Kaleidoscope Collection

Kaleidoscopes have been around since 1815 when one Sir David Brewster developed them. Already at their time they proved to be a huge success, with over two hundred thousand sold in London and Paris in just three months. Still today they are fascinating for old and young.

A proper kaleidoscope is ‘an optical instrument in which bits of glass, held loosely at the end of a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other. A kaleidoscope operates on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are placed at an angle to one another. Typically there are three rectangular mirrors set at 60° to each other so that they form an equilateral triangle, but other angles and configurations are possible. The 60° angle generates an infinite regular grid of duplicate images of the original, with each image having six possible angles and being a mirror image or an unreversed image.’

I have always been fascinated by kaleidoscopes, and even more so by their endless mathematical possibilities. To me, they are mind-boggling and deeply soothing, probably as well as many kaleidoscope images do reflect mandalas.

Mandalas are deeply rooted in Indian religions but forms of them can also be found in christian architecture and art. Over the last century, mandalas have made their way into western psychological interpretation, thanks to Carl Jung, the pioneer in the exploration of the unconscious through art making.

While mandala and kaleidoscope inspired images in colouring books and the painting and drawing of them is popular in both art therapy classes and for the art lover at home, this digital age has also given us a gazillion of plug-ins and photo-effect apps to turn any and every photo into a multitude of artworks.

My kaleidoscope collection is inspired by the mathematical rules on which kaleidoscopes operate. They are all created from an original photograph, taken by me, and then applying a number of layer effects in Photoshop, to create an image that could represent itself if we were looking at the original scene through a kaleidoscope. Many times, my creations seem to be having a tendency to want to be mandalas, too, and as there is no doubt in the balancing-process of the psyche when it comes to mandalas, I let them. This is a creative process, each image is worked on individually, no pre-fabricated action or filter is being applied.

My aim is to create an image that gives the colours, the look and the feel of the original photograph.

I’m hoping that they appeal to everyone who loves science and art, and has a taste for the quirky.

Small prints are available through my store, but large acrylic prints have proven to be popular. They do look stunning in large, if I may say so myself🙂




Vintage Junk Mail

Let’s call it that.

A brochure fell into my hands, from 1992. So not vintage, strictly speaking, but certainly VERY vintage in terms of what it was trying to entice us to buy.

Frankly, I cannot remember whether there was junk mail in 1992. I guess there must have been, but not to the extend it’s about today. Even with the ‘no junk mail’ sticker on the letterbox you tend to end up with an array of odd flyers and brochures.

So, this brochure from 1992, from a computer shop located in Glebe in NSW, is newspaper size, 6 pages thick, and has given us a great deal of things to snigger about.

I suggest you make yourself a cuppa and have a giggle, too🙂

Now, I have to make sure I keep this or that brochure from today, you know, to have a giggle in another 25 years🙂



Bias All The Way

Drum roll please for a new product I’ve just added to my catalogue:

DIY Papercraft Cameras: a colouring in and papercraft activity set


I’ve had these little camera prints for a while. They were living in the studio waiting-room, ready to entertain and keep busy any sibling or parent while I was busy taking photos next door.

They were always well liked. And then one day a Mum wanted to buy some off me, because she liked them all so much.

So I refined them to get them into a proper ‘product’ look and several test runs were done to make sure it all works perfectly fine, and voila🙂



Mouse-made by me in Photoshop. Available in my studio or in my Made It Store.

I love them, but then I do love colouring in and papercraft anyway, and then it’s cameras, so I guess I’m bias all the  way 🙂

Copies Rock

If you’ve been following my little blogging attempts for a while you’ll know that I have a great passion for old photos. Looking at them, talking about them, the people and places they show, and also displaying them. It’s my thing.

While a lot of people have kept negatives and slides from decades ago, and have the printed photo in an album or a picture frame, most would be hard pressed to find that particular negative or slide to have another print made, should their first print get lost or damaged in any way. And the vast majority of people do not even have any negatives or slides, either because they were thrown out eons ago or because their old photos are from a time where there weren’t any negatives. Or the photo they have hanging on the wall in their bedroom was done by a professional photographer, who didn’t hand out negatives or copies.

Displaying an original is not a good idea, because it definitely will get exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light) and very likely get exposed to dust, humidity, to the acids in non-archival frames, backings and matting, or get stuck to the glass of the frame, which happens more often than you might think.

Have a look around your home: if you have any photos displayed – and you should🙂 – are they the originals?

If they are, I suggest you tackle this task over your next free weekend, and have copies made, or make them yourself. Then you put the copy back up in its frame on the mantle piece and the original photo safely in an archival album. That way your original is not in any danger.

If it is already a copy, well done. Better check you still have that original, or the negative, or the slide, and if not, get a copy of that copy.

To get copies is so easy these days:

  • Use your copy/printer and simply print a copy of your photo. Naturally a copy on ordinary white copy paper won’t deliver a flash result, maybe you want to look into investing in some proper photo paper, it has come down in price a lot in recent years
  • Maybe you have a copy/printer + scanner. Scan your photo, save it on a thumb drive and go to your nearest photo print place. Prints cost next to nothing these days, and if it’s a good photo print place, they will be able to assist you if you have any questions.
  • If you have a fancy camera: put your photo on a flat white surface in a well lit room (no direct sunlight) and take a photo of your photo. You can then either upload on a computer or laptop or take your memory card directly to a photo print place. Or print it yourself if you have a decent printer and want to invest in photo paper.
  • Use your smartphone as you would the fancy camera.

Old photos in particular have odd sizes. Simply print bigger and use some fancy scissors to cut them out, like I did with the two shown in the picture.

Copies rock

Copies rock. I have a whole lot of them of original family photos like that, and I change them around all the time🙂



A Beautiful, Rare Thing

It is assumed but unfortunately not happening all that often and therefore a beautiful, rare thing: small business supporting each other.

Lovely Jen from Tupsy Turvy Designs is a small business and a fellow Made it seller. She took it upon herself to interview some of us about our businesses, why we’re doing what we’re doing and our future aspirations. She not only wrote about it in her blog but also promoted extensively in her social media. A generous and lovely thing to do.

So here I’m returning the love and invite you to visit her page, read about her journey, scroll through her blog posts, maybe sign up to her newsletter, and indulge in her creations in her Made it store.

Thank you Jen xx


Digital Ironing

It was very exciting when a client hired me to digitize a large part of her collection of her late mother’s fashion illustrations.

Fashion illustration was the main form of advertisement for fashion designers, clothing manufacturing companies and department stores. The designs were not only displaying the styles of their day but also a certain lifestyle.

The collection I worked with consists of fashion illustrations from the mid 1930s, fashion sketches on full double-sided magazine style spreads from the 1940s and 1950s, and lots and lots of smaller ‘practice’ works. Women’s faces and figures, hairstyles, hands, gloves, shoes, house dresses, evening gowns, aprons, underwear, handbags, beach scenes, scenes with children and babies, neatly sketched bottles advertising the benefits of face lotion and powder, ladies’ fashion patterns, advertising for ‘floral seer sucker frocks’ and ‘toddler straw bonnets’. Full page drawings enticing the women of the time to buy dresses in ‘linens, to take you through the summer in cool, crisp perfection’ and beautiful evening gowns which were ’emblazoned with the royal signature to put you in the mood for the festivities of coronation year’.

Did I mention I love my job? I spent many happy hours photographing the vast array of sheets of lose papers of all kinds with overall very little damage. Mostly, the sheets have yellowed with age and there’s always the odd specks and stains. And odd paper sizes. The most damage consisted of creases and folds and bent pages.

My brief was to digitize, not only for safekeeping and convenience of sharing the images with family abroad, but also to enable the client to use some of her late mother’s works to create anything from wallpaper to pillow covers to greeting cards.

For privacy reasons I cannot show you too much of this collection, but I have put together some links for you to have a peek at. They should give you a great idea of the beauty I had before my eyes that day🙂

Fashion illustration from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s.

As I mentioned the most damage was creases and bent pages. I show you a few examples of what I mean:



I call it digital ironing. It may seem like a quick fix and move on, but it’s not. And being me, there’s a lot of fine tuning and coming back to the same work several times because I may have overlooked something. And there’s always the danger to ‘overdo it’ in Photoshop, especially in this job, where the brief was to maintain the original character of the work, so I tried hard to get each image as close to what it would have looked like on the day it was created.


But yes, creases = digital ironing, you get the picture😉










Sweeten the Deal

Children are my main subjects when it comes to portrait photography.

In my experience, very few children are totally keen and relaxed and eager in front of the camera. Ideally, their parents are in the adjacent room sitting on the couch very relaxed, flicking through my photo books and product displays, while I start my little routine, where I take the children into the studio and ask them to help me set up this and that and move a chair and turn on the studio lights.

But even so, most children can feel very ‘put on the spot’ in that situation. And I am supposed to, within minutes, make them totally love the situation, me and the camera. I do admit that I am struggling with this part of my job.

We may use the big mirror to check their hair and practice silly faces. I have some props, sometimes parents bring a book or a toy, but mostly their brief is to have the child smiling their happiest, most natural smile and looking fully into the camera.

I find that even the very shy, fearful or grumpy children do everything you ask them to, but they will not look at me or the camera and they certainly will not smile a natural happy smile. I have gotten some very odd looks by parents while I go through my repertoire of children’s songs or nursery rhymes where I appear to make silly mistakes with the words, I’m getting inexplicable hick-ups, speak in animal language and have even resorted to the fart-app. I know, I know.

Most children will eventually laugh, but they will not look at me or the camera, even if their life was to depend on it. I have tried lens buddies, frankly I’m not a fan, they may work really well with very small children but with the 3-5 year old-ish ones I’ve used them for: no such luck.

Eventually I realized I have to sweeten the deal. I’ve heard of photographers who use M&Ms as bribe, but I’m not sure I want to photoshop chocolate off teeth in post production, plus, these days a lot of children are allergic to chocolate.

Years ago I found an article and had made a note about it. Finally I have re-created this great idea. It’s pretty self explanatory: buy Pez dispensers, use scissors to cut a slither off their feet on either side, slide into flash hot-shoe of camera.

Because it’s such a small item (unlike most lens buddies), the children will have to focus to really see it. And Pez lollies are gluten and lactose free, therefore not an issue with food allergies. And no chocolate teeth, yay.

So there’s my 5 cents worth of wisdom when it comes to photographing children: sweeten the deal🙂



Not Like Van Gogh

Time again to say thank you to all and everyone who goes through the troubles of following the journey of az pictured, whether it be on the blog, Facebook, Instagram or with the Lens Cap Chronicle, my very own newsletter.

This journey would only be half as much fun if I had to make it alone. I may only be a small business, but I put my heart in soul into my work. Not like Vincent Van Gogh, who said ‘I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.’ At least I hope so😉

So here’s to you all and my thank you comes with a little visual treat, showing all the latest Instagram posts of mine, that have been featured on some of the collaboration fun sites that I follow.

If you want to check them out and get some creative juices flowing: @hiyapapayaphotoaday, @rainbow_wall, @tv_neatly, @shotwithlove, @seekthepositive, @365_today, @keepingwiththetimes, @its_my_week


Free Your Photos

I know, I know, I keep saying it too often. But there you go, it’s my mantra. As soon as I have more than 200 photos on my phone I get twitchy and start sorting, deleting, backing-up and printing! Don’t even talk about my computer ….


Yes, printing. It seems to get largely forgotten these days. And seriously, I have no idea why. So when I spotted this large collage frame for very little money, it was mine. Very little money is good, of course, but it also has its downsides (my framer probably rolls around on the floor just about now, in despair).


Let’s list the good things: the price of course, the frame itself is quite sturdy, the glass is not glass but perspex, which makes the whole thing less dangerous and lighter, and the two bevel edged mats inside the frame are cut perfectly and neatly and look pretty. And a variety of sizes for photos are available. Noice.

The not so great things: a variety of sizes for photos are available (sometimes, having too much choice is not a good thing), the hooks in the back are hm a bit flimsy maybe, time will tell, there is only one piece of backing, which means the whole thing will warp, the photos will warp, even the little ones. And with so many photos, it will be a fiddly job to get them perfectly straight and have nothing sliding around.

But alas, this frame was meant to be a decoration item to display some of my photography in the rumpus/guest room/games room/waiting room just outside my studio, and as I intent to change photos regularly, it would do for now.

It took me quite a while to select photos that somehow work together and work nicely with the colour scheme of the room.

Once I had them printed I took my time to position them, stick them down with photo friendly glue and sticky tape. I inserted a second large piece of backing to really fill the back and make the whole thing tighter and prevent warping. And voila.

As I’m always trying to support small business, and handmade as such, and Mum’s in business especially, two pillow covers are from TWIG, and the mobile is from CocoCooie.


Now this waiting area for siblings or parents while I’m busy doing a shoot in the adjacent room is very comfortable indeed 🙂



Setting the Angel free

Expanding my collection of dog silhouettes, I’ve added some marble dogs. A customer inquired whether I have any designs that are not ‘that colourful’ but rather monochrome. As I didn’t I felt it was high time to change that, especially since marble is one of those timeless classics that will never really be out of fashion when it comes to interior design. In fact, 2015 saw once more the rise of this elegant material not only as floor and wall covering but also as material for a multitude of decor items, from marble cubes to marble fruit, plant containers, clocks and even tea cups, and it is sure to be a trend to hang around for some time.

So, marble. I was doing some research, and there are about a gazillion different types of marble, which you can look up here, if you’re interested, however, for me, the only name that pops into my mind is Carrara marble. Carrara, Italy. The city Carrara is in Tuscany, a bit north of Florence, and, interestingly, it’s motto is Fortitudo mea in rota (Latin: “My strength is in the wheel”). I suppose it makes sense, considering that the wheel would have played a big role in the marble production for centuries.

I have never really owned any marble items, other than the black cube which you can see in the photos next to the marble dogs, and whilst I have been in Tuscany, I have never been to Carrara. However, I can claim some first-hand knowledge and photos, as my husband was there in 1989. Obviously, marble blocks are big, and the pictures, apart from the wiring and some machinery, remind me a lot of Asterix and Obelix comics🙂


Clearly, it is quite a beautiful product. I’m probably reaching a bit far when I quote Michelangelo here: ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’ If nothing else I managed to weave this quote, which long has been a favourite, into a blog post of mine🙂

As always, my marble dogs are available in my Made It store.