Be the change you wish to see in the world

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Given the shocking events of last Friday, it is so difficult to find the right words – but I remembered this collage canvass I made some years ago and it sums up my feelings about this whole situation.

It was created at a time when I had lots of my girlfriends coming for tea and cake to my studio but they were terrified of doing anything arty, so we began to paint with glitter; it was such an easier fun way to be creative.

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While the top quotation says

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

I wanted to express the transformation that love can bring – so I used words that would also link together to create love.

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Butterflies symbolise transformation I wanted them to look as if they had just rested a moment on the canvass.

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While the swirls of blue and white create movement

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Some might call it childish, I found great pleasure in using the blue tones mixed in with a little purple.

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The butterflies were cut from a lovely birthday card I had received earlier in that year.

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Around the canvass you can also see tiny seed purls – another suggestion of transformation – an oyster changes an irritating grain of sand into a thing of beauty.

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I won’t focus on how much this world is full of hatred and misery

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but instead,  in my own small way, spread love with a smile, a word of thanks or a listening ear. Not world changing but within my power.

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Study in blue and gold

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We travelled to Austria a little while ago to see the Art Nouveau artists Klimt and Sheile it was such a tremendous joy to see the paintings up close.  I was so inspired by Klimt’s use of gold in his paintings that I wanted to create a little homage to his art. I did a few sketches using a gold pen just to get a feel for the design – its at this playful stage that elements and accidents combine.

A study in gold

I love the combination of indigo blue and gold – I had a plain glass serving plate that would make a good base for a Art Nouveau design – and the gold outliners are delightful to work with and more in my price range than gold leaf. The indigo made me think of the sea, and so I wanted circles to form like bubbles bursting forth across one side of the plate while the other contrasted with geometric elements in curvy lines.

bubble shapes

There were circles within the bubbles, as well as eye like features (Klimt uses a lot of Egyptian symbols)
Organic shapes gold on blue

I followed the contours of the lip of the plate, and you can just see my signature on the left of this picture

gold on blue - plate

I love the organic shapes prevalent in Art Nouveau so I incorporated swirls, petals and bean structures alongside triangular shapes. I discovered the gold could also be layered, so that even solid areas had surface decoration. It took approximately a week to decorate the plate and I altered the designs slightly from my original sketch because it was difficult to go into really fine detail.

blue and gold plate susanna di milo

So here is the finished plate – it looks glorious when the sun shines through the glass, I have it sitting on my windowsill – it was great fun to do. I may try to make some glass plates next time so that I can incorporate a little more tone in the back ground; It is something I would like to develop further.

My homage to Klimt

Back in July we went to Vienna to see the art nouveau movement paintings, in particular Klimt and Shiele. I loved the way Klimt used gold with a lot of the decoration looking like egyptian hieroglyphics Which inspired me to try my hand at painting with gold… Of course this is not real gold but a gold paste for decorating china! 

I love the combination of  blue and gold

this plate was given to me by my son

So it was wonderful to make it into a work of art

Merry Christmas

Living in a flat I did not have the room for a large tree, so I decided to make this little area my Christmas decoration. It is hard to photograph but with the little lights twinkling around the mirror and along the top. The little house has a little tea light holder and I love the snow globes. I like this gorgeous retro blue, instead of the traditional reg and green. 

This is a close up of the little tree decorations, the cotton reels are no bigger than 2 – 3 inches, (you caught a peek of them early in November) I hung a few beads, some lone earrings,  I just love the little kissing doves. 

This might just seem a rather modest little decoration but after living with other people for the last couple of years, it is so nice to finally have a space of my own to decorate. I look back to last year when I had just moved in and was living on my own I am in such a wonderful place now I feel truly blessed. 
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a year full of health, wealth and happiness for 2013. 

Sew Little

On Saturday there was a little vintage fair and I found this little beautiful pin; it is hand stitched to perfection using soft vintage fabrics. I fell in love with most of the things on her stall, she sews everything by hand with her daughter. You can find her website here she has a lovely eye for mixing vintage finds that delight the eye, but she was also great to chat to. She liked the strawberries on my shopping basket, I offered to send her the pattern. 
That is what I like about vintage fairs, it is the opportunity to talk to like minded souls, exchange ideas and even skills. I have been considering painting my dressers for a long time, and it is one of the skills that Connie Bee is wiling to share in return for me teaching her to crochet. 
I also bought this lovely notebook the fabric is so pretty and the stitching is so neat it made me really inspired to make something of my own. 
It only saddens me that there aren’t more people clamouring to buy these home made beauties. They are an opportunity for us to give our cash which gives encouragement to someone’s dream rather than the ‘global’ trade to some meaningless organisation. 
Etsy and its UK version Misi are a wonderful on line version of the vintage fair, but you simply cannot beat a good chat over a stall with a likeminded soul or even over a cup of tea and home made cake. 

I had a little rose tree

My son bought me this little tree, it was an Easter decoration in John Lewis I do adore it. It looks lovely with all the little eggs hanging since it was June I thought it would be a little rose tree to celebrate its life after a rather sad accident. It used to have a stand and unluckily it got caught up and ended up broken on the floor. I decided that it needed a new stand and found the pretty little bowl in the local charity shop. I sunk it in some plaster of paris and then put some pretty glass beads on the surface. Now it is back to its lovely self. The roses in the bowl are not fixed, just temporary. 
I think the roses look nice I did not realise just how many rose themed possessions I have the little china cup has a beautiful rose design and is Edwardian around 1911. They are delightful to drink tea from as they cool very quickly. The basket is also a charity shop find, one of many I cannot resist baskets! I am not entirely sure what to do with it yet. The same goes for the little ginger jar, another charity shop buy which has a lovely chrysanthemum design on it, not quite roses but lovely all the same. 
I think I might try and find a bigger version of this tree so I can use it for Christmas, so much better for the environment.