Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Paul Summerfield

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?I have been drawing for as long as i can remember, But my Passion for digital art started when we got our first computer, a Mac Plus. It had a greyscale screen and a very small screen but the possibilities seemed endless when using digital paint programs. This interest continued until i had the chance to Study at AIE in Canberra.
While Studying at AIE i was influenced by many different digital art forms and this where the basis for my style of Painting came about.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?The Juxtaposition of Urban and Nature in Cities really inspires me.
Music is something that allows new ideas to form.
Rooftop Gardens, Plants growing everywhere possible,
botanical Gardens and Rain forests and dreams.
A recent trip to Tokyo gave me the opportunity to experience and explore a metropolis first hand, i `m looking forward to seeing cities in China, korea and other parts of asia.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?The sharing of my work and stories is what keeps me going, i realized that i wanted to make art full time a longtime ago, but being able to support your self with your art is a long journey, but very interesting and enjoyable and its something i look forward to pursuing.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?A group of friends helped to make my first Solo exhibition happen, i feel indebted to them and it drives me to create work so that i can have another solo exhibition soon.
My Partner Lara and i Lived in Japan for a year, The ideas and inspiration from this adventure have had a huge influence on the direction of my work.
i am looking forward to going back to Japan too see friends and places that felt like home.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?The Canberra Scene is very friendly and supportive.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?Keep Producing work everyday.
Share and Collaborate with other artists and explore new media`s and art forms.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?I want my Art to become more interactive, i`m just waiting for technology to catch up with my dreams. i would like to be able to create work on a large scale digitally.
i`m looking forward to Touch screens that are meters in size and flexible so that work can be created with as much expressive actions as painters with a large canvases.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?There is so many types of digital art, so find a style that resonates with you and build on that.

What tools do you use in your Art Practice?I use a Mac laptop, desktop Pc, graphics tablet, Photoshop, Illustrator, sketch books, Pens and Paper and i really enjoy going to cafes and exploring places to get new ideas, also i love to listen to music while working.

URL http://www.ageofwonder.org

Sunday, December 6, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Katie Dawson from MissChief Maker

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?14 months. Since Beginning Oct 2009. I got started because my mum decided to reconstruct a few baby girl dresses with vintage bits and they looked so lovely……we started from there.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?Being back in Canberra, having a baby daughter, needing to be more sustainable from an environmental perspective and I needed to divert from my previous professional life inspired me to create MissChief Maker.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?When I felt a sense of balance and satisfaction with my life and family.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?A creative mother, she always has the attitude ‘I can do that’, my love of food and being creative with that, an appreciation of the finer things in life, I love shape, colour and form.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?Growing, clever, exciting.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?How challenging it is to get customers in the door! As a retailer, I’m in a very unique location, nestled in the trees in a plant nursery in Pialligo. It’s relaxing and serene but sometimes people don’t know there’s a real treasure of handmade goodies lying amongst the trees

Where would you like to take your business in the future?I would love to expand to stock more and more beautiful handmade goods and have Canberrans appreciate handmade. I would also like to be known in Canberra as stocking the best quality pre-loved children’s clothing.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Market Coming to Canberra

About us:

VI Ambition Support Incorporated (VIASInc) is a not for profit organisation which seeks to make the lives easier for people undergoing difficulty. In addtion we are commited to opening the 'door of opportunity' for those in the community who otherwise would find it difficult to reach their goals. One example is the promotion of local creative artists and artisans. Our goal in the promotion of local creative artists and artisans is providing commercial avenues for local creative producers such as the upcoming City Walk Expo.

VIASInc established and is launching the forthcoming 'City Walk Expo' which is due to begin early in 2010, to be held every Saturday of the year in Civic and will showcase creative talent of the Canberra region specifically local artists, artisans and fashion. By delivering a platform to our clients (the Stallholders) we are allowing them to achieve recognition and derive income through what they make. Our aim is also to give a regular splash of entertainment, excitement, colour and vibrant atmosphere in the centre of Canberra. This event will be enjoyed by the young and mature alike, and provide the opportunities for individuals to be creative and showcase their talents.

Proceeds of the event will flow through to VI Ambtion Support Incorporated.

Some of the projects currently undertaken by VIASInc include:
 Assisting in the direct relief of poverty and homelessness;
 Assisting with the integration into society of persons who have been released from correctional facilities by providing jobs training, opportunities and other services such as welfare assistance;
 Creating a refuge for men and women in domestic crisis in the ACT and NSW;
 Establishing an advocate's office in the ACT to provide financial and counselling support (eg. payment of utilities for those who cannot pay their bills & counselling for people in need); and
 A clinic with specialist treatment for people living with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.).

CITY WALK EXPO – staying with the times, creating for the future

Dates and contact details will be published once confirmed. Watch this space!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Tamara Russell

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?
I’ve been creating art since childhood with handmade mother’s day presents and then learning how to make my own clothes in high school. I learnt how to spin on a summer holiday and from then on have had a passion for all things textile.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?The most inspiring thing to me has always been nature. It’s something I will never grow tired of exploring as there’s always something new and incredible to discover. I love taking masses of photographs of landscapes and then using all or part of the images to create my work.

My belief in ensuring that my lifestyle is sustainable has led me to look at ways of ensuring that my practice is environmentally responsible. The majority of my products are made incorporating upcycled or reclaimed materials. Wherever possible additional materials are 100 percent natural and sourced locally.Working with recycled and upcycled items is always an enjoyable challenge and due to the nature of my ‘finds’ this ensures that no two items will ever be the same!

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?I knew there was something else I should be doing with my life when I returned to full time work and now I dream of being able to be a full time textile artist. I currently work part time and find that my textile art is like therapy for me. I love my time spent in the studio - so watch this space!

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?It’s always the simple things in life that are the most inspiring. Things like going for long walks, exploring rainforests, the beach, cloud watching, listening to music, stargazing, visiting antique shops and art galleries, sitting in silence and listening to the noises around me…It all influences my work in some way.
How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?

Canberra has some really amazingly talented people. It has really come out of its shell in the last few years and with the CanberraHandmade.com, Canberra’s Got Style, Bus Depot market, Canberra Handmade market and now CraftACT shop I find that it’s high quality craft is much more accessible now.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?You have to keep working at it every single day and constantly push yourself to get your work out there. You also realise very quickly that it’s not like a regular 9-5 job. You don’t leave the office in the afternoon and switch from work mode to play mode. You never really get a break from it. Ideas come at three in the morning, or walking the dog or when you’re cooking dinner, whenever and wherever. You have to really love it because it becomes your life.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?
To the National Gallery! Ah just kidding – but I would love more contemporary textile work to be displayed. I would love to be able to walk into stores and see my work on sale all over Australia. But for now it is the markets and working on Canberra outlets.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in yourself, be patient, be honest, be brave and be determined. Also, don’t be deterred by criticism


Friday, October 23, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Jenny Manning - Knitaquilt

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?For as long as I can remember I have knitted, crocheted, woven, wrapped, drawn and painted. I completed a degree in Sculpture from the Canberra School of art in the 1980s during which time I challenged the orthodoxy by weaving and crocheting with rope rather than welding in steel

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?I am interested in creating textiles that can be used in a variety of ways. Hand knitted mohair rugs are light and warm and offer me opportunities to explore my interest in pattern and colour while creating a practical object

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?I have always been involved in making things as a counterpoint to an exciting, stimulating but consuming life as an educator at the National Gallery of Australia. I spent 24 years there and have just completed my first year of retirement during which time I have explored my creative potential with great energy

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?Working for so long with a marvelous collection of Australian and International works of art has given me a critical eye for excellence and an interest in creating original and unique works of art

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?Vibrant

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?I am still learning and have many fields to explore both for my business KNITAQUILT and for my painting and drawing practice.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?I would like KNITAQUILT to be a successful business. Knitting patchwork quilts is a very satisfying, meditative and soothing activity. I have sold many kits in the past and have run workshops demonstrating techniques. Scores of individuals have made their own rugs from my kits and I hope many more will do so in the future.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Look at a successful traditional technique, learn the basics and then add your own approach keeping in mind both marketability and aesthetic sensibility

URL www.knitaquilt.com.au for knitting kits www.jennymanningdesigns.blogspot.com for artworks

Monday, October 19, 2009

Re-Loved 2

Fashion parade and display. Sounds like a lot of fun. Commences 6:30 Thursday 22 October Craft ACT Gallery 1 & 2

Highlighting the innovative concepts of recycling fabrics for fashion of which I am a true believer!.

New Spring/Summer 2009 collections:
Hayley Wandett-Smith (Hayley Caroline)
Polly Stokes (Polbymade)
Karen Lee (The Renlee Label)
Georgina Edwards (George)
Hanny Dewar (handmade by hanny)
Lee Dewar (Craftilee)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cranleigh Art Show - Works for a cause

Cranleigh School, Starke Street Holt

Over 60 artists from Canberra and the surrounding region have entered
Over 200 high quality works for sale including paintings, photography, ceramics, jewellery and textiles
A range of beautiful children's artwork also for sale

Opening Times Opening Night - Friday October 16 - 7-9pm
Saturday 17th October 10am - 4pm
Sunday 18th October 10am – 1pm
Sunday 18th October 12 Noon - Raffle Draw, People’s Choice Award & Last Chance Auction

Standard Ticket Prices:
$12.50 per adult pre booked, $15 per adult at the door (children free)

Prices for families of Cranleigh students:
$10 per adult pre ordered, $12.50 per adult at the door

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Markets for Canberra

Starting this Friday 9th October at 5.00pm is the fabulous new Limited Summer Twilight market to be held at the Old Parliament House.

It is not very often that you will get to see stunning stalls in such a stunning location. There will be lots of Handmade items up for grabs in time for Christma!

The Market will be held at the same time as double happiness (happy hour) on a Friday evening once a month starting on Friday Oct 9th. 5pm - 9pm. Check it out


Starting 28 November is the City Walk Markets. These will be held every Saturday from 9.00 - 5.00. More information to come

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fibre, Naturally

A fabulous new show is about to open at the Belconnen Arts Centre marking the International Year of Natural Fibre.

Artists Carol Divall, Janne Goodes, Penelope Lee, Helen Roberts Hill, Susan Peterse and Peter Travis will all be exhibiting. Exhibition opens 6pm Friday 2 October and continues till 18 October. The Belconnen Arts Centre is open 10 - 6pm Tuesday - Sunday.

In conjunction with the exhibition there will be a paper making workshop 8.30 - 12.30 and a book binding workshop 1.00 - 5.00pm Saturday 10 October along with Artist's talks at 3.00 pm Saturday 3 and 17 October. To register for the workshops email susan@oryxpaper.com.au

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rotary Art Exhibition

Rotary Queanbeyan West Club and Art Society Queanbeyan are holding an Outdoor Art and Photographic Outdoor competition, exhibition and sale 19th - 27th September. The event will be held opposite the National Portrait Gallery (same area as Canberra Times Outdoor Art Show).

Celebrate community, spring and sustainability at the Inner North Community Fair

This Sunday 20 Sept 11am-3pm Come and celebrate community, spring and green lifestyle choices at the first Inner North Community Fair on Sunday 20 September from 11am – 3pm at the Banksia St wetlands site in O’Connor (next to the tennis courts). Please see the attached flyers.

The Fair will be powered by solar panels whilst organic waste collected on the day will be composted at the ANU. There will be over a broad range of over 40 exhibits, products and activities on the day.

A wide range of community based organisations will be on hand, including Conservation Volunteers Australia, Molonglo and Ginninderra Catchment Groups, ACT Conservation Council, Inner North SEEchange and the North Side Community Council.

One of the highlights will be a display on the proposed Banksia St wetland hosted by the Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water. The wetland has been designed to improve catchment water quality and to increase urban habitat. It will be Canberra’s first retrofitted urban wetland to incorporate an ephemeral section, that dries out in summer. Staff will be on hand to discuss the proposal and the formation of a wetland carer group. The wetland presentation will be powered by Solartec’s solar panels.

There will be plenty on offer for garden lovers. Seeds and Plants Australia and Provincial Landscapes will have a range of locally grown native plants for sale, including wetland species. Canberra Organic Growers will provide advice on producing fresh vegies. For the back garden chook keeper, Uncle Joe’s mobile chook runs demonstrate how breeds like bantams can be incorporated into small gardens. Organic waste generated on the day will be collected and composted using the ANU’s Hot Rot system. Once processed, the compost will be used as a natural soil improver on the shrub beds surrounding the wetland.

Community group, ACTotherwise, will coordinate a clothes swap and encourage attendees to bring along their clean unwanted clothes.
Other stalls of interest include a reptiles and electric car display.

Vicki Parsley will demonstrate indigenous weaving methods using dried reeds whilst local musicians will entertain the crowd. Children will be invited to take part in a community art project, run by a local artist and designer. They will decorate terracotta tiles with images relating to the environment. These tile will be fired and installed into the footpath adjacent to the pond.

There will be a variety of foods for sale including bush food, vegetarian curries and a sausage sizzle.

Event Details
Date: Sunday 20 September 2009
Where: Banksia St, O’Connor
Time: 11am – 3 pm
Cost: Free Entry
Organisers: Inner north SEE Change & Ginninderra Catchment Group

Monday, September 7, 2009

Handmade in Bloom

Switch to Green Conference and Expo this weekend

A busy weekend ahead in Canberra. First we have the Switch to Green Conference and Expo. Lots to see and do!

Drop by the Expo on Friday 11th or Saturday 12th at the National Convention Centre to see the latest green technology and products.

Join the sessions in the green loungefor practical advice and ideas and participate in discussions about how to make Canberra Carbon Neutral.

WHO’S EXHIBITING? From solar panels to sustainable clothing, from organic skin care to electric vehicles, the Switch to Green Expo will showcase the bestin green ideas and products. For a full list of exhibitors, visit the website!

RENEW, REUSE & RECYCLE ART PRIZE Take part in this years Switch to Green Art Prize and have your work displayed. The Art Prizewill be judged by prominent members of the Canberra arts community.

SUSTAINABLE FASHION AT SWITCH TO GREEN Be a part of the Sustainable Fashion clothes swapat the Switch to Green Expo on 11&12 September.Get great ideas from experts, and revamp your wardrobe at the Clothes Swap. For all information about ‘What’s on at the Expo’visit www.switchtogreen.unaa.org.au

EXPERT INSIGHTS! The Switch to Green Conference is a great opportunity to hear from a line up of International and National speakers including:
Achmin Steiner(Executive Director, UN Environment Program),
Robert Hill(Former Ambassador to UN/ Chair of Australian Carbon Trust) and
Melinda Dodson(President, Australian Institute of Architects)

Join the debate for CARBON NEUTRAL CANBERRA Attend this years Switch to Green Conference, and be a part of the lively discussions that will help lead Canberra towards a sustainable future. Gain a greater understanding of the renewable options, energy efficiency, and efficient transport, and help draw the roadmap for a Carbon Neutral Canberra!

Visit www.switchtogreen.unaa.org.au for the programBE

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arts Fiesta 2009 - This Weekend

Opening Times
Friday 4th September 3.30pm - 7.30pm - Official opening 5.00pm
Saturday 5th September 9.00am - 4.00pm

Gold Creek Senior Site - Kelleway Avenue, Nicholls

Entry Fee
Family $10.00
Adult $5.00
Child $2.00

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Support Cuppacumbalong

Recent discussion in the Canberra Times highlighted the threat to Cuppacumbalong as a community heritage asset.

Please support the petition to protect Cuppacumbalong's heritage and arts and craft purpose. Sent to all people who you think could support it too


Friday, August 28, 2009


How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?
Have always been creative, but now I am retired I also have the time. The last two-year has been full on trying new things-decoupage earrings, designing boxes and silk scarf painting. Have created so much I have had to open on line stores to share my work with others.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?
I love color and texture especially in paper, just love Japanese Yuzen paper and have created several decoupage earrings and pendants using this lovely paper.
My obsession is decoupage, taking beautiful papers and creating glass-like unique pieces. The joke in my family is if you stand still too long Mum will paper you as well.

I do not go for traditional designs such as floral and angels, love Art Deco and Art Nouveau, and interesting color combinations. I also use leaves and flowers, fabric or just my own watercolor paintings.

Items that I decoupage are include boxes and coasters, jewelry and glassware. My favorite medium is canvas, creating a painting using various papers and other materials or a collage.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?
When I retired it became a natural progression to develop my existing skills with experimentation.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?
One area of experimentation was flame glass bead making, which I enjoyed and was reasonable good at, but the cost was more than I could handle. I still move in those circles and I get inspiration from the color combinations that some of the glasses naturally create. There is a hypnotic effect to the molten glass and I achieve a similar feeling with the flowing varnish.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?
Canberra has so many talent artists but sadly they are mostly unknown.
There are several Arts outlets which are relative unknown such Strathnairn and Benedict House.

It is difficult to find sales outlets or opportunities. Galleries charge such large commissions. Maybe we need to band together and hold our own Art Show, let people know we exist.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?
Having to create items to a deadline for an Art Show or to fulfill an order, takes some of the joy of creativity away. In an ideal world you create to your hearts content, then simply place in a store and sell. Sadly this is unlikely to happen.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?
I am happy to sell enough to pay for my materials and maybe a little extra for myself. I still want to experiment with different mediums. I am happy with my range of Arts-color being the connection.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be patience; get yourself known, and prefect your art. Mix with like-minded artists for inspiration.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inner North Community Fair

Sunday 20 September 11am - 3pm
Banksia Street, O'Connor (next to the tennis courts)

- Planned wetland display
- Eco stuff and Eco advice - green energy, seeds & plants, water tanks etc.
- Sustainability organisations and programs
- Local and organic food
- Vibrant entertainers
- Children's activities
- Volunteering opportunities
- Craft market - contact Hilary Thomson [eliya_charlotte@mac.com] for more information how to hold a stall

Presented by the Ginninderra Catchment Group and Inner North SEE-Change

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Kathy Geurts, Studio Amara

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?Ive been creating art since I was three, in my Mum and Dads restaurant walking around with my paper and pencils.More serious art came in school then it was off to design college to get my degree. Then I opened my corporate design studio and found that people were prepared to pay for my design! After 23 years though I found it was no longer art and that’s how I discovered the mixed media jewellery and contemporary clays that I'm into now.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?
This is a difficult question because as every creative person knows, there is not just one point of inspiration or influence. What influences me mainly is the amazing forms in nature and being a Gemini Im very much influenced by what is happening at that point in time. Ive just come back from Greece and Turkey so that seems to be featuring heavily with me at the moment.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?I did not realize that I would become a jewellery artisan until two years ago. I always thought I would be a landscape designer until I learnt I needed to study chemistry then I decided to switch to interior design. After applying to Randwick TAFE for their interior course and being told that I would be more suited to graphic design my path was carved out. Working within a commercial world where the client chooses what is good design and not I began to feel I was no longer creating and this drove me to seek out a new creative direction that would once again feed my soul.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?Being around children and looking at how they see the world. Studying with other teachers and learning too from the others at these classes.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?I think the Canberra scene is very sophisticated. I love the variety of artisans working in the area. In fact I feel that overall the standard of design presentation in Canberra , ie at the market scene is far superior than what is going on in Sydney.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?Believe, believe in yourself at all times. Do what makes you happy not someone else. If you are not passionate about a piece of design and art you are doing then don’t do it as it will only be second rate anyway.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?I would like to have my work represented in more galleries around Australia. While my work has become well known in the Southern Highlands I would like to create more presence in Canberra and Sydney.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?Again, believe in what you are doing, its normal to have self doubt but don’t let it stop you! Always research your market, networking is so important as we can't create in a void. Continue your training and education always as you must never stop growing.

URL www.studioamara.com.au

Thursday, August 13, 2009


How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?I have been writing for over 20 years; my first magazine article (Dolly) was published in 1988 and my first book (You Name It, Hodder Headline) was published in 1995. I’ve written in many genres including script and playwriting, fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, reportage, interviews, reviews and children’s books. I have also written and taught various workshops. I’ve written for Time Out, beijingkids, City Weekend, and currently write for Australian Women Online and Little Star magazine (Beijing).

I decided to self-publish two books just before leaving China in January of this year… I had not planned on this – it is something that just unfolded and the success of both books has been beyond my wildest dreams. Beijing Tai Tai (a tongue in cheek memoir of family life in Beijing) and Riley and the Sleeping Dragon (a unique multimedia children’s picture book) are still selling out in China and are now being distributed Australia wide. I’m currently writing the second book in the Riley series and it’s been one of the most rewarding projects of my life.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?I live to write and my inspiration comes from everyday life – from the smallest things that people do and say; from the things I see. I’m heavily influences by aesthetics – beauty, colour, nature, photography, film – and of course – books. I read prolifically and am constantly inspired by what I read. I also find I’m inspired and influenced through travel – the sights, sounds and cultural disparity I’ve experienced over the years have injected much flavour to my work.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?I’ve always written and have always dreamt of being a respected author. My first piece was published in elementary school. Alas, I’ve also been an easily discouraged and self-doubting person. As a consequence, I’ve wasted a lot of my working life doing ‘other things’.

Writing is not a well-paid, easy profession – it is unpredictable, unstable, and full of rejection. It wasn’t until we moved to China and I had the opportunity to write so productively and fruitfully, that things really took off. I had over 220 pages of magazine and internet articles published in just 16 months, and also wrote, self-published and marketed two books in that time. It was a surreal journey and the results have been absolute confirmation that I’m ‘meant to do’ this. Finally!

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?
Becoming a mother and the confidence and sense of accomplishment that has brought me. Also, the small hardships I’ve been through – I have been determined to twist them into positives. I really feel I have earned the right to do what I love and to succeed at it. On top of loving what I do, I really want to do it for my kids and leave them something memorable and special. I want to show them that you can follow your passion and succeed, no matter the obstacles.

Receiving feedback and responses to my work has been an incredible boost to me as a writer, and this continues to shape my work in a wonderful way – it not only brings me confidence, it makes it all worthwhile. Positive comments or reactions are indelible and continue to absolutely shape who I am and subsequently what I write. Having people appreciate or even grow from reading your work is an unbelievable feeling.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?Having come to Canberra from one of the world’s most exciting, artistic and design-rich hubs, I am absolutely astounded at the eclectic mix of talent in Canberra. Who would have thought it? I am so impressed and inspired by the creative women I’ve met, in particular, and I’m also delighted by the mutual support being shown to artistic people, right across the board. It’s really exciting to see a resurgence in, and a renewed appreciation for, all things handmade. There are some very clever people here.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?I’ve learned I can do this. I can do what I love and I can succeed, and people can love my work. It’s one of the most amazing learnings I’ve ever experienced. Simple but true. And it’s something I want to teach my children.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?I dream of becoming a household Australian name in children’s and adult literature. I would like to infiltrate (don’t tell the Chinese, they don’t like spies!) the children’s book market in China and write directly for Chinese children. The current children’s literature setup is about to blossom in a wonderful way and I’d love to help that happen and be one of the first Western writers to enchant those beautiful kids.

I want to expand my Kids Book Review website into something teachers and parents all over the world can use as a resource. It celebrates existing and new talent in children’s literature and includes news, reviews, interviews, authors, illustrators and information on publishing. I already have several contributors, which is wonderful.

I also have a super dream of heading my own magazine, something I’ve been working on for some time. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on making my first Riley book into a series.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?It’s so easy to just say “go for it” and don’t let anything hold you back; that is a given. But I also say that the timing must be right. I wasted a lot of time in Beijing before getting into my writing again but I often wonder if I would have succeeded so well if I’d started things earlier. You have to be ready and you have to ‘ready’ yourself. Educate yourself, research things intently and then systematically set about your work. If you just throw yourself and a tonne of cash into things without a thought for what you’re hoping to achieve or where you’re going, you could waste a lot of time, money and creative energy. Focus is a huge component to success.

The other thing I’d say is be prepared to work your guts out. Be prepared for setbacks. One of the best things I learned on this seemingly insurmountable journey of self-publishing from China is that each time I stared in terror at the mountainous obstacle in front of me, I just put my head down and burrowed right though (hyperventilating all the way!) and absolutely refused to let it beat me. I am still, to this day, astounded at how these very large obstacles just peeled away of their own weight. I still can’t believe it. We can be powerful when we believe, unfailingly, in what we are doing.

Be like the ‘little engine that could’ and just keep powering along. Do not give up. Do NOT give up. Each time you get scared, fire up that old classic – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

Riley and the Dancing Lion: A Journey Around Hong Kong will be released in time for Christmas. See my website for updates.

www.taniamccartney.com http://taniamccartney.blogspot.com http://kids-book-review.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Julie Gianotis of Julie G Photography

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?I’ve been painting for around 14 years and photographing for 6 years. I began photography by assisting a wedding studio in Sydney. This provided an incredible learning experience which has become the foundation of everything I know today.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?With my personal work which is mainly abstract and still life work I am inspired by abstract and repetitive forms in nature. My favourite painters are Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch and Cezanne. My inspiration for my portrait photography is the challenge of capturing some depth of emotion in my images together with great backgrounds and lighting. I try to create a connection for the viewer so that they feel as though they want to be involved in that moment I’ve captured.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?When I was sitting in a well paid office job on the 20th floor of a building in Sydney. At the time I was studying photography and selling my paintings part time. I knew I had to get out of the office and determined I was going to become a photographer somehow.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?I think having a background in painting has been a very strong influence in the way I think about photography. Also, my interest in portrait photography comes from a fascination with people and psychology. I enjoy interacting with people and encouraging them to let their guard down for just that moment to make emotive images with impact. I think one of the most important parts of image making is how you relate to people.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?Since moving here last September I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the incredible mix of highly talented and creative people I’ve encountered.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?That networking is vital and that business skills are essential. I don’t think it matters how good an artist you are, without business and marketing skills you can only go so far.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?I’d like to be continually challenging myself by developing my personal work and I’d like my portrait photography business to continue to grow. I would also like to return to painting in the not too distant future.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?That perseverance and determination are vital. I could have and probably should have given up a thousand times. But when you know what you’re supposed to be doing you just keep going no matter how bleak things can appear at the time. I think staying focused on where you are going and having a supportive network around you is also very important.

What is new for JulieG Photography?
I was recently chosen as one of 30 photographers worldwide to appear in a book entitled “Real Colors of My Life”. The competition was held by Datacolour in Switzerland. The book is now for sale through Blurb Bookstore, please visit
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/750811 Proceeds of the book sales will go to an orphanage in Chile.

Julie G Photography now offers pet portraits to clients within the Canberra Region combining Julie’s love of animals with her passion for portraits. And last but not least I now offer “Photography workshops for Beginners” providing One-on-One Tuition for those who would like to get more out of their camera and learn professional insights to dramatically improve their photos. Photoshop tuition is also available.

Julie G Photography will be at the next Handmade Market so pop by and say hi.http://www.juliegphotography.com.au/

Monday, August 3, 2009

Calling all Baby & Children Handmade Designers

Leading Melbourne children’store bebe, is holding a competition enabling three winners to advance their handmade product/s beyond the craft stall and into a live store environment.

Three talented first prize winners will receive mentoring support/assistance to get their product commercially prepared for retail trade. This will be followed by 3 months of Christmas trade in-store presence at bebe’ shop front store in Toorak Rd South Yarra and its website www.bebeonline.com.au

The handmade product must be modern, unique and functional, in line with bebe’s product offering. Categories include handmade children’s bedding, toys, d├ęcor, gifts, accessories and parenting products.

Whilst winners should not quit their day job this year. they must be ready to embrace the busy Christmas period as their product is given the big break into retail.

Competition runs from August 1st 2009 – September 7th 2009. Product sample to be sent for review by August 31st 2009. For entry categories, selection criteria and prize details go to www.bebeonline.com.au

Monday, July 27, 2009

FEATURED ARTIST - Spin’N’Knit Fibre Design – Sue Collins

How long have you been creating art and how did you get started?Dyeing and hand spinning evolved during breeding of alpacas which started in 1999. With which Spin’N’Knit Fibre Design was introduced to the cottage craft industry, to incorporate more hand dyed wool and fibre. Together with alpaca fibre and yarn.

What is the main inspiration and influences for your work?With commercial yarn and man-made fibres, it has become harder for the natural fibres to compete. Our focus became more on natural fibres including alpaca, wool, silk, mohair and other blends. Alpacas are becoming more integrated into the fibre market thereby promoting it.

When and how did you realise, this what you wanted to do with your life?Have always been interested in craft and how versatile it is, but working hands on with fleece and appreciating its beauty, brought about a challenge to liven up otherwise duller colours.

What other areas of life have shaped your work as an artist?During earlier years of spinning alpaca and wool, I won Championships at a National level. In March 2004 at the Robertson Show, I was awarded Supreme Champion for both spinning and knitting in the Alpaca Wool Crafts.

How would you describe the art & design scene in Canberra?
The art and design scene is evolving to greater heights and more talented groups of people unite in joining its focus of art and design. This also encompasses people in rural regional areas.

What have you learnt most about establishing yourself as an artist?It takes time to establish oneself as people become acquainted with the type of art you have on offer.

Where would you like to take your art in the future?Introduce more items that will help other create their own art.

What advice do you have for other artists hoping to follow in your footsteps?
With all things, it takes time, and finances. Take one step at a time and not be dazzled.

Spin'N'Knit will also be at the Craft and Quilt Fair in Canberra from 6 - 9 August so pop by and say hello.
URL http://www.spinnknit.com.au

Out There - Canberra Photographic Society's Annual Exhibition

30th July to 8th August 2009

Please join us for the opening by David Chalker, Director of PhotoAccess, on Thursday 30th July - 5.30 for 6pm (RSVP not necessary)

Out Thereis the 2009 annual exhibition of photography by Canberra Photographic Society. The title Out There is designed to state the obvious - that this is a public presentation by the society’s members. The exhibition includes a wide range of photographic images in the traditional sense: observing and recording the world around us and capturing specific moments.

But that’s not the only meaning in the exhibition’s title. It further reflects the way that photographers and photographic artists actively go out there beyond their local surroundings, and often beyond their comfort zones, in the search for images that reflect their personal interests and ideas.

Finally, the exhibition includes some images that might be seen as ‘out there’ because of the extent to which the photographs have been manipulated, processed, combined or presented, imaginatively transformed to extend the image for personal expression or to build new ideas.

Canberra Photographic Society is now in its sixty-fifth year and as such is one of Canberra's longest established community organizations. With its wide range of high quality and stimulating images, this is an exhibition not to be missed.

Watson Art Centre, 1 Aspinall St, Watson
ph/fax 6241 1670 email wcac@canberrapotters.com.au www.canberrapotters.com.au

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Canberra Handmade is on Flickr

Canberra Handmade now features on Flickr to enable members to upload their latest photographs and news for all to see. Please have a look and join the group.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rotary Art Competition and Exhibition

Rotary Queanbeyan West Club and Art Society Queanbeyan are holding an Outdoor Art and Photographic Outdoor competition, exhibition and sale 19th - 27th September. The event will be held opposite the National Portrait Gallery (same area as Canberra Times Outdoor Art Show).
Total Prizes = $5,000
Sections are: Photographic, Acrylic, Oil, Watercolour and Any other media
Go to http://www.qarts.com.au/documents/Final%20ROTARY%20entry%20form.pdf for more information and entry form

They are also holding a drawing competition and exhibition opening 7th November - location to be announced.
Sections are:
* Charcoal - Human Form - Exploring the human form
* Pen and Ink - Things and Places - Architecture, tools and mechanical
* Pencil - Still Life - Finding the way with nature
* Coloured Pencils - Landscape and Gardens - Following the seasons

Saturday, July 18, 2009

cut.paste at ANCA Gallery

Wednesday 15 – Sunday 26 July
cut.paste is a survey of contemporary collage-based practice including paper and digital collage, assemblage, objects and new media works.

Curated by Narelle Phillips, Gallery Development Officer at ANCA, the exhibition illustrates the pathway artists take from the starting point of paper based works. Some linger with cut/ripped/folded and rolled paper without divergence perfecting their techniques and working their way through amassed materials of personal significance, historical collections, propaganda and ephemera. Some enjoy the subversive nature of disconnecting and reconnecting images.
Others add three dimensional objects and move into assemblage, exploring how cutting and pasting can be replicated with weightier materials, and still others mix it up further by refining their collage with digital wizardry through scanning, photoshopping and animation arriving at a decidedly 21st century presentation of collage which is edgy and techno-savvy.

Exhibiting artists are – Alex Asch, Jacqueline Baker, Catherine Bennetts Cash, Amarie Bergman, Jacqueline Bradley, Julie Bradley, Caroline Carruthers, Gary Deirmendjian, Yuri Doric, Ampersand Duck, Elizabeth Faul, Rebecca Hanrahan, Stephanie Hicks, Caroline Huf, Blaide
Lallemand, Susannah Low, Clare Martin, Karen Milder, Mat de Moiser, Paul Murray, Amanda O’Sullivan, Louise Pinder, Genevieve Swifte, Andrew Townsend and Kirsty White.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Renew Reuse and Recycle Art Prize and Exhibition

The competition will be run with four sections:
- Junior - Up to 12 year - any medium. Max size 30 x 21 cm
- Youth - 12 - 18 years - any medium. Max size 30 x 21 cm
- Adult - Over 18 years - any medium. Max size 30 x 21 cm
- Sculpture - Create a stool

The competition categories prizes and sponsorship are currently as follows (we are currently looking for further sponsors – see the website for additons):
- Junior - $200 art pack from Eckersley’s
- Youth - $200 art pack from Eckersley’s
- Adult - $200 art pack from Eckersley’s
- Sculpture - to be announced

The Art Prize will be judged by prominent members of the Canberra arts community. An exhibition of works selected by the judges will open with the award ceremony on Thursday 10 September at 6pm at the Switch 2 Green Conference and Expo and continue until Saturday 12th September at the Convention Centre, Canberra. Artworks to be delivered to the Canberra Convention Centre on Thursday 10th September 2009 between 10am and 2pm. Please note that no artwork will be accepted before or after that time. See Conditions of Entry for application form.

Join us now and Switch to Green. See http://www.switchtogreen.unaa.org.au/ for more information

The Queanbeyan City Council Art Award 2009

Total prize money $1500

Entry open to all artists and craftspeople who reside in the Queanbeyan Local Government Region

Entries close Tuesday 28th July 2009

Entry forms available from ‘The Q’, the Queanbeyan Library or by phoning 6298 0298

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Art Market for the Region

Inviting artisians to sell their work at the Queanbeyan Art Markets

Saturday mornings 9.30am - 2pm in City Link Plaza Morriset St Queanbeyan.
Free parking, foodhall, airconditioned comfort.

Artists supply and set up their own stalls. $15 per stall (insurance/promotions)
Telephone The Artists Shed on 6297 0336

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A bit of fun for those who can knit!

Be a part of this daring community project to transform the front entrance and foyer of the National Gallery of Australia with knitting.

From Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 July, Knitta Please founder Magda Sayeg and Sydney artist Denise Litchfield, with a team of volunteers, will transform the front entrance and foyer of the National Gallery of Australia. Knitta Please is a tag crew of knitters who turned their frustration with their half-finished knitting projects into a phenomenon sweeping across the world.
Knitters are invited to help create pieces that measure 10–20 cm wide and 140 cm long, which will be stitched together to create coverings for 6 large concrete poles at the front of the National Gallery of Australia. Any colour, yarn and technique is accepted—the brighter and wackier, the better!

Send your knitted pieces to the address below before the 7 July or drop them off in person to the NGA security entrance, located near the NGA car park off Bowen Drive. Include a small note stating your name, location and age (optional) because each knitted strip will have a small label stating the maker’s details.

Please send your completed knitted pieces to:
Knitta ProjectPublic ProgramsNational Gallery of AustraliaGPO Box 1150Canberra ACT 2601AUSTRALIA
For enquiries please contact knitta@nga.gov.au
This event is part of Knitta Please, a festival of events from 5 to 12 July, which celebrates the final week of the exhibition Soft sculpture.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1 Million Women

Who are 1 Million Women? Daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers inspiring climate action. Our goal is to collectively cut 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas pollutant triggering climate change.

Every woman who joins has a personal goal to cut 1 tonne of CO2 from their daily lives within a year of joining. You don't need to be an expert on climate change, we will guide you every step of the way.

1. Jump onto the website -
2. Join up
3. Start cutting your minimum 1 tonne of CO2
4. And engage a minimum of 10 others in your network to do the same – many more if you can!

This is all about getting on with reducing emissions. Not being delayed until targets are argued and hopefully set. Just getting on with it.
I visited the Handmade Market on Saturday and Albert Hall was extremely busy. No wonder - the items displayed were excellent. Congratulations to Julie for organising another excellent event.

The CraftACT Shop also opened on Saturday afternoon and it is great. The items on display really do show some excellent talent in our region. Well worth a visit.

Don't forget Rapt in Felt opens Wednesday night and runs through to Sunday. Always an event worth visiting as the standard is always extremelly high.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Craft ACT Shop

The Craft ACT Shop will be officially opened 4pm Saturday 23 May, at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, Level 1 North Building, Civic Square. A warm invitation is extended to all Craft ACT members, friends, supporters and the Canberra community to join the celebration of local talent, with exquisite objects sourced directly from the studios of local makers and enjoy local wines provided by Ross Di Bartolo Vineyard Estate.
The Handmade Market is coming up on Saturday 23rd May from 10am till 4pm at Albert Hall see you there. It is looking like another great market.

I visited the Finders Keepers market in Sydney on Friday night. Fabulous venue and really buzzing. There were a lot of people there - a real jam to get around the lovely stalls. Lots of jewellery, fashion, kids items, art and lovely home accessories. The market is held in the afternoon evening (Friday 6-midnight and Saturday 12 - 10pm) I image the stall holders must be totally shattered by the end if it stays as busy as it was when I was there. The next market is the first weekend of December.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grant Funding

I have just spoken to ArtsACT about the possiblity of applying for a grant for 2010 to promote the work of our members. Seems a possibility. Does anyone have any experience writing grant applications. If you do I would be most grateful of any assistance. The paperwork should be coming through in the next few days and the closing date is 27th of May so not a lot of time. If you can help please contact me at tamara@puddleduckdesigns.com.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Last night I uploaded the lastest additions to the website. We now have 22 members who do some wonderful work. Please pass on the information about the site to anyone you think may like to be included.

Don't forget the Handmade Market is coming up on Saturday 23rd May from 10am till 4pm at Albert Hall.

Also you may be interested in the new Finders Keepers market in Sydney on the 15th and 16th of May. I will be going up to have a look so will let you know what I think.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Welcome to CanberraHandmade.com

Come and join the new creative web portal for artists and craftspeople residing in Canberra and the surrounding area (within 100kms). Membership is free - please go to www.CanberraHandmade.com to have a look.

Anyone within the area can become a member and provide the URL to a website showing their work as long as the product they are displaying / selling was independently designed or made. It does not matter if you create for a living or as a hobby, as long as it is your creation - you can list on CanberraHandmade.com.

Contact me at tamara@puddleduckdesigns.com if you would like more information.