Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Research is such a pretty thing

I'm working on a new project, this time it's a solo photography exhibition. I wont say too much about the actual theme at this point, but so I'm doing a whole swathe of research on stuff from the 30s.

I want the photos to have an element of realism. Since they're sort of vaguely set in the 30s, I don't want to have something that's glaringly from the 60s in them. This stuff didn't used to matte to me so much, but now I'm a little older and I've worked on a few films and tv shows that the head of the art depaartment clearly know so much about the time being portrayed and search high and low for just the right thing, well ladies and gentlemen, I have been influenced.

This doesnt mean, however, that if I need a pair of shoes in the shot that they have to be from the 30s. More I'm interested in getting the right feel, so a pair that are 30s in style but modern will be jsut fine.

And since I'm researching lots of interesting things, I thought I should share some with you. Today I've been researching old pin cushions.

Usually I start by asking - did they use (insert whatever I'm researching) back then, or is it a more modern thing? Today I didn't need to ask that as I know that Nicole, the owner of the amazing Circa Vintage Clothing has a pin cushion dating back to Victorian times, we chatted about it last time I was in there. So I was ok with the item itself.

Next I do some research to see if I can find what they looked like back then. Google images and ebay are your friends for this. I don't have to BUY what I'm looking at, I can jsut as easily make it. And anyway, usually old things that are cheap enough that I can afford them look worn and faded, and that isn't great for convincing someone looking at a photo (or a set) that they're looking at a brand new thing and the era itself is old.

I didn't find any pincushions labeled from the 30s, but I did find a number of vintage ones in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I loved this one (above), found here, although I don't think the person who runs that website created/found/owns it. It's an old tin with a roll of paper in it that's been used as a pin cushion. The antique pins are great and the cushion itself is really unusual, I've never seen one like it. I decided that I might go with this one, until I came across the next one...

Then I found this, over at Little Paper Dog.

It's perfect! It's got that perfect homemade feel to it, but also that Depression era never-throw-anything-out, always-reuse-what-you-have feel to it. That 'make good, make do' sensibility. I was reading about the times when stockings were just simply too hard to get, that ladies drew their seems on with eyebrow pencils. Very clever, very thrifty. And that's what I like about this jar.

Little Paper Dog's Michelle has a tutorial here for these jars, but they are all over the craft-o-sphere (I guess I'm late to the party) so you can google "pincushion" and "mason jar" and find a number of people who have caught the fever already...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

some cool street art I've seen over the week

Firstly, one from my Uni

And lo, I did feel pride.

Next came from down Sydney Road the other day.
they were awesome little tiger heads attached to the pole. They didn't have any kind of tag or anything, but I think they might be Mal function's guys. Oh, yeah, I've jsut been checking Mal's flickr, and this photo confirms it. I'd love some of these guys for my own!

The last one isn't quite street art, but did remind me of a bandit ninja organic bunny, so I photographed it

Friday, March 19, 2010

First Lady of Knitting

what a great title to hold! I was on the Historic Fibers blog and checking out the links on the right nav bar. There is a big pile of awesome knitting history links and I thought I would share them with you all.

Firstly is The Hook and The Book virtual exhibition. An awesome and comprehensive resource from what looks like a museum exhibition. Filled with pictures of historical examples of knitting and crochet, lots of explanations and links to other places. A great place to spend some time.

Next is the Victorian and Albert museum in London. They have a knitting section here where you can look at their knitted items and even submit photos of your own! I think that is kinda cool, submitting your stuff to become part of the V&As digital collection. They also have a range of 1940s patterns that are free to download here. The Essentials for the Forces booklet cover comes from that page. I love the look on the woman's face! Determined and thoughtful but also a little cross.

Speaking of old knitting patterns, Sarah's homework site is one lady's project of scanning in and uploading heaps of old patterns, i think from a book she inherited, but I could be way off there.

Another site that's doing much the same thing is Vintage Purls There's some gorgeous items you could make at home including my favourite, this little fairy toy. I think making a fairy that someone a few generations ago created to delight children back then would be joyous.

And to round things off, an essay about knitting during wartime called Knitting for Victory, which is where I got the title of the post from. I find it fascinating that at several points in history, it was considered a woman's patrotic duty to knit knit knit. It's just such a different society now, we're not really called upon to do that. However, having said that, the excellent Pip and the Handmade Help crew restashed crafters and encouraged the donation of handmade goodies for the bushfire victims, so maybe it's now more a grassroots urge of helping community rather than a governement spearheaded operation for troops at the front.

Which reminds me, that HBOs Pacific comes out soon, and there will be a scene of picnicking families and sweethearts and somewhere in those groups will be a lady knitting about 5 inches of olive drab ribbing for a jumper on tortoiseshell needles while she sits and watches children play. That, my friends, was my first ever war effort. Nowhere near the amount of effort that Anthea Chrome did knitting all the outfits for Coraline, but still, it's the second biggest piece of clothing I've ever knitted, and even then I didn't finish it. 

As the lady handed it back to me at the end of the day, she said "I'm sorry, I think I dropped some stitches. I've only done about 3 rows." She was dreadfully concerned. I smiled and said that it didn't matter. It was, after all, only a prop.

But still, I like to think about it as my first war effort!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monsters are really the best

A couple of net finds while I finish off a few things...

Firstly, I came across these awesome guys from Silent Orchard I love them! I love the thought and detail that's gone into the charaterisation of each one.

She's got a number of great softies on her flickr, so do go check them out. 

And from the ArtDecadence blog,this. It's the oldest Alice in Wonderland film in exsistance, filmed in 1903. So beautiful and I love the sepia tone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A beautiful thing.

The lovely and most marvelous Pip from Meet Me At Mikes had a little muse the other day as to how to help your little ones become avid readers. It's a lovely post filled with good ideas to help encourage reading in children. Along with that it has some great comments attached! If you haven't read it already, check it out here: http://meetmeatmikes.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-grow-book-worms.html

And I couldn't resist adding the image she used. Wild Things and books, some of my favourite things! I don't know where she got it, but it's clearly the wonderful Maurice Sendak and I love it :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

soul comforting beauty in North Melbourne

A friend of mine has just opened the most beautiful shop in the world with one of the most inspiring names I've ever heard.

Orlando and Ivy. It makes you think of Picnic at Hanging Rock kind of times, all white dresses and hints of green. It's such an evocative title! And the store itself is  so beautiful. You walk in the door, away from the noise and busy-ness of Victoria St into a quiet oasis of calm filled with gentle old world charm. 

I'm so taken with her shop, I want to live there! And I'm also dreadfully honoured that one of the photos she's put on her blog (http://orlandoandivy.wordpress.com/) to celebrate the opening has my products in it! The granny bunting draped across those beautiful handmade boxes are mine. Shucks :)

So come, support brand new local businesses and introduce into your space some incredibly beautiful things. I'll copy the text from the website because it's more eloquent than I can be at this time in the morning...

ORLANDO AND IVY is a creative emporium located at 424 Victoria Street, North Melbourne.
Purveyors of locally sourced art objects, wearable art, journaling supplies, creative tools, books, and other high-quality publications.

More incredibly beautiful images can be found at the website: www.orlandoandivy.com