Archive for January, 2011

Ironlak spray paint can add a whole new level to your usual flax flowers…

I’ve made the most of trimming back the flax bushes growing behind the house – They really needed a bit of seeing to, to stop them taking over the steps and tripping up everyone who goes past.

And I decided to try something different this time… It’s a bit of an experiment, as I’m not quite sure what will happen to the surface as the flax fully dries at this stage.   After weaving the fresh cut flax into these rose-type Putiputi flowers, I left them to sit for a couple of days for the stems to curl and shrink. Then I sprayed them with Ironlak acrylic spray paint.  It’s given them a good, solid coat of glossy, even colour – A fully different result to the traditional method of colouring, which involves leaving the flowers to dry out before hand dyeing.

I love the resulting pop of colour Ironlak paint gives, with its candy colours of Linz Iceberg (Turquoise), Potion (Pink) and Granny (Fusty purple-ish pink)

I’m actually surprised it’s taken so long into my visit back to Nz to make some of these, Because it’s been absolutely frustrating me back in Melbz that I can’t just walk outside and find some flax whenever I please.  …Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we don’t have flax growing; But its always in the City botanical or private gardens, as opposed to growing on street verges and banks where cutting a few outside stems actually helps keep it controlled.

I actually found some at the Prahran fresh markets a wee while ago… Most of the florists in our area don’t stock it – So was mega excited by this, until I found out they were charging $20 for five stems. Not exactly enough to make a decent bunch of flowers!

Don’t suppose anyone in Melbourne has a supply of this in their garden that they’re willing to trade for some funky bright, or more traditional everlast flowers?

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So I happened to be walking up Ghuznee st the other day, in search of Toy Story posters from the video store.  No luck w that, But did happen upon this fantastic paste-up wall by Rone and drypnz.  Sweet! I saw this up on rone’s site a few weeks ago, But all it says is that it’s located somewhere in Nz.               So. Feeling pretty stoked to have come across it by chance!

Recognise the lovely masked Clara from my post a few weeks ago? https://vincenteknight.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/hey-gorgeous/

Was really nice to get to see her out on the street, because so far I haven’t managed to find her in Melbourne.  The walls weathered a bit already, w the colours fading out and a good few of the Clara pics missing – you can see it fresh, and in the making here on rone’s blog : http://r-o-n-e.com/?p=324 But do go check it out in person if you are in Welly… It’s down the Taranaki st end of Ghuznee, Between Abel traders and the Signs shop.

And I’m pretty happy to have her as my current desktop background too!

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I quite like food pictures.  Heres a quick one I whipped up to go with the batch of plum sauce I made yesterday afternoon.  I was lucky enough to be given a huge bag of mixed plums off my lovely friends trees… Which was fantastic timing, as I seem to make chutneys or sauces whenever I am back on a visit here in Nz!  I’m thinking it might print off nicely to go on jar labels, or as postcards.  What do you think?

Spicy plum sauce recipe :

2 cups of cider vinegar (I used malt, as it was all we had in the cupboard)

5 lbs of plums (I used a mix of tangy red, and sweet little plums that were yellow inside… thanks Gretal!)

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1  and 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 onion, quartered

4 large garlic cloves

2 small jalapeno peppers (I only had dried chili, so put it about 2Tbsp)

2 Tbsp mustard seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tbsp ginger root, or 1 and 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger

1Rinse and pit plums, then chop until fine in a food processor with 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, the onion and garlic.

2Add the remaining vinegar, and all the other ingredients to a large stockpot (make sure to use your largest pot, as the plum sauce will spit and will be Uber hot!)  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick & syrupy… about 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours. *Make sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pot as you stir so it doesn’t stick and burn.

3In the meantime, prep clean glass jars in the oven.  http://www.ehow.com/how_5109586_sterilize-canning-jars-boiling.html

4Once sauce is thick enough (to your liking – remember that it will thicken some on cooling), ladle hot sauce into hot, sterilized jars

The good thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t have to sit for a few weeks like chutney, you can use it right away – though it does need to be stored in the fridge after you open it.  Otherwise it’ll store up to a year unopened in the cupboard…. good thing cos it made 5 and a 1/2 medium – large pasta jars worth!

And here is the next one with the basic ingredients for a fantastic spinach soup.  I liked how the plum sauce pic turned out so much I thought I’d start a set.  Promise to post up a better pic with no glare once the sunlight stops streaming through our front windows quite so much!

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So after a rather delicious breakfast round at Soi on Greta point yesterday we dropped d of at the airport to fly back home to Melbourne.  I couldn’t manage to organise myself in time to go with – I need to know about flights a couple of weeks in advance so that it will gradually sink in and I can plan. Flying, no matter how often I do it, way stresses me out. So I opted for heading back w Tui on my own this time, in another week or so – go figure how this will be less stressful, but somehow it won out!

I will be sad to leave some of my bestest friends behind when I go, yummy Nz cheese, good strong New Zealand coffee and my newest favorite restaurant Ortega.  I won’t miss the wind, or how all the sand in the sandpit somehow ends up in my bed every night.

However, I have very good things planned for this year! :

  • I get to start back at Aerial class at NICA on the 7th, sore muscles and all.
  • I’m looking forward to moving to a new apartment by the end of Feb, I’m hoping I get my way and that we will move across town to Fitzroy / Collingwood sort of area…. So much closer to all the really interesting small galleries and a happening area for Melbourne’s ever-changing street art.
  • Hmmmm. Is it sad to say I’ve been missing my walks around the domain? I’m looking forward to making this part of my daily routine again… Though I suspect I may be needing new shoes…
  • I don’t really do NY resolutions, but the one thing I have decided to make more of an effort in is to get to more exhibition openings this year and to try to be more active in Melbourne’s amazing art scene – Win for all the exhibition openings that fall on Friday nights too!
  • Would love to add a printing workshop to one of my evenings every week, though this may have to be a bit later on in the year.  I really enjoy printmaking, but its a bit hard to keep up with w/out owning your own press. I’m really hoping I might find an option for screen printing… So frustrating knowing I have silk screens packed up in boxes back in Nz just sitting there not being used. Grrr
  • And I can’t wait to check out the NGVSTUDIO at Fed square. The space will be something new for the NGV – And Everfresh will be painting  inside the atrium while renovations take place. Their wall will be up for a month and then another crew will come in and paint… Kind of like a city laneway but in a national gallery, if that makes sense!                           Phibs, Rone, Makatron, Wonderlust, Meggs and special guest Miso will be involved in the live paint  from Sunday the 23rd – Tue 25th Jan  – THATS NOW!  – You can go check out their progress in person if you are in Melbz. Its located at the corner of the Atrium and adjacent to NGV Kids Corner in Federation Square. Or here online on the Everfresh blog : http://www.everfreshstudio.com/blog/

What are you looking forward to this year?

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Brunswick Street Gallery Small Works exhibition is now down, And I have a huge thank you to say to Deb and Riaan for kindly picking up my arts for me while I am skiving off here in Nz.

I painted these paper works at the same time I was working on the BSG canvases.  Though while the canvases ended up with layers of Shellac, resin, gouache and more resin; These only got the initial gouache layer straight on the paper.  I took the masks off these as I wanted to keep them simple, but I think they still need something more…. Wondering about a layer of glossy white Enamel pattern maybe, Though just in a couple of areas.                      Hmmmm…anyone got any input?!?

You can see the finished results of the BSG canvases here : https://vincenteknight.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/toast-x-bsg-small-works-sneak-peek/

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So it might be pretty obvious right about now that I haven’t really had the time or space to do much painting of late.                                                                      …It’s starting to seep into other things I touch instead : I just couldn’t resist adding a drop or two of colour to the citrus cake I baked for one of my lovely friends awesome outdoor birthday picnic this past weekend.  And hey, result was not only surprising when cake was cut, but surprisingly tasty too – Glad I kept that cake recipe from when I used to get up at five every morning to do all the baking for Republic, back from before I was at art school!

Now the interesting thing is this – I carefully spread out the colours in even flat layers starting with red, following through to end in a lovely violet.  In cupcake form, this works perfectly and you end up with a striped rainbow cupcake. But it seems a cake, especially a rather moist citrus one cooks a bit differently… And so you get this rather neat, and probably one-off  uber delicious pattern.

So here is the citrus cake recipe :

2 cups sugar

¾ cup canola oil

1 cup plain yoghurt / Sour cream

1-2 tsp orange blossom water

2 eggs

2 cups Self-raising flour

3 lemons, finely grated rind, *juice put aside for syrup

1/4 cup sugar (extra) *put aside for syrup

Food colouring to add to batter, if desired

1 Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 22cm approx cake tin – If using a detailed bundt tin like I did, use a spray canola oil to evenly coat all the fiddly bits, or it wont turn out properly!

2Combine yoghurt, oil, eggs, sugar, orange blossom water and zest in a bowl. Sift in flour and stir until just combined. Divide mix evenly into 6 bowls and colour with a few drops food colouring in each to make up each colour in the rainbow, mix just enough for colour to combine but don’t over-mix or cake will be heavy.

3Pour each layer evenly into cake tin, starting with red and following through to violet. You may need to spread each colour out with a spatula or the back of a spoon to get a flat, even layer of colour. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of cake, and sides have pulled away from the tin. ( I found it took the full 60 mins in my oven )

4Put extra sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

5Stand cake tin on a 
tray. Pour syrup over warm cake and stand 5-10 mins before removing from tin. Let cake fully cool before coating w choc – for this melt 1 biggish block dark Ghana choc with 100grm butter in a double boiler. Whisk until combined and smooth. Carefully pour or spoon over cake in an even smooth layer. You can leave it to set for easy cutting, or serve straight away w melty choc, both ways are good, though melty is def. a bit messier to serve!

So this recipe is actually dead easy if you leave out the food colouring bit – No splitting, extra mixing or carefully spreading of layers…. just mix all together and pour into tin!  And it’s wonderful w out the choc too – Just reserve 1/2 the syrup and pour this over the turned out cake instead and sprinkle w a couple a Tbsp sugar. Pretty!

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Somehow we are already almost halfway through January of the new year. Next up : February. Which brings the joy of turning 28 along with it for me.            This is something I feel so so about – I’m looking forward to being this age, I think its a nice number.  But at the moment I’m still not sure if we will be back in Melbs, packing to shift apartments by end of Feb; or still in Nz with my lovely Wgtn friends, but probably missing the first term of aerial back at NICA – which I was hoping to pick back up after term 4 last year.                                             Who knew : I absolutely love learning the trapeze, though I’m def. not so keen on tissu… which actually hurts like f@#k, especially when wrapped around your inner thigh to hang at a 90* angle!

Also, being after xmas there is not much more stuff that I really really want… especially with the blowout year we just had.  However, there are still a couple of small things I’d kinda like:  1. New brushes (the green banded ones)  from the French Art shop… I have slowly wrecked most of my current ones.  2. This book by Everfresh Studios in Melbourne :

Illustrated with striking, candid photography, EVERFRESH: BLACKBOOK provides a rare and exclusive insight into the life of the studio, the artists behind the work and the culture of the elusive underground art world – a world usually cloaked in anonymity.

Everfresh Studio is an explosive hub of creation and activity, inconspicuously located in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Collingwood. Behind an unmarked factory door, Everfresh artists conceive, develop and collaborate to produce their now internationally renowned work for the streets, as well as fine art for exhibition in galleries.

Rone, Makatron, Sync, Phibs, Meggs, Reka, Wonderlust, Prizm and The Tooth are the crew who make up Everfresh. They create works which fuse intense colour, intricate line work, iconic characters and visual narratives; using the most diverse street art and graffiti techniques. They play a significant part among the artists who continue to shape Melbourne’s dynamic and prolific 
street-art scene.


256 pages, 254 x 204 mm

The Everfresh: Blackbook is published through Miegunyah press and will be released as an open edition soft cover as well as a limited edition of 500 hardcovers.

Available through Everfresh : http://everfreshstudio.bigcartel.com/product/everfresh-blackbook – Hint hint!

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