Monday, May 2, 2011

FInal post from Blogger

Hi all

I've migrated my blog from blogger to part of my website so this blog won't be updated any longer. I will leave it here as an archived blog, but to continue playing along at home, please pop along to the new site!

Thanks for the company, I look forward to seeing you over at


Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Moment In Yarn

I've created a new project, A Moment In Yarn...  It focuses on translating warm memories into crocheted granny squares. Talking to people and asking them for a happy memory to translate into tangible crochet for them to hold and keep.

Today I did one for someone, and they got teary over it. I think that's incredible. Never doubt the power of memories and craft. This project is really touching and incredibly to be a part of.


Two tiny girls
crouched on the small wooden bridge
peering into the murky depths of the fishpond
and are rewarded by
the flash of orange.

The Fernery

When their children left the nest
They moved to a new house
And he lovingly built her
A little hut of sticks
For a fernery
With two tiny ponds inside


The old lady
sat in the garden on her favourite yellow bench
and licked the froth
from the takeaway lid
of the cappuccino her granddaughters had bought her.

Button Jar

The buttons
in those big glass jars
used to glint in the sun
like some kind of jeweled craft treasure chest

You can see more of A Moment In Yarn at my Flickr account, here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Awesomely exciting exhibition opportunity !

OOO people! There's a seriously exciting thing happening on the other side of the world! The awesome guys at Stitch London have organised STITCHED SCIENCE, where people can send in their knitted/crocheted/sewn science items. Dinosaurs, Bunsen burners, rocketships, skeletons, whatever you can think of that has a science theme. 

How awesome is that? 

I'm sending in my heart and brain... What would you make? 

You can find out more about the whole thing here.

Come play with science!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Images of Modern Evil (and why I love social media)

I was on the Heide Museum's facebook page the other day and they had a competition running to coincide with their upcoming exhibition, Albert Tucker's Images of Modern Evil. You simply had to name your favourite painting from the series and why and you'd go into the draw to win a double pass to a talk by one of the main scholars of Tucker's work, Gavin Fry, in the exhibition and then brunch supplied by Cafe Vue.

Albert Tucker is one of my favourite artists and Heide and it's circle of artists is one of my favourite things about Melbourne. It's such an incredible story filled with creatives and it unfolds around and through the history of Australian art, and it blows my mind that it happened only a few suburbs from here rather than yet another art story from overseas. I love that I can go visit places from this fable of Australian art royality, walk down streets that are familier to both me and them, to visit galleries and shops they frequented, to know the places they lived and worked and to wander the gardens they planted and tended. It's incredible that a history that I'm so drawn to is so tangible and real and solid and local.

So how could I not enter the comp?

I chose Memories of Leonski as my favourite Tucker work to nominate (image from Trouble's website, found here)

Eddie Leonski was also known as The Brownout Strangler, an American GI stationed in Melbourne during the second world war. He murdered 3 women over a period of 2 weeks around inner Melbourne. When he was caught, the Americans wanted to extradite him but as the crimes were committed on Australian soil, the Australian government refused. This stand off threatened the negotiations over the ANZUS alliance. The trial was held in Melbourne by the Americans and Leonski was sentanced to death. He was hung at Pentridge Prision on the November 9, 1942 and his body was buried on an island off Hawaii in a military cemetery.

The story goes (but I can't seem to confirm it either way via searches on the internet) that he said of his victims "I only wanted their voices", hence the bird in the painting.

That's all a little morbid, huh. All that knowledge is product of a mis-spent youth researching Melbourne history for various plays and artworks.

But so that's my favourite of all the paintings, and I entered the comp with that.

And won!


So this morning we took ourselves off to Heide for the talk and the artwork and the food. A number of my favourite things, all in one place :)

Gavin Fry was great to listen too, not only does he know his subject back to front but he also personally knew Tucker, who died in 1999, and so could give a few antidotes of the artist himself. One of my favourites was that Fry has seen Tucker's medical certificate from the examination he had before he entered the army. Down the side the Medical Officer had written "Prone to hypochondria".

I love these little facts, the stuff that only people who knew their subject, or had researched them thoroughly, would know. Those tiny details that don't make it into the official records. It's that kind of detail that I love about good film sets too, those tiny touches that show the humanity behind the characters and the story.

After the talk, we had brunch, and can I just say, Cafe Vue does an AWESOME sandwich and excel in their pastries. Sitting in a comfy room with a glass wall, gazing over Heide's grounds as we munched our bakery treats and drank our coffees, so tranquil and beautiful!

After brunch we went back to the exhibition to take in the art. SUCH incredible work. I've seen Tucker's paintings only in books and on the net, and these things do in no way do justice to the man's talent and ability. The oils are deep and complex and incredibly painted and the colours and textures just cannot be captured in photos. It was great to see the whole series side by side too. Some of the later works become increasingly abstract, which I wasn't the biggest fan of, but putting them all in a chronological line on a wall means you can see the progression and follow the logic through the work which helps to give an understanding of the reoccurring symbolism and shapes.

I'm so glad I went along and so happy to have won the tickets!

Tucker's work has also inspired me in a number of new ways, but they have to wait a little until I get a few more of these commissions finished and out on their way...

I love going to galleries, and I love seeing great work from other artists. It energises and furthers my own artistic practice. I think as artists, we all inspire each other, like a massive bunch of ping pong balls all madly bouncing around a small room.

Thank you Heide!

Monday, March 21, 2011


So today I'm working on a commission, I'm turning a toy into a puppet for a client. It's very cute, but a bit fiddly. And I realise I've hit professionalism because I made the mouth and it looked ok but not perfect, so I tore it out and started again.

A younger me would have decided that it was close enough and just kept going.

The problem with puppet mouths is that a) everything revolves around them and b) they're really the start of the project, so if you have to start again, you have to start ALL over again. But the new mouth is much better, so I'm off and running again.

The other interesting piece of news is I'm embarking on dress making. Although I can whip out a toy, puppet or sculpture with the best of them, I have to admit that I've never made a piece of clothing from a pattern in my life. During uni I met a fashion designer by the name of Scott Cameron and he's been making anything I need since then. Which is great, and he's an awesome designer, but right now he's super busy. You see, my sister's getting married and she asked me to be a bridesmaid, which is awesome, but one of the first duties of being a bridesmaid is to get a dress. Bec, my sister, has asked Scott for his help (that's all I can say about that) but since he's so busy at the moment, he only had time to help one person. Because Bec is the bride and I'm only a bridesmaid, Scott is helping Bec and I had to seek alternative routes of dress getting. I went into a bunch of vintage stores but couldn't find anything in the right colour, size and material. So I contacted another dress maker I know, but she's currently working on Mary Poppins and doesn't have time to take other clients.

So I decided that this was all a sign that I should make my own dress. Something simple but pretty that would suit me.

We went into a material store the other day and found a pattern I liked, that looks pretty and will be flattering and looks sorta vintage but at the same time is SIMPLE. I figured that simple was a good place to start this whole making-my-own-clothes adventure.

It's taken me ages to find the material though. Bec wanted the bridesmaids in powder blue. She thought that would be a simple colour to find, but she was... well, wrong. I've been searching all the material stores I can find for weeks now and I've FINALLY found some beautiful material in a white and blue pattern but I had to go to the quilting section to find it! But now I have 5 metres of beautiful cotton printed material folded on the back of my chair and I'm all ready to go. Except I wanted some lace for the sleeves which I haven't bought yet, nor the zip.

And I think, since I've never made a dress before, that I should probably make a practise one first, before I use my hard searched for perfect material.

Sewing from patterns seems to me to be like baking. Cooking, and sewing like I sew, is just belting things together to make pretty. Sewing from patterns is like baking, that stuff has to be precisely measured or everything will go to wrack and ruin.

I just need to keep reminding myself to do it properly and not just be the bull at the gate my mother always said I was!

And somehow, that ties in with the start of this post! Amazing!

Friday, March 18, 2011

new commission - zombie class mascot

Gosh! I like a challenge, but this one is a doozie.

I've been commissioned by a Prep teacher to make her class a mascot. I've made a number of mascots in the past for classes, including a Ringmaster called Petey Barnam and a tree named Mr Barkly Tree (named by the kids in the class) but this time the teacher asked the kids what they wanted and they unanimously agreed that they want a zombie.

Cool! Cool kids (all aged 5-6) but tricky. You see, a zombie is an undead human or animal who's body is rotting and dropping off. How the green hell am I going to do that for kids, still give it enough details to make it look like a zombie but not too many gruesome details so that it scares the kids?

Research, my friends, research is the key.

I did a search on flickr for ZOMBIE SOFTIE... and these are some of the cool things I found

This cat zombie is from Flufftail and was found here. I like that it seems happy to be a zombie, which a lot of zombies don't seem to be. The green skin is certainly a zombie tell-tale sign and the scars are good, although also a bit pirate-y. The fangs and blood are cute but I don't know that they're ok for little kids. Even little kids who ask for zombies.

This guy is great too. He's by Freshmade and was found here. Again he's cute and not scary and doesn't look like he minds being dead and zombiefied.

You'll have to follow the link for this one, but I love the stitched circles around the eyes, which helps to show the zombieness of the guy. It does make him a look a little worried thou...

Then I stumbled across this guy, Herman2 from thEm doLLz. How great is he? The eyes pointing in slightly different directions and the size of the eyes relative to the size of his face makes him seem simple and happy rather than threatening and menacing. The heart also helps with his friendliness. The striped shirt also lends a Tim Burton feel to him, which is cool although I'm not sure that helps with the friendliness.

So that's what I need. A happy, friendly, unthreatening zombie who little kids wool deb happy to hug. And now I've figured out how to do it, with a little help from research.

Love it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, my friends

Ohh, I have been remiss! I've been hanging out at our puppet company's blog, Handmade By Computers ( and I haven't been visiting here much.

But this soon shall change! For there are rumblings underneath the surface of page 63 (does that mean that page 64 is rumbling? I dunno...) and things are moving and changing...

There's a few dreadfully exciting things going on here at HQ, and soon I'll be ready to reveal all.

But at the moment, check these out! I'm working on little monster puppets that I can take into the classroom as a relief teacher. So they have to be small and easily transportable, but still heart warming and awesome. I didn't want just a finger or a hand puppet, I wanted something special.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you too... Lily

OOO! Blogger wont let me upload the gosh darned photo... So click here to see her in all her beautiful, lilac furry form...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Owl in Spotlight new puppets

Greetings my friends!

I've had my head down and butt up sewing my Cinderella fingers to the bone for the upcoming show for Halloween. But I wanted to share a scene with you!

This is our heroine, Dort, stumbling across a scene from the Salem Witch Trials.

These guys are some of my current favourites. I love the flames and the pastor's bible.

Of course, often my favourites are whichever I've a) just made or b) my eye has just fallen on.

You can see a few more of the felt guys at our Flickr account.

I'm having a ball making them. Firstly I do a bit of research and find a spooky or halloween scene that I want to build, and then I set about creating it. It's been a really interesting process, unlike all other shows we've worked on, this time I'm making a bunch of guys and then I thrust them at Robert Reid (the other half of Terrible Comfort) and then he gets to weave them all together into a script. Usually the script comes first. It's be really exciting to see how it works from the images first this time!

Big fan of this show... We've had Peter Houghton in to pre-record all the voices and really, listening to him tell the story was a wonderful experience, just like having your dad tell you a bit of a spooky bedtime story.

I love my life.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

make an owl, be a part of the next Terrible Comfort show!

Good morning my friends!
I'm almost back up ad running on the blog, there's been major life changes and it's taken me a while to get organised again... But we're working on a new puppet show for Halloween this year and we're doing a call out for handmade owls... Read below!

Come one, come all… Terrible Comfort is working on a puppet show for Halloween this year called Owl in Spotlight (How Dort Taught The House to Behave). It’s at the Carlton Courthouse, which is an old courthouse that’s been converted into a theatre but still retains all of it’s period features and multiple doors for Halloween this year!

The storyline is eight year old Dort and her family have finally moved into their new home but the house is not too happy about it. In fact, it wants them gone and does everything in its power to scare them away. Hideous ghouls and nightmarish monsters emerge from the houses dark shadows but they haven’t reckoned with Dort. A fully trained monstronaut, Dort isn’t having any nonsense from the house and, along with her pet bunny Chuck Norris, she sets out to investigate and teach the house some manners.

Owl in Spotlight (How Dort Taught The House to Behave), uses hand and finger puppetry, diorama, digital sound design and a walking tour in a spooky back stage exploration of the theatres. Designed as a Halloween event, How Dort Taught the House to Behave is appropriate for all ages and encourages the child in us all to find the courage to reason with our fears.

To help with the ambiance, we want owls scattered everywhere throughout the venue. This is where you come in!

Most of the sofites we’re making are around 20cms tall, so our preferences for owls would be around 10cm to 20cmsish. The bigger they get, the further away from the action they’ll have to be positioned to keep everything in perspective. The individual owls wont have credits next to them, but you will be credited in the program. People who contribute owls’ll get a free ticket to the show, if you can manage a couple of owls you get double passes. We’re happy to give them back at the end, but we’d love them as donations to Terrible Comfort. We’re hoping to tour our shows around the place and Dort will be one in our repertoire.
We happy for any kind of owl, how ever you want it to look, whatever material you want to make it out of and whatever position you want it to be in (flying, sitting, standing, other…) We need the owls by about the end of September.

To avoid theft, we encourage you to add a little material loop to the back of your owl, and we’ll then screw/sew the little guys down and maybe even put little bells on them. YAY!

Please let us know if you’re interested in participating in Owl in Spotlight. and do feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

To see more of Terrible Comfort go to their website –

Terrible Comfort. We make our own fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

doin' time, the old fashioned way...

I'm currently off on an adventure, and totally without internet for a few weeks. Hence the radio silence. But rest assured I will be back in June to fill your screens with crafty goodness.

Until then, my friends....