I’ve been here just over a week and we have got so much done. It’s been great. Archana (right)visited us and happily modelled her film star style Kurta Surwal and sold us some fresh corn. The ladies have done fabulously with the new designs and I think we may be able to tick most things off the list (They are so driven about this list you would not believe! Yes, well it was my list.) The faux amber for Paulette at Kazuri looks positively luscious and the pendants we are making in conjunction with Helen Breil are really coming on. A very different style for us and we are enjoying making them. By the way, this post really gets to the guts of what Samunnat is all about. And why I feel so humbled and lucky to be involved.
Another thing I am excited about is my latest foray into medical tourism. The $20 crown from several years ago is holding up nicely and I decided, as my warped glasses slid down my nose yet another time, to lash out and get a new pair here. Good ones. Expensive ones. Sturdy ones. With a vision test, blood pressure check, eye pressure test etc. And I did. But I did have to pay over $20 for the lot. Even with Kopila bargaining. Kicking me surreptitiously when I started to say I thought $20 a pair where the colour would not fade sounded fair enough. They’ll arrive from Calcutta in three days.
If I was a certain kind of girl I’d have taken some incredible photos of the others waiting in the line with me but I feel really uncomfortable about this and didn’t. There was a group of 6 or 7 tall, skinny, dignified men from across the border wearing faded blue lunghis and threadbare white shirts. They walked up in a line and stood quietly waiting to see the optometrist. They almost looked like a border print!
Then there was a woman in a hot pink sari heavily encrusted with gold sequins and thread. Her arms were heavy with red lacquer bangles and golden bracelets and I wondered what she wore for “good”. There was the girl in purple and sunflower yellow kurta with mesmerising eyes the colour of glacial lakes telling me when to move up as our line snaked along. Not a line I minded waiting in one bit!
The other thing I am very excited about is that the amazing Tory Hughes and I have finally got some definite dates for our event in September. I’ll write more about this in the next post but for now let me say that our fabulous four day creative retreat:
“Double Dipping ~ Deep Play and Creative Joy
Techniques and Practices to Feed Your Artistic Spirit”
will be happening on September 19! More about this soon. Strap yourselves down!
Among my half written posts, is one about the amazing women I have in my life. I get quite emotional every time I work on it but I will unleash it at some point in time. Suffice it to say, I am so bloody lucky. Most aren’t fabulous emailers but they are incredible friends.
One of them is Deb, a friend from Broken Hill who doesn’t need to email yet. She came to Nepal on a Colourful Journey last year and was rushed at like royalty in Janakpur where pilgrims at the Janaki Mandir thought she was perhaps a film star and still wanted to be photographed with her when they found out she wasn’t. Theatre, not film. They don’t know the half of it. Her powerful and emotive version of There’s a Hole in My Bucket with her dear friend Kate and the rest of the group for the kids at Sonrisa Nepal, still has us reaching for hankies. And has become the stuff of folk lore.
Last week, Mark Dapin, a journalist, wrote about Broken Hill in an article called Bent, not Broken. Broken Hill is a very different place. There are many colourful characters. Deb is one. Mark’s article talked about a few and gave a certain perspective on the Hill. Deb’s response in her blog here talks about others. I have the good fortune of being able to hear her fabulous voice as I read. (Ironic hey?) Makes for a more complete picture I think.
The thing that is surprising about arriving in Kathmandu is how not surprising it feels. Being catapaulted from the broad, near empty streets of Broken Hill to the chaotic frenzy that is Kathmandu feels so…normal. And bizarrely, I am seeing similarities between the cities! Crowds of kites languidly circling overhead; drivers following an idiosyncratic set of rules; pedestrians prone to unpredictable sauntering; dust filled air (perhaps the Broken Hill dust is a tad less toxic?) I was going to insert an apt quote from Alain de Botton but the internet here is so slow that I was going just a tad crazy so will keep it simple and direct, un-hyperlinked at this fragile point in travel equilbrium!
I am always glad to stop being in transit-to finish the journey between Oz and Birtamod. Lots going through my mind and always that low grade angst about things that come up. Hearing calls for planes, facing the Have you really been here that many times? looks. Fortunately, all went reasonably smoothly- I didn’t oversleep in Singapore, and GF meals were blandly present. The presence of Olive Kitteridge with me on much of the journey meant that I was slightly in another place. This is an incredible book. It was recommended to me by one of my two writer friends, Kate (whose website I will be able to link you too very soon!!! Read some wonderful writing from my other writer friend Deb here). She and I have been sharing our almost evangelical zeal about this book. Our almsot idolotrous worship of the writing skills of Elizabeth Strout. I found it incredibly moving, searingly honest, acutely well observed, tragic, hopeful, overwhelming. It is still with me. Loved it. Read it. I hope to get her next book The Burgess Boys on my Kindle for the trip back. Kate summed it up when she described feeling bereft when she finished. And NO MUM, you can’t buy it before your birthday! Patience is a virtue.
Sage Bray of the Polymer Arts magazine has a blog that I enjoy! (The Polymer Art magazine is great too) and I loved this poster she shared a while back! Very true I think. I will share this with the ladies in Birtamod when I arrive. Heading over there this afternoon. Until next time, pheri betaunla.
Well, I am going to Nepal and Cynthia Tinapple is going global!
Cynthia has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things polymer. (And of many other fascinating things by the way.) This means she is the ideal person to write a book about global perspectives in polymer clay. In Polymer Clay Daily, she explores polymer art internationally and has created the basis for a fabulously supportive network of people. Her next post will be her 2000th!! Congratulations Cynthia. And thank you! Cynthia visited the ladies of Samunnat in 2011 and taught them to make one of their best selling designs.
I am very excited about Cynthia’s book. Primarily because it features some really interesting people-artists I’m getting to know better, to my great delight. Artists like Genevieve Williamson who made a favourite necklace. Her art has a wonderfully organic quality. Her quote to accompany this necklace is a great one: Never grow a wishbone daughter, where your backbone ought to be by Clementine Paddleford. She is about to head off to St. Helena’s island, a British Overseas Territory you reach only by sea after a long boat trip. She’s got backbone! We have shared our expat living experiences and her blog is one I love to read.
Rebecca Watkins is another artist featured in the book who makes gorgeous beads with a sense of playfulness and celebration. Then there’s Claire Maunsell whose work is so subtle and organic, Fabi with her fabulous sense of colour, Natalia Garcia de Leaniz joyful, spirited art and so many others. Thirteen artists have each contributed a project to the book and Cynthia showcases the work of over 150 other artists.
I’m also there and just between you and me I kept half expecting a kindly worded email from Cynthia telling me that she’d decided to only include proper artists. It turns out others were sharing that thrilled but am I good enough? feeling! I am excited that the story of the Samunnat ladies is being told in the book. For all sorts of reasons I encourage you to bloody well buy it. (I think Australians can use this phrase in a totally non- pressuring, friendly way!)
On Sunday I ran in one of the hardest fun runs I have ever completed-the Living Desert Dash-not so much fun as a sense of acheivement. I felt like the number on my chest was my core body temperature on completion of the event. In Celsius of course. And, against the odds, I have uploaded the photos for my April FlickR 12 Projects 2013 entry. Driven? Moi? Must stop. Getting into the car now.
Last night a chunk of tooth fell off, with age – there was no crunching provocation. So I had to add an appointment at the dentist to the Things to Do before I go to Nepal list. Better here than there. Maybe? I did get a perfectly satisfactory crown done there for a wee bit less than I would pay here. (Like one hundredth of the price!!) But there will be NO TIME FOR CROWNS THIS TRIP!!! I have also added running 10 kms in the Living Desert Dash on Sunday to the aforementoned list. An iconic event really and since I am in the country for it this year, I want to make the most of the chance! And they didn’t tell me we ran UP to the sculptures-twice- until after I’d paid my money!
The Samunnat Etsy shop has been updated and is being readied for caretaker management. I don’t want to close it while I am away this time so am making it easy to run* and am working out how to make it worth the caretaker’s time? He already has plenty of khukri knives. I will have to ask him before he reads this post too I guess. Some great new things in the shop and we are so encouraged that the Art Gallery at Broken Hill and the lovely Art Vault keep on keeping on with sales!
Read the latest Colourful Journey posts here, here and here. The deeply grateful responses of the ladies to the money raised by Ron Lehocky, Cynthia Tinapple and several hundred polymer artists in the US including the gorgeous Melanie West who donated a necklace to be auctioned. The necklace is about to travel (initially in the company of Christi Friesen who writes about it here ) and apparently will have its own Facebook page! I will post more about that on the Colourful Journey blog soon!
Yesterday in the wee small hours for her and at a very sensible time for me, the fabulous Tory Hughes and I talked excitedly about our event planned for September this year. If you are up for an amazing time in a wonderful location (Lake Mungo and Wentworth) contact me and I will put you on our mailing list for more details. To get an idea of what lies ahead read about some of the retreats Tory runs in the States. For us here? Four days of inspiration, wisdom, creating, immersion in great landscapes, and food cooked by some one else!
And I leave you with some (I hope tantalising) snaps of a work in progess. I think I will call it What was I thinking? Obviously I do not have any intention of finishing it before I go but would like it to be done for the Exhibition. Also possibly to be renamed What the Bloody Hell was I Thinking?
*I can do everything else but the posting babe! And once a week will be fiiiiine!