Thursday, January 15, 2015

1800's is where I'll be this year

When I finish working on one collection, and quite often before I've finished, I will research up-and-coming films and television programs. I do this to get an idea of what subjects, places and people will be lighting up the public's imaginations through the big and small screens.

I love cinema, and I have no problems with having a big ol' flatscreen in my house. It may be uncool verging on bogan to admit to this, but I don't care. I love storytelling in all forms, and a good movie is one of my favourites.

Recently I discovered a few films due out this or next year that are set in places and situations that have intrigued me for some time, so I have relished the opportunity to do a bit of research into them.

1. In the Heart of the Sea

We all know Moby Dick, right? Well although Herman Melville wrote it, the idea for his novel was based on someone else's story, the true tale of the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket that was stove by a spermwhale in 1820. As most people know even if they haven't read the book Moby Dick, the story ends with the ship, the Pequod being scuttled by the great white whale.

The book In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick focuses on the period of time after Melville's  tale ends, with the shipwrecked crew of the whaling boat the Essex striving to survive. The story that develops is one of unimaginable challenge and heartbreak. I have read the autobiographical story of one of the men aboard  the Essex - Owen Chase, and am now reading Philbrick's book to prepare myself for the film due to be released this year (March in USA) and starring Chris Hemsworth amongst other delightful actors.

2. The Revenant

The other film coming up that peaked my interest is one about fur trappers in the Rocky Mountains in the 1820's. The Revenant will star Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio, and will be a story of vengeance as far as I can tell. I'm hoping that there will be some pretty amazing scenery, fabulous costumes and here's hoping - good acting and dialogue.

The history of fur trappers in areas of the US and Canada is pretty interesting and I hope to see a bunch of beautiful costumes inspired by the Métis culture that developed when immigrant fur traders and native Canadian people married and their cultures combined.

François Lucie - Métis Guide, Fort Edmonton
Painter - Paul Kane 1846
3. Far from the Madding Crowd

ah, I love a period drama! Not sure if you would classify this one as a bodice ripper but there will be corsetry a-plenty and gorgeous linen frocks. Carey Mulligan will star in this film, set for release in May 2015 (US?) where she plays Thomas Hardy's heroine Bathsheba Everdene, a woman with plenty of options - well romantically anyway.
Can't wait for this one!

Any films that you are looking forward to seeing this year?


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pure Gold

Last night I had the opportunity to meet a lovely lady in my town who creates incredible pieces of art in the form of religious icons. Elvia combines amazing talent and patience to recreate mostly Russian orthodox iconography. She graciously showed my some of her work at her home and shared with me the traditional methods she uses to create the works. Elvia uses egg yolk and pure pigments to make her own paints and adds white wine to thin and preserve the paint. Each colour you see may have 10-20 layers of paint used to create the depth of tone. She says that the colours actually grow stronger and brighter over time but of course, care must be taken to keep them away from strong light to avoid fading.

I only had my mobile camera (and a shaky hand) so the images do not do the work any justice at all, still I thought some of you might like to share a peek.


Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Wrap up

Happy New Year everyone!
2014 was a good year to us here at Astoria - that's the new name of our home (sign coming soon).
10 points if you can guess the inspiration of the name.

Before officially welcoming the new year and writing up all my resolutions I thought I should reflect upon the last year and all it had to offer:

  • Family Trip to New Zealand - This was the first overseas trip we have taken together so we were a little apprehensive about committing to 10 days in a campervan with a 5 and 6 year old who have never been in the car for longer than 3 hours at a time. It turns out we had nothing to worry about. The biggest issue we had was the flush/closing lever on the van toilet breaking 2 days in - eewwww. The kids had the greatest time of their tiny lives, and the grown ups had a ball too! When I ask the kids what their favourite parts of the were, they always tell me about the animals we encountered along the way; The goats next to the van park near Wellington, Dobey the cat at Christchurch TOP10 and of course the native critters like the Wekas.  My favourite place to stay at was the TOP10 holiday park at Motueka (in the NW corner of the South island), it is situated on the grounds of an old botanical park and boasts huge and beautiful examples of tree specimens including a giant chestnut tree (under which we parked our van). The kids loved the giant bouncy air pillow, we all loved the pool with slide and the night we stayed there was a mobile wood fired pizza oven parked on the grounds where we bought delicious fresh made pizza. Anyone who is considering doing the ol' white road maggot trip around NZ with kids should definitely get a TOP10 holiday park pass. Not a week goes by without hearing "when are we going back to New Zealand?". Soon kids soon.
  • Finally getting rid of the back pain I've been suffering from for too long. a few years ago I ruptured a disc in my lower back causing intense pain and limiting my mobility. After a tone of physio, exercises, massage, painkillers, crying and generally feeling useless I was doing pretty well but still had twanging pain and found it difficult to sleep. I had a session of massage and dry needling with a wonderful practitioner in Canberra, and that night the pain was gone! Then the next day the pain came back but…… the day afterwards it was goneskis. And still is.
  • A happy workplace. Yes it's true. My income producing work (aka real job) is full of the funniest mofos you could work with. They crack me up every day and make it a pleasure to come into work. Thanks guys, bring on the cray cray beaver box nonsense in 2015 please.
  • My family, all of the unique personalities in my extended family have contributed to a great year for us. Hopefully 2015 brings more chances to catch up. And my closest peeps, my darling little monkeys and darling big monkey - I love you guys and am so proud of all your achievements this year. I can't wait to see what shenanigans we will get up to this year.
  • My local Modern Quilt Guild gals, you guys have been monumentally inspirational to me this year. The encouragement to get involved in shows, do workshops and try new techniques is just what I needed to up my skill level in all things quilty.
  • This year my work was featured in Tickle the Imagination magazine, hooray!
  • And finally I have set up my website. It still needs a little work but you can browse my fabric designs and link to my shops from there.

I'm sure there are HEAPS of things I'm missing but anyway, let's get to 2015 already!
What's on your to do list for 2015?