Light and lovely

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, April 30, 2009 5 comments

top left: butterflies by aliette, top middle: endure by underabluesky, top right, Coral by wallnut, middle left: ANGELHOOD by sudiosu, middle: botanical by swallowfield, middle right: Blizzard Print by PaperPieShop, bottom left: There is a Light and it Never Goes Out by transfertransfer, bottom middle: Flying Bird by heidifavour, bottom right: Black Currawong by bridgetfarmerprints

The dreaded wallpaper has gone and now there are beautiful white walls reflecting light and loveliness. The paint fumes aren't so lovely, I wish I'd chosen a no-odour paint like the lovely looking range at Earthborn but instead all the windows are open and I'm hoping the pong will fade soon.

As an aside, our TV blew up this evening. It happened while Tory boy David Cameron was on the news so maybe it was divine intervention by some liberal leaning cathode ray tubes who took exception to the Eton toff. I stared rather forlornly at the blank screen whilst my tea went cold on my lap and so I've retreated back to my studio and have been mooching around Etsy looking at all the lovely artwork and getting inspired....

I love this limited edition, signed matte archival print called botanical by swallowfield. It caught my eye on the Etsy front page earlier today and reminds me of a vintage textile design (wow, it would looks so great on a clutch!) The artist, Jennifer Judd-Mcgee suggests it would look good in a super simple black frame. I agree - I think it would work in a super-chunky white frame too. It's certainly on my wish-list.

aliette creates such beautiful, ethereal images. Whenever I create an Etsy treasury it's pretty much a given that one of these beauties will be included. This print butterflies is especially lovely.

Assemblage art is another favourite of mine and ANGELHOOD by sudiosu is a clever and eccentric guardian angel. The pom-pom fringe detail is a great added touch.

The Black Currawong is apparantly a species peculiar to Tasmania. This sugarlift etching by bridgetfarmerprints really captures the character of this sleek crow-like bird. Available in her Etsy shop for $199 which I think is a very reasonable price for such a striking and original limited-edition print.

heidifavour has a wonderful graphic style and this Flying Bird print layered collage reflects her love of, in her own words 'typography, old stuff, corny sayings and the North Dakota prairie'.

Coral by wallnut is a pencil and ink drawing on watercolour paper. Simply stunning and a steal at $50 for an original artwork.

Not only does transfertransfer create stunning photography, she's a Smiths fan judging by the title of this print There is a Light and it Never Goes Out, so naturally she rocks. Time to get a bit of Smiths action via this youtube clip.

A striking and atmospheric 5x5 print by Toronto artist Charlene, titled to endure and available from her Etsy shop underabluesky for $12

'What if snow wasn't white at all, but all sorts of beautiful colors?' asks Liz Scott, the artist behind PaperPieShop whilst painting the marvellously titled and executed Blizzard Print.

My Etsy cart floweth over.

Clutch giveaway update

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Monday, April 27, 2009 1 comments

Wow, I've been taken aback by the amount of entries to the giveaway, thanks so much to everyone who has entered so far... there are still a few days to join in.

I will be choosing the winner on this occasion rather than using a random generator, determined by the strength of the answer to the question I posed. However, as there have been so many great answers I've decided that there will be more than one winner. I'm not sure how many yet.... the number keeps going up, ha ha!

pinhole ponderings

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, April 26, 2009 2 comments

Today is pinhole day, an international event created to promote and celebrate the art of pinhole photography. Photographers around the world are encouraged to participate in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph and show the unusual beauty of this historical photographic process.

Birdcage, polaroid pinhole photograph, Rowena Dugdale, 120 sec exposure on instant Fufifilm

This year I took some photos and contributed the above image to the gallery. I'm glad I got involved - Pinhole photography is a passion of mine but I don't get to create as many images as I used to - especially since Polaroid went belly-up. I use an assortment of cameras (including a repurposed Pringles-can) but my favourite is a camera from a kit that Polaroid used to make. It was never available in Europe but I ordered it from B&H in New York and it's been a trusty simple camera.

Here are a couple of other shots. It was a cloudy day and the Fujifilm struggled to capture the colour with the longer exposures. I really miss Polaroid film. Fuji is like a polite party-guest, very well behaved but a little dull, whereas Polaroid was like the unreliable drunken friend who was life and soul of the party. The saturation of Polaroid film on longer exposures was divine - it often had a strong blue cast and gorgeous contrast.

Looking around the International pinhole day gallery I found some wonderful images. Here's a sample of three photographs that stood out for me.

Alistair Scott Laid up
Alistair Scott showed quite some initiative today. Stuck in bed with a broken leg, he did a self-portrait using a Nikon D3 adapted with pinhole cover and using a remote release. Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery Alistair.

Massimo Vaccaro dreaming
I love the atmosphere in this image - classic pinhole styling and very beautiful.

Tarja Trygg In the Sunshine
Tarja says that this image was exposed for one day with a lensless can using b&w photo paper. She has a fantastic website which I plan on spending more time on, exploring Solargraphy and tracking different the paths of the Sun are around the world through pinhole photography.

Time and tide

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, April 24, 2009 9 comments

It's hard to write objectively about friends because we all think our buddies are creative and great. Also, I think it's somehow not very British to gush about our mates - in general we're too busy taking the piss or flaunting our modesty.

I love the photography that Chris Kidd captures and creates. The fact that he's my mate also allows me a little more insight into his process and methodology than if his work was simply a picture on a wall or image in a book. His photographic world is acutely and poetically human. He captures the ephemeral and out-lived, the discarded and lost. He's a storyteller and story-maker. These images aren't all instant fixes, many of them take time to grow on you, like the best songs, they have a hook but also a depth that pulls you back again and again.

Chris shoots from the hip, literally. Whether he's using a holga, a compact digital or a rollei, he'll walk in the room, mentally scan it, and have taken three or four shots from the camera attached to his belt before you're aware he's shooting. A mundane domestic setting is as much his playground as a windswept seaside town and his camera is a natural extension to his curiosity and perfect sense of place.

This wallpaper has to go....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose 0 comments

It's been sitting on the wall for far too long. It should have gone when we did our first enthusiastic house renovations six years ago but it was one of those jobs that forever got put off and now it literally is part of the wallpaper. But it's hideous. The whimsical photo may deceive, but it's no 80's retro chintz-coming-back-atcha affair, it's embossed and vinyl and slightly evil.

Working with colour and pattern and texture all day I find that I love spaces that are simple and white. On Monday we will finally be rid off it.. joy.

Of course the reason for this second burst of enthusiastic house decoration is that now I wake up in the morning and can see everything clearly (see post below), and everything clearly needs to be painted. White.

Bionic eyes

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, April 23, 2009 4 comments

top left: Wendell gets watchman fever by Hansart, top right: laser eyes by Andrew Neyer, bottom left: Watch out for the laser eyed chicken by the frantic meerkat, bottom right: power ACEO by Dad's dreams

I've been short-sighted since I was 8 years old, when Mrs Brewer at primary school dobbed me in to my parents after seeing me screw up my eyes to focus on the class TV three feet from my face. I was bundled off to the opticians to be supplied with a grim pink pair of NHS glasses and labelled specky four eyes for the next few years. I couldn't wait to get contact lenses. There's a family photo of me aged 16 at my brother's wedding where I am sporting a synthetic buttercup yellow bridesmaid dress, perm-a-freak hair but NO GLASSES. Obviously I felt like queen for the day with my new bionic gas-permeable lenses despite looking like a prize nana.

But last year my contact lens wearing went awry, after years of happiness. I'm not quite sure what did it - I suspect the solvent purse glue I was using at the time may have contributed, but whatever the reason I was constantly pink-eye and specky again. The thought of lasers did cross my mind but I'd instantly banish it from my mind and convince myself otherwise - the thought of the procedure was too grim. As it was I couldn't bear wearing specs. Not from vanity but because my prescription was so high there was a lot of lens distortion. By Christmas I was well and truly fed up with opticians and consultants and so the laser of doom beckoned. Once I'd actually told myself it was going to go ahead and got over my squeamish thoughts I couldn't wait to get it done.

The actual procedure was weird. Not painful... they use strong painkilling drops so you don't feel a thing. It was just uncomfortable and oddly trippy. A strange ten minute acid trip where you are an unwitting eye-clamped observer, a spectator to dazzling starbursts, zaps, buzzing noises and surgical tinkerings. And then you sit up and you can see the time on the clock on the wall... and walking down the corridor you're not stumbling over your feet. Sitting in a shaking adrenaline-fueled state I was a little overwhelmed.

The first couple of weeks were oddly vunerable and at times a little emotional. I got tired easily as my eyes were saturated with such rich, crisp information and colour and as I was at first a little long-sighted I was seeing incredible horizon details. There's a lovely view of Bristol from the top of our road that sweeps across to the suspension bridge and I could make out figures on the bridge and even a crane operator as he worked on a construction site in the city centre. I didn't want to be inside, I wanted to be flooded with outside life and detail. It was wonderful.

Two and a half months on my vision has settled down brilliantly. I still wake up in the middle of the night and reach out for my imaginary glasses on table by the bed and then in the half-light realise I can see unaided. It's a beautiful life-changer for sure.

My etsy A list

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8 comments

top left: 3girlsandagoat, top middle: oktak top right: lillyella
middle left: earthworks journals, middle middle: all those threes middle right: red oak press bottom left: dottyral, bottom middle: spa goddess bottom right: tortilla girl

I think it's fair to say that it was love at first sight when I stumbled across Etsy towards the end of 2008. I couldn't get over the abundance of talent, the clean interface and general good vibes. Starting out as a buyer, the first thing I bought arrived sweetly gift-wrapped with a personal note and I was smitten.

Over the months that followed, as I bought more items and gradually became a seller, I started communicating with other sellers and gathered a little group of favourite Etsians - people who not only sold stellar items but whose customer service and friendly manner really made an impression with me. It's not always easy to pull all these strands together when you're busily creating, making, photographing, selling, wrapping, posting, promoting your own stuff to reach out and meaningfully connect with others, so I wanted to feature this group of nine as being rather special Etsy people.

Oktak has very sweetly and patiently answered many of my panicked messages or ramblings over the last few months. I've got huge respect for her work ethic and skill - a purse I bought from her several months ago looks as good as new despite daily use. Being in the same Etsy category we've been able to discuss issues that can't be tackled in the forums and her positive attitude is an inspiration.

Lillyella is, I think, superhuman. How she juggles her busy shop as well as being the sharpest communicator I've come across on Etsy, as well as blogging, tweeting and generally covering all bases is beyond me. I remember conversations we had over the Christmas period where I was flapping over the orders I had, only to see that she was effortlessly dealing with a sales list that would have had me reaching for the tequila bottle. Of course her jewellery is stunning, and arrives beautifully wrapped.

Spa Goddess opened her shop around the same time as me and I love her sunny attitude and generosity. Her products are divine.. the Rockstar detox packs a hearty punch and the delicate aduki bean facial wash is fresh and clean. Yum!

I stumbled across Earthworks Journals via the front page and was struck by the photogram-type effect they created on their beautiful leather journals. It was approaching Christmas and I custom ordered a journal for my Dad which was frankly stunning. Plus, they are so friendly, it was a great buying experience.

Thanks to Tortilla Girl the worst of this winters chills were kept at bay. Damn, I wish I could knit. The beautiful custom neckwarmer and gloves I ordered arrived prettily wrapped, perfectly made and a joy to wear. Tortillagirl rocks.

Dottyral I use your cupcake pincushion everyday... functional, practical, whimsical and ace.

I use 3girlsandagoat's gorgeous little cards and envelopes in my current packaging. They're the perfect size for a little note and they seal with a great silver sticker. Simply lovely.

Letterpress seems to be woefully under-appreciated here in the UK. Luckily it's still an appreciated and loved craft in the USA and there are some wonderful letterpress printers on Etsy. This form of printing does hold a special association for me as my dad's a printer and he started out using a small letterpress before moving onto litho. The smell of ink and paper is just the best. Red Oak Press do letterpress with style. Stunning designs, beautifully printed. Perfect cards for special notes or thanks.

Finally, a mention to Amity at all those threes, an Etsian that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Earlier this month Maria and Liz from Etsy visited London as part of their European trip and it was great opportunity to meet fellow Etsians and staff. Amity's work is beautiful and it was great to get perspective from a fellow Brit. I covet this.

Greetings and free things

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, April 21, 2009 137 comments

I've been meaning to start a new blog for ages, one that encompasses different strands of current projects, thoughts and musings. Although it will partly focus on my Etsy shop Red Ruby Rose I hope that this space will be more than a promotional cheer-sheet and will act as an extension of the cluttered work space in my head and will cover my photography, illustration, band and work in progress as well as curios, favourites and other oddities.

To kick things off, I'm going to host a giveaway. Yay! Simply visit my Etsy shop and then tell me in the comment box below a) which is your favourite and b) what creature you would like to be if you weren't human and why. I think I'd currently like to be a Scottish eagle for the awesome flying skills and views.

I'll pick the winner on the 1st May, prize is a clutch to the value of $75 from my Etsy shop - and that includes free international shipping.