Welcome to my blog. I work full time and creating is my sanity. I like to use many different mediums and was a finalist in the Fire Mountain Beading Contest in 2008. I am a passionate blogger, and a promoter of handmade goodness.

I love : my husband, my fur kids, family, music, sunshine, creating, chocolate, handmade soaps, the DUST Team, gardening, friends, Triple J Radio and photography. Comments welcome, I hope you enjoy the adventure with me.

Please respect my copyright and that the original ©photographs and ©text published on this blog remain the property of ©Maddabling (Samara). Please do not reproduce, crop or alter my original photographs.

made with love.........................maddabling xox

proud member of the down under street team

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Friends - West Australian Artists - Ali J Art

Hello lovely readers - this blog post is a little late and I apologise profusely for that, I got caught up in the mayhem of the annual Mothers Day Market down where I live........ Better late than never though ! And as it is a bit late, hoping all the mums out there got spoilt rotten for Mothers Day :)

I want you all to meet Ali
of AliJ Art and Aussiepatches

I have followed Ali's work for a while now, and have featured various pieces in previous Wednesday Wish lists on my blog. It has been a real thrill for me to compile this Friday Friends feature on this exceptionally talented fellow West Australian artist.

I have purchased products from Ali before as gifts including this sweet Red Robins Necklace which was a gift for a special teenage girl in my life

and this beautiful greeting card and pocket mirror (for me of course) in "I am an Endangered Species" which reflects my love for frogs.

I do love this striking piece too - an original artwork entitled "Life Is Bliss" isn't it sublime ?

Dear Readers, I now invite you to take a break from the mundane chores everyday life throws at us, indulge yourself in the story of Ali J and her gorgeous illustrations, find out what her creative processes and inspirations are.

PS Please remember that Ali has allowed me use her images for this blog post, please respect Ali's copyright and don't recreate or use these images without Ali's permission <3

Ali J - An Anecdote

Who is Ali J Art/Aussiepatches ?

Ali J is my alter ego, a shortened version of my real name Alicia Jane. I create under the name of my alter ego as it is easier to spell, sounds prettier and ties in with the underlying meanings I use when creating my artworks.

Aussiepatches was a dorky teenage user name that I started using on the Internet and it just stuck. There are many occasions I wish I was just as dorky now so I'd have the know-how on technology to be able to replace the name.

How & when did your handmade journey begin ?

I've always been interested in handmade and creative. Whether it be sewing cushions, painting pictures or making books. It wasn't until 2007 when I discovered I could make a living out of it. I had been rejected from the police force twice, had no income, no job prospects and was lost in life - when aren't we?

So I channelled my frustrations and depression into creating some artwork, putting it up on the Internet. I sold an artwork, then within 9 days my shop had sold out. I've been creating artwork non stop since then.

What inspires you ?

I wish I had an easy answer. I have no lightning moments. I create when I feel tension, exhaustion, depression, happiness. Usually when I'm feeling emotional and I channel those feelings into a canvas or on paper. It is something that is hard to switch on or switch off.

I get inspired by many things, but don't always turn those inspirations into bouts of creativity. I love natural beauty, long hair, science fiction, fantasy, TV shows. Thinking of the past, the future, sometimes I'm inspired by just the way ink falls on a piece of paper.

I don't surround myself with anything in particular, I just need my dreams and some art supplies. Then I gather some materials and just let my feelings flow into whatever I may be creating. That sounds awfully hippie, but I'm actually quite ordered and specific in the process.

If I feel like painting I'll line up my paints, water, brushes and move in specific steps through the process. Same when I sew, same when I draw. I need reference images for all of my creative endeavours. A canvas portrait will often have 6 - 20 reference images of everything from hair, to a face, to clothing, to greenery that might be incorporated in the background.

What mediums do you work with - do you have a favourite ?

At the moment my favourite is watercolour because I find the colours seductive and tasty. Not that I eat them, but when I paint with them they inspire memories of food I've eaten in the past. Weird I know.

My passionate love is for vintage book pages. The touch, the smell, the feel. The older and more brittle they are, the more eager I am to use them in my artworks. I love collaging the pages and painting onto them. It is quite a meditative process.

Have you created other things from your illustration art - what types of products have you applied your illustration art to ?

Many things. I want to make my illustrations affordable. I've created necklaces, pendants, badges, rings, notebooks, greeting cards, prints, fabric, canvas bags.... the list is never ending. I've also sewn some dolls and creatures.

Some of the items are one-offs and others are reproductions of originals. I just go with an idea and test it out to see if it works. The creation of products is really important to my arts practice as I want my art to be accessible to everyone. Whether to admire, look at or own.

Do you have a favourite piece that you have created and why is this your favourite ?

I have a lot of favourite pieces. Lots that I wish I still owned and I miss terribly. Currently the artwork I pine for is of a girl wearing a peacock coat called "Never Alone".

It was an incredibly personal work and one that set my work off into a different direction then normal. My favourite pieces are the ones that have personal secrets or meanings in them, and they are always the most popular artworks. I wonder if everyone can see my heart in them.

How does AliJ Art work through commissioned pieces - is there a particular creative process that you follow ?

Commissioned pieces can be pleasant or an absolute nightmare. I wish I could say it was a wonderful process, but it isn't. That is why many artists don't do commissioned works.

Commissioned works for me are like relationships. You put something into the work, the other party puts something into the work and you've both created something together. Sometimes they want you to do too much their way, and other times they give you nothing to work from. That is difficult as there needs to be an equal balance.

The hardest part is balancing creativity and business. When I start off with a commission I get the business stuff out of the way. That is the contract, initial payment and agreement to the final value of the work. Plus the final specs - how big, what medium and most importantly what of.

As I mainly work with portraits I then ask for at least 6 images of the person I'm bringing to life. So far I've been lucky and most people will send a good 10 - 20 photos through of each person, it really helps me get a feel for their characters. Especially when you rarely get to meet them in person.

I then sketch out ideas and do a few rough mockup concepts. Once approved I get started on the final work. Which usually involves me sticking all the photos around the canvas / paper and just moving on from there.

Does Ali J Art have any future plans and dreams ?

When don't I? The hardest part is figuring out what is achievable and what is a candy cloud. I'd love to have a solo exhibition next year, a few group shows, but mainly I want to work on a new body of work. I've spent a lot of time working on the 'business' side of things for the past year (I have a 1 year old girl) and didn't paint enough.

So now I feel the urge to just create nonstop and get this frustration out of my system. I also want to continue to expand the business to a stationery line and clothing line in the near future.

Did I mention that I want to work on some childrens books? I am also planning on starting some science fiction canvases. Plus some screenprinting. Too many dreams, I'm just going to take on every opportunity that comes my way!

Want to see more ? I am captivated by the beauty of these illustrations.......

Check out Ali's Website :


Contact Ali through email :

alij @ alijart.com

Buy lovely things at Ali's Online Shops :




Follow Aussiepatches Blog at :



  1. What a gorgeous style she has! I have had rosy cheeks and long hair since I was a little girl, so I love this! And her story is very inspirational. It is my constant battle to make a life of art and it's great to read about others who have done it.

    Thanks Samara for a beautiful post. And thanks Ali J for your inspiring work.


  2. Thank you Amy :) the links above are working now too - apologies that people were not able to access these previously due to a technical glitch on my end

  3. Thank you Amy ! I have fixed the links above, there seems to have been some blogger issues over the past week - apologies to Ali J and readers alike. All the links above should now be active.