Friday, November 29, 2013

Pam de Groot, fibre and textile artist extraordinaire. Friday Friend.

When I first met Pam she was a potter and a very fine one too.
And then she turned her very talented attention to the wild and woolly world of fleece.
Pam is now a sought-after tutor of felting and natural dyeing and holds workshops all over the world.
She is special!
Meet Pam de Groot.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Pam de Groot and I am a fibre and textile artist. 
I work predominately with wool creating felt but also use a lot of hand dyeing in my work as well.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by many things but mostly by the natural world. 
The shapes and colours give endless rise to ideas for new work.

What is your signature or favorite item?

I have always enjoyed making hats. They can have so much personality. Each one has a different look and I rarely make 2 the same. 
I have a bag as my avatar on many things. It has been so popular that many people recognize that image. 
I have more recently been making clothing which I dye with bush and garden leaves.

What do you most enjoy doing?
I love most of all to experiment and play with new ideas. 
They don’t always work, or are not practical for sale, but the play leads to new concepts and ideas that do work and keep my work new and fresh. 
I find my field has had an exponential growth in the last 20 years and to stay current you must be on the cusp of the new.

What would you rather be doing?

I love my job.
I get to travel the world teaching and meeting new people. I have opportunities to explore my creativity, and justify it as “work” 

Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?

I hope to be still working in this field and exhibiting more. 
I would love to get enough work together in one place for a solo exhibition. - One day.

How did you start along this road?

I have been a Primary/ infants teacher and then a full time potter.
I came to this material after the birth of my third son. I love the flexibility of the medium and I can fit it around my family life.

5 words of advice?

1. Start small and test your market. Don’t over capitalise
2. Be aware of what is current. If you do badly at a market, it may not be you but you at the wrong place.
3. Be true to your ideas. Make your stamp on what you do. You want people to know your work anywhere.
4. Trust yourself and take a few risks
5. Find the discipline and make this a job. If you work from home set hours for work and hours for the other stuff in your life and stick to it.

If you are in Sydney you can find some of her work at the Craft NSW Gallery at The Rocks.
And in the Blue Mountains at The Nook Leura.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I've been working on.

Lovely, luscious bead necklaces.

Ready for the Millthorpe Markets on Sunday in the sweet little town of Millthorpe in the central west of NSW.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrate Lithgow

A few pics from my weekend market.
A very interesting day was had by all!

How was your weekend?

Monday, November 25, 2013

You can never have too much macrame, right?

Look what else you can make with macrame!
Look, look!

Fabulous colourful plant hangers by Rustic Blue 9.
You can see more of Susan's knotty work of her facebook page.

pot hangers by Rustic Blue 9
Here are the cutest little dolls made with recycled tshirts.
You can find out how to make them on Between the Lines blog.

puppets by Between the Lines

I just adore these lampshades by Sally England.

chandeliers by Sally England

Oh my word!
Look at this fabulous chair.
You can have one too - made to order by Majik Horse on etsy.

swing chair by Majikhorse
Or why stop at that?
Get a canopy bed as well!

bed canopy
Oh no, sorry.
It looks like you have to make your own but you can buy the pattern book from grammysyarngarden on etsy.

Maybe this is a bit more achievable -

something to do with shells.
Something to do with all those shells that the kids collect on holiday.
I found it on pinterest and the tutorial is supposed to be here, but I couldn't find it.

And last but not least - or maybe it covers the least!

found on babefart blog
Um, couldn't get any info on this one, but it's probably in some 70's craft book somewhere!

Are you inspired?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mel Jones and her fabulous Pochoir Art - Friday Friend

.....and now for something completely different!

Pochoir art!
"What is that?" I hear you ask.
I'll just let talented pochoir artist Mel Jones explain it to you.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Mel Jones, and I paint using a hand cut stencil technique that the French call Pochoir. I draw and cut all of my own stencils and create my art works as single stencil paintings, or multiple stencil paintings. I may use the stencils to create one to four different paintings, then I retire the stencil and create a new art work.

In between my stencil creating and painting, I also make recycled book journals from a wide range of antique to second hand books with recycled blank paper inside. They are great as diaries, art or inspiration journals or drawing books. They also make great gifts for all ages especially children.

Who or what inspire you?
I am inspired the most by Monet, and Margaret Preston. Although I find inspiration in a lot of local and modern art, and I also love social media like ‘Pinterest’ and the creative flow of art, craft, architecture and even food.

Your signature or favourite item.
I love to create large paintings, but to create a large stencil painting, 4 of 5 feet tall and 3 or 4 feet wide takes me months of preparation and hard work. Because of the amount of time I can only create one or two per year, and they always create interest.

What do you most enjoy doing?  
Painting, painting, painting, I would paint all day every day if I could!

What you would rather be doing?
Painting painting painting need I say more.


Where you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would like to only have to work part time so I can paint more.
How did you start along this road?
Desperation after my son turned 18 months old to do something arty!
Previously I had painted for many years with oil paints, but being toxic I had boxed them up and I wasn’t willing to get them out with a small child around.
So I went to an art class and learned about stencilling, I was immediately inspired by the technique and thrilled that I could use non toxic paints.
I haven’t stopped since - developing my own technique and style that reflects my vision of the Australian landscape.

5 words of advice for others.

Start small and inexpensive
Make sure you can pack it away and unpack it again to keep out of the kids reach – plastic lidded tubs are awesome!
If creating your own stencils for painting, start A5 size, this way you can finish it on a day to see the result
Be kind to yourself and your first efforts, remember you’re just starting out!
Turning your art works into gifts or cards for relatives at Christmas time is a wonderful gift to give anyone!

Anything else you'd like to add.
I'm teaching at Sturt in the Southern Highlands in January 2014. For more information please visit  but be quick as the workshop is nearly full.
You can find my work at The Nook Leura.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I've been working on - and using up fabric.

In an effort to expand my earring repertoire and at the same time use up some of my far-too-sizeable fabric stash I made some little button stud earrings.

They are easy to make.

They are a bit cute.

And because it is summer - sometimes - some more mixed bead memory wire bracelets.

Again I am joining in with Made by Hand on Christine Lowry Designs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Anyone for Macrame?

Who remembers macrame?
Me me me!
I remember pot holders made of macrame (the hanging plant pot holders - not the ones you use to hot cooking pots!) and maybe belts - they were a very 70's thing weren't they?

Now macrame is making a come-back and I am especially liking macrame jewellery - it's bright and fun and funky, from simple little bracelets -

orange bracelet by alexandrajewelryshop

irish knot bracelet by elwynjewelry

To amazingly complex creations incorporating gemstones and other beads -
macrame necklace by mabutirit

I'm very taken by these sweet little czech glass earrings -

beaded macrame earrings by glassdancer

The possibilities for macrame jewellery seem endless!

blue bead macrame bracelet by spiritysol

butterfly necklace by spiritysol
Would you like to try it?
Here's a nice simple tutorial for a beaded bracelet - shamballa bracelet on youtube.

Or something a whole lot more complex - but very effective, by beading4perfection also on youtube.

There is a whole site dedicated to macrame patterns (of course there is!) - free macrame patterns.
I was just blown away by the number of different knots there are. It is fascinating.

Making jewellery using macrame is also called micro-macrame, because you use finer threads.

According to wikipedia macrame has been around since the13th century and was first of all used by Arab weavers to make decorative bits and bobs.
It was also a popular craft amongst sailors - something to do during all those long boring days at sea! They used to make hammocks with it, so that was pretty useful.

So - off I go to find some long bits of thread and knot, knot knot away!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Suzanna Coombes - adventures in metal and stone. Friday Friends

I'm a big fan of the work of today's Friday Friend....I possibly own 3 of her rings and my daughter has earrings....and I could easily acquire more!
Not only that but she is a beautiful person.

Who are you and what do you do?

My names Suzanna Coombes, and I make jewellery from silver and semi - precious stones, some not so semi and some not  so precious.
I also do some lapidary and stone carving. My work has a strong focus on Australian stones ranging from local sapphires, opals and quartz, to the lesser know jaspers, agates and chrysopraises.

Who or what inspire you?

Beautiful things; colours, shapes, and ideas. Nature. All of it. Seeds, ferns, flowers and symbolic motifs.

Your signature or favorite item?

At the moment into faceted stones the bigger the better.
Rings, love big bold rings.

What do you most enjoy doing?

Figuring out how to make them big bold rings and gardening.

What you would rather be doing?

Eating but its actually possible to do both at the same time.

(I like Sue's style!)

Where you see yourself in 5 years time?

Good question don’t know the answer.

How did you start along this road?

I always loved making things, anything really. In the 80`s I went to a Drop In for young unemployed youth in Rozelle. There was a guy there teaching silver jewellery making, so I joined in.
Starting with a few tools at home I soon realised I needed some help and a lot more tools so I ended up at Randwick TAFE for 2 years to studying Jewellery design.
After a 10 year gap spent designing clothing and fabric prints I eventually rediscovered my silversmithing and haven’t looked back.

5 words of advice for others?

Eat lots of green vegetables and have fun.

5 things you would say to other new artists/crafters/home businesses.

Stop doing the house work, go make.
Turn the phone off.
Make set times for facebook (including candy crush) and stick to it.

To see more of Sue's work visit her on-line shop over at

You can follow her on facebook

Or if you are in the Blue Mountains you can see a selection of her designs at The Nook Leura.
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