means getting a grip on how my Fern sees the world and how it differs from how everyone else sees it.

When we're children we develop language skills so we can engage with others and almost by instinct we learn how to read facial expressions and then the light bulb moment - we learn that these are connected. So we learn the right words to say, in the right order, and not just that, we learn that language can be manipulated to our advantage, we can lie, creep, threaten with the right words and we can use our faces to reinforce the message. We can even hide our expressions and turn on the waterworks for effect.

For a child with autism learning language is difficult, grasping the meaning, trying to put it in order and coupled with this, trying to translate what a face is expressing. It's like trying to crack the da vinci code. Is that person angry? What's a lie? Autistic children lack the social skills to fully lie and surprisingly this can cause problems. I spent ages training Fern not to say Hello you're old, fat, ugly etc - to her it was just a factual statement. She didn't understand about feelings. We've made great progress with this and she now compliments people she meets, I like your hair, dress etc.

She takes language literally, I used to have to think about saying things like it's raining cats and dogs, because she expected to see cats and dogs falling from the sky. Everything is literal to her, a broken heart is just that..a broken heart. She cannot always tell my facial expressions and will ask me if I'm angry or sad. But she is developing a great sense of humour, like the time she proudly announced , look I've made a naked vampire. I fell about laughing and she started to work it out and realise why I laughed and now it is our little joke.

We process language and facial recognition at lightening speed, so fast we don't know we're doing it. For an autistic child it's like processing quantum physics, slow, laborious, bewildering and complex. And this is why most people think autistic children are stupid and rude.

Processing all this information is physically and mentally draining, so to cope, they won't always look you in the eye when talking, to them it's one less piece of information to process and they don't listen. I've lost count of how many times I've had to tell people she's not deaf, just overwhelmed, too much information to process, She has to shut something off to cope.

This is just a fraction of insight into her world.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Heart of darkness treasury


I've spent the whole of my weekend re-photographing to try and make my shop look consistent and to accurately show the colours and materials in my jewellery. Also to reflect a feeling of where I'm coming from when I make these pieces. Ever so slightly schizophrenic! I have my days when I relish a bit of darkness, read my vampire collections and dream of crashing seas.

Then I have my girly moments all lace, sugar almonds, shabby chic - which is never gonna happen in my resolutely 70's home.

And I wake up some mornings and I want to be the Boden catalogue woman. All straight flicky hair, a line print skirts, neat cardy, pumps and lashings of duck egg blue. But my hair was born for a windy moor, flats hurt my feet and I adore duck egg blue but it simply hates me.

So I accept my idiosyncratic ways, general eccentricities, and I will revel in it.
I can however rock the rock chic and military look with aplomb.