everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Amigurumi? Yes!

Hello again. It’s been a while since my last post. For a whole heap of reasons, I’ve been finding it a bit tricky to find my way back after my extended Camino break late last year. But what better way to come back than with some teeny tiny crocheted (if that’s a word) animals from Vietnam. Thuy Mai Thu is the genius behind LamLinh – a ‘mini crochet amigurumi world’. And now that I have googled it, I can tell you that amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. Uh huh.

I am not sure what you’re meant to do with these little guys, but I think the detail is incredible. And I admire anyone who chucks in their office job to pursue their passion – in this case, their passion for crocheting unbelievably tiny characters that can sit on your fingertips. Love your work, LamLinh!

Definitely an apartment-friendly dachshund, at a height of 1cm. [image from LamLinh, via etsy]

Definitely an apartment-friendly dachshund, at a height of 1cm.
[image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Not so scary now, 2.5cm tall crochet Hulk. [image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Not so scary now, 2.5cm tall crochet Hulk.
[image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Favourite 'room-mates' of all time & probably my most favourite piece in this shop.  [image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Favourite ‘room-mates’ of all time & probably my most favourite piece in this shop.
[image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Everyone needs 'Ugly Black Cat' tapping across their piano keys. Or guarding the milk in the fridge.  [image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

Everyone needs ‘Ugly Black Cat’ tapping across their piano keys. Or guarding the milk in the fridge.
[image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

And a 1.5cm Kung Fu Panda to finish. Just because.  [image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

And a 1.5cm Kung Fu Panda to finish. Just because.
[image from LamLinh.etsy.com]

If you would like to check out more of the LamLinh collection, the etsy store is here. You can even request a custom-made amigurumi – now that would make a winning anniversary gift / special birthday celebration / amigurumi collector’s dream…

Advertisements
3 Comments »

An EverydaySparks Christmas – the nativity

I am having a feeling of deja vu, so apologies if you have been with my blog from the start and are hearing about my Christmas things for the second time. But that’s not going to stop me from sharing my nativity scene with you today – it’s another part of my collection that is guaranteed to make me laugh every year, as I release the players from their 11 month bubble wrap storage.

I can’t remember where I got this set, but these guys have been part of my family for many years now. They are so clumsily painted and bizarrely formed that I can only hope that I bought them from a charity shop. Whatevs, they fit my purchase requirements: a non-traditional nativity scene.

The gender of most of the gang is ambiguous, baby Jesus appears to be wearing lipstick, and I just don’t know about that shifty looking angel. The sheep look like clowns, there are two cows (not pictured, because they pretty much look like larger versions of the sheep + horns) and one of the politically incorrect wise men lost his head in a tragic accident last year (he made a run for it and fell off the display table). But my Dad fixed him right up with super glue and he’s back in action for the 2013 season.

See what I mean about the ambiguous gender? (Joseph, I'm pointing at you.)

See what I mean about the ambiguous gender? (Joseph, I’m pointing at you.)

Look at that fine detail - there's even a tear!

Look at that fine detail – there’s even a tear!

An angel, in disguise?

Even with your wings and basketball hoop, I’m still not sure about you, Angel…

Oh, the clown sheep. And the shepherd man could be a member of ABBA. Just realised I've arranged them to look as though shepherd boy is whispering plans of a mutiny...

Oh, the clown sheep. And the shepherd man could be a member of ABBA. Just realised I’ve arranged them to look as though shepherd boy is whispering plans of a mutiny…

I'm saying nuthin' about these guys...

I’m saying nuthin’ about these guys…

1 Comment »

Sydney Saturday: Art and the Garden

On Saturday, my friend Jane and I hopped on the Art Gallery’s Art Bus with some other cool kids (not really) and went on a tour of some galleries around Sydney. Not the ooh la la, please buy an expensive catalogue, don’t touch the white walls kinda galleries, but spaces for emerging artists. The focus for this Art Bus trip was photography and, although not all of it was my cup of tea, it was interesting to visit some different places and see some (very) different art. A great way to spend an afternoon – you can check out more about the Art Bus (and our amazing Gallery) here.

It was a beautiful autumn day on Saturday and before our bus trip we wandered around the Botanic Gardens. Another amazing Sydney place (that is completely free to enjoy!) that I love, but don’t visit often enough. Jane was keen to show me some of the work of the Gardens’ 2012 Artist in Residence, Phillippa Carnemolla. There are some fantastic pieces of Phillippa’s jewellery for sale in the Gardens’ shop, inspired by plants and bugs and other stuff that Phillippa encountered during her year in the Gardens (not literally, am fairly sure she didn’t have to live up in a treehouse or anything).

The Breathing Conifer

The Breathing Conifer

The highlight was the centrepiece of Phillippa’s work – the Breathing Conifer. It was designed by Phillippa and made with the help of a lot of kids who would otherwise not have been involved in art – kids from respite centres, youth groups & disability programs. They helped by colouring in all of those beautiful panels and the Conifer now hangs in the Fernery of the Gardens. They say that it ‘pulses with a gentle heartbeat’ and it’s kinda true – there is a mechanism inside it that inflates and deflates the Conifer and it is very calming as you relax your breathing to match it. Just the thing for those stressed out office workers in the ‘hood.

If you’re in or around the Gardens, I highly recommend checking it out – especially if you could do with some de-stressing. You can read more about it on the Gardens’ website here.

2 Comments »

Taxidermy with a difference

A recent sale at Fab.com shared the work of C.G.Sparks (no relation) with the caption ‘artful animal-free taxidermy’. A niche market, to be sure. But I do like these wall trophies, celebrating someone’s skill with recycled rope and creative accessories rather than someone’s skill with a powerful weapon aimed at an animal just chillaxing in the woods. And although I’ve not yet seen a bear or lion or elephant in the wild, I’m tipping these ropey versions come in much cooler colours.

The C.G. Sparks version of a deer.  [image from fab.com]

The deer, according to C.G. Sparks.
[image from fab.com]

The mountain lion. Still scary, even in rope form. [image from fab.com]

The mountain lion. Still scary, even in rope form.
[image from fab.com]

Say what? Nah, it's not ivory - it's 'medium density fibreboard'. Phew. [image from fab.com]

Say what? Nah, it’s not ivory – it’s ‘medium density fibreboard’. Phew.
[image from fab.com]

You can check out other cool things via the curated sales at fab.com here – and although I can’t find these taxidermy friends on the C.G. Sparks website, they do have lots of other pretty great stuff (they call it ‘furniture with soul’) for your home here.

2 Comments »

Edible Art

I’m not an artist, so I’m frequently left in awe of people with artistic talent. And when an artist uses some wacky materials in their work, so much the better, I say. Which is why I was so excited to discover the work of Malaysian artist-architect Hong Yi (nickname Red) via one of my favourite sites: designboom. One of Red’s latest projects is ’31 Days Of Creativity With Food’. Sounds good. Looks AMAHZING! Here are some of my favourites…

Hong Yi's foodie version of 'The Scream', via designboom.com

Hong Yi’s foodie version of ‘The Scream’, via designboom.com

Hong Yi's chickens, via designboom.com

Hong Yi’s chickens, via designboom.com

Now these are the kind of balloons that I like, along with Hong Yi's soy sauce people, via designboom.com

Now these are the kind of balloons that I like, along with Hong Yi’s soy sauce people, via designboom.com

Grrrr - eat your radish, carrots and prunes, says Hong Yi's tiger, via designboom.com

Grrrr – eat your radish, carrots and prunes, says Hong Yi’s tiger, via designboom.com

Incredible Oreo art by Hong Yi, via designboom.com

Incredible Oreo art by Hong Yi, via designboom.com

You can check out more great pics on the designboom site here and there are more amazing projects on Red’s official website here. Such incredible talent and imagination, I’m truly in awe.

1 Comment »

Very Cross Stitch

I’ll be honest – I’ve never really understood cross stitch. I know there are people out there who love it and find it therapeutic or wholesome or blah blah blah, but I’ve always thought it was a little bit pointless. Until now. I have found my kind of cross stitch, created by Julie Jackson at Subversive Cross Stitch. I’ll let Julie explain: “Subversive Cross Stitch began in the spring of 2003 as a form of anger management therapy when I was dealing with a cruel bully of a boss. At my wit’s end and in dire need of some art therapy, I stopped by a craft store on the way home from work one day…”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Rather than sticking to the pattern of pretty little pink roses, Julie freestyled and added an expletive (it’s a family blog, so I won’t spell it out here) to better capture how she was feeling. The expletive was of course neatly cross stitched into the centre of the circle of pretty pink roses, which got Julie thinking about the benefits of cross stitch with attitude. And so it began – you can now get kits, tips and supplies from Julie’s website. Perfect for a home made gift with a difference, or perhaps for someone who’s cranky about having a bit of time on their hands. Probably not quite right for Granny’s 85th birthday though.

I can’t show too many examples of Julie’s fantastic work here, but I assure you that the Subversive Cross Stitch website is well worth a visit!

I really do.

The modern ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’.

Perfect for the office.

So wrong that it’s right.

One of my favourite pieces of HR advice.

That’s just a taste of the amazing things you’ll find on the Subversive Cross Stitch website here. So much inspiration, I love it!

4 Comments »

On the map

I think Karen M. O’Leary is very clever. An artist / architect based in North Carolina, Ms O’Leary creates original ‘modern map art’, in the belief that ‘a map is more than just a navigational tool – it also tells a story’. My lovely friend Aoife gave me one of StudioKMO’s creations – a map of Dublin city – as a fantastic souvenir of my recent trip to Ireland. I thought it was pretty incredible – a map of the city created entirely out of black lines – and when Aoife told me that there was an etsy shop, I was sold. StudioKMO features some amazing works of art – I’ve included some examples from Karen’s collection below.

Dublin – stretched canvas print
(c) StudioKMO

Detail of Dublin print
(c) StudioKMO

In addition to the hand-drawn maps, StudioKMO features incredible paper cut cities, like this unbelievable hand-cut map of London.

London map cut
(c) StudioKMO

And if you can’t decide on a city, you could always go for the set of 25 collector postcards.

Collector postcards
(c) StudioKMO

So, whether you’re after a unique gift to remember a city that you love, to remind you of home, to inspire you to travel, or to mark a special event…or if you just want to marvel at the incredible skill and technique of Karen O’Leary and her hand-drawn and hand-cut world of maps, you can check out her brilliant StudioKMO on etsy here.

Leave a comment »

LEGO art

I could happily post about LEGO (that’s not me shouting, that’s the proper way to write it – I checked) a few times per week. There are some very clever creative types building amazing things out of little coloured bricks. More than just kids’ stuff, this is genuine art – and not being a real fashionista, it’s my kinda colour blocking. Today, I wanted to share some of the work of Thomas Poulsom. Tom is a LEGO artist/builder based in the UK and he has an amazing collection of his work on Flickr, including a whole range of rare, colourful birdies. ‘Twas Norman, the Northern Cardinal who first caught my eye in the designboom feature post on Poulsom’s work, but I’ve included some other highlights here. Just remember, these are all made FROM BLOCKS. (Ok, that was me shouting that time.)

Stormy the Snow Owl
(c) Thomas Poulsom

Kingsley the Kingfisher
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

Tiago the Toucan
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

The Woodpecker
(c) Thomas Poulsom (via designboom.com)

There’s just a taste of Tom Poulsom’s work – you can check out more of his stuff on Flickr here and the designboom feature is here. Poulsom’s birds are also posted on the LEGO CUUSOO site – it’s a pretty cool place, where you can share your LEGO project or product idea and if you more than 10,000 people support it online it will be reviewed by those little men in bowl hats at LEGO HQ and might become an official LEGO product (earning you 1% of total net sales as royalties). How’s that for inspiration to get building, peeps?

10 Comments »

David Mach is amazing.

I was going to make a pun out of his name, but I wasn’t sure if you pronounce it like ‘Mark’ or like ‘Match’, so thought that it could get lost in translation and become confusing. So I’ll just stick to the fact – David Mach is amazing. He’s a Scottish artist and I first saw his work on designboom. Incredible sculptures made from everyday items (things like matchsticks, coathangers, playing cards and dominoes). David says, “When I have ideas I want to make them, and not just some of them, but all of them”. David loves to work with as many different materials as possible and calls himself “a materials junkie”. Ok, enough about what David says, have a look what David does.

Charlie Chaplin, Matchead.
(c) David Mach

 

Stag, made of wire coat hangers.
(c) David Mach

 

“Layed Back” – Snoopy, made of playing cards.
(c) David Mach

And that barely even scratches the surface – it’s well worth checking out David’s website and Facebook page for more of his incredibly creative and quirky works of art. There are some brilliant public art installations, mindblowing Matcheads, pretty scary coat hanger gorillas and an image of the Queen made from greeting cards. I’ll finish as I began – DAVID MACH IS AMAZING! You can check out his website here and his Facebook page here and the designboom post here.

3 Comments »

Word up

I always love to hear new words or expressions and, although I don’t catch on too quickly to the YOLO, OMG, ROFLMAO kinda acronyms used by the kids of today, it’s interesting to hear another language and try to appreciate what it all means. Even more so when it is actually a real language, with culture and history attached. And although the English language seems to have quite a lot of words to choose from, sometimes you’ll hear a word or expression from another land and think: bingo! That really captures it perfectly – I wish we had a word like that. 

In honour of some of those types of words, artist Fuchsia Macaree put together an alphabet of expressive words that are missing from the English language. Here are some examples…

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

You can check out the rest of this clever collection at the Fast Company magazine Co. Create site here. While you’re enhancing your vocabulary, just remember that you can’t use these words in Scrabble, no matter how tempted you may be…

12 Comments »