30 June 2010

Zombie Bunnies and Fang Bows

So yesterday I shut off my phone and turned off the laptop for most of the day to get some designs done. More experimenting with stuff than anything else really. The most useful thing I learned was what a difference materials make. I bought some felt on a whim in Tesco to make some cupcake boxes but the cuts were too small so I ventured to my new favorite craft shop 'Tangled Up' to get some bigger sheets of felt. Yes, they were bigger but to my surprise the Tesco brand were way, way better. Now if only Tesco would make their sheets bigger :(

I made a few patterns, one for a zombie bunny and one for a bag. I was watching the third episode of the new series of Tru Blood while I was sewing and this gave me the inspiration for my fang bows.

Here's a few pics:

This was my first attempt at the zombie bunny with the felt I don't like. He's cute, but I think I'll keep him for myself to put on some random item of clothing as I wouldn't like to sell the little guy.

This was my second attempt with the Tesco felt. Much better. I like this guy alot ... he's going to go on a few bags I've been playing around with on the sewing machine. Might make some brooches from these as well and also play with the size and scale. They will eventually all be made from green felt with more zombie characteristics put through them, but I didn't want to waste my small cuts of felt on experimentations :p

My first attempt at the Fang bow. It's still a working progress as I might get some beads to drop from the fangs.

This is a bigger and prettier bow I attached the fangs to. I may play with the fangs more as I feel you wouldn't exactly know they were vampire teeth unless it was pointed out to you.

So, I've learned that most of my time is spent on experimentation. A note for myself for the future. But I know that once I have something figured out it can take me 10 minutes to complete when there's no mistakes, backtracking, or wondering where I can tuck that little piece out of the way.

Big smiley happy waves :)

Aoife x

A House Warming Present

One of my oldest and dearest friends, John, bought an apartment in Dublin about a year ago. Since then I've helped him Ikea-ise the entire place. I love his apartment and was set to live there with him this year, but life events took me on a different path.
He wanted an original commissioned Aoife Blake painting because he's my friend and he should damn well want some of my art :p
He told me he didn't care what it was like or what it was about as long as it was from me. So I thought long and hard and came up with this image of my mums hands. John is very religious and I thought he would like it. I took a few shots and he picked the one he'd like so I started to paint the one he wanted, which was this one:

I started the painting and as I went on I just didn't like it for his apartment. It would sit nice in his parents house, and maybe that's where the inspiration for this particular image came from because I always picture John in his house in Ballincollig.
So one day, while I was shopping with Dawn, I came across an image in a shop in Cork that was perfect for John's sense of humor. It was cute, a little dark, a very funny. I took the image from the shop and tweaked it with my own design. Hence his house warming present was born:

Now, if only he could get his skates on and have a proper house warming party I could actually give it to him :p

I think the birds are going to make a few appearances as I may have already started a few sketches for a collection of these. This one will never be re-done as it's for John and John only. <-- (John recently gave me permission/practically insisted on me painting more or printing card versions. Well, there ya go!)
Aoife x

KimDot, My New Shop Name

I have decided to set up a new etsy shop, with a new name. While I really like the name 'Original Button' I've decided to name my shop after my dog who died almost a year ago.

She was amazing. My niece is prone to seizures and Kim would always know when she was having one before we did. She would run to the side she might fall on and protect her. She always slept out side our bedrooms if we were sick and the clever little thing would smile. Yes, smile. Dalmatians are one of the only dogs that can do this. People would think she was growling but it was a big welcoming happy grin.

So, in honor of Kim the amazing dalmatian, I have re-named my shop KimDot. It's cute, it's short and it means something very special to me. My logo also clearly has hints of dalmatian in it ...

Aoife x

26 June 2010

Flowers and Bugs in the Back Garden

Today, myself and Dawn were quite productive in the back garden. We got a bit done before being convinced to go for a few pints by my cousin and a few of his friends. Of course the ant bites also helped our decision towards the pub.

I managed to get a few of my flower brooches done. I'm quite happy with them. I found some wonderful insect trinkets to put on the petals.

Available to buy here.

Available to buy here.

Available to buy here.

Available to buy here.

I really am proud of these little things. These brooches and more are for sale in my Etsy Store. Check it out :)

Aoife x

18 June 2010

Carousel Photography

When I was little I was obsessed with carousels. Well actually, I was obsessed with anything horsey (still am) and carousels just seemed to fit in. They were never as fun to ride as a real horse, especially my boy Georgie who was a 17 hand Skewbald Hunter. Gosh, he could gallop like a dreadsteed. He was amazing, perfectly graceful in the arena, beautiful jumper, but get him out on treks and he was an absolute beast! Loved my Georgie.
Even though no carousel can compare to that feeling, they did spur on your imagination something wicked. So you can imagine how excited I got when I came across this carousel in Waterford city ... and also my disappointment when I realised I had no camera and the carousel was packing up to leave soon :( ... but I managed to race back to Clonmel, grab my silly Nikon (that I'm not particularly fond of), and got back to Waterford to get these shots.

This pic was on my blog header for a while, it's one of my favorite shots I've ever taken. I got this when the carousel was closed down and myself and Dawn could climb all over it to get some lovely photos.

I adore these shots, I'm in love with the colours. These were taken while the carousel was stopped to let children on and off. It was very, very difficult not to include the kids in the picture, but thankfully i managed to snap a few without little people blurring in it.

Yes, motion. I'm a sucker for motion shots. Especially if it ends out with light streams. This was obviously taken while the carousel was in motion, which was handy as I didn't have to care if there were children on it or not.

This was the carousel reflected in a street sculpture in Waterford. It was made from a black, shiny surface so it reflected well.

This is a picture of me on a carousel in Paris a few years back.

There was a toy out in the late 80's early 90's where you collected carousel horses and built up to a beautiful functional Parisian Carousel. I can't remember the name of the toy and can't even find images of it anywhere. If anybody remembers it please please please remind me about it. I had loads of those little horses and they were so beautiful. I'd love to know the name so I can see about buying some again from ebay. Thanks!

I will be blogging alot more photographs and putting more up for sale in the near future. So watch this space!

Aoife x

07 June 2010

A Silly Little Thing I Made ...

My boy bought a van last week so I decided to make him a little stuffed van to put on his dashboard. Just to be thoughtful, ya know :)
It's a silly little thing, very rough and quick.
It was very cheap to make. I went to a charity shop/thrift store in my town and bought 6 white baby grows for 1 euro and a pair of child's shorts for 50 cent. I made out a rough pattern for the body and wheels myself and hand stitched the whole thing. I gave it some lights on the front, windows on the sides, and van doors on the back.

I think I have to make another one because he wants to hang two from his mirror, so when I do I'll get some nice picks of my lovely van in my lovely man's lovely van.

Aoife x

01 June 2010

The Common Thread Cafe

This little space has opened up in Clonmel in association with The Junction Festival. It's a little cafe/tea room called 'The Common Thread' and is open to any artist, craft maker, or other such creative types to sit and talk to one another. You are encouraged to bring in your projects and finish them inside to stimulate conversation and meet people who share your interests. The goal is to learn from one another ... I might teach someone how to paint and in return they might teach me how to crotchet. Fantastic!

Yes, that's the reflection of me taking a picture in the middle of the road. Whoops!

The inside is gorgeous! Very creative and welcoming with pretty decor and a few random bits and bobs.

This was Maria, the very lovely girl I was talking to today from North Germany. She was the volunteer that day. The cafe is non-profit and run by volunteers. The tea and biscuits are free, all they ask is for a small donation when leaving if possible.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this vintage Bush record player ... and it was working! It was broken when they first bought it but managed to get it fixed. We were listening to Los Hijos Del Rey, Fernandito Villalona. Fantastic music for this weather! It made me very very happy and kept me dancing while I was sewing my dolls. Here's a taste of their music, listen and you'll see what I mean :

I'll be spending most of my time in that cafe. I've been searching for a studio space for the summer for myself and Dawn to start making work, but there doesn't seem to be any need if I can just volunteer my time to this cafe and do my art with other creative people in a very inspiring surrounding.

I would encourage anyone in the Clonmel area to drop by and have a look. A lot of people passed the door today and looked too scared to enter. Some wouldn't go in because their friends exclaimed "I'm not going in there, it looks weird."
People in this area complain that there is nothing to do around town. But when something like this opens up they never bother to check it out or even give it a try. While today there was a few people inside, it was mostly empty and I think that is a huge shame. If this cafe was set up in Cork, Galway, or Kilkenny there would be lines out the door for a chance to sit at a table. I know for a fact that there is a lot of creative people in Clonmel who complain of not having an outlet or community to belong to ... well, if your one of those people here's your chance! Increase the popularity of The Common Thread before we lose it.

It's situated on Parnell Street. Close to Subway, across from Fieldmaster.

Aoife x

Valley of the (Handmade) Dolls ...

Have you ever moved forward in your work only to look back and say "why didn't I keep going with that project?" Well, that's how I feel about these dolls.
I started making them in my degree year and I was very excited about them at the time. This project began with disabilities and anatomical deviations, moved onto abnormal fetuses in jars and eventually ended with handmade 'disabled' dolls.
I won't go too much into it because I could talk about it all day, but in a nutshell the dolls were freaky, creepy, little things and I loved them.

The photos below are from my Degree Show Exhibition and the dolls are made with latex and sewn with suture wire.

I've decided to return to these beautiful little horrors, but with a make over. I intend to sell these online so I have taken out the deviations for now and focusing on experimentations with materials, patterns and themes. (Yes, I will eventually theme the dolls)

Here are some shots of the prototype:

I've decided to keep the stitching towards the outside like the originals I did in college. It's not as neat as machine stitching, or hidden stitching, but I prefer it. It lets me play with colours and design and keeps a little creepy edge to the dolls. But who knows, as I develop them I may change my mind?

Close up. You can see the red outward stitching. I've really fallen in love with the pattern on the material.

Unlike the latex version, these are soft and bendable. Some of my designs will be safe enough for children and infants, but because of some of the 'themes' I have in mind I think I should invest in some warning stickers.

More on this in the near future .....

Aoife x