Monthly Archives: September 2011

The state of my mind/ desk

Sadly there was no recorded wisdom on Monday and this incredibly honest photo is an accurate reflection of the state of my mind as well as my work desk.  My unsettled lifestyle can lead to chronic scattiness.  I should say, I sometimes allow my lifestyle to lead to chronic scattiness.  Tough if you are a tad driven. 

The desk says it all…Nepali language text book unopened for days, empty tiles with several half started bits and bobs, Diary full of jobs, travel paraphernalia, ideas notebook…

Some wisdom did cross my path as I was getting my roots done this morning.  Rather than catch up with the antics of Brangelina, as is my wont in the hairdressers, I read my Creative Development Manual (my 50th birthday present to myself-by Tory Hughes.  Magnificent.  Buy it.) 

She wrote something that made me smile and cringe.  And that is often where good, action-producing-wisdom starts – the cringing smile of recognition. 

She says If you are like a lot of people, you probably have a lot of clever dance steps to do as you avoid completing your projects.  These may be accompanied by a background murmur of ‘But no, I really do need to redo the entire piece/ stop making art altogether/ clean under the hot water heater/ run away and join the circus (and quite frankly this option looks like the serene alternative to my life at times).  Then she encourages you to compassionately get over yourself in a way that I found very helpful.  Remember your intention and go all the way with it.  Her metaphor of times of flow and ebb was perfect for me this week!

I did flow with my faux beads and you can see that necklace hidden under the books.  This is part of work I am doing towards an Exhibition so I was pleased I persisted with that instead of waiting until things settled down.  That is my wisdom for the week I guess, Being unsettled is the new normal.  Get over it.  Embrace it

Finally, we had a fun class last Saturday. Here is a photo of most of the ladies loving themselves sick (two snuck out before the camera did):







And their reasons:

Aren’t they gorgeous!?




Dissecting Desert Peas

The wildflowers of the desert are spectacular.  In our garden we have native frangipani and this gorgeous flowering gum.




Nearby, in the regeneration area that surrounds the town to keep the desert dust out, we have saltbush, heaths and, perhaps most famously, the Sturt Desert Pea.  Of course, as soon as I laid eyes on this baby, I knew I had to have a go at making it in polymer clay.  It even looks a bit like a magnificent cuff as it hangs on its stem! 

It’s tricky though.  In a recent post in her blog, Debra deWolff wrote a tribute to engineers.  You can find it at She is right.  There is a degree of engineering involved and I am still working on applying engineering principles here! 

My work table today shows the evidence of those experiments.  Which bits, if any, do I cook before others?  How do I keep the pea shape intact?  Constant referring to lots of photos helped but ultimately, it was pulling apart a specimen from a locals kerb (not the regeneration area I stress) that helped the most.  I’ll report on my progress.  I do know that I won’t use as much translucent in my next trials.  While the matte was too matte, the translucent gives an unnataural shine.  Fortunately, I can use leftovers for more coral beads.  Oh well, back to the drawing board…


5 Tip Truths-words to live by

Obviously you come to Monday’s Musings looking for profound life wisdom to start your week and, indeed, here it is:  Tips about the Tip.  Or the depot  as it is known in Broken Hill.  Learned from hard won experience and shared with you:

1. Don’t bring back more than you took.  It sounds self-evident but needs to be said.

2. Monday is usually a ripper day for scavenging.  So much has been dumped over the weekend and is just waiting to be spotted.

3. Respond to the This will be good for… rather than the This could be good for…voices.

4. If it hasn’t been good for something in 6 months, take it back.

5. Just because it has organisational potential, doesn’t mean you have to take it.

Broken Hill is a regional city without kerbside recycling which is a shame, but there you go.  So every couple of weeks, keen locals take their recyclables to the depot and some of those keen locals recycle those recyclables.  Such is my pleasure and enthusaism about tip visiting that I have to tell myself to wait until I have enough to justify the trip.

I scour in three main item categories:

Items that make great textures on polymer clay e.g.  Can you believe those angel wings???!!!  And that grater is 6 cm high!  Perfect for so many things.




 Items that I can will use for mixed media work (frames or quirky hanging things) or things that might will be good for ladies’ innards)




or those simply too good to go past items like this potato roaster and unopened packet of muffin cases. 

 And what did I pay for this mornings gleanings?  $3.00 for the lot!  Now go recycle.

Dodging housework

I am doing this post to reward myself for doing some housework.  And isn’t some a delightfully vague term in this context.

I chose well when I selected my parents.  They are great and may well be my only regular readers.  Both are creative souls and I have been lucky enough to collaborate with each of them in various endeavours.

Mum and I are very similar.  I must confess that presents for her often have an ulterior motive.  I am not quite sure why 500 Handmade Dolls sits on my bookshelf since I bought it for her.  But I only borrowed Art and Fear for a shortish time and her most recent gift is well and truly at her place!

For her last birthday, I gave her a book on making dolls (yes, a different one!) and two polymer face/ heads I hade made.  I stuck a bookmark in the relevant pages.  And she did the rest.  Giving birth to these gorgeously stylish creatures who would never deign to do housework, let alone need rewards to do it!  The fabric in the outfits holds many memories and the Rose sister’s handbag opens.  She is just wondering what to pop in it.  And when more friends will be calling…


Putting the daphne paper on the bust

It is really Wednesday and I am showing my work table in all its driven state.  Well, the result of MY somewhat driven state.  Lots going on – preparation for the Bodacious Bangle classes at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.

And I am still being distracted by my imitative beads – I’m now onto turquoise and ivory.  I justified this distraction by making a small gift in ivory for each participant.  It was create those or pack boxes.  A no brainer.  And doing that gave me energy for the boxes!

Then, and this is what the photos are of, I wanted to finish another papier mache display bust.  We came up with these in Nepal in response to needing a cheap and effective way to display the ladies’ work.  It’s another fabulous procrastinatory activity should you need one.  Not hard, but slow – requiring a degree of mindfulness and there is that wonderful glow you get because you are recycling!  

After putting layers of newspaper on a torso I got from Reverse Garbage in Sydney, I top the lot with Nepali daphne paper.  I have run out of my ivory paper so am onto the gorgeous bold colours I bought the odd one or ten sheets of. 

I hope you are having a creative, little less driven Wednesday!




Monday’s musing (and a photo)

On Mondays I’ll pass on something I’ve read or heard that has inspired me.  Listen to Julian Treasure talk about 5 simple ways to listen better. (As someone who is “hearing challenged” you can see why I loved it but there’s wisdom for all in this one!)  It is a TED talk and you can find it at

And here’s a photo of an “ammonite and Tibetan cloud texture plate” I am making with lino tools and an ezy carve printing block.  I love ammonites which can be found in some Himalayan rivers.  The clouds are similar to the ones painted in the Tibetan religious scrolls.  I’m interested to see how the block works out.

The ammonite design I am carving is based on a pavement.

Coral and amber!

Hardly anyone knows that After the Monsoon exists yet so my current blog readership can be counted on one finger.  I am easing myself into this!  

And I can let myself I cheat a bit with my Wednesday work table.  It isn’t really Wednesday.  To be perfectly frank, on Wednesday my work table was filled with colours I am mixing in preparation for the first of my classes at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.  Not the most interesting of photos.  So, let’s call today as Wednesday and here you have the results of a wonderful day watching and following Tory Hughes as she made coral and amber.

Living in Nepal, with limited internet access, I had no idea what a treasure trove of DVDs could be purchased online so now I am making up for lost time.  I’ve made faux amber and coral in the past but Tory had lots of great tips and I was thrilled with my results.  Thanks to great teaching.