Tag Archives: Perth

They Have Eyes But Do Not See

…or rather, they choose to see only what is in front of them. I’m talking about Materialism in this sorry old World of ours.

Nevermind the Apple vs Samsung or iOS vs Android debate. Today I went into the city to buy some of my favourite coffee. (Cubania by Nespresso, limited edition while stocks last only). Yes, I do like my coffee, but it’s my only worldly vice, apart from wanting to buy every oracle/tarot/lenormand card deck there is ahem!!

So up to Perth CBD on the train I go. I’m walking along Hay Street towards Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop (where they have a nice little New Age/Spiritual section), and I notice some men in high-visibility vests conducting crowd-control. For yeah, there was indeed a crowd on the street. Ahhh yes, the penny dropped. Today was the day Australians got to see and/or buy the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hurray for them!

imageThe front of the queue on the road. These are people who are buying the new iPhone.

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imageInside the Apple Store. A multitude of people gawking at the new iPhone models. But, if you decided you just Have to get one today, haha Mister, join the queue, literally!

imageThis is the iPhone 6 actually, not 6 Plus. Only a man could call something 5.5 inches a “6 Plus”!

imageSuckers Customers buying the iPhone 6.

imageThe iPhone 6 Plus. Well done, Apple for finally catching up with the competition!

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imageSome people had actually camped outside overnight. So sad. I was also embarrassed to see that 95% of the desperados queuing up were Orientals. It looked like the entire Asian population of Western Australia had descended on the Apple Store today.

Materialism gone mad. On the one hand, we have all these people wanting the latest gadget in their hands. They don’t know why, it’s not something necessary to their lives, they certainly don’t Need it. But they Want it. Because they believe that it will bring them happiness. Hello? Things can Never bring you happiness. $1000 for a badic iPhone 6? That can feed a family of 4 for an entire month!

On the other hand, and in the next street, actually, I befriended Shane, a homeless man, and bought him a chicken and mushroom flaky pastry, orange juice and a bottle of water. I had a pastry and a cappuccino. We sat on the bench and talked. We talked about Life, what was important and what wasn’t. We spoke about Shane’s personal circumstances. I encouraged him to get himself together once the City Council had found him a home (he’s 4th on the waiting list). I showed him photos of the queue outside the Apple Store, and we laughed ourselves silly at the thought of psychologists labelling Shane crazy, when out there in the very next street were possibly over 2000 lunatics queuing up for an expensive toy!

Shane was pretty clued up about things, for example, he’d read and heard that cannabis oil cured cancer. So we talked about the efforts of some groups to decriminalise cannabis. I showed him Rick Simpson’s video on how to make cannabis oil.

I also showed Shane a couple of Tarot/Oracle card Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S4. His cards came out really positive – 2 of Cups, 7 of Pentacles and 10 of Cups. I told him those were the cards he’d chosen, and he now needed to put himself in the path to make it happen. I said he shouldn’t think of himself as down and out, because Up was the only way he could go from here. I gave him a big hug before I left.

I know who I’d rather have as a friend in this world. Not any one of those people in the queue, that’s for sure! They have eyes but they do not see.

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Fresh off the press : Art Abandonment Perth

So, today the Kid and I saddled up our bags and headed up to town (Perth, Western Australia), to abandon some Art.

This is my very 1st foray, by the way.  I chose today as this week and the next, during the school holidays, Perth has an outdoor ice skating rink and a snow dome, and there will be plenty of people around. All the better Not to notice 2 people leaving Art behind here and there.

I’d put the canvasses and cards in IKEA Ziploc bags, in case they weren’t picked up immediately and had to be protected from the elements. It has been very rainy lately, but luckily today was a cool but sunny day. Perfect weather!

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We left one on a bench in Murray Street.
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Hardly a minute later, this guy came along, picked it up, looked around him surreptitiously, read the Art Abandonment tag on the artwork, pocketed it and casually strolled off into a menswear shop.

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Another we left literally at the feet of a sculpture near the museum.

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A woman came along soon after and again, the surreptitious look around, followed by a careful read of the tag, (just making sure it was kosher!), then off she went with it.

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I passed by a really happy looking woman, we exchanged “Good Mornings”, and I explained what Art Abandonment was and gave her one of the artworks. And off she went on her happy way. Another I discretely placed in a baby stroller while no one was looking.

Here are other spots where we abandoned my Art today:

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And, talk about serendipity, we were down to the last artwork and walking up the road to Chinatown, when who should I meet but my own Uncle and Aunt! So, as the Heavens had decreed, I gifted that last piece to them with my blessings. I only see them once a year, so this meeting was not by accident but destined to be.

How did it feel to be abandoning art? My son summed it up very well, by saying it was “Like shoplifting or pickpocketing in reverse”. Yes, it was rather thrilling, wondering if anyone would notice or question our motives. But no one did, so we gleefully scampered away.

Here are some pics from the outdoor ice skating rink:

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Onwards to Art Abandonment Project #2!

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Rockingham Castaways Exhibition

Every year in March for the last 15 years, Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia, plays host to the “Sculpture by the Sea” exhibition. This is a competition which attracts entries by international artists, with big prizes for the winners. More information about “Sculpture by the Sea” here. I recently wrote about this event in a previous post.

Just a little further south of Perth, not many miles away, in May each year since 2008, the city of Rockingham, Western Australia, hosts its own sculpture exhibition on its foreshore. It’s called “Castaways”, and, as the name suggests, it revolves around the theme of recycling and repurposing of materials. For more information, click this link.

In conjunction with the event, Rockingham City Council also runs a photography contest and a poetry competition – details here.

Castaways may as yet not be as well publicised as its sister event in Cottesloe, but it is rapidly garnering more fans and participants, and each year there are more and more members of the public making the (short) trip down to sleepy Rockingham for the event, which spans 2 weekends.

Here are some photos from this year’s Castaways.

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I for one am very proud to call Rockingham home.

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Pictures At An Exhibition

Last week I happened upon the HATCHED Exhibition at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). It’s a graduate artist show featuring the works of up and coming Australian artists.

The exhibition runs from 10th May to 29th June, at the time of writing this it’s still on, so if you are in Perth, Western Australia, I recommend a visit to PICA. Entry is free, plus there’s a licensed bar & caf√© within the premises.

A picture tells a thousand words, so here are several for your enjoyment.

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Origin Wallpapers

A while back, I wrote about trying out my own handmade wallpapers.¬†I then set about researching printers and/or printing methods and papers that would let me achieve this. I discovered that my Epson Artisan 1430 printer could do banner printing.¬†But. And this was a big But…The Beast only gave me one test banner print (wrongly sized, my bad) and one decent print (correctly sized, yay!) before deciding to pack its bags and go home.¬†I’m not in the mood to try and coax it to work properly right now. So that project will have to wait until a rainy day when I have nothing better to do. Life’s too short to be battling The Beast all day.

On the Easter weekend just gone, the Kid and I were in Fremantle, and stumbled across MANY 6160. Tucked away in a corner were a couple of panels of handmade wallpaper, and information about the artists. I was interested enough to take a snapshot of the blurb, to investigate later.

So here we are today. I found out the company is actually based in Perth, Western Australia, my own stomping ground. It’s called Origin Wallpapers. Some day I shall have to pay a visit there, but for now I’ve been looking at their wares and specifically their stable of artists. My angle was to try and find out if I could possibly get my designs licensed with them.

If you just want to buy an Origin Wallpapers design, it’s a flat rate of $65 per metre, regardless of which design you choose.¬†That’s a bit steep, but considering that Origin Wallpapers can scale the design up or down to fit your requirements, unlike generic wallpaper that you pick up at your local hardware store, it’s a price well worth it. Especially if you’ve fallen in love with a particular design. All their wallpapers are pre pasted, pvc free and made to measure.

Here’s a screen shot of the artists signed with Origin Wallpapers:

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If you’re a wallpaper or textile designer, whether established or aspiring, Origin Wallpapers is always on the lookout for new artists to join them. So why not drop them a line?

Feast your eyes on just some of Origin Wallpapers’ offerings here:

Joan McElmore "Meadow Song"
Joan McElmore “Meadow Song”

 

Inna Ogando "Pajaros Cages Autumn Pink Bird"
Inna Ogando “Pajaros Cages Autumn Pink Bird”

 

Lotti Rawle "Under The Sea"
Lotti Rawle “Under The Sea”

 

Hayley Crann "Ocelot"
Hayley Crann “Ocelot”

 

Jelien Veenstra "Bags and Pouches"
Jelien Veenstra “Bags and Pouches”

 

Alisa Foytik "Wild Flowers"
Alisa Foytik “Wild Flowers”

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My Subiaco Jaunt

I’ve been driven past this suburb of Perth a couple of times, but as we never stopped there, I didn’t know much about Subiaco until recently. Subiaco, or Subi as the locals call it, is an affluent neighbourhood in Perth, Western Australia. Think Chiswick or Hampstead in London, albeit with better weather and in a more genteel era. Lots of ladies of all ages wearing posh clothes and walking posh little dogs on posh leads. The biggest dog I saw on my recent jolly jaunt to Subi must have been a Corgi. Actually, there seemed to be an¬†inordinate number of small dogs – Corgis, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bischon Frises, Maltese Terriers, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers. It must be a affluent thing – the bigger the house, the smaller the dog?

Read these for more information about Subiaco:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subiaco,_Western_Australia

http://www.subiaco.wa.gov.au

http://www.experienceperth.com/destinations/perth/subiaco

Anyway, Rokeby Road is the main drag¬†in Subiaco, where the shops line both sides of the road and there is a tree-lined kerb dividing the up and down lanes. When I started my long walk down Rokeby Road, I didn’t know which side to stay on at first; I was hopping from one side to the other as the many independent boutiques and shops beckoned to me. Then I wised up and decided to check out the shops on the left side of the road first, and when I reached as far as I wanted to go, I’d cross over and explore the shops on the other side of the road, heading back towards the railway station.

I must say, I had a jolly good time! Subiaco has interesting, old architecture. It also has interesting graffiti. There are a number of dinky little shops and quirky boutiques, some lovely street cafes, restaurants, pubs and bakeries. What I liked best about it was the accessibility. It is only 3 stops on the train from Perth CBD, all of a 5 minute ride. And then you’re at the start of Rokeby Road already. So, if you’re ever in Perth, Western Australia and have a couple of hours to kill, I would highly recommend a walk down the leafy streets of Subiaco.

 

 

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And here’s a handy map to help you get around Subi!

Map of Subiaco
Map of Subiaco

 

 

A Nice Cup Of Tea … Or Not

The other day, I made the journey up from Rockingham to Subiaco in Perth, ostensibly to pick up a magazine called UPPERCASE from a little shop called Mr Sparrow, which stocked it. I was meant to go the next day, but couldn’t bring myself to wait, I wanted the hard copy of UPPERCASE in my grubby little hands so I could then spend the next day savouring it. The friend I was meant to meet there, Davinia, notified me that she was feeling under the weather, so we cancelled our meet-up and I went there a¬†day early instead, by myself.

Subiaco is an affluent suburb of Perth, where the properties go from $1-6 MILLION¬†in price. I, who am a Zillionnaire by comparison i.e having Zilch to my name, could never aspire to live in Subiaco. But hey, I could pretend…so I donned my most Sloane Ranger clothes, my sexy¬†knee-high boots, threw a scarlet scarf round my neck and off I went.

You can read about my Subiaco Jaunt in my next post, because right now I would like to review a caf√©, and the reason I feel the need to review this caf√© right now is because I am not a very happy bunny…and I need to work this out of my system right away, otherwise my next posts will be emotionally marred. Not happy at all with what should have been a Nice Cup Of Tea. Especially a caf√© that looks so posh and upperclass on the outside as well as on the inside, and has lots of yummy looking cakes and savouries in the displays.¬†It should be the place you bring your beloved Mother to for¬†Mother’s Day, where the tinkle and chink of good quality china and muted conversation should be the only things you hear.

OK. Time to name and shame. The caf√© in question is called Brew-Ha. I love that name, pronounced the Spanish way it means witch (bruja). I had visions of having a witch’s brew there, so that’s where I headed for elevenses. Here are a couple of photos I took of the establishment, you can tell it’s posh. Check out their website, you’ll see they pride themselves on being purveyors of fine coffees and teas from around the world.

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So, what’s wrong? The first thing that struck me as odd was that the place accepted Cash Only. ¬†No cards. Not even Debit cards. Hmmm…maybe it was part of a cost-cutting exercise, maybe Brew-Ha didn’t want to pay Amex/Visa/Mastercard a percentage for the privilege of using¬†their services?¬†Could this be in order to keep the prices low? I doubt it. I ordered a pistachio macaron, an almond Valencia cupcake and a pot of English Breakfast tea. The macaron was $2.90, the cupcake I think was $4.50 and the pot of tea $4.80. So it was not cheap. Luckily I had just enough cash on me to place¬†my order. I waited a short minute while my order was put together, then that’s when I saw it…

…Maybe I was expecting a posh place to serve their fine teas in a fine teapot, cup and saucer. Maybe my Sloane Ranger get-up was creating expectations that were too lofty. I would’ve been chuffed if the china had been mismatched, but equally pleased if it was just good quality china. But this was shock! horror! served in a plain white teapot and not even a proper teacup, but a standard white coffee cup. My Nice Cup Of Tea fantasy vanished before my very eyes as my tray was summarily handed over to me and I wandered outside in a daze to find a table and chair before I collapsed from indignation.

Wait, it gets worse. I noticed that the teapot had odd grey marks upon it, which were NOT part of the design. Rather, this particular teapot had seen the insides of an industrial dishwasher way too many times. To add insult to injury, I saw that there was a big chip on the spout. I nearly cried. Hello, Brew-Ha??? How can you call yourself a classy establishment if you can’t be bothered to replace your china once it’s seen better days? For a wild moment I considered stealing that teapot, taking it home and giving it a new purpose as a flowerpot. I have the evidence here. Not a pretty sight, eh? I’m cringing right now. Ewwww!!

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But, what about the cakes? ¬†To give credit to Brew-Ha, the pistachio macaron was delicious. Moist, not too crumbly, just the right size, texture and flavour. Thumbs up for that.¬†The Valencia cupcake was not really a cupcake, in my opinion…it was¬†more like a muffin. It tasted okay, there were enough flaked almonds on top of it to give it a contrasting texture and taste, but it felt stodgy going down. Both cakes came served atop a serviette each on two individual plates, so after I’d eaten I removed one of the serviettes to wipe my mouth. And that’s when I nearly fainted at the major social faux-pas that Brew-Ha had committed. ¬†I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I whipped off the other serviette and…

…One would expect cake to be served on a side plate, dessert plate or cake plate, after all that’s what they’ve been created for. In high society, there’d be an entire range of plates and cutlery in a single meal setting. For the hoi polloi, a simple side plate would suffice for the serving of cakes. But please, please don’t use A SAUCER, for the love of God!

Yes, both my cakes came in a saucer. Now, I wouldn’t know a side plate from a dessert plate from a cake plate, as I was not to the Manor born, in a manner of speaking.¬†But I do know that you DO NOT SERVE CAKE ON A SAUCER!

Look, just look!

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I’m not fussy, I’m not high-class, I’m not a rich snob. But I DO like my cup of tea to be served from a decent teapot, teacup and saucer. And I do like my cakes to be served on a proper plate. This was completely unforgivable, and actually I’ve tears running down my cheeks as I write this.

OK. Rant over. Deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Brew-Ha…Boo-Hoo!! I hope that the next time I visit, you’d have gotten your class act together. Please. Or, there goes the neighbourhood! I can forgive you for having noisy major construction work going on right opposite you, as that is beyond your control. But presenting your valued customers with decent teaware and using the appropriate plates for your food, these are certainly within your control.

Not Just Butterflies : CLEAR CUT CRAFTS

I have used butterfly clip art in my photographic art for a while now. They started out as being secondary to the flowers I used as my main subjects. But just recently butterflies have become even more important in my work. First, I found a beautiful piece of wooden hanging wall art featuring butterflies. Next, a visit to the Natural History Museum in Perth gave me dozens of photos of butterflies. Everywhere I turned, butterflies seemed to beckon to me.

And then I started searching the likes of Etsy and eBay for butterfly-themed collectables and paraphernalia. I hit the Jackpot when I stumbled upon Clear Cut Crafts, an Australian business specialising in acrylic butterflies.

Excerpt taken from their homepage:

Clear Cut Crafts have been operating since late 2007 and the business is now offering the largest range of 3D Butterflies in the world.
Still owned and run from just outside of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia.

The business has grown in leaps and bounds but still maintains a high quality handmade product. Over 8000 Butterflies were used in the launch of the apple Iphone in Optus stores Australia wide. Toshiba recently purchased 3000 butterflies for the marketing of a recent release of one of their new laptops. Also last year over 1400 large Monarchs were sent to Canberra for the Floriade flower show.

Another huge success for our business is the wedding market, although not originally designed for weddings they have proven to make stunning displays in floral arrangements, bouquets, cake toppers, table decor and head wear.

Many more hands are busy cutting our little critters and we have ventured into wedding accessories, crystal butterfly craft and much more.

That convinced me to try them. So I sent off for some butterflies. I ordered 12 for $13. If they were any good, I could always get some more. Clear Cut Crafts claims to have the world’s most extensive collection of realistic 3D butterflies. They also do other insects, such as dragonflies and ladybirds. As their strapline goes, they do “More than just butterflies”.

They didn’t disappoint. My 12 butterflies arrived in the post a few days later, and they are truly beautiful.

This is my modus operandi:
1) take photos of the butterflies
2) use AThumbCut to digitally cut out the butterflies
3) apply as clip art to previously processed backgrounds

Here I have decided to pose my butterflies in natural surroundings, so you can appreciate just how realistic they are. The pack came with glue dots, and you can fold the butterfly wings upright if you like, but I prefer my butterflies stretched out flat.

Remember, if it’s high quality realistic butterflies you need, head over to Clear Cut Crafts.

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Workflow: Butterfly Swarm

I was inspired to create this image after seeing a photo online of a huge swarm of Morpho blue butterflies on a tree in Mexico. Almost the entire tree was covered by a sheen of brilliant, iridescent blue.

I had recently been to Perth’s Museum and taken a lot of photos, as usual. I had over 60 images of butterflies from their exhibit, and many of these butterflies I had digitally cut out on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone, using my favourite cutting App, AThumbCut. This included some blue butterflies.

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For the background, I chose a stylised  image of plants and leaves. Which I’d photographed last week while in Fremantle. If you really must know, it’s from the walls of the ahem! public toilets on the square. I NEVER pass up a photo opportunity, no matter how incongruous the setting!

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Using PicsArt, I blended the background with an image of a scrapbooking paper. And also with an image I’d Percolated months earlier.
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Then I ran the resulting image through Smoothie, Photo Editor and PicsArt again, tweaking the hues, saturation, brightness, contrast, until I was satisfied that I’d gotten a good background for my blue butterfly. One of my favourite techniques is to replace colours (using Photo Editor) until I get a scraped-away, grunged, peeled paint, spattered, batik kind of look in some areas.
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Then it was a simple matter of going back to PicsArt and positioning my butterfly onto the background. To give the clip art image some variety, I played with the opacity, size, orientation and blend mode. So now the butterflies look like they are on different levels, and this gives the image more depth. I normally like to keep my clip art images within the boundaries of my backgrounds, but for this image I wanted to convey a sense of space, that what the viewer was seeing was just a small part of a much larger picture. So that’s why some of the butterflies appear to be coming from outside the image, or heading out of it. To add more realism to essentially what is just one clip art butterfly image, I individually drew in the antennae of each of the 9 butterflies.

I ran the image through Repix next, and basically obliterated it with drips, hatching, paint daubs etc. And then, using the Undoer brush, I simply cleaned up the areas where the butterflies were, to reveal them.

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I decided to play with the hue and liked this orange and gold version so much that I’ve kept it too.

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And there you go…Butterfly Swarm Blue, and Butterfly Swarm Orange.

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I ‚ô° Scrapbook Papers

I’m NOT a scrapbooker. Not for me the life of cutting, tearing, gluing, embossing, sprinkles of glitter and fairy dust. I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. I love to admire scrapbookers’ finished products. But I have never felt compelled to sit down with rock paper scissors and start scrapping. I’m not about preserving personal memories – photo albums are sufficient for me.

Wikipedia defines Scrapbooking as the “a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of a scrapbook. Typical memorabilia include photographs, printed media, and artwork. Scrapbook albums are often decorated and frequently contain extensive journaling”. The entry for Scrapbooking in Wikipedia is fascinating, it talks about the origins and modern day evolution of the concept. Worth spending 5 minutes of your time reading it.

Some of my favourite art styles include Assemblage and Altered Art. These share some common roots with scrapbooking and journaling. I think essentially I like the idea of modifying things, adding my own elements to existing pieces to create something entirely new and different. I guess that’s where my interest in Steampunk stems from too. “Modding” or the act of modifying/altering something is so darn intriguing.

Back to scrapbooking. Where I live there just so happens to be a scrapbooking supplies shop called “Made With Memories“. I love popping in there now and then to browse and buy scrapbooking papers, stamps and embellishments. Hang on a sec – didn’t I just say I was NOT a scrapbooker? I can explain what I was doing in that shop, officer. :P

On Sunday 27th April just gone, “Made With Memories” held a garage sale from 11am to 2pm. It wasn’t a garage sale, obviously…it was essentially the opportunity for some veteran scrapbookers to sell off surplus materials. There were just 6 ladies selling their stock displayed on long tables in the shop. One of them, Jen, had half of the room all to herself…when I got in, there were these 4 long tables end to end, and a long row of magazine holders, all crammed full of scrapbooking papers. I fell to immediately and the feeding frenzy began.

An hour later, fangs dripping blood, I counted the cost of my actions. 10 papers for $2 was a very good deal. I ended up with 80 papers.

And that was just from Jen’s stall. I bought several more papers from the other ladies, a box of foam flower stamps, some musical butterfly cut-outs, a Kaisercraft “Bird on Twig” craftwood assembly kit.

And what exactly do I do with these things? I don’t cut them, that’s for sure. I simply photograph them from different angles and distances, to be further layered and blended with other images and clip art. Basically, I “mod” them into digital mixed media photography art.

As for stamps that I buy, it just takes an extra step beforehand: I stamp them onto plain white paper, and then I photograph them. Ditto any wooden or chipboard embellishments – arrange, pose, photograph, blend, layer.

Told you I had a good explanation!

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