Beautiful handmade goodies on their way!

I'm very excited to announce I will be re-opening (after a brief but creatively inspiring, hiatus) my online handmade store on Etsy this July!

Keep an eye on this site for the re-appearance of my 'handmade' link in the header ... it will direct you straight to my shop! Or, alternatively, you can visit www.karalynshaw.etsy.com. You'll only have to wait a wee bit longer, now for the launch of my new lovelies!

I've been busy making a variety of beautiful papers, cards, (and origami adorned versions of same) invitations, decorations, garlands and simple origami pieces for my virtual shelves ... 

So, watch this space ... and look forward to the arrival of my delicate and delightful new stock!

A trove of varied pink ribbons ...

I relished my latest installation. I can't decide whether I enjoyed scouring Bunnings for the most appropriate base materials or, sourcing, cutting and pinning an innumerable number of beautiful, different toned and textured, pink ribbons, the most!

All in all, I loved every second of sculpting this huge breast cancer awareness ribbon for Orb Hair and Beauty's window on the corner of James St and Merthyr Rd, New Farm.

Orb Hair and Beauty are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month this July and this is an eye-catching statement piece to help promote the cause.

I sculpted the large 'ribbon' shape using brilliant metallic silver lengths of air-conditioning duct tubing. I sealed sections of the tubing together using superglue and jewellery clamps and also stitched certain joins (which ultimately would support the most weight) using 20lb fishing line.

Even though all of the individual elements were quite light in weight, the weight of the resultant work was significant and a challenge to hang but I got there and couldn't be happier with the glimmering result! I was thrilled to receive compliments from guests and passers-by too as I hung the work.

I am very grateful to Deb and her team at Orb for enabling to share my creativity with them all once again!

The stunning metallic silver air-conditioning duct tubes I used as the base.

The stunning metallic silver air-conditioning duct tubes I used as the base.

I sourced a beautiful selection of different pink coloured and textured ribbons to create the larger 'ribbon'.

I sourced a beautiful selection of different pink coloured and textured ribbons to create the larger 'ribbon'.

I pinned ribbons all over both sides of the tubing, taking care to balance sizes, tones and textures. I used hot glue to seal the pins in place so the weight of them wouldn't cause them to fall out. I depressed, slightly, the middle point where the tubes overlap so this section wouldn't be too bulky and potentially press-up against the window pane.

I pinned ribbons all over both sides of the tubing, taking care to balance sizes, tones and textures. I used hot glue to seal the pins in place so the weight of them wouldn't cause them to fall out. I depressed, slightly, the middle point where the tubes overlap so this section wouldn't be too bulky and potentially press-up against the window pane.

A close up of a section of tubing with pinned ribbons.

A close up of a section of tubing with pinned ribbons.

A big beautiful, sparkling ribbon in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

A big beautiful, sparkling ribbon in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Tulip Fever!

I am blushing with happiness and satisfaction in the reflected glow of the striking pink field of tulips I created for Deb and all her team at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm, for Mother's Day this year.

In terms of colour brilliance, patterns and balance of tones and shapes in the space, I could not be more thrilled with the outcome and feel this is one of my best works yet!

It was quite challenging threading the tulips and allowing for and hanging the 3D papier-mâché letters amongst them but hard work and once again, attention to detail paid off and the end result is very striking and hopefully, eye-catching for all passers-by of Orb!

Here are a few snapshots of the work in progress:

 

The work began with selecting appropriate papers and colour tones and of course, with a lot of folding! The tulip is not a complex fold by any stretch but I wanted to work with 125gsm card to make the installation quite robust and this was more tough on my hands than usual.   

The work began with selecting appropriate papers and colour tones and of course, with a lot of folding! The tulip is not a complex fold by any stretch but I wanted to work with 125gsm card to make the installation quite robust and this was more tough on my hands than usual.

 

Once I had folded the separate bulb and stem elements, I created the tulip by inserting the stems into the bulbs. For extra strength, I used my hot glue gun to seal the join.   

Once I had folded the separate bulb and stem elements, I created the tulip by inserting the stems into the bulbs. For extra strength, I used my hot glue gun to seal the join.

 

I measured out the window drop and arranged the tulips on a white sheet so I could get a good sense of the shapes in space. I then affixed small cardboard discs to the base of each tulip, in the same colour as the stems and threaded small green buttons below each tulip too, to allow them to sit flat and be strung in a line. I then secured each tulip using a tiny jewellery clamp.   

I measured out the window drop and arranged the tulips on a white sheet so I could get a good sense of the shapes in space. I then affixed small cardboard discs to the base of each tulip, in the same colour as the stems and threaded small green buttons below each tulip too, to allow them to sit flat and be strung in a line. I then secured each tulip using a tiny jewellery clamp.

 

The tulip base with the disc and small button.   

The tulip base with the disc and small button.

 

Ultimately, I spray-painted the papier-mâché 'MUM' letters. I used a rust-primer as it was the only spray paint I could track down in the shade I wanted!  I also finished tying some satin ribbons in matching shades of pinks and greens to some of the tulips to represent gift-giving on Mother's Day, too.  I thoroughly enjoyed working on this commission and was really excited to see it  blossom  in the window at Orb!   

Ultimately, I spray-painted the papier-mâché 'MUM' letters. I used a rust-primer as it was the only spray paint I could track down in the shade I wanted!

I also finished tying some satin ribbons in matching shades of pinks and greens to some of the tulips to represent gift-giving on Mother's Day, too.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this commission and was really excited to see it blossom in the window at Orb!

 

Delicate hand-sculpted Peonies and Japanese Anemones

I have enjoyed very much sculpting these beautiful delicate flowers of late. I hand-dyed crêpe paper in different food dyes to achieve natural, variegated petals. I love the texture of the crêpe paper. It's beautiful to stretch and shape using different materials. The small, fine, inner petals of the peonies are all single layers of paper but the outer petals and those of the anemone are larger, thicker and multi-layered (and in some instances, multi-coloured). This is an art form I would very much like to improve upon. I am forever in awe of mother nature but perhaps a little bit more so after attempting to imitate her creative prowess in this way!

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Beautiful invitations ... for a beautiful girl!

I had a lot of fun creating these invitations using a combination of watercolours, indian ink, nylon thread, jewellery wire and sequins. My youngest daughter Violet is turning 10 very soon and they are for her party! Birthdays are a such very good excuse to get creative! We're working on a few themed party elements for her celebration now too!

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A heartfelt Valentine's for Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm

This window installation of hundreds of little origami hearts and stunning, light-reflecting crystals is one of my most detailed works. Each of the little paper hearts and crystals are separated with tiny jewellery clamps to give some separation and rotational space for each element. I was thrilled to create and install it for Deb and her team at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm.

Before I install it, I need to measure out the strands on the floor to ensure the right drop height to create the overall heart shape. It is a very precise process.

The work is simply very pretty and delicate and I love the way the crystals catch and play with the light in the window.

Love is in the air! :)

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A little mathematics at Christmas!

Earlier in the year I had a lot of fun getting lost in the masses of books for sale at the UQ Alumni Book Fair. I filled several boxes ... (they were only $5 for a full box of books!) ... some were to read and others, to 'play' with!  I was delighted to find several old geometry textbooks (an area close to my heart) and put them away to later use, creatively.

I transformed the mathematical texts into ten or so sepia/neutral toned wreaths.  They are stunning in their angles, aged-colours, patterns, content and overall shape. They'll make a beautiful window installation. A few though are for a couple of maths enthusiasts in my life ... a very appropriate Christmas present!  

I even transformed the cover of one of the books into a simple origami heart which I used to decorate a recycled kraft card. How I love getting lost in mathematical beauty of any sort!

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It's catching ...

The joy and peace associated with folding origami is 'catching' here at home again and many more matte magazine wreaths (not mine!) are springing up all around our home creating a beautiful festive feel!

My children's matte magazine wreaths atop our piano - a perfect, calming school holiday activity!

My children's matte magazine wreaths atop our piano - a perfect, calming school holiday activity!

Origami wreaths ...

I've also been getting festive in fashioning these beautiful wreaths with the Year 4s and 5s at my daughters' school.

I really enjoyed the process of talking about the art and maths of origami and of course, the relevant fold and then constructing the wreaths with the children using beautiful up-cycled matte magazine papers.

The children found the activity captivating and meditative.  

I then glued the wreaths and tied rustic garden twine around them so the children could take them home to hang or give as a gift to someone special. 

The completed year 4 and 5 wreaths ... ready for distributing!

The completed year 4 and 5 wreaths ... ready for distributing!

‘Tis that wonderful time of the year!

We have a family tradition of baking lots of gingerbread at this time of year. The kitchen always smells so good and we all get such a thrill out of selecting appropriate sweets and putting the houses together! It is an even greater feeling of satisfaction and joy in wrapping up the little houses and giving them, with big smiles, to friends and family! Here are a few photos from our past week of scrumptious gingerbread baking ...

 

A wee little village ...

A wee little village ...

Lots of Christmas colours in this neighbouring village!

Lots of Christmas colours in this neighbouring village!

Pattern play ...

Pattern play ...

Larger houses in the making!

Larger houses in the making!

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Writing Christmas messages ...

Writing Christmas messages ...

Elegant Christmas Windows of Silver and Black

On Wednesday I was thrilled to complete my latest installation work for Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm. I filled 5 big windows of the salon with festive and stunningly elegant silver and black themed origami baubles which also feature some sculptural heart elements.  

The resulting 2 street-frontage creation surpassed even my own expectations! Thank you once again for the opportunity, Deb and a huge thank you to you and all your team for looking after me so well throughout what was a big day physically and mentally for me!

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Silvery satiny brilliance in the making ...

The process of piecing together an installation of this magnitude is quite detailed and extensive.  Here are a few key steps in the creation of the origami orb baubles.

I begin the installation by sketching each window of the salon and include the spatial dimensions.  I then cut out butcher's paper templates for each bauble: 90cm/60cm/45cm/30cm diameter sizes. I arrange the completed origami and sculptural heart pieces on each bauble and then calculate the 'drop' of each element and cut adequate fishing line to hang each piece.

I begin the installation by sketching each window of the salon and include the spatial dimensions.  I then cut out butcher's paper templates for each bauble: 90cm/60cm/45cm/30cm diameter sizes. I arrange the completed origami and sculptural heart pieces on each bauble and then calculate the 'drop' of each element and cut adequate fishing line to hang each piece.

Here is a close up of an origami star orb (origami stars have a pentagonal base) created by threading the completed stars onto sculptural wire and then affixing cord to hold the join. I then attach the fishing line to the top of each orb using a small jewellery clamp and pliers.

Here is a close up of an origami star orb (origami stars have a pentagonal base) created by threading the completed stars onto sculptural wire and then affixing cord to hold the join. I then attach the fishing line to the top of each orb using a small jewellery clamp and pliers.

This image shows each orb element numbered and taped in situ. I then use a piece of string and a sharpie to mark the spacings of each piece. I then know I'll be able to hang the baubles on site relatively effortlessly as the spacings, drop and order of each element have all been organised!

This image shows each orb element numbered and taped in situ. I then use a piece of string and a sharpie to mark the spacings of each piece. I then know I'll be able to hang the baubles on site relatively effortlessly as the spacings, drop and order of each element have all been organised!

A close-up of the numbering and spacing ... this bauble is now ready. I moved it to a flat board - ready to transport and then commenced on another!

A close-up of the numbering and spacing ... this bauble is now ready. I moved it to a flat board - ready to transport and then commenced on another!

Silver & Black

I’ve been immersed in a beautiful sea of metallic silver origami paper and stunning, elegant silver and black ribbons recently putting the finishing touches to a 5 window Christmas installation for Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm ... not long to go now before all will be revealed!

 

 

... Very elegant 'silver and black' themed handmade pieces for a 5 window Christmas installation at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm.

... Very elegant 'silver and black' themed handmade pieces for a 5 window Christmas installation at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm.

I love the texture of these sculptural heart features I made using wire and predominantly black with a touch of silver ribbon (a balanced reversal of the striking silver origami orbs which incorporate a single black satin ribbon). These hearts evoke memories of 'Swan Lake' for me and in particular, of the 'black swan' ... although within the work, symbolise love and the spirit of giving at Christmas.

I love the texture of these sculptural heart features I made using wire and predominantly black with a touch of silver ribbon (a balanced reversal of the striking silver origami orbs which incorporate a single black satin ribbon). These hearts evoke memories of 'Swan Lake' for me and in particular, of the 'black swan' ... although within the work, symbolise love and the spirit of giving at Christmas.

Marshmallow bunny Easter treats!

It's an Easter tradition here to get creative in the kitchen and make delectable marshmallow bunnies to share with friends and family!

What was otherwise a very unpleasant last day of term 1 for my children (due to the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie passing through Brisbane) was brightened by the sharing of homemade passionfruit marshmallow at school.  We made these little wobbly critters using passionfruit pulp and scrumptious, fluffy, whipped vanilla marshmallow!

They were a big hit and even more importantly, there were leftovers to share at home too! More Easter cooking, creativity and celebrations await us this week ... watch this space!

These are the different stages in the creative culinary process ... boiling the sugar and water solution; straining the passionfruit pulp and mixing it with dissolved gelatine leaves; whipping the pulp/gelatine mixture together with the sugar solution until you have goey, fluffy marshmallow! Ultimately, the marshmallow is poured into lightly greased rabbit moulds and left to set.

These are the different stages in the creative culinary process ... boiling the sugar and water solution; straining the passionfruit pulp and mixing it with dissolved gelatine leaves; whipping the pulp/gelatine mixture together with the sugar solution until you have goey, fluffy marshmallow! Ultimately, the marshmallow is poured into lightly greased rabbit moulds and left to set.

Once the marshmallow has set, we tip the 'bunnies' out of the moulds and dust them in a 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour and then box them up in colourful boxes tied up with matching string to give them away and bring a huge smile and a happily sated tummy to a friend! 

Once the marshmallow has set, we tip the 'bunnies' out of the moulds and dust them in a 50/50 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour and then box them up in colourful boxes tied up with matching string to give them away and bring a huge smile and a happily sated tummy to a friend! 

'Barnaby Bull'

I am working on some illustrations of a rather beautiful beast, at present - 'Barnaby Bull'.

This is a very special commission, from a very special someone, for illustrations to accompany a charming series of children's stories!

I am so thrilled and honoured to be involved and hope to have the watercolour and acrylic ink illustrations finished soon!

Watch this space!

 

'Summer Road Trip' with 'Musica Viva'!

I was very excited to receive the proofs (as gift wrap) of my 2 latest surface design patterns, earlier this week.

'Summer road trip' is in honour of our annual beach holiday!  I hand-painted the design using watercolour and acrylic ink.

'Musica viva' captures the spiritual uplift we feel when exposed to beautiful, powerful music, rhythm and lyrics.  This was hand-drawn using nib pen in indian ink.

Both are available for sale as gift wrap, fabric and wallpaper through my Spoonflower shop.  See the 'surface pattern design' link in the menu of this website.

Eggs Eggs Eggs!

The James St window at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm has been filled with 'eggs' in anticipation of Easter ... just around the corner!

I created this installation using 'eggs' I sculpted from different pastel wools, glue and an assortment of similarly coloured ribbons and buttons.  I stitched the eggs through long pieces of fishing line before hanging them in an offset pattern in the window!

Each egg is a work of art in its own right: so delicate and colourful.

Thanks so much to Deb and her team at Orb for having me!  My favourite part of completing my works is witnessing all your excited reactions when I unveil the new, themed elements!  I loved every minute of this installation and always have so much fun in the salon with you all!

The installation is a reminder of how quickly Easter is approaching!  Here's to a happy and safe holiday.

 

A beautiful heart ...

My huge heart was pounding with excitement this morning as I hung my beautiful Valentine's Day creation in a stunning light-filled window for everyone at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm.

I measured and hung each line of delicately folded origami hearts and crystal beads to form a larger heart shape. The holographic papers and crystals played with the light and the resulting piece looked striking and very elegant (much like the styles Deb and her wonderful team create in the salon!).

Here are some photos I took of the final work.

May we all find a way to celebrate love this Valentine's Day!

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched.  They are felt with the heart."

(Antoine de St Exupéry: The Little Prince ... one of my favourite books (and authors) of all time!)

 

Origami heart installation for Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm for Valentine's Day!

Origami and crystal bead detail.

Everyday art

One of my favourite annual rituals is covering my children's books in beautiful papers: both my designs and those of other artists and photographers.  It is my way of bringing a little bit of beauty and art to the children's everyday!

After a marathon session of paper and contact-cutting yesterday, my four little ones were on their way today with these beauties ... ready for lots of action this year no doubt!

 

Another little piece of my heart ...

My Valentine's installation is now ready to hang!

The little red, pink and white holographic paper origami hearts are threaded onto fishing line together with circular crystal beads and create a larger more striking heart form (approximately 120cms x 120cms). Each origami and crystal piece is crimped in place using tiny silver jewellery crimps.  The lines are weighted down with small fishing sinkers at the base. 

The shiny paper hearts resemble Valentine's chocolates and the crystals look like diamonds! There's an analogy with the fishing line and sinkers too ... to 'fish in the sea' perhaps!

I work on a white cloth to enable me to get a clear sense of the shapes, space and detail I'm working with.  Each line is 'numbered' and secured ready to position in situ in a light-filled window at Orb Hair and Beauty, New Farm.

I love playing with light and colour in my work and the surface of these papers and the crystals catch and reflect the light beautifully.

May everyone's heart sparkle this Valentine's day ... just like my stunning Orb installation!  

The series of lines of little origami hearts and crystals on the white cloth I use to plan my work.

A close-up of my little origami hearts and crystal beads crimped in place on the lines.

The overall large heart shape ready to hang!  Fear not ... 'tis not a broken heart ... the space in the middle is simply to enable me to negotiate the wall bracket when I hang the work!  (Or you could look at it like a Japanese philosopher or Leonard Cohen and see it as simply a way for the 'light to get in'!) 😉