Practical Creative…

Original illustration and  hand cut paper cut

Original illustration and hand cut paper cut

The creative one’s are always the fun one’s…even if you just don’t know it at the time.
I’m one part of the endearingly named ‘mad family’ as our friends used to call us, or the Safron from Absolutely Fabulous to a lesser extreme. I grew up in a creative family, it was far from the conventional families that mainly surrounded us and at the time and all I craved was to be that ‘normal’ kind of family. But now, many years on and with kids of my own to creatively inspire that couldn’t be further from the truth. The creative one’s are always the fun ones, even if you just don’t know it at the time.

According to my Mum, I knew how to sew a button on before I could talk properly, my childhood was spent creating and crafting. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t buy a piece of clothing with the idea of turning it into something else or adding something to it. I remember sewing myself into something ‘I just whipped up’ one afternoon, to only have to cut myself out of it hours later when I couldn’t get it my arms out of it or over my head. I remember my friends finding it funny, to me this was just normal.

I had a very conservative schooling and I tried my hardest to conform, to be interested in science, sport and maths but it wasn’t really for me. Don’t get me wrong, I use maths all the time, the simple basic or ‘veggie’ maths as we used to call it. I get it, it’s not hard but also, it’s not that interesting. To me anyway. Sorry to all you mathematicians out there reading an artists blog! I tried to conform in my younger days, even in the start of my working career and now I don’t know why I tried so hard. It is in your blood. You are either creative or not, there is no need to hide from it. Just embrace it.
Today I run towards the creative world and dive in headfirst. I’ve got some catching up to do. But I’ve also got some amazing experience being a practical person, I’m aware that it is good to have a practical side. I fought it for a while, but now it’s natural, so just call me a ‘practical creative’.

Just call me a ‘Practical Creative’…

Some days I just get a little bit excited. Today is one of those days.

Today I am rambling on behalf of someone else in professional basis and other than being a little nervous it’s pretty  exciting. It’s a great little group that supports women in the creative world and today my first post has gone live.

I learnt something about myself in writing this, I am someone who is creative with all the wonderful things that go along with that title but at the same time hopefully encompassing some of the practical traits of the left brained folk among us. Coming from a creative family I am very aware that being creative and practical doesn’t always come naturally. I am labelling this as being a ‘Practical Creative’ which I think sums up pretty much who I am. And I bet, if I look hard enough there a whole heap of ‘practical creative’s’ out there…

So go on, take a trip over to the Creative Women’s Circle and have a read. And if you’re a female in the creative world then why not take a deeper look and possibly join. 



The original is always better...or is it?


I’ve been toying with the idea of doing prints for a long time, but the artist in me has found it hard to get past the idea of the original is always best. For me it’s a bit like the movies or TV series, the first original is always better than the remake, the Japanese version of The Ring, the Danish version of The Killing all better the first time around!

But, I am acknowledging as my hubby says ‘I’m stuck in my ways’ and sometimes change is just that, change. For someone who lectures university design students to get ahead and be disruptive and innovative, I know that new is sometimes just god damn fantastic. But there are some things that I just really like the original way. And hopefully when it comes to art, the old fashioned, out dated crafts never truly die and the originals stay coveted.

So, as there have been requests for a print version of some of my pieces, I have learnt to ‘re-train’ my brain on how to use the Adobe Creative Suite, because it’s simply not good enough to scan it and print it. Trying to keep the hand crafted feel is really hard, because frankly, these programs do amazing things and it’s way too tempting to play around. I want to keep it real and authentic looking.

Maybe, just maybe, prints will evolve into something that I love as much as the original, however something tells me that I will always think the original is best. A bit like James Bond, but there is certainly room for Daniel Craig. That might be it, there is room for both but I’ll just always favor the original.

What do you think? Original or reproduction? Or both?

It’s time to say yes, to yes.

I have an all time creative hero, someone who when I saw them recently up front and in person walk past me, I got all nervous, nudged the person next to me and went ‘Oh my God that is Beci Orpin’. Like a nervous school girl, the sort of thing I’d expect a love struck teenager do when they saw Brad Pitt walk past…well maybe that is showing my age, they’re more into One Direction or Zac Effron…the one’s who get all shy and not scream like lunatics.

Beci Orpin is the sort of illustrator, creatively incredible woman who just makes creativity look so simple and cool. Not that I have ever felt that it wasn’t cool, but she really makes it look cool. Beci (I use her first name, with ease, like she’s my mate…I wish) was talking at another incredible wonderful creative woman’s Big Hearted Business ‘un’conference, Clare Bowditch. This ‘un’conference as they call is a two day event open to all creative people, is aimed at bringing creative people from all arrays of talent together to discuss how to do what you love and make money from it. If you’ve not heard of it, have a look, there are great tips and bits to take from her website. Check out the inspiration bombs, you might see my little hands doing a paper cut accompanying a couple of very clever people’s advice.

Anyway, back to Beci. She was talking about making it in the creative world and to seriously badly paraphrase, she said ‘at the beginning, say yes to everything. Do the jobs that might not be that exciting and take advantage of any opportunities that come about’. So, since I heard this, I’ve taken that quite literally and am saying ‘yes’ to ‘yes’. So if I get contacted about a new market, I say yes. This weekend I went to Bendigo, it’s almost a two hour drive away and normally I might say that is a bit far to go and weigh up the pro’s and con’s but I didn’t have to think about it as I’m saying ‘yes to ‘yes. It was worth the drive, such a beautiful creative town, a true indie market and so many people who really appreciated the art of paper cutting. And I don’t mean that this was financially great for me, it was ok but it didn’t matter I got so much more out of it because it was an adventure that I might not have gone on, had I not said yes.

I am pretty excited about where saying yes is going to take me. New adventures hopefully might lead into new opportunities. So here goes. Yes! Yes! Yes!

By the way, I never knew who Zac Effron was or why he was so popular with the younger ladies, until I saw Bad Neighbor recently at the movies. I kind of get it now. And that film isn’t as bad as it sounds, there are some seriously funny moments. Or LOL as my younger counter parts would say…I think.

Getting ready to put on a show.


Last Friday night was the art show, my first ever art show. Now I am an organised person, to say the least. To do lists, colour coding, check lists and timing plans all come naturally to me. I have always been that way, it’s my way for creating some sense out of the chaos that is the rest of my world.

So in theory I was ready for Friday a week before the event. I knew what I had to get done on the days leading up and to be honest it wasn’t much but it was all vitally important. Of course none of those things went to plan, my dear friend put some flyers together for me, printing those was one thing after another, in the end I only had 50% of the designs but at least I had some. My specially cut glass arrived six hours before the show, but it arrived. Luckily as my star pieces would’ve just had to have been sticky tapped on.

I spent ages designing my wall, I got some old fence panels from a construction site down the road, my Dad drilled them and made sure I could easily put them up with cable ties, I had some lip frame holders that I was going to then screw in and rest my frames on so I didn’t have to use the hooks for the frames. All good, all sorted. That was until I was setting up during the day and they were testing the music for the show, it was so loud not only did I almost jump out of my skin but my frames fell off the wall! They didn’t break but that was just pure luck. So with three hours to go and absolutely no tools or anyone to help me I had to come up with another plan. Thankfully my 2.5 year old was playing with the drill when my Dad was putting the fence posts together during the week and made a few extra holes. So a few bolt thingy’s and some string my frames where finally up on the wall and reasonably secure. I just went with it and it all paid off. 

So besides things not going fully to plan and the installation next to mine that didn’t work all night but still had two scary men dressed in SWAT gear with guns and masks making me feel a little uncomfortable it was a successful night. I sold the one piece I didn’t want to sell, but that is always the way. And, hey, who can really complain about selling some of your art. It’s always a bonus.

For a few more photo’s instagram or facebook


1,001 things to do and sewing sequins on envelopes isn’t one of them…



I’ve got a 1,001 things to do at the moment, prepare for an art show which includes actually creating the art, well more art. Enough to fill my little space, build that space and get all my printing etc sorted out. Plus prepare for the lectures I’m about to start giving at a design school and I mean make sure I know what I’m teaching! Eek. Plus my day to day life with two miniature people to entertain, a house to keep as messy as I can possibly get away with and a hubster that needs communicating with now that we’ve finished the final season of Breaking Bad. Which I am mourning a little, seriously, that was the ending?

But I stumbled across a little treasure of indulgent creative fun on Instagram the other day, an envelope decorating competition. In fairness, technically it’s paper still so I’m counting this as a bit of creative therapy to kick me back into reality and to get me drawing and paper cutting quickly and efficiently. Efficiently really means without cutting vital bits of the image off.

Because I do have so so so many things I should actually be doing instead I only allowed myself an evening of indulgence, where I got my paper and needles and thread out and just created. Apparently I was a child who could sew buttons before I could talk properly (that might say something about my mad crazy mother…) so some days sewing paper is just what I need to do. 

So I’ve been a little crafty, made a mess and been a different type of creative for a night. It was fun, I enjoyed it. Now back to reality.