everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

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.

Advertisements
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 »

Birds of a feather

Pigeons often get a hard time – whether you mock them as ‘rats with wings’, or snigger as they rummage through school rubbish bins to try and salvage some dinner, they’re not exactly the most admired in the bird world. Except for racing pigeons – those guys are just amazing and I don’t think I’ll ever understand how they ‘work’. Anyways, a recent pigeon post on designboom caught my eye and I thought I’d share it here.

In a nutshell, German artists Julian Charriere and Julius von Bismarck (how’s that for a great name?) came up with a project they called “Some pigeons are more equal than others” during this year’s Biennale in Venice. In a daring PR campaign to make the pigeons ‘less offensive’ and more attractive to visitors, they took some of the birds from the Venetian piazzas into specially created booths and spray-painted them in different colours. Birds of spray, if you will. (Sorry.)

It’s an interesting idea and it definitely changes the whole look of the birdies. But, like ladies dressed up and fake tanned for a day at the races, the bright packaging will fade and true colours will be revealed before too long. And pigeons will be pigeons. Here are some of the photos – see what you think.

You can check out the designboom post here, with lots more photos of the multi-coloured pigeons.

2 Comments »

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 »

Using big words

I love word games. Yes, I’m a dork like that. And of course Scrabble is the daddy (or mummy, in the case of my family) of all word games. It gives you the chance to trot out all of those strange words you’ve read over the years and not really understood, while you try and block your opponent from getting their tiles anywhere near a triple word opportunity. And now there’s Words with Friends, which is sort of like Scrabble with a much higher tolerance for fake words, and you can play on your iphone as you sit on the bus or wait for the Doctor or pretend to work.

But whether you’re playing on the board or on the screen, there comes a time when you’re just staring vacantly, with no clue about what to do with the tiles in your rack. You need a different perspective – a fresh view of your options. Though I don’t think you’d have that same problem with this particular version of Scrabble that I found for sale at Hammacher Schlemmer.

For only $12,000 you could own this giant Scrabble set that’s sure to both impress and frighten your friends. According to the website, it’s the world’s largest wall-mounted Scrabble game – one of only nine that was handmade by artist John Kahn. It even comes with giant racks for your tiles. The product blurb says that it’s “nearly 5x the size of the original” – now, I’m not sure if that man in the photo is a pixie, but it seems a lot bigger than 5x the original to me!   

Anyways, you can read more about this interactive work of art at the Hammacher Schlemmer website here. Although if you’re like me – closer to the floor than the ceiling – then you might need to consider a step-ladder to make sure that those triple word scores are still within reach. Cos I reckon it’d be so much sweeter to beat your opponent with a giant triple word than a normal triple word. Game on.

11 Comments »