Community + Creativity

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Have you ever seen a tractor so glorious?

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I saw these pictures of a Yarnbombed Tractor named Alice, part of Kingaroy’s Tractor Tattoo, on Sparkling Adventures.

I’d love to share some more yarn bombing.  If you have yarn bombed, or know of any yarn bombing, let me know all about it in the comments, or send me some info and pics to vagusvenus (at) gmail (dot) com

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Recently I’ve been spending a bit of time browsing tumblr and pinterest (ok, more than a bit of time) and while I think these modern pin-boards and journals are a valuable tool, it’s led me to questioning how to keep track of my ideas, the inspiration that comes from the everyday, that which I don’t find online? How do artists keep records of their thoughts and do they really reference their records when creating works? This month at Whipup we will be hearing from artists and crafters and finding out a bit more about how they keep records of their ideas and where those ideas come from.

First up, is Dan Stewart-Moore. Dan is a sculptor who trained at the ANU School of Art where he is now a lecturer and research student. He has previously been known as a “metal-head” (a sculptor who works with steel) but more recently he has been experimenting with stone and timber.

Dan has exhibited works nationally and internationally with pieces in private collections in the USA, UK and Australia and is currently working on a solo exhibition “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” which opens on August 22.

Today, Dan shares with us how he records his ideas and develops those into pieces of art.

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Can you tell us how you document your ideas? Do you use a journal, sketchbook or random pieces of paper like the back of beer coasters or napkins?

Well I hope none of my students read this but in truth even though I draw every day I don’t use my journals as a place where I plot out my work. They are more like a dream space, a place where anything could happen. I create worlds, or at least fragments of worlds in my diaries. Although to look at them you’d just see lots of scratchy sketches.

When I’m planning a work I use plasticene. It means I can work with it quickly and cleanly – which is unusual for a sculptor, then I document it photographically.

Do you have a notebook always on hand or do you schedule time for creative thinking and doodling? Perhaps you do both?

There’s always a visual diary next to the loo. I do my best thinking in there.

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I imagine you would have many sources of inspiration, can you tell us what or who most inspires you?  

That’s a big question so I’ll try to break it down a little.

Conceptually I guess my biggest inspiration is psychology in particular I find that psychology offers a fantastic insight into climate change. We tend to assume that sane people are rational, yet any psychologist will tell you this is not the case. Our irrational behavior regarding climate change has been a source of frustration and anxiety for me, understanding why we do the things we do has been a trully insightful journey.

Aesthetically I’m a sucker for all kinds of things. Natural patterns like Fibonacci spirals in plants, the surface of water, contemporary architecture, modernist design, the list goes on.

The people who have inspired me the most are artists like David Jensz, Anthony Gormley, Kensuke Todo, Michael Le Grand, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Simon Shuerele, Geoffrey Bartlett, Daft Punk, Masahiro Asaka, Studio Job, Sol Lewitt, Jan Svankmejer and many, many more.

We would love to know more about your creative process, how you develop ideas, what makes something become an artwork rather than remaining an idea on a page? 

Short of giving you an exegesis on how I make an artwork it really is a matter of trial and error with a Marquette (small version) then if I think it can work I experiment with the construction method and materials. Sometimes I’ll just know that it will work. Other times I need to do a lot of testing before I’m happy to proceed to undertaking a major piece.

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Anything else you would like to share with us?

I’ve got an exhibition on soon – “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and generally I think most people think exhibitions are a bit intimidating. The truth is that they are – but only for the artist. The snob factor that people get so anxious about is non-existent at M16 artspace openings. People in suits mix with skinny dreadlocked men, the young confer with the old, in short no one is judged. So I would dare you to come but there isn’t any daring required.

**All images in this post are the property of Dan Stewart-Moore

 

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"Breeze Sunflower Spindle" by Lab Cat “Breeze Sunflower Spindle” by Lab Cat

July is one of my favourite times of the year, and that is because thousands of spinners around the world dedicate a couple of weeks to spinning in the Tour de Fleece. The idea is clear – challenge yourself, spin, and have fun.

This event, started in 2006 by Star Athena on her blog Keep on Knitting In The Free World, is a spin-along that happens for the duration of le Tour de France. Spinners spin on racing days, and rest on rest days. On days when the cyclists are climbing mountains, lots of spinners challenge themselves, by using a difficult technique, or by treadling out amazing lengths of yarn. Over 7000 spinners are registered on the Tour de Fleece Ravelry group, where they encourage one another, chat about their spins and post photos of their fibres and yarns.

9287046915_8a2b3fb53a_b “Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” by Fluid Pudding

Like the cyclists on le Tour, spinners can join teams like the Peloton (main group), Rookies (first years), Sprinters (fast, or high mileage of yarn), Climbers (personal challenge), Breakaway (art yarns), and countless Wildcard teams which may be sponsored, friendship groups, local spinners, spinners who use the same equipment or brand of fibre, or based on just about any interest you can imagine.

Even though I spin all year round, I really love having a dedicated annual spinning event, which reminds me to clear some crafting time and devote it to spinning, and gives me an opportunity to form some spinning goals. This year my own goals are to finish off some yarns that have been works in progress for some time, and to work towards turning fibre stash into usable yarn. I’m not achieving as much as I had hoped, but I’m still glad to be a small part of a worldwide community of spinners, taking some time out to make yarn together.

9270753740_3f7c799b5c_b “Tour de what?” by knitting iris

These images are all from the Tour de Fleece Flickr group. Pop by and have a look at all the gorgeous yarns, wheels, spindles, fibres and finished objects from this year’s Tour.

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Kathreen put this post together on her travels. I thought it was a wonderful thing to share. – Kate

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will be hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

The theme for this month is Make It Local :: with Alexandra Smith of Lola Nova.

I feel incredibly fortunate to love where I live. There is so much here that inspires me and influences what and how I make.  Part of that process comes from being a blogger and taking pictures.  I am by no means a “Photographer,” I am just a woman with a camera who enjoys taking photos. When I started blogging and reading more blogs, I was truly in awe of some of the beautiful photos I found on the internet. It rekindled an old flame, photography. I set about improving my skills, which meant taking a whole heck of a lot of pictures. There is no shortage of subject matter out there. I started by taking walks in my neighborhood and capturing things that caught my eye. Then, every outing meant bringing my camera along and noting my environment; shapes, textures, colors and patterns sprung up everywhere I looked.

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I started to see things differently. Everyday ordinary objects took on new beauty and interest. As I would go through my photographs, I would see them again in yet another light.  After a while I started to see a connection between my pictures and the projects I was working on. The colors and patterns of seasons would make their way into my making.

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Winter Barberry some gray and red stitching

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A riot of spring flowers and some colorful quilting

Small moments, little vignettes, places just down the street were captured by my camera and somehow made their way into my making. Even my backyard became full of inspiration.

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A gorgeous little caravan and some fabric printing

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My little red hen Fran and her cohorts have played muse to me many times

Often when I find myself stuck, when I feel I have run out of ideas, I grab my camera and take a walk. It allows me to get out in the fresh air, clear my head and have a good look around. I always, always come back with a number of pictures that get me pondering. Sometimes I do not even realize until much later how much my environment really affects me and what I’m working on.

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This picture has me thinking about making something right now- love those colors!

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And of course going hyper-local, my favorite subject is a constant source of inspiration.

So why not give it a try? Take your camera out and capture whatever interests you. Your photos don’t have to be perfect; it’s all about seeing things differently, noticing the colors, shapes, and patterns of your surroundings. Make it Local in pictures! I bet that wherever you live, there is no end to what can inspire you.

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