Photography : Bialakura

 

Little textured details that nobody notices. Shapes and colours and textures. Did I mention textures? Bialakura’s images are ripe with texture – crisp and soft, smooth and flaky, organic, hard, sharp and prickly; they invite you to touch.

 

bialakura - coral window

bialakura – coral window

 

 

bialakura - green wooden wall

bialakura – green wooden wall

 

Agnieszka is a photographer, teacher, designer and mother of two, living and working in Warsaw. “‘Biala’ means white in Polish and ‘kura’ means hen, but it’s also a not-very-polite way to name a stay-at-home mum. I am a mum mostly working from home as a freelance designer and part time art teacher, so it was kind of a joke.”

She describes her aims in photography. “I’m looking for repetitive patterns and abstract compositions waiting for me in the real world. Sometimes it’s an architectural detail, sometimes it’s a nature close up. It’s a kind of game to find my pictures where everybody watches and nobody sees it.” She cites Ansel Adams as one of her enduring influences, and credits him with teaching her “how to take pictures I’m looking for.”

 

bialakura - ornamental hinge,

bialakura – ornamental hinge

 

She told me that when she was growing up, there was always a camera in the home somewhere, and her house was filled with photographs. She still has a lot of treasured old photos of her family. Her own image-making experiences started when she commenced study, and her grandmother gave Agnieszka her old Leica SLR. That camera went everywhere with her and later, she bought her own SLR. She still takes her camera everywhere, although it’s another one now with the arrival of the digital era and DSLR.

 

bialakura - blackthorn berries

bialakura – blackthorn berries

 

She related to me her most devastating photography experience. It happened several years ago, and was quite traumatic.  “I slipped and crushed my freshly bought camera – it was not the only one I have, but I had not made even one roll of film with it and it was totally destroyed.”

Despite the setback, she has picked herself up and carried on to bigger and better things, and was thrilled to see how far she had come when she presented her first solo exhibition of architectural photography almost 2 years ago.

 

bialakura - rosebud

bialakura – rosebud

 

Her best advice is something that she heard a while back. “Take pictures, take more pictures and take even more pictures. If you get one good one out of one hundred taken, then you are really good at it.”

You can find more of her images in her Etsy shop, bialakura.

 

Meet the sponsors – July

 

Welcome to my sponsors for July! It’s quite chilly where I am – not surprising really, as it’s the middle of winter. So I’m snuggled up in my woolly scarf next to the fire. What’s it like in your part of the world?

 

Well of course in the US it’s summer!

anastridendeavor - skull brooch

anastridendeavor – skull brooch

And that’s why my brand new sponsor AnAstridEndeavor is having a fabulous sale all month long, but with some special spot sales within that – so get on over to check out what beautiful bargains you might pick up! Astrid makes a range of hand-embroidered brooches and neckpieces like this skull, as well as more abstract and geometric shapes – all very colourful, all very distinctive.

 

 

planettreasures - chunky gemstones necklace

planettreasures – chunky gemstones necklace

Tess from PlanetTreasures specialises in bold and colourful jewellery, made from delicate Czech and Venetian glass and semi-precious gems. If you’re ever up in the Blue Mountains, you can also find her and her work at The Nook in Leura.  I really like this chunky necklace, I’m very surprised it hasn’t sold! Look at all those wonderful colours. You can find it here.

 

 

von haus design studio

von haus design studio

It’s all about lots of colour this month with my sponsors! Fiona Parry-Jones is an interior colour consultant working out of Melbourne. As part of her services, she holds regular workshops for people wanting to explore colour in their homes. These workshops explore the latest trends and help you get exactly the colour result you’re looking for. Her next workshop is on Saturday 10th August, and you can find out more details on her website, von-haus.com.au.

 

 

photospots - colourburst decal {via country & co}

photospots – colourburst decal {via country & co}

Hello again to Holly of Country & Co.  Holly sources handcrafted goods from around regional Australia, including homewares, jewellery and accessories, delectable gourmet treats and a heap more. Every time I look, there’s always something new! How’s this for adding colour to your room!? Colourburst decal, from Photospots, via countryandco.com.

 

 

crimson pear - social media buttons

crimson pear – social media buttons

Libby Heasman of Crimson Pear (who I had the very lovely pleasure of meeting in real life a couple of weeks back!) is your go-to for all web design and wordpress themes and other good stuff. She’s got lots of useful things, including these fresh social media buttons. You can check out all she has to offer on her website, crimsonpear.com.au

 

 

middlemost - derby shorts

middlemost – derby shorts

Janine of Middlemost Clothing (well of course you know who she is, so I won’t ramble on). But HEY! She’s just started making fabulous roller derby shorts and things. Look at them, makes you kinda want to take up derbying, just so you can wear them! Check her new Etsy shop, BobbinWeaver.

 

 

*bespoke* - winter issue

*bespoke* – winter issue

A big welcome to new sponsor, *bespoke* magazine! I’m sure many of my readers are familiar with this wonderful little package of goodness, brought to you by Robyn and Elle. It’s all about promoting artists, makers, and designers. It’s about the handmade home, and vintage treasures; and it’s got recipes and interviews too! The winter edition, due out 31st July is a bumper, with 100 pages. Can’t wait to see.

 

 

74limelane - sunrise

74limelane – sunrise

A big welcome also to Kellie from 74 Lime Lane – a wonderful blog with all sorts goodness from around the interwebs. Kellie is a photographer as well, so there’s always lots of great images, as well as some very fun links, free printables to download, and plenty of Kellie’s other love, typography. Do have a look, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you busy! You can find her blog at 74limelane.com.au/blog/.

 

 

shinelittlelight - frosty july morning

shinelittlelight – frosty july morning

Sophie, from Shine Little Light, also always has a fab bunch of photos on her blog. Isn’t this a fab crispy winter morning? You can check out her winterscapes in and around Wagga on her blog shinelittlelight.blogspot.com.au, as well as cute dog photos (yep, she’s always got cute dog photos – comes from having a cute dog I guess).

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Thank you SO much again to all my sponsors. I truly appreciate your support, and it would be great if all you readers could in turn, support my sponsors. Yep, go! Share it around 🙂

Cheers, Julie x

 

 

Small biz : Lix Hewett – fresh biz {starting a new venture}

 

Welcome to a very brand spanking new section in tractorgirl, called Small Biz (check the menu item at the top there!). In this space I am intending to share all the excellent small biz advice I have come across, as well as lots of how-tos, gained over the many years I have been working for and in small biz (that’s *ahem* many years).

As it so happens, my first post is a guest post, from photographer Lix Hewitt in Spain – sharing with you first hand what it’s like to go from burning idea to startup biz. Thanks Lix!

 

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Lix Hewett is a photographer working out of a small city in Spain. She has recently decided to move her images onto fabric in a new business venture that will see them turned into clothes and accessories. 

She’s jumping into this thing boots and all, and making some big discoveries about the processes and the pitfalls on the go. She shares with us her journey so far.

 

 —

 

I have a confession to make: I don’t know anything about fabric.

I’ve dragged my mom all over town on each and every one of my textile shopping sprees so far, hoping she’ll keep me from doing anything I’d regret later. The one good thing is I know what I don’t like, and what I don’t like is anything flashy in pattern and anything that feels even remotely like it will catch on my nails on the unlikely event that one stays fractured long enough to catch on fabric. Turns out that means I’m into cotton and linen, mainly. I’ll take it.

It’s actually a bit of a relief, because most of the fabric Spoonflower carries is cotton-based, and if I have it my way, I’ll mostly be working with custom printed fabric. Apparently it’s not enough for me to jump into a new craft headfirst; I have to make it difficult, and I have to make it expensive.

In my defence, I think if I’m going to learn to sew, I might as well start simple; if I’m going to make simple things, I might as well make them stand out in some other way, like the prints. And if I’m going to go off on a new business venture, I might as well start with something that connects to my current work – something that makes my new products fit in with my photography.

 

A cosmetics pouch in linen/cotton canvas printed with "Blurred (Shadows and Rain)."

A cosmetics pouch in linen/cotton canvas printed with “Blurred (Shadows and Rain).”

 {from the original Blurred (Shadows and Rain)}

 

That’s how I landed on this whole thing, and that’s how a shelf of my closet has been taken over by fabric – even though I don’t know anything about that.

That’s also how an Indiegogo campaign has totally sucked all of my June. Like I said, I had to make it expensive, so I need funds, and I had to make it difficult, so I need a new laptop. Otherwise I’m not sure how I’m going to tweak a photograph thoroughly enough and on a large enough canvas to make the dresses I have in my head.

 

Basic combed cotton for a crop top – printed with “Puzzle Pieces.”

{from the original “Puzzle Pieces.}

 

I know there’s an art to pattern design, and tricks to make it a seamless repeat. Spoonflower offers mirroring, too, which I’ve seen on a couple of art dresses. I’m not a fan of straight mirroring – not on photographs. It looks rather psychedelic most of the time, which is the opposite of what I’m going for. As a fine art photographer, I like landscapes, I like nature, I like architecture. I like color and light. If I’m going to make wearable photography clothing and accessories, I don’t want those things to get lost in shapes and patterns.

 

A lavender sachet in Kona cotton printed with “Settled In”

{from the original Settled In.}

 

That means I have to edit everything before ordering, down to planning what I’m going to do with the fabric and the dpi my files need to print. That’s good considering I’m on a budget. It’s also been a good reason to learn more about fabric, and what goes with what.

 

Cotton poplin for a skirt – printed with “such small hands.”

{from the original such small hands.}

 

Right now I’m waiting on a shipment of all Kona cotton for a pillow cover (printed with “Days of Romance“), a cosmetics pouch (printed with “Seaside Sunrise“) and a number of other things – I was really fond of that fabric, so I’m sticking with it. My ambitious plans – the ones I need a new laptop to accomplish – involve cotton knit interlock fabric printed with “An Illusion of Stillness,” something printed with “Let Down Your Hair” (cotton silk?) and some good yardage of cotton poplin printed with “Blurred” – all for dresses. I’m looking at my almond blossom and green leaves photos for clutches and pouches, and my autumn leaves photo for a cotton knit shirt.

It’s not ideas I’m short on! That would be funds. And motivation, sometimes.

But I love, love, love this new adventure. I’m so glad I took the plunge.

 

Milestones!

 

***UPDATE: Winner is announced below!***

 

As some of you might know, I hit a big milestone on my Facebook page – 1000 likers!!

I’m a bit in awe that there are so many of you that like my work. All of what you see over there are things that I’ve made myself – homewares and accessories from vintage and upcycled fabrics, as well as jewellery in silver and anodised aluminium.

 

caramel & lime - pair of courreges-inspired cushions

caramel & lime

 

To celebrate, I’m giving you the opportunity to win some fab prizes – and YOU get to choose what you’d like.

 

Here are your choices …

Do you have a small biz, selling on Etsy or Madeit? Would you like a complete shop makeover? I’ll make you a new banner, edit up to 6 of your photos, and give you a bunch of practical advice on strategies to improve your shop for the future.

OR, would you like to set yourself up on a blog? I can start you up on Blogger or WordPress, no problems.

OR you can get 6 months free advertising on my sidebar here for your shop or blog PLUS a gift voucher for $90 from the tractorgirl shop

OR a gift voucher for $150 from the tractorgirl shop. Woohoo!!!

(And there’s also a special bonus local prize for people who live near me in Wagga Wagga – a magnificent image from photographer Christopher Orchard – details will be on the Facebook page shortly!)

 

Each of these prizes is worth between $150 and $200, so get to it! It’s easy to enter!!

 

Here’s how:

1. Be a tractorgirl Facebook Liker (OK I can’t check this, but I’d appreciate it if you did the right thing!),

2. Check the “Colouring My Day” posts below (there’s six posts in all), and choose your favourite object/surface design/photo from the works I’ve chosen.

3. Then, just leave a comment below this post telling me what’s your favourite item and why. Don’t forget to include a contact so I can find you if you’ve won

Easy Peasy!?!?! Of course it is.

When the comp closes, I will choose my fave comment as the winner – so make ’em good! Competition is open worldwide, and closes at midnight on Sunday 21st July, AEST.

Thank you SO much everyone!!!

Julie xx

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*updated 23rd July, 2013

 …and the winner is ASTRID!!!

Hooray!!

She chose the white cardboard torso by Horst Keichle (one of my personal faves too), and had this to say…

“It’s hard to say what is my favorite- the jewelry from the underwater series is blowing my mind as is that ring from brown- ARGGGGG!! But, if I had to pick I would go with the white torso:
At my day job I work with kids at a hospital and one of the things I do is spend a lot of time teaching them about procedures they are going to have, or what’s happening to their body because of a particular illness. I spend a lot of time in environments and using tools that have very little attention to design and aesthetics. I love the idea of this white, paper torso with organs and think it is a gorgeous work of art, as well as a great teaching tool- form and function!!”

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Making hospitals a much more friendly environment, especially for kids, would have benefits in both directions – happier, calmer patients can only be a good thing for staff too.

Astrid has chosen to get herself a new blog, so keep an eye out – there will be a huge fanfare when it’s launched! Congrats Astrid, and thank you ALL for liking and supporting my little corner of the interwebs, I truly appreciate it.

Julie xx

 

Photography : Susie Loucks – wildlife photographer

 

I first came across the extraordinary photography of Susie Loucks a while ago, when I was looking for images of seabirds.

 

susie loucks - hover with cirrus clouds

susie loucks – hover with cirrus clouds

 

These are images of wild animals, in motion. To capture such an image means an immense amount of time and patience are involved, along with hundreds of thousands of images. “When they fly away, I run after them. This makes cropping and focus a constant and frustrating challenge. When I come home from a morning of shooting, plug my camera into my computer and go through the photos one by one, I find myself saying over and over: “Wow, that would have been a great shot if only…” because a wing, beak, or foot is cut off. Since feathers are so detailed focus really counts, it’s my biggest hurdle.”

 

susie loucks - superman

susie loucks – superman

 

That all sounds quite serious. It therefore came as a total surprise to find out that Susie has also worked as a stand-up comedienne. I asked her about it. “I hadn’t thought of my images being serious but I think you’re right. I guess it’s kind of the yin and yang of art.”

She completed her BA through San Diego State University, but then moved to Los Angeles, where she got sidetracked into comedy. “I forgot about photography because I didn’t have the time and energy to do both. After taking that career as far as I wanted and burned out on all the travel it required, I retired from it. Because of my desire to be creative, I quickly got back into imagery.”

 

susie loucks - icarus

susie loucks – icarus

 

“I don’t know if this is true but I once read that people think in two ways: in words or images. I do think in images and I think that’s what drew me to photography. I remember becoming mesmerized by the simplest of images which inspired me to try creating my own.”

She admitted to me that even though she thinks of her art as a way of life, she doesn’t actually think of it as a business as much as she should. Initially opening a shop on Etsy and then building her own website, she only thought to see how others would respond to what she was doing. “Lucky for me, response has been good.”

“The best thing as a photographer is selling a print, any print, at any price, online or in an art gallery. With all the fantastic competition, the consumer has tons of choices. I’m always over the moon flattered when a buyer chooses one of my prints.”

 

susie loucks - tempest

susie loucks – tempest

 

The technical difficulties of taking photographs of moving birds are huge – patience is an essential requirement for this job. And patience is also one of the qualities that Susie admires most in the fabulous photography of Ansel Adams. She is also a little bit in awe of the extravagance of Annie Leibovitz (aren’t we all?). But Susie’s biggest inspirations come from the beach and its wildlife. “When a bird is in flight, its feathers are like a flower in bloom; everyday is Spring.”

When she’s not photographing birds, she is photographing the beach. These images with bands of gentle colour are reminiscent of the colour fields of Mark Rothko.

 

susie loucks - surf

susie loucks – surf

 

 

susie loucks - high tide

susie loucks – high tide

 

 

susie loucks - noon 2

susie loucks – noon 2

 

“The best advice I’ve ever been given was from my parents: “Follow your heart.” ”

 

You can find more of Susie’s amazing photography on her own website www.susieloucks.com, and in her Etsy shop, susieloucks.etsy.com.

 

 

Colouring my day : White Chalk

 

I hope you’ve been enjoying this musical interlude, while I’ve been concentrating on other things for a short while. This is the last in the series featuring music + colour, I’ll be back on Monday.

Julie x

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White Chalk : PJ Harvey

I could not leave without sharing a piece from one of my most favourite artists. There’s something of the wild and untameable in PJ in the most ethereal sense, and I’ve loved her work for a long time – from the raw energy of her 1992 song Dress, through to the gut-wrenching ideas in Let England Shake.

This is the title track from the beautiful and tender album White Chalk, featuring PJ and her piano.

 

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vlad - la partitura de la vita

vlad – la partitura de la vita

{vlad – via here}

 

 

photoladz - snow angel

photoladz – snow angel

{photoladz via here}

 

 

wildwildernessphotos - white sea

wildwildernessphotos – white sea

{wildwildernessphotos – via here}

 

 

poast - countryside houses

poast – countryside houses

{POAST – via here}

 

 

horst kiechle - torso

horst kiechle – paper torso with removable organs, created from 200gsm card for the  Science Lab of the International School, Fiji. There is also a video showing the organs being loaded into the torso – follow the link below.

{Horst Kiechle – via flickr}

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