It's been some time since my last Copper Catkin Consulting post - apologies! Life has been very busy recently - wonderfully so, but it all takes up time! I have been making some changes in my own life, and in my displays (as always), so I thought I would share one of my techniques with you.
As with my water lilies, this design was inspired by some amazing travel photos taken by my stepfather. I like to challenge myself to use new palettes, and these photos used beautiful shades of orange and green that I usually don't incorporate into my artwork.
Some time ago, I ordered some ring bezels on a whim because they looked like they were going to be an amazing metallic lime green... but when they arrived, they were more of a blue-green. I put them away to wait for the perfect project - and here it is!
10 years of market displays
I'm going to take you on a tour of my market stalls and display units over the last decade. I started making jewellery in 2007. There were a lot of changes in my life - I graduated with my honours degree in 2005, then moved into full-time retail while I looked for a job that would justify my degree. In 2007, I moved from the shop floor to the office, and out of a job that gave me both the technical and creative balance that I needed. My first office job made me deeply unhappy, and then I started making earrings. A year later, I moved to a better office environment. This positive move led to my rediscovering my creative side. I started wanted to paint and draw again, and my jewellery-making ramped up.
A long and winding road
Sometimes, it helps to look back at where you came from to help understand where you're going next. Copper Catkin is only just over a year old, but I have been making things my whole life.
This post is a bit of a summary of how I got here - my 'market cred', if you will.
What does Kōwhai mean?
"Kōwhai (Māori pronunciation: [kɔːɸai] or [kɔːfai]) are small woody legume trees within the genus Sophora that are native to New Zealand. There are eight species, with Sophora microphylla and S. tetraptera being the most recognised as large trees. Their natural habitat is beside streams and on the edges of forest, in lowland or mountain open areas. Kōwhai trees grow throughout the country and are a common feature in New Zealand gardens. Outside of New Zealand, kōwhai tend to be restricted to mild temperate maritime climates.
The blooms of the kōwhai are widely regarded as being New Zealand's national flower, although they have no official status as such.
The word kōwhai is also used in the Māori language for the colour yellow, because of the colour of the flowers."
Chocolate Lemon Slice
So in our family, Chocolate Lemon Slice is an absolute treasure. It's not exactly hard to make, but it's time-consuming - and it gets eaten so fast! So it's a special occasion treat.
When I saw that one of the October Spoonflower teatowel challenges was about family recipes, I was thrilled! While we were at the family bach in 2014, I considered making a teatowel using a drawing of the lemons on the tree and mum's handwritten recipe, but I never got further than a quick ideas board. This challenge was a great chance to revisit the design and make it work, as Tim Gunn would say!
Some time ago, while we were in Geneva, my mother chaired a Cookbook Committee for the American Women's Club of Geneva. Although it was purportedly for American women, in practice, many expats from all over the world were involved - and my Kiwi mum was in charge! For those who know her, this will not come as any kind of a surprise. She's the source of my organisational skills.
Chocolate Lemon Slice - the recipe
1/2 cup (120g) butter
1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups (180g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cream butter and sugar; add egg, then beat again and add flour and baking powder. Press into a greased 10x14” (25x35cm) pan. Bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, cover with filling.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Filling – method:
Combine butter, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and lemon rind and juice. Heat until smooth and pourable. Cover base and leave until set. When set, cover with icing.
2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
Icing – method:
Mix powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla in a bowl. Bring butter and water to a boil and add to powdered sugar mixture. Beat until smooth.
Drizzle over filling and smooth out as much as possible – don’t worry if it’s a little uneven. Cut into squares to serve. Makes about 30 pieces.
The squares keep well in an airtight container – if they last that long!
I took the original drawing that I did at the bach three years ago, redrew it on a larger scale (with finer lines), drew some extra lemons, and created a background.
Then, I typed up the recipe (another reason to have it on the blog, lol), coloured in my lemons, and tadaaa! Ready to go :)
Family Recipe teatowel - the brief
"Family traditions are especially present during the holidays as everyone gathers in merriment and celebration around the dinner table. For this week’s challenge, share a family recipe that is a yearly staple. Whether it’s Grandma’s famous casserole or the wiggly fruit jelly salad that mysteriously makes an appearance, we want to see what recipe completes your holiday traditions! Entries will be submitted at the Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarter size (27″ x 18”) but previewed during voting as a Spoonflower Special Edition Tea Towel (16″ x 24″). Submissions close October 3, 2017 at 3 p.m. eastern daylight time. Voting begins October 5, 2017. See official rules."
From the Spoonflower blog
I hope that you will vote for my entry when voting begins!
Here it is on Spoonflower now:
I print my fabrics through Spoonflower, an amazing and unique service that allows designers to upload their digital designs and print short runs in a range of fabrics, gift wrap, and even wallpaper. Through their sister companies, Roostery and Sprout, designers can make their designs available as ready-to-sew patterns and homewares.
Spoonflower fosters a great community of creatives, and one of the ways that they do that is through their weekly design challenges. I have set myself the target of entering as many challenges this month as I can.
"Ring in the new year with a favorite Spoonflower design tradition: Tea Towel Calendars. Celebrate 2018 (the year of the dog!) with a tea towel calendar design for the new year ahead. Need a little design kick-start? Find a 2018 calendar template here!* Entries will be submitted at the Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarter size (27″ wide x 18” high, landscape orientation) but previewed during voting as a Spoonflower Special Edition Tea Towel (16″ wide x 24″ high, portrait orientation). Submissions close September 26, 2017 at 3 p.m. eastern daylight time. Voting begins September 28, 2017. See official rules."
From the Spoonflower blog
I've been following the posts of the Island Bay Marine Education Centre for some time now, and I just love all the photographs that they share. One of their star creatures is the magnificent Fabio the octopus.
I mean, seriously. Just LOOK at him. He's amazing. You can visit Fabio and all his friends every Sunday from 10am to 3pm until 17 December 2017. The Centre will re-open on Sunday 21st January 2018.
I had so much fun choosing and sketching portraits of Fabio. This is the final drawing - I love the movement that the tentacles give him - almost like a dramatic, Dracula-cape flourish.
I combined Fabio with some elements from my Rockpool design range to create my colourable teatowel entry to the competition. The drawing's the thing - I don't mind at all where I place. It's more a case of getting it done.
Looking forward to seeing the other entries!
Our new Goody Voucher concept went brilliantly in August, so we're happy to announce that they will be available again in September! All you have to do in come in the door, do the lollipop luck dip, and see if you have won a voucher! Then, hunt down your stallholder and claim your gift, treat, or discount! #simple
What could be on my voucher?
Freebies, discounts, treats with purchase, and more! Follow us on Facebook and find out! Watch this post...
What time are the vouchers available?
Come in the door between 10.30-11, and between 12.30-1, while vouchers last!
See you at Petone Winter Markets, 16th of September, 10.30am to 3pm!
Meg Prebble from Dora Papers is one of our wonderful stallholders at Petone Winter Markets - but that's not all she does! She teaches, makes, and has exhibitions, and her work is instantly recognisable. Let's get to know her a bit more today.
An Introduction to Meg
I'm Meg Prebble, I'm an artist and crafter who loves working with paper. I make a wide range of things - from mini book earrings to metre-tall pohutukawa trees, marbled papers and pop up cards. The two unifying factors are my ongoing fascination with the possibilities of paper, and the native bush and birds of Aotearoa NZ.
How did Dora Papers come about?
The origins for Dora Papers came from the earrings I made for myself. I've always loved working with paper, enjoying both quilling and marbling as a child. A few years ago I made a range of these wonderfully lightweight paper earring for myself, and it just made sense to share them with others. Of course I needed a name, and chose to recognise the woman who always inspired and encouraged my art and craft - my grandmother, Dora Bagnall. I've branched out a lot since those early days, and have continued to develop and refine my paper art techniques.
I have an exhibition on! The Paper Art of Meg Prebble opens at Alfred Memelink's Artspace Gallery in Petone on September 9th, and runs until October 8th.
A range of my work will be on display, including paper plants big and small, life-sized bird paintings in watercolour and marbling, and marbled bird earrings the size of a thumbnail.
What are you working on now?
Right now, writing this in the week leading up to the exhibition, I'm finishing the last few bits of work for it, with some cabbage tree branches to go. I also have a number of hot air balloons and dirigibles in various stages of completion currently cluttering up my table - look out for them at the next Petone Winter Market, September 16th!
What were the exhibition details again?
The Paper Art of Meg Prebble opens on 9th September, and runs until October 8th. At the Alfred Memelink Artspace gallery on the Petone forshore, which is open Tues-Sun, 10-5. I hope you stop by for a look, and if you want to say hi to me come to the opening, September 9th 2-4pm.
Where can we find out more?
Find Dora Papers on Facebook:
Find Alfred Memelink on Facebook:
Find "The Paper Art of Meg Prebble" event on Facebook
Or come and see Meg at Petone Winter Market - September:
Why Halloween in NZ, though?
So the other day, I noticed that craft shops here in NZ already have Halloween decorations for sale. One part of me rebelled - it's an American tradition, and it's not something that has ever been a big deal in NZ. But then I thought about the fact that I have an international audience, and Halloween is certainly fun. And when Spoonflower's Vintage Halloween Design Challenge came through, I thought, "why not?", and posted an Inspiration Competition on my Facebook page. I do these periodically to stop myself from getting too complacent - it's fun to challenge myself to draw what people suggest, too!
There were a lot of good suggestions, so while I waited for them to percolate through and see if a design came out, I decided to revisit an old drawing style from my secondary school years.
The days of the old school yard
I was lucky enough to attend International schools as a child - and it was a real culture shock to step back into the NZ school system in my second year of secondary school. It really felt like putting on the brakes - and art class was no different, although it seemed promising at first. In my first year back, we had a wonderful art teacher, Mr. Coke, who called me 'My Good Man' as his running dad-joke (my maiden name is 'Goodman'). He was an excellent teacher. Unfortunately, we got another teacher for the next year. I don't know what was going on with her, but several of the other students suggested that she drank. She certainly spent a lot of time in the back room, although I never remember her smelling of alcohol. It was a frustrating time - we weren't allowed to go and get supplied ourselves, we had to ask her - and she would come back, a solid 5 minutes later, with something completely different.
She was also not terribly inspiring. We spent most of our time with the uninspiring choice of glass bottles or gourds as a still life. It was School Certificate year, so we were very driven and busy, and our work was guided by the need to finish the year with a portfolio and workbook - so we had other distractions.
Please - no more gourds...
Sixth form was internally assessed - and didn't have a portfolio requirement. The pressure was off - but the gourds? The gourds were still there. It felt like month after month, we had nothing but them to work from - so I got frustrated, and started adding some surrealist touches to my (bored) painting. I eventually decorated my portfolio cover, and my chest of drawers, with these fairly silly, if somewhat menacing, designs.
Given that, what with the Halloween design I was mulling, there were probably going to be pumpkins in my near future, I decided that it would be fun to revisit the fanciful gourds-with-faces motif.
Halloween inspiration challenge winner
Now that I had taken some time to think and draw, I went back and read through the entries for my competition - and one stood out, both for originality and humour.
Of course, this was a must-draw, even if I couldn't necessarily do the idea justice. I did a bit of research on poses, then got drawing.
I used the colours from my new 'Halloween Stripe' design, and leaves from my 'Autumn Bouquet' range, and the jack-o-lantern pumpkin from the sketch itself.
This design has now been added to my Halloween series, and once our proofs arrive, it will be available for sale in my Spoonflower shop, too!