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It's been 5 years since the original idea of creating a wire crochet butterfly installation crossed my mind. Part of a brainstorming session with my friend Tracy in San Diego about the "Rites of Passage" theme for a festival the next year.Thus began the crochet chapter of my life. A couple tips from Sarah and then a Saturday class with another friend, Aine, learning flower forms and I was off, stitching hundreds of flowers!Support from more friends such as Rachel, Daryll, Amanda, Janet, Kelly, and Patti kept me going. Their great advice and never ending patience as I made my first baby steps into the art world. Taking bigger steps with the Tokyo Art Byte Critique Group; more group shows as I honed my skills. Arthur, Lori, Ruri, Tanya, Dai, Lyle, Meg, et al Thank You! Daytime, Evening, and Yokohama Stitchers; Merja, Eva, Nao, Robin, Wendy, Chandra, Odile, Ellen, Akemi, Liz, and so many more. Everyone has been super supportive in providing constructive criticism, the push to get what needs to be done vs only the bits I want to do :)All of them have listened patiently as I continually bounced ideas around for months, years! The gallery hopping, the owls, the tea and support from yet more friends; Michelle, Janice, Louise, and Barbara. My search for yarns the same colors as the flowers and butterflies of Far North Queensland for the Butterfly Rainforest installation led me to Kiki at Yarn vs Zombies, an indie yarn dyer out of Melbourne. Achieving the brilliant blues, greens, and subtle oranges of the butterflies was pivotal to making this piece work. Destashers also have become a part of this project. Any green yarn being given away found its way into my stash and has been utilized in the project in some way. Photography by Lori Ono has been essential for helping to present my ideas throughout various media outlets, from newspapers to brochures to websites. Her photos have captured the attention of Aussies and tourists alike to my work and the workshops. Lori is also skilled in the art of felting and at my request, made the basic body forms for each of the chrysalises within the installation. A wee bit of trimming, embroidery work, and a thin layer of watery matte medium and they fit perfectly into the Butterfly Rainforest. This is a solo exhibition. Yet, clearly, despite 99.99% of the fibre and wire crochet construction being done by…

Butterfly Rainforest – More Progress to Report

Happily, there is a lot of progress to report today! Still living and posting through my smart phone so apologies for typos and formatting issues that are likely to happen. I've also blown through the wifi data plan here at the house so thankfully my SIM card plan has unlimited data on the weekends! Yay! AND free international phone calls to several countries :0 Hang in there, art & crochet photos are forthcoming...so follow me on my Cairns adventures this past week: On my walks through the Cairns Botanic Gardens I see something new each day. For the first time I spied the Desert Petunia, a favorite of the Lurcher Butterfly. I'm super pleased with the final crochet design I created.   My design for the Native Dutchman Vine, a favorite of the Cairns Birdwing Butterfly went well also:  Relaxing at the Esplanade is a must for visitor's and residents of Cairns alike:  There is no swimming or sunbathing on the beach due to crocodiles! Dusk brings the spectacular Flying Fox bats to flight in search of dinner, or would that be their breakfast?  The pink flowered Evodia tree continues to grow, the top branch section at approx 70cm: Trunk details; yarn-y bark work and the early stages of adding on the Strangler Fig: Finally!! The pieces are starting to come together! A full 165cm of tree so far:  I would love to see you at the launch on Friday, April 10 at 2PM here at the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor's Centre:   Interested in adding a bit of wire crochet to your already enjoyable fibre crochet repertoire?  I'll be conducting a workshop on Saturday, April 11:  Fibre crochet for beginner's and intermediate levels are available the next week. Contact Tanks Arts Centre at 4032 6600.  To see my day to day adventures and progress you are welcome to follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna Everyone in Cairns has been very welcoming and I greatly enjoyed the dinners over at a new friend's home with her family and lifelong friends. She was very brave and decided to try a new chocolate fondue which was a smashing succes...until we wanted to dip the little Easter chicks, too! 

A Creative Type with Patience

Does one's art bring out traits otherwise hidden or unattainable in other areas of our lives?Each day as I work in the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor's Centre I hear the word patience in regards to my work. Never would I ever describe myself as a patient person. But those who stop to see me work, see the meticulous effort I put into my craft. I enjoy the work so much I never feel a need for patience on my part. Today's Cairns Eye in the Weekend Post has a nice well written article about my work on the Butterfly Rainforest: Preparing for Flight.   I decide to stretch my creativity and join in the workshop offered by the Saltwater Creek Basketry Club. My aunt used to have a basket weaving business so all of us cousins learned but the materials used by this group are completely different than what I've ever done before. Using the Palm tree inflorescence native to the Far North Queensland area I attempted a basket. Instead I have a lovely not very basket-like wall hanging.   Interested in learning wire crochet? I'll be offering a wire crochet workshop on Saturday, April 11. Book your space through Tanks Arts Centre; 4032 6600http://www.tanksartscentre.com/home/event.asp?eid=825

Wire Crochet Workshop – Fibre Workshops, too!

April 11 - 16, I'll be available to teach various fibre and wire crochet workshops through Tanks Arts Centre at Cairns Botanic Gardens.Learn from my efforts to build the Rainforest Butterflies art installation.I look forward to meeting other stitch artists, both new and experienced from the Cairns, FNQ area!BOOKINGS: Ph 4032 6600Try and See Workshop– Ages 10 to adultDATE: SATURDAY, April 11 - 10AM-2PM COST: $40  Learn to crochet at your own pace with fibre and wire. Learn which are my favorite tools to use, wire sources, and my go-to books for patterns and tips. Supplies of wire, fibre and tools will be provided for students to play at their own pace and experiment with various coloured wires, gauges, and material combinations.Learn to Crochet Workshop- Ages 10+DATE: TUESDAY, April 14 – 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20Beginner course teaching chain, double crochet, half treble, treble stitches to complete flower motifs in yarn.DATE: WEDNESDAY, April 15 - 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20Learn to Crochet Workshop - Ages 10+Beginner Course teaching chain, double crochet, half treble, treble stitches to complete flower motifs in yarn.DATE: THURSDAY, April 16 - 9:30AM-12PM COST: $20Intermediate Crochet Workshop - Ages 10+Crocheting beyond the basics. Create more complicated flower designs or a butterfly. (Students should have some experience with Chain, Double Crochet, Half Treble, Treble Stitches).BOOKINGS: Ph 4032 6600

Day 2 – Settling into the Residency House

A rainy day here in tropical Cairns, perfect for unpacking and settling into the Residency House:That huge 20Kg box of supplies I've carried all over the Pacific Ocean is finally unpacked, permanently. The strong dishpack box held up surprisingly well through multiple flights on multiple airlines until it got wet in the rain being loaded on a flight from Auckland to Sydney. Luckily it hung on through the final leg up to Cairns. All the parts, pieces, and supplies handled the travel well.  The Evodia tree base got a bit dented but it's here and ready to grow into a rainforest. I think back and wish I had brought more items but I do need to think realistically. My time here is limited, therefore the size of the project is limited no matter how many great ideas I may have. One wish from the box was socks. And my sweatpants. I have no idea what happened to any of them since I left Japan. How have I become the owner of only a single pair of socks? Alas, the box contained only art supplies. The afternoon and evening was spent quietly adding the embroidery accents to the felted chrysalis pieces and then adding a watery layer of matte medium to give them the harder shell effect I wanted. It rained and stopped and rained again as the hours ticked by. 5 min of rain from the clouds, another 10 min of 'rain' as it filtered it's way through the trees to the ground followed by about 20 min of reprieve before the cycle started again. Ventured out for food during a gap in the rain. Upon my return there was a Lurcher butterfly flittering about the dappled sunlit yard of the Residency House :)Home. The Botanic Gardens Cafe opens at 7AM tomorrow. A lovely place for a cup of tea and to wake with the rainforest. For more of my day to day adventures follow me on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Before the End of 2013, I will finish…

With just one month left in the year, I feel really good about all I have accomplished this year so far. I just have a few loose ends to tie up or finish off before the new year: several works in progress I'd like to accomplish before the end of 2013: Ulysses Butterfly Cowl: An absolutely lovely yarn from Solar Flair Fibres in tropical Cairns, Australia. Perfect to make a scarf for my MIL, thought I'd make it a cowl but I really think a basic straight scarf with the ends folded for a single large tassel on the ends will be best. I've decided I do not like cowls....that's a whole 'nother post for another day. Pizzelle Beret: Purchased the yummy yarn from Avril at the Tokyo Yarn Crawl last month. This pattern did not start out well for me, who is horribly counting impaired. Still slowly stitching away on my Pizzelle Beret, which I call my Sand Dollar Variation, because I erred in the pattern and it only has a total of 5 'petals' vs. the 6 clearly stated in the well-written pattern. At about 60% complete, it looks great and I'm really happy with both the yarn and the pattern. Purple Baby Alpaca Scarf: My easy train knitting, no rush to finish, but it is starting to get large enough to no longer be a convenient piece in which to work on a crowded train. Soooo yummy soft and so super warm I would like it finished soon for the coming cold winter. Hanging Scrolls (3): ideas and materials are put together, just the embroidery design work needs to be added, hanko signed and then post them on Etsy! That's enough to finish for December in addition to all the other long term projects in which I am also working. Such as the editing of my Tako Like Cookbook, some bookbinding homework, and the boring task of decluttering the house a bit for the New Year. Waaay in the back of my mind I am currently mulling...Camping indoors with Granny Squares...I remember a childhood experience of being sick at my grandmother's house, of her helping me build a fort in the living room in front of the tv in which I stayed until I felt better. Long bouts with chicken pox, childhood flu, and colds were spent under that living room fort covered with Granny Square blankets.…