Well it's been an action packed start to the year where I find myself writing the first blog for 2018 at Easter! Eeeeekkkk! I have a lovely new wrapping to celebrate. It depicts one of our most iconic of Australian plants, the gum tree. Such a beauty! I am constantly picking up and finding different leaves in such a glorious range of bush colours from earthy greens through to pretty pinks. This is the perfect wrapping to say 'Australia'. All hand drawn pencil and watercolour leaves.
I hope you are sitting somewhere under a gum tree in the shade relaxing this Australian Easter break. I certainly will be!
Due to popularity I've introduced this Xmas paper as an all occasion paper. All fully stocked and ready for you to wrap, roll, hang, cut or fold! All motifs and lettering has been originally drawn by hand before being digitally compiled as a repeat pattern. A really simple design with a subtle Australian flavour. Can you find the following beautiful Australian flowers? Bottlebrush, Wattle, Golden Grevillea, Hakea, Kangaroo paw, Red Grevillea, Golden Banksia and Silver princess Gum.
At Paprly I am not just about designing wrapping paper. I'm also really driven by making art, any type of art, always have been, always will be. It's a passion. It's the one thing that I can always rely on to be there to provide me with a quiet happy place to retreat to when life starts pulling and pushing me in too many directions! Sound familiar? Do you have an activity which is your place to escape to from the world? I'm sure you do!
I'm thinking I perhaps learnt some of this from observing my Opa. He was an electrician by trade but really he was an artist. He had a studio under his house where he would sculpt with clay and carve with wood. He would paint, draw, play music you name it, a natural creative. As a small child visitting my grandparents was always an adventure. In fact, I found his art space under the house quite the mystery and was only allowed down there when he was tinkering away on his latest masterpiece, usually accompanied but whistling or singing :) A few of his pieces would end up in local civic centres and public places around Gympie. He was quite the character around town with his long grey beard, pipe and long socks and sandles (so european!) He drove a white mini which he would quite confidently drive right up onto the footpath if there were no street parks, to collect us from the bus stop when we came to visit on the school holidays!! Oh Opa the embarrassment! He always spoke the truth and wasn't afraid of offending anyone, even little old me when I would show him a drawing he wouldn't hold back if he didn't like it. Oh no! He would say 'Oh that's terrible that part but this, yes this is good!' I learnt early on that even if you have a natural ability for something you are still going to have pretty bad days where your work is pretty crappy. Making art really is a process involving practice and turning up everyday, pushing yourself and making a commitment to that!
Therefore, it's really not surprising to see some art prints surfacing in my shop here. Having not been to art college, I have studied and worked in Art teaching and also Built Environment- Interior Design both creative fields where I have used my creativity for sure and learnt so, so much. However, here you will find creative work which is purely me. You might hate it?! or you might love it?! Whatever your oppinion is, you can be absolutely sure that it is an original representation of how I see the world and the beauty it has to offer. Beauty in the quiet, simple things which usually go unnoticed. These are the things I cherish the most.
This year I pushed my creative skills a little bit further and exhibited in a local art show, Red Hill Art. Here were the results-
The Cactus Garden Series
Cactus Garden 1 -1130 x870mm Acrylic on Canvas
Cactus Garden 2- 1130 x 870mm Acrylic on canvas
Cactus garden petites 400 x400mm Acrylic on canvas
And don't forget all my new A4 art prints are up in the shop now also go check them out!!!!
Gasp! These amazing paper weavings are the work of a very clever lady, qualified computer science engineer, industrial designer and self taught artist, Gunjan Aylawadi.
I fell in love with these intricate, woven patterns immediately. The technical skill and accuracy blows my mind not to mention the superb designs elements of shape and colour. All woven by hand!!! It ticks all the creative boxes for me, paper, pattern and weaving, all rolled into one glorious design/s. Here let me show you more.....
Artist Statement/Bio (http://www.gunjanaylawadi.com/cv-bio/)
Having grown up in India amongst tremendous economic diversity and now living in Australia amongst huge cultural diversity, the contrast between consumption - mindful or mindless and austerity - forced or chosen, has never been more vivid for Gunjan Aylawadi. Through her unique and intricate, paper tapestry technique, she explores the intersection between craft traditions, sensory pleasures she experienced growing up and the new culture she finds herself in now. Crafting thoughtful mosaics out of personal reflections, she creates works with simple materials and processes that are as important as the end result - illustrating the quiet power of slowing down and a thoughtful absorption of our environments.
What do you think?? I would describe this as paper and pattern heaven! I also love the way this craft encourages 'slowing down'. Such a great concept living in today's fast paced world.
I am not completely sure how they are made it looks like lengths of curled paper close-up? However, I am quite content with not knowing and simply allowing the wonder and magic of these pieces to speak for themselves.
Here is some more amazingness enjoy and thankyou Gunjan for bringing this beauty into the world I can't wait to see what you do next!
You can follow Gunjan on IG @gunjanay
On Sunday the 8th of January I set up shop at the Melbourne Collective Market in Mornington. A new local curated market featuring new and emerging artists, designers and makers from the Mornington Peninsula. Here's a few snaps and huge thanks to my Dad for making me the frame to hang my paper from, which looked amzing! My Mum for insisting to help me finish sorting all the tags as well as Tony, my husband and kids for helping me set up. What a team it looked awesome :)
It was a great day which ran quite smoothly apart from me spilling a whole vase of water over my stock before doors opened! Arghhhh a fabulous start! I was pretty fortunate that my quick thinking neighbour threw a bunch of hand towels my way just after it happened which soaked up most of the water, leaving me thank goodness, with only a handful of damaged stock. Phew! Paper and water not a good combination lol Thank goodness for fast thinking stall neighbours is all I can say!
As I got chatting with Rebecca after thanking her profusely a number of times of course :) I started to learn more about her and her wonderful art. Rebecca Coulter @artistastyle is a local artist to the Mornington Peninsula whom paints, illustrates and makes stunning paper barnacle sculptures (as well as on occasion saves her neighbouring stallholders from near disaster!) and her work is well, to put lightly, truly amazing.
She is inspired by things with fronds, fins, wings, waves and seedpods. Her delicate and instricate use of linework combined with stunning use of marine colours creates her beautiful, unique signature style. It's the type of art work that has amazing technical accuracy along with that magical element. You could quite easily just dive right into it, just like diving into the ocean, and experience instant, beautiful, serene calm.
Her paper barnacles are so simple and unique. Made from paper pulp and moulded to form amazing barnacle shapes. She also groups some of these into wall hangings with driftwood and natural string. Beautiful.
Along with her artistic talent she is also hands down a lovely person, totally professional and so dedicated to her creative work. She's the first stallholder I've been next to at a market who has a 'no sitting' policy, that's right folks she stood the whole 5 hours! boy that's dedication for you :)
You can find more of her inspirational work here at www.artistastyle.com.au or on Instagram @artistastyle as well as at many of the local peninsula markets. If you subscribe to her newsletter on her website you can keep up to date with her latest work and where she will be selling. Go check her out now and if Rebecca you are reading this thank-you so very much again!!!! xx
It was a real pleasure - but a long process - putting this collection together. At the time I didn't have the intention of it becoming a pattern collection - it was purely a creative activity which ran for nearly two years. If you have followed me on my Instagram feed (@neekienoo) you would have watched these patterns roll out. Here I am sharing some background art work. This isn't everything, I have so many. It's just a selection.
We had just spent a year living in New Zealand and had returned to Australia, so I was in the habit of opening my eyes and discovering new things. I started to really notice new plants and flowers while walking around my local area and realised just how amazing and unique they really were. So, week after week through the seasons, I would pick a new plant that was flowering and simply draw, draw, draw and then put together a pattern. It was a very therapeutic process, and at the end of it all I had nine new patterns of local flowering native Australian plants.
How the time flies when you are doing something you love with no real plan but simply following your instinct day by day. It's for this reason that I'm really fond of this collection - it taught me to follow my heart and do what makes me happy. If you turn up every day, even if it's just for 15 minutes, the momentum of habit will guide you along and before you know it you will have accomplished something pretty meaningful and special.
It was after this collection that I started to focus and get to work on finishing Paprly. Building the website (I have no prior web design skills so this was intense!), sourcing printers, getting samples and formatting the artwork. Again, day after day, bit by bit, many small steps at a time. Don't get me wrong, it didn't always flow. I had plenty of set-backs and highly frustrating moments. I actually had Paprly up and ready to go when living in NZ, and then we decided to move back to Australia. Moving with young family twice in two years was enough to put it on the back burner until we were settled again. Timing is EVERYTHING!!!!!
I have learnt so much through this collection, but first and foremost I have learnt a lot about myself. I hope you have enjoyed looking at a few process snaps and listening to the story behind the patterns :)
School holidays are a time for a break in routine and getting out and exploring with the kids. This is also the time I gather a lot and I mean a LOT of photographs of things that inspire me or pattern inspiration. Heronswood is a place which never ceases to inspire me whatever the season with the gardens so beautiful set up on a hill in Dromana overlooking the ocean. All types of plants from edible, dry climate and tropical plants and all sizes huge pines and oaks down to the most tiny delicate spring flowering plants. Oh and I adore the fact they mow around the lawn daisies allowing scatterings of them around the grassy areas they really are so pretty! It's not only the gardens which are stunning though the heritage building is a beautiful cafe and restaurant offering scrummy food. In particular we love the scones freshly made and of course coffee :) There is also a garden shop and diggers club selling rare heirloom seeds and a education centre. Always something unique to discover.
I took way too many photographs so click on the 'Heronswood gardens' link below for a short clip on flipagram showing a few of the highlights or better still take a visit yourself. The paper daisies were of course my fave and the kids loved the wander down to the tree swing amongst the weeping willows much to my boys delight a good boggy track. Gumboots a good idea however I love seeing my kids shoes getting muddy we need to do it more :)
Every year I participate in a surface design course online with the Make It In Design School in the UK. It's a great opportunity to get those creative juices flowing and connect with like-minded designers from around the world. I have met and now follow many talented artists - it's really so inspiring and I look forward to it every year! If you have an interest in surface design, I highly recommend their courses designed by Rachael Taylor & Beth Kempton - talented ladies with up-to-date industry experience. It's beneficial to have some Adobe digital software skills already, however the drawing classes are really user/ beginner friendly and encourage you to experiment with making unique marks with all kinds of tools that you can then transfer to digital design. Once you have a digital design, you can print it on just about anything fabric, paper, ceramic, plastic or timber - the applications are endless and this is one of the reasons I am so passionate about surface design. So stay tuned - at Paprly I'm not just stopping at wrapping paper!
So the two briefs I participated in were in the advanced track: Modern Pop Art and Summer Botanicals. For the PopArt brief, I was inspired by hot pink lips and those fun two-tone spot textures found in pop art designs. For the summer botanicals, it was all about tropical leafy greens like fan palms and native firewheel flowers. The circular fan type patterns in both plants seemed to be the attraction here and made for wonderful radial style motifs.
So now I think I'll just let the following pictures speak for themselves, some sketches followed by the final patterns.
Modern Pop Art 'Hot Lips'
Summer Botanicals 'Firewheel Fanpalms'
I am constantly stumbling across the work of artists on the interwebs that takes my breath away. So here I thought I could start sharing some of that with you. This art studio really drew me in from first glance. It's the visual partnership and studio of Ann wood and Dean Lucker in Minnesota called Woodlucker.
'Ann creates mixed media portraits and theatrical tableaus of mysterious beauty and solace whose identity is grounded in the timeless aesthetic and ethic of rural America. Dean’s work is driven by a passion for vernacular animated traditions which combine a personalized mythology to create mechanical storytelling. Their collaborative work combines a love for illustrated paper art and forgotten histories into engaging objects full of sentiment and longing'. www.woodlucker.com
They share a studio but each have a very distinct style that still blends and works beautifully together. Using the simple but beautiful materials of paper and wood they create the most lyrical pieces that seem to really speak to me. I think I'll just stop there with the descriptions and let the images speak for themselves now. Enjoy! They are also on Instagram @woodlucker which is where discovered and fell in love with their super special work.
Hydrangeas have really made a comeback in the past few years. They're such an old fashioned flower that seems to have a timeless beauty. In Wellington, New Zealand, they are everywhere and have so many different colours and shapes. If you catch the cable car up from the city into the Botanical gardens you can walk back down through a beautiful grove of hydrangeas of every colour and shape - truly magical.
It was here that I rediscovered them and started to collect, press and draw their different sizes and shapes. As I played, a pattern started to emerge and I became obsessed with the many and varied purple tones which seem to retain quite well even after pressing.
The different lines and shapes are reminiscent of old fashioned doilies, all frilly with scalloped edges. They really bring out the nanna in me, purple hair rinse and all. What about you - are you an old fashioned hydrangea person at heart?
I love leafing through old photographs and albums.That painted touched up look they had back then, and the stained paper with the scalloped edges. There is something so special about old photographs in this day and age of instant image taking and 'screen culture'.
My parents' wedding photos inspired me so much when I was at studying art at university that I decided to remake their album using handmade paper. Something I have always loved to do was make paper, even as a kid, and throw in all sorts of pretty stuff like glitter and petals.
I release printed photocopied images of the photos and added handwritten text from gift cards they received, as well as other wedding memorabilia my mum kept like news clippings of the notice in the local paper. I watercoloured some areas to achieve that old photograph colour look. I also used collage and paper cutting to add in more details, all to produce a paper keepsake of their special day. I then designed a collage using 'faces of the day' in the shape of a tennant ribbon and release printed it onto some calico for the front and back cover. I embroidered other details and text and then hand bound it together. No special learnt technique here, I just went by feel and made it up as I went along.
It was a great way of exploring part of my family's history through paper craft, a journey into the past and I got a lot of joy out of showing my little girl.
Some closer details of the binding - I used tulle layers over the paper to capture a wedding veil texture. The embroidery was made up as I went along too - highlighting using stitches.
I hope you enjoyed this window into my parents' wedding in the 1950's - such a great era in fashion and design and one I really love to revisit.
Worry Dolls! These little dolls have so much appeal and power. Tell them your worries, put them under your pillow and overnight they will sort it all out for you. Amen - thank you very much, I'll have one hundred please!
Are you a worrier? I certainly can be, and unfortunately my little girl has the gene to some extent. In an effort to teach her that her worries aren't necessarily a reality and are just thoughts that can be overcome, we ended up with a pack of these beautiful little handmade dolls from the Oxfam shop. Originating in Guatemala, they really are so simple and cute, each dressed in a different version of a colourful linen frock and headress.
Their design really lent itself to drawing and pattern. It was such a joy to draw and colour them in. The pattern is simply a combination of a line drawing, a pencil rendered version and then varying combinations of the dolls lined up in rows. I then dropped them all onto a hand drawn grid to capture that lovely rustic texture of the fibres in the materials. I had a little help with a real linen image which I scanned and used to fill some of their faces to give it depth - hopefully creating a really happy, colourful and uplifting piece.
This design was also developed further into a small collection of surface designs for one of my MIID summer school classes. It was targetted at the childrens market and came under the theme of 'Tribal geometrics' . It was a whole lot of fun designing this one from start to finish. It definitely cured my worries - well for a little while!
Here on the blog I'll try and visit each of the designs in more detail to give those of you who are interested a bit of background as to how it came about and to show you a bit of the 'design process' which is just a fancy shmancy way of describing how I came up with the idea and how it developed!
I adore the design process. Actually, I could easily say that I love it more than the end result which probably sounds a bit weird. It's the bit that gives you the 'OOO's' and 'AHHH's', that exciting feeling of starting with something that really inspires you and then sends you off on a journey of 'what ifs' and 'try thats'. Following me? Well if you've got this far I commend you, my descriptive wording is pretty basic to say the least!
Alrighty - the pretty poppy flower. Such a beauty and if you look really closely, the design details within this flower are amazing. I really am a frustrated botanical artist. I like to pull plants apart and study each of the little features and then draw them. When you press a poppy petal it gets even more papery and fragile and this was the feature which really inspired me to put this pattern together. Collecting and pressing flowers is one of the fondest memories I have as a child and I still love to do it today. The lines on the petals are so fine and crinkly and the bright orange colour when pressed, turns a lovely faded and worn out antique like colour, a bit like an old antique leather bound book. See the first image of the four below.
So taking these beautiful pressed petals (quite a few of them) I then scanned and photoshopped them to enhance those stunning colours. Next came the watercolour layer to add a bit of that bright orange poppy colour back. And finally, the hand drawn part using a fine pen to create the petal and stem outlines with those beautiful alien like looking centres and stamens. Using all these layers I then 're-built' the flowers putting the new layered petals back one by one. Yes this did take a while! I used magenta, orange and green highlight colours in illustrator to change the linework, and voila I arranged them all into a repeat pattern. I was super pleased with the result, this new design process of re-building the flowers petal by petal was tedious but well worth the time it took to build up the layers. A whole new type of flower arranging ;)
Welcome to Paprly we are open for business! Here you will find unique surface pattern artwork designed by me and printed right here in Melbourne onto high quality, environmentally conscious paper to use as gift wrapping or really for any paper crafts you might enjoy.
If you follow me here on the blog I will be posting updates and work in progress of new Paprly products and designs. I am also hoping to share lots of paper art, crafts and products from the amazing world of paper out there. Seriously it's huge and jam packed full of amazing and inspiring designers, artists and crafts people.
Please have a browse of my collection so far and stay tuned for some new products and designs coming very soon :)