Monday, November 26, 2012

Reclaimed jigsaw puzzle jewellery

It happened well over a year ago. I was op-shopping with a friend in Sydney's West. I saw a jigsaw puzzle with a strange image on the box. It was one of those old paintings with so many people and details, in really dark rich colours, almost ugly. But I opened the box and thought I love those colours, I could do something with that.

I thought, I'll make some jewellery, I'll find little images amongst the overall scene and I'll make them into brooches. I'll make use of all the different colours in smaller pieces for necklaces or earrings. 

The box sat in my studio for quite some time... I started doing the puzzle, it takes a long time! It does remind me of childhood, tackling some big puzzles with my family over the summer holidays. I think before I even finished making my prototypes, I had already started collecting other puzzles. 

I've spent nights on the sofa and afternoons in the garden, bent over puzzles... I've even tried to rope friends and relatives into helping me, I'm picturing puzzle parties... puzzling times ahead!

Check out some of the pieces I've made so far... more to come, much much more!

Awesome artists who reclaim and re-use

At Eveleigh Market I met a fellow cardboard afficionado... A customer showed me the cardboard handbag she'd bought from him, so I went to the other end of the market shed to check it out.

"I work with cardboard too!" We both started waxing lyrical... "I love it! It's simple but elegant... It's raw... It's abundant... I love the 'fluting' inside... yeah, the corrugations, I love the edges too!" Well, something like that...

His name is Jeff McCann... he's from Wagga Wagga but was having an artist's residence at Gaffa Gallery in the Sydney CBD. 

One of Jeff McCann's paintings on cardboard - image via Between the Sheets of Cardboard

Jeff makes cardboard handbags/satchels, they're folded into a delicious pillowy shape, with brown paper tabs along the sides. He says he likes cutting up the big brands and featuring bits of text and colour. I do that too in my collages. Sometimes he does that, other times he decorates with original drawings. My friend Kirsten bought one with a gorgeous Fox on the front.

Jeff McCann's flute handbags - image (left) via Photograph by Rory Madigan. Image (right) via Between the Sheets of Cardboard

Find out more about Jeff's work here at The Cardigan Threads Collective.

Jeff was sharing a stall with Nina Baker, from The Side Project. Nina's work is awesome! It's edgy and beautiful. Some of Nina's jewellery designs feature thin strips of metal collected from the street - they've fallen out of street sweeping machine brushes. 

I snapped one up at a previous market! It's got two strips of metal, some bright yellow teardrop beads and a tiny pearl, on silk thread. 

Read more about the street sweeper jewellery here - and also here

I also love The Side Project's brooches - photos printed onto aluminium sheet - quirky images like burlesque beauties from a bygone era, Australian scenes - street signs, suburban homes. More images here at

This one's mine all mine. Ain't she beautiful?!

Mind you, this is just the "side project"- more on Nina's jewellery here

That is one of the great things about doing markets - meeting other like-minded people who love to create. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Paper Now

Image: Bronwyn Berman, The Eternal Dance, 2011 Source:

Love this work by Bronwyn Berman, so really must try to get to this curated group exhibition at Incinerator Art Space - 2 Small St, Willoughby. It's on until 4 March 2012.

"Paper Now comprises thirty works by eleven Australian artists who share a common approach to their current practice through the use of paper as the primary medium... They cut, fold, stitch, etch, stamp, trace, draw and paint on and with paper highlighting the sensuality and fragility of this extraordinarily versatile substance."

Cardboard couture

Cardboard (and paper) is so versatile! There are so many interesting projects out there.

Here's a promotional campaign for the Laforet Grand Bazaar, in Harajuku, Tokyo:
Image source: Design Boom. Read more about the project and creative team here

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guerilla Crochet

Guerilla knitting hit Sydney a few years ago, and it still brings a smile to my face. The other day, I discovered some delightfully quirky guerilla crochet close to home, when I went out for an afternoon walk.

A lovely vine creeping around a wooden pole, with a mixed bunch of crocheted flowers and leaves. Love it!

Read more about Sydney's most famous guerrilla knitter, Denise Litchfield... and a little "how to guide" in case you get the urge!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hidden nature

Walking past a painted mural on a corrugated iron fence in Newtown, the deteriorating paint caught my eye. It was split, cracked and bubbled, with rust? Straight away, it reminded me of natural decay.

Then as I looked closer (with my camera), I began to see beautiful colours and textures, which again reminded me of nature...

...leaf veins... sun-baked mud...

...coral reefs... viewed from the air...

I got caught up for a moment in this hidden world.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Wandering on the internet, looking at other design blogs, so much out there to inspire!

Thanks to Matou en Peluche (Samantha Battersby), a Sydney artist who does lovely retro-style drawings, I saw these beautiful aerial photos of tulip fields in the Netherlands. 

Like a giant woven textile!

Images from here via here and here.