Monthly Archives: December 2012

Laughter and just another necklace

My gorgeous sister started a bit of a tradition with a card she sent me in Nepal years ago (and I apologise for the quality of the photo but I have not been able to track down a better image). This card was for the first birthday I had after leaving a lot of secure stuff- casting off from the shore so to speak…leaving my job-my profession, taking off to Nepal and declaring I wanted to be an artist.  Inside she wrote (in that fabulously loving and perceptive way that sisters can) who else but you could swan around with such purpose but no actual JOB! And the funny card thing started!

Another very apt card came from Pick ‘n’ Z who lived in the flat below us in Nepal. ( Can I just say  that Z’s jewellery wearing increased markedly after a few years under me. So to speak.) On the card are very wise words really.

And this Christmas, my bahini (little sister) showed again her great skills in finding the perfect card.  I have looooong been a fan of Cecily, the creation of Celia Allison from NZ.  This year Susan gave me a Cecily calendar and a card with this Cecily print, which is so apt for my life over the past few years that it is frightening!  Cecily is magnificent and every month’s new page will be a joy.  And look, rather than try to cram a million Cecily prints and quotes into one already busy post, maybe I will post one a month in the blog next year and share the lurve and laughter. Sounds like a resolution I could keep. YES I WILL! Wonderful Robin Hill at Flourish Arts in Birchgrove is a die-hard Cecily fan (even wears her glasses) and she stocks lots of Cecily paraphernalia there.  In Albury, Sally, another fan, has them here.

And, #52….gosh, there is a weird feeling associated with the final necklace for 2012.  The process has been a fantastic discipline…giving me the motivation to have a go and the incentive to be a bit more disciplined than I might have been.  And it is interesting looking at the necklaces made over the year.  People may see links to the journey this year has been: reminders about the fragility of life and the temporal nature of our existence, acknowledgement of the things that are important or the characteristics I strive to develop; an urge to celebrate the people around me and the fact that I have woken up for another day and have the capacity (functional hands, functional eyes, ideas, time, passion) to even make another necklace; my regular forays to Nepal;the massive impact of the being with the Samunnat ladies; explorations of new techniques and ideas; rediscoveries of old bits and pieces, rejigging things that haven’t worked, adapting designs to what I had…a year measured with mala (necklaces).  Many of the necklaces will hang in my exhibition in August 2013 (breathe Wendy, breathe) and some have gone to the people they were made for.  Or the people it became obvious that they were made for.  Others may be rejigged!  It’s been fun.  You have to laugh.

While I am sitting here feeling reflective, I’ve had a thought…anyone who posts a comment after this post about which of the 52 necklaces they’d nominate for their necklace of the year will go into the draw for something!  Maybe the first necklace of 2013!!!  And I leave with with a small photo of all the beads I wore home from Nepal as part of load shedding…part of my attempt at nonchalantly carrying my cabin baggage.

Neil and another necklace

Certain names kept coming up this week.  A favourite artist and blogger of mine, Robyn Gordon of Art Propelled, wrote a terrific post where she quoted Scottish author, Neil Gaimen. As a result, I’d like to read more of his work.  And as one who can be a bit paralysed by a fear of failing, or of not doing something perfectly, these words are good to hear again!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family life. Whatever is is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”  –  Neil Gaimen

I was reminded of whole making mistakes thing in a slightly schmaltzy movie I watched on the plane and I am interested that I am hearing the message again.  I think that a fear of getting it wrong used to be the thing that most often prevented me from sitting down and starting something.  I now talk much more happily about creative experimentation (thank goodness!) and playing. I have lowered my expectations and don’t demand perfection.  My 51st necklace for 2012 is linked to a mistake. My mistake was that I didn’t get enough of those GORGEOUS RED TEETH BEADS!

I have worn this necklace in (an essential part of the creative process sometimes) and it certainly brings a sense of courage and bravado!  Amanda Palmer might wear this necklace.

The day I arrived home I was catching up on some reading and came across an article about Amanda Palmer (told you last time that I would mention her again!).  I’d seen her sing on RocKwiz and was pretty blown away by her voice (not to mention stage presence).  Anyway, she’s married to the aforementioned Neil Gaimen and their marriage is way more unconvential than mine.  Always handy to read about those marriages that entail longer separations than mine every now and then.

I won’t add to the talk about the shooting tragedy at Newtown but I hope the talk goes beyond mere words.  I think this article here in the NY Times is pretty compelling. Peace my friends.

Music, Coffee and a travel tip

Much of this week has been spent getting ready some beads for our Kazuri order.  Yes, I am now back in Australia but due to the vicissitudes of the Nepali postal system, we decided that it might help if I made some of the coffee beads for our order and a couple of other bits and pieces.  I wore Nepali clothes and used Nepali coffee and you would really not be able to tell that they weren’t made in the old country!

Speaking of the old country, here is a travel tip for you: in our coffee beads, we use the wonderful Machhapuchhre Flying Bird Coffee grown organically on the slopes above the beautiful Begnas Tal.  And should you be wondering about a truly magnificent place to visit on your next trip to Nepal, wonder no more!  Spend some time with the delightful Lamjal family at their little lodge.  It must be said that if your happiness depends on an en suite in your room (or, to be perfectly honest, even within spitting distance) this may not be quite the place for you.  But if you are looking for a simple, tranquil place in spectacular surroundings where you will be treated like family and fed like a king, then just go!  It is about an hour east of Pokhara and in my humble opinion, so so much nicer!

But back to the beads.  While I made my coffee beads (and there were a good few to make which will explain the absence of any Christmas preparation this year) and my amber beads (see below) I caught up on some music!!!  I have been reading Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs -a great read- and he talked about a song called One Man Guy that was written by Loudon Wainwright and covered by two of his talented kids, Martha and Rufus.  I wanted to hear it after Nick’s rave and so had a little search as I blended my coffees.  I found the whole family singing the song gorgoeusly here and then wandered off in cyberspace to hear Martha singing Nick Cave’s Ship Song.  This is a favourite song, and brings back very special memories of loving friends.  So then I began a little Ship Song wander with lovely aural results.  Here’s another version of this song by the amazing Amanda Palmer (more of her and associated wandering in another post!)  and would you believe there is a whole project about this song.  It was performed at the Sydney Opera House and would have been amazing to watch.

Anyhow, one thing led to another and before you knew it, I was getting all goosebumpy listening to this little double act!  And making my coffee beads.  The photos show some of the efforts of my labours which are now winging their way to the ol’ US of A!  I’ll post more, sooner than you’d believe, including a photo of the 2012’s penultimate (using the term loosely) necklace! MWAA.

I plan to post again before Christmas but I also planned to send cards and hand make little decorations for people and that never happened so, just in case, have a great Christmas.  I hope you enjoyed the musical interlude!

A cure for jet lag….#49 and #50

Making necklaces is a tried and trusted way to help me emerge from that strange and unsettled state I sometimes find myself in for a few days after returning to Australia after a couple of intense and busy months in Nepal.  Discombobulation, exhaustion, adjusting to the heat in Broken Hill after Winter in Kathmandu, feeling overwhelmed by the array of choices I have to make when I shop, and feeling a tad overburdened by silly things I think I need to do all become more useful emotions if I can have a few hours pottering around with some beads.

And you wouldn’t need to be Einstein to predict a strong Himalayan influence!  Partly because I am constantly jotting down ideas and designs while I am away from my little work room and partly because I paid a little visit to my favourite shop in Kathmandu and stocked up a bit after the Colourful Journey tour was over.  Just a bit.  (If you come on next year’s tour, we are having a few hours there designing our own necklaces using their luscious array of stones!!!  It happened serendipitously in this year’s tour and everyone said it should be included next year!  So it is.)

The two necklaces here celebrate the lusciousness of amber.  The first uses faux amber made with polymer.  Some of these beads have been rattling around for ages in various guises. The wedge shape was tricker to get sitting nicely but they are happy now.  My homage to amber is not quite as exuberant as young Pema’s head dress in the Pilgrim’s Postcard but her courage and colours were certainly inspirational.

The second necklace incorporates faux amber beads purchased from Mr and Mrs Karim in Kathmandu.  Compressed turquoise and coral chips have been set into each bead and highlighted with brass.  I love the over the topness of these beads and used one with some smaller brass and chip beads to make one of my bracelet/ extenders so the necklace can be worn at two lengths!

And now it’s time to start preparing items for our Samunnat Christmas Extravaganza at Broken Hill Art Gallery.