Monthly Archives: January 2012


Sometimes you have to tryout a new you to discover what is real and authentic.  We can engage in pretending, not out of fear or accommodation, but out of the courage to get off automatic pilot and try out new behaviours.

Harriet Lerner (quoted on Splash, Brene Brown’s blog

This quote resonates with me. In Nepal it is easier to try out different MEs, to work out what is authentic and what is a habitual response.  What is based on warped beliefs I have about myself and what I can or can’t do.  For various real and imagined reasons, I felt less free to do that where we raised our girls. 

It feels easier somewhere that doesn’t trigger the old knee jerk behaviours and where no-one expects them. 

And it seems easier in a place where there is a history of overcoming challenges, initially on treks, in surprising ways.  I can more clearly and quickly spot unhelpful reactions and try new ones with less fear of failure or real or imagined scepticism.  I can experiment with different ways of being as I work out what is authentic and wholehearted. 

I’d have found it harder to return to my old town and hang up my shingle as an artist.  The feeling of pretending, still strong even in a new place where I am a rank (and itinerant) outsider, would have been harder to overcome.  Here, many people work and live as artists and there is more openness about that vocation.  

I still feel strange when I meet someone and they ask what I do. It feels like pretending when I answer that I…um…work with polymer to make jewellery and um…other…stuff…pieces.  Sometimes I get there but  still pre-empt the A word with apologies and self deprecation, but more often now I just spit it out and see what happens.  Delight and interest usually.  And a conversation about creativity and the source of inspiration and how to make it work and making the most of whatever time we have.  Often going with my own vulnerability seems like a short cut to really connecting with someone else about their own journey.

Saying I am working on pieces for an exhibition next year still freaks me out a bit but now that some of those pieces are starting to take shape and that threads and ideas are hinting they may come together, I am more comfortable saying that too.   Here are a couple of photos of work in progress-more to come!

PS   Thank you to all you gorgeous people who make comments.  You have no idea how nice it is to get these. I don’t know who looks at this blog and it is wonderful to hear from those who do.  It is sort of scary putting it out there so comments are lovely!

Catching up

Catching up with people and catching up with posting!

Last week I had a few days R and R in Sydney with family and friends. 
There are times when, as much as I like the place,  Broken Hill feels
like a long way away from most of my family and friends. 
Possibly because it is. 

The visit had an Asian flavour.  On Monday I had an invigorating 
Thai massage with Lois and then with Meredith I visited fascinating
Cabramatta and delighted in the lychees, rambutans, dragon fruit and fresh
turmeric piled high in aromatic and jewel coloured heaps.  We trawled fabric
shops managed by elegant Chinese ladies catering to the Muslim ladies’ needs
for good hijab fabric. 


And I got to know the ladies my mum had bought to life using faces and    
hands I had made and her own impressive supply of fabric, beads and
creative ingenuity.  The slightly scary looking one in black and red is
really tough to photograph on her own.  For one of my limited ability
anyway.  She gets a mixed reaction but we love her still!









By the skin of my teeth?

I did do the necklace for last week but got distracted from posting it! 
I did use old polymer beads I had made to experiment with a lace cane. 
The longer beads are new.  I bought them last week in Sydney. 
They seemed to be what the lace cane beads were waiting all those years for. 
It is a departure from my usual colours and was a lot of fun to do. 
The KISS rule is, so far, quite liberating! 



Get us a pot of tea darling…so I did

I have a patient husband.  He hears a relatively frequent refrain from the end room* where I do my stuff: 

Get us a pot of tea, darling

And my patient husband does.  The use of us makes me feel a little less demanding.

If it is to be herbal tea there was always the dilemma of which of the two teapots the herbal after taste should linger in: the normal tea one or the Nepali chiya one?  It was the least I could do to make one for our herbal tea.

So here she is, the pot of tea darling, looking suitably herbal I think:


 And while I have my cup of tea I peruse my beloved PCD.  On a Sunday I savour Studio Mojo (totally worth the small outlay-this week’s was profound. It is SO much more than a weekly polymer clay newsletter. Just sign up.) And then – via another favourite, Robyn Gordon’s Art Propelled blog – I have stumbled delightedly onto this one: The Beauty We Love  which could well be one I visit daily when I am within cooee of a computer and a connection.  (And who is just loving being able to make that clever link between the words and the sites?  Simple things….)

*In the houses where I have had the luxury of a designated room to play, that room has always been at the end so it becomes the end room.  We’ve lived in some short houses.


The second kiss…

Sometimes when I have to do something that I find challenging (like update the wholesale price list for Samunnat) I reward myself with something more creative.  And my second KISS necklace footed the bill nicely.  The beads were made at the first retreat run by the Australian polymer clay guild in Canberra- must have been at least 6 years ago – under the inspired tutelage of Pam Annesley from WA.  They sat unused in a box for many years.  Waiting…

The photos show the front and back of the necklace and the detail of the polymer beads.  The jungle colours, the glass beads, the touches of gold and no doubt the size all made it seem very AMAZONIAN!(And I have just finished reading Ann Patchett’s wonderful State of Wonder which may have led my thinking up that particular river!)   

52 KISSes*

Many creative souls set themselves challenges to get the creative juices going…a Ring a Day, filling sketch books…that sort of thing.  It can be a good discipline especially when the creative muse seems to have temporarily left the house.  I love the Tinapple/ Doroshow book Creative Sparks or sometimes I read a few favourite gurus for a kick in the creative pants.  And then there is the age old piece of (Australian flavoured ) advice…sit down and bloody well start something.

Currently, I have a storage crate containing little bags of beads and unused canes that I have made over many years and two continents.  Last year in Nepal, Cynthia T told us a tip from Jana Roberts Benzon about refreshing old canes with translucent liquid clay…the equivalent of a mustard oil massage for middle aged canes.  It works are treat!  One of the things I’d like to do this year is to make some things with them.

And here it is in print dear reader: Each week I will try to make one necklace using those beads/ canes – just the ones that are in my To Be Used One Day Box.  And each week I will post a photo of the result.  That’s 52 necklaces.  My mantra with these babies is Keep It Simple Sweetheart*!  Not too much fancy pants embellishment (yup, it will nearly kill me) but for at least one adornment a week I will bear that in mind.  If not actually do it!  I may let myself off the hook while I am in Nepal…or I may cheat. 

Here is the result of Week 1’s focussed but relaxed fiddling:

The story of the Prodigal earring

In 2006, in a Thamel hotel room after enduring a rugged night of Kathmandu’s version of Delhi belly, I hastily and carelessly packed to return home after a couple of months in Dharan with Mal.  We’d been casing the joint before our big move.  I was vaguely aware of throwing jewellery in a bag with clothing and junk but really just wanted to get on a plane and into my bed as soon as I could.  On my return, I discovered that one of my favourite earrings was missing.  I saved it and hoped that one day, its partner would turn up.

Over the intervening 6 years and through at least 5 major moves, one earring would appear and I never knew which of the two I’d found.  I just kept keeping the one in a safe place and hoped the various safe places would coincide one day. 

A few days ago, in a flurry of sorting (a traditional end of year activity for me) I found one and, blow me down, also remembered the safe place where the other was.  What rejoicing there was.  One was very mouldy but, in a testament to the resilience of polymer clay, a little sanding and polishing bought it back to its former splendour. 

This prompted me to get the matching bracelet (which, in my opinion, had never really worked as a bracelet-see below) and re-fashion it into a necklace with turquoise discs and garnet coloured resin beads.


Loving myself sick really.

The joke’s on me…

Some of you may be wondering what word cloud I ended up with for my Word of the Year 2012.  From my original 68 (yes, I got a bit carried away there) I whittled it down to a short list of 11*.  I like the idea of controlling the choice of finalists but accepting the serendipity of a random final choice.  Good for a somewhat serious, driven, focused (Word of the Year 2009) soul.     

 First I chose the words I thought would be useful in a disciplinary, pull yourself together type way (these are VERY Wendy type words!):

Persist, Discipline, Learn

Then there were some Brene/ Pema type ones:

Authenticity, Wholeheartedness, Clarity and Choice

And the ones that sort of clicked as I thought about them over the past weeks:

Release, Embrace, Acceptance

 *Then there was laughter which snuck in so I let it stay to show my openness (Word of the Year 2010).

 I could live with any of these.  I could risk choosing one that was not perfect, or I could change it.  I had Courage (Word of the Year 2011) so I picked my word…

 And you may have guessed it…Laughter

 It may not have been my idea of a Word for the year but I will embrace it.  I know I could do with regularly remembering to lighten up!  It will be fun to see how my understanding of this word for me evolves!

I did not take these photos but this boy really reminds me of Bhuwesh, the perenially smiling 5 year old who lives upstairs in Birtamod.  And the Laughing roller skater adorned our front door in Dharan.  I love him! 

PS: Just quietly…following my mother’s example, I do have a back up word to bolster laughter:

Release…2012 will be a year to release a few old habits and ideas about what I can and can’t do.

Laughter and release…bring it on.