Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a Wrap

It's a Wrap  is  my newly devised workshop to be offered in 2011... wrapped art dolls. During the last couple of weeks, I have been busily trying to create a few samples for the workshop promotion. My ideas behind the concept for this workshop were: 1) make an art doll without a sewing machine; 2) use found objects and 'recycled'and 'upcycled' materials; 3 ) use  one or more wrapping techniques: and 4) include a surprise or something unexpected as part of the doll.  All of the dolls also use polymer clay and some have air dry clay bases as well. And so here is  the first of the samples "Unravelling" - no sewing at all, an armature made from sticks, wrapped with leftover wool, and an old bead sample, and for the unexpected, the doll is starting to be unravelled by a little bird nesting on her head.


Sample 2 " Clearing away the Cobwebs" is made the the same way ... This one is my own favourite, although I took ages to make the cobweb.

A reworking of an old idea - wrapping 'scrumbling'  leftover bits was the beginning of sample 3, 'Tropical Baby Blue" and then I made  lots of polymer clay shells or are they barnacles? The little surprise at the back of the base is a Christi Friesen style polymer clay fish.

Not surprisingly the next two samples were designed to fulfil a couple of Christmas challenges - just another attampt to be organised this year! Mother Gnome started off as a soda water bottle, and then  did she not only became an old lady, but a Christmas themed art doll, looking very satisfied with her basket of freshly baked (polymer clay) gingerbread men and Santa kisses ( a special Christmas biscuit treat) .
I am going to rework this poor elf doll, Last Year's Lights? as I overwrapped his arms and  now they look like gorilla arms. I did give him an outing today for a "show and tell" but was a bit embarassed  by his "out of proportioned" body.  However, he did charm everyone even though his clothes are made from recycyled baby socks, old paint rags and scraps of an old T shirt. I did break one of the rules here - the overshirt is a  demo sample piece of patchwork  which was originally made on the machine.
If you are interested in this workshop, please contact me, via the comments below. I hope to be offering this workshop at various venues next year. The workshop 's aim is not to make art dolls exactly like these samples, but to learn and use the wrapping techniques to create a unique mixed media figurative sculpture. It is a really wonderful workshop - lots of fun and inspiration for beginners especially or for those experienced textile artists who just want to try something different.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Congratulations and Celebrations

Congratulations to winner, Gill who will soon receive her own traditional bilum and wooden wall hanging from Papua New Guinea.. The selection of a winner was a serious process, with all entries' names placed in the bilum and one chosen.


Thanks to the eight followers who entered – perhaps the prize wasn’t to everyone’s liking, but these items were made with love, pride and generosity in far more difficult conditions than we can imagine. Please remember that this week is International Anti-Poverty Week.

Congratulations too to all who participated in the Hunter Homeless Connect Day Sleepout and event this week. I survived only because I had a really great swag to sleep in – it was a very cold night. Thanks to fellow Rotarians who joined the District 9670 team in the sleepout and to my wonderful club, Rotary Club of Wallsend-Maryland who fed all the homeless pretenders on the night. Special thanks to all my family, friends and the Lemon Grove Hotel, Wallsend who sponsored me - the total raised on the night was in excess of $23,000 in sponsorship, with more pledges to come in . It looks as though we all had fun, but that was because we knew it was only for one night!


Celebrations for Jim’s birthday were enjoyed by the family this week – a simple dinner with chocolate birthday cake, the favourite of the younger family members!

Celebrations, too this week for my first Etsy sale in a while. I made these green fairy and leprechaun shoes for a special order.

 Congratulations too to those who have worked towards the canonisation of Sister Mary McKillop, now Saint Mary of the Cross - first Australian Catholic saint.

I wish everyone a week of congratulations and celebrations. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

100th Blog Giveaway - Bilum


A bilum is a string bag made by hand in Papua New Guinea, using a string looping technique. Traditionally, the string used was hand-made, from plant material – the bark of a plant called “lepa”. Now, however, most bilums are made from store bought brightly coloured yarn and many contemporary patterns have become popular, even those generated by computer.

Bilums are used to carry a wide range of items, from shopping goods in large bilums to personal items in purse-sized varieties. Mothers often carry their babies in bilums, and the bilum is said to be “womb-like” and associated with security and reassurance for a baby. In the past, bilums were used to carry food home after gardening or hunting. Bilums were also used to decorate an area where a dead person would be laid for viewing. Another really important and significant use of bilums was as contributions to the payment of the bride price. Bilums remain as a prized gift to exchange with friends or visitors.


As I have recently returned from Papua New Guinea, I am very happy to offer a bilum and a wooden wall hanging depicting the national symbol, Bird of Paradise as a special giveaway to celebrate my 100th blog post. Both of these artifacts ( pictured) are handmade by friends who live in Mando, a village in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. All you need to do to be eligible for this unique gift is to leave a comment with your contact details. I will draw a name next Tuesday, 19 October, noon Australian Eastern Summer Time.


I will be participating this weekend in the Hunter Homeless Sleep Out and am seeking sponsors, with all funds raised to support the Hunter Homeless Connect Day – a day of acknowledgement and support for the homeless and marginalized in our own local community. Please read all about it and donate online if you would like to support this community event – here is the link.   Hunter Homeless Sleep Out

Monday, October 4, 2010

What did we do in Mando, Papua New Guinea?

Rotarians from Yea, Victoria clebrate the installation of a water tank at Mando village, PNG.

It is said that the Mando spirit moves mountains. However, it takes a team of Rotary volunteers to complete a project job list. In the last threee years, we have provided free primary education by building new classrooms, reduced the infant mortality rate by encouraging mothers to have their babies in the hospital or medical centre by providing maother and baby packs, began the process of including students with special needs in the school, supplemented family incomes by teaching living schools and establishing pig and chicekn breeding projects at the school. Here is a video summary of what has been achieved our recent trip - MANDO 2010 VIDEO Thanks to our intrepid leader, Wendy Stein for the production of this clip to highlight the achievements
Clean water on tap
Village men help unload new tank

Teacher housing upgraded
 Replacing the floor of the principal's house
Interior decorators at work
Unloading the container of school furniture

Furniture assembly


School maintenance

 First litter of pigs sold


Sewing lessons for women

Unpacking new machines



Boys' sewing lessons
Girls' sewing lessons

Cultural show participation

Practising grandparenting skills 


Thanks to our friends in Mando for welcoming us,taking care of us and sharing so generously your culture and accepting us in your daily lives, and offering us such genuine friendship and goodwill and thanks to our fellow team members for your friendship, hard work and inspiration and motivation to help others.