Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My New Favourite Thing: Featured artist GretelGirl draws.

Every once in a while when I am hunting around Etsy I come across something that makes my heart flutter, makes it skip a beat, to know that I am looking at something that feels like it was custom made for me, for my house, my taste exactly. To discover the work of an artist that I really love, to see it for the first time... it is what keeps me in love with Etsy.  This feeling is closely followed by an overwhelming desire to have it in my house- where it belongs!

So the above feelings describe perfectly what happened to me when I first saw this:

This absolutely beautiful work is by Trace Chalpin of Gretle Girl Draws. I gushingly contacted Tracy salivating over her work- there are so many to choose from but I kept coming back to the skipping girl...

( I love her sandals)
she liked my cushions too so we decided to do a swap! It is even more beautiful in real life!
( I love her rosie cheeks)

I decided if I loved it maybe you guys would too.  So I decided to interview Tracey and feature her here today as the beginning of my little series called My New Favourite Thing.

Tell us about yourself ( your life, kids etc and your art, have you studied art etc)
My name is Tracy & I am Gretel Girl. I have a fab husband & 2 young children. I am a mum, I am a wife, I work part time, I try (unsuccessfully) to be a good house-keeper... and when I am not busy doing all those things, I am Gretel Girl. I am so grateful to be able to do something creative, to make, to draw, to sew, to dream. I have always felt the need to be creative & ended up doing a Bachelor of Applied &Visual Art, where I majored in sculpture. Aaah... that seems like a life time ago now. Then there were many years after having children that I lost the time & energy to even think about art... it felt like the only thing I really "made" was dinner!
About 15months ago I had a bit of an emotional / physical breakdown & I stopped working. I felt useless. One night during the Adelaide Fringe / Festival, my sister & I headed into the city to see some performances. I returned home feeling so inspired, my head full of the evening's wonderfulness & I just wanted to share what I felt. I sat down &drew a little picture, I wrote down my thoughts & I posted my very first blog entry ( I was addicted. Everyday I had something I wanted to draw & words that were begging to come out of my head. The blog was my very own online diary, my "therapy" &I had no idea that it would be of interest to anyone else. The drawings were rough &definitely not intended for sale... but (thanks to the support of Gretel Girl blog followers ) they became the humble beginnings of Gretel Girl.

Explain the process of making your art ( a little explanation about the process no secrets of course)
There were so many directions I tried taking Gretel Girl... I was making hair accessories, tote bags, tea towels, cushion covers. I decided that I just wanted to simplify & do one thing - but I wanted that one thing to include my illustrations, fabric, sewing, craftiness handiwork. My hoop-art began here. The process begins with an illustration which is then scanned & digitally edited. I love the flexibility of being able to change the colours & size of my illustrations depending on the fabric & hoop size I am working with. The illustration is then printed onto fabric &it is the choice of fabric that normally takes the longest of time! The illustration & fabric have to fit together just right. The sewing detail can be used to add texture to the piece, create a foreground, or even to give the piece a sense of movement. Each piece I do is slightly different. The fabric is then stretched inside an embroidery hoop & fixed at the back with glue.

what inspires you?

Other people's work, magazines, fashion photography, shopping, music videos, op shopping, fabric.

I adore my treasure chest of recycled fabrics... dresses, curtains, tablecloths, pillowcases are reborn and become the bearers of my illustrations. I love to see how a piece of fabric can hold a new life & find its perfect match in one of my humble drawings. Sometimes it is even the fabric that inspires the illustration.

What five things would you take to a deserted island to keep you happy for a 3 month stay?

Ooo... I feel like Im in a job interview

1.Coffee machine (can I please have coffee beans & milk with that too?)

2.My husband & kids (for all the times I ask for time on my own... I dont think I could survive 3 months without them)

3. Sketch book &pencils

4. Chocolate (to have with the coffee)

5. umm.... Frankie magazine / reading material

What makes your heart soar?

Being able to do what I am passionate about - not just Gretel Girl art.

What really makes you cranky?

Lack of coffee in my diet.

what did your mother always tell you?

Drink more water.

Complete the sentence "if only...................................

I think that I hear this sentence in my head sometimes... "If only I had saved more money when I was younger... If only I had learnt more about business &opened a cafe / vintage store... If only I had looked after my teeth better... If only I had travelled more... " I have realised that I cant talk in "if only"s. I know this is probably a boring answer, but I am grateful for all that has happened in my life to bring me to where I stand today. I cant go back & do all those things, but there is nothing to stop me pursuing my dreams for the future. Even my dreams for Gretel Girl reach further than illustrations on hoops... I dont know where it will end up or what doors will open but that is part of the amazing adventure. Sometimes I cant believe how lucky I am right now... to be able to create, to be able to draw, to be able to do something that makes me feel alive. Every hour spent creating is such a treat & this is just the beginning for Gretel Girl...

Thank you Tracy, for making such beautifulness and being so lovely. You can see more over here:
madeit shop here
Etsy shop here
Blog here
While I am plugging other peoples amazingness have you voted for Cam yet?


  1. this does create an exciting flutter! really like these. thanx for posting the find. the search is never ending on etsy! great to be able to see some amazing creations from your travels. :)

  2. Wow!!! I totally get that exact feeling you got when you saw Trace's work. They are all kinds of wonderful. And your skipping girl could be my skipping girl Jazzy right now. Except its too cold for sandals. Gorgeous stuff.

  3. Lovely find! I like the Swinging Girl in the Clouds, but Tracy has lots of gorgeous things. Thanks for sharing her!

  4. Yep, looking at these beautiful works, I got that same feeling! Absolutely gorgeous, lucky you. And lucky her that she now has one of your beautiful works too!

    And yep, have voted for Cam. So excited for her!

  5. Gretel Girl’s work is utterly, jaw-on-floor gorgeous. Come over all hyperventilatey, I have...

  6. Love this post. It's inspiring me today. Thanks to both of you for doing it.

  7. Wow, incredibly beautiful & inspiring artwork. Thanks for sharing! Will now go take a peek @ her blog xx

  8. wow, lovely stuff. Thanks for sharing Cath.

  9. Hello,

    wat a lovely projekt i like it very match.

    happy Eastern
    greatings send you Conny


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