Showing posts from 2011

star gazing

Image something we all do from time to time, depending on how much time we have.  Which is a pity really, because somehow star gazing seems important in a way - to take the time out to just look.  So as soon as this long white cloud subsides a little and night falls in the Southern skies, I'll do some star gazing again, and lose count of time for a while ;-)

Best wishes for this Christmas season to each and every one visiting this blog - may faith, hope and love be with you ..e^)

My Bonnie Book Surprise

Sometimes life just surprises me with things totally unexpected.... like today.  In the post box I found a parcel addressed to me, for a change - these things usually turn up addressed to any other member of the here family except me.  Opened it up as fast as I could (who concocted the glue on these plastic postal bags??? absolutely amazing holding quality...) and whoop whoop out came a most wonderful little handmade book and a note...  by Bonnie Miller.  It was made from watercolour paper and fabric, with coptic binding using rainbow coloured thread.... and decorated with these beautiful beads.. marvellous.
So here I am, with a smile all the way to a cheshire cat, happy as pudding and pie and it's not even Christmas yet.
Thank you Bonnie, keep working your magic... can't wait for next year's exchange to see what you will come up with next...

signatures everywhere!!

Seth Apter from 'The Altered Page' hosted a 'Stackaholics Anonymous' a while ago and I had just the perfect entry for that: a glorious stack of entries for the first International Signature Exchange on now.  Visit our Facebook Art Swappers on Facebook and 'like' us to be able to 'vote' for the best entry by putting down as many 'likes' as you wish (look for the photo album of signatures) ... and do consider to take part in next year's swap if you're into hand-made books and journals.  I know I'm hooked or booked or whatever you want to call it ;-)

Thanks Seth!


Asemic Writing

Work 12, silicon on leather, 460 x 460mm

Just a quick glimpse into the work I am developing at the moment - for the Advanced Diploma in Art and Creativity studied through the Learning Connexion.

I am testing different materials, different processes and finding it stimulating, eye opening, satisfying, enlightening, fresh and informative.

Work 12 is one of 12 works I'm creating for end of year assessment and exhibition, and it could be seen as asemic writing.


My latest little painting, just finished and oh man did it take a while to finish!  Don't know why but I had to paint this with the number 1, 2, 3, and 4 brushes... but it was fun to see it materialize over a couple of days.

510 x 510 x 35mm oil on stretched canvas, painted on the horizontal, so orientation for hanging is up to you.  Available from trademe until sold.  Thanks for visiting my bloggity blog ..e^)


fish and chickies

New oil and graphite on stretched canvas, sides painted black. This has a horizontal orientation and therefore has no top or bottom ;-) which means you can hang it absolutely any way, even diagonally from a corner.  The title is "fish and chicks" - a playful take on the very important Kiwi staple and culture "fush and chups" :-)  The size is just over a half by a half meter and it's for sale through Trade Me for a while.

Thanks for having a look ..e^)


paua pendant...

Latest addition to my collection of hand-made pieces - have a look on VanillaBlue for more - is this traditional paua pendant. It's adjustable from 64cm to 40cm and slips over the head, no fiddly catchy bits.

Polished paua, glass beads, two foil rose lampwork beads on black waxed cotton cord - 64cm adjustable available from trademe for this week

Thanks for popping in here - see again soon ..e^)

new hobby...

new hobby!  charm beads! inspired by Franda Zondagh - have a look at her 'once again' upcycled pieces.

My bracelets include handmade polymer roses and petals and stuff - love it, and charm bracelets are uber cool

This one is called 'potpourri' and I had great fun creating it.  It's available to people in New Zealand only - sorry!  But I have some more waiting for you on my new website VanillaBlue
- the website is still raw and needs more work, but what the heck, it's up!  And the shopping cart is working, so you can grab one if you fall in love with it.. thanks for taking a look ..erika

a tiny zig-zag book

I've made a little concertina book and I love it - am still working on the pages and will continue doodling in it.

It's made from Readers Digest magazine pages and the cover measures 75mm x 30mm or 3" by 1.5" for my metrically challenged friends ;-)

2011 tip eight: the number of brushes you own doesn't make you a painter... I just bumped over two containers with a zillion brushes into an unreachable corner of the studio... bummer! :-)

Calling all artists

Entry into the First Signatures Exchange is now open
If you work with or are interested in art papers, art journals, unique handmade books, book binding and one offs this might interest you:  this is the first worldwide swap happening this year in September.  All explained on the Art Swappers website

The outcome of the exchange will land you about 10 book signatures from artists all over the world.  These signatures will be ready to incorporate into a journal, book, safe box, displayed on your coffee table, incorporated into your own art journal, hung on the wall - well, the choice is very open and up to you.  Have a look at the website and let me know if anything is unclear - and do let me know if you'd like to take part ..e^)

2011 tip seven:  big works are painted one brush stroke at a time - so I'm getting off this computer now... as in NOW!!!

paper to the rescue ;-)

Just some fun with a brush that had lost all of its hair a while ago. I painted some papers and sewed them back into the brush - a rather interesting book just begging for some writing, glueing, art journalling.  And to display on the wall - a hanging book.  Nice. ..e^)

paper paper paper

Bee in the bonnet...... with the support of a couple of formidable artists we have started a book signature exchange.  Closing date for the first exchange is mid September this year, so plenty of time still to complete an entry for the exchange and competition.  For more information see the art swapper's website and if you like it, you are welcome to connect through facebook as well.

Here is one signature I'm working on at the moment.... they're really easy to do and great fun - which is what art and creativity is all about.  (I think I'm in love with paper at the moment!!!)

Happy papering ..e^)

2011 tip #6:  hop over to and do consider taking part in the first ever signature swap - open to all artists from everywhere ..e^)

ICE 2011

This time every year there is an air of anticipation around... it's almost time for the International Collage Exchange to open and that means beautiful, weird, profound, ambiguous and awesome collages can be seen here from the 1st of April for a month long exhibition.  For the lucky ones living in New Plymouth, New Zealand there is also the opportunity to see them all in real life at a gallery there and of course to buy a couple.

This year I made a collection of cat collages and covered them with paint, paper, drawing and varnish - they came together nicely but only right at the end..... phew!

...back soon with more news ..e^)

...and my "cat-a-tonic" has sold... see the whole exhibition   here!!

acrylic experiments

Experimenting with white acrylic skins has had this pretty result.  These are like decals that I can stick on any smooth surface and they will remain there.  You can move them around to form different designs and these are really interesting on a white surface.  The paint has become the figure and the ground has become part of the figure.. ;-)


is part of my studies this year at TLC - International School of Art and Creativity - I hope to post here once a month or so to show what I've been up to.  This time it's cabbage tree leaves - dead ones - that I collected from our (overgrown) garden.  I've soaked them in water overnight and then proceeded to do some finger weaving, without plan or drawing, just letting the fibre go where it would.  I like the loose strands hanging from the work and call these my cabbage tree drawings.  The cabbage tree (cordyline australis) has been in New Zealand about 15 million years and has evolved into many different species over time - therefore differing species can be found over the two islands, apparently adapting to the different soils and climates and many types were given names by the Maori like tī kōuka, tī kāuka, tī rākau, tī awe, tī pua, and tī whanake.

2011 tip five:  mud is beautiful ..e^)

How to make..

Teabag People!

I've had people asking me to describe my teabag people process in more detail, so I thought why not???  Sharing is what we are here for so here we go.... only thing is that you have to be a tea drinker like me - and save your used bags and let them dry first.  The best ones are the ones that could have done another cuppa, so have a little colour left in them.... ok here goes..

Step one: prep a canvas or painting surface with Gesso layers until it's very smooth and silky to the touch - a couple of layers with a light sand in between each.

Step two: wet your used teabags and express the excess water - use the ones that still have some coloured water coming off and lay them on your prepped surface, press down firmly and leave them sitting for about 15 minutes.

Step three: remove the teabags - you could give the whole surface a wipe with one of the teabags to give the background a stained look too.  Let dry. (If you can't wait, use a hairdryer)

Step four: use a …


Acrylic on stretched canvas 225 x 305 x 15mm and the last one in this year's series of Little Gems available through trademe

I was planning on doing 30 or so - as I normally do over the summer holidays, roughly one every day for a month - but this time things didn't work out the way I planned and I have to stop at 10 as more pressing work needs to be taken care of. 

So until next summer, this is the last of the little gems - a conglomerate of characters, all started by making teabag prints with used teabags and then developing the print into something recognisable - or not!  This time there is a catfish ogling another fish, still another fish chasing bubbles, a puffy tail squirrel, an elephant, a crazy square looking kid with chicken pox pulling a tow truck called 'truck it' - and a dotty lady doing a weird dance in red heels... ok.  Thanks for putting up with me ..e^)))

2011 tip four:  paint from the heart.  If you work with hands only, you labour.  If you work with…

teabag people III

Star swatting or aiming at the pesky bird? More teabag people coming from my used teabags... yes, I love a regular break with a cuppa - black without sugar thank you.  And I'm finding that I enjoy the drawing part of this - you never know where it's going or what it's going to be.  Stare at it long enough and the brain shapes it into something recognisable.  So yes, these workings are heuristic... and GREAT fun!!!  This particular one had some room for play with scumbling, and I added some stars each with a gold dot, so that the mood will most definitely change with artificial light.  The sides are painted and decorated with the same generation stars.  Thanks for following my arbitrarilations ;-) back soon

2011 tip three: an artwork is never finished - you just tend to stop working on it at some point.  The key is to stop working on it when the point is reached ..e^)


I'm procrastinating again and when I do that I come up with the most wonderful, exciting things to do... like making bears for example, from leftover bits of tapestry fabric from a friend's husband's furniture design business.  Stuffed with fluff from my overlocker.  The result?  A gorgeously heavy bear, 30cm long - I only need to finish the face still, will upload a picture of the finished bear soon.  In the meantime, tadaaaa... meet (faceless) bear number one..

2011 tip two:  recycle is good


teabag people II

Little Gem #8 and going strong - have to finish many more for this season's little gem series of 30 still... so here is teabag people number two - acrylic washes on stretched canvas 150 x 450 x 35mm or 6" x 14" x 1.5" - sealed with varnish for protection and long life.

The technique is the same as the previous one - used teabag prints which then form the foundation for a range of characters I've never met before... hi peoples!! mmm yes, I recognise the extrovert in there, the harlequin, the square, the exhibitionist, the innocent and the kite flier...oh wait, that was the teabag tag, but did you see mr positive?  He's the glass half full man..

2011 tip one: Direct sunlight is a no-no for paintings, so hang your precious art away from direct sunlight and not in close proximity to spotlights - if you can feel the heat, it's too close.  Over time paint may crack and colours may change and repair will prove costly if possible at all.  Have a peaceful 2011 an…