Textile artist Jacqueline Fink on the creative process

jf1-sea-art "My work is as much a physical feat of endurance as much as it is a loving creative respite." ~ Jacqueline Fink




Jacqueline Fink is a knitter, and some. She is also a crafter, a dreamer, and an artist. And a mother.

Jacqueline learned to knit, like so many others, from her own mother. She told Trend Tablet magazine that as a child, she was "too impatient to commit to the language of knitting" to be able to follow a pattern. But five years ago, after her mother received a double lung transplant that saved her life, Jacqueline had a dream that heralded the beginning of her creative brand, Little Dandelion.

Now, she creates large-scale knitted works that range from gorgeous, textural blankets to chair covers and enormous 'pure art' installations.






From time to time, as a creative person, I struggle to find inspiration. I also struggle to manage my work-life balance. And I feel overwhelmed, stifled even, by burnout and writer's block (that's been happening lately).

But somehow in my mind I put creative professionals - "real artists" as opposed to hobby creatives like me - up on a pedestal when it comes to the creative process. Subconsciously, I imagine this is all seamless for them. Which is untrue, and probably rather unfair of me. Professional artists, designers, crafters, writers and every manner of other creative folks have to find inspiration, balance priorities and beat burnout, too. Duh. Of course.

So... I figured we might all be able to learn a little something from how other artists approach these challenges, and Jacqueline was kind enough to share a little from her own experience.


My process is perhaps a little unusual. I don’t draw on external references for inspiration: I’m not one to trawl through magazines or the internet and while the natural world may influence my preference for a natural colour palette I create purely to please myself.

Inspiration typically finds me via a subconscious thought stream when I am engaged in something completely unconnected with my work or via a dream. I see the creation in my mind’s eye and, because I cannot draw, then have to hold it there while I work out a way to make the piece.


I have learned to do the following:

1. Just park the problem in the too hard basket and do something completely unconnected with your craft for a while 2. Spend time in the company of elbow creatives whom I love and admire. Their energy always reinvigorates me propels me on 3. Keep creating. I’ve often overcome great difficulties with one project through the process of making another


I gave up on trying to achieve a work/life balance long ago and I don’t beat myself up about it. It is what it is. I work in our living room and so there is no separation of space for any of us and our life is pretty much chaotic most of the time. But we are a very flexible bunch and can tolerate mess so we just do the best we can with what we’ve got. When you have something you want to achieve it is very important that you don’t place roadblocks in your path as an excuse not to give it everything you’ve got.

And one last (exciting) thing…

Jacqueline is now developing her own oversized knitting yarn "so that others can experience the joy of slow craft and this rather unusual method of knitting." Hooray! If you want to stay tuned, or take a look at more of her lovely work, Jacqueline's website is at, and you can follow her on Instagram at

All images here are used with Jacqueline's kind permission, and taken from the Little Dandelion website. Photography credits are as follows (top to bottom): 1. Sharyn Cairns 2. Jacqueline Fink 3. Jacqueline Fink 4. Jacqueline Fink 5. Sharyn Cairns 6. Jacqueline Fink 7. Jacqueline Fink 8. Jacqueline Fink 9. Paul Westlake

Artist Emma Lipscombe on where to find inspiration

Emma-Lipscombe_3617 Emma-Lipscombe_3650



These gorgeous geometric colour explosions are the works of Western Australian artist and landscape artist Emma Lipscombe. It's hard to tell from the photographs but they are actually made with oil-paint on individually-cut pieces of wood, fitted together into intricate and beautifully tactile patterns.

I love finding out how artists and other creative people come up with their ideas. I almost always find I have something to learn from them.

"Inspiration comes from all over the place and before I start working I'll pour over my books, magazines, blogs and imagery on Instagram," Emma told me, when I asked her how she came up with her ideas. "I also think of people that I find inspiring and interesting, ones that I know first hand and some I don't, like the creatives you find on the likes of FVF. I am drawn to a certain aesthetic more and more these days, one that is clean and simple and not too much fuss.

"Creative Block (and the Doubt Monsters) are regular visitors of mine and they come knocking at least once a week! I think they can be fended away with some good immersion in these three things; books, internet and discussing your work with a ready listener (over a glass of wine)."

When it comes to finding that elusive balance between our home, social, work and creative lives, it seems Emma struggles just as much as the rest of us. "I do projects as a Landscape Architect, have a family, and a bit of a life," she says, "but most evenings I will paint. If I don't manage to find the time, I'll be feeling a bit miffed!"




All images here are used with Emma Lipscombe's kind permission. If you'd like to see more of her work, or stay in touch to find out when and where she might be exhibiting, Emma's website is, and you can follow her on Instagram at @emmalipscombe_.

Soupy Saturday

IMG_0613 IMG_0618 IMG_0617 IMG_0616IMG_0614 IMG_0615 IMG_0612On Saturday, Melbourne was made out of soup. Sticky, steamy, grimy, sweaty soup. We waded through it in the afternoon to take a little look at Supergraph, an exhibition of affordable, contemporary design, print and illustration, at the Carlton Exhibition Buildings. Just inside the big front doors was a sea of giant origami mountains with drawings all over them. We were handed a giant sheet of cardboard and a black marker, and told to use them to make some art and share a secret. Madeleine got to work turning the cardboard her own brand of "art," while Mr B and I talked about secrets. Turns out there aren't many in our house, which is probably a good thing. We sat around trying to think if we had any, without a lot of luck. Mr B said, "Write something like 'I won lotto and I haven't told my husband' because then I can live in hope." I didn't, but I thought it was rather good.

Soon it just became too hot and sticky on the floor so, much to Madeleine's distress, we ended the drawing, added our paper mountain to the rest of the secrets, and took a wander through the building to see what else was on offer. Graphic prints, paintings, a lucky-dip of original artworks for $10. Craft workshops for children, a design-your-own melamine plate corner, coconut drinks. Giant metal fans in front of which we held our sweaty babies to cool them down.

Then, just as we were about to head out to see what was on offer from the little circle of food trucks out the side, the heavens opened. I mean they ripped apart and a team of titans threw giant-sized water balloons at us. We stood in the doorway and watched the downpour until it all became just too much for Madeleine; nothing would please her until she could dance in the rain herself.

After things finally eased up, somewhat, we put the kids back into the pram and walked home through the rain. The air still felt soupy, but it was more tomato-and-mint than potato-and-leek, if you know what I mean. A lot more bearable. Everything glistened: the blackened trunks of the trees in Carlton Gardens, the greasy cobblestone lane-ways, even the trams as they rattled past and Madeleine called "More? More?"

On the downside, by the time we got home the hair I'd had cut-short and straightened just that morning was a frizzy disaster. But that was a small price to pay for an excursion in the summer rain with my wonderful family. It was just a little bit like an afternoon out of Mary Poppins.

Favourite things - hooked on hue

One of my new favourite blogs to read, Bright.Bazaar, is all about colour. "Mr Bazaar" Will Taylor says he is "unashamedly hooked on hue." What a great phrase. We are thinking about renovations of late chez Bulger, and I've been scouring the Internet for ideas. I don't know that I could actually replicate all of the following ideas in my home, but they have definitely got me hooked on hue this week! Have a colourful weekend, dear friends.

1. Psychedelic stripes

zobopBy Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie, in his floor series called Zobop. {Via Honestly WTF}

2. Piñata cake

pinata-cakeOh actually, I think this is one I will replicate at home. {Via B for Bel via A Subtle Revelry}

3. Wacky wallpaper

wallpapersJoanna Goddard has collected 10 great wallpapers for us to admire and covete. Which do you like best? {Via Cup of Jo}

4. Striped ice cubes

fruit-iceI have bookmarked this idea for spring and summer. I will invite you over for sparkly, colourful, cold, fruity drinks next November. Save the date. {Via Oh Joy!}

5. Stitches alive!


Vibrant embroideries come alive in this short video about love. A little something joyful to take you into the weekend. {Via the Etsy blog}

And that's all, folks!

8 cute and clever designs

If you're one to spend hours on the computer tweaking the look of your blog; designing invitations, business cards or brochures; or just generally playing at making things pretty, I have good news for you! Creative Market opened its doors today. This is an online marketplace for "handcrafted, mouse-made design content," made by independent, creative folks all over the world. Think of it as Etsy for your desktop.

Here are eight of my favourite designs. What are yours?









More content will be added all the time so keep checking back. And if you are pretty nifty with a mouse yourself, you can always open your own shop in the Creative Market. Go here.

::    ::    ::    ::

And also, here I am lately on English Muse and iVillage:

Beautiful papercuts The new nesting Cartoons on reading Show someone you care

Free stuff to make your blog pretty

Guess what I discovered yesterday? FREE creative digital design downloads! But for a short time only. The lovely folks at Creative Market are just starting up and, while they get ready to launch, they are offering some wonderful freebies to give early adopters a taste of what's to come. Here are some favourites I've already downloaded: A set of vintage-style hang-tags

Beautiful herringbone patterns

Chalkboard-style icons

Snippets from a 1912 French text book on geometry

I think this is a super smart marketing idea, kind of like the digital version of those little tasters they give you in gelati shops that sucker you in to buying the three-scoop cup when you weren't even hungry. I'm fairly certain has won a future customer in moi.

Also, I need to extend a big thanks to Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely for alerting me to this great opportunity.


(This print by Laura Ruth on Etsy)

Last October, this glorious video of a murmuration of starlings over a river in Ireland went viral. I missed it, what with our overseas holiday and my somewhat surprising pregnancy (and subsequent morning sickness). So just in case your attention was elsewhere, too, I'm sharing it here.

[vimeo w=525&h=420]

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

What did you think? I am touched by their collective beauty and precision and, in particular, the mystery they hold. Still nobody knows exactly how these birds create such glorious patterns, en masse, like clockwork.

Starlings are all over Etsy, too. Here are some lovely pieces I found. Top L-R: starling doll; starling migration map; starling & roses woodcut Middle L-R: starling greeting card; starling pin; starling skirt Bottom L-R: starling bag; starling print; starling light-theatre photo

Found: the Seven Dwarfs' cottage

At last, dawn woke the forest to the song of the birds, and Snow White too, awoke. A whole world was stirring to life and the little girl was glad to see how silly her fears had been. On she walked until she came to a clearing. There stood a strange cottage, with a tiny door, tiny windows and a tiny chimney pot. Everything about the cottage was much tinier than it ought to be. Snow White pushed the door open.

"I wonder who lives here?" she said to herself, peeping round the kitchen. "What tiny plates! And spoons!" Upstairs was a bedroom with seven neat little beds. Going back to the kitchen, Snow White had an idea.

Toward dusk, seven tiny men marched homeward singing. But when they opened the door of their house, to their surprise they found a bowl of hot steaming soup on the table, and the whole house spick and span. Upstairs was Snow White, fast asleep on one of the beds.

The chief dwarf prodded her gently. "Who are you?" he asked. Snow White told them her sad story, and tears sprang into the dwarfs' eyes.

I am utterly in love with these adorable cottages from The Rustic Way, which can be fitted out as guest houses, garden sheds, saunas and children's playhouses. They are just like a fairy tale come to life, don't you think?

The human calendar

Once upon a time, I went a-visiting to the website of someone who had left a comment on my blog. (I always try to visit your site if you leave a link to it when you comment). Anyhoo, this particular site was called Hivenn and it turned out the blogger was a sweetheart of a young, blue-haired gal from the UK who took some quite lovely photographs. One of them struck me as particularly moving and I wanted to tell her so, but I couldn't find out where to leave comments.

BUT while I was searching for a comments option, I found this human calendar at the bottom of the page. The little folks inside the boxes will even figure out what day it is on your side of the world and switch places and signs accordingly. Things like this make me embarrassingly happy.