Thursday, 23 June 2011

suggestions for a superlative sunday and other stuff

Hullo lovely readers! Hope your week has been wonderful and productive and that you've made exciting plans for your weekend. If you don't have plans, you're Darwin-based and after a superlative-soaked Sunday, head down to the Parap Market grounds for the Parap Festival for all the fun! I will of course be there with new work, old favourites, handmade jewellery and some gorgeous framed prints, all ready for you to take home, hang on your wall and love!

In the meanwhile, I've scored myself a permanent spot at Palmerston markets- I'm on the corner of the library, opposite the gym and just beside a food van selling scrummy samosas and curries, which means you can multitask: eat curry, have a chat with me and offload your spare change on a new print for your hungry walls! I'll be there every Friday night this dry season, from 5pm 9pm.

If you can't wait that long for your Grumpy Star fix, head over to the Charles Darwin University e-news room to read a bit about my adventures in illustration; thanks Ana!

Methinks it's time for an afternoon coffee- the perfect accompaniment to a Thursday sketch sesh! Why don't you do the same.

Have a great afternoon.
Mel x 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

crimson cloaked and hearted

Finally dinner preparations are done with for another day (minestrone soup and cheesy twiggy-stick muffins- sounds like the sort of standard fare for mistaken individuals who pronounce 'gourmet' phonetically and think a Cherry Ripe counts towards their five-a-day, I know. All the same I can assert with utmost confidence that those little muffins are all cholesterol-ridden class and another great reason why I should keep running). Monty has also calmed himself sufficiently to curl up into my lap, giving me the occasional soppy look that is very much at odds with his 20 or so attempts to ascend the flywire, climb onto the kitchen bench, drink from the sink and take a flying leap at me as I pass him in the hallway. He will drive me prematurely grey and keep the hairdye people in business, I am sure.

Kind of like hairdye but not are Polycolours, and imagine my delight last week when I got my delivery of 39- yes, 39!- new jars of the stuff! I am chomping at the bit to find a spare weekend very soon when I can finally paint my spare room and transform it from its current state of 'Mellie's Junk Room' into 'Mellie's Magnificent Studio Where All Sorts of Fun Stuff Happens'. So taken with my lovely new colours am I that I have considered building a shelf to hang on the wall at eye-level that I may line them up in order. Very probably I would not get a lot of work done, but sit there admiring the pretty. I can almost understand why van Gogh chugged down a few gallons of the stuff, though I have strong doubts as to the nutritional value and in any case, it would be rather an expensive habit.

These paints are incidentally the very same I'll be sharing around next month for my 'Illustration Techniques for the Avid Doodler' workshop, which is filling up fast! I've spent years buying and trying all sorts of materials, and I'll be telling you a bit more about my favourites on the day. Most importantly I'll be showing you how I use them in my own artwork and helping you develop yours. Click on the link or send me an email to get yourself booked in quicksticks! Also, if you're wondering what you missed out on this Saturday just past at 'Plasticine Pictures', here's one of my favourite works in progress, by workshopper and wonderful local artist, Cait Wait:

I am making elaborate plans to owl-nap this gorgeous little thing for myself this Saturday for our second installment! 

And finally, in between paint-gazing, marketeering and workshopping, I've had less time than I would like actually painting, but I am very happy to share this one with you, finished fresh last night. 'crimson cloaked and hearted' will be ready for sale this Friday night at Palmerston Markets for your very own, or you can come say hullo when I'm out and about in Paprap on Sunday for the Parap Festival!

Happy Tuesday everybody!
Mel x

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


They say you're a local in the Top End when you've been here ten years- or at least that's what they said ten years ago! Like most people who end up settling here, I never thought at fifteen I'd end up staying, much less leaving the place for London and very happily returning- the very place I said I never would return to! It's a strange old world, and, it has to be said, very happy I am to be occupying this slice of it. 

Part of this previous reluctance to being a local meant I never really got to Kakadu before now: my love of the outdoors only ever involved a fascination with my grandma's garden, wild mushroom rings, rusty-coloured squirrels and rabbit stew. Kakadu's magic is wilder: the colour of fire and woven of golden lace the black masks of bee-eaters and the king of trees, pandanas. In the last glow of the setting sun, with the taste of smoke on the air and a chill to prickle the baby hairs on your forearms, it is golden Country.

And so, having finally rejoiced in my being a Top Ender, here's a few snappy snippets of my very first trip to our gorgeous national park.

If you're somewhere cold, have a wonderful Wednesday evening snuggled up with something milky and caffeinated with a purry cat in your lap and write me a letter. Or email. I'm not fussy, but I do love to hear from you!

Mel x

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

grumpy star june market news

Good mid-morning to you all! Here I sit, pyjama-clad still, my attempts to catch you up on my news today interrupted periodically with all variety of banging and popping sounds; Dave is working from home and as luck would have it, finally got his new camera flash delivered this morning. And, now that he has other toys to use it with (namely about ten different lenses of varied and increasingly intimidating lengths), he has set his tripod up on the table and is making movies of Monty, now recovered from last week's stint at the vet and the theft of certain important parts of his tomcat anatomy, who is playing jack-in-the box with the packaging of said flash, the inflatable cushiony padding part of which now doubles, thanks to Monty's ingenuity, as a squishy sort of ski to be skidded across the kitchen floor. Brilliant.

Here's a snap of my first stint at Palmerston markets last Friday night. A huge thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello and other lovely things about my work. I love hearing people say: 'This reminds me of . . .' or: 'I had something like this when I was little . . .'. But what really makes my day is that look some people get like they've found treasure. It is a very humbling thing to watch a person's face light up and to know that my work is the reason for it. I feel like the luckiest girl on earth to be able to say thank-you to their murmured comments of: 'This is really wonderful'.

Sunday of course marked the first sabbath of June and of course, the Happy Yess Market for another month, and, not incidentally, the market I designed a poster for a few weeks back. It is such a special day for me to look forward to now; I go with a hungry tummy so I can buy lots of cake from the lovely local girls who find the time on their weekends to bake all sorts of wonderful; to say hello to the excellent people who keep Happy Yess a vital part of our arts community and sell plungers of delicious fresh coffee; to meet new people and be the lucky recipient of their lovely words, and best of all, to catch up with my lovely friends, having hid myself away working all week. There really is nothing better than eating cake in a camp chair, surrounded by loads of wonderful handmade things, watching bunting flicker jewel-like in the afternoon sunshine while talking about music contributing to the evolution of the human species, or when to have the next crafternoon, or where to find the best vintage clobber in town.

If you're looking longingly at those lolly-like necklaces, you are more than welcome to come and try a couple on while I'm still selling them! The majority of my stall is dedicated to my illustration work and prints, but the jewellery I sell is made with equal love and care. The Fimo necklaces are all strung by me, and the stringing alone takes several hours as I consider each to be a wearable work of art and can safely promise buyers that their hard-earned cash ensures no-one else in the world will have one like it. Dave and I made the beads together a few years ago before we left for London, and though we loved doing it, we no longer make beads anymore. Besides the problems created by the climate, this sort of work can be very hard on the hands (kneading the clay, even with the aid of a pasta maker can be very physically demanding) and takes, quite predicatably, hours. Hours which, I am sad to say, I don't have spare, and know I should dedicate instead to drawing. So, once these necklaces go, there won't be any more! I've also made earrings, which are equally lovely statement pieces and use hand-sewn raggy beads as well as smaller Fimo ones. Most necklaces are between $35 - $65, the earrings $15 - $25, and bracelets $15. Any of these would make really special Christmas or birthday presents for any girl, five or thirty-five!

I will of course see you all at the next month's installment of the Happy Yess Market; word has it the very clever Emily Hearn will be designing the next poster- I can't wait!

Have a fabulous day everyone!
Mel x

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

next stop, market domination! mwah-ha-ha!

It's only Wednesday and it looks like this weekend might be only slightly less mad than the last one! I'm delighted to have received confirmation late last night from the lovely Kerrie, who manages the Palmerston markets, that I am able to attend this Friday!

You'll find my stall somewhere between the children's play area and the R n' B musician, from 5pm- 9pm. Come say hello, take a business card for yourself and another for a friend, and, if you haven't already spent your pocket money on scrummy curry and mango smoothies (and I can't really say I blame you!), you might want to invest while you can in one of my 'tea-time' or 'i  ♥ bubble tea' prints- barely one week old and already selling like hotcakes!

Or, if you're being a clevertrousers this year and slowly buying presents for your special people before the Christmas madness truly begins, how about a handmade-with-love fimo necklace, or some raggy fabric earrings? No two are ever the same, so you'll never have to worry that someone else is thefting your style  (though, of course, they may have excellent taste and already be in the lucky possession of an equally snazzy Mel Macklin necklace, that you will madly begin to covet and want just as much as the one you already own. Yes, it has been known to happen- my friend bought a necklace for her sister in Amsterdam and has spent the past 4 years wishing she'd kept it for herself!)

But maybe you're still recovering from last year's Santa season, in which case a "gnome tea" or "grumpy star" print are both under $50- something special for your wall that won't shread your wallet-lining.

Or maybe, just maybe, you've done a bit of overtime these past few weeks and need to treat yourself- "the pink brolly" or "the boy with the heart balloons" both make great statement pieces for your bedroom, loungeroom or little one's play area.

I'll also have a sign-up sheet for upcoming workshops, so if you wanted to ask for more information on either of these, please feel free!

And after a recovery Saturday, I'll be doing it all over again at my second Happy Yess Market, at Frog Hollow. This month of course is extra-special, given of course, that the lovely market moles asked me to design this month's poster a few weeks back.

And on that note, an artist's work is never done- off I go to catch up on some much needed painting time!
Happy Wednesday everyone!
Mel x
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