Friday, 30 March 2007

That Spicy Old Blues sketches

I had a great evening yesterday in Take 5 on Tombland in Norwich. Gareth Butcher, who runs a spice stall on Norwich market, had a gig and I went there with some friends and my sketch book.

Before Robert got me a Guinness I already found myself drawing. Gareth plays the guitar incredibly well and has some amazing little guitars.

The music flowed and I pawed over the paper, following the sounds, light and shapes of the music and the medieval crypt. I just drew…

Gareth Butcher and his wife (I don't know her name, but she's a great singer!)
and drew...

Again Gareth Butcher
and drew...

Him again
and drew...

This is Marilda Granda-Barton, also a great voice
and drew...

You guessed it... Gareth Butcher
... all night long!

Prints are available, of course. As always, just go to and send me an e-mail via the 'Contact' page. I’m also for hire as a spontaneous drawing lady at your gig!

Not Jenny Lind (2)

This photo is from the an archive of Jenny Lind but someone has informed it is not Jenny Lind the opera singer. Who is it then? Any ideas.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Hand made door snakes

I have lots of childhood memories about door snakes. My mother made one in the 1970's and I had a fantastic time with it. The snake had two button eyes and some weird medieval pattern on the fabric.

Last November an interior design studio kindly gave me some out of date sample fabrics and I decided to recreate the door snake, using my knowledge of snakes from the time I lived in Australia.

The snake was so successful in its retro life that my granny forced me to make more of them. Now all my relatives have one. They all live in draughty old English cottages on the north Norfolk coast, where the sea wind blows under the doors of their subsiding houses. The snakes have given my family a cosy winter.

Door Snakes are not only good draught excluders, they also have a talent for scaring unwanted guests The rest of the snakes I made are at the moment on display at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where they are being held captive a large perspex cabinet in the foyer, looking like a big cuddly snake pit. A big thank you to the hospital staff, who not only helped me putting up the exhibition, but who are also looking after the naughty creatures.

The door snakes can be your friend as well, of course. They’re not only good draught excluder's, they also have a talent for scaring unwanted guests and making good friends laugh. The snakes will be released into the wild world of civilisation in about a month’s time. If you would like to have a snake, please contact me.
Door Snakes will soon be available on a new Stop Junk Mail website which you will be able to buy using Paypal.

Tongue view of a Door Snake

Monday, 26 March 2007

Finding Jenny Lind

Hello everyone! My career as Art Detective has been very interesting so far. On my first day on the job I searched a giant store full of art and ancient hospital instruments for anything I could find on Jenny Lind. It was quite a difficult task as I have a phobia for syringes, beakers, anaesthetic machines, or just anything that has to do with hospitals. The place was piled up to the roof with it!

So far I’ve found out a bits and pieces about Jenny Lind. She was an opera singer from Sweden and a great fundraiser - she managed to raise enough funds to build the children's hospital here in Norwich. She was also a writer of children books. I suspect she did a lot more, so please contact me (via if you know more about the mysterious Jenny Lind. It would especially be great to have some photos. So far I have only one picture, which I’ll post some time soon.

Among all the stuff I rummaged through I also found a couple of framed photos by Rachel Ward. I studied with Rachel at Great Yarmouth Art School and the photos gave me an excuse to ring and say hello. After leaving art school she got married with children. Rachel’s photos are great and I hope she is still clicking away.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Art detective

Today is still yesterday, as I am staying up all night doing art as usual. It’s not an easy life, being an artist, with a day job to survive.

Tonight I have been designing a new strategy for getting the nation to reuse waste material through art. Its the only way to go with Robots creating tons of rubbish that ends up in landfill minutes after its badly made and leaving us humans with few jobs on the market. We have to go back to craft and creating objects of beauty that last for centuries. I will tell you more about the strategy after I have entered it into a council landfill competition and won.

In a few hours I will be hired as Art Detective, which I’m very excited about, as my talent will be put to use. My job will be to find a valuable painting that has gone missing. I unfortunately cannot tell you where, who or what as it is under cover work, but it could be amongst thousands of paintings, so it will require a lot of viewing and dust blowing skills.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

The Ticket (Australian art film)

Sorry everyone if I have borded you with my shelve building. While I am tearing up pieces of paper and throwing them in the waste paper basket trying to think of something interesting to say, sit back and watch this film by my friends Marty Jay, Annabel and many other friends.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Guitar Bar

The Guitar Bar was a blurry vision I’ve had for many years and it sprang to mind when I wanted to build a funky and funktional piece of furniture. In Sydney I’ve made lots of cut-outs of waste wood, mostly in the shape of the instruments. On the cut-outs I drew or painted scenes of parties and gigs. The symbol of the guitar is a good image in my mind.

The initial design of the Guitar Bar was drawn very spontaneously. I taped together newsprints and drew a guitar as expressionate as I could. I gave each shelve a different guitar neck that sweeps round.

As the bar needs to hold all my kitchen stuff I gave it five shelves, each with a different height. The bar is about a metre high and two metres long.

My plan worked. I got the wood yard to cut sheets of wood as close to size as they could and then did the rest with a jigsaw – five times over.

To make it cosier I have put up a curtain on the side that faces my living room / workspace.

I am very proud of my Guitar Bar and have held a party in its honour. It looks really good and is perfect for so many occasions.

It’s not yet completely finished. I’m planning to inlay some guitar strings and the necks should have machine heads holding the strings in place. But at the moment I like it plain.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Building a work bench

Having a proper work bench makes working as an artist a dream. It’s important for an artist to have space and storage room, to stay in some sort of system. It gives you more time to create.

I prefer making things myself. As I work with fabric a lot I wanted a work bench of 1.2m wide and 2.1m long and with a shelve underneath it. Try to find that at IKEA!

Workbench in progress!
Robert designed the thing on paper and we put it together together. After some tough times building it we cracked open the sparkling Rosé and brushed all the sawdust from our overalls.

I haven’t decided yet how to finish the work bench. As it was catching character fast (paint, red wine, vegemite) it’s presently covered with laminated PVC fabric, with giant ice creams on it.