October 18, 2013

Feature Artist and Thanks

I was recently featured in a Newsletter online by a good friend of mine Pam Frye. What an honour to have someone highlight my work in this way and I was very touched when she approached me to be featured as her artist of the month.
Annette Burston, Space VillagePam and I met quite some time ago through Ebay. I had purchased an interesting celestial piece of fabric from her wonderful store to use in one of my art quilts (pictured here - it's the sky fabric).
Pam kept in touch with me, curious to know what I had in mind for the fabric. During this time we got to know each other and developed our friendship. Pam is a wonderful lady and also a fellow quilter, among many other talents.

She has a really unique and wonderful store on Ebay and I would love you to have a look. The link is here:
Pam's Attic--It's All Good

Pam also issues a monthly newsletter to subscribers and I highly recommend signing up especially if you're interested in quilting and seamstressing. It's really informative and it features different artists each month along with heaps of tips and hints you can use to better your projects and general knowledge. You can find it here:

I want to thank Pam for her wonderful support and friendship over the years and I hope you will look her up. She is passionate about what she does and a pleasure to have as an honoured friend.

Below is a copy of the article/feature from the newsletter:

Featured Artist This Issue, Annette Burston, 
Creator of Whimsical Quilts, Lovely Greeting Cards,
and Pet Bedding 

by Pam Frye (Pam's Attic - It's all Good)

I met Annette as a result of her ordering a piece of fabric with a celestial theme from my ebay store. I was curious as to how she was going to use it, so I asked her, thus, the beginning of a lovely new long distance friendship. Annette resides in Australia, on the other side of the globe from me. Annette, in her own words, talks about herself and her love of fabric and art. Read on!
No matter what I've done in life or where I've been, I'm constantly drawn back to my love of textiles and visual arts. It's not something I do to earn a living, even though I do have a small business that revolves around products that I design and make, but rather my passion for dabbling in numerous art forms that is driven by the wonderful feeling it gives me to do something I love.
My creative mind was nurtured from an early age by a love of reading stories that saw me constantly imagining and making things. As a young girl, I was creating cubby houses, drawing pictures of houses. and creating and drawing maps. I grew up in a loving family that allowed me to express creatively. My mother and grandmother both sew and I learned basic sewing from them. We girls were always making things. I inherited my fanatical love of fabrics from my grandmother and attention to detail from my mother. As an adult, there is rarely a time when I'm not thinking about what to create next. My mind never sleeps!
I focus on various forms of art, and often spend time alternating between various projects. Sometimes projects overlap; sometimes they exist independently. It was when I discovered the overlap between my separate loves that my quilting really started to blossom. I enjoy the process of creating because it gives me time to refocus my mind from my busy world, to a quieter more centred existence. It's a time for me to find my true self, have fun, and express myself to the world.
I currently work as a registered nurse but my design background originated from my studies and previous career in landscape architecture where I was able to express my creativity fully. During these years of study, I learned the basics of visual design, and while they were certainly not aimed at textile arts, the basics remain relevant to any good design.
I have been lucky enough to travel across this beautiful world and have experienced a vast array of cultures. This has given me an opportunity to observe colour, pattern, texture, and design from across the globe and bring that knowledge home to infuse into my own creative process. Needless to say, I usually arrive home from other countries with an overweight suitcase packed to the brim with fabrics and art pieces. In addition, my own country (Australia) is bursting with bright colours and beautiful scenery which means that I am never at a loss for ideas.
But how did all this really come together for me? I'm not really sure. I remember as a young girl, I did a lot of hand stitching and cross stitching as well as sewing my own clothes. Originally, I was never interested in traditional quilting. The thought of sewing a million small pieces of fabric together seemed too monotonous for my overactive mind. Many years later, the internet world evolved and a plethora of artists, techniques, and visual eye candy was before me. It was like fuel for my creative fire . . . and off I went with a bang!
During that time I discovered appliqué (or as we now call it "fast fuse appliqué"); that was the catalyst that drew me back into the quilting world. My stash of fabric slowly began to grow and I found a lot of pleasure from being able to create "pictures" on my quilts. This allowed me to personalize what I was making and put my own personality into my projects. This was the opening I had been looking for. As for my fabric stash--well, that simply took on a life of its own. I love nothing more than going into my studio and being surrounded by the wonderful colours and textures of all the fabrics I have collected, created and up-cycled over the years.
I am essentially self-taught in everything I do. I've had no formal art training; my creations stem from both my imagination and my life experiences, both here and abroad. I also love to learn new techniques by reading books and magazines and enrolling in online courses. My biggest influences in my current quilting world come from artists such as Rose Hughes and Laura Wasilowski. They really inspired me in the art quilting process. Through the internet, I am always meeting and learning from new and wonderful teachers, others out there on the same journey that I am on; I feel very much at home in the art quilt world. I honestly feel that I can reach out to almost anyone in the art quilt field to ask for feedback or inspiration.
My inspiration comes from the world around me, especially nature. I passionately love nature and animals. Being a visual person, I find that there are endless inspirations in our world; I observe everything in great detail. I am often teased by my closest friend that I'm always taking photographs of "textures," patterns which I find exciting. I'm drawn to certain themes in much of my work--cats, trees, houses, colour, humour and whimsy. I look for these things everywhere.
My greatest challenge in my quilting and sewing is learning to silence my inner critic. I always strive to listen to my creative muse rather than the critic, learning to accept that there is no wrong way of doing things when one is creating. Not everything needs to be perfect; not every line has to line up. Coming from a world of traditional sewing we are taught to make sure every line and seam is centred. As a lover of curvy lines, wouldn't life be more interesting if things varied? Sometimes things take a life of their own; fabric does unexpected things. This used to make me cringe, but over time I'm learning to embrace the "happy accidents" and see them as opportunities to learn something new. "Letting go" is good for the soul.

When I'm not at work, you'll find me in my home studio, monitored by my feline friends and other pets. They inspire me, relax me, and motivate me. It's because of them that I started my business "Studio 4 Paws'" some 2 years ago. This has given me an outlet for creating colourful, unique and exclusive pet bedding that I sell in my Etsy store. The experience has been wonderful; I've met so many like-minded animal lovers through this venue. In years to come, I plan on expanding my range of products to other pets, providing beautiful things for the creatures in our lives that bring us so much happiness.
My art is about feeling good. As a nurse, I work in an environment that exposes me to human suffering on a daily basis, so coming home to my peaceful studio and being able to lose myself in creating happy things is not only therapy for my soul, but my hope is that it will also bring joy to the lives of others. I live in a beautiful country and I'm blessed with a beautiful life. There is so much out there to explore; life is too chaotic not to have fun. Nothing cheers people up more than a beautiful image.
In the meantime, my exploration of all types of art continues. Following a trip to West Africa saw me in awe of textile and pattern creation; thus I have been inspired to experiment with hand-dyeing my own fabrics. I'm also dabbling in torn edge quilting techniques and free form quilting. I also recycle a lot of fabrics for new projects, all of which will appear on my blog in months to come. (Click here to access my blog.) To access my web site, please click here, and to see what I have to offer in my Etsy store, click hereI also have a Facebook page. I'd love to see you and meet you there. To connect with me on Facebook, click here.
Here are some of my creations and their stories:
Annette Burston, Beauty

Beauty: I created this small art quilt as an experimental process to see if I could fuse fabric and paper together as a collaged background. To my delight it worked. I love this quilt. It's simple, cheerful, and stands as a reminder that beauty is more than skin deep.

Annette Burston, Hot Air Balloons

World of Wonder: This is a fused appliqué quilt that I created for a national competition in Australia in 2012. The competition's theme was "Wonderland." It was my first entry into a competition. It is a dedication to one of my cats who was very ill at the time and has since passed away. I wanted to show him that wonders are all around us in everyday life, in heaven and earth, in the air we breathe, and in the love we share. This quilt is a celebration of his life with me.

Annette Burston, Space Village 
Space Village: This is one of several quilts I made based on the collage technique by Karen Eckmeier. Her work inspires me because it's so free form. Most of all it's FUN. This is a playful quilt depicting a space village. I love it because when you stand and look at it, you can get lost in your own imagination. (The "sky" fabric in this quilt is the fabric Annette first purchased from my ebay store--thus the beginning of a new friendship.)
Annette Burston, Sunset Cat  
Sunset Cat: This was a commissioned piece for a friend. After having seen a previous work similar to this one, she fell in love with the design and wanted something similar. It's based on a layered background and fused appliqué. Once again, my signature cat appears in the picture.
Annette Burston, Trees, 4 Seasons  
Seasons of Change: This is a series of small art quilts inspired by Rose Hughes. They are appliquéd and heavily embellished with beads and hand stitching. They depict a tree in the various seasons. I love themes of nature.
Annette Burston, Kangaroos   
Kangaroos: This was a fun fused table runner I made as a gift. The design is by Helen Godden. I created it using commercial fabrics. The colors are very indicative of the Australian landscape.
Annette Burston, Greeting Cards  
Christmas Art Quilt Cards: This is a series of greeting cards I made using fused appliqué to create mini quilts which are attached to cards and can then be re-framed or re-used in other ways.
 Annette Burston, Hampster Bed 
Pink Camo Guinea Pig Cuddle Roll: This is one of the many designer Guinea Pig bedding items I now design and make for my Etsy store. This beautiful fleece bed (with my gorgeous girl in it) is a huge part of what I love to sew.

Annette Burston's Photo

May 20, 2013

Improvements to Sleep out bags...

Hello everyone !
I've been working hard sewing over the last few weeks. Winter is fast approaching and our piggies are needing warmth during these cold nights. So, inspired by some wonderful new fabrics and recent customer feedback, I have endeavoured to improve the popular Sleep out bags !
These new ones work on the same bag like design only a few things are new. I have altered the size slightly, they are ever so slightly smaller (25cm x 25cm) (10 inches x 10 inches). They also have a half circumference of reinforcement in the top so that if you are not using them as cuddle bags, you can lay them flat in the cage and the opening will stay open just enough so that your piggy can find his/her way inside. They are still totally washable and just as durable as the other ones.
But I realise that some people still either have bigger piggies or just want bigger bags, so I will continue to make the older style. To set them apart I have named the new design 'sleep IN bags' and the old will remain 'sleep OUT bags'.
I hope that the improvements will give you all more choice and options. And please do continue any feed back because this is what helps me improve my products.
The new fabrics that will be rolling out in the next few weeks are soooo cute. Please keep an eye on the store at Etsy.

November 13, 2012

Preparing for Summer

Time to get busy ! The new fabrics for my store are upon me and I'm spending the next few weeks making up some goodies for summer piggy comfort.

Millie draping herself over an ice brick !
Snickers, Paris and Millie...attempting to share an ice brick !
Summer is well and truly about to hit us and everybody who knows Guinea pigs, knows that they really don't take the heat too well. Mine are often huddled around the cool bricks that I give them during the hot months.

So I've decided to remake a popular seller in my store and modify it for summer...The sleep out bags will soon also be available in cotton, inner and outer (with a plush soft core) so that our poor piggies do not roast when we cuddle them !

Here is the fabrics that are waiting ! Oh wow...so much to get done ! I'm hoping to have some in store in the next few weeks and I hope everyone out there who have tried my sleep out bags will love them.

November 5, 2012

Roll Ups keep rolling

When I first created the Roll Ups and posted them on Etsy I really never thought they would go as far as they would. It was an idea that I came up with, from observing my own guinea pigs and noticing what works and what doesn't, listening to the silent nose raisings, and trying different variations of a design until I got it just right.
It seems that they are now loved world wide, I have been making them constantly ever since the first posting here and they have been posted to the U.K, Canada, Italy, U.S and Australia. I am absolutely thrilled that something I love to create so much, has obviously touched so many hearts. It inspires me to create more.
The latest addition is my 'boys only' range - which spurred from a customer requesting some custom made items for her boy piggy. Having only girls myself, I realised I had unwittingly neglected the boys, and thanks to this lovely lady, I now shop for interesting fabrics for both boys and girls.
Space boy, is the theme of the pictured roll up. It just looks like so much fun doesn't it. I hope my customers and followers love it also.

May 17, 2012

The creativity is flowing over

In my recent absence from my beloved blog, I have been busy getting my New Craft Business and Etsy store up and running, as I'm sure you will have noticed the blog's name change. It's been a busy time for me, and a steep learning curve, but finally things are making sense.

I'm glad to say that both Studio 4 Paws and my ETsy store seem to be doing well, better than I originally thought acutally.
There have been many creations that have missed the posts on here, and I'll endeavour to recap in upcoming posts, but for now, I'll start right where I am.

I've been creating a line of guinea pig bedding, in the hope that there are others out there who adore thier pigs as much as I do...to my complete surprise, it seems there are many ! So this inspired me to keep going and creating cosy and comfortable bedding that would make people go 'wow'.
Millie, my white and youngest girl, has become the star model of the current range, and she is a natural model. I simply pop her into position and she holds a pose better than any professional vogue star. Of course the treats at the end of the session, DO seem to help. lol.
Anyway, I'm endeavouring to once again keep my blog up to date and will be highlighting some current projects I'm working on.

Below are some pictures of my Piggy Rolls, that are currently for sale in my Etsy shop..www.etsy.com/shop/studio4paws. I hope you love them....and would be more than please to hear your feedback?
I'm curretnly working on a new creation, yes, for the pigs again. It's something I think they would love and something I haven't seen in any shop yet, so keep your eyes on this spot for that one.

As well as that, I'm about to embark on some sewing for technology ! E-reader covers and other similar things, as I've had several friends comment to me how much they would love to see something unique out there to house their technology in.
Honestly I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head right now....I just can't wait to get them all happening in reality...
The Strawberry Fields Roll Up

The Green Veg Roll Up (sold out now, but more coming)

September 1, 2011

Spring is Here !

It's the first day of Spring 2011 and creativity is pumping through my brain. I have been busy over winter, designing some new creations and starting many new projects...but spring brings with it a new sense of adventure. I'm currently in the process of registering my business name, which will give me the freedom to create under my own label and hopefully finally get my Etsy shop up and running. I'm very excited about that.

I've been continuing to do various ATC swaps and this last month have participated in my first ever Post card swap with two lovely ladies overseas. Of course the theme was 'cats'. Would you think anything else from me? It was just the three of us in this grouping and below are pictures of the two fabric postcards that I sent out to them.

This picture (below) is of my last ATC Art History swap based on a Renaissance theme. A little out there, I know...but when i think Renaissance, I think of all those beautiful big dresses the ladies wore and the  cross threading they had to hold them together. So i decided to fashion a card on that...

This month will see me continue to research and build my art endeavours, as well as finish up some other projects (there's always plenty U.F.O's (quilters term for unfinished objects)).
I'm beginning work on my first commissioned piece and I'm super excited about that....

April 11, 2011

Some new additions

Hi all, again there has been a long break in my blogging, but I have been busy working on some recent craft projects and art quilts which I'm now proudly adding to my site to share.
The first one is a prototype I made of a 'inner beauty' series I'm hoping to make more of. It features the wonderful ladies of Loralie Harris which I absolutely adore. The background is created from a variety of materials sourced from a variety of places. Mostly upcycled clothing !
I plan to do a series of these, with different ladies, to eventually try to put on Etsy. I would love some feedback !
The second finished project is one that started with the purchase of a very interesting background fabric from ebay. I loved it so much and wanted to create a space village scene as inspired by Karen Eckmeier's 'Happy Villages'. I was very pleased with how it came out and also plan to do a follow up series of smaller ones, again for Etsy when I open later this year.
The finished quilt is approx 24"x24" and includes fused elements, including aluminium in some places, under tulle and is hand stitched throughout. Again I'd love to hear what you think !


So that is my most recent (and finished) quilts. I have a few others which are nearing completion and I'm hoping to get them done by the end of April !
I am including some links to some of the books and artists that have inspired me so much, in case anyone would like a reference.

As if only doing 50 things at once was no enough for me, I'm embarking on a few other ventures this year. Firstly I'm doing the Journal 365 workshop by Pam Carriker. Wow - what a lot of fun. I already art journal a LOT but it's so inspiring to be pushed outside your normal comfort zone. I'll be posting a few of my pages here from time to time.
As well as that, I am once again getting my ATC swaps up and going. Last year got a bit crazy toward the end and I had many months of no swaps. But I'm very excited to be in a small group of artists doing a regular monthly swap focusing on periods of time over the ages (ie, medieval, industrial etc) with an open theme.

That's it for now, stay tuned...