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Corner View – Experience

January 28th, 2015 by Eliza

Hays Bay, Banks Peninsula

Hays Bay, Banks Peninsula

We have just returned home from a three-day holiday to a lovely little town called Diamond Harbour. It’s only 40 minutes from Christchurch but it seems a world away. While we were there we had lots of experiences of course but three of them stood out.

The first was a beautiful early morning swim at Hays Bay – a lovely little beach not far from Diamond Harbour.  The beach had previously been virtually inaccessible because you had to walk across a farmer’s private land to get there. When the farmer sold his land to a developer and they began to build a posh gated community there Kevin and I thought this little slice of paradise would be forever shut off from public access. Little did we know though that one of the stipulations the developers had to meet before they could develop the land was to build a public walk-way down to Hays Bay. So – after years of looking longingly at this lovely spot – Kevin and I, and Brianna too, had the chance to swim there. And it was as gorgeous as we thought it would be!

The second stand-out experience of our holiday was a trip on the Diamond Harbour Ferry – a little boat that travels between the port town of Lyttelton (just through the tunnel from Christchurch) and Diamond Harbour.  Kevin and I wanted to look at a house for sale in Lyttelton (we used to live there and would love to return) so we thought it would be fun to take the boat (a 10 minute trip) rather than going by road (which would take us 40 minutes). There was a strong Easterly wind blowing that day so the harbour was quite choppy – making it all the more exciting. I took this photograph of a huge container ship on our way back out of Lyttelton after seeing the house (which was rather gorgeous by the way!). The sea looks very calm in the port – but once out into the open sea it was quite a different story!

Container ship at anchor in Lyttelton Port

Container ship at anchor in Lyttelton Port

The third stand-out experience of our holiday was the evening we spent on Diamond Harbour Beach – a rocky little cove that is the complete opposite of Hays Bay but absolutely delightful all the same. In fact it’s probably our favourite beach on the whole of Banks Peninsula. We had a gorgeous late-afternoon swim and then we just stayed there basking on the warm rocks until the sun sank down behind the fir trees on the ridge above.  Perfection

Evening light at Diamond Harbour Beach

Evening light at Diamond Harbour Beach

Corner View – Walk of my dreams

January 21st, 2015 by Eliza

Walking through the bush Tahunanui Beach

Walking through the bush  to Tahunanui Beach

 

I racked my brains a bit for what the “walk of my dreams” would be. I have walked in some lovely places in my life – along the Seine on my first trip to Paris, along the tow-path of the Isis River when we lived in Oxford during my early thirties, along the beach at Parga in the north of Greece and many more besides but all the photographs of these gorgeous perambulations were taken before we went digital and are currently hidden away in large photo albums in our shed. I really should pull them out one day and go through them.  But I digress!

Anyway . . . in the middle of last winter we made a trip to the lovely little city of Nelson to attend a writer’s weekend and on our first evening there we took our elderly Airedale Wolfie for a walk to nearby Tahunanui Beach. Brianna was playing with her friend Lucy so it was just Kevin and Wolfie and I. It was the most beautiful of beautiful winter days – a completely clear sky, no wind, crisp air and as the afternoon drew towards evening the light bathed everything it touched in magic . So even though we weren’t somewhere exotic or romantic I think this walk was definitely “a walk of my dreams”

Winter afternoon, Tahunanui Beach

Winter afternoon, Tahunanui Beach

Wolfe meeting some friends on Tahunanui Beach

Wolfe meeting some friends on Tahunanui Beach

Winter afternoon, Tahunanui Beach

Winter afternoon, Tahunanui Beach

 

Sunset at Tahunanui

Sunset at Tahunanui

Corner View – Favourite Plate

January 13th, 2015 by Eliza

My favourite plate

My favourite plate

I found this old plate at a shop here in Christchurch called ‘Forage’ – which is just the absolute perfect name for it because foraging is just what you do in a such a shop – full to the brim of antiques and bric-a-brac. I have foraged there a few times and found various bits and bobs to please my vintage-loving soul but probably the thing I’ve found there that I adore the most is this plate. It’s a little stained, a little crackly – but I love the blue design on the cream background (was it once white – I don’t know!).  Yes – I think I can truthfully say that this is definitely my favourite plate!

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane of Spain Daily, and hosted by Francesca of Fuori Borgo where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 

Corner View – Sparkle

January 6th, 2015 by Eliza

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

 

When I saw the theme for this week’s Corner View I immediately took a photograph of our Christmas tree which has been sparkling beautifully for the last 6 weeks or so and which we – somewhat regretfully – took down yesterday.  We have left some of our sparkly lights up though because we wanted to keep some of the feeling of the festive season even though Christmas is over.

Interestingly someone told me the other day that the notion that the decorations must be taken down after the 12th Day of Christmas is actually a relatively recent custom.  Originally the Christmas period went all the way to Candlemas – on Feb 2nd – which I guess means that your house could be kept dressed in its Christmas finery for the whole of January!

So nice to be back at Corner View.  One of my new year’s resolutions for 2015 is to be a more regular visitor here. Let’s see how I do!

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane of Spain Daily, and hosted by Francesca of Fuori Borgo where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 

Sharing the Honey: Karen and Sam Lane of ‘Bound 2 Please’

January 5th, 2015 by Eliza

“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”  Theodore Dreiser

One of the gorgeous journals by Bound 2 Please

One of the gorgeous journals by Bound 2 Please

Beautiful books

Beautiful books

 

Welcome to ‘Sharing the Honey’ – an occasional series where Eliza profiles artists who catch her eye both on-line and in person.

Today Sharing the Honey features a mother and a daughter team – Sam and Karen Lane – from Auckland, New Zealand.  Sam and Karen have combined their considerable talents – Karen is a writer and a keen crafter and Sam is an artist – to create gorgeous hand-made journals and sketch books which they sell in their Etsy shop ‘Bound 2 Please’ and at markets around the Auckland area.

As Karen and Sam tell it: –

“Our journey with bookbinding began in 2012 when we visited an exhibition of books made by local bookbinders. Their creations took our breath away. The attention to detail, the luxurious materials, the artwork in their covers … the untold stories and sketches they could hold. We found ourselves revisiting the exhibition again and again, each time discovering something new between the pages of those books”.

A short time later Karen and Sam were offered the opportunity to learn the craft that had so entranced them and they leapt at the chance. For both women creating beautiful hand-made books offered a new and exciting form of artistic expression and they found themselves taking great pleasure in the whole process – from the selection of fabrics, threads and papers to the careful construction of books themselves. The idea for their Etsy shop ‘Bound 2 Please’ sparked as the pages for their first creations lay in the press.

While Karen and Sam work on their creations independently – as Karen says “our work-spaces are small – more suited to one person than two” – they do meet up to make recycled paper, share ideas and swap materials and also to seek each others’ advice about design elements. They have also done a few markets together – sharing stalls at the Matakana Indie Market and the Warkworth Artisan market.

Karen – a primary school teacher for 23 years – has taken early retirement in order to concentrate on journal making and on writing – she’s recently published a children’s book called ‘Big Mac’ – about a hungry ginger cat. Karen’s other great love is travelling around New Zealand with her husband Ray in their converted bus. Once a year Karen and Ray head off for five or six weeks – this year they did a road trip around the South Island –  as well as making other shorter journeys to favourite spots nearby. The beauty of the natural world that surrounds her during her travels provide endless inspiration for Karen’s creative endeavours.

Daughter Sam – also a school teacher – currently works full-time so it’s a challenge to fit the journal making and art into an already busy life. Indeed Sam’s taken an unplanned break from making art this past year due to her new-found love of book-binding. As Sam says, “you can spend days making a journal if you want to and because I teach full-time my art making time is already limited”. The challenge for Sam this year is to try and make time to get back into her art (primarily drawing, but she also experiments with other mediums) and one way she’s finding of doing this is incorporating her own art into some of her journals – as she has done in the beautiful Galaxy Journal pictured below.

Galaxy Journal

Galaxy Journal

 

And here is one of Sam’s beautiful original artworks – this was done for a recent commission.

'Moreporks' © Sam Lane - Ink on Hahnemuhle bamboo paper

‘Moreporks’ © Sam Lane – Ink on Hahnemuhle bamboo paper

 

The art and the craft of making books is not only a perfect fit for Karen and Sam’s talents and passions, it also provides the ideal way for this creative mother-and-daughter team to combine those talents and passions to create works of art that are beautiful, practical and ‘Bound 2 Please’.

Nature Journal with Tree Camouflage

Nature Journal with Tree Camouflage

 

Large coptic bound unlined journal

Large coptic bound unlined journal

Coptic bound unlined journal

Coptic bound unlined journal

Large, coptic bound, unlined journal

Chunky fabric-covered unlined journal

 

See more of Karen and Sam’s work on Etsy

Find out what else Karen and Sam have been up to on their ‘Bound 2 Please’ blog

Check out Sam’s amazing art on her Facebook Page ‘Samantha Lane Art

 

Sharing the Honey – Melinda Downing of ‘Cabin Castle’

August 21st, 2014 by Eliza

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing

Acqua Girl with Blue Eyes by Melinda Downing

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“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”  Theodore Dreiser

The second in my ‘Sharing the Honey’ series where I profile artists whose work catches my eye as I wander the highways and byways of my virtual and my real life.

Today I’m featuring a talented Etsy artist and portrait photographer called Melinda Downing.  I first encountered Melinda’s work  through her Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castle’ in which she sells her own original photographs (mainly nature and travel-themed), vintage inspired photo pendants, market tote bags, and lovely postcards.  Melinda  designs and and makes by hand all the  items in her shop – using her both own photography and scans of images from her collection of vintage photographs.

Ghost Town Notecards

Ghost Town Notecards in Melinda’s Etsy shop ‘Cabin Castl

Wedding Thank you Cards

Wedding Thank you Cards – ‘Cabin Castle’

 

 

 

Jane Austen Pendant - Cabin Castle

Jane Austen Pendant – Cabin Castle

And the story behind Melinda’s Cabin Castle shop is as enchanting as her lovely work. As she says in her Etsy Seller Profile she was just about to give up on her dream of building a cabin on her piece of land in the Sierra National Forest when – over a blackberry pie – she and her retired truck driver uncle decided to build a one room cabin themselves – using mostly recycled materials. “Who needs running water and electricity anyway?” says Melinda.

Now she has a little 8×13, solar powered cabin that feels, she says, like a castle. A”I go there often”, says Melinda, “to hike, read, rest, build things and to make some of the art that I sell here on Etsy”.

As well as running Cabin Castle Melinda also has another Etsy shop called ‘Parts for your Art’ in which she sells vintage prints, art and craft supplies and gorgeous little crowns which can be used for all sorts of purposes from cake toppers to photographic props. Melinda says that spending a lot of time in her small cabin has made her realise that although she loves all the old things she has collected over the year it is OK to let go of some of them now.

Crown from 'Parts for Your Art'

Crown from ‘Parts for Your Art’

As well as running two busy Etsy shops Melinda teaches yoga –  “one of the most joyful jobs you can imagine” – makes beautiful portraits, and spends time with her wonderful husband and her two beautiful children.

Here is the link to Melinda’s lovely Etsy shop – Cabin Castle www.etsy.com/nz/shop/CabinCastle

You can also visit Melinda at her vintage shop on Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/partsforyourart

or at her portraiture website – melindadowning.com . . .

'Sweet Melana' - @melindadowningdesign

‘Sweet Melana’ – @melindadowningdesign

 

 

In search of an artist . . .

July 25th, 2014 by Eliza

Painting by Julius Schmid (1854 - 1935)

Painting by Julius Schmid (1854 – 1935)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night I received an inquiry from a lovely reader regarding an image of Beethoven I used to illustrate  a Corner View blog post called ‘Joy‘.  She asked me where the image came from and despite having been a Beethoven fan since the age of eight and having seen this image many times in books and online I didn’t actually know. So I set off to find out. A google image search revealed that the image was taken from a black and white postcard reproduction of an oil painting by an Austrian artist called Julius Schmid (1854 – 1935) and was probably painted in 1920 – well after Beethoven’s death.   Here’s the postcard :-

Postcard reproduction of Schmid's painting

Postcard reproduction of Schmid’s painting

Reproduced in black and white like this it looks almost like it is  a photograph of Beethoven – and indeed I found a few people online claiming that it was. Sadly Beethoven died in 1827 when photography was only in it’s infancy. According to Wikipedia, French inventor Nicéphore Niépce created the earliest surviving photograph of a real-world scene (the View from the Window at Le Gras) in 1826 or 1827.

According to Janet Wasserman, the artist who painted the original image – Julius Schmid – was an academic artist of his era.  He was a landscape, historical, and genre painter as well as a very successful portraitist of the Austrian Imperial family, the nobility, and of the Vienna haute bourgeoisie.

Schmid also painted a very famous painting of the composer Franz Schubert – called the Schubertabend (or Schubertiaden) – my apologies but I couldn’t seem to find a better image than this online . . .

Schubertabend - by Julius Schmid

Schubertiaden – by Julius Schmid

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite being quite successful in his own lifetime Schmid has all but disappeared from the canon of art – overtaken by the new art movements which were developing in the early-to-mid 20th Century. His main legacy to the world are these two paintings – and their continued currency owes more to the ongoing fame of the two composers than to any regard for Schmid as an artist. I have to say though that I really like these paintings – I feel  the artist must have admired both composers and that he must have gone to some lengths to familiarise himself with their personalities and habits. These two paintings give us a very affectionate and quite intimate glimpse into the worlds inhabited by Beethoven and Schubert – as interpreted by a very fine painter with a photographic eye. Thank you Julius Schmid  🙂

Corner View – Inner Child

July 15th, 2014 by Eliza

Garden Fairy

Brianna’s Fairy

These photographs illustrate a few of the things I do to feed my inner child.   The first photograph is of a fairy Brianna and I made together a year or so ago. We got the idea for her out of a book called ‘Fairy Things to Make and Do’ by Usbourne.  I never would have made this fairy if I didn’t have a gorgeous fairy-loving daughter but I enjoyed every moment of the process. We still have her – she has pride of place on Brianna’s bedroom door.

Children's Classics

Children’s Classics

Another thing that feeds my inner child is having the opportunity to revisit some of the classic books of my childhood by reading them to Brianna – The Naughtiest Girl in the School Series by Enid Blyton, When We Were Very Young and Winnie-the-Pooh, Pollyanna . . . and etc., and etc . . . She can read extremely well now herself but she still loves to be read to – and she still loves the old favourites 🙂

Dressing Up

Dressing Up

I love romantically beautiful clothes – and I have ever since I was a little girl. Dressing up in gorgeous gowns and pretty dresses makes me feel like a princess and even though I no longer dream of actually being a princess any more I still like the feeling I get when I dress up. It brings back those lovely childhood feelings of transformation,  empowerment and magic.

Postcards ready for posting

Postcards ready for posting

And finally – the pretty things I make – and sometimes sell – for Eliza’s Dream take me back to the dreamy little girl I once was. They give me the opportunity – and the excuse – lose myself in all things beautiful and romantic and to create things that transport me (and maybe a few other people) into another, gentler, time and place 🙂

Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane of Spain Daily, and hosted by Francesca of Fuori Borgo where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 

Corner View – One year ago, five years ago

June 19th, 2014 by Eliza

 

Five years ago

Five years ago

 

 

One year ago

One year ago

It seems like only yesterday . . . five years ago, one year ago . . . time is flying and my little girl is shooting up so fast she’ll over take me soon.

Sharing the Honey – June Hunter

June 16th, 2014 by Eliza

 

Poised

Poised

 

“Art is the stored honey of the human soul”                                                        Theodore Dreiser

This is the first of series of occasional short artist profiles I have called ‘Sharing the Honey’.  I have been wanting to do posts like this for a long time because I keep coming across so much beautiful work by so many talented artists and craftspeople as I wander the highways and byways of the virtual (and occasionally the real!) world. Very few of these people are ‘famous’ or even all that well-known but they’re all amazing and I would like to compile a little gallery of them here on my blog so I can keep a record for myself of their stories and their work and – of course – share them with anyone who may happen by here.

And so I will begin with June Hunter – a full-time artist-photographer who lives in Vancouver, British Colombia.  I came across June’s work on Etsy – where she has a gorgeous shop full of beautiful photographic prints, photo pendant jewellery and tiles.  As well as selling on Etsy June’s work has been shown in individual and group shows in Canada and in the United Kingdom and she has been featured in ‘Style at Home’, ‘House and Home’ and ‘Where Vancouver’.  Her art and her jewellery are also sold at local Vancouver galleries and markets.

June’s work reflects her intense love for the natural world and a real passion for birds, especially crows. Describing herself as a “crow paparazzo”,   June captures the  beauty and intelligence of these birds to perfection in her gorgeously detailed, sumptuously produced photographs.

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Dark Angel

Dark Angel

June was born in the north of England and grew up in what she describes as an “ultra-urban environment” where her playground comprised “the rusting leftovers of the industrial revolution and fragments of the Roman Wall”.

After high school June studied at Bangor University in North Wales, specializing in Anglo-Saxon poetry.  In her mid-twenties she moved to  British Colombia where she immersed herself in the nature she had been starved of – building a cabin by hand, living miles from her nearest human neighbours and working as a tree planter for many years. By the 1980’s though June had settled in Vancouver –  where she studied art, worked in graphic design and raised her children.

For me – what really sets June’s work apart from other ‘nature’ photographers is the painterly beauty of her images which is achieved by very clever – and very subtle – layering effects (using both digital and traditional techniques).  This process creates images with a gorgeously magical atmosphere – like these four prints from June’s ‘Bluebell Woods’ series.

Bluebell Woods

Bluebell Woods

June  created these by combining her photography with textures from her life history — fragments of letters, old lace, cracked stonework, wallpaper patterns, maps and so on. As June says in her listing blurb on Etsy  “these glowing images evoke childhood memories of country adventures on golden idyllic days — embroidered upon by the light, shadow and texture of the intervening decades”.

June works from a studio in her garden – with the assistance of her daughter, Lily (an accomplished photographer in her own right) – and their cat Edgar – who June says is useful for “modelling a deeply relaxed approach to life”.  June feels she has now found a happy medium – living within walking distance of Vancouver’s downtown core, but surrounded by a lovely garden with trees full of birds and  – clouds permitting – still able to see the mountains from her home.

If you’re interested in finding out more about June and her work here are some links to her Facebook page, her Etsy shop and her webpage

https://www.facebook.com/junehunterimages?fref=ts

https://www.etsy.com/nz/shop/junehunter?ref=pr_shop_more

www.junehunter.com

PS: The information for this profile was sourced from June’s About Page and her Profile in her Etsy shop  🙂