Sunday, December 18, 2011


This time of year is great for craft, with so many markets on it becomes easier to go out and see what is new. While also indulging in buying something nice. I always have good intentions of buying with others in mind, but quite often I buy for myself.
In my thesis there is a chapter regarding the burgeoning 'indie craft market' scene and the, in my mind, delicate balance between fitting within a certain 'look' or indie aesthetic. Taste cultures and trends play an important part. I am also very curious about the creative process, seeing how the object is made. That's why blogs act as such a useful portal into the 'work in progress' and I liken them to a form of online artists studio. It's so exciting to see intial prepatory sketches, notebooks, experimentation with form, colour and design and then - the final crafted item!

Recently in my hunt for the handmade gift I have been to a few local markets. First up was Bowerbird, which caters to the 'top end' of the handmade market. Things are a little more pricey than other craft markets. This year on my 'must see' list was the work of Handmade Love, a blog I have been reading and admring for a few years now it seems. I knew a print for a special someone was the way to go. I only wish I had bought one for myself too - luckily, the shoppe is having 20% off at the moment, very tempting.

Image of Banana cream pie recipe print
Image - copyright Dawn Tan, Handmade Love

I absolutely love it and I'm hoping the person who is receiving it will feel the same. The recipe has special memories for me.

The next market I went to was the Box Factory Christmas market, this being the venue where the Red Thread Collective meetings are also held. So, I was looking forward to seeing members of the Collective as I have been missing out on meetings due to work. The market was nice, with plenty of second hand stalls and cakes to be bought. I got a nice woolen jumper for H, a 'Pains of Being Pure at Heart' CD, Martin Amis novel and then went to the Red Thread stall where I bought a lovely mug, bottle opener and wooden Christmas tree decoration from Luka. All for me! I really love her work and could quite easily have my house full of her drawings.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

these things really do take time

I took some time out after submitting my thesis to not looking at craft blogs, not spending much time on the computer at all, absolutely not going into the post-grad office, not bundling up my notes and print outs. Instead I spent a week luxuriating in the feeling of not having 'anything' to really do. It was bliss! I woke up in the morning with the strange sensation of smiling (ok, perhaps a tad dramatic) but it did feel as thought a weight had been indeed lifted.

So, then after that lovely, indulgent week I started my first tutoring position at the University. In a different School, different campus. For all intents and purposes it felt fresh and new. I found I enjoyed working with the students and fellow students. Explaining concepts, thinking of ways to make the two hours 'fun'. An especially interesting part was the students asking me about my background "you wrote a  thesis on craft blogs!", "you write about Morrissey, wasn't he a singer from the 80s?!" (better than not knowing who he is at all I guess....). At times I found it a struggle to explain why what I do matters (not that it hugely matters) but I wanted to overcome this stigma surrounding research/writing on popular culture. Particularly interesting as they are media studies students. As soon as I got over my own apologising - see fashademic's recent post for another example of this feeling - I found that it became easier to elucidate just why it is worthy. This made me feel more positive about my work, as I think I had been suffering post-submission blues. The examiners will hate it! It's the least needed thesis ever! You know, those kinds of feelings...

This weekend I am re-engaging with indie craft at the local Bowerbird Bazaar. A few of the bloggers I wrote about will be there and it will be great to meet some of them for the first time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

keeping calm

I just had a little chuckle to myself at the description on the right "zooming towards the end". Speed, yes, at times it feels like I have been writing the thesis for an age! Other I spent the weekend preparing the document, tidying sentences, fixing references and don't get me started on my missing images. I am going to keep calm, carry on and deal with them tomorrow. Now is not the time to stress out.

Perhaps strangely I don't mind this last part - whether thesis, essay or any other long piece of writing. My particular way of working is to go through the document, make a list, cross them off. It helps me feel like I am making tangible achievements.

I remember a talk we had as Honours students about always having in mind the question "why does this matter?" - meaning, I think, keep sight of the central issue/s, remember the reader. At times I have said "why is this important? who cares?". Today I came across this article in The Age titled "World at their Tweet" (cute). It reminded me that what I am writing about does have wider implications, it is happening. I felt better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

endings and beginnings (maybe)

I'm taking a break from tidying up my paper for the upcoming Console-ing Passions conference (and also glued to the Murdoch hearing currently showing live on TV). This could be true for most people, I find that I always go through a 'cycle' (of pain?) in the lead up to presenting a paper. It starts with a sore throat which lasts about a day, then terrible fear and then the stage where I am now - excitement! Every word starts to flow on the page and I begin to imagine myself 'speaking' the words. In my own opinion I believe that I am a better speaker than writer....but perhaps I am wrong on that one. Either way, I do enjoy public speaking.

The other exciting event happening is the publication of the Morrissey book, with my chapter in it! I think the book is a fantastic collection of writing on the subject. The editors did a wonderful job. Although I have read each chapter, it will be even better when the 'real' copy lands in my letterbox. I'd also like to read any reviews, they probably will appear overseas,so forward them to me if anyone out there happens to see one.

My thesis is still chugging along. About a month ago I had this terrible feeling towards finishing it. I found it very difficult to verbalise. Many people want me to finish! I think I was nervous about being launched back into the real world (eek!), the safety of the university felt very comforting. It is a routine, I turn up to the same desk, the cafe staff know my name and drink preference. Also, strangely in my mind, I feel that the thesis is 'done' : I've lived it for so long it begins to feel as though I have finished (I haven't!). Recently though I have become very happy to FINISH! I'm beginning to see other options out there for me, outside the university. Places where I can further use my "graduate qualities".

I took a walking break last week from my desk, I have the good fortune to pick from at least four galleries on campus. I walked without really planning where I was going and arrived at the Jam Factory and saw the exhibition "Imagining Interiors" - I just had a look for it on their site and there is no information. It took as its starting point the "gothic" and in some cases, artists paired with another artist. I've noted a return to gothic recently in the work of artists within my post-grad cohort. A painting by Mary Jean Richardson of a woman with her back to the viewer, seated on a large chair, hair plaited locking her to the chair. It was beautiful, strange and haunting. The chair was also featured in the exhibition as made by Adelaide based craftsman Khai Liew.

Plenty of inspiration out there and now I might finally have time to get out there and see what is happening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

winter writing

This wintery weather we have been having in the last few days has been great. Definitely makes me want to be inside, at my desk, rather than outside.
The thesis has been progressing very nicely. I have been working to shape it towards the Final Document. Making sure the references are correct, giving a title to each chapter, even writing the acknowledgement section. At the moment I am working on my final chapter - which sadly, just isn't taking shape for me at present. It doesn't seem to have the 'flow' yet. Embarassingly, in some ways I still don't even know what this chapter is about yet. Is it to be a summing up? One of my supervisors said it could be 'future predictions' for indie craft blogging.

I know it has some comments on the aesthetics of blogging. Which, I have found, there has not been that much research on. What makes a 'good looking blog?'. How do 'we' know?

For some reason I am unable to post images today...this is very annoying!

Monday, May 23, 2011

on the horizon

Recently I went along to the exhibition 'Ornate' (it just closed on the 22nd). It was an exhibition by a group of emerging artists who all use textiles within their arts practice. While not 'themed' as such, I think the idea of 'pattern' was a guide to the artists in making their work for the exhibition. In the catalogue Sera Waters describes the process of finding pattern in everyday life - something which I think we can all relate to. It seems human nature to want to find repition and order within our surroundings.
I felt really moved by the work of Ali Carpenter - and would like to see more of her work - it featured text, with embroidery in the spaces around it. Reminding me of stars on the night sky.

Also, I have been continuing to attend the Red Thread Collective meetings where we are working on a project in response to our favourite book/s. I am thinking of doing either Madam Bovary or Wuthering Heights. It is hard for me to pick a 'favourite' book but I think I could make an embroidered piece from either of these. I've been sketching and feel ready to start when I can manage a spare few hours.
A new member to the RTC does the most beautiful drawings! A link to her website. Immediately I fell in love with her illustrations - I'd love it if she published a book!

How cool is that rabbit?


The thesis deadline is obviously approaching with each day/hour/minute...whenever I work out what my actual 'word per day' target is I break into a cold sweat! Easier to just keep going I think, even fifty words feels like an accomplishment at the moment. My reward of course is getting it done and then moving on to, well who know where.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

lifting my head up again

I feel like I always need to write 'it's been a while' at the beginning of a new post. I guess I am gaining a first hand understanding of how difficult it can be to keep updating a blog.
My thesis has hit a bit of a slow patch at the moment, my supervisors have both gone overseas for a few months, so I got an extension and will meet my interim supervisor this Wednesday. Perhaps I've been waiting to see what advice or directions she has for my work. Sometimes I think it's a seasonal thing, I never feel much like working as the weather changes from warm, sunny days to grey skies.

I've been doing some crocheting lately and have really been reinvigorated by working with the crochet hook and the yarn...finding really cool colours, re-learning the skill and dreaming of new ideas. I love how it can become like second-nature and after a while your hands really take over and you no longer really need to think about what you are doing...automatic.

The Hyperbolic Coral Crochet Reef comes to Adelaide - I think the launch is this Wednesday at RiAus - and it should be a fantastic project to be involved in. I'm thinking that I will crochet some coral and hopefully get along to some of the public workshops.

The Ladies Silurian Atoll (detail). Photo © The Institute For Figuring (by Alyssa Gorelick)
I've also been really inspired by this on work on etsy by Hide the Good Scissors.

green and bear it embroidery

Loving the geometric shapes and the woodland animal shapes. I'd like to have the bird and the polar bear.

Friday, February 25, 2011

yes, these things do take time

It has been another tough week in thesis land. At the moment I am working on finalising chapters (and trying to ingnore any new information from sneeking in). Although I did find Jo Turney's book 'The Culture of Knitting' in the uni library and it is so good. I'm calling it both a karmic lucky find - you know when you go walking up the aisles at the library and just stumble upon the perfect book you have been hoping for - and the driving me crazy with jealousy book, as it feels like it is just what I want to write myself.

However, things have been quite grim, at times I feel on the verge of tears...I keep reminding myself that it will be over soon. That this is the most difficult part but it will be worth it.

I also found the work of artist Sally England, which has been a huge inspiration to my day. She works in 3D and 2D, using craft techniques including macrame

and the Mr Moustace cushion, which I think is just genius...can I have one for my bedroom please?

how handy, you can store the moustaches in a back pocket. So clever!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

crafty royal wedding

I love this cross-stitch pattern by Subversive Cross Stitch and Mr X for the occasion of the impending Royal Wedding. It was included in the Independent newspaper and the free pattern download is available from the Subversive Stitch website. I am pretty tempted to give it a go myself! I love the idea of changing the 'Keep Calm Carry On' motto and visually I find the 'handwriting stitch' down the bottom very appealing. It says 'A Royal Wedding bought to you in association with the Coaliton Goverment' very clever.
It got me thinking about other wedding souvenirs that might be being subversively produced, so after a quick search I found Lydia Leith's 'Royal Wedding Sick Bags'.
While I'm not against the wedding per se, I think it is interesting that crafters are creatively engaging and commenting with the event.
and from England's OK magazine, knitted Kate and William dolls (they didn't provide information as to who was making them).
Top 5 Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding souvenirs
I found the link for the free pattern by Galt, so not a souvenir created by an independent crafter, but funny none-the-less.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

amy sedaris is funny

Was looking around the internet and came across this interview for Amy Sedaris' craft book, it is hilarious. At the end she says 'it's about getting people off the couch' which I think is where the renewed interest in craft is located. Leisure time and working on the things that are interesting to us are becoming increasingly important.

Today was a good day, got words down on the computer screen and focused myself on getting the job done. It is actaully the end of my candidacy quickly the time goes.

This weekend I am going to take time out to visit a couple of exhibitions and write reviews, which I will post here.

p.s, the house from the last post didn't sell at auction, there is still hope!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the systems

Here are a couple of pictures of the house that I mentioned in my last post. It went to auction this morning, but I couldn't make it...wonder how much it sold for and hope that it will be cared for by the new owners.

Rostrevor Real Estate - 3 Marola Avenue Rostrevor SA 5073Rostrevor Real Estate - 3 Marola Avenue Rostrevor SA 5073

I've had a pretty bad week, University 'stuff' has been getting  me down. I even went to see a counsellor about it (or Learning Advisor) as they are named. That was beneficial as she helped me to focus on what was immediately important and what I could put aside to deal with later. Supervisors taking leave, no tutoring work for this upcoming semester. The writing up stage, sigh, it is so hard. But, I've decided that my only real option is to just keep pushing on - the best revenge will be a completed thesis.

So, other than that it has just been work, work, work. I haven't even really been checking out that many blogs - other than Fashademic, Home Cooked Theory and Door Sixteen.
Perhaps having a break from reading craft blogs will provide me with the clear head space to do the writing.

I did get some good news this week, I had my abstract accepted for the Console-ing Passions conference in late July.

I'm also looking forward to the Format zine and DIY Festival

Saturday, February 5, 2011

and when I'm lying in my bed

First blog post composed on the phone, in bed. With the start of the school year things have returned to their 'normal' pattern. Not sue I like it, I was getting used to working to whatever hours suited me. Once again, I am back to the 9-3 blocks of time.
I really want to get a complete, first draft done by Wednesday as I have a meeting with supervisors and the Head of Post -grad research. But...we'll see. Another 20,000 words isn't that much right?

Yesterday I went with my friend to walk through the most amazing made us want to weep! I'll post pictures later when on a computer rather than mobile device. Funny, we both felt kind of depressed and deflated after our look at the house.Perhaps knowing it exists but cannot be either of ours was/ is too much.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a day off

I took a day off this week to go and see the movie Black Swan. I loved it - loved the utter compulsion of Natalie Portman's character, the change her character goes through during the movie...I don't want to spoil anything...but it was such a good movie and really got me thinking. Particularly about the obsessive nature of those involved in the creative arts, being in visual art I am quite used to (perhaps the stereotype) the consumed creative, passionate and willing to follow their creativity til the end. Isn't the poster below beautiful.


It also remined me of a chapter in Alain de Botton's book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work - about the painter. While the other jobs de Botton looks at seem quite absurd in many ways, even pointless, I was left with the feeling that the painter was romanticised by de Botton. The craftsman as being able to collectively see his work rather than 'wondering what we did last year'. While this has some truth, I think it could also be true of industries outside the creative arts. Also, not all paintings/artworks are kept by the artist and even they lose track of what they have made, when they made it.

I am also reminded of the work of Kate Bingaman Burt, her Obsessive Consumption blog which has her drawings of her purchases. It has also been published as a book. I find it fascintating as it brings an aesthetic quality and creative skill to the task of consuming. I wonder, how did it start? did she ever buy things because she wanted to draw them? did she draw everything she bought?
And...just from looking at her site I see that Kate has drawn Oprah's Favourite Things, now that is really cool.

Friday, January 21, 2011

up for air

Head in books, fingers on the keyboard...I have been busy, busy, busy trying to get the first complete draft of the thesis done. With both supervisors taking leave there is a desire to get me finished before the official end of my candititure. I don't feel great about this but I'll admit it has given me the little push that I needed. So, I've been going into my Uni cubicle each day, writing first thing then spending the afternoon proofreading, editing and general reading. It seems to be working ok and sometimes I feel like I am really in the swing of things and getting somewhere and yes, almost happy. Other times, well...'work is a four letter word'.

Today I met up with an academic who lives in my hometime and whose work I have read and admired. It was very generous of her. She offered some great advice towards my writing. Getting towards the end of this University life of SEVEN years I am starting to glimpse what a future might look like outside the walls. I've applied for a couple of jobs and need to keep one-eye on what will be next for me.

The book has an Amazon listing, ISBN, cover and release date - so exciting. Looking forward to reading the book (and seeing my chapter, my writing in print).

Found this gorgeous print today by Seventy Tree

Image of NEW! A3 Big Drop (Brights)

It was out of stock earlier today but back in stock now...think I just might have to make a purchase.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

stitch in time

One of the fun parts of doing research on blogs and craft, for me anyway, is watching how trends evolve. At the moment there seems to be a bit of a thing for decorative stitiching or decoration which uses the motif of a exposed stitch.

Stitch Vase
The 'stitch' collection from Have You Met Miss Jones

'stitching postcard' by Design For Use and availabe here

Another upshot of my research project is seeing so many great craft objects made. Even in the three years of writing (plus the time before when the idea was just a tiny seed) I have seen so many fantastic crafted works and the most amazing ideas. I am always in this space of feeling inspired and on the down-side at times over-whelmed. The effect that blog images have on the reader/audience makes up a chapter of my thesis. At times I find myself trying to 'measure up' in a way to the interiors which often are included in blog posts. The domestic interior might not at first seem part of a research thesis into craft blogs, however there is almost a sub-genre of interior images, which present the home as a work-in-progress. The home as beautiful and a reflection of sub-cultural tastes.

My intention has been to show images of my own house and how the genre of the 'blog shot' has become quite stylised - however laptop dramas have left me without the ability to connect a camera. So, soon hopefully that will be sorted and I will be able to show visually what I mean.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


City Living - A2 Super large printCity Living - A2 Super large print

Wow! I really love this print by Laura Amiss - check out her work on Etsy.
I also like the first image where the print is in situ - how it works with the kitchen accesories. Very stylish and helps to imagine the print being in my own home.