Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I'd Like To Copy : Dinosaurs

One of my current work projects is a non-fiction book about dinosaurs. A couple of weeks in, I can confidently pronounce dolichorynchops, know why a quetzalcoatlus is called a quetzalcoatlus and hazard a good guess at what gallimimus would’ve eaten for dinner last night were it not for that pesky comet. According to Julie, I also have the power to give people ‘arms like a velociraptor’, but that’s a tweet for another day.

For now, I’ve taken a little creative inspiration from the slightly less visual side of my job and gathered up a few fun, dino-inspired images. With two small nephews who are just learning what a brontosaurus is (was?), it’s a fairly safe bet they’ll be handy for reference long after the book is done, dusted and sitting on their shelves.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I'd Like To Copy: Johnny Flynn

I won't say too much about why I admire this so very much as, quite simply, I find it exquisite.

Lyrics; melody; rhythm; animation. All of it. Exquisite. Do enjoy:

Each time I listen or watch, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my fingers can't help but tap something.

I'll be quiet now so you can watch it again if you like.

[Johnny Flynn's website]


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I'd Like To Copy : Spirograph Trees

If you were a child of the 1980s, I’m guessing that, somewhere in your toy-cupboard, you had a spirograph. A strange collection of plastic wheels and garishly coloured biros, it always looked more like a science experiment than something you’d use to make drawings, although, as a bit of a maths nerd, that somehow made me love mine even more. It was like schoolwork, only prettier.

So, I’ll leave you to imagine my (slightly tragic) excitement when I received a flyer from the Southbank Centre a couple of weeks ago and opened it up to find this incredible bit of retro spirography.

Spiro-trees, for the love of Wham! How could anyone fail to be inspired?

After a little rummaging around on Flickr, it seems I’m not alone in wanting to get my spiro on all over again. People are doing it on fabric

As art

To decorate cakes!

On jewellery

….and clothing.
To decorate the coolest ear-muffs

On a Moleskine

As papercuts

And, be still my heart, as simple but oh so beautiful white-on-kraft motifs.

Whilst I’m pretty certain most of my childhood fads are best left back in the ‘80s, I'm definitely planning to revisit the spirograph soon. How about you?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

8. Plastic Bags

Those of you who took our '12 Days' online workshops might remember how I recycled the various bi-products of one of my favourite pastimes. In other words, how I re-used the packaging left over from shopping trips; namely price/hang tags and paper shopping bags.

Well, I've returned to the scene of my shopping crimes again for another spot of re-purposing.

*Copy* Plastic bags!
A few weeks ago I ordered a Jack Wills T-shirt [it was less than half price in the sale - so not a major shopping-crime] which was delivered in this rather fetching 'corporate colours' packaging:
I know you'll understand me when I say that when I went to throw it in the bin, I just couldn't quite bring myself to let it go. That little crafting voice inside my head piped up, observing: "I could make something with that .....".

And it was right.


I've been making lots of brooches lately turning circles of fabric into rosettes and flowers. So I just extended this idea and treated the plastic bag like a sheet of fabric; cut it into discs; made a snip into the middle and coiled it around into a cone shape. After reapeating this lots of times I stitched them all together to create my own custom-made Jack Wills-plastic-bag-rosette!

With the addition of a safety-pin glue-gunned to the back it was ready-to-wear. Spurred on by how well it turned out I made another one, only this time, I experimented with one of the properties that a plastic bag has, but that my other fabrics don't. Plastic melts.

I set about the edges of my second finished rosette with a flame!

A lighter flame to be exact. I held the flame against the mid-section of each 'petal' and pressed it immediately onto the adjacent petal thus bonding the two together. I then ran the flame quickly around the edges of the petals forcing them to shrink back and curl over. Then, happily [for I really had no idea what it would turn out like!] the whole thing began to take on the appearance of a fancy, double, poppy flower:

With this in mind, I added a florist's wire stem to complete the floral effect:

I'm certainly going to be reassessing all those carrier bags we have tucked away beneath the stairs and checking out their potential. I think a vase filled with plastic blooms could make quite a talking point in the centre of a table!

As for the rosette, I've pinned that to my crafting tote and, as it's plastic, I think it'll hold up niceley to the wear and tear it's bound to get being dragged along to crops etc with me.


Now it's over to you .....

Do you have any carrier bags you could craftily combine into your projects? Maybe you could:

  • use an interesting graphic / pattern from a bag on a layout;
  • cut bags into strips and combine them into pom-poms [Kirsty has had success with this technique in the past];
  • cut them into strips to use where you would use ribbon ie: on a layout / around a gift ;
  • crumple one up, dab it into paint and stipple onto a canvas / layout / wrapping paper;
  • photograph one in an artistic manner;
  • Do you remember in the film American Beauty where someone makes a video of a plastic bag soaring and fluttering in the air? You could even try that!

If you do make something inspired by the humble-yet-environmentally-unsound plastic bag - remember to link it up here for all to see or drop it into our Flickr group. It's always good to share alternatives to them ending up in the landfill.

Julie :)

p.s: We hope you've been enjoying our new 'I'd Like to Copy' posts. Between us, Kirsty and I have so many ideas for full-blown challenges which we'd like to share with you ... but as much as we'd love to, we just can't manage to create a project from each and every idea. It's often a case of our crafting eyes being bigger than our belly!

Now, through 'I'd Like to Copy' we're excited to share with you a wide range of our favourite, inspirational artists, designers, musicians, photographers, works of art, everyday objects etc etc which inspire us to be creative .... even if we don't always have time to put that inspiration into practice. Hopefully you'll find something amongst them which spurs you to create too.

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