Sunday, 31 August 2008

Small sketch

Ruby and her Whorses by Eloise O'Hare
The next band was Ruby and her Whorses. I drew this picture looking over the tops of people heads in the crowd, which isn’t easy if you’re not tall!

Ruby’s lyrics are very funny and relate to what was going on in her life. She's only 15 years old but has a great inside into life. I am sure she will go far and be a big star.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Audience Unlit

Before the fourth band started, Jont enthusiastically encouraged the audience to get very close to ‘stage’. I sat out the back and drew the crowd watching the band. I didn't catch the name of the band but they sounded good. Robert is at the left of the picture. Ian was standing on a bench, but he moved somewhere else before I could draw him. But I did manage to get a couple of heads in...

A Norwich Unlit Party video is now online at the Unlit website.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Artist impression

This a film taken at the Unlit Party of me drawing The Loyal Few. I was inches away from the band, the closest I have ever been to drawing a band.

Sketches from the Unlit Party

The next artist at the Unlit Party was Sharon Lewis from Brighton. Sharon was on the Keyboard and singing. She has an amazing strong voice and writes beautiful songs.

Sharon Lewis playing at the Unlit PartyI have to work very fast drawing performers and at the same time tune in to the music. If the music is slow and quiet the picture becomes more detailed, with faster songs it becomes expressionist.

After all the performances had long finished she played When I’m Cleaning Windows by George Formby on the ukulele. Not long ago Robert bought a George Formby record to go with our new second hand record player. Being Dutch, Robert had not heard of George Formby, but he loves the song. Dutch people keep their windows very clean.

Rosie and Ian's Unlit Party!

Last Friday I was Rosie and Ian's place for an Unlit Party. Their house was completely transformed and packed with people.

I was wearing my new pocket skirt for the first time. It holds all my art materials (well, apart from an A3 sketch book), which is great if you’re in to drawing bands.

Unfortunately someone was sitting on my skirt when the first band started playing (two girls playing guitar and singing), but after that I was on a roll. The next band was The Galleons, a three piece band (singer / guitarist, keyboard and cello).

I started drawing the pianist and then followed over to the singer / guitarist and then tried to get in as much of Rosie and Ian's house interior in, including their collection of (fake) deer heads. From where I sat I could not see the cellist (Charlotte), but I drew her in afterwards, over the top of the door.

For the next week I will be adding more drawings of the unlit party – watch this space.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Cheat chair

Lots of people have now tried my new chair and have come up with useful ideas for it. It’s ideal for watching telly and eating your tea at the same time – if that’s your thing. It would make a great beauty chair, for if you want to get your hair and nails done. Or it could be a film director’s chair (the director could be rolled over the studio floor.

I use it as an artist’s and blogger’s chair. The arms just go over the top of my table, so my own arms don’t lean over my drawing anymore. And because the arms are so wide I can put both my laptop and mouse on it, as well as a cup of tea.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Mascon Festival T-Shirt

Mascon festival t-shirt
This is my very warn and altered Mascon Festival t-shirt. I had to alter it right after I bought it, as festival t-shirts are usually over sized. I also had eczema at the time, so I overlockered it to make it fit perfectly. I’ve done this will almost every t-shirt I have owned after that, and helped many other eczema suffers doing the same.

The shirt has faded quite a bit in the Australian sunshine and the fabric is paper-thin and stiff - goes to show spending a little extra on quality festival t-shirts is worth it. Yet, more than ten years down the line I’m still wearing it.

It would nice if there are any people out there who also have a Mascon t-shirt. Send me a picture of it and I will post it on the blog!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Painted guitar bar

Guitar Bar by Eloise O'Hare
The arms of the guitar to hold things that I use everyday. 

Guitar Bar by Eloise O'Hare
Each arm is shaped differently.

Guitar Bar by Eloise O'Hare
Random colour combination that seems to work. I measured tins, sauce pans and things like that to make sure each shelf was the right height. Nothing gets lost down the back as the shelves can be accessed from all sides. 
Guitar Bar by Eloise O'Hare
The top painted in a crazy fun guitar paint, me with a bent brush to reach the hidden spaces.

Guitar Bar by Eloise O'Hare

My new chair has inspired me to paint my guitar bar – everything suddenly looked drab against the chair. The bar must be two years old now, but I never seemed to have noticed how awfully plain and coffee ring stained it looked.

I cleared all the contents of the guitar bar - which is the entire kitchen contents, from jars of dried beans to saucepans. The guitar bar is very functional in my tiny flat.

The house now stinks of old paint. I used left-over house paint. The drying time for the paints were all different, the green at the top of the bar needs almost a whole day to dry.
I’m now looking forward to sitting at the painted guitar bar tomorrow for breakfast when it is finally dried.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Moon Lantern

This photo was taken to launch of the first Mascon Festival of the Moon 1 at Sydney Park Brick Kilns.

I made the moon in the middle of the night at Shepard Street Studios, Sydney, Australia, with a group of young mathematicians. We had a hard time trying to make it work with. By 2am I rang my friend Kath Ellis, who I had met on a woodwork course for women to ask if she could she help resolve the problem. She got on her motorbike and came over.

As always she worked it all out and the next morning the moon was taken to Pine Street Studios to be papered. It was then hung from a crane in front of the Brick Kilns, for the trapeze artists to play with…

The Surf Chair

Surf Chair by Eloise O'Hare
Side view of the surf chair I design, made and painted.

Surf Chair by Eloise O'Hare
Front on view of my surf board chair with big arm rests and the back is chenille and cushioned.

Surf Chair by Eloise O'Hare

The Flying Chair has now been painted and upholstered. I stayed up all night to paint it in one go, so it would stay in the same style.

I spent quite a bit of time deciding on the fabric for the back, going from psychedelic swirls to pink to gold to silver to red PVC, but then found that the cover of my old sofa matched best. So I sacrificed it cut it up.

Using some left-overs from making Punch and Judy puppets I finished the edges with gold braid, giving the chair an arty princess look.

Today my arm is hanging off me and I feel completely crippled by putting so much energy into making it, but I am already enjoying the comfort of the chair. I can now type this blog with the laptop sitting on one of the arm rests!

I’ve also discovered that the chair is great for indoor surfing, although I do need a bigger space to really get going. But from now on I’ll call the chair the Surf Chair.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

New design of Flying Chair

Flying Chair by Eloise O'Hare
Me sitting on the chair ready for take off.

Flying Chair by Eloise O'Hare
Chair before I painted it bright swirly colours.

Flying Chair by Eloise O'Hare

After reupholstering the old director’s chair I decided to make a chair for myself. I needed a chair the right height for my workbench, to stop me from having backache.

I had been looking out for the right chair for a while, but couldn’t find one high enough. From some left-over wood and other bits and pieces I made this Flying Chair.

I built it like it was sculpture; it grew bigger and bigger as I went along. I knew I was on to the right path because I kept finding the right pieces of wood for whatever I wanted to add to the chair.

The chair has six little wheels and the back has wing nuts, so it moves when I move in the chair. It feels very grand to sit in it. Its armrests are like small tables and the wheels make it feel like a giant skate board. You can actually use it as a skate board, although you have to aware of the health and safety risks – when I took a run and jumped on it I nearly went through the window!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Designer Paint palette bag

Paint palette bag by Eloise O'Hare
Sunglasses pocket disguised as blob of paint.

Paint palette bag by Eloise O'Hare
Blobs of paint pockets on the pallet bag.

Paint palette bag by Eloise O'Hare

I designed this bag to suit my scatty mind. It has about a million pockets, so I no longer have to dig deep for things in my bag.

Each pocket has a different size to fit whatever it is supposed to hold. I got a separate pocket for my sunglasses, for instance. I works great; my sunglasses last much longer now they have their own home. The bag even has a large pocket to fit a big sketch book, coat or my veggie shopping.

It’s all made with leather so it will last and be biodegradable. Initially I wanted each paint blob to have a different colour, but while mixing paint I ended up with a mixed up paint look over all the pockets.

I still have to make the strap into a big paint brush (I wanted to finish the bag in a hurry so I made a simple strap).

Going through customs with this bag is great fun; they get very confused by so many pockets. And they never find my tampon pocket.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Hand crafted Camera Bag

Camera bag by Eloise O'Hare
Camera bag by Eloise O'Hare
I got commissioned to make a camera bag for a friend of mine. As you can see it’s well padded and the camera is very cozy in the bag.

I always enjoy designing arty and practical bags for all sorts of things and am pretty pleased with this bag. I’m sure it will outlive the camera.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Director's chair

Director's chair by Eloise O'Hare
Director's chair by Eloise O'Hare
These photos show a refreshed director’s chair I found in a skip on my road last week - another one of those things people just dump because it needs a little repair work.

I redesigned the chair with Robert in mind and upholstered it using fabric samples given to me by a friend who is an interior designer. I actually had to do the whole thing twice. The first time I thought I had done a brilliant job, until Robert tried it. There was a loud sound of ripping fabric and he fell right through it! Life seems to be one big circus round here.

The second time I made it all so strong an elephant can sit on it. But Robert will not sit on it again. I have done all that I can to convince him that it’s safe now, but giving him the chair is out of the question.

I have made some strange chairs in the past, such as a cuddle chair decorated with arms and hands. My most famous one is the Hairy Deckchair, made with the hair of the band member from Killar, who were having a hair cut while I was in a radical upholstering mood.

I did plan to make a sofa bed and chaise longue, but unfortunately I don’t have enough space for them in my mouse sized studio. I’m beginning to feel the urge to have my own gallery/studio.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Biffo's Circus

Biffo's Bonanza Circus

Biffo's Bonanza Circus from Sydney, Australia, is made up by some of my best friends, in particular designer Marty Jay who I worked with for years and years. We design fabulous shows, festivals, floats, galleries and all sorts.

Biffo’s Bonanza circus are currently showing off their tremendous talent on a tour. If they are going to be booked to tour Europe I will run away and join them at the drop of a hat. They’re simply that brilliant. Join in the fun!

On the photo Biffo the clown is flying through the air.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Swimmers in the sea

Swimmers in the Sea by Eloise O'HareJust a reminder of the summer... after all now is the right time to go for a refreshing swim in the sea.
Painting sold to Taffeta Scrimshaw. 

Monday, 18 August 2008

Snuff puppets, Sewing monster

Eloise O'Hare in the Snuff Puppets sweat shopThis is me working in the Snuff Puppets sweat (old drill hall) shop in Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. (Photo taken by Andrew Gorden) The sewing machine, I’m working on, was an industrial overlocker with needles like dragons nails. I spent a lot of time with the monster, making mountains, for a scene in a show based on a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The show was held on enormous barges on a river, with the audience on the banks looking down and across - thousands turned out for the spectacle.

The Snuff Puppets are my favourite theatre company. When I first saw them in Sydney, Australia at the Belvoir street theatre. I thought I was seeing a mirror image of my own work. Seven years after seeing my first Snuff puppets show I finally got to work with the theatrical puppet company, I greatly enjoyed my time there. They’re still around the world and their shows are still mind-bogglingly brilliant.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Who wants to be a Milliner!

Eloise O'Hare in 'Who Wants to be a Milliner

I went back to City College in Norwich again recently. Years ago it was the first college I ever went to. It was quite an experience back then; leaving home and the country I grew up in.

The college itself has not changed much in twenty years time - I still could not find my way around! The main change seems to be that the canteen now has coffee made by machines and that it no longer has that nice smoky and creative atmosphere.

The reason for going back to College was to do a ‘teaching in the life long learning sector’ course. I already teach a range of adults (my oldest pupil ever was 97.97 years old), but by doing this course is I can say that I’m certified to teach anyone of any age and ability.

The Mad Hat in the photo was designed by my friend Kath Ellis. We use to do hat-making workshops together. For my course I did a ‘micro-teach’ hat making workshop with the students in my class. They had to make a hat symbolising what they wanted to teach. They did a marvelous job and made some fantastic hats.

And, now that I’m nearly certified, do contact me if you would like to book ‘Who wants to be a Milliner!’ for festivals or parties. It’s great fun!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Bowerbird costume

Bowerbird costume by Eloise O'HareThis is a bowerbird costume on the left. I made many years ago for the Bowerbird Recycling Centre in Merrickville, Sydney, Australia. Making the costume was a monumental task and I had to call for assistance from a lovely lady who worked in costumes department of the Sydney Opera House. She later took me to see an opera in Hobert that had an Opera on for the visually impaired, which was really amazing.

The bowerbird was the mascot for a recycling project and toured festivals all over the place. Real bowerbirds collect blue objects to use as a ‘love luring tool’. They use the objects to create a fancy display and hope to pull a Sheila that way. This is why the bird in the photo is blue - real bowerbirds aren’t that blue.

The red creature in the photo is Tyridactilman, a children’s book character. I adore mascots and when two of them bump into each other at an event its even better.

Friday, 15 August 2008


Love counts every minute of the day with a Valentime Clock…

I made the heart shaped clock on the photo for Robert (who is famous for running Stop junk mail) to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The clock is covered with fairy dust and the numbers are all Topsy turvy. On the back are graffitied all the romantic rhymes I could think of at the time. Originally the clock had feather arrows as arms, but they turned out to be a bit too heavy for the clock-mechanism. Apart from that minor detail the clock is still ticking years...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Artist Jan Mitchell's Remembrance at Glendalough in Ireland

Jan Mitchell's Irish remembrance at Glendalough in Ireland.

Last week the ashes of Jan Mitchell, my godmother, were sprinkled over Glendalough by her sister. An occasion that I should have gone to but I was not organised and did not have the finances.

Glendalough was one of the places where I used to go with Jan and her boys for picnics, when I was little. I used to paddle in amongst the fools gold that glistened in the water or wander around with my handbag and rainbow fake-fur coat.

There were lots of people at Glendalough whom I haven’t seen for over 20 years or so. On the photos Eugene and May Lambert are looking well. Years ago I worked for the Lamberts at their puppet theatre. At the theatre Jan had made the first knitted puppets in the world.

I had the privilege of re-painting a sign Jan had designed thirty years before. Of course I had to make it exactly the same. Beads of sweat came pouring down my face while I was being watched by the Lamberts’ grandchildren while painting it.

Then there is Willy Finnie… I had a work experience placement with Willy in the graphics department when I was at college. He had been trained by Jan and always praised her and the good old days. I went to college at the time when computers started replacing people.

During my work experience I made a little 8mm film in one of the empty studios. Willie put on a gorilla costume for it and lots of old faces came in and said something on my film. The film came out upside down however – I wish I knew what I was doing at the time. One thing I did learn was that being on a computer in a dark room was no life for a creative artist like me. And what did get on the cards was going to visit Jan, who by then lived Down Under.

Jan will be missed by a lot of people, she was hugely inspiring.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Jan's Mitchell's Bollard sculptures

Artist Jan Mitchell's, Life saver bollards made in Geelong, Australia.

Brass band bollards, made by Jan Mitchell in Geelong, Australia.

Tigerl lily flower painted by Jan Mitchell in Geelong in Australia.

Jan Mitchell have fun with her brass band.

Jan Mitchell's amazing scultpture's with great attention to detail.

Jan Mitchell in a light blue over-alls leaning on her bollard.

In 1995 I went out to Australia to see my brother and his family, as well as Jan Mitchell, my Godmother. When she had left Ireland she had told me to go out to Oz when I was 18. I was sad for years after her departure because I thought I would never be able to afford the fare. But, in 1995, after finishing art college and my folks paid for me to go there.

I arrived around Mardi Gras time and Jan’s son took me to see the wild parade. I then got on a train to Geelong and visited Jan in her huge rainbow-coloured studio. There were enormous brass band sculptures she was painting; they were so big they went through the floor to the next level. We sat at her desk drinking homemade lemonade, discussing life in Ireland and then I got to see all her bollards. They went all the way along the sea front. As you can see from the photos, they are brilliant.

We went back to her house in her little car. I remember her writing down how many miles she had driven, even though the bollards were literally around the corner. She didn’t like the tax man and I have to say I was very impressed with her professionalism as an artist.

In her house we constantly needed to step over her son’s scientific paperwork, which was lying on the floor in some ‘creative order’. On the mantle piece was Bosco, her pride and joy. I was sad to see she was no longer making puppets for Irish TV. Her puppets use to make millions of children happy, including me.

She had started painting of Ozzie flowers and again they were just perfect. I wished I could paint as well as her.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Jan Mitchell

On the photo my Godmother Jan Mitchell is sitting outside the canteen of the RTE Irish TV studios, probably enjoying her homemade biscuits. I have fond memories of her homemade biscuits. They used to hang from her Christmas tree, along with tiny little fairies hidden in walnuts and her home made pavalova. That word, pavalova, started me practicing an Australian accent from early age – I wanted to pronounce it exactly how she would say it, with a loud Australian accent.

Jan was my inspiration in so many ways. She gave me my first cooking set - and they weren’t your usual toys that don’t actually work. A real rolling pin, a real sieve, a real bowl. I started cooking like mad and made all sorts of cakes and sweats. By the age of four I knew how to make a cheese sauce! Years later I became a vegetarian cook in various cafes and restaurants, which supported me all the way through college and later helped me survive being an artist.

Monday, 11 August 2008

RTE Jim O'Hare

Jim O'Hare (far right) at RTE

Photo: Studio 2, 1974, RTE (Irish Television)
Guess who is sitting at the end of studio 2… it’s Jim O'Hare, me Da.

The photo I lifted off the RTE retirement web page. I hope they don’t mind, but it was the only photo I could find of Jim working.

The RTE studios, old and smelly as they are, hold many happy memories for me. I hung out there from the day I was born and mucked around with just about everyone working there. I spent a lot of time typing on Carmals knee, which has greatly benefited me, as I love typing.

1974 was the year me and my friends went on the Wanderly wagon Christmas Show. I remember getting very nervous about it, I didn’t want to be picked out of the crowd by Mr Judge the Puppet.

The Art Department was always active night and day, with people making models, 3-d papier-mâché maps and lots of drawing boards. There was one very special person there. I could hear from a distance, laughing and debating design ideas with who turned out to be her husband. As I got closer to where she worked I could see a large pair of scissors, coloured card and a bun of red hair poking out of the top of her madly cut out costume. Then, entering the space there was a roar of affection for me. That was my Godmother, the late Jan Mitchell.

Jan Mitchell the artist

Jan loved daisies...

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Famous for knitting an alien

I was an extra (‘supporting actor’) the other day for a not-to-be-named-but-famous TV series set in Norfolk. I’ve done extra work many times before, but this time I added a little something to it by wearing one of my self-invented, strange and wacky outfits.

I had spent 24 hours making it, excluding a fair amount of research. I didn’t want to get lost in a crowd scene or be put on the cutting room floor. And it worked, it was the best day out I’ve had all year.

At first I was placed in a scene far away from the cameras, next to one of my acting buddies and wearing the very dumbed down outfit my agent had told me to wear. The real thing was hidden in my bag. To gain confidence I asked my buddy, in my best Norfolk accent: “What ya reckon, should I put it on? He said “Go for it girl!” and so I pulled it out of my bag, put it on and sat there in the background of the scene.

It didn’t take long before members of the crew started approaching me. They wanted to know where I got it from, if I had any previous training. Although I’m not a trained costume maker, I have worked for years designing and making costumes for shows and festivals, including the Sydney Mardi Gras. And so I was offered a job and got into a scene with the stars.

Will show some photos after it has been on telly… it is a real gem!

Saturday, 9 August 2008


I must be famous... the commissions are coming in hard and fast. I have been asked to make a costume for a story teller who goes around schools telling a wonderful Dutch children's story. I will tell you more about it when I have actually made the costume... there might just be a few of my wonderful puppets in the show too!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Puppet feet

Patrick the puppet hanging out by the wall.

Deloris with her nice pink rince.

Violet is a little bit shy.

Blue Peter the puppet really wants to make some art.

More sock puppets... they're taking over!