This week

By Vita Forest

IMG_3462[1]

This week I have been

  • READING All the Light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr (quite astonishing).
  • WRITING Grateful
  • MAKING
    • a papermache hull for my Ann Wood ship using strips of text cut out of an old novel (more on that another time).
    • that cowl for Lucy… (mentioned weeks ago).
  • BUMPING into one of my old students and her family (at least it was in a book shop).
  • SWIMMING one kilometre in the salty waters of Balmoral Beach.
  • VISITING my friend Fleur in Bowral.
  • WATCHING a preview of Jasper Jones at Belvoir Street Theatre.
  • LISTENING to lots of fab interviews on Radio National Amanda Palmer, Liz Gilbert…
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Modern-day Artisans

By Vita Forest

The Finders Keepers market, Sydney

The Finders Keepers market, Sydney

Last night I met Saskia at the Finders Keepers market at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh.  As you can see from the photo above, it is a huge, atmospheric venue in what used to be the Eveleigh Railway Workshops.  We were there to support our buddy Andrew of Barocky Chocky fame, and join the hipsters and craft aficionados for an evening of food, fashion and fine objects.

I love going to craft markets (and this is one of the best), I love “meeting the makers” and hearing about their process and inspiration.  I like seeing women pulling on beautiful silk garments and swishing about in front of the mirror tilted toward them by a stallholder.  I like seeing people picking up a well-made pottery vessel and cupping it in their hands, luxuriating in the heft of it, imagining it holding their morning coffee.  I enjoy listening to the wistful story of the broken heart behind the story of the stripey street cat from not quite newtown, and finding out what in heck raw LUXE’s Fenty Diamonds are made from (Answer – marbled concrete, sanded on the edges).  I am completely partial to the whole idea of modern-day artisans, selling their wares.

Andrew of Barocky Chocky

Andrew of Barocky Chocky

Andrew, of Barocky Chocky, is a very clever fellow who makes wonderful paper goods – cards, books and posters.  He is constantly coming up with new ideas with witty labels (Creepy Dollies and Mannequins, Substations of Sydney and of course, the classic Eurowankers Puzzle book).  My new favourite is the Ferries of Sydney poster, a nostalgic arrangement of Sydney ferries streaking about on a happy blue background, all contained within a jaunty rope border.  Though the Beloved Dogs of the World series is also gorgeous…

More fine paper goods from Barocky Chocky

I have one of those fab Things you might see in the NSW and ACT posters.

We meandered up and down the corridors of stalls, dipping in and out as something caught our fancy.  Some visitors carried glasses of wine to sip as they strolled, while others toted a large collection of bags holding their treasures.  (Speaking of bags, at Barocky Chocky a special stamp had been purchased and carefully inked and stamped on strong, brown paper bags.  These had been hung out to dry on a clothesline at the parents-in-laws’ place).  Everyone you passed sparkled a little, with happiness, of course, and also when the shining gold sticker that indicated you had paid the $2 entry fee, caught the light.

It was a hot day yesterday, but at some point during the evening, the doors at each end of the hall were opened to the elements, and a cooling breeze swept through.  You could almost hear everyone sigh with pleasure.  Previously, metal pedestal fans did their best to move the hot air around, with some shoppers fashioning their own fans out of folded paper.

At 9.45pm, they announced the market would be closing at 10, which caused a mild state of panic in many shoppers.  Ear-marked treasures were hurriedly purchased before everyone was ushered out into the cool night air.

It’s on again tomorrow – you should go!

 

This week

By Vita Forest

Lotsa resting this week

Lotsa resting this week

This week I have been

  • READING
    • Juggling by Barbara Trapido
    • The Travelling Hornplayer by Barbara Trapido
  • WRITING
  • MAKING little teeny tiny felt fairy and elves (see Crafting with Cats)
  • VISITING the doctor due to illness and therefore
  • MISSING all sorts of school and social events …
  • WATCHING
    • Hitting Home on the ABC
    • Wolf Hall on DVD
  • RESTING and therefore doing lots of READING and WATCHING

Crafting with cats

By Vita Forest

It's lucky we are so cute

It’s lucky we are so cute

Visitors often note how tidy my apartment is.  Part of it is aesthetic.  But part of it is necessity – I have two curious cats.  Take today, for example.  Today I tried to craft with cats.  I am attempting to make a little army of elves and fairies for my class.  It is proving difficult.

HOW TO CRAFT WITH CATS

Food tents are essential

Food tents are essential

WHAT YOU NEED

Your usual equipment but also –

a food tent

takeaway food containers

METHOD

  1. If you are painting, get a small-necked jar so the cats cannot fit their heads into it to drink the dirty water.
  2. Only put a tiny amount of paint on the palette and wash up any surplus immediately – paint may be tasty.
  3. Do not leave small pieces of felt on the table.  (While washing the palette – see Step 2, Zadie pounced on a tiny mauve fairy cloak and chewed it into a mangled mess.  Put all cut-out pieces straight into a takeaway food container and secure the lid.
  4. Leave all unpainted tiny wooden dolls in their thick envelope shoved inside a bowl and with the opening folded over.  This prevents any possible fairy-napping.  (Zadie is a well-known fairy-napper.  Folk made last year had to be resettled in new accommodation once they returned from their adventure with the cats.  Now they live on top of the dry goods on a high shelf in the kitchen).

    Cat-free accomodation

    Cat-free accommodation

  5. Once painted, place wooden dolls to dry under a food tent to avoid inquisitive paws.  Note – curious cats may still attempt to push through the mesh and bite along the wire frame.
  6. IMG_3297[1]Attempt to cut patterns out of large piece of felt on the table.  Tussle with a cat while forming scallops with your scissors as she bats the edge of the material.
  7. Fight off cat claws as she tries another tactic and leaps up from below.
  8. Attempt to cut the felt by placing the material inside a plastic bag.
  9. IMG_3291[1]Attempt to distract the cats by rolling a Christmas bell across the floor.
  10. Give up and write a blog post instead.