Poured With Love

Ring with artwork under poured resin

 

One of the most rewarding things about this artist gig is that sometimes I get to create special pieces – tiny touchstones, with love poured into them for those situations in our lives when words are hard to find, and fail miserably to convey what we hold in our hearts.

A unique piece of art, or photo, is created for each piece, then jewellers grade resin is poured over, to seal and protect the piece forever.

In the past I’ve made pendants bearing special words for bridesmaids gifts, and a set of earrings for another group of bridesmaids. The ring above was commissioned as a gift for an adored young Mum who recently experienced the devastating sorrow of her baby, Aleisha, arriving in the world, already an angel.

Not long ago, our mate Russ’s daughter got married. With her Dad no longer here to walk her down the aisle, her Mum and I put our heads together and created a pair of pendants, to attach to her bouquet. One with a picture of the bride with her Dad, the other, a special message with Russ’s handwriting (thanks to Photoshop, and some old letters, the right words fit perfectly.)

To be asked to create such special pieces is a privilege that’s hard to explain, but it’s a source of tremendous joy and satisfaction to make something that expresses what our words often cannot.

 

Landing a dream and delivering a book

posted in: book, Gifts, writing | 4
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I’ve heard people liken writing a book to having a baby. I’ve just had a little laugh with myself because I realised that it was about 9 months ago that I embarked on one of my life’s biggest adventures. Today, I received the cover design that will grace this particular gestation, and by the end of the week my book When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite – A map to help us find the treasure in ourselves, will begin it’s journey to the printer. 
 
Here is the official “description” for the book:
In When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite Tracey Hewitt writes about taking responsibility for our own lives and happiness, and the ways in which we might care for ourselves as kindly as we care for others. She compares our journey through life to a sea voyage, likening our unhelpful habits to hurricanes and pirates that can blow us off course and sink us; and identifies the positive habits we can cultivate to keep us on course, and our treasure safe. Her own experiences serve as the lessons and cautionary tales as she shows us that we are indeed our own greatest treasure.

I have to tell you that this was fun. Hard work, scary as hell, exhilarating and frustrating at times, but mostly, fun. Sitting here at this point, so close to the final push before delivery (you see, it really is just like having a baby!) The thing that stands out most for me is that at almost every stage, I didn’t really know how to do it, but I did it anyway. I may have baulked, stalled and gone round in circles for a while a dozen times along the way, but I continued to find that if I took just one more step, the next thing would become a little clearer; and one step at a time, I arrived here – with my photo on the back of a book beside an “about the author” blurb.
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None of this is to say that I did it all alone! Kerrie Phipps and Natalie Holmes, as my book coach and editor respectively, have been endlessly helpful. Caitlyn Hewitt of Hewitt Consulting and Communications (otherwise known as my daughter-in-law) patiently snapped over 200 photos in the quest to capture the perfect author portrait. Truly. 200 plus images. I’m not even kidding, I don’t know how models stand in front of a camera all day every day!
What I want most to say to you right now is this: That thing you’ve always dreamed of doing? That secret ambition you’ve never shared with another soul? That big, wild, outrageous idea that you don’t believe you’re capable of pulling off? YOU CAN. You can make it happen, one tiny step at a time. Get your brave on and ask for help when you don’t know the way, but keep going. I want so much for you to do your own special thing – because I’d love for you to feel the excitement and sense of accomplishment that goes along with landing your very own wild and crazy idea.
When Your Superpower Becomes Your Kryptonite will be available through online booksellers (as a paperback, or as an e-book) early in the New Year, but if you’d like to pre order a signed copy, for $25.00(AU) plus postage and handling, email me at traceyhewitt@iinet.net.au and I’ll get it to you before Christmas. Unless you live outside Australia in some far flung corner of the world – and lets face it, pretty much anywhere is far flung from here –  in which case, I’ll get it to you quick as I can.
In the meantime, do something today that will put you a small step closer to realising your own Big Thing – if I can do it, I know you can too!

Feeling My Way In Cunnamulla

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“Feeling My Way” exhibition  at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre Art Gallery
I can’t quite believe it’s been 6 weeks since this:
I’m pretty sure I promised a report on the exhibition… somewhere I seem to have lost some weeks (I do in fact know where they’ve gone, and over the next little while, I might even get as far as telling you about some of the things I’ve been up to!) But, for today, a little step back in time to Cunnamulla.
My beloved came along (it was an eight hour drive, so the company was great for a start!) I have to say, at around three o’clock on the afternoon we were hanging it all, I was overcome with thankfulness to have him. His skill, care and attention to detail with tape measure, screwdriver and ladder made me fall in love with him just a little bit more (if that were, in fact, even possible!) It’s a good lesson for those of us who are the ‘creatives’ – it’s of tremendous value to have as your sidekick, someone who has a natural inclination to practicality and order. A ‘thinker’ as opposed to a ‘feeler’; if you’re a follower of Meyers Briggs Personality Profiling. Whilst I am perfectly capable of locating my practical brain, while I’m deep in creative brain mode, it’s more of a stretch. I learned some very interesting things about myself out there!

But, enough about me already! The gallery space at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre is, as you can see, just beautiful. It’s a fabulous facility; part of the centres museum – which is brilliant and well worth a look as well.
The staff – Carmel, Sally, Courtney and Mike were everything you’d ever hope for – friendly, helpful, kind and fun!

It was great to meet a few locals while we were there, and I was super excited that sales on opening night were beyond my wildest imaginings!
We had three nights in Cunnamulla, and the recount wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to Pieta and Pitisi at the Club Boutique Hotel . Have you ever had a vase of fresh roses on the bedside table in your hotel room? That’s just one of the things these girls do in order to make their guests feel welcome. It truly felt like coming home to our family at the end of a day. We discovered Pitisi has a great appreciation for tractors – and my art work – which enamoured her to both of us!
Thanks so much to everyone at Cunnamulla – we had a wonderful stay, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how my fist solo exhibition turned out. 
If you’re out that way, you still have a couple of weeks to see it – it closes on the 24th May. While you’re there, would you say hi to everyone for me?
Thanks.

A Special Celebration for a Very Special Lady

This lovely lady is my Mum, Carmel. She turned 70 a couple of weeks ago. Because she’s awesome, and we wanted to do something she’d love, my sister and I took her and Dad off to Byron Bay for a little holiday (and she did love it!)
The totally delicious Chocolate Hazelnut cake was made by Charlotte from Let Them Eat Cake in Brunswick heads (I have to give Charlotte a plug here, as I don’t know a soul in that part of the world to recommend her to – and my word – she does deserve recommending. That cake was ah-maze-ing!)

Deb and I also put together a little book for Mum, in honour of this most auspicious occasion….

If the “ooh’s”, “aaah’s” and eye leakage were anything to go on, I think she kind of liked it…
Especially this page, where each of her Grandchildren and Grandchildren-in-law wrote her a message on a luggage tag – each one as unique as their authors – all precious in their own way.

The journalling part was left to work on while we holidayed…and a lot of happy time was spent reminiscing and cooking up the very best stories to commit to the pages.

We created some special memories while recalling special memories – how cool is that?
The pages were created on watercolour paper, with water colour paint over old letters and handwriting from her Dad; Starburst Stains sprayed over stencils, some stamping, photos transferred using Transfer Artists Paper, and a few bits and bobs of paper and ephemera collaged on.

Happy 70th Carmel…we are so lucky to have been blessed with you as our very own, very special Mum.

Zentangles as Therapy

posted in: art work, Gifts, teaching art | 0
A while back, we talked about Zentangle here on the blog. I shared with you how much I enjoyed this, as it legitimised my incessant need to doodle!
Recently, I was invited to share some Zentangling fun with the residents and clients of our local HACC (Home and Community Care) – mostly more ‘mature’ members of our community – which was great fun. So  engaging, in fact, that the camera sat idle in my basket until there was just one lady left. So, I grabbed it and shot a few quick photos. I was even fortunate enough for one of the staff to think to suggest she take a photo, so that I might be in one for a change! Jenny and I are having some kind of deep and meaningful discussion about her efforts by the look of this…
My friend Kathy had asked me along; this lovely piece of work belongs to her.

 

For the uninitiated, Zentangling is really all about making complex looking marks from simple, repetitive lines – and while you’re at it, achieving a very centred, almost meditative state – it quiets the mind, slows down your pulse and breath rate, and is generally a feel good kind of thing to do. It was wonderful to watch the participants get lost in their paper and pens, and suspend, even for a short while, their concerns with their health and for some, a focus outside of constant pain.

 

I loved having the opportunity to join our HACC team for this activity…They are a great bunch of women who care so very much about the welfare and well-being of the people in their care. (Just a few of them are pictured here: L to R. Jenny, A HACC client, experiencing some challenging health issues at the moment; Kathy – my special friend  responsible for me joining them – thanks Kathy! Jenny, who has been the face of HACC in this community for the longest time, and Diana, the activities officer – who also happens to be one of the most precious friends a woman could wish for!)
I have long held the belief that art has the power to transform our experience…this activity showed me that even something as simple as doodling within a framework, can have a powerfully positive effect. Will you give yourself twenty minutes today to create something (even something as small and simple as a doodle) for no other reason than your own well being? I hope so. Today, I’m hoping, you’ll take care of you.

 

Zentangle Inspired Cards

posted in: art work, Bush Christmas, Gifts | 2
Recently, I was introduced to “Zentangles“…and my incessant doodling was legitimised! I have a confession.
I doodle.
A lot.
Our office diary (supposedly a serious business tool for recording important notes and messages) is more often an account of how long Telstra may have kept me on hold. Alan will take a quick look, and have a rough idea of how much time I might have spent on the phone on any given day. I doodle while I listen – on the phone, in meetings (which can become embarrassing when the people either side of you show more interest in your doodle than the meeting), and especially in workshop/lecture type situations. It helps me concentrate. Is that bizarre?
Zentangles were created by Maria and Nick as a kind of meditative process. There are some guidelines for creating a zentangle…which I learned, then chose to follow my nose and more or less do my own thing.
These cards are the result. I’m doodling away in front of the TV in the evening, creating some of these to send off to Bush Christmas in November.
In the drawing class I attended a few months ago, our lovely tutor Deb Gilmartin encouraged us to go nuts Zentangling, she believes it’s a great way to free up your ‘right brain’. The Zentangle site lists the benefits and uses to include: Entertainment, Relaxation, Education, Motivational Training, Artistic Development, Collectible, Gifts and Therapy.
All that with nothing more than a nice piece of paper or card and a fine tip black pigma pen!

The Latest Scarf

How good is your imagination? Can you imagine this scarf wrapped around a living human beings neck, rather than around the not-at-all-humanoid form of the citronella oil burner? Mabel, the dress form, has been called to perform a higher purpose, which has been fine – right up until I wanted to share the latest scarf creation with you, and had no model. (I’m kind of frightened of that hold the camera up in front of yourself and click style of portraiture…basically the camera is too close, and at that range there are too many wrinkles and saggy bits. I care for you way too much to subject you to such an ordeal!)
I’m a bit excited about this scarf…

Finally, some of that lace that’s been languishing in the lace box for who knows how many years, is finding a home. I discovered a great paint – on dye from The Lace Cottage, which has given colours that worked really well with this vintage look … Added to dyed silk tissue, and a somewhat random assortment of yarns and silks – It turned out pretty much as I’d hoped.
All that’s missing is a model…I enjoy ‘my girls’* company so much that when I have them here to visit, I don’t think of suggesting we stop chatting (and laughing and drinking wine or eating choc chip cookies) to do a photo shoot; so I’m left with the outdoor furniture to do the holding up of the latest creation.
I guess I could always ask Garfield to help me out… the colours would flatter his complexion, I’m sure!

*FYI – ‘my girls’ are in fact my handsome princes significant others…I’m blessed to have them in our home often, and after many years of being the lone female in the herd, it’s a treat to share these baffling males with some equally baffled- by- them women.

Coptic Book Binding

A few days ago I had one of the best days in a long time…

One of the artists from our recent book collaboration, Ollie Bath, was the tutor for a Coptic Book Binding workshop, organised by Biloela Area Visual Artists – affectionately known as BAVA in these parts.
Ollie demonstrated how to cover the grey board to create the book covers…
and how to fold a delicious assortment of papers into ‘folios’ and ‘signatures’, mark, poke holes and – miraculously – hand stitch all the board and paper together to create a beautiful book.

Ollie, Judy & Liz surveying our days work…
Eight of us created these beautiful books with an assortment of handmade papers, scrap booking and specialty papers, tissue and mulberry papers, even sketch block papers torn out of the block and with the little holes from the spiral binding left on the edge (which, I have to tell you, is too cool for words when you flick through the book!)
Holding one of these in your hands imparts a kind of quiet contentment that is truly rare…It’s hard to explain just what it is about these books, it’s an intangible feeling. The weight of the book in your hand; the array of textures and colours…they have a special beauty I am clearly struggling to define!
I pick my new baby up at least three times a day…just to hold it and look at it. Soon I will decide what use to put it to – I think it is destined to be an art journal, but till then, I’ll enjoy fondling it at every opportunity!
Thanks to Ollie and BAVA for a truly enjoyable day!

Believe…

Believe Resin filled ring. 2cm x 4cm
©2011 Tracey Hewitt
Towards the end of 2010, I had some big plans for 2011. Then Mother Nature let me know in no uncertain terms that she had other ideas!
I have a New Year ritual that includes giving over a couple of long hours over a couple of days to cogitate, plan, dream and commit to my hopes and goals for the coming year. One way and another, those days near the New Year when I would have engaged in this delightful process were spent very differently!
Throughout the worst of the flooding, and subsequently, as we tackle the clean up and reclaim our livelihood and land, I became aware that I was often telling myself the equivalent of “Believe”…my self talk was, of course, more wordy and extensive than that one word, but there was a slow realisation that this one word was the essence of all the things I was telling myself.
So, my word for 2011 has become Believe. This resin filled sterling silver plated ring will be my constant reminder. The first piece to be created in my studio for 2011, and the first piece in a very long time I have created with the very specific intention of keeping for myself. The background is from a scan of an artwork I did last year. There is a little gold flake in there, along with my word, printed onto very aged paper.
Believe has some sisters, too.. Free, Together, Hope, Secret and Gentle.
These pieces were created without too much deep consideration of their ‘words’ – I pretty much picked up the words that seemed right for each of the artworks…yet, as I look at them together on the screen like that, there seems to be a story telling itself, and I like how I feel about that. These sweet babies will make their way into my Etsy store in the next little while (in fact Secrets has already been listed), but I wanted to share them with you, here, first….A sneak preview before the rest of the world gets a look, because you are very special to me, and your warm thoughts and encouragement have made my life so much richer and lovelier. Thank you. (Yes. YOU.)
Do you have a word for the year? I’d love to hear what it is….
PS. The lovely sterling plate bezels in these pieces came from Captured Moments Etsy shop, and Cindy is a delight to do business with!

posted in: art work, Gifts, journalling, studio | 1
Something I really enjoy is to pore over photographs of the spaces where others live and work…especially artist’s studios.
I’ve recently been enjoying the latest edition of Studio’s, published by the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine team. It inspired me to have a bit of a clean up and sort out a few problem areas in my own studio, and I thought that if I enjoy checking these things out…then maybe you would too.
So, welcome to a quick guided tour of my creating space…now with all the drawers labelled so I can lay my hand on everything at warp speed!
On my painting/collage desk pens, scissors and satay sticks occupy a funky mug all the way from West Yellowstone, Montana. I love the moose and the colours… Brushes live in a rectangular glass vase, with smaller ones in another bottle, adorned with some glass beads put together by my Mum. There’s a gorgeous little deck of cards given to me by my special friend, Ralda…the one on top just now says: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”
I just realised that this corner has a Ralda gift in it too! The mug holding my pliers has a bit of a girlfriend theme – I was broken hearted when it developed a crack and no longer held my morning tea…but eased my angst by realising it could be put to use here. The green page with the eyes is my most recent art journal page…I think there may be something revealing about my current state of mind here – if only I could work out just what it is!
This room is something of a haven from the clatter and confusion of daily life around here…filled with treasured books, journals, art work of my own, and – of more pleasure to me – many others. My Dad built the trolley you can see by the big window, a pew style seat and blanket box which serve as a spot to sit and contemplate, and the white shelf/hanging rack beside the sewing machine. My Mum decoupaged the old music case on top of the bookshelf – I’m just realising that it deserves a photo of it’s own…you really can’t see here how beautiful it is! There are photo frames from good friends, tiny ceramic drawers given to be by my husband’s sister before she died…the more I look, the more special and wonderful things I find.
I’d love for this space to have a name…but haven’t yet come up with one…have you got any suggestions?
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