This is the creative home of Natalija Brunovs.
Designer, photographer, film maker, artist, teacher, deep thinker, drawer, spiritual seeker and one crafty lady.

I blog therefore I am!

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Wreaths or Meat Cleavers for Weddings?

This is what my house can look like prior to a wedding shoot...
The mess of me creating accessories and props.

Last week I scoured op shops for fake-flowers so I could create wreaths to use in their wedding booth 'studio'. I asked the couple if they wanted a silly booth or a sophisticated one. They said "definitely sophisticated". So I went in search of things that would be classy... or at least pretty.

I made a backdrop with sheer curtain and some branches and blossoms.

It was just me and Oscar in the house so I had to use us both to test how it looks under the lights.
Oscar takes a good pic!

I just loved making these floral wreaths, so much that I started coming up with another creative-business-venture-concept. One of twenty circulating in my head right now...

Weddings are really occupying most of my brain capacity currently. When one is approaching I become immersed in it's details, ideas for locations and ways to uniquely shoot this couple.

The wedding was Valentina & Amnon. Here are a couple details.

I'll show you more next time, but here is another favourite:

mmm how tender is that!

And okay, just one more that shows some of my prop-work.

I went in early and set up the photo booth.

It looked lovely in the afternoon light as guests arrived.

I love creating spaces with decor that adds to the mood of the party.

Here are the two shots that used one of my three wreaths:

The groom had re-thought 'sophisticated' and picked up a few extra props which ended up being the most loved by the guests. Of course! Mixing virgins with devils... how can you resist?

Or virgin's with (now) necklace-wreaths and he-brides.

Or meat cleavering vikings with sophisticated blondes...

I might have to re-think my beautiful flower wreath idea and work on more devilish and raunchy concepts!

[current mood] New Orleans jazz permeating every space & scallops


Old Chooks and Dolls

Grannies, zulu dolls and a whole lot of "The Nat on the farm goes click click click".

(Quote from a song to get a child to pull a happy face for my camera).

This is my life right now. Most of it anyway.
I've been putting in the hard yards in the last week working on a book for the Uthando Project. (and woman on a mission - the radiant Georgia Efford).
Today was spent adjusting photographs, conceptualising the layout and borrowing mum's sewing machine to make stuffed letters.

I stuffed up the stuff, but it was just to show how we'll do the cover type for:

100 dolls

Then exceptional artiste, Lynne Tognolini, started blanket stitching some felt letters which are looking super sweet.

I'm doing most of the photography and the design of this book which is due to print in two weeks. (!)

Here is a sneak preview.

The book will feature words from organisations in Kwa Zulu Natal - South Africa about the state of human affairs, children's lives and how dolls made by multicultural Australians are making a real impact in the lives of families.

Photos above supplied by NGOs in KZN

The book will feature a range of portraits of the doll makers from Australia, from all different backgrounds.

And all different ages

I suggested we mix up the portraits by asking people to bring their own background fabric, something with meaning to them.

Each maker will tell us a little about their childhood experiences.

The book will tell us the power of these little dolls to enable a child to grieve, express, understand and feel the love. The doll 'experience' runs deeper still as the makers teach other makers, here and in South Africa. The dolls are also used as a medium to teach psychology principles to caregivers and highlight the importance of play for a child's growth - and as a child's right.

To quote Anne Sorenson "I've got the doll addiction, but it's a good addiction to have".

The book will have all the patterns you need to sew or knit dolls from babies to grandmas to warriors.

Essentially, it will be a resource for organisations around the world, as it presents a template for making culturally relevant dolls and how to work with the caregivers and communities.

To find out more about the Uthando Project visit www.uthandoproject.com

You can even buy my documentary film there for a $10 donation. I made it a couple of years ago in South Africa.

For now, I'm head down in the book, but there is always time for some music and dancing on set.

[current mood] Pills Shaking in the Bottle & Leftovers


Back to the Good Old Days

I've been picking flowers lately... in the middle of the weekdays.

I have fond memories of living in Cottesloe, Perth in 2009. I was existing in a sunbeam of light. At the beach every day, even in the rain, wandering leafy alley ways, making discoveries, picking fruits and flowers.

I then thought other parts of Australia might offer me a life I was missing out on. So I got in a van and travelled with two German backpackers and dedicated beetroot juicer across this vast country.

And of course, Oscar... who went from black and white to a burnt umber all over.

I stopped in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast with the vision to live on acreage and do art... somewhere around this point I was tempted into a job. A real 9-5 kind of job. A job too good to overlook.

I took this job as a media producer with the ABC and made films and stories with the community of the Sunshine Coast. I started meeting amazing people, old folk, artists... I made friends.

I helped create stories that were tear-wrenching, belly-laughing and simple beautiful. These have been shown on tv, online and on air.


Anzac Day: Our Meaning from ABC Open Sunshine Coast on Vimeo.

My favourite story of which will always be Bill, who is travelling with dementia.

I even co-produced a national Indigenous project with resounding success called 'DreamBox'. Capturing the dreams of hundreds of our country's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

But there was no time left for, literally, smelling the flowers... let alone picking them.

I realised I had led myself astray from the initial vision. I started to crave my earlier freedom, my ability to create when and where I liked, being in close proximity to the beach and to a constant flow of sunlight... which naturally leads me to enlightenment.

SO I quit.

And it feels soooooo good.

I feel my groove coming back, my creativity directed to me and specific beloved projects.

I am taking back the fact that life should feel like a holiday, that time is the most precious commodity, that I have a creativity that needs to be honoured in my own art. Life can be simple yet rich.

Expect blog posts about all the little things that are back in my life, at all times of day, and from anywhere in the world.

flowers in focuses

 [current mood] fresh juice, detox pills and the sound of a waterfall


I'll take a photo of your teapot, for your teapot.

I love shooting things that I love. Such as this artwork 'Tea Brake' by Kim Schoenberger.

It seems I only shoot things I love... 

such as delicious food, photographed so well I want to eat it.

and old men, with their faces of wrinkles and hearts all melty. I just want to cuddle their quirky selves.

and then, of course, love ceremonies... where the beauty of the occasion inspires me with every shot.

and then, there is art!

Art that when I photograph it, I get so excited, I want it!

I had the privilege of taking photographs of Kim Schoenberger's assemblages. She makes them from discarded materials she finds in dumpsters and such places. The way they come together is some sort of magic. Unsuspecting pieces just fit into each other, Kim tells me. She seems to always find what she needs. And the pieces form, in many ways, themselves.

I set up my 'mobile studio' in her studio. Using a white table as a reflector. That's why they "pay me the big bucks". ah ha....

Keeping Afloat. You can see Kim uses clay with her metal pieces, to bring that earthy feel into form.

Domestic Duties - I saw this as a little robo-maid.

Be Love, Love Me.

I love this one too. Reminds me of an indigenous symbol - Wandjina. Or something of ancient, biblical symbolism. Those are clay-made bones, sticking out.

I met Kim through the ABC Open project Artist by Artist. You can watch this short film made on her, by children's book author Pat Flynn.

I did the cinematography and editing. Pat wrote the script and directed the piece.

Kim by Pat from ABC Open Sunshine Coast on Vimeo.


I HEART Kim and her work!

And what I find most excellent is the swapping of things for things - as opposed to money for things.

I chose the teapot as a little barter for a discount.

Now I need to find some fresh vegetables and some kind of shelter to photograph. That way I can really survive on this barter economy!

[current mood] home made muesli bars & kookaburras


Cranes on a Plane

My friend and fellow earth-lover, Ilka Blue of The Last Tree came up with the idea to send Japanese Tsunami victims 1001 paper cranes.

Ilka wrote:

Senbazuru is the art of folding one thousand origami cranes. As the legend goes, you will be granted one wish by a mystical crane.

So I am going to make cranes as a way of connecting to the victims of these catastrophes. I am inviting anyone who wants to join me to make as many paper cranes as we can to send to the people of Japan as a heart gesture and a sign of the prayers and love we are sending them.

As per my reputable style, I took up the notion with vigor but not action... until the deadline was upon me... and the second reminder email had come through...

BUT I was leaving for Cairns without a second to spare!


I took my ten cranes in my suitcase and a packet of origami paper.

I made ten more in the back of the car on the drive to the airport...

I utilised my folding tray table as the name intended.
I reminded my co-traveller how to do it so we could double-our-lot.
But this wasn't going to be enough. So I made an announcement on the plane...

There was a group of restless school students that were keen to learn.

Nothing like a little learning activity to make the time fly.
I think they should offer such things as part of the in-flight entertainment!

And so I was able to fill up a box at the post office in the tropics, for a flight back to Ilka, and then a flight to Japan!

These cranes sure do get around.

[current mood] Almond Butter & Holly Throsby



Our aim was simple:

To make a music video clip

and to go VIRAL.

(please help us!)

But we got more than we bargained for, and have become the greatest of friends (having overcome creative-control freak clash). Ange thinks we are both 'silver backed gorillas' - I think what she is trying to say is that we are both desiring to be top of the animal kingdom of creativity but luckily she was able to step down and take my orders (not without minor insult and injury!) hehehe. We LOVE each other.

So here it is! The crafty stop motion video clip I made with/for Ange Takats, Sunshine Coast musician/singer/songwriter.

The Girl & The Glass by Ange Takats

And once you've seen that, you can watch the 'behind the scenes' comedy-drama that is...

The Making Of The Girl & The Glass

Spread it!

[current mood] Croissants & Beach Walks


Tea Degustation Party

For a long time I've been picturing a tea degustation. I wanted to create morsels to go with different teas.

First you had to choose your cup.

Here was the menu:

Vegan Goodie balls went with Chai

Blueberry Friands went with Seduction Tea

Everyone had to wear a hat...

My felt number

Prize for the most effort went to Tami!

Sean wore the hat he never thought he would have the occasion for...

I was glad to see Cindy with a mad-hatter!

Even Oscar donned a 'hat'.


[current mood] Ange Takats Music & Bulmers Cider


Weaving: Another Art Experience

I'm adding art and craft skills to my reportoire. I'm not sure why, I just go crazy for it!

I believe the more things I learn to do then the more ideas I can have for my art. Imagine what could happen if you combine weaving, origami, knitting, silver smithing and paint? There's gotta be something original in that mix.

I met Rene Bahloo at a Pecha Kucha event and she inspired me with her linking of weaving and life!

So I went along to the next workshop she was running - Weaving an Animal:

We sat on the carpet on a drizzly Saturday and learnt a coil weave. Renee said to let it tell us what animal it wanted to be. No pre-conceived ideas. Acting with faith not intention I believe.

Everyone started with just a strip of Pandanus Leaf and two grasses. And then what happened next?

Misty's desire to create a bird was denied her and instead she discovered she was making a turtle.

Tanya's hands revealed a horse. She just so happens to have a farm-load of them at home, but it wasn't her intention!

Myah found a bird, taking flight.

Little Daniel was dead set on producing a guinea pig. I was so impressed!!

Wendy's son is holding her snappin croc. It started as some blob then native lizard then this!

And here is what I found. I wanted to do a turtle or a kookaburra, but kept seeing a pig snout (to my dismay) but soon it showed me it was to be a goldfish. The pisces in me has been acknowledged!

[current mood] Raw Salmon & Is That The Ocean I Can Hear From My Bed?


Invitation with Song

The first version of song-communication arose with Solua Middleton sending me youtube video clips that expressed how she was feeling during conference calls with our bosses.

It became a bit of a continued conversation through song. Solua is a legend.

Most recently she emailed me a song to expressing how irreplaceable I am. She used the iphone ap 'Songify'.

I decided to one-up the use of song as communication by creating a Songify party invitation.

Tea party invitation by Natalija Brunovs

It's atrociously good!

[current mood] Leftover Juicer Bits Muffins & Quietening the Mind to Hear the Birds


Notes to Self

First press PLAY

Tomorrow (feat. Pom Pom) by Natalija Brunovs

It was one of those nights where you go to a party, someone tells you they play keyboard, you tell him you want to play keyboard, so you go to his room and start making some sweet music. In the real sense. Playing with loops on a M-Audio Oxygen 49. Now you will buy a keyboard and practice for sweet jamming!

This can be your soundtrack for this post.

 I made a magnetic chalkboard. I've kept it on my wall with this to-do list from a few weeks ago.

Even though I did this AGES ago it felt good to keep it up on the wall.

Wondering what the heck 'make a bone' is all about? Here you go:

It was a thank you from Oscar to Aaron who looked after him. Oscar kinda wanted it for himself.

I was talking to someone about TO DO lists and she envied my very short list on my chalkboard. I said it really works to just pick 3-4 things for the board and when you've done that you can choose another 3-4. Long lists often get completely overlooked by me!

But I thought an even better TO DO list would be one which is sort of inevitably going to be done.

I managed most of this today. But never did make that nap... too full of beans! (coffee beans)

So what about a TO DO list of things already done? Yes! Now that is what I call FEEL GOOD. We don't spend enough time soaking in the glory of things done before we move on to the next task.

Yes, I did all these today, look at those ticks! good on ME.

Here is some proof.... I squeezed out this painting:

It was inspired by the light coming through the Magnolia leaves.

And so what is on my chalkboard now?

A quote from ME to ME. A reminder of what TO DO.

[current mood] Connecting Chit Chat in Unsuspecting Places & Seductive Semolina Pudding

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