I absolutely adore this book art by Kaspen! Created as promotional pieces for Anagram Bookstore, these works are real page turners (tehehe).
Such a clever fellow…
This beautiful Octopus Teapot is todays entry into the cabinet of curiosities. While I understand that it’s copper, and therefore you can’t really drink from it, the concept is wonderful.
The artist behind the teapot is Miel-Margarita Paredes, who also created the Luna Moth tea Infuser below. As the less appreciated cousins of butterflies, moths hold a special fascination for me. I even worked them into a hand embroidered corset.
New Zealand has weird weather. For anyone that’s lived here, visited here, or seen us on Nat Geo, the words “four seasons in one day” ring with truth. Currently we’re experiencing frigid mornings with more fog than daylight, creeping frosts, heavy rain and a moon that never sleeps, with a side helping of clear winter sunshine.
Monday decided to land on the rain and gloom side of things. I decided to check out the newly renovated Auckland Art Gallery. (The rain was kind enough to stop while I took this photo, which was great, as I’d already smacked myself on the head with my umbrella while trying to juggle it, my bag and my camera.)
The gallery is a classic French Renaissance style building – all intricate moldings and grand, curving lines. I can only imagine how proud the architects Grainger and D’ebro of Melbourne were when the original structure was completed in 1887.
While the gallery has been renovated before, in 1960, 1950 and 1971, the latest and most drastic changes were only finished last year. This includes the beautiful wooden roof at the gallery entrance (lookin’ snazzy in the photo below), as well as structural changes to give the gallery more space, earthquake strengthening and new education and cafe areas. They even have a nice big coat check area to keep your yucky wet umbrella in!
It’s amazing. The four hours I spent there were enough for a quick tour around the main galleries, but I can see a whole day disappearing in the future! Not only are some of my favourite artists represented - with Lamia by John William Waterhouse and Nor’ wester in the Cemetary by William Sutton – but some rare and interesting historic pieces and modern installations are on display as well. Environment III by Luc Peire was pretty cool, except I happened to be in there with two tourists with rather unsavoury scented feet…..ew.
Also, the Flower Chandelier by Choi Jeong Hwa is both pretty and enormous! The flowers look so happy as they inflate and deflate, eternally blossoming. Keep in mind that the yellow flower is a few metres wide, this thing is MASSIVE! You can see someone’s video of the sculpture in action here.
Of course the Victorian gallery is my favourite, but there is something for everyone, from pop art to early new Zealand works, to sculptures that really really question “what is art?”. While I could go on, I won’t. I will however tell you to get your cultured, intellectual arse to the gallery if you ever have a chance, and include a bunch of photos in the slideshow below.
This is one of the early sketches from when I was designing my signature Cog & Compass Beetle Belt!
Showing the detachable tails as part of a fishtail skirt, I was playing with the formality of tails and their appropriation into a feminine garment.
(You can also see a tailcoat and waist cincher developing).
As you well know, I later developed the tails independent of the skirt. Introducing a classic waistcoat shape with the mitred front and a corsetry influence in the shaped waist panels lead to an elegant and versatile garment, bringing formal masculine styling into a shapely feminine design!
This picture caught my attention.
It’s called ‘Library’, and is by an artist called Lori Nix. Her series The City depicts scenes from a post apocalyptic city.
I can’t say why I’m so drawn to it. Maybe it’s the concept of a library full of trees, the knowledge of mankind taken back by the earth. Maybe it’s just that the Library is actually a diorama ( about 20x24x72″ ), and we all know I can’t resist a tiny book!
Either way, once I followed the breadcrumbs to her website I spent a considerable amount of time perusing her work. Themes of destruction, loss and preservation are carried through the five galleries. Delivering a sense of unease, a dreamy surrealist feeling, or a quirky sense of humour, all her photographs are of dioramas she painstakingly constructs. Oh the patience that must require!
With the help of my extremely nifty new scanner I’ve been able to upload some of my conceptual sketches – works previously confined to the physical realm. I’ll be adding more of these to the Cog & Compass facebook page when I have a moment.
Some of these sketches are for garments I have completed, some are still conceptual ideas. Either way I hope you enjoy seeing how my designs start out…
Once upon a time, in a land not far from here, I was polishing silverware. The large ornate family heirloom type that seems to take forever.
I don’t know if you’ve ever polished silverware, but somewhere between frowning at smudgy cutlery and getting brasso all over my hands, I ended up looking at myself in the back of a spoon.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen your reflection in the back of a spoon. It’s fairly amusing when you’ve been inhaling brasso fumes for an hour. Your face gets all stretched and squished like silly putty. I found the Elizabethan-large-forehead-alien look to be most aesthetically humorous. Both for the slight historical context, and the fact it gave me a forehead like Tyyyyra. (See illustration below).
So my challenge for you dear reader, is to create your own self portrait in an unusual object. Be it kettle, car window or chrome your mission is to capture your reflection (and hopefully share it with me!).
I’ve been reviewing my creative process of late. Finding what works and what doesn’t, what gets ideas flowing and what leads to designers block.
Like many artists and writers, the blank page is my enemy. An expanse of clean white challenging me to fill it with something worth the ink I drew it with. Concepts that were clear and flowing in my minds eye become stiff, overworked scribbles.
To avoid the frustration of failed sketches and not-quite-right depictions, I don’t start with the designs anymore. I draw the whole character. Doodling bits and pieces that express the feel of the design. Adjusting and redesigning as I go makes for a far more organic process and cohesive result. Once the main concept is down it’s easier to fill in variations and develop the design to it’s final stage.
The image below is an example of this process. I wanted to design something raw and primal but inspiration wasn’t forthcoming. So I started doodling the creature who would wear such apparel – curling horns and twitching ears sprouted from a head of tousled hair. Large eyes and a derisive expression followed.
I wandered through the lands of my imagination. Where would this being live? What was its motive? A feral spirit, maybe bovine in origin (more buffalo than domestic cow) wreaking vengeance on those pillaging the earth? Perhaps an ancient deity clad in the skin of its animal form?
From this wandering and wondering Feral Spirit was shaped. A many armed animal deity clad in roughly sewn skins and a waister trimmed with teeth and talons.
This is how most of my designs begin – character first, clothing second. It makes more sense that way.