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It’s just a little Lumpy

On 19 October 2012 I attended the 24 Hour Sew-a-Thon for Breast Cancer charity event hosted by Craftland at Town Centre in Dubai.  Before my scheduled time slot, I had a quick supper at Cafe Ceramique and painted this very expressive wall-climbing frog.

It was difficult to get all the details right with the thick, misshapen brushes they provide, but I was quite happy with my efforts.  It was difficult to imagine the finished product as I was working.   The staff reminded me to paint at least 3 coats on each section to ensure that the final colour would be rich and solid, otherwise it would come out looking like watercolour paints.

I had hoped the detailing on the back would show up well – it took a long time to draw on with the little squeeze bottles.  The bottles themselves were very small, some of them were too thick and some would make an air bubble just as I was getting somewhere with the line work.

Painting done, I reported for duty at the charity event, worked from 8pm until 10pm and was able to help finish off the last pieces of the day.  The next day (the second half of the 24 hour session), I worked from just after 7pm until 10pm.  Like last year, I met some amazing ladies and even a few guys who were inspired to come and help with the assembly, stitching and filling of the under-arm cushions and drainage bag totes.  These bags and cushions are distributed to breast cancer surgery patients to help with their post-operative care.

One week later, Lumpy came back from his firing at the kiln and this is what he looked like:

What a transformation!

I am very glad I chose 2 shades of pink, it added some interest to his body.  The gray was also a nice balance to help even out the contrast with the black.  All in all, I think Lumpy would look great on some large tropical leaf in a jungle!

I love how the spots on the legs turned out:

Although I was a bit disappointed with the pink details on his back that ran together instead of staying as distinct as the white details:

Some lessons were learned for next time:

One, take my own brushes.

Two, have some idea beforehand of what I want to achieve and take some visual inspiration with me (another object, photograph or even cool printed fabric).

Three, don’t rush the design.  Relax, drink a coffee, and enjoy creative time well spent.

Life sure is busy sometimes…

There is something undeniably exciting about moving to a new house.  The possibilities of colours, arranging furniture, admiring new views from the windows.  I had already planned the layout in the new villa.  But alas, my sale fell through and I am still living in my old villa.  That was a waste of a few weeks of negotiation, discussions, planning, house-hunting and excitement.

Nevertheless, I have some pictures to share of other, more interesting and fulfilling things in my life:

Here is my little Yamaha Arius YDP-140.  I found her second-hand on Dubizzle (naturally!) for a very good price.  The lady had bought her with the intention of taking piano lessons, but after two years she gave up, and sold the piano in mint condition.  She takes up much less wall-space than an upright piano would, but she has a full keyboard and plays 50 demo songs too.  The 50 songs came with the piano in sheet music form as well.  And the best part:  volume control!  I can still play some of the pieces I learnt when I was 12 – wow – all that practice sure paid off.

My set of 30 encyclopedias are now used in a tiny corner, as a “book” shelf.  This is a perfect spot for them, because the kids cannot knock them over.  On top is a tiny work of art I bought years ago, and a piece of coral that washed up in Dubai after they started constructing the large Deira Palm (and as yet unfinished).  It looks like a brain and the encylopedias just add to the visual pun.  I’ve seen some amazing book sculptures and have some ideas floating around in my head, but for now, the encyclopedias are going to stay put in their corner.

Some more progress on the blue pentaptych:  we have now hung it on the wall in the living room.  It looks great and allows me to see it at different times of day (and light conditions) as well as saving space in my studio.  I can also take one canvas down to work on it, and replace it easily.  The white buttons are all sewn onto the white band (shaped like a U) that flows over the three right-hand panels (not really visible in this photo).  I am now planning the design for one of the teal bands.  I’m going to incorporate teal-coloured pearls that I found at Dragon Mart.  They’re only cheap cultured pearls, but they are still heavy.  I want to combine some embroidery stitches with the pearls to fill up the area without overloading the canvas.

On 21 October 2011, I attended a 24-hour sew-a-thon for breast cancer awareness, sponsored by Craftland and held at the Town Centre Mall in Dubai.  We made loads of under-arm cushions and shoulderbags to hold the drainage bags after surgery.  The event took place for 12 hours on the Friday and 12 hours on the Saturday.  Sewing for 10 hours straight is quite a challenge, and on hard chairs it became even more so.  I had to spend the rest of the weekend recovering from back pain.  I met some  wonderful ladies and it was very heart-warming to share this experience with ladies from so many different cultures and age groups.

The rest of my time was spent on Halloween, children’s parties and some pretty weird medical stuff.  But more on that later!

Mad Hatter… we’re broadcasting live

Is this fashionable enough in today’s plastic society?

I love my birthday present from my dearest friend.  She knows me so well.  When I saw this little cutie-pie in the shop, I literally couldn’t put it down.  A few days later, she took me back to go and buy it – I was so happy!

It really is a very versatile hat.  Apart from being able to receive all kinds of interesting signals from outer space, it also protects my head when inspiration strikes…. heehee.

When I brought it home, my husband seriously thought it was a bizarre hat.  I’ve been known to add some pretty wacky designs to my collection.  But even he was floored when I revealed what it REALLY is….

… the funkiest baby bottle drying rack design in the WHOLE WORLD!!!!!   Beaba has some really interesting designer baby items on their website, but this one is just fabulous.

This little object is such an inspirational design piece.  Some days I like to imagine that it’s an alien pot plant, hybridized to be immune to my black thumb.  Always in bloom and never needing watering, it is the ideal flower for my study.

If I have a bored moment, I can always take it off its base, stick it on my head, and see if I can tune into any inter-galactic broadcasts or cross-pollinate my fertile imagination from the universal consciousness!  And if you think I’m totally off my rocker for admiring a bottle drying rack, think again:

Marcel Duchamp changed the art world and shocked the Establishment in 1914 when he presented a wire bottle rack as a “ready made piece of art”.   Dada refers to the art movement of anti-art and anarchist works that ridiculed the meaninglessness of the modern world.  The above image is from the Marcel Duchamp World Community at http://www.marcelduchamp.net.

I rest my case!