BlogJune 2020 (1 June)

June 1, 2020

Hello, long time no see! I'm not sure if anyone's still subscribed to this blog, as I haven't posted here since 2016. Sorry about that ... 

I do have a new blog on my Sally Cummings Designs website. I've been meaning to add a link here for some time! The blog there is also called Sally Sets Forth, but I've not posted there as regularly as I'd like. I'm yet to find my balance between personal and professional blogging in the art and design world, and that indecision has definitely got in the way of posting more often. Of course I still post regularly to Instagram and Twitter, and I even have a Facebook page that I occasionally update ;)

On the weekend Kathryn Greenhill revived the idea of doing #blogjune in 2020, and created a sign up page. I loved the idea, but wasn't sure how to make it work on my business website. Rather than um and ah all day about it, I decided to re-open this blog and post here. After all, this is where my collection of previous #blogjune posts live :)

Today is the first day of winter, and in Melbourne it was very wintry indeed. It was also the first day of eased restrictions in Victoria, following more than two months of limited movement and closed businesses due to COVID-19. My favourite local op shop reopened today. Some of the local cafes and restaurants have reintroduced dining in. My local library system is taking its first steps to reopening, with a click and collect hold service. Day trips, and even overnight trips, are possible again. It's an exciting time, but I think we're all also feeling cautious and a bit nervous of the changes.

First day of winter

Anyway, I won't use up all my words today - there are still 29 blog posts to go! So I'll see you again tomorrow :)

Take care, Sally XO


Reflections on the end of year folio review and graduation

December 1, 2016

A few weeks ago, classes come to a close and it was time for the final folio review for my visual arts course. We had worked all year towards this point, and it was wonderful to look back on the body of work created over the year and take in what we had accomplished. There was such a diversity in the student work - you could really tell that each person had travelled their own path in their own way.

End of year review week (can you believe it?!)

For my part, when I saw my selected pieces displayed together, I could finally see what others had been saying all year - that across the variety of techniques, styles, colours and themes in my work, you really could tell that it was all created by one person. By me. I do have a style that is my own and that I'm excited to continue developing.

End of year review

For our formal review, we were asked to give a short presentation on what we had learnt during the course, and how our folio reflected our chosen career path. Below is a summary of what I said:

I started this course wanting to create embroidery and fabric designs. That hasn't changed, but it has broadened to include surface design - putting my designs onto all kinds of products. I find it really exciting to see my designs applied to products (stationery, bags, cushions, etc.). It's such a thrill, and it's what really gets me going. Hearing people say that they'd like to display my designs in their lives and their homes is the best feedback I could ask for.

My final folio reflects my chosen pathway, in that almost every piece here could be applied to a product. There are stationery designs, a rug design, a felt toy pattern, fabric designs, and embroidery designs. And my index cards are virtually a pattern library for surface design.

In this course, I've learnt about how to make my lines more interesting, get bold with colour exploration, and experiment with scale. I've also learnt creative thinking techniques, the importance of a back story / concept to my work, and the value of discussing ideas with others.

The biggest thing I've got out of this year, though, is consistently finishing work. Again and again I've broken through the barriers of fear, discouragement, boredom, distraction, technical difficulties, and loss of focus. I've pushed through and completed my work to a professional level.

Now I have a folio of finished pieces that I can use as the building blocks of a business going forward. I have lots of ideas for projects and income streams, and I'm really excited for what lies ahead. Thank you.

A week after the review, I walked out of the building for the last time. I have nothing but gratitude for the experience. It's been intense, challenging and deeply personal. I'm so glad that I grabbed this opportunity.

Just finished my final folio consultation, and I'm busting with excitement (and nerves) about what comes next!

So what happens next? I'll tell you more in another blog post. In the meantime, I'll finish off this post with a photo from our graduation night at Deakin Edge (Federation Square) last week. I'm second from the right :)

Graduation night


Three black dogs (and working fast)

November 15, 2016

Sometimes a short, fast creative session can yield great results. These three black dogs could easily have taken me weeks of agonising over creating the designs and carefully painting them. But instead they were completed in a single afternoon. And they're amongst my favourite pieces from this year :)

Three black dogs

We were given a brief in our last studio drawing class to design a set of three pieces featuring either cats or dogs, that would be of an appropriate nature to emblazon the sides of a large transport vehicle and be seen clearly.

We had half an hour to do any research and brainstorming, followed by about an hour and a half to complete the work. I did a quick internet search for dog profile photos, and roughed up some sketches of head shapes that appealed to me. Then I drew the final versions and got painting. The first one took me the longest, but once I was into the swing of it I worked quite quickly and was really pleased with the final results.

These pieces are a good reminder for me that art doesn't always need to take forever, and that I shouldn't get caught up in overthinking and overplanning. Just do it :)

Three black dogs (1 of 3)

Three black dogs (2 of 3)

Three black dogs (3 of 3)


#ICAD2016 week 8 round up

November 2, 2016

Eep, I've been so busy finishing up my art course that I'm weeks (months!) behind in posting about all the things I want to write about before this year is out. It's just been a massive year and a great experience, and I have so many ideas I just want to jump on straight away :)

But - before I get sidetracked and start writing about all of that, here is my final weekly index card wrap up from the 2016 Index-Card-A-Day challenge. I managed eight weeks' worth of index card art, reaching a total of 56 altogether.

Here is the round up pic from week 8:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 8 round up

A very painty set of cards, with strong colours and a range of textures. A few different techniques that I hadn't tried before made it a nice way to round off the challenge :)

Towards the end of my art course we each held a mini exhibition. I used about 100 of my index cards as a colourful backdrop to my exhibition, joined together using fotoclips. I'm holding them in the photo below. It was great to see them all together on display like this!

I'm holding ~100 of my index cards from the last three years here. Thanks to Tracy for taking the photo today :)

All of my cards for the Index-Card-A-Day challenge (#ICAD2016) can be viewed individually on Flickr.


LOL cats (in felt)

September 29, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram or Flickr, you might remember seeing these guys earlier in the year ...

LOL cats

I created these LOL cats for a 3D typography assignment. I was (and still am) really happy with how they turned out. I think they're colourful and cute and fun :)

I also enjoyed the whole process of making them - coming up with the designs, brainstorming different ideas for construction, creating the pattern templates, choosing the colour scheme, drawing and stitching the embroidered details, and finally sewing and stuffing them. It was time consuming, but the end result was worth it.

Here's the final photographic layout that I submitted for assessment:

LOL cats layout

I've kept all of the LOL cat templates and sketches, and am planning to publish the pattern in future for other people to use :)


#ICAD2016 week 7 round up (and marbling)

September 27, 2016

Here's my seventh weekly set of index cards, and my second last little collection for 2016. After the fun of creating collage postcards for my art course, I decided to explore it a bit further in my index cards, and you can see some of the results of mixing paint and found images here.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 7 round up

My favourite piece from this week's set was the marbling shown in the centre card. I had just watched a Creativebug tutorial on Facebook about paper marbling using shaving cream and food colouring, and realised that I had everything I needed to give it a try right away. So I did :)

Marbling on index cards with shaving cream and food colouring

You can see in the above photo that I made a few marbled index cards - first with red food colouring, then adding some blue. Finally I was left with a purple mix that I added a little extra red to. Those last ones were the most subtle yet effective pieces, and I used one of them (with just a small decorative embellishment) for the index card challenge. The others I've put aside for next year.

All of my cards for the Index-Card-A-Day challenge (#ICAD2016) can be viewed individually on Flickr.


There was a crooked man

September 21, 2016

One of the elective subjects I chose in my arts course this year was Illustration & Imagery. Fairly early on, we were given a brief to complete a series of illustrations to accompany a nursery rhyme. I chose "There was a crooked man". If you don't know it, I've included the text below:

    There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
    He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
    He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
    And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

There was a crooked man (set of four)

This was a fairly quick project that we finished during the Easter holidays. The four pieces were cut from an A4 sheet of watercolour paper, making each piece A6 size. I chose the small format and simple designs, as I was missing working at that scale - we'd been doing a lot of very large pieces, and the index card challenge was still some time away.

Two of the pieces are inspired by the crooked house, one is the crooked cat, and the other represents the crooked mile. I quite like how they turned out, especially the white house on the black background. The individual pictures are included below (clicking on them will link through to Flickr, where details of the media used are provided).

There was a crooked man 1

There was a crooked man 2

There was a crooked man 3

There was a crooked man 4


#ICAD2016 week 6 round up

September 18, 2016

Okay, here's another week of index cards to round up. This post is quite late, as I finished these cards about a month ago and have since completed the daily challenge for this year. At the point that I completed this set I had equalled my total number of cards from last year, and then continued on to finish after eight weeks (56 cards). So it's good to know I've been able to push this challenge a bit further each year :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 6 round up

As I look at this set and the ones before it, I can really see how my use of colour has grown stronger and more confident over the last few years. I've also gravitated strongly towards pattern-based designs. I find them really relaxing and satisfying, so just in case I was getting too comfortable I made sure to push myself to try a few different things each week as well.

My index cards for the Index-Card-A-Day challenge (#ICAD2016) were posted on Flickr, Instagram and Tumblr as I created them. Now that the challenge is finished, the Flickr set is probably the best place to view them individually.


#ICAD2016 week 5 round up

August 15, 2016

I'm running behind both on creating daily index card art and blogging about it. I finished this set a few weeks ago, and have completed more since. I'm not sure yet if I will complete the full 61 cards (I've never managed it yet) or choose my own finishing point.

I remember that this lot took quite a while to create, as I agonised over a few of them for several days! The trio of flowers in the top right of the photo took me ages to finish - I really liked the design I'd come up with, so I took my time over choosing colours and getting it just right (not that I necessarily succeeded!). In fact most of these cards were a multi-step process, with time required between each layer of work.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 5 round up

A few new things here too. On the right hand side some crinkled tissue paper lent texture to a card. On the bottom left I used the inside of a security envelope as the background pattern. There are acrylic and watercolour paints used here, as well as fineliners, markers and watercolour pencils. The bottom right card explored a pattern I'd been trying out in one of my assignments - it also covers up an unsuccessful experiment with rubbing alcohol :)

All of my index cards for the Index-Card-A-Day challenge (#ICAD2016) are posted on Flickr, Instagram and Tumblr as I create them.


Japanese collage postcards

August 8, 2016

This project was one of the last assignments in first semester, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our task was to create a set of postcards using mixed media collage. They could be created manually or digitally (or both), and we needed to incorporate the following principles of design:
  • Colour (colour theory / schemes)
  • Contrast (dominance / subordinance and emphasis)
  • Movement and direction
  • Pattern (repetition and rhythm)

Japanese postcard collage - set of three

You can click on the image above to see a larger version of my set of three collages in Flickr. Following is a description of how my design came together, as well as individual pictures of the three pieces.

I'd never really done collage before, and found it difficult to decide on a theme beforehand. But as I thought about potential supplies that were available to me (textiles, tapes, magazines, patterned paper, wood, stamps, maps, paint, string, books, buttons, photographs, etc.), I started to form ideas for where I might begin. I enjoy origami, but I accumulate origami paper at a much faster rate than I can use it (thanks Daiso). So I decided to use my origami paper collection as a starting point for my collages - they would certainly provide the pattern element at the very least!

While sorting through my papers, I found a set that featured famous Japanese woodcut designs, including several from Hokusai's Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series. Beginning with the Fine Wind, Clear Morning design (sometimes called Red Fuji), I started to play around with how I might incorporate images of Mount Fuji into my collages. I held a piece of red patterned paper next to it to see how I might combine them, and found that the origami paper was slightly transparent and allowed patterned paper underneath to show through. I loved the effect, and this became the key to developing a design that included both dominant and subordinate patterns through the use of cut and layered paper.

I really enjoyed the fiddly cutting that was required to realise my idea, especially for the Shore of Tago Bay design. Total satisfaction for the side of me that loves details! The next element that I incorporated was pages from a Japanese book I found at a Little Free Library - you never know what treasures you will come across in a Little Free Library just when you need them! These provided a great accent, and an additional source of pattern.

Finally, I wanted to add the kanji characters for Mount Fuji (Fujisan) to the pieces. I did some research on the characters and how to draw them correctly. I used a Japanese brush ink set with an inkstick and inkstone to create them. I ground up fresh black ink (very exciting to finally try this out!), and wrote out the characters many times. Rather than draw directly on to the collage, I selected the best of my practice efforts and scanned them onto the computer. I then added them to the collages digitally using Adobe Illustrator for the final printed layout.

Fine Wind, Clear Morning

Japanese postcard collage (1 of 3)

Shore of Tago Bay, Ejiri at Tōkaidō

Japanese postcard collage (2 of 3)

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Japanese postcard collage (3 of 3)

So there you go - my little tribute to Hokusai and Japan in collage.

Special thanks to my friend Kate for gifting me the patterned origami paper that I used in these collages. It was just perfect for the traditional Japanese origami designs that I wanted to showcase :)

Sally Cummings

Artist. Designer. Crafter. Librarian. Foodie. Geek.
sallysetsforth avatar
Maneki Neko welcome image (by IcoJoy)

** Click on post titles to view and write comments **


1pic1thoughtinaug 25days about me accessibility adelaide advent alice springs amigurumi animals animoto apps art art school barry manilow beer befunky berries blabberize blancmange blogging blogjune boating books braiding camping canberra career cats charcoal cherries chocolate christmas collage collecting computers conference cooking copyright covid-19 craft creativebarter creativity crochet cross stitch customer service cycling cyclone dailyimage2011 darwin decluttering diamond creek diana wynne jones digital storytelling dining out disqus doctor who dogs doink drawing dropbox dry season dumpr facebook family feedburner felt film flickr floriade flowers french knitting friendship frogs games gardening gardens georgette heyer health herbs history hobart home brewing humour icad information literacy inspiration instagiffer instagram jasper jelly kpop kumihimo lance armstrong librarianship libraries librarydayinthelife librarything lolcats macaroons madness magnets magnum p.i. magpies marbling melbourne memories mentoring meringue mixed media mobile technology muppets music needle felting needlepoint networking new zealand northern territory octshowntell okonomiyaki online tools op shopping origami painting pandan paneer papercraft photo editing pixton poetry politics pom poms possums presentation preserving professional development qr codes qualifications reading recipe renovating risotto roxy rss sally cummings designs science fiction shopping sims slideshare snoopy sophie star trek storybird strahan stress relief study sunsets survey tasmania tea television the sharp the100dayproject tour de france tour down under travel tumblr twitter vala values victoria video vintage craft warrandyte watermyphoto website western australia wet season widgets william angliss institute winter wordle working from home yola youtube zakka

This website is built & hosted with Yola

Made with Yola

Make a free website with Yola