‘Homesick’ – The Blue and White Porcelain Exhibition by Huang Fei

​I had the great pleasure of meeting Huang Fei whilst in Jingdezhen during September and October 2015.  Huang Fei taught a group of us Aussie girls the art of cobalt painting, how to hold a brush and the freedom with painting on porcelain.  He was also gracious enough to invite us to his home and share his work and stories with us.  I’ll never forget the trip on the way where we had been dropped off by the taxi about 1 km short of our destination so he came to pick me up on his motorbike and on the way back, with Maggie walking swiftly behind, he taught me how to count from 6 – 10 in Chinese.  Whilst I was in Jingdezhen, Huang Fei had his own exhibition and below are samples of his works exhibited plus his words describing the meaning behind each work.  (Deanna Roberts)

I still remember the elementary school I studied at was located on a hill. When it snowed in winter, we would roll a snowball downhill. The ball became much larger at the foot of the hill, then we would make a snowman with it. The trees and their branches were covered with ice and snow, as if they had been made of the finest jade. I liked to raise up my face, enjoying their graceful dance in the wind.

There used to be a lotus pond at the backyard of our house, with a lot of snow-white egrets flying over. At summertime, the pond would be filled with full-blown, dipper-sized white flowers. Usually, I went to watch the lotus flowers after a heavy shower. The water drops in the leaves resembled shining pearls, and the flowers like they had just woken up, blossomed suddenly in great quantity. The fragrance of the flowers and leaves permeated the whole pond.

Afterwards, I visited the Mountain Huangshan, the Mountain Lushan and the snowy mountains in Canada, yet I couldn’t help thinking about the fairyland-like small hill from my childhood. I travelled around to paint lotus and even now, I can’t forget the aroma of the pond at that backyard, the calves in the wild and the egrets in the paddy field…  These are the commonest yet the most fascinating landscapes.

I used to specialize in painting Huangshan landscapes and I have been trying my best to do it, while unconsciously, I have started working at the previously mentioned subjects. Displaying a small part of the new works in my studio, staring at them, I figured out the title for this exhibition, ‘Homesick’.

(Huang Fei – October 2015)

 

How to get organised

How to get organised - Think in Pictures Events

Try working with your calendar in reverse… ie write down the due date for a task you’ve set yourself and put that at the top of your list.

Then… underneath that…. list everything in reverse order, one step at a time, going backwards. So, the first line might read:

  1. 20 October – The event
  2. 10 October – Pack showbags
  3. 20 September – Registrations due
  4. 20 August – Final confirmation of sponsors, entertainnent and speakers
  5. 20 July – Finalise sponsorship and prizes
  6. 20 June – Finalise speakers
  7. 31 May – Book speakers and sponsors

Your options are:

  • Be as detailed as you like, however keep it short and sweet, the less to remember, the more efficient you will be
  • Diarise it in your calendar – online or otherwise
  • Set alarms
  • Work with someone else – that helps to remind you too and keeps you accountable
  • Add pictures – visual reminders speak louder than words
  • Diarise some ‘chill out’ time too – it’s important it’s not a stressful exercise

So take some time and work out how to get organised.  You’ll be glad you did.

Discipline, determination and dedication

Military tattoo - Think in Pictures Events

Don’t you just love it when you see absolutely phenomenal skill, technique and discipline in full flight? Occasionally our social media friends will share something amazing with us and when we get to actually take the time out from our busy schedules and sit and watch something and truly value it’s content, it can be quite inspiring.

There are moments in videos like these that make you realise how much work it takes to achieve perfection (or close to), how much time it takes to discipline oneself, how much dedication it takes to work with a team who doesn’t always share the same values as you, yet are still prepared to work together to achieve an amazing outcome where so many get to share the joy.

 

This Top Secret Drummers video just does it I think. So, before you go off banging your own drum, have a think about what you’re doing or perhaps not doing, that could be ‘adjusted’ in some way so that you achieve whatever successes you set yourself. Have a go… 😀

How to find your artistic niche

How to find your artistic niche

If you’re anything like me, you’ve dabbled in many different art forms, and if you have managed to find just one…. just one…. that does it for you, you may well have tried so many different ways of working with a particular medium, various designs and a wealth of concepts.

Ok, now here’s where we get serious.  Have you ever sat down and really wondered how to find your artistic niche?  Well… having spoken to a few experts, who really do know their stuff and have done very well in the arts industry, win awards, are renowned for their excellence, have won contracts for major works, exhibited in super-high-class galleries, one thing that seems to come up all the time is – stick to one thing.

Now, that can be hard huh?  I know.  I’ve been there, over and over and over.  I’m one who will always want to experiment with art and crafts, to explore, to discover new ways of doing things, to see how a paintbrush feels, to see what a particular design will do to a pot, to play with glue and paper and see what happens.  But…. what is that really stands out amongst all those discoveries?  For me, it’s one standard thing…. a Japanese influence.  For years it’s come out in my clothing choices, my arts and crafts, home decor and so much more.  As much as I’ve always known this, it’s taken me until now to recognise that this is really where I want to be and what designs I want to work with.  It’s the one style that appeals the most, the one that pushes all the buttons and just keeps coming up, over and over and over again.  For me to recognise this required me taking an expert around my home and showing her my work and for her to ask me what it was that really jumped out for me.  She also asked me why I wasn’t following that inclination, that urge, that passion?  It was unique and needed to be shared!  All the right things you want to hear huh?

So, how to find your artistic niche?  Do the same thing… that is, sit down and really think about what it is that seems to show up again and again in your work or choice of designs, whether in your art works or in your preferences generally.  What is it that appeals to you and why does it appeal?  What is it about that medium, or design, or colour scheme or method that makes you want to go back to it time and time again or scan the internet looking for any blogs you can subscribe to?

That’s one way to find your artistic niche anyway.  It works for me – it could well work for you too and I encourage you wholeheartedly to give it a whirl.

How to exceed expectations

How often do we fall into the trap of following and modelling others’ ideas and then just settling for that….

How many of us think something is a great idea, adopt it, modify our sales techniques, products, websites, presentations and then leave them at that…without pursuing it any further?

Here’s an idea…. why not take the ideas you find and then stretch them, not just a little bit, but a WHOLE lot further.

Check out this German video on how a magician works so well with an iPad… it really highlights the potential of how 2 completely different areas of expertise can be integrated to not only enhance  a product’s features, but highlight the strengths and advantages of both.

 

So, here’s the thing…

Is magic and the world of technology so different?

What can you do to enhance what you’re doing to make it soooooooo different and so unique that you too will get 2 million views?

Food for thought.  Think in Pictures and see what happens…

Clara Chan – The Artisoda Dream

My dream, Artisoda, comes alive as the home of Australian handmade fashion, lifestyle products and homewares – all online.

Clara ChanHi, my name is Clara Chan and I have worked in the fast fashion industry for more than 20 years! After all these years, I decided to follow my dream to start an Australian handmade brand/shop with good design input and great craftsmanship.  I wanted to ensure all products were made in small quantities to preserve their uniqueness and specialty.

I collaborate with local designers, crafters and artists to create each and every curated collection which is part of my dream to build a unique and socially responsible brand.

Artisoda 1Like all small business owners, the road to success is long and rocky. I tumble and pick up again so many times that I feel so blessed to have seen Artisoda.com.au come alive.

A special thank you to Lauren who did most of the fittings with me.  Her delightful character added so much life to the photos.

Thanks also to Deanna Roberts for giving me advice and support. Without support from an artist and entrepreneur like her, it makes the Artisoda journey impossible.

I am looking forward to sharing the ups and downs, tears and laughter in the journey of bringing Artisoda alive.

 

Artisoda 2Keep an eye on this blog, more stories to come soon.

Artisoda 3

Clara Chan – http://www.artisoda.com.au

How to add that personal touch

how to add that personal touch

One of the best marketing tools I ever learned was to keep things personal.  Now, I don’t mean divulging all your personal information or boring people silly with tales of your personal life…. save that for a different audience.  I’m talking about interacting with your followers, audience, buyers, customers, clients, whatever…. on a personal level.  It’s all about how to add that personal touch.

One thing I learned when studying NLP was that people like people who are most like them.  So, when you can adapt your marketing skills so that you are providing your market with what they like, they’re going to love you for it.

First thing?  Find out where your market is at.  Are they on Facebook?  Are they on Google+?  Are they not online at all?  What do they like?  Can you give it to them?  This is all going to determine how you market to them and what you market to them.

Secondly, it’s about being real and genuine and honest and true.  Making up stuff or faking it is simply not going to work.  The chances of you appealing to so many more comes down to your personal touch.

So, how do you do that?  Connect on their level.  Make sure your social media profile image is current and is you or your logo, not some standard out-of-the-box silhouette.  For starters, would you connect with someone online if there was no picture of the person?  Keep it real… put your image up there and let people see who they’re dealing with.  They want to connect with YOU, not some non-personal graphic.

Denise McDonald – Potter

Denise McDonald - Potter - Think in Pictures Events

Thank goodness I came back to live in my family home! If I hadn’t I would never have
developed my flannel flower range of ceramic tableware. You see, I am obsessed. I am completely in love with a pane of textured window glass in this Federation home. Five generations of my family have lived here, looking at this window glass.  Nobody else besides my family have lived in this 100 year old home. It knows only us. The window has an amazing pattern of flannel flowers.

I reproduce this pattern on my ceramics by using an intermediate plaster mould. I don’t know much about who originally designed the pattern or who produced it. All I know is that it has always been here. For me, this flannel flower pattern has many levels of meaning. It speaks to me about family and home, and references broader ideas of domestic life – the role of women, the relationships within family. Further, I hope it offers something to those who don’t have the personal connections to it that I do – stories about conservation of domestic architecture, the history of our native flora depicted in the decorative arts, and appreciation for the natural world.

It seems the longer that I work with this pattern, the more I see in it and the more intriguing it is to me. I don’t really want to know all the details about the history of its original manufacture, that would somehow damage the fascination for me. So I continue to apply my craft with a simple aim; to give this window a new way to exist – a new way to be appreciated and interact with the world. Nothing pleases me more than when I can introduce a new person to this 100 year old flannel flower pattern through my ceramic art.

The Flannel Flower Range
Denise McDonald
DM Pottery
www.dmpottery.com.au

Why do we fear being judged?

How to be the most boring presenter

Often when addressing potential speakers, I put it to them that one of the worst fears as a presenter or speaker is the fear of being judged. We are our own worst critics, or can be, naturally, however, what do we know of our audience?

When we assume that they are judging us, we too are guessing – we’re making assumptions that they are thinking certain things and making conclusions about us.  Perhaps the conclusions we assume they are making are in fact our own fears of ourselves and our lack of performance as a presenter or speaker. Perhaps we are making the assumptions that those judgment calls we think others are making are in fact our own inhibitions coming to the surface.

What do you think? Are you one to make these judgement calls yourself? What have you done about it to get over it?  The fact is that judgement, or fear of, can make or break a speaker and can turn your presentations around – for better or for worse.

Assume for a moment that you’re thinking the absolute worst before taking that first step on to the platform or before stepping in front of the camera…. how do you think your presentation is going to work out? Not so great. That’s a given.

Now let’s assume you have put all judgements aside and are now considering how fabulous you are going to be, how much your audience can’t wait to hear what you have to say and how amazing you’re going to feel once you step away from the audience and their applause. Not bad eh? Bit of a contrast?

Let’s face it. We are not mind-readers and we can’t possibly know what our audience is thinking. Secondly, do a self-check and establish whether those fears of inadequacy are in fact a means to rectify something, learn more or even change something for the better.

I put it to you… consider it. What have you got to gain? What would it mean to you to turn your thinking around and approach your stage or video presentations from a different angle to your norm?

Lose the judgement call and get yourself right. Then, when you get on the platform, remember it’s not about you, it’s about them and what you’re delivering. If we shift that focus and deliver what they came for, then they’ll be happy and so will we… all judgements aside.

What’s a vision board?

Call them vision boards, treasure maps, mindmaps, hope boards, bucket boards, whatever you like – essentially they all have the same purpose – to remind you to get motivated and start achieving what you really want in life. Ok, let’s not get too profound – there’s enough of that D & M stuff going around on social media to drive you bananas.

Let’s keep it short and sweet. If you’re asking ‘What’s a vision board?’ Then you may not have one of those wonderful colourful boards where you’ve stuck up pictures from magazines, newspapers, articles and other glossies.  If you have, great!  Good on you!  I’m all for it.  It works for me. The more I see it, the more I want it, the more I’m determined to get it.

Imagine if you applied that principle to your speaking skills? Just imagine you took photos or images of people that you really admire as great speakers and presenters and put them on a vision board. What do they mean to you? What is it about their presentations that inspires you and makes you want to be so much more of a presenter than you already are? It may be that they’re a fashionista or have superb dress sense, it may be that they stand in a certain way, have a great voice etc. Then, easy peasy… find images that represent those exact same things, and image of someone standing the way you would like to, an image of someone with a great voice, a piccie of someone who looks brilliant, even in a singlet.

Spread the inspiration around and keep it around you. The more you see it, the more you’re likely to act upon it.

Remember, your vision board, doesn’t have to be a board as such.  It could be a poster collage, a photo album, a journal, a book with lots of blank pages ready to be filled, a group of sketches……. whatever works for you.  Just remember to keep looking at it.

Go for it. Start it today… right now 🙂

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