Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SS Gairsoppa - robot reveals silver ingots in ships hold

Seventy years ago the SS Gairsoppa became another casualty of the battle of the Atlantic. Sunk by a U-boat, it might have been forgotten, were it not for a cargo that looks set to become the largest haul of precious metal to be retrieved from the depths of the Atlantic.

Along with tea and iron, the Gairsoppa, which sank off the coast of Ireland in February 1941, was carrying 200 tonnes of silver – valued at £150m at today's prices.

The ship's remains were found earlier this month by Odyssey Marine Exploration, an American firm which won the contract for the salvage from the British government in 2010.

Under the terms of its contract, Odyssey said, the firm would retain 80% of the cargo's value, with the remainder – up to £30m – going to the Treasury. Although no silver was spotted in a preliminary examination, records indicate that the ship – which was en route from India to Liverpool – was laden with 7m ounces of silver bullion when it went down.

Andrew Craig, Odyssey's senior project manager, said: "We've accomplished the first phase of this project – the location and identification of the target shipwreck – and now we're hard at work planning for the recovery phase. Given the orientation and condition of the shipwreck, we are extremely confident that our planned salvage operation will be well suited for the recovery of this silver cargo."

The Gairsoppa was completing the final stages of its voyage when its captain decided to re-route for Galway on the west coast of Ireland. It was a decision that would bring tragedy: a German U-boat attacked it on 16 February 1941, and 84 men died when the ship went down. Only one man, second officer Richard Ayres, survived after making it in a lifeboat to the Cornish coast two weeks later. Two other crew members who survived the sinking died while trying to make it ashore.

The shipwreck was located by Odyssey's underwater robot three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, around 300 miles off the coast of Ireland. The hole blasted by the torpedo was clearly in evidence, and Odyssey said it was able to identify the remains from features such as the type of anchor and the red and black colours used by the British Indian Steam Navigation Company.

Greg Stemm, the company's chief executive, said: "We were fortunate to find the shipwreck sitting upright, with the holds open and easily accessible. This should enable us to unload cargo through the hatches as would happen with a floating ship alongside a cargo terminal."

Stemm said he had "high confidence" that the silver would be found because an initial examination had confirmed the presence of tea chests, which were also reported to have been on board the ship.

"The tea is a lighter element of the cargo that would have been placed higher in the hold than the heavier silver, so we're confident that the silver cargo is still there as well," he added.

Odyssey hopes to carry out a full recovery of the cargo in the spring. The company does not expect to find any human remains.

Neil Cunningham Dobson, the company's principle archaeologist, said: "By finding this shipwreck, and telling the story of its loss, we pay tribute to the brave merchant sailors who lost their lives."

Last week Odyssey was ordered by a US appeals court to return to the Spanish government the treasure it took in 2007 from the 19th century shipwreck of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes – and which is estimated to be worth up to $500m.

Determined to see an upholding of the so-called "finders keepers" law – which would give it the right to keep the treasure it found in the shipwreck – the company said it would press on with its long-running legal battle, requesting a new hearing before appeal judges.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: "The contract for the salvage of the SS Gairsoppa was awarded by competitive tender in accordance with government and departmental procedures.

"While we do not comment on the specifics of such commercial arrangements, Odyssey Marine Exploration were awarded the contract as they offered the best rate of return to HMG."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Clipper Sailing Ship Geometric pattern Poster Print - by...

Clipper Sailing Ship Geometric pattern Poster Print - by...

This clipper is one of four new designs styled for hanging in a boys room.

Clipper Sailing Ship Geometric pattern Poster Print - by... (clipped to polyvore.com)

Coastal Lighthouse Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista...

Coastal Lighthouse Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista...

The lighthouse is in the new geometric poster series - it reminds me of the coast.
Coastal Lighthouse Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista... (clipped to polyvore.com)

VS Camper Van Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista on...

VS Camper Van Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista on...

An aussie icon that is synonymous with the great outdoors is the VW Campervan. What every traveller to our great country wants to drive across the outback in and have an aussie adventure in. More road trips are done in these vehicles than any four wheel drive. They're seen at the beach and they're great for surfing vacations, so if you want to capture an aussie coastal theme of travel, this poster's it.
VS Camper Van Geometric pattern Poster Print - by empressionista on... (clipped to polyvore.com)

Pirate Skull and Cross Bones Geometric pattern Poster Print - by...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

International Talk like a Pirate Day

G'day bay beauties and scurvy scoundrels..

As you may have hearrrd, it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday 19th September. Also to my son's delight t'was on the same day as his birthday, so birthday boy parlayed his way from dawn til dusk ahhhhhrrr.

Yay, a huge thank you to Sarah Field over at Fluid Magazine for the wonderful post on my prints. Fluid has become the passion platform for creativity and expression. Looking for hot edgy and upcoming designers of fashion, textiles, photography, culinary style, all things cloth and print, then join fluids mailing list to get your updates sent to your inbox. Going international and with an online shop in the pipeline, stocking items from Australian designers, Sarah keeps very busy. Fluid Magazine has some unique space features and jewelery that rock.

Fluid is currently running a giveaway of my Love Love Love prints... all you have to do is go on over like and leave a comment.

All of you who know my work will want to grab your chance at the giveaway over on Fluid-Blue's facebook page, where two of my Love, Love, Love prints can be won. In pink & white and black & white, so hop on over, like our pages and leave a comment. The giveaway winning entry will be picked at random on Thursday 22nd September.

So happy Sarah featured the sea fan too. It's my first foray back with the fine brushes in years. I used screen printing ink to achieve a rich black tint. If it's well liked then I'll add more creations to the collection. There are quite a few items on the "desktop" drawing board that I must finish first.

Thanks for sharing the love on Empressionista's facebook page - and a big Hello to all my new friends.

Tomorrow I will be debuting my Skull print - I'd love to hear what you think of it. As a boy's wall art poster the print takes influence from my son's appreciation of skateboarding, surfing, music and drawing.

Leave a comment when you're next here - Love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our little hero is turning 10 tomorrow

Ten years ago tomorrow, I became a mum to a wonderful bundle of joy, a little boy who we named Finley. Irish (gaelic) for our fair hero, we saw him for the first time and yes he was fair of skin and he is our hero.

Recently in our fight as Cromer Action Group, we fought Telstra (phone corporation) against the erection of a 17.7 metre mobile phone tower 80 metres from our very home. Finley wrote a letter to the CEO of Telstra, registered the letter and off it went, in his own words he explained why he personally didn't want a tower right near our house, for the safety of his friends, his family and the endangered bush fauna.

The action group gained momentum and took our multiple submissions to the local Council, local councillors and even the mayor agreed with our cause, kicking out of the application Telstra had made for the placement of this hideous monstrosity. It was so important for Finley to learn that together our actions can change corporations, I'm so proud of him for his letter writing.

His school turned 50 this last month and he put together a video clip, wrote the script and with his class colleagues dedicated its theme to the teacher who'd been taught at the same school he now teaches in. His grandfather saw the clip the other night and as grandpa himself was a cinematographer, he was quite touched to see that Finley shows some talent for film direction!

Finley plays baritone in the school intermediate band, an instrument that's almost bigger than he is, the he loves blasting out hits and with the band has won Gold and Bronze awards in the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod plus a Silver at the Yamaha Festival.

Tomorrow his birthday brings him into double digits, a huge milestone for us and him. A decade ago there was no facebook, blogging, iphones, ipods, ipads, twitter or youtube, all of which is so fascinating to him and his piers. I wonder what the next 10 years technology will bring. So Finley as you are now in double digits, I am dedicating this post to you , we love you always our fair hero, Finley Happy 10th Birthday, and may all your dreams in life come true.

Love Mum

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Van Meageren one of the greatest forgers of 20th Century

I wanted to bring to you a wonderful story I discovered just recently. It has to do with art forgery, one of my greatest interests is hearing about the great art fakes of the 20th Century.

There have been many of them, and this particular story is amusing to me because it features bakelite. You know that substance that preceded plastic, the stuff that telephones were made from in the early years of 20th Century.

And later wonderful invention of radio was made possible because of this stuff, aka phenol formaldehyde.

You're thinking what does the phone and radio have to do with fake art, well I'm getting to that.

Van Meageren was a Dutch artist born in the late 19th Century (1889 to be exact). He love art and prided himself on his skill. If you've ever been to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam or are a lover of the Dutch Golden age; Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, Seghers, Avercamp and te Borch, you will know the style I am speaking of. 

This painting is by Vermeer, called Diana and her Nymphs, painted between the years 1653 and 1656. The style is renaissance and all the paintings from this era have a luminosity that has never been equalled since.

Van Meageren adored the colours of this period and modelled his artistic hand on the heros of the Golden Age. He was dreadfully hurt by condescending comment of art lovers and aficionados who found his own work tawdry. In an aggressive attempt to salvage, not his name in the art world, but prove his ability to paint a masterpiece van Meageren went about reproducing works of Vermeer and the artists mentioned above.

Van Meageren became a wizard with a paint brush, fooling the most prolific of art dealers and experts of his time into believing his paintings were the real deal. His most infamous forgery was Supper at Emmaus, by Caravaggio below.

During the 2nd World War many art pieces were taken from the Museums in Holland and hidden away from the Nazis hands. The occupation of Holland was an overt opportunity to take possession of the most valuable original masterpieces and the war saw this happening in Paris too. It was during in 1947 that a version of The Procuress, (originally by van Baburen, 1622) was given to a man who was responsible for the restitution of seized art by the Nazis. Found in van Meagerens house in France, this work was presumed to be a fake.

Van Meageren maintained it was purchased by his wife in Marseille, however later claimed it to be a fake he made.

Van Meageren used one particular technique to achieve the aged patina of a 300 year old painting ..... Bakelite, chemical name phenol formaldehyde. You see when the painters of the Golden Age painted their masterpieces, the actual pigments, milk, egg, oils, linseed and resins took literally 100 years to fully dry and create the effect they have, as we see today. Van Meageren achieved this look with bakelite in the mix and then put the canvas in an arger at 110 degrees centigrade for a couple of hours.

How do we know this, well the Corthauld Institute recently ran a foolproof test of the Procuress. What they did was delicately scrape off the uppermost surface dust from this canvas, carefully as van Meageren was known to paint over old canvasses as did the artists of the Golden age. No use destroying not only one painting, but another underneath. Anyway these deposits were tested to see if they contained phenol formaldehyde and or course they did.

Van Meageren during his lifetime frauded the art world of $30 million dollars by convincing the experts his paintings were real, genius or not his hand was a great one. He was the only forger to have used Bakelite, a resin to mimic aged oil paint. He deceived many collectors and the art establishment before coming to justice in a trial in Amsterdam. One of his works even got into the hands of Herman Goering.

Do you have any art forgery stories? I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lisa Sherry's home makeover

Lisa Sherry found her way into my heart today when I spotted her own home interior mastery featured in Lonny's September issue. She's based in North Carolina; and has a long list of clients who seek her expertise. Having worked in magazines as a stylist her signature is casual luxury.

Inspired by her rule breaking juxtaposition of contrasting new with old and fun arrangements {note the dog saves the queen pic}. It takes a strong conviction to paint your walls black.  Monocromatic backdrops will always add bold punch through in a light filled location. Lisa Sherry Interieurs

I've highlighted my particular standouts pictures.

Love the grey stools and table placement near the french doors, plus the latte heraldic motifs harking from olde english roots.

Absolutely sensational feature in a boys room are the chalkboard walls for the creative at heart. Just trying to pluck up the courage to ditto these in my sons room.

Zebra stripes and panther spot pillows on a sofabed nook with gilt framed portait above is stand out.

The blacks and gold metallics are alluring.

Love Love Love the square/circle picture above the fireplace.

Again a metallic fronted chest of drawers gives this lounge room a uniqueness.

Zebra striped leather bound mirror.

Bed and bedhead in front of colonial windows. Modern square night tables backed up with a feature crest antique distressed wooden panel give a light neutral palette patina and tactile beauty. 

Blinds and star mirrors work well as do the black mirror and coffee ottoman.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jean Paul Gaultier and Lady Gaga

Coming up very soon we will all be able to see the kilt clad designer phenomenon of Jean Paul Gaultier don his journalistic hat in a first when he sits down with Lady Gaga and poses a few questions. Here's a taster I found on Gaultier's site, it's in French but you get the picture. You can see the full interview on 9 September. I was very interested in the set decor and love them love so here it is..

And a further video teaser in English to keep you in the mood.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shelf Life

Hi there

After a thoroughly enjoyable weekend spent outdoors benefitting from 25 degree sunny days, long walks across Garigal National Park and meeting up for lunch with friends over a few drinks, it's time to take a look indoors and tidy the bookshelves. 

Time to get the lounge in order, particularly the way the shelving is looking.. it seems to be taking on a personality of its own.

These are exhibition pieces by James Hopkins, a london based artist who's fun tactic is to create artworks from everyday objects, cut up and assembled into extra large skulls.

Shelf Life is a set of bog standard pine bookshelves housing an assortment of the usual: LPs, a clock, a guitar, a globe, boxes. But Hopkins has cut them and put them together in the form of a skull, reminding us that these consumer goods, our material possessions, will some day lose all importance.

He carefully constructs installations with mundane everyday objects into artwork with hidden messages. Do you see the hidden image first or the plain old collection of objects? 
It's all an optical illusion.

And after all that cleaning I fancy taking a seat...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

PDF Printable Downloads any letter Bus Roll Code flag

Hi everyone

Since madeit was down over the beginning of the week some people have been trying to get their hands on my Code Flag prints so..

On offer today I've got my PDF printable downloads here

You can choose your single code flag from the list of meanings below.

When you've made your choice, purchase at my madeitstore 
and I can get your PDF downloadable to you. All you need to do is print it out and place it in a frame.

Happy choosing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stamping your impression at home

Hi my lovelies

I've been busy lately with new items in the works, inspired by rare finds so hard to uncover in the land downunder where every likely discovery has already been unearthed. 

Sometimes you go on a hunch thinking you will find something that really inspires you, so just keep on looking, as your journey to your treasure is measured in the steps you take now. These bijoux will air in the coming days.

In the meantime if you're in the Southern hemisphere you will be getting ready for Father's Day. Here's a couple of ideas for a Fathers day print and card to give dad this Sunday. Inspired by stamps, their perforated edges and designs reversed out of one single colour...

You can try fooling around with the good old fashioned stamp.. You know, the ones that we used to put on letters, that we used to send through the mail. 

The styles of some of the earlier 20th century stamps from the 40's, 50's 60's contain wonderful detailed engravings that you can use right now.

Found here

You'll need:
Picture Frame

If you've a collection of stamps all boxed up, get them sorted out into colours to create a Letter art work for Father's day perhaps. The important thing is go keep to the one colour for impact. 

Draw the letter you want to create on a piece of card. Cut out the letter you've drawn.

Assemble all the stamps very closely together and stick them onto card. It doesn't matter if the stamps overlap the edges of your pencil outline. It will add to the overall look.

Childrens mini stickers could be used as a great alternative.

Ann Carrington's art always strikes me as a great inspiration.

A card for Dad can be made easily.

Get some A5 card and using a hole punch, punch holes around all the sides. Make sure you feed the card in as far as it will go, so your holes are all in a straight line.

Then with a ruler and pencil draw straight lines to dissect all the punched holes at their diameter to create this stencil.

You can use this as a template for your little ones to draw a card and add their words.

Have a great day.