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create-a-weekend :: gather and draw

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Oh! Children are hunter’s and gatherers at heart aren’t they?

Through gentle encouragement (enthusiastically responding to their shell collection on beach holiday’s!) over time, my children have adopted somewhat of a ‘foraging’ habit.

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Typical walks + wander’s almost always result in handful’s of ‘treasure’:

pine cones, driftwood, shells, leaves, feathers, seeds

Some treasure we keep + display in jars and on shelves, others we try to remember to ‘draw and discard’

The radiance of Autumn always makes me feel as if anything is possible: warm sun, brilliant bright sky, tumbling cascade of fiery red and yellow leaves, burnishing browns…..and so I look forward to weekend ‘foraging’ adventures with my children.

Choose to wander along with me this weekend won’t you? Perhaps this little reminder will provide some creative inspiration for your family this Autumn Weekend!

It doesn’t have to be anywhere particularly special for children to sharpen their ‘noticing eyes’ – like me, I’m sure you are aware how much is treasure in the eyes of children!! Just getting outside in the fresh air, at the local park is the perfect environment for gathering!

If you come home with handfuls of miscellaneous ‘bits and pieces’ can I suggest making a collection in the centre of the table, grabbing out:

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pencils

watercolour paints

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Take an hour out to rest together and draw + paint what you have found.

There is no right or wrong in this exercise and children + adults alike will more often than not, dislike their first efforts at replicating.

I must encourage you to persevere! Training the eye to see and replicate shapes, shadows, colours and textures can all be learned through practice. And one of the most natural and safest environments for this practice to happen, be nurtured and encouraged, is in your own home: together.

Through this very simple habit, children will learn to notice more in the environment around them and will ‘play’ with creative possibilities – new solutions to the one problem. The outcomes are unique and rewarding for the whole family!

Happy Weekending x

 

creativity woven into life – a creative manifesto

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I’m just wondering…has 2015 been kind to you so far?

Has she taken your hand and danced a lovely path through your days? Or do you keep on forgetting she’s here and every time you go to write the date you shake your head that she’s March already?

I love the marker of years. I love that days become months and months become seasons and seasons become years. And that through this rhythm there are all sorts of new beginnings – sunrises marking a new day, Mondays marking a new week, 1 marking a new month, leaves marking a new season, and 2015 marking a new year.

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The rhythm of her days has been steady since 2015 took to the dancefloor that midnight of January the first. And here we find ourselves dancing through March and we’ve been a little bit quiet of late, haven’t we? But our dancecard has been full of waltzing days and foxtrot days, dreaming days and planning days, and we’re happy to be humming a little tune which will dance through the rest of this year’s days.

For when we sat down and pulled this little thing called WEAVE+WONDER apart and looked at her from every side and considered all she is and all we hoped she could be, we rediscovered at her core, her beating heart, a little tune of creativity which has made our hearts sing.

Because you know there are times when you get so focused on doing the right dance steps you forget why you were dancing in the first place.

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So we have spent these days reigniting our sense of purpose, rediscovering the reason why we dance this sweet WEAVE+WONDER waltz. It’s four simple words, one big idea.

Creativity woven into life.

That’s it, lovely friends. Oh the beauty and the potential that is creativity when we weave it through and into our days.

Little creative sparks, simple creative habits, moments of creative ponderings woven through our days which become months and turn into years and collectively weave a life of creativity.

A life of looking with creative eyes, thinking with creative minds, and living in creative ways. It will look different for each of us, for that is the inherent beauty and universal appeal of creativity.

It is intensely personal but wonderfully shareable, it sits with us when we are alone and bursts forth when we gather.

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But are these words a little bit too wispy and lilting for you? Would you just like to see the playlist? No worries! Here it is:

We invite you to join us on a creative journey as we…

  • inspire children + adults to discover + nurture creative habits through workshops, kits + resources
  • showcase functional + beautiful items handcrafted with the values of mindful design, natural materials, quality artisanship + creative collaboration
  • give wings to innovative ideas + self-expression, and champion every person’s creative potential

Is that better? Do you know where we’re going now?  It’s not so different really to where we have been, just more focused. Over the coming months you will see some changes, particularly in this journal space. Oh we do hope you’ll join us as we weave and wonder our way through all that creativity is and can be. We hope you will be inspired to nurture your own creativity (because it’s there in all of us), and spark a desire to nurture creativity in the little people in your life.

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These are the notes we’ve gathered together and strung into our happy little tune. And so, dear friends, shall we waltz?

friday five

Oh Advent!

There is much planning and preparation that happens at this time of year, and in the midst our family loves to slow and savour these days of anticipating Christmas.  Slowly and quietly each year we are weaving simple family traditions into our Christmas celebrations.  Some will drop away, some will be reworked, and some will define Christmas for us and become lifelong memories.

For today’s Friday Five I thought I’d share five of our family Advent traditions.

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December 1 and the tree is up.  Our tree is usually a potted plant or a foraged branch, and this year I loved putting on my gumboots, grabbing a saw and chopping a branch off one of the lovely pines standing over our dam.  Our tree is never big or glitzy.  It’s a holder of memories, for each decoration has its own story and quietly beckons rememberings.

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Maybe, just maybe, this sticky chocolate gingerbread will become the sweetness we add to the first day of Advent year after year.  A gorgeous new recipe tried by my daughter.  Maybe a sweet new tradition?

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Pinecones are some of our favourites and they loiter beautifully in buckets, gorgeous as they are or  waiting for some Christmas repurposing.  Painted and hung, clustered and decorated.  Even when we lived in a faraway land devoid of pine trees, we always had a few of these lovelies tucked away for Christmas.

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Our 25 Advent pockets hold strips of love-worn paper, each day unwrapping more of the Christmas story.   The pockets also hold treasures – little treats or small decorations to hang on the tree or mini craft projects.  And our Advent calendar is even more special, for it was hand made by the lovely Melissa and gifted when our first babes were small…

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And sitting in a jar next to our Advent pockets is a stack of starry gingerbreads.  Each evening we gather around and take it in turns to read the Advent story, and these are perfectly crisp ginger and spice to nibble as we linger over the unfolding of Christmas before us.

I do hope you too make time to slow and savour this Advent season with some of your own family traditions.

Happy Friday friends!

Riverbend Christmas Creativity returns!

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WE ARE SUPER-EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR’S CHRISTMAS CREATIVITY AT RIVERBEND BOOKS, BULIMBA!

With warm tactile leather + fabric alongside sustainable design processes, we are proud to present a fresh new take on Christmas decorating!

Of course, these are first and foremost children’s classes and so we are excited to jump into the wonderful world of artistic inspiration from the famous Alexander Calder on through other screen printing + fibre artists. From this inspiration we have developed skills-based classes that are fresh and contemporary!

For the first time this year, we are offering an ADULT CREATIVITY CLASS and also a PARENT+CHILD CLASS! In these classes, you are able to choose the project you would like to complete – please read the class description carefully and leave your selection in the comments section of your booking.

Take a wander through the classes we have on offer below and click on the title of the class to go to our events page and BOOK NOW – these classes fill very quickly! We hope you enjoy:

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WIRE + LEATHER WREATH

Alexander Calder was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended components which move in response to motor power or air currents. Calder’s stationary sculptures are called stables. He also produced numerous wire figures.

Using inspiration from Calder’s work, we will experiment with the wire medium to form 3D shapes. We will use these twisting+bending techniques to create a unique Christmas-inspired wreath form. Calder also added solid forms to his mobiles for counterbalance. We will look at ways to weave gorgeous leather + fabric leaves into our wreath-sculpture for a truly stunning result! The perfect marriage of art + craft for Christmas!

Each student will create 1 wreath in this class.

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LEATHER STARS

Oh soft caramel leather you truly make us weak at the knees! Students will engage with the slow art of hand stitching to create these beautiful leather + fabric ornaments or gift tags.

These are a beautiful layered addition to your tree, a hanging garland or a unique handmade gift tag. Students will choose and cut fabric stars from our beautiful selection of handwoven + naturally dyed fabric and accented with vibrant felt in Christmas green to layer behind their leather stars! The sparkling bronze adds a festive touch as the students thread + stitch their fabric soft sculpture together!

Each student will create 3 stars within this class.

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PRINT YOUR OWN FABRIC + PAPER WRAP

This year we are excited to announce a class with a sustainable message!

WEAVE+WONDER are proudly offering the gorgeous naturally dyed and handwoven fabric sourced from traditional weaving families in rural Cambodia. As we introduce this gorgeous fabric into the Australian market, we are motived toward sustainable uses for it. We couldn’t think of a better beginning than using custom sized pieces as fabric wrapping for Christmas!

In our printing class, we will learn simple printing, stamping + stencilling techniques and work on pattern repeat in order to create unique designs for our fabric wrapping. We will use humble brown paper also as a ‘test run’ for our fabric pieces but also as useful wrapping in itself!

Students will print 1 large fabric wrapping sheet (can be used as two smaller sheets) as well as significant length of custom printed wrapping paper.

There will be additional fabric wrapping sheets available to purchase in all classes.

friday five

Today’s friday five is dedicated to the delicious and the awe-inspiring textile art of weaving!

Preparing for our upcoming weaving class, we are aware that there is no end to the outstanding examples of woven textile art and so we thought we would share just a few here today to whet your appetite for our ‘small beginnings’ in weaving!

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We are beginning today with a stunning textural work with a wonderful twist to its incarnation!

In the artist’s words ‘White clothes, curtains and other textile leftovers combined in a rudimentary weaving technique, solved an acoustic problem in a living room.’ 

We loved Femke Van Gemert’s  woven artwork for its tonal beauty but loved the practical installation solution even more – the perfect combination of art + recycling + problem solving – a winner in our books!

 

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Oh Alice! Your gorgeous blog takes me to all sorts of heights of textile excitement! This piece in particular, part of the ‘tide marks’ series is just stunning!

Using white cotton and nails threaded through each small work, Alice allowed the nails to be rusted by the oceans tide.

 

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Hiroko Takeda creates exquisite textiles and textile art for architectural installation, home furnishing and fashion. She specializes in site-specific, international projects in collaboration with leading architects and interior designers.’

It is hard to choose favourites from Hiroko’s exquisite works, yet I was enamoured by the two represented above. The left image, is part of her ‘waffle series’ in jute – I was mesmerised by the process involved in weaving the waffle design and loved Hiroko’s use of natural materials in this work.

The right hand image is another sophisticated example using repurposed materials. This weaving is constructed using recycled plastic bag twine and part of Hiroko’s ‘New Life’ series.

 

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In terms of sophistication, these BrookandLyn weavings are just perfection. Tonal and textural – these weavings never fail to inspire. Check out their site for more!

 

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We follow the wonderfully talented and prolific weaver, Maryanne Moodie on Instagram. She produces on-trend small scale wall hangings that will make you weak at the knees! She is a wonderful networker and has collaborated with inspiring creatives across America – her most recent with another IG favourite HackWith design house, producing works for their ‘makers alongside’ collection. She teaches inspirational beginners classes in weaving – they sell out quicker than they can be advertised! An absolute weaving success story! [ I have chosen some neutral examples of Maryanne’s work for this post – do visit her site for a whole rainbow of weaving inspiration! ]

Happy happy Friday friends!

weaving the habit of creativity

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Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.

[Horace Mann]

Our days are full of habits and the habits we choose become our days, our months, our years, our lives.  I often ponder habits – those default activities, behaviours and thought patterns I have as an individual, as a wife, as a mother and as part of a family, and wonder whether we are choosing to nurture good habits, or whether we’re hoping that our ideal habits will somehow miraculously form.  And it’s good to ponder this I think, because habits are more than actions.  They inform our character development, our thinking skills, our creative processes, and they have the capacity to nurture or stifle.

This is your life.  Are you who you want to be?

[ switchfoot ]

Melissa and I are both passionate about nurturing creativity – in ourselves, in our children, in our families, and in others.  And the best way we’ve found to nurture creativity?  Form time, space and opportunity habits which allow inspiration to flow, encourage trial-and-error, and do not demand a response or interaction.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.

[ Twyla Tharp ]

This week as we launched our Weaving 3-Ways Workshop we chatted about past weavings.  I especially love Melissa’s family weaving project – an unstructured collaboration of all family members who over a few months, in fits and spurts, created a wall weaving.  It is beautiful.  But that really wasn’t the point.

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The point was to create a space which invited all family members to create and contribute in their own individual way.  A simple loom of two sticks and string, hanging on a wall in their family living area, and baskets of wool and yarns was the perfect way to invite weaving wonder and experimentation, both individually or together.

A beautifully simple way to nurture creative habits. 

So you may not be a weaver, but are you wanting to kick-start some new creative habits?  Here are a few quick and easy ideas:

  • Put a jar or tin of freshly sharpened pencils on a pile of paper on the dining table. (There really is something delicious and inviting about freshly sharpened pencils, isn’t there, so remember to keep them sharpened if you want this pop-up-drawing-studio to remain inspiring!)
  • Leave some scissors in a basket or small box by the door to inspire some nature collecting and gathering.
  • Recycle some jars and display this empty collection prominently, inviting them to be filled with finds and creations (and curate this collection often so they don’t just become odds-and-ends jars!)
  • Gather picture-filled books from the library or second-hand shop for creative inspiration and stack them in your living space where people will see them.
  • Run a long piece of paper down a hallway and create a family picture+word mural
  • Each week or month look through cookbooks or online recipe sites for some food-goodness and try make something you’ve never cooked before
  • Divide a big batch of cookie dough or plain muffin mix between some friends or family and invite everyone to choose their own add-ins

What do you think, lovely friends?  We’d love you to share your own ideas and suggestions on weaving the habit of creativity.

friday five

Oh how we love this time of year – these glorious spring days beckon us outside and inspire us with her bold greens, bright colours and shy wallflowers!  Today we’ve compiled a few spring inspirations, so gather those you love to be with and head outside!

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Yesterday we sat dreaming of a creative roadtrip, winding our way down roads to meet people we’d love to share creative conversations and fabulous food with.  One stop on our wish list is the glorious Buena Vista Farm in Gerringong, south of Sydney…the road trip may need to be organised around one of their upcoming farm lunches or picnic days…

 

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Oh doesn’t this worn and weathered bench shyly invite you to sit awhile and be still?  Why not find a bench in a garden or a patch of shaded green this weekend and enjoy!

We love the creativity of vertical gardens, and especially enjoy the whimsy of this ampersand garden+sculpture.

 

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This fabulous house of windows is designed to make the most of the stunning views.  Builders Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz didn’t want walls blocking any part of the daily sunset, and they have created a beautifully warm and cozy space which brings the outside in.

 

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Ink & Spindle’s hand printed designs take their inspiration from Australia’s native flora and we love their bold prints!  A perfect way to bring a bit of our distinctive flowers into your home all year round!

Happy weekending friends and make sure you make time to enjoy being outside!

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It’s been a week full of planning and preparing and creating and teaching and a growing excitement about what is just around the corner.  Today we thought we’d give you a peek at what we’ve been working on.

We’ve been gathering and weaving colour-bold threads and vintage-bright silks in preparation for our first In A Pickle Creative Community event.  We are super excited to be partnering with gorgeous Esther Downie  and her Camp Hill gourmet icon, In A Pickle to bring you a merry pre-Christmas evening workshop ‘Weaving 3-Ways’.  Join us on Wednesday 12 November from 7.00pm for our intro to weaving workshop which gives you the choice of three ways to wear or display your weaving creation.  Gather some friends and enjoy a night of fabulous food and wonderful weaving!

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When we started planning for our Christmas workshops, we couldn’t help but be inspired by some of the natural goodness we’ve been working with this year.  Gorgeous hand-woven fabrics and soft toffee leather have inspired some of our Christmas school holiday classes, and you’ll also see some lovely leather in our etsy shop soon…

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We’ve also been thinking about packaging this week.  Orders have been wrapped and despatched, and we’ve been playing around with some ideas for mindful and reuseable wrapping (and just quietly getting a little bit excited!).  We’ll unwrap these ideas for you very soon…

We hope you enjoyed this peek at our week, and we look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming weeks.   Happy Thursday, lovely friends!

friday five

Friday Five is celebrating flowers this week, inspired by the abundance of bursting blooms of colour in our gardens, in our homes, along the streetscapes, down country roads and … well, everywhere really!

 

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We love Katie Marx’s flower artistry – she reminds us to think BIG when it comes to flowers making a statement.  Aren’t the wattles above gorgeous!  Take a look around with Katie-inspired eyes and maybe bring some of your outside inside!

We are also inspired by another artist bringing the outside in.  Argentinian artist Alexandra Kehayoglou hand crafts stunning rugs that make you just want to take your shoes off, roll around and play (a bit like the people in the photo!).  You can watch here how she created this expansive rug for a Parisian fashion show in four weeks.  Truly amazing…

 

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The Ladies Fancywork Society are responsible for this Flower Garden Fence in downtown Denver, USA.  This fun bunch of street-artist crocheters are not fazed by size and scale and have created some fantastic projects and installations around the world.   Maybe you too have a piece of chainwire fencing which could do with a creative makeover?

 

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We love street art with a sense of humour!  A perfect silhouette image on this blank wall which must make passers-by smile!

 

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And lastly, a sweet nod to our Jacaranda-filled city.  This iconic painting, Under the Jacaranda by R.Godfrey Rivers hangs her purple-blossomed branches on the walls of the Queensland Art Gallery, and has been a long time favourite of both our families.  The painting depicts the artist and his wife having tea under what is believed to be the first Jacaranda tree grown in Australia.  She was planted in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in 1864, was captured in this painting in 1903, and lived until 1979 when her lovely boughs and trunk were blown over by a cyclone.  This weekend, why not find a spring-laden tree to take tea under?

Whether you are bringing spring’s flowers inside or enjoying them outside, have a sweet-smelling weekend of creativity friends!

creating in your sphere of influence

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A woven beauty, an artistically functional design. A bug-trapping masterpiece, an outworking of her innate creativity.

She was created to do this, to spin this web, and so she does. It is stunning in its functionality, simple in its beauty. It sits quietly in the morning light and by the time noon shines high it will be gone. Maybe it performed its function and lunch was caught. Maybe it was destroyed by breakfasting birds. Maybe it fell under a footprint, or someone drew a finger through it, wondering what a spider’s web felt like.   Maybe it was not seen in a field of grass spotted with hundreds of web-dots only visible when the web and the light and the observer are correctly aligned.

Or maybe someone noticed it.

I did this morning, but I’m sure in our garden there were lots of creative outpourings that I didn’t notice. An opening flower, a curled leaf, a dewy drop, a dancing dragonfly, a new green shoot, a caterpillar cocoon-wrapping.  Creativity created irrespective of my noticing, irrespective of anyone’s noticing.

It made me wonder about my creative makings and my sphere of influence.  Like this spider, my sphere of influence is small, the numbers who will notice my makings will be few. But that shouldn’t limit or stop me expressing my creativity.

It reminded me to be creative in my sphere of influence.

Maybe your sphere is just you. Maybe it’s those people who you share dinner with each night. Maybe it’s those who you invite to a birthday party. Maybe it’s those who you connect with online. Maybe your sphere is larger.

But don’t let the size of your sphere determine how you weave creativity through your days.

I sense that creativity is more about the process than the outcome. More about the rhythm and flow, the mistakes and restarts, the assessing and reviewing, the ideas discarded and the ideas expanded.

More about the spinning and the back and the forth and the connecting the lines than the web created. 

Be kind to yourself and avoid self-evaluation which focuses on outcomes and compares to others.  Explore, experiment with, and enjoy your creativity.  Think big, dream large, be small, do quietly.  And embrace your sphere of influence.