Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another feather and I'd fly!

I had a great day in the garden yesterday, finally felt strong enough to tackle a few jobs that needed doing and the weather cooperated. A whole day of potting  up plants, hacking back others and generally having a fun time, all the while observed by our resident magpie family eager to catch any worms or grubs I turn up (makes a change from the food they usually steal from the dog).
This set me pondering to where all the feathers go that the birds moult ? There are a lot of birds wearing heaps of feathers but you rarely see one on the ground. Perhaps they float up into the air, up to heaven like the feather in the opening scene of the movie Forrest Gump? It's a mystery!
So, out with the sharp instruments again to carve a feather, and this is the result!

I am a little bit in love with black and white at the moment but shall try some colour later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

San Miguel Library .

A member of the Facebook  page 'Etegami Fun Club" ( check it out) has put out a call for etegami to do with books or reading for a festival of Japanese culture that the library is hosting this Summer.
Here is my contribution, a couple of happy bookworms. I guess with the advent of the Ebook they will, like many other species become extinct or perhaps they will adapt to the new technology. Personally I have read more since I got a Kindle than I have for years.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The only type of ironing I like.

After nearly fifty years of ironing clothing, I said " it is time for wash and wear"...that is until I discovered 'iron on washi'!
Well I didn't discover it so much as have it handed to me on a plate by my good friend Debbie who has graciously sourced some etegami materials to kick start a few of us novices and sent them all the way from Japan.
Mine arrived and this is my first experiment with it, as well as a 'control' etegami to compare it with the cards I usually use.
This uses a stamp I made and I was pleased to see that I get a nice 'antique' effect very suitable to the subject matter, a mature hydrangea flower head.

The card using my medium nijimi washi is a little more crisp, I do think the iron on is great for some subjects but I will probably use a pen to write the words in future because the 'bleed' is less easy to control. I am sure with Japanese characters it would be more attractive as the language is quite pictorial and lends itself to a much more artistic rendition. That's my excuse anyway!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

'Tis not the season....but.

I have been fooling around with sharp instruments again and have made two stamps, a floral one and a skull one.
 A weird combination you might think but I was making the skull stamp in anticipation of my brother's birthday on November 2.  I don't know why I did it so soon, other than that I had spoken to him on the telephone yesterday and he was on my mind. He has long been fascinated that his birthday falls on November 2  the 'Dia de los muertos' and has a tattoo of those words reminding him of the fact in case he should forget!
Now I often forget his birthday but I am prepared well in advance this year.
So, what started out as a rather boring innocent floral stamp,
became this.....

and ultimately this!
So, early birthday card and etegami all rolled into one, excellent!
Actually I prefer number two.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A little ray of sunshine.

The ONE consolation on this dark dreary wet and windy Autumn afternoon is that the mandarines are back in the shops! So here to celebrate are two etegamis  Oh, and I couldn't resist using the "sweetie" sticker.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fooling around with sharp instruments........

Yes, carving stamps again. The huge response to my call for  etegamis to include in the hospital show decided me to make a card that I could make multiples of and send back to the kind folk who have contributed, hence the little fishies.
I plan to show copies or versions of my cards on one wall of the corridor and on the opposite wall will be the cards I have received from all over the world. I think the images will be suitably captivating without translation.
The words on this card hark back to the happy memory of my parents singing a silly song popular in their youth;

Down in the meadow in a little bitty pool
Swam three little fishies and a mama fishie too
"Swim" said the mama fishie, "Swim if you can"
And they swam and they swam all over the dam
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
And they swam and they swam all over the dam

"Stop" said the mama fishie, "or you will get lost"
The three little fishies didn't wanna be bossed
The three little fishies went off on a spree
And they swam and they swam right out to the sea
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
And they swam and they swam right out to the sea

"Whee!" yelled the little fishies, "Here's a lot of fun
We'll swim in the sea till the day is done"
They swam and they swam, and it was a lark
Till all of a sudden they saw a shark!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Till all of a sudden they saw a shark!

"Help!" cried the little fishies, "Gee! look at all the whales!"
And quick as they could, they turned on their tails
And back to the pool in the meadow they swam
And they swam and they swam back over the dam
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!
And they swam and they swam back over the dam.

(Words and  music by Saxie Dowell 1939)

Unfortunately I think I took the message to be cautious too much to heart and I haven't done anything terribly exciting or risky in over 60 years, time to bust out I think!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Taking things to heart...

On reading DosankoDebbie's latest post on the traditional way to paint an etegami I have taken the advice to heart and tried my hand at a more "Japanese" style. Usually I do a more illustrative type of drawing and I enjoy the challenge of using the absorbent washi cards to do a
Western style of card, often trying to make them Australian in flavour.
The camellias in our Autumn garden were a suitably Japanese subject  to have a go with.

Not entirely successful, the colours are very hard to manage and require a deft hand, practice, practice!

Contrast this with my usual style, a bit constrained but there you go, you do what you do, one's style is rather like one's personality, rather hard to change.
 (Those are my first shoes by the way)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"An inordinate fondness for beetles"

Close inspection of my garden over the last few days has revealed the effect of a month's neglect and even though I do not usually use sprays to kill the creepie crawlies, just picking them off  keeps the numbers down. Because of my neglect there is now a breathtaking array of bugs and spiders, indeed the spider's webs make a glistening lacy  display in the slanting rays of the sun.
My neighbour who spends a good deal of time attacking anything on his property that moves with noxious  sprays is aghast but, I think it is not necessary and fingers crossed, the spiders and I have maintained a healthy respect for each other.
The creepy crawlies and their cunning ways have inspired me to make a couple of etegami.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Here she is, Miss 22,000 BCE

The persimmon fruit on my tree that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Venus of Willendorf has finally ripened and what a luscious beauty she is!

I do wish there were some way of preserving her for posterity, I can't imagine eating it.
The tree has a history of weird shaped fruit and this year it has not disappointed.
Don't you love the 'forest' setting?  It is sitting in a bonsai of liquidamber trees, seedlings from the huge feral monster growing in our backyard and encroaching on the neighbours. It is due for a very expensive haircut, I wish it were as easy to trim as the bonsai.